Protestant Leader in Trouble Top German Bishop Caught Driving Drunk

The head of Germany's Protestant Church, Bishop Margot Kässmann, has been caught driving through a red light while well over the legal alcohol limit. Her driving license has been confiscated and she faces prosecution, police said.
Over the limit -- Bishop Margot Kässmann.

Over the limit -- Bishop Margot Kässmann.


The head of Germany's Protestant church, Bishop Margot Kässmann, was caught driving through a red light with a blood-alcohol level over the legal alcohol limit on Saturday and now faces prosecution, police and the state prosecutor's office in the northern city of Hanover said on Tuesday.

A laboratory test on a sample of the bishop's blood found an alcohol content of 0.154 percent, state prosecutor Jürgen Lendeckel said. That is more than three times the legal limit of 0.05 percent. "The value of 0.11 is a threshold. Everything beyond that means absolutely unfit to drive and results in prosecution," he told SPIEGEL ONLINE.

A spokeswoman for the Hanover police said legal proceedings had already been launched and that Kässmann's driving license had been confiscated.

'Dangerous and Irresponsible'

Kässmann, 51, who was chosen as the first woman to lead Germany's 25 million Protestants last October, told Bild newspaper: "I am alarmed at myself at having made such a bad mistake. I am aware of how dangerous and irresponsible drunk driving is. I will of course face up to the legal consequences."

The spokeswoman for the Protestant church, Silke Römhild, told SPIEGEL ONLINE that the church had no further comment in addition to the statments given to Bild.

Kässmann, the Lutheran bishop of Hanover, made headlines in January when she was criticized  by several politicians from Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats for saying that the military mission in Afghanistan can't be justified, and calling for a withdrawal of German troops.

cro -- with wire reports