Another child abuse scandal has hit the Catholic Church – this time in the Nertherlands.
Two of the church’s organisations gave an independent commission the task of investigating incidents ranging from touching to rape within the Dutch church between 1945 and 2010. The church’s response to these matters was also examined.
Chairman of the investigating committee, Wim Deetman said there was a large amount of victims: “The number of children under the age of 18 that were sexually abused while spending part of their lives in a catholic orphanage or boarding school in the Netherlands is between 10,000-20,000.”
Findings from the commission detailing cover-ups by authorities have lead to the Dutch church offering a ‘heartfelt apology’ for the way previous abuse was handled.
Bishop Wim Eijk was at the press conference expressing his regret: “The offenders are not the only ones to blame. The authorities are also at fault. They didn’t act properly. They didn’t take care of the victims or give priority to the victims’ interests.”
With the number of abused children possibly as high as 20,000, abuse within the Catholic Church in the Netherlands appears to be more widespread than highly-publicised cases in Ireland, Germany and the United States.