Former bishop must have known about abuse

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Former bishop of Roermond Jo Gijsen must have known about the sexual abuse that took place in Rolduc seminary in the Limburg city according to a book published today.

A victim of the abuse told journalist and theologian Twan Geurts that he was repeatedly abused at the age of 12 by the popular history teacher Fons Timmermans in the 1960s. The former bishop was a religious education teacher at the seminary at the time.

The former bishop, who set up the seminary, was accused in September 2010 of peering through the curtains to watch pupils masturbating. Later he became bishop of Roermond. He has always denied the accusations. He also denies any knowledge of alleged sexual abuse by other priests.

“Mr Gijsen must have known about it,” says the former pupil in the book 'Rolduc – the last days of a seminary'. He also says other teachers must have been aware of what was happening.

An official complaint has been filed against the history teacher with an organisation set up by the church to help victims of sexual abuse in the Catholic church, Help & Justice. Fons Timmermans has since died, but the procedure is being continued. It is not clear how far the procedure is in both cases against Jo Gijsen and Fons Timmermans. The current bishop is responsible for the church investigation.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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