Seventeen People Accuse Catholic Church of Abuse

Iceland Review
January 18, 2012

Landakotskirkja, the Catholic Church in Iceland.

Seventeen people have come forward as victims under their own names to the investigative commission of the Catholic Church in Iceland, responsible for uncovering abuse which is said to have taken place under the church's veil a few decades ago.

Other alleged victims who preferred to remain anonymous have also contacted the commission. All of these people are now adults. However, no teacher, parent or relative have reported abuse to the commission, Fréttablaðið reports.

All these people were either students at the Catholic Church's school, Landakotsskóli, or attendees of the summer camp Riftún in Ölfus, south Iceland, operated by the church.

The Catholic Church in Iceland established the investigative commission after accusations of brutal sexual abuse, bullying and neglect were reported in the media last year. The commission is to investigate the work methods and reactions of the church.

A former principal and teacher have been named as antagonists in the case.

The extension to contact the commission expired on December 1. Its chair, former Supreme Court lawyer Hjördís Hákonardóttir, said she would also like to hear from people who saw reason to talk with the directors of Landakotsskóli or the church's board because of the wellbeing of children that were in their care up until 2005.

"No guardian or teacher has come forward. We are investigating the reactions of the church and therefore it would be most useful to hear from those who considered something unnatural was taking place, even complained to directors or notified them," Hjördís said, adding that because of how old some of the alleged violations are, many of the guardians and teachers may have passed away.

In the coming days the commission will question employees of the church and school if there is a reason to do so and look into whether there are any documents at hand that can prove important to the investigation. The commission expects to submit a report on its investigation in the autumn of 2012.


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