Catholic Crisis: Child Abuse Victim Speaks out

By Jonathan Rugman
Channel 4
September 12, 2010

In an interview in Antwerp on Saturday, 65 year old San Deurinck, a retired shopkeeper, described to Foreign Affairs correspondent Jonathan Rugman what he had endured as a child at a Catholic boarding school in the 1950s and 1960s.

San also gave his testimony to the Adriaenssens enquiry on child abuse within the church, which published its findings on Friday.

His testimony was so powerful that I have transcribed most of it here. San only started talking about his abuse this year, and I salute his extraordinary bravery in sharing his experience.

"It started in the first 2 months of school, just before my 12th birthday. It started with 2 priests. The first priest tried to touch my genitals, which was extremely strange to me, and he hurt me once. It was a few days before I went home and he hurt me very very much. The second priest tried to put his finger up my anus. He didn't succeed but it was extremely hurtful and I wriggled away.

The first year it was really intense. Then after 3 years, when I became a little older, they weren't interested any more. I was getting extremely rebellious because then I started realising what had happened. Because when I was sexually not active, I didn't know what they were interested in.

Any original material on these pages is copyright 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.