Half of Dutch bishops in late 20th century linked to abuse, report claims

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A report published Saturday by a Dutch daily claims that just over half of the Netherland's bishops between 1945 and 2010 were either child abusers or allowed the transfer of abusive priests.

NRC Handelsblad said Sept. 15 that in that time, four bishops abused children, and 16 others "allowed the transfer of paedophile priests who could have caused new victims in other parishes." There were in that time period 39 bishops in the country.

The Church in the Netherlands said that "bishops did not act with sufficient care" in transferring priests.

A Church spokeswoman told AFP that most of the clerics accused in the report are now dead, and that the statute of limitations has expired in all cases.

The report was based on a 2011 independent report commissioned by the Church in the Netherlands, as well as victims' testimony to an inquiry commission, and research by NRC.

The independent report had said that as many as 20,000 minors were sexually abused at Catholic institutions in the country during the 45-year span, by about 800 clerics, religious, and laity.

The Dutch report comes on the heels of a similar report in Germany, and amid clerical sex abuse scandals in the US, Chile, Ireland, and Australia.

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