Thursday, 16 September 2010

Belgian Bishops Put Money Before Victims

The Belgian bishop of Tournai, Guy Harpigny, has admitted what was probably a factor in the episcopal cover-up of sexual abuse in the church not only in Belgium, but everywhere else as well. They were concerned that breaking their silence would have exposed them to claims for financial compensation. They put financial considerations ahead of concern for the victims.

From the Daily Telegraph:

Belgian Catholic Church sex abuse: we feared compensation claims

Belgium's Roman Catholic Church did not apologise for decades of endemic child sexual abuse by its clerics because an official apology would triggered a flood of expensive compensation claims, a senior bishop has admitted.

Guy Harpigny, the bishop of Tournai and the senior cleric responsible for rooting out sex abusers within the Belgian church's ranks, has further inflamed outrage by confessing that financial concerns over litigation stopped an official apology.

"We did not dare. If you officially apologise, then you are acknowledging moral and legal responsibility. Then there are people who ask for money and we don't know what lawyers and the courts will do about that," he said.

San Deurinck, 65, a Catholic activist who tried to commit suicide after he was abused by two priests as a teenage boy, has called on the Church to "respect victims" and to ensure justice by handing paedophile priests over to the police.

"I always had hope, but then I lost it," he said. "Let the Church understand that justice must do her work. The Church must comply to respect of victims.

Read the full report



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