Roster of Statements


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

For immediate release: Monday, January 3, 2011

Belgian man alleges abuse by nuns at foster home

Statement by Lieve Halsberghe, SNAP Belgium Leader, +32 475 910 918 [email protected]

Abuse by nuns is widely under-reported, so we applaud this brave man for stepping forward and disclosing his pain.

Children in church-run and state-run institutions have been and are even more vulnerable than other children to predators.

We hope other victims come forward, but not to Stella Maris or church officials, but to law enforcement. No institution can effectively police itself, least of all one associated with a rigid, ancient church hierarchy with a horrific track record of ignoring and concealing child sex crimes.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 23 years and have more than 10,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is

Contact David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, [email protected]), Peter Isely (414-429-7259, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, [email protected])

Mon 3 Jan 2011 | 16:40 GMT

Belgian man alleges abuse by nuns at foster home

Mon Jan 3, 2011 4:06pm GMT

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - A Belgian foster home asked potential victims of sexual abuse to come forward on Monday after a man said nuns had abused him there as a child in the 1960s.

The anonymous Belgian, now in his fifties, told local media on Monday that he was abused by nuns for several years from the age of five while he lived at the Stella Maris home in the town of Kortrijk, western Flanders.

Belgium's Roman Catholic Church has been repeatedly damaged by accusations of sexual abuse, part of a wider scandal which has shaken the Church and set off protests around the world.

The management of Stella Maris said it was aware of other allegations of abuse that occurred in the 1990s and asked possible other victims to come forward.

"The news has shocked the staff," the home said in a statement emailed to Reuters. "We have sent a letter to the parents of the children at Stella Maris asking everybody to make public any facts they are aware of.

"We hope the truth will come out and we will pass on all the information that the authorities require."

The police said they could not comment on whether anyone had registered a complaint of sexual abuse.

The man described to Belgian radio graphic abuse by several nuns from 1965 to 1970 and said the memories still haunted him. Reports of child abuse elsewhere had finally given him the courage to come forward, he added.

Elsewhere in Belgium, the former bishop of Bruges, Roger Vangheluwe, admitted last year to sexually abusing his nephew while a priest in the 1980s.

A church commission has looked into nearly 500 cases of abuse, and said last September that at least 13 people had committed suicide as a result of what they suffered.

In the 1960s, the Stella Maris home was operated by the Verrue order of nuns, which later merged with the Sisters of the Faith. A lawyer for Stella Maris said the board of the home still had several nuns on it but was now largely secular.

(Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; Editing by David Stamp)

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests