Catholic church abuse victims pressured not to demand parliamentary inquiry

Catholic priest on altar praying during massThe chairman of the Catholic church committee set up to investigate sexual abuse claims pressured victims not to call for a parliamentary inquiry, according to radio current affairs show Argos at the weekend.

Former Christian Democratic party chairman Wim Deetman headed the commission set up by the church in 2010 after the sexual abuse scandal broke in the Netherlands.

The commission report said in 2011 at least 800 Roman Catholic priests and monks were involved in abusing children in their care between 1945 and 1985.

Argos reported at the weekend that in March 2012, Deetman had pressured members of the victims lobby group Klokk not to call for a parliamentary inquiry, arguing that the issue had been ‘researched sufficiently’.




His secretary Bert Kreemers had also sent emails to Klokk members saying that parliament is ‘not a research institute’ and that hearings under oath were ‘a farce’.

At least four Klokk committee members told Argos they had felt pressured by Deetman not to press for an inquiry. Despite majority support in parliament, the plans were eventually dropped.

Castration

Abuse victims had been calling for an inquiry after shortcomings emerged in the 2011 report. It did not, for example, mention the fact at least 10 boys had been castrated to deal with their ‘homosexual behaviour’.

Nor did it mention that a leading politician with the Catholic people’s party KVP had tried to have prison sentences dropped against several priests accused of abusing children in 1958.

In March 2016, the NRC reported that one-third of the sexual abuse cases involving the Dutch Catholic church were dealt with behind closed doors.

Secrecy

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.

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.


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