Belgian priest quizzed over sex abuse

July 7th, 2010 - 5:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Brussels, July 7 (IANS/AKI) The former head of Belgium’s Catholic church, Cardinal Danneels, accused of failing to stop sexual abuse of children by priests, has been questioned by the police.
Danneels, who resigned in January after three decades as Belgium’s archbishop, was questioned Tuesday as a witness and has not been charged with any crime.

“He was named in at least 50 files as being aware (of the abuse cases),” a spokesman for the Belgian prosecutor’s office said.

His interrogation followed recent police raids on the Archbishop’s Palace and Mechelen Cathedral in which several documents and computers were seized.

A church commission which had for several years been monitoring complaints about sexual abuse of children by paedophile priests resigned last week.

The move came after police seized all of of the commission’s 475 files and the computer of its chairman, Belgian academic Peter Andriaenssens.

Meanwhile, Pope Benedict XVI described the raids as “deplorable”.

Bishops conference spokesman Eric De Beukelaer has said the Belgian Catholic Church is ready to cooperate with the investigation.

–IANS/AKI

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