Dutch Catholic order admits abuse case hush money
(Photo: Windmills in the Dutch town of Kinderdijk, August 6, 2004/Guido Benschop)
An order of Dutch Catholic priests admitted on Friday to paying hush money to a victim of sexual abuse but the Dutch Catholic Church denied one of its bishops was involved in the case.
The NRC Handelsblad daily and Radio Netherlands Worldwide reported on Friday they had documents showing the victim was paid 16,000 euros (13,500 pounds) in 2003 to keep the case quiet. The report said that the unidentified victim, now 76, was abused by seven priests — including the late Bishop Johannes ter Schure — between 1948 to 1953.
Cornelis Oosterwijk, lawyer for the Salesian order of priests, accused the victim of breaking his silence deal with unproven allegations in order to obtain more money. “A settlement was agreed on condition he would not make the matter public,” he told Reuters. “Now he is seeking 100,000 euros and the order has said it now wants to look at the facts.”
The Dutch Church faces a string of complaints after 900 victims came forward this year to report abuse by priests. A special commission will report on the scandals next month. The Dutch bishops conference denied its chairman, Rotterdam Bishop Adrianus Van Luyn, had ignored the victim’s 2008 request that his case be made public.