Belgian bishop resigns after admitting child sex abuse

23rd April 2010, Comments 0 comments

The bishop of the Flemish city of Bruges has resigned after admitting sexually abusing a young boy several years ago, the Roman Catholic Church in Belgium announced Friday.

"Before I was a bishop and for a certain time afterwards I sexually abused a young boy close to me," said Bishop Roger Vangheluwe in a letter read out to reporters by a church official.

"The victim is still scarred" mentally, the letter added.

"This will be very saddening to the Belgian Catholic community. We are aware of the crisis of confidence that this will engender for a number of people," said Andre-Joseph Leonard, head of the Belgian church, his voice full of emotion.

The Belgian church now hopes to turn the page on an awful chapter in its history when "we referred to remain silent" the Belgian primate added.

Another Catholic official insisted that there had been no prior indication of the disgraced bishop's activities.

The church has called on all offenders to admit their crimes and for their victims to make complaints.

© 2010 AFP

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