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24/06/2010Police raid Belgian Catholic church HQ in paedophile probe
Police raided the headquarters of the Belgian Catholic church following accusations of child sex abuse involving Church figures, a spokesman for Brussels prosecutors told AFP on Thursday.
"Within the context of a recent investigation, prosecutors have been informed of accusations denouncing abuse of minors committed by a certain number of Church figures," said the spokesman, Jean-Marc Meilleur.
Police entered the premises of the archdiocese of Brussels-Malines, just north of the Belgian capital, "in order to establish if these accusations are backed up or not," he added, without giving any more details.
The Roman Catholic Church in Belgium was rocked in April when its longest-serving bishop, 73-year-old Roger Vangheluwe, resigned from his Bruges post after admitting sexually abusing a boy for years.
Paedophile priest scandals and allegations of high-level cover-ups have surged again since last year and rocked the Catholic Church across Europe and the United States.
The pope has condemned paedophile priests several times, and met with abuse victims in Australia, the United States and Malta.
© 2010 AFP
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