Out of the 39 cardinals, bishops, and auxiliary bishops, four have been accused of abusing children whilst another 16 have been accused of transferring known paedophile priests to other parishes where they may have gone on to abuse more children, reports the Dutch newspaper of record NRC Handelsblad.
The abuse is said to span from 1945 to 2010, including “well-known and lesser-known cases that have surfaced since 2010, the beginning of the abuse scandal in the Netherlands” and is sourced from original reporting, the Deetman Commission that investigated the sexual abuse of minors in the Roman Catholic Church in 2010-2011, and anonymous information obtained from a victims’ support unit at the Church.
NRC profiles the clerics who abused the choir girls, altar boys, other minors, and seminarians, notably:
Jan Niënhaus, who died in 2000, and had abused eight boys before becoming Auxiliary Bishop of Utrecht; the Roman Catholic Church had found the complaints against him well founded.
Jo Gijsen, Bishop of Roermond, who died in 2013, had complaints against him for raping two boys upheld by the Church. Gijsen also facilitated the moving of other paedophile priests from one parish to another.
Philippe Bär, Bishop of Rotterdam (1982-1993), was accused of sharing a bed with male students training as priests and had allegedly taken no action against at leave five priests who had abused children.
And Jan ter Schure, former Bishop of Den Bosch who died in 2003, is said to have abused a pupil at a boys’ boarding school in Ugchelen. The congregation of Salesians, to which he belonged, paid the victim 16,000 euros in 2003.
According to The Guardian, the Dutch Catholic Church said it could “confirm a part” of the report.
“The names of several bishops correspond to those named in a report commissioned by the church in 2010,” Church spokeswoman Daphne van Roosendaal said.
Most of those implicated had died, van Roosendaal added, with those others still alive withholding comment, according to NRC.