Friday, June 25, 2010

Belgian Police Raid Catholic Cardinal's Home and Office in Search of Sexual Abuse Evidence

     The Catholic Church in Belgium continues to be rocked by the sexual abuse/cover-up controversy.

     Back in January, recently appointed Archbishop Léonard declared that homosexuality was as abnormal as anorexia.  Shortly thereafter, Bishop Vangheluwe of Bruges resigned, confessing that he'd sexually abused a boy.  As far as I know, Léonard has not compared priests performing oral sex on children to an eating disorder.

      Now, Léonard's predecessor Cardinal Godfried Danneels' home and office have been raided by police searching for evidence of sexual abuse. 

     Belgian authorities have raided the headquarters of the Belgian Catholic Church during an investigation into child sex abuse claims.  A spokesman for the Brussels prosecutors' office confirmed that the palace of the archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels had been sealed off.  Police also raided the home of retired Archbishop Godfried [Cardinal] Danneels.
     "This is a case that the Brussels prosecutors' office received recently, containing a statement of facts in relation to alleged sexual abuse of minors by a number of people within the Church," said Jean-Marc Meilleur.  "The object of the searches is to verify the declaration and eventually gather evidence about these declarations."
     ...in late April, Belgium's longest-serving bishop, Roger Vangheluwe, resigned after admitting to having sexually abused a young boy during the time Danneels was archbishop.  The resignation led a former priest, Rik Deville, to say he warned Danneels at least 15 years ago that Vangheluwe had abused a boy. Danneels said in April, "I cannot remember such a discussion." 
     Meilleur said the search of Danneels home and office was unrelated to the Vangheluwe case. "This is a new case that came to us recently," he said.
      At least in one country the police aren't accepting, "I don't remember," as a good enough answer from a Catholic cardinal.

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