Belgian Law Enforcement Raid Catholic Bishops’ Offices

In a second time in the span of a year and a half, Belgian civil law enforcement authorities conducted raids on three Catholic Church headquarters in Antwerp, the eastern city of Hasselt, and Mechelen. The investigators were looking for physical evidence of the cover-up of thousands of sexual abuse allegations made in the last few years against Catholic clergy.
The first such raid occurred in 2010 and was followed by an unprecedented and shocking admission by former bishop of Bruges, Roger Vangheluwe who admitted he had sexually abused two of his nephews.
The Belgian Catholic Church, like those in most of Europe, have been plunged into the scandalous priest sex abuse scandal that has shocked the United States Catholic Church for the last decade.
According to the NY Times, “A spokeswoman for the Federal Prosecution Service, Lieve Pellens, said that the investigation, known as Operation Chalice, was an important phase in which officials were trying to establish whether there were grounds to prosecute priests on charges of negligence and failing to aid abuse victims.
“We have had around 200 statements from victims,” she said, “and based on these, and 87 civil claims, we wanted to look at the individual personal records of priests made by their superiors to see if, in these records that were kept by archbishops or bishops, there is anything useful.”