Brothers of Charity pledge money to abuse victims

15th December 2011, Comments 0 comments

The Brothers of Charity order in the Netherlands has announced plans to finance a support point for victims of sexual abuse and physical violence at Eikenburg, a former boarding school for the children of diplomats and the wealthy near the southern city of Eindhoven.

One of the founders of the Eikenburg support group, Dolf van Nijnatten, said on Thursday that the congregation had agreed to set up mediation sessions, where compensation for the victims would also be discussed.

The support group has some 60 members who were abused several decades ago. Eikenburg “was a good deal worse than anywhere else,” said Van Nijnatten. Strict regime The Brothers of Charity taught around 350 students in the 19th-century boarding school, which originally only allowed boys to attend. The order, which has branches throughout the world, is devoted to helping the poor, caring for the ill and to Christian charity.

The brothers enforced an extremely strict regime for the boys at Eikenburg, set in a wooded area. Later, girls were permitted to go to school there. The boarding school closed in 1996.

During an investigation into sexual abuse in the Dutch Catholic church by Radio Netherlands and newspaper NRC Handelsblad, the regional superior for the Brothers of Charity, Ton van Heugten, first refused to discuss accusations of abuse brought against the institution. Later, he admitted knowledge of the abuse.

No-one from Eikenburg was available for comment on Thursday after it was revealed that the brothers had pledged money for the victims.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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