No trial for bishop who admitted guilt because abuse happened too long ago

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New York Times

Reuters · Apr. 5, 2011 | Last Updated: Apr. 5, 2011 4:17 AM ET

Brussels:  A Belgian Roman Catholic bishop who resigned last year after admitting he sexually abused a boy in the 1980s cannot be prosecuted because the offence took place too long ago, Jean-Marie Berkvens, the Bruges prosecutor, said Monday. Roger Vangheluwe, 74, confessed he had sexually abused a boy when was bishop of Bruges. Hundreds of instances of abuse by priests have come to light in Europe and the United States. Most occurred decades ago and are unlikely to result in criminal convictions. Bishop Vangheluwe, pictured, was the highest-ranking member of the Belgian church to be caught up in the scandal. Mr. Berkvens added he was investigating whether the cleric could be prosecuted for other offences.

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