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New abuse allegation reported against suspended Belgian bishop

Catholic World News - April 20, 2011

Belgian prosecutors are looking into new allegations of sexual abuse by Bishop Roger Vangheluwe, who has already admitted to molesting two of his own nephews.

In the wake of a television interview in which the suspended bishop inflamed public opinion by making light of the abuse he had committed, prosecutors revealed that they had heard from other men who said they had been abused by Vangheluwe in the 1960s when they attended a summer camp for altar boys.

Belgian law-enforcement officials have clearly been anxious to find a way to press criminal charges against Bishop Vangheluwe, but the statute of limitations makes it impossible to prosecute him for the abuse of his nephews. A charge from the 1960s would encounter the same obstacle.

Bishop Vangheluwe resigned from his post as Bishop of Bruges last April. He has subsequently been suspended from ministry, and ordered to undergo psychological evaluation, by the Vatican. He is no longer living in Belgium, and his absence could pose yet another obstacle for frustrated prosecutors.

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