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Flood of new priest sex abuse allegations in Belgium

Published on 11/05/2010

A Belgian committee probing allegations of paedophilia by priests has been flooded with complaints since the resignation of a bishop who admitted sexually abusing a boy, its president said Tuesday.

Some 270 new complaints have been filed with the commission since Roger Vangheluwe, bishop of the Flemish city of Bruges, quit his post on April 23, said Peter Adriaenssens, according to Belga news agency.

Ninety-five percent of the complaints have come from the northern Belgian region of Flanders, where Bruges is located, according to Adriaenssens, while 90 percent involve boys.

The committee has had to bolster its team to deal with the influx of complaints, he said.

“Many letters and emails are still waiting for a response,” he said.

The diocese of Bruges has also received angry emails and a stone was tossed into one of its windows on Saturday, local media reported, adding that police have increased patrols in the area.

Vangheluwe was the country’s first high-level resignation related to the paedophilia scandal sweeping the Roman Catholic church in Europe and the Americas.

The Belgian church recently called on all offenders to admit their crimes and for their victims to file complaints.