Sigrún Pálína Ingvarsdóttir, one of the women who sought support from current Bishop of Iceland Karl Sigurbjörnsson in 1996 when they reported that the late Ólafur Skúlason, who was bishop at the time, had harassed them sexually, said Sigurbjörnsson had not been sincere in his apology to them at the Church Convention this week.
Bishop of Iceland Karl Sigurbjörnsson. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
Ingvarsdóttir commented to RÚV that Sigurbjörnsson did not shoulder his responsibility in the matter by apologizing for having failed the women’s “expectations,” asking what he means when he speaks of “expectations.”
Ingvarsdóttir feels that by phrasing his apology this way, the bishop is indicating that the victims of sexual harassment had expectations that someone other than he should have taken responsibility. She had hoped for more sincerity and honesty from the bishop.
Sigurbjörnsson told RÚV that Ingvarsdóttir had sought the assistance of a number of priests but never went to the police to report the violation, which he found surprising given that the police had more resources to take action than the priests.
Ingvarsdóttir responded that she had simply sought the assistance of those whom she thought might lift the responsibility off her shoulders. At the time it hadn’t been possible to go to the police, she stated, as everyone said they wouldn’t believe her since she didn’t have a witness.
In agreement with Ingvarsdóttir, Rev. Sigrún Óskarsdóttir of Árbaejarkirkja told RÚV that the National Church hasn’t fully acknowledged its mistake in the case of the women who accused late Bishop Skúlason of sexual offenses.
She thanked the women for upholding their causes and would like for the church to host a meeting on their terms to ask what kind of reactions they would like to see.
A number of people deregistered from the National Church in the past two days.
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