The court of appeal in Ghent has rejected a complaint against the Catholic Church. The complaint was a joint effort made by 36 victims of sexual abuse. They claimed that the Church deliberately hushed up the facts, and made other mistakes. However, they were not granted a compensation by the court.
The victims wanted to have the Holy Chair in Rome (the Vatican) convicted, but the court argued that this is impossible because this concerns a foreign state. They have no legal grounds to claim this, according to present legislation.
They also took the Belgian Catholic Church to court, but here the court claimed that the complaint was too vague. “There are no details about who abused them, where and when”, the court pointed out.
The lawyer of the Belgian Church, Fernand Keuleneer, says the Church and its leaders did not know exactly what the complaint was about: “It’s possible that mistakes were made, but you have to come up with concrete cases, describe what they were about and who made the mistakes.”
The victims of sexual abuse are disappointed, says their lawyer Christine Mussche. “They hoped the tables would turn in their favour, but this didn’t happen. But I can assure you, we will not leave it at this.”
Meanwhile, another criminal investigation is still going on with the federal judicial authorities, the so-called Operation Chalice.