Belgian bishop faces investigation over more abuse

Wed Apr 20, 2011 1:39pm GMT
 

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The disgraced former bishop of Bruges is under renewed investigation over the alleged abuse of two altar boys in the 1960s, federal prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Roger Vangheluwe, 74, resigned in 2010 after he admitted to abusing his nephew in the 1980s and said in a televised interview last week that he had also abused a second nephew.

The latest allegations concern two altar boys at a church-organised holiday camp in the 1960s.

"There is a new complaint against Mr. Vangheluwe," a spokesman for federal prosecutors said.

Flemish daily De Morgen wrote Wednesday that one of the altar boys subsequently committed suicide. The prosecution spokesman declined to comment on this.

Prosecutors in Bruges said earlier this month that the former bishop could not be charged for molesting his nephew as the offence took place too long ago.

A similar outcome is expected for the new case, should the incidents turn out to be limited to the 1960s, the prosecution spokesman said.

Vangheluwe, who served as bishop of Bruges between 1984 and 2010, is the highest ranking member of the Belgian Catholic Church involved in a child abuse scandal that sparked 475 complaints from Belgians saying they were molested by priests.

The Vatican sent Vangheluwe abroad to undergo "spiritual and psychological treatment," but is yet to make a final decision on his future.

(Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; Editing by Philip Blenkinsop and Louise Ireland)

<p>Roger Vangheluwe, Bishop of Bruges, is seen in this November 7, 2006 photograph in Bruges. REUTERS/Edwin Fontaine</p>
 
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