The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Friday, August 13, 2010
Court rules to allow Belgian clergy abuse inquires; SNAP responds
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, outreach director of SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell)
We are grateful that this sorely-needed and long-overdue investigation will proceed. Shame on Catholic officials for trying to stop it, especially by using technical, legalistic maneuvers more aptly suited for cold-hearted CEOs rather than alleged spiritual figures.
It’s sad when bishops all across the globe immediately cry ‘foul’ the minute the independent professionals in law enforcement do their duty and investigate horrific crimes and on-going cover ups. It’s even sadder when those bishops try to exploit legal technicalities to keep their wrong-doing concealed. We’re grateful that, so far in this case, the hardball legal tactics of Belgian bishops have failed.
Contacts: David Clohessy (314 566 9790 cell, 314 645 5915 home, [email protected]), Barbara Blaine (312 399 4747, [email protected]) Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, [email protected])
Court rules to allow Belgian clergy abuse inquires - (AP)
BRUSSELS — A Brussels appeals court ruled Friday to allow an investigating magistrate to continue looking into alleged sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy, in cases that came to light after police seized documents, computers and data discs from the Belgian archbishop's residence in June.
The court dismissed a church complaint claiming the police raid had been excessive. During the June 24 raid, police detained a dozen Belgian bishops and the Vatican's envoy to Belgium for eight hours in the residence in Mechlin, north of Brussels, while demanding they surrender their cell phones.
Investigators also seized 500 case files from a church-created panel looking into charges of sexual abuse by clergy and used power tools to open a prelate's crypt in Mechlin's St. Rombout Cathedral.
"The investigating magistrate can continue with his investigation," said Estelle Arpigny, a spokeswoman for the Brussels prosecutor's office.
Under Belgian law, the appeals court does not have to publish its findings about ongoing investigations. It investigating magistrate Wim DeTroy continue his work on the alleged clergy abuse cases.
The June 24 raids, code-named Operation Chalice, provoked a fierce Vatican reaction but no public outcry in a country where abuse charges have implicated senior church officials.
On April 24, Belgium's longest-serving bishop, Roger Vangheluwe, resigned, admitting to having sexually abused a nephew when he was a priest and archbishop.
His case has cast a cloud over the conduct of former Archbishop Godfried Danneels, who retired in January.
Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests