New nun child sex abuse case in Belgium

11th January 2011, Comments 0 comments

Belgian prosecutors on Tuesday said they had opened a judicial inquiry after a fresh claim of sexual abuse in an institution for children run by nuns.

The latest probe follows a claim by a 63-year Belgian man to have been the target of sexual abuse in the 1950s in the Sint-Vincentius de Halen orphanage in the northeast region of Limbourg.

A separate inquiry was opened earlier this month after claims of abuse several decades ago in a school run by nuns at the other end of the country, in northwestern Courtrai.

Tuesday's inquiry follows a complaint lodged on Monday, Belga news agency said.

The man told a radio station he lived in the orphanage from age five to 12 and had been abused when 10. The orphanage since has been turned into a centre for young people in trouble.

"I slept in a room with 40 other boys. There were two small bedrooms for two sisters who used us," he was quoted as saying by Belga. He added that the boys were fondled by the nuns when they went to shower.

He said he had told his mother who had complained to no avail to the police in the 1950s.

On January 3, the Courtrai prosecutor's office said it had opened an inquiry after allegations of abuse from 1965 to 1970 in the Stella Maris home.

The inquiry was in its early stages with investigators attempting "to identify the persons who may have committed the acts", a spokeswoman told AFP at the time.

That home too is no longer run by a religious order.

The Roman Catholic Church in Belgium has been embroiled for months in child-abuse scandals, with a Church-backed commission revealing in September nearly 500 cases of abuse by priests and lay workers since the 1950s, including 13 victims who committed suicide.

© 2011 AFP

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