Belgium opens inquiry into nun child abuse claim

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A Belgian court on Monday said it had opened a judicial inquiry following claims of child abuse in an institution run by nuns in the southwestern town of Courtrai.

The inquiry followed allegations of abuse by an "anonymous witness" from 1965 to 1970 in the Stella Maris home, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office told AFP.

The inquiry is in its early stages with investigators attempting "to identify the persons who may have committed the acts," the spokeswoman said.

Belgian TV networks VRT and Een and Radio 2 said two people had come forward to report child abuse allegations there between 1960 and 1990.

"It's long ago but the Stella Maris board is nonetheless taking this seriously," the lawyer for the institution, Jan Leysen, told the Belga news agency.

"We are calling on all potential victims to come forward," he added.

© 2011 AFP

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