Leuven University psychiatrist admits improper sexual relations

10th October 2012, Comments0 comments

Leuven University has suspended psychiatrist Walter Vandereycken after the lecturer made public the fact that for years he had improper sexual relations with patients.

Walter Vandereycken lectures at the Psychology and Pedagogical Sciences Faculty of Leuven University.

Leuven Rector Mark Waer: "The facts are dreadful and I don't understand how this didn't come out earlier and how somebody with an international reputation did this. It reminds me of the affair involving the former Bishop of Bruges. Again it's about a public figure who abused his power in a back room."

"Tonight I decided to suspend the lecturer with immediate effect as a preventative measure. I have asked the deacon of the faculty to ensure that Walter Vandereycken no longer carries out any academic work including teaching."

"I have the right to take such decisions to ensure order. A disciplinary procedure will be started up during which the lecturer will be allowed to give his account and then a definitive decision will be taken."

The lecturer gave witness of his own abuse during an edition of VRT's current affairs flagship Terzake.

Walter Vandereycken is a psychiatrist and sexologist with an international reputation. He mainly treats patients with anorexia, but also works for the psychiatric centre operated by Alexian Brothers in Tienen (Flemish Brabant).

For many years there were rumours of improper sexual relations. On Tuesday the psychiatrist admitted the abuse to the VRT programme Terzake. The women abused are adults with psychiatric problems.

Walter Vandereycken has now also sought psychiatric treatment. "You can't give therapy and have a relationship with somebody. Even friendship is a step too far."

In the course of time there has only been one complaint against the psychiatrist. Several colleagues told the VRT that they were aware of the abuse, but nobody took any action.

This case is not an isolated one. Several people involved in the sector told Terzake that other cases were giving cause for concern.

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