Belgian prosecutors target 100 'paedophile priests'
Belgium's federal prosecutors have passed on the names of some 100 suspected paedophile Catholic priests to local prosecution departments for possible action, a newspaper reported Saturday.
The Flemish-language daily Het Laatste Niuews, quoting judicial sources, said the main intention was to keep an eye on the suspects to ensure they do not offend again.
The report said the list was drawn up on the basis of information gathered in controversial police raids on the headquarters of the Mechelen-Brussels diocese in June last year.
Other data came from evidence gathered by a special church commission on paedophilia and the complaints of abuse victims, it said.
Officials were not available Saturday to confirm the report, which also said that some local prosecutors had warned suspect clerics that they were aware of the allegations against them.
After similar scandals in the United States, Ireland and Germany, the country was rocked in April 2010 with revelations that the bishop of Bruges, Roger Vangheluwe, had abused a nephew for 13 years.
Vangheluwe's subsequent decision to quit opened a floodgate of allegations, with one report a year ago revealing almost 500 cases of abuse in Catholic institutions since the 1950s, including 13 known suicides by victims.
In September some 70 alleged victims filed joint legal action against the Belgian Church and the Holy See, the first such class action suit in Belgium and the first such suit involving the Vatican in Europe.
© 2011 AFP