Dutch bishop faces new abuse allegations

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The Dutch police have been asked via Interpol to investigate new sex abuse allegations against retired Dutch bishop 'Cor S.' Radio Netherlands Worldwide has learned this from conversations with the sex crimes division of the Irish national police. In the Netherlands, both the police and prosecution service deny having received the request.

by Robert Chesal and Hettie Lubberding

Cor S. (full name withheld) is one of six Roman Catholic priests who face allegations from Emmanuel Shikuku, a former seminary student from Kenya. All six are members of the Mill Hill Missionaries, a society based in Maidenhead, England which has told Radio Netherlands that all the allegations are untrue.

Previous allegations:

These are the second allegations of sexual abuse that have surfaced this year against Cor S. Previously it was revealed that the Vatican had removed the bishop from Kenya in 2009 in punishment for abuse of a minor, Michael Ole Uka.

The now 32-year-old Kenyan told the Irish public broadcaster RTE in May that Cor S. and other Mill Hill priests had systematically raped him. The Mill Hill Missionaries, it turned out, had secretly investigated the matter themselves. Based on the outcome of that inquiry, the society paid compensation to Mr Uka, reported Cor S. to the Vatican and barred the bishop from saying Mass.

Dutch police made inquiries following media coverage in the Netherlands. The case was not prosecuted because Mr Uka did not press charges. It was the RTE broadcast that prompted Emmanuel Shikuku to step forward with his allegations.

Altar boy
Mr Shikuku, now 42, has told the Irish sex crimes police he was the victim of a long series of rapes, coercive sexual contact and other forms of abuse by Mill Hill priests starting in the late 1970s. Four of the alleged perpetrators are Dutch and two are believed to be British.

The first incident allegedly occurred when the accuser was a 9-year-old altar boy in Kakamega, western Kenya. At that time, Mr Shikuku says, he was raped by a student who was training for the priesthood under the Mill Hill Missionaries. The Kenyan claims he became the victim of another Mill Hill missionary, a Dutchman, the following year in nearby Mumias. Several years later, he says, he was sexually abused by more members of the same congregation.

No contact
Believing one of the alleged perpetrators had Irish nationality, Mr Shikuku told his story to a detective at the Sexual Crimes Management Unit in Dublin. When it became clear that there were no Irishmen involved, but that the alleged abusers were Dutch and probably British, the detective passed on details of the allegations to the authorities in the Netherlands and London via Interpol.

[media:image]In an email to Mr Shikuku on September 22, he wrote that he had asked "the relevant police forces" in both countries to contact the Kenyan directly. So far, neither country has done so, Shikuku says. A solicitor representing the Mill Hill Missionaries has confirmed to Radio Netherlands Worldwide that the Irish police referred the matter to the Dutch and English authorities.

The Dutch national police force (KLPD), however, says no information has come in via the Interpol bureau in The Hague. The Dutch Public Prosecutor’s Office also says it has not received any information regarding Mr Shikuku. A spokesperson at Interpol headquarters in Lyon, France, declined to speak about the specific allegations but would not rule out the possibility that the authorities withhold information "for tactical reasons."

Three of the Dutchmen named by Mr Shikuku, including bishop Cor S., allegedly abused the Kenyan in 1992 and 1993. Mr Shikuku had decided to become a priest himself and was following preparatory studies in the hope of being accepted into St Joseph's College, the Mill Hill Missionaries' former seminary in north London.

Mr Shikuku alleges that the three missionaries threatened to block his acceptance into St Joseph's College unless he agreed to have sex with them. All the allegations are included in a claim Mr Shikuku's lawyer has lodged at a civil court in London.

On behalf of the Mill Hill Missionaries, London-based solicitor Jerry Hawthorne has denied the allegations. With "the matters having been referred to the public authorities," Hawthorne writes in reference to the Irish police communication via Interpol, "further communications with the media are not appropriate."

Two members of the Mill Hill Missionaries' General Council have spoken to Emmanuel Shikuku in person regarding his allegations, but the society has declined to divulge details of the conversation to the media. This contrasts sharply with how the Mill Hill Missionaries reacted to earlier allegations against Cor S. and other priests in the congregation. The society itself reported previous allegations to the Vatican and discussed them openly in the media.


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