One-third of the sexual abuse cases involving the Dutch Catholic church have been dealt with behind closed doors, the NRC said on Saturday.
In total, 342 of the 1,045 proven cases were dealt with outside the official complaints procedure and the amount of financial compensation paid to the victims was kept secret, the paper said. The paper bases its claim on church documents.
The official committee set up to investigate the abuse claims had called for total transparency.
Officially, 703 cases have been closed, with total compensation payments of €21.3m. According to the NRC, the secret cases – settled either with or without a mediator – involved further payments of €10.6m.
Abuse victims who went through the ‘secret’ procedure had to sign a contract pledging to keep quiet about their case and to refrain from making negative comments about the church and the perpetrators, the NRC said.
A spokesman for the Catholic church in the Netherlands told the paper victims were offered three options: mediation, a settlement and the official procedure. ‘Every victim made a choice and the level of secrecy depended on that,’ the spokesman said.
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