Belgian child abuse bishop attacks survivor


This Associated Press video says about itself:

Belgian bishop quits after admitting abuse, presser

(23 Apr 2010)

SHOTLIST

1. Wide of Brussels skyline
2. Town hall tower, church behind
3. Pan of Belgian newspaper headlines showing front page pictures of bishop of Bruges
4. Close of headline reading: (Flemish) ”Sex scandal in Bruges”
5. Close of headline reading: (French) ”A Belgian Bishop Resigns”
6. Close of Bishop Roger Vangheluwe‘s photograph in newspaper
7. Monsignor Andre-Joseph Leonard, Archbishop of Malines-Brussels arriving at press briefing
8. Close of journalist taking picture with cell phone
9. Wide of press conference and zoom on Archbishop Leonard
10. SOUNDBITE (French) Peter Rossel, Spokesperson for Bruges Diocese reading statement written by Roger Vangheluwe, bishop of Bruges: “When I was not yet a bishop, and some times after, I sexually abused a young person from within my close entourage. This has marked the victim forever. During these last decades I have on numerous occasions recognised my fault towards him and his family and I asked for forgiveness.”
11. Cutaway of photographs
12. SOUNDBITE (Flemish) Monsignor Andre-Joseph Leonard, Head of the Catholic Church in Belgium: “The Pope immediately accepted the resignation of the Bishop of Bruges, the Pope is at this moment making it public in Rome. The church underlines that in this matter there is no middle way. We hope in this way to be able to contribute to the recovery of the victim.”
13. Wide of press conference
14. SOUNDBITE (French) Peter Adriaenssens, President of the Church Commission on Sexual Misconduct: “Let’s say that since the beginning of what happened in the Netherlands, etc, and the growing storm, we received twenty calls. But this commission did not start a few weeks ago, it started ten years back.”
15. Wide of speakers, zoom in of Archbishop Leonard”s ring
16. SOUNDBITE (Flemish) Monsignor Andre-Joseph Leonard, Head of the Belgian Church: “It (the Church) needs clarity, humility, respect for the victims, and I would like to launch an appeal – which I will repeat in writing for my church and it will have repercussions in Belgium – that when someone had in his past this kind of thing, sexual abuse, this person should never agree to become a bishop or a priest. When someone is about to be ordained as a priest or to receive an Episcopal ordination and knows that he has skeletons in the closet of his past, his first duty is to refuse ordination.”
17. Wide of journalists around Archbishop Leonard

STORYLINE

Belgium’s longest-serving bishop resigned on Friday, saying he was “enormously sorry” for having sexually abused a young boy about 25 years ago. The resignation of Roger Vangheluwe, 73, the Bishop of Bruges since 1984, was the first from Belgium since a child abuse scandal began testing the Catholic Church several months ago in Europe and the United States.

At a news conference, Peter Rossel, spokesperson for the Bruges Diocese read a statement written by Roger Vangheluwe, bishop of Bruges, in which Vangheluwe announced his resignation and admitted to sexual abuse. “When I was not yet a bishop, and some time later, I abused a boy“, Vangheluwe said in the statement. He did not attend the news conference, but said Pope Benedict XVI had accepted his resignation. “This has marked the victim forever”, Vangheluwe’s statement said, adding that he repeatedly has asked the victim and his family for forgiveness. “I am enormously sorry,” the statement said.

Translated from Belgian (Roman Catholic, ‘center right’) daily De Standaard, 27 February 2019:

Kris Verduyn, a man who claims that he was sexually abused 25 years ago by the then Bruges bishop Roger Vangheluwe, says that his statements stand. What happens now, he calls ‘sad and outrageous’.

In the buildings of the Brussels federal judicial police, on Wednesday morning the interrogation took place of Kris Verduyn, a man who claims that he was abused sexually 25 years ago by the then Bruges bishop Roger Vangheluwe. The man was interrogated as a suspect after the former bishop filed a complaint for slander and defamation.

“It is sad and outrageous”, Kris Verduyn said afterwards. “I do not understand how he dares to do that.”

According to Verduyn, he was forced to have sex with Vangheluwe in 1992. That, he says, happened at his sister’s confirmation celebration, when Verduyn was 10 years old and acted as an altar boy. Two years ago the man was confronted with Vangheluwe, who denies the allegations.

‘If it would not be so dramatic, then it would be ridiculous’

‘My statement stands. I do not deviate one centimeter from it’, Kris Verduyn said on Wednesday after completing his interrogation by the federal police. “I have been abused and I am not the only victim. I am also here in the name of those other victims. He is a serial offender and must now bear the consequences of his actions. It is easy to dismiss everything when you are a perpetrator. Facts have been proven and he has also confessed in Operatie Kelk.

Operatie Kelk, Operation Chalice, were searches by Belgian police to find out whether the Catholic Church had covered up child abuse. Police then, eg, discovered secret photos about child abuser and murderer Marc Dutroux at the archbishop’s palace. On 23 April 2015, the Liège court of law convicted Archbishop Léonard for covering up a sexual abuse case.

My statements are not lies unlike what he wants to make out.”

“If it would not be so dramatic, then it would be ridiculous”, said Walter Van Steenbrugge, lawyer at Kris Verduyn. “Mr. Verduyn has made his statement, he is greatly affected by the fact that he was first abused and is now being depicted as a liar. It is unbelievable that someone who has made confessions [of child abuse] is now attacking and people who have already experienced so much, still have to suffer all that misery.”

The lawyer also questions the long duration of the judicial investigation and the attitude of the Vatican: “His confessions are 9 years old and there is clear evidence, but we get no explanation why it takes so long. No one moves in Rome, Mr. Vangheluwe is still in office. They had better act against him than to make hollow statements as they have done in the recent days.”

Also translated from De Standaard, 22 April 2017:

“Uncle Roger said: ‘You are the only one, the angel.’ I do not know if I should believe that. I’m really sure it was not true’.

For fifteen years Mark Vangheluwe was abused by Roger Vangheluwe, his uncle-priest and later bishop. He wrote a book, Letter to the Pope, about his life and being abused. It is also about his wife, whom he calls ‘the queen’, and his three sons, ‘the successors’. For the first time, Mark Vangheluwe talks to the press. Once and then never again. “I have become who I am now through what he has done to me. You can not escape that.” …

His bishop uncle abused him from when he was 5 till he was 19.

UPDATE: according to my stats, there have been several visits to this blog post from Vatican City. One should hope that them reading this small blog may contribute to improve this sad situation.

4 thoughts on “Belgian child abuse bishop attacks survivor

  1. Pingback: Child-abusing Cardinal Pell’s six years prison sentence | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Belgian cardinal Godfried Danneels dies | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: United States exorcist pastor’s sexual abuse | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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