Translated from Dutch crime newssite Camilleri:
Dutch Department of Justice wrongly declined to prosecute abuse cases
By the Editorial Board
Oct 06, 2010
The Dutch Department of Justice in 1980 and 1985 wrongfully dropped criminal cases against two pedophile priests who themselves had admitted that they had sexually abused a large number of children. One of the priests then continued with the abuse. Harm Brouwer, Chairman of the Board of Procurators General, says that both dismissals “have been incorrect decisions”. He reacts to the book Vrome zondaars [Pious sinners] by Joep Dohmen which came out today. In both abuse cases – in South Holland and Limburg provinces- there was complete evidence. Besides the confessions of the perpetrators, there were numerous witnesses. The priests were allowed, after conditional closure of their cases, to go to a monastery. The book quotes the former bishop of Roermond Jo Gijsen (1972 – 1993): “We had some contacts with prosecutors in Roermond and Maastricht when considering cases. Then we asked for a look at those and to advise us what we should do.”
The Public Prosecutors (OM) say not to be aware of the informal contacts which the Catholic Church maintained with public prosecutors. According to attorney Richard Korver, president of the LANZS foundation which provides legal assistance to victims of sexual crimes, the dismissals of slam dunk use abuse cases against priests fit into a culture which marked the OM in the nineteen eighties: “Victims who wanted to report abuse were ostracized. Supposedly, there was no proof, or survivors were not believed. The prosecutors mainly tried to keep the relationship with the Church well. Many prosecutors were pious Catholics. So were judges.” The prosecution denies that there was a culture of covering up and says that the statements by Korver “do not make sense.”
Emeritus professor of criminal law Jan Reijntjes, in the nineteen seventies and eighties prosecutor in Roermond and Maastricht, says that at the time in the judiciary the view prevailed that institutions like the church and government should not unnecessarily be discredited. “That view was not incorrect in itself, but now there is a growing realization that prosecution may be necessary, even if that harms the reputation of the institutions. That realization was much less then,” said Reijntjes. The book Pious sinners points out that the police sometimes cooperated to keep abuse cases out of publicity. And whenever church ministers did have to stand trial, the penalties were mild. In 1960 the parish priest of Hansweert in Zealand got one month probation and 100 guilders (45 euros) fine for the regular abuse of an altar boy. The book concludes that the government failed in prosecuting and punishing religious abusers. The book Pious sinners can be ordered HERE.
More than 1,000 teachers have been sacked in Kenya for sexually abusing girls over the past two years, the authorities say: here.
Four out of ten Dutch priests want to restart the debate about mandatory celibacy: here.
Quebec gets first female Roman Catholic priest: here.