December 20, 2010

The Dutch bishops’ conference has pledged action after nearly 2,000 people complained of sexual abuse by Catholic priests during an inquiry by an independent commission.

The complaints, dating to 1945, were received by a Church-appointed commission established by the bishops to investigate abuse cases.

“We’re grateful to this commission for its prompt and professional recommendations, and we reiterate our condemnation of all forms of sexual abuse,” said Pieter Kohnnen, spokesman for the bishops’ conference.

“When the bishops asked for this investigation, they stressed that helping victims should have absolute priority, and that the research should be transparent and independent,” he said of the findings by the commission headed by former education minister Wim Deetman, a Protestant.

At a Dec. 9 news conference, Deetman said 1,975 people had filed claims of abuse — 100 times the usual annual number — since March when a wave of allegations broke against Catholic clergy.

He said he was “very satisfied” with cooperation by Church officials.