By Robert Chesal
Created 16 April 2010 14:32
Ad van Luyn of Rotterdam has reported a Dutch priest to the police for
alleged sexual abuse in Sri Lanka.
Pending an investigation, the priest has been suspended with
immediate effect by the Rotterdam diocese, which contacted the police
following questions raised by Radio Netherlands Worldwide and
daily newspaper NRC Handelsblad.
The priest, who until today was pastor in the towns of Leidschendam and
Voorburg on the outskirts of The Hague, is a regular visitor to Sri
Lanka where, according to the diocese he is "active in the field of
charity". A spokesman for the diocese said it was informed in July 2009
about "possible sexual abuse and possible financial misappropriations by
this priest while in Sri Lanka". In an email to RNW, the
spokesman stated that at that time the diocese ordered "a preliminary
investigation," but that "so far its results proved unable to
corroborate the accusations".
Following questions by RNW and NRC Handelsblad, Bishop
Van Luyn has taken additional action. The priest is the fifth Roman
Catholic clergyman who has been suspended because of an investigation
into alleged sexual abuse. The Dutch embassy in Sri Lanka says it knows
nothing about the case.
Information in the hands of RNW and NRC Handelsblad
shows that the same priest was known to have had sexual relations with
boys in the 1990s. At the time he was serving as a pastor in the former
St Anthony parish in the city of Dordrecht. In 1995, he was reprimanded
by Bishop Ad van Luyn because of his "lifestyle". However, despite this
he was then promoted to the post of Deacon of The Hague, where he
remained for a couple of years. The diocese spokesman said that what
happened in Dordrecht was "a possible failure to comply with the pledge
of celibacy", and not sexual abuse.
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide
[i1] Dordrecht --