Would the United States ever raid Bethal to get the list of all the pedophiles that are permitted to stay in the congregation and go door-to-door? June 24, 2010
Belgian Catholic Church Offices Raided in Abuse Inquiry
BRUSSELS — The scandal over sexual abuse of children by priests continued to reverberate across Europe on Thursday when authorities raided the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church in Belgium and the home of the country’s former archbishop, according to the prosecutors’ office and local media reports.
The searches Thursday came as a part of the ongoing investigation into charges of sexual abuse by members of the clergy, officials said, but declined to specify the target of the raids. The resignation in April of a popular bishop who admitted to molesting a boy set off a wave of hundreds of sex-abuse claims in Belgium.
Officials searched the palace of the Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels Thursday, Jean-Marc Meilleur, a spokesman for the Brussels prosecutors’ office, said. “They are looking for documents which could prove whether allegations are correct or not,” Mr. Meilleur said.
Mr. Meilleur said that he was not able to provide any further details on what was discovered during the raids or on the progress of the broader investigation.The search took place during a meeting of senior clerics, although that was a coincidence, he added.
As part of the operation, the home of Godfried Danneels, Belgium’s recently retired archbishop, was also raided, the Belgian television station RTL reported, citing Hans Geybels, a spokesman for the Cardinal Danneels. The former archbishop’s computer was removed from his home as part of the raid, the report added.
It was unclear why officials searched the home of Cardinal Danneels.
Earlier this month Pope Benedict XVI begged forgiveness for the sexual abuse crisis, which also has damaged trust in the Roman Catholic Church in countries from the United States to Ireland to Germany, saying the church would do “everything possible” to prevent priests from abusing children.
In Belgium, hundreds of victims came forward after the Bishop of Bruges, Roger Vangheluwe, resigned after admitting that he had sexually abused a boy earlier in his career. Victims contacted an independent commission, established by the church in 2000 and revitalized earlier this year as allegations of abuse began to spread around Europe. In addition to the raid in Mechelen, the Belgian authorities also searched the offices in Leuven of the independent commission.
The cases have added resonance in this country because of widespread memories of the notorious Belgian pedophile Marc Dutroux, who was convicted six years ago of child murder, kidnap and rape.
Nicholas Kulish contributed reporting from Berlin.