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Notorious criminal paroled to Belgian convent

Catholic World News - September 11, 2012

In Belgium, a Poor Clare community is being criticized for accepting a request to house a notorious criminal who has been released on parole.

The Poor Clares of Malonne agreed to offer a place to Michelle Martin, the ex-wife of the notorious pedophile and murderer Pierre Dutroux. While Dutroux was the main figure in a national scandal, Martin was also convicted of helping him to abuse and torture children; she was also charged with starving two girls to death.

The families of Dutroux victims have organized protests outside the Malonne convent, arguing that Martin should not be allowed out of prison. Civic officials in Belgium--where criminals are routinely released long before completing their assigned sentences—said that Martin must remain in the convent, and therefore poses no threat to society.

Martin’s lawyers add that she has reformed, and now wants to repay her debt to society. They add that the Poor Clares accepted her as a resident because they feel a call “to welcome people nobody wants.”

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