Belgian authorities raid 3 bishops’ offices as abuse investigation moves toward end


By RAF CASERT | Associated Press

Belgian authorities on Monday raided three bishops’ administrative offices as an official said investigators were nearing the end of a two-year probe into whether church officials protected child abusers at the expense of their victims. …

The main part of the investigation centers on “the non-assistance to people in danger and is targeted at people higher up in the hierarchy,” the official said. “Possibly, we will be able to charge people.” The official would not expand on who in the church hierarchy could potentially be charged.

“Today we saw the start of the final phase of Operation Chalice,” the official said, using the investigation’s code name. The official said the next step would likely be in a couple of months.

Tommy Scholtes, the spokesman for the Belgian bishop’s conference said, “it is up to the judicial authorities to find out whether there has been negligence.”

Church officials in both Mechelen and Hasselt said that several files taken Monday centered on the 1960s and 1970s. The cases are past the statute of limitation, but could still be used to show “non-assistance to people in danger,” said Jeroen Moens, a spokesman for the Mechelen Bishops’ office.

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