Dutch Catholic order to pay sex abuse damages

1st February 2011, Comments 0 comments

A Catholic order in the Netherlands has undertaken to pay compensation to more than two dozen victims of sexual abuse committed by its priests, the order and victims said on Tuesday.

The Order of Salesians of Don Bosco reached a deal to make "generous" restitution to individuals who fell victim to sexual abuse by priests as pupils at its boarding schools between 1950 and 1971, a joint statement said.

"Victims of sexual abuse ... have reached a concrete agreement with the Salesians on the restitution demanded," it added.

"It concerns financial and emotional compensation, an apology," a spokesman for the victims group, who asked not to be named, told AFP, adding the agreement listed "at least 26 victims".

Sexual abuse by Salesian priests was mainly committed at a boarding school of the Don Rua monastery in the town of 's-Heerenberg in the east Netherlands, which hosted between 50 and 140 children aged 12 to 18 every school year between 1958 and 1971.

There were also claims at other Salesian boarding schools, dating back to 1950, including in the town of Assel.

Details on the exact mode of compensation will be finalised in the next three weeks.

"The aim is to get the perpetrators involved in the process," said the spokesman.

An independent commission tasked with probing allegations of sexual abuse in the Dutch Catholic church received 2,000 reports between March and December last year.

The order of Salesians was founded in 1859 by Italian priest John Bosco to help underprivileged young people. It has 16,000 priests and brothers world-wide, of which 55 in the Netherlands.

© 2011 AFP

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