12 Sep 2010

Abuse by Catholic clergy in Belgium detailed

5:59 am on 12 September 2010

Details of some 300 cases of sexual abuse of children by Catholic clergy in Belgium have been released by a Church investigator.

Peter Adriaenssens says cases of abuse was found in nearly every diocese, and 13 alleged victims have committed suicide.

He says two-thirds of the victims were boys, most under 15, and 100 girls suffered assaults.

Many alleged victims came forward to testify to the commission after the Bishop of Bruges, Roger Vangheluwe, resigned this year, admitting to having sexually abused a boy before and after becoming a bishop, the BBC reports.

Mr Adriaenssens announced his commission's findings after an appeals court ruled on Thursday that a raid by police 10 weeks ago to seize the commission's files was illegal, and the files could not be used by prosecutors.

The commission shut down after the raid.

The Catholic Church in Belgium is due to announce next week how the commission's investigations may be continued.