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Police officer with a dog walks by the headquarters of the Archbishopric Mechelen-Brussels
Child sex abuse raid on Belgian Catholic Church
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On Thursday morning, 30 police officers swooped on the palace of the archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels, sealing off buildings and removing documents.

The latest blow to the scandal-hit Roman Catholic Church disrupted a meeting of bishops taking place in the presence of the Vatican's ambassador to Belgium, in Mechelen, just north of Brussels.

A second raid took place at the nearby home of Cardinal Godfried Danneels, 77, where police officers seized a personal computer belonging to the former head of Belgium's Catholic Church.

A third raid took place in the city of Leuven, where police officers searched the office of the Adriaenssens committee, an independent body set up by the Church to collect and investigate abuse allegations. Over 450 files detailing abuse allegations were confiscated.

Jean-Marc Meilleur, a spokesman for the Brussels crown prosecutor's office, said that the raids were "related to the sexual abuse of children within the Church".

"In a recent dossier the prosecutor was informed of charges denouncing the abuse of minors by a certain number of Church people," he said.

Hans Geybels, a spokesman for Cardinal Danneels, said that police did not interrogate him during the raid.

"They did take away his computer," he said. "The cardinal believes justice must run its normal course. He has nothing against that."

The investigation is thought to centre on April's resignation of Roger Vangheluwe, Bishop of Bruges. Bishop Vangheluwe stood down after admitting to having sexually abused a young boy during the time when Cardinal Danneels was the head of the Belgian Church.

Belgium's Church has been hit hard by the sex abuse scandal that has engulfed the wider European Roman Catholic clergy with reports that bishops covered up abuse of in seminars, schools and other church-run institutions.

Source >  Telegraph

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