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Thursday, January 06, 2011

Belgian nuns under suspicion of child abuse

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Le Figaro - International : Belgique : des nonnes visées par un scandale pédophile

The Kortrijk legal authorities have opened an investigation after the testimony of a man who says he was sexually abused by nuns in the 1960s. Other abuses also have occurred in the 90s.

A new religious scandal is breaking linked to pedophilia in Belgium. The Kortrijk legal authorities have opened an investigation after an allegation of sexual abuse of children in the years 1965 to 1970 in the Institute Stella Maris, a school in Kortrijk managed at the time by nuns, whose order no longer exists. The school, a former orphanage, is currently managed by a local association that specializes in providing care for children in need.

"The acts committed in the years 1965-70 are probably under statute of limitation, but we decided to launch a major investigation to try to understand this matter," said a spokesman for the prosecutor on the television channel RTL-TVI . "We want to know who would be responsible for these acts, if they are still active and whether they could still claim victims," she said.

Belgian media have immediately seized on this new case of child abuse involving the Catholic Church. Monday noon, Radio 2 and TV news Eén aired the comments of a presumed victim. The latter recounted the abuse she suffered in the 1960s at the Institute Stella Maris. The acts started when the boy was aged five years and were spread over several years. Among the perpetrators of these abuses, at least two sisters and the mother superior.

Belgium rocked by pedophilia scandals
The victim told Radio 2 that the nuns forced him to satisfy them sexually, even when asleep. "They made me have oral sex," he recalled. The witness also said the VRT had suffered severe psychological problems after he reached his 30th birthday.

Belgian media also refer to acts of pedophilia in the 1990s, based on a second witness. According to RTBF , the author of this sexual abuse at this time was a man who visited Stella Maris from time to time.

The school management has "taken note of other abuses committed in 1992, confirmed its board, Jan Leysen. They are not the result of abuse by a religious, but a person who regularly visited and abused children. " "These are old stories, but they are still taken seriously by the Board of Directors of Stella Maris, also added the lawyer. Before calling "all potential victims to come forward, if necessary to the investigating authorities."

Since the confession of the Bishop of Bruges, Roger Vangheluwe, who admitted last April abusing his under age nephew for ten years, the Church in Belgium has been regularly rocked by pedophilia scandals .

Cathcon: there are now four separate people making allegations about this school.
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