Paedophile Salesian priest suspended, father superior dismissed

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The father superior of the congregation of Salesians in the Netherlands Herman Spronck has been dismissed after he defended a paedophile priest.

Belgian Father Superior Jos Claes of the Don Bosco group in Brussels told RTL Nieuws that the father superior not longer represented the group in the Netherlands.

The dismissal comes after the suspension earlier today of a Salesian priest who was a member of the Dutch paedophile group Martijn.

In reaction to the revelations, Mr Spronck had told the Dutch news programme that "relationships between children and adults were not necessarily harmful". It turned out he had been aware of the priest's membership to the paedophile organisation for many years.

A special committee of the Salesian Don Bosco group in Brussels will look into the paedophile priest's actions and report to Rome. Last week, the Vatican issued new instructions to deal with cases of sexual abuse after widespread abuse was discovered in the Catholic church in recent years.

Martijn is a Dutch organisation which advocates the legalisation of child pornography and sex between adults and children. The organisation even unsuccesfully tried to form a political party in 2006.

The Don Bosco group is actively involved in youth work with disadvantaged children in the Netherlands and abroad.

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