Investigators, working with the support of the Belgian Catholic Church received 475 complaints of child abuse committed in the 1950s through to the late 1980s by Catholic clergy.
“We can say that no congregation escapes sexual abuse of minors by one or several of its members,” the commission concluded.
The 200-page report, published on Friday, contains testimonies from some 124 anonymous victims, revealing that abuse for most began at the age of 12.
It noted a “high number of suicides” with 13 deaths and six attempts attributed to “sexual abuse by a cleric”.
“We are talking here about anal and oral abuse, forced and mutual masturbation,” said Peter Adriaenssens, the psychiatric specialist in paedophilia who chaired the commission.
There’s your moral authority for the world, the Roman Catholic Church.
P.Z. sums it up:
Every congregation has a horror story about an abusive priest. That says something. This isn’t about a rare event — it’s about a common risk associated with growing up Catholic in Belgium.
Sick and scary, isn’t it? And unless further investigation reveals a nefarious Vatican plot to send all the child molesters to Belgium, it’s frightening to think what similar investigations in other nations will turn up.