Belgian authorities raid three bishops offices during “Operation Chalice”

SNAP Wisconsin

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was quoted as saying that “the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice”. It is perhaps fitting that on the day in which we in the United States commemorate Dr. King’s birthday, victim/survivors of clergy childhood sexual assault in the nation of Belgium move one step closer toward obtaining some level of justice for the crimes that were inflicted upon them.

The Associated Press reports today that Belgian authorities have raided the offices of three bishops as part of a two year investigation into reports of clerical child sex crimes. The inquiry known as “Operation Chalice” descended today upon the dioceses of Hasselt, Mechelen, and Antwerp. A spokesperson for the Belgian Catholic Church insisted that the church had cooperated with authorities and had turned over the documents that were requested. Initial indications are that two dozen files were handed over to Belgian authorities.

It is reported that today’s raids were the result of 200 witness accounts and 87 civil claims. An official with Operation Chalice stated that the investigation focuses on “the non assistance to people in danger and is targeted at people higher up in the hierarchy” and “possibly we will be able to charge people”.

In June of 2010 investigators with Operation Chalice conducted a raid at the Cathedral of St. Rombout in Mechelen. It was there that authorities drilled holes into the crypt of Cardinal Joseph Mercier looking for hidden evidence of child sex crimes. Church records were also seized including two and a half truckloads worth of possible criminal evidence. Pope Benedict XVI responded by calling the raid “surprising and deplorable”.

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