A disgraced former Belgian Catholic bishop has admitted that he had abused a second nephew, but said that he did not consider himself a paedophile. Roger Vangheluwe, 74, resigned as bishop of Bruges a year ago after admitting to sexually abusing one nephew and is still awaiting a final verdict from the Vatican. In his first public appearance in a year, Vangheluwe gave a long interview to Belgian television station VT4 that was broadcast live Thursday evening.
He began by saying how sorry he was and then gave details of his abuse of two nephews, one for some 13 years, the other for less than a year. “It had nothing to do with sexuality. I have often been involved with children and I never felt the slightest attraction. It was a certain intimacy that took place,” Vangheluwe said. “I don’t have the impression at all that I am a paedophile. It was really just a small relationship. I did not have the feeling that my nephew was against it, quite the contrary.”
Vangheluwe said that the abuse had stopped some 25 years ago, before he was a bishop, and that he had managed to live with his past in the intervening period.
“How did it begin? As with all families. When they came to visit, the nephews slept with me. It began as a game with the boys. It was never a question of rape, there was never physical violence used. He never saw me naked and there was no penetration.”