THE BELGIAN CHURCH has today said that it is willing to pay compensation to victims of sexual abuse by clergy.
Belgium’s bishops and religious leaders said in a statement Monday they are “deeply touched and distraught” by revelations over the past year. Over 500 witnesses have come forward with harrowing accounts of molestation in the country by Catholic clergy spanning decades.
The Herald Sun reports that 13 people are believed to have taken their own lives as a result of the abuse.
In a statement, the Church said: ”Recognising their moral responsibility and the expectations of society, the bishops and religious leaders pledge to ensure recognition of the victims and adopt measures to heal their suffering.”
They added that they were “determined to bring dignity back to the victims and provide financial compensation according to their needs”.
A former Belgian bishop at the center of one of the Roman Catholic church’s biggest pedophile scandals said last month that he had abused two nephews and insisted he had no plans to abandon the priesthood.
Additional reporting by the AP