Saturday, December 17, 2011

Thousands of children may have been sexually abused by Roman Catholic priests in the Netherlands since 1945

As reported by Bruno Waterfield in the London Daily Telegraph, December 16, 2011:

Dutch Catholic sex abuse scandal exposed as inquiry says up to 20,000 were victims
Up to 20,000 children were sexually abused by 800 Roman Catholic priests or lay workers in the Netherlands since 1945, an independent inquiry has estimated.

The investigation by Wim Deetman, a former Dutch minister, received 1,800 reports of sexual abuse by clergy or volunteers within Dutch Catholic dioceses, congregations and religious orders. At least 105 abusers are still alive.andy rain

Children involved in Church organisations were twice as likely as non-Catholics to be exposed to abuse and the "mild, severe or very severe sexual behaviour" was covered up by senior clergy.

"The problem of sexual abuse was known in the orders and dioceses of the Dutch Catholic Church," the inquiry concluded. "No adequate action was taken, nor was sufficient attention devoted to victims."

Based on a survey of more than 34,000 people, the 1,100-page Deetman report estimated that one in five children in Catholic school institutions between 1945 and 1985 suffered abuse, twice the average level in the general Dutch population.

Allegations of abuse by the Salesian Fathers at the Don Rua boarding school Heerenberg in the 1960s triggered the wider investigation in March 2010 of paedophile assaults within the Church, a process mirrored in Belgium, Ireland, Germany, Australia, Canada and the US.

The Deetman commission began work last year and as evidence of widespread abuse emerge the Dutch Roman Catholic Church last month set up a compensation system based on the severity of abuse suffered. The total bill for the church could be higher than £4 million.

Over 2,000 people have now registered abuse with the Church and Dutch authorities and a number of cases will be taken to court.

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