Norwegian prosecutor drops plans to charge former Catholic bishop

Oslo, Norway - A Norwegian prosecutor Tuesday said he had dropped plans to charge a former Catholic bishop over alleged child abuse, citing the statutes of limitations.

German-born Georg Mueller left his post as bishop of the diocese of Trondheim in June 2009. At the time of his surprise announcement to step down there was no mention that it was linked to alleged child abuse.

Earlier this month, Mueller's successor said the abuse took place some 20 years ago when Mueller was a priest in Trondheim. He became bishop in 1997.

The allege victim, now in his 30s, has via his attorney welcomed the decision not to charge Mueller and has not wanted to reopen the case, Norwegian news agency NTB reported.

The former bishop had risked a three-year prison sentence if convicted. The statutes of limitations in such cases was five years.

The alleged victim was a choirboy in Trondheim at the time of the incident.

About 80 per cent of Norway's 4.8 million people belong to the Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church, while the Catholic church has some 46,000 members.