Dutch cardinal admits abusive pastor had a "history"
A Dutch cardinal admitted Thursday that a priest with a known history of child abuse was appointed a parish pastor in 1991, describing the man's alleged recidivism as "lamentable".
"When priest R was appointed in 1991, the archbishopric was aware of his history," cardinal Ad Simonis said in response to media reports that the priest had abused dozens of children after his appointment as pastor of Amersfoort.
Simonis, in a statement provided to AFP, said "therapy and a serious, written psychological advice, seemed adequate foundation for a new appointment" for the priest, identified in the media as "Ron".
The priest had changed his ways and had been "truly converted," according to Simonis, who was then archbishop in the province of Utrecht, under which Amersfoort falls.
"There was never any signal from Amersfoort that he had fallen back into child abuse."
Simonis said the first claims of abuse came to light yesterday, adding he found it "exceptionally lamentable" for the victims.
"Of course I am being asked if I had acted with sufficient care at the time. With what I knew then, yes," the cardinal said.
Earlier this month, a Catholic order in the Netherlands said it would pay compensation to more than two dozen victims of sexual abuse committed by its priests.
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.
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.
© 2011 AFP