Belgian bishops approve compensation for church sex abuse victims
May 30, 2011, 15:29 GMT
Brussels - Belgium's bishops have agreed to compensate church sex abuse victims, saying that they are 'conscious of their moral responsibility and the expectations of society,' the Belga news agency reported on Monday.
'They are determined to restore the victims' dignity and to pay them the damages they may need,' the bishops said in a statement.
The sex abuse scandal that has affected church communities around the world rocked Belgium last year, when an internal Catholic Church committee revealed that it had received complaints from 327 men and 161 women, with alleged victims being as young as 2 years old.
The revelation caused a furore in Belgium, drawing comparisons with the case of Marc Dutroux, a serial paedophile child murderer from the 1990s who is serving a life sentence.
Roger Vangheluwe, the former bishop of Bruges, was the highest profile priest in Belgium to be implicated in the scandal. He resigned and has since left the country.
The statute of limitations on many of the alleged assaults has expired, with some cases dating back as far as the 1960s.
The Belgian bishops said they were 'deeply touched and dismayed' at the accusations.
They 'unanimously commit themselves to take all measures possible to prevent that the serious events, which all of society deplores with good reason, cannot happen again in the future,' the statement said.
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