Probe Dutch Catholic abuse claims back to 1945, says official
An investigation of alleged sex abuse of children by Catholic priests in the Netherlands should stretch from 1945 to the present day, the head of a preliminary phase of the probe said Friday.
"Basically, it is my advice to organise an independent inquiry from 1945 to (this) very moment in respect of sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Church," Wim Deetman, who led a commission to prepare for the eventual investigation, told journalists in The Hague.
Dutch religious leaders ordered a "broad, external and independent" investigation in March following dozens of allegations of abuse cases dating from the 1960s and 1970s.
A Catholic Church commission called Hulp & Recht (Support and Right), tasked with collecting reports from alleged victims, has so far received more than 1,500 statements, spokesman Ben Spekman told AFP. At least 52 alleged victims have come forward so far.
"The reports received by Support and Right go back until 1945," added Dutch Catholic Church spokesman Bert Albertse -- explaining the reason for Deetman's proposal.
The Dutch Religious Conference and the Dutch Bishops' Conference will meet on Tuesday to discuss Deetman's report, he added.
Deetman, a former education minister, said the final probe, for which a starting date has yet to be announced, can be expected to last about one year.
© 2010 AFP