Child abuser disappears from convent

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17 April 2011 

Brussels – Former Catholic bishop and admitted paedophile Roger Vangheluwe on Sunday left the French convent where the Vatican had banished him for an undisclosed location, Belgian media reported.

The head of the convent of La Ferte-Imbault in France’s Loire Valley had indicated on Saturday that he would leave shortly but could not say where he was going.

Vangheluwe last year became the first Catholic bishop to resign over sexual abuses he committed after admitting to abusing a nephew for 13 years.

The Vatican ordered him to seek “spiritual and psychological treatment” at La Ferte-Imbault and to disappear from view.

But the former bishop on Thursday told Belgian media he had abused another nephew for nearly a year, playing down the encounters by calling them “a kind of game”.

The Vatican’s forced retirement was “not a punishment, but a period of reflection,” he said, pointing to many expressions of support, notably from religious communities.

The case plunged the Belgian Catholic Church anew into turmoil, with several bishops asking the Vatican to act quickly to punish Vangheluwe.

The church was rocked by revelations in September 2010 of nearly 500 cases of abuse by priests since the 1950s, including 13 victims who committed suicide.

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Child abuse bishop disappears from French monastery

A Belgian former bishop has disappeared from his French religious community three days after he admitted to sexually abusing two of his nephews, its leader said on Sunday.

The Telegraph (telegraph.co.uk)

17 April 2011

Roger Vangheluwe confessed to having sex with his under age nephew Photo: AP

11:23PM BST 17 Apr 2011

Roger Vangheluwe resigned as Bishop of Bruges last year after confessing to having sex with his under age nephew, but was not prosecuted as the crimes had taken place several years previously before the statute of limitations.

Last week, he again caused outraged when he gave a television interview in which he also admitted to molesting a second nephew but insisted he did not consider himself a paedophile nor a threat to children.

“How did it start?” Vangheluwe said in the interview. “As in all families: when they came to visit, my nephews would stay over.

“It began as a kind of game with this boy. It was never a question of rape, or physical violence. He never saw me naked and there was no penetration.

“I don’t in the slightest have any sense I am a paedophile. I don’t get the impression my nephew was opposed, quite the contrary,” he added although he also admitted: “I knew it wasn’t good, I confessed it several times.”

After the first scandal, The Vatican ordered him to seek “spiritual and psychological treatment” at a church community La Ferte-Imbault in France, and to stay out of the public eye.

Following the interview, which outraged many in Belgium and drew a sharp denunciation from the Council of Bishops, there were calls for him to be prosecuted. But on Sunday it emerged that he had gone.

“He left last night,” the mother superior of the Brotherhood of Jerusalem told AFP at the community. Asked where he had gone, she said: “I don’t know. We are referring all questions to the papal nuncio’s office in Belgium.”

The case plunged the Belgian Catholic Church anew into turmoil, with several bishops asking the Vatican to act quickly to punish Vangheluwe.

In September 2010, the church was rocked by nearly 500 cases of abuse by priests since the 1950s, including 13 victims who committed suicide.

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 “Vangheluwe will have to leave, if this goes on” 

16 April 2011 01:16

flandersnews.be

Belga

Fri 15/04/2011 – 14:08 The disgraced former Bishop of Bruges Roger Vangheluwe’s television interview has provoked dozens of reactions, from the Church, politicians and others. The monastery where Father Vangheluwe is staying in the Loire Valley, in France is far from happy with the media storm that broke after the interview was broadcast on Thursday evening.

The 220 other residents of the Monastic Order of Jerusalem Brothers and Sisters’ retreat Magdala had little or no idea of what Vangheluwe had done.

The VRT’s Gitte Van Hoyweghen has been able to talk to Magdela’s Mother Superior who reacted with shock at what Father Vangheluwe has done.

The Mother-Superior added that she is far from pleased with the media storm that has been unleashed as a result of the interview.

“He will have to leave if this goes on. This is an order that observes silence and prayer. We never asked for all this”
 

“Perplexed, shocked, ashamed and angry”

The Flemish Bishops say that they are “perplexed, shocked, ashamed and angry” about the Roger Vangheluwe’s interview.

The current Bishop of Bruges Jozef De Kesel told journalists “I don’t understand it, how is this possible?”

“Grotesque, lacking in respect and scandalous”

The solicitor representing one of Father Vangheluwe’s victims Walter Van Steenbrugge, is shocked that Vangheluwe describes the abuse as being  nothing more than “little games”.

“This is grotesque and shows a lack of respect for the victim, scandalous.

Belga

The Flemish Liberal MP Carina Van Cauter (photo), who was also sexually abused by a clergyman as child, believes that Roger Vangheluwe would have done better not to break his silence.

Ms Van Cauter adds that he could have at the very least apologised for his actions.

The fact that Vangheluwe fails to except full responsibility for what happened is “like rubbing salt into the wounds”, the former member of the Parliamentary Commission on sexual abuse told journalists.

“A slap in the face for the victims”

The Belgian Justice Minister Stefaan De Clerck (Flemish Christian democrat, photo) has described Roger Vangheluwe’s interview as “misplaced and a slap in the face for all victims”.

Mr De Clerck calls on the Church to take appropriate measure against Vangheluwe.

“This crosses the line of what’s acceptable”.

Belgium’s Prime Minister Yves Leterme (Flemish Christian democrat) told journalists that:

“I what was said was terrible. This crosses the line of what’s acceptable. This can’t go on.” Mr Leterme added that the Church should take charge of the situation.

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