Friday, June 03, 2011

Vatican taken to court by Belgian abuse victims


Belgian court to abuse victims
Published: June 1, 2011 6:02 p.m.
Last edited: June 1, 2011 6:22 p.m.
BRUSSELS - A group of seventy victims of sexual abuse in Belgium announced on Wednesday that it is taking legal action against the Catholic Church. They want to obtain damages.

The lawyers of the victims will mount a group action in September against the Holy See in Rome, the Belgian bishops and the superiors of religious orders.

Earlier this week the Belgian bishops announced compensation for all persons who have been sexually abused by clergy.

An arbitration board will be estabished. But the victims have started their legal action anyway because they want to remain vigilant, says one of their lawyers.

Belgium last year was repeatedly shaken by reports of sexual abuse by church officials. Especially the affair of the bishop of Bruges Roger Vangheluwe caused a stir.

Vangheluwe stepped down last year after he had confessed to abusing for years a nephew who was a minor. The former Bishop, who is now the charge of the Vatican left Belgium after a second case of abuse later emerged.
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