Wednesday, June 30, 2010


This thing is sounding more and more manufactured with each passing day. Mysterious calls to "watch out"? Could the cops come up with a flimsier excuse?

And now it looks as though the commission established to handle the abuse cases will shut down because they no longer have the records. That'll help the victims!

I've got to say it one more time, though. The Church has so badly mishandled this whole abuse problem that it has created an atmosphere of distrust that works right into the hands of its enemies. The Church leaders need to come clean with everything. They can redact enough information to protect the victims identities while still providing the transparency that would put a stop to the public pillorying. And if the information opens the Church to suit, fine. Better to lose the assets than to lose the faith.

"Four days after a series of police raids of Catholic institutions in Belgium that drew sharp criticism from the pope, the reason for the unusually aggressive operation has emerged: a formal accusation that the church was hiding information on sexual abuse lodged by the former president of an internal church commission handling such cases.

...Investigators are now analyzing more than two truckloads of seized documents, many related to 475 complaints lodged with the sex-abuse commission after the resignation in April of a popular bishop who admitted that, early in his career, he had molested a boy.

The former head of the commission, Godelieve Halsberghe, said in an interview with a Flemish newspaper, Het Nieuwsblad, that she had gone to the authorities after receiving a call from a man who did not identify himself and warned her in French to “watch out” for herself and to secure the documents she held on about 30 cases she had handled during her tenure at the commission, from 2000 to 2008.

Ms. Halsberghe, now a retired magistrate, has long been critical of the church’s efforts in Belgium to confront its past. Alarmed by the phone call, she took the documents in her keeping to the authorities and warned them that the church might be hiding others. On Monday, she declined to accept calls."
New York Times

"A Catholic Church-backed commission of inquiry into clerical sexual abuse in Belgium has announced it is shutting down in protest at police raids.

Commission head Peter Adriaenssens said the commission had been used as "bait" by state prosecutors.

Offices were searched last week and all of the panel's 475 case files removed.

Many of the files removed contained information from alleged abuse victims who had spoken in confidence.

Mr Adriaenssens, a child psychiatrist who only took over eight weeks ago, expressed concern at what could have motivated the authorities.

"They could only act in that way with the sentiment that we were in the wrong or that we were trying to conceal the cases," he said.

"This while I made a point of working in complete transparency.

..."I'm mostly shocked for all these people who gave us their trust," said Mr Adriaenssens.

"And up until [Wednesday] evening, if they'd asked me is it possible that they [the police] would arrive and take everything away, just take everything away, I would have reassured them [that this would not happen]."

He added that people who had spoken to the commission in confidence were "panicking".

"We received e-mails, telephone calls in the past few hours from people who are panicking about what will happen with their private details," he said

"Will their parents find out? Will they read their story in the newspapers? Will their spouse, who wasn't really aware, now find out via the media or the justice department?"

"A panel appointed by the Catholic church to investigate clerical sex abuse in Belgium is shutting down after police seized all its files during a raid last week, the group's chairman said Monday.

Peter Adriaenssens, a child psychiatrist who chaired the panel, said authorities betrayed the trust of nearly 500 victims who had made complaints over the past two months to the church panel and blamed state prosecutors for pursuing victims too traumatized to speak to police.

"We were bait," he said.

The panel was shutting because it had no files to work from, Adriaenssens said. On June 24, police raided its offices, seized documents and computers from the Belgian archbishop's office and opened a prelate's crypt in a cathedral."

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