Church sex abuse victims should be paid: Dutch commission

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Dutch victims of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy should be paid up to 100,000 euros ($143,000) in damages depending on the severity of the offence, a commission recommended Monday.

"The financial compensation should be relative to the gravity of the abuse," said the Lindenbergh commission, made up of three legal experts appointed by the Dutch Roman Catholic Church.

The commission was set up in November last year to advise the church on financial compensation for hundreds of alleged sex abuse victims.

It recommended dividing victims into five categories according to the gravity of the abuse suffered. The commission did not specify how the gravity distinction would be made.

"The maximum compensation in categories one to four are between 5,000 euros and 25,000 euros. Category five has a limit of 100,000 euros," said the commission.

It also suggested the creation of a separate, independent commission to divide victims into the five categories.

Before compensation can be paid however, each case of sexual abuse must be established by a judge or by the Church's own "Aid and Justice" institution, set up to help victims, the commission added.

Bishops and religious leaders will study the findings, the Dutch Roman Catholic Church said in a statement.

The Dutch Bishop's Conference and the Dutch Religious Conference last year asked for a probe into sexual abuse within the church against the backdrop of a widening European scandal of offences dating back to the 1960s and 70s.

Spokesman Geert-Jan Verhoog for the Deetman commission probing sexual abuse claims, told AFP that nearly 2,000 reports from 1945 to the present have been received to date.

© 2011 AFP

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