"Catholic church knew about sexual abuse in 1958"

RNW archive

This article is part of the RNW archive. RNW is the former Radio Netherlands Worldwide or Wereldomroep, which was founded as the Dutch international public broadcaster in 1947. In 2011, the Dutch government decided to cut funding and shift RNW from the ministry of Education, Culture and Science to the ministry of Foreign Affairs. More information about RNW Media’s current activities can be found at https://www.rnw.org/about-rnw-media.

A Dutch current affairs programme has uncovered evidence that in 1958 the Netherlands’ Catholic Church hierarchy was told that children were being physically and sexually abused in its institutions.

The evidence is contained in a letter found in the archives of the Catholic child protection services. The letter was written by a judge who warned the board of the child protection services that clerics were sexually abusing children.
The board took action and sent various letters to the boards of institutions to warn them. The confidential letters mentioned a black list of abusers. But the church hierarchy failed to take steps to stop the abuse.