Bishop to sue alleged child abuse victim

The bishop, who was defended by Cardinal Godfried Danneels in a previous case, faces new accusations

A bishop who has previously been embroiled in a sex abuse scandal has said he will sue a new complainant for slander and defamation.

Bishop Roger Vangheluwe of Bruges, Belgium resigned in 2010 following revelations that he had sexually abused his own nephew. Now he faces fresh allegations from a 36-year-old man, Michael, who claims to have been “rented” for eight years as a child, especially to clergymen.

Michael, who has a criminal and drug history, has had psychiatric treatment and has spent time in prison, alleges that he was abused from the age of five.

Bishop Vangheluwe’s lawyer said he would be filing a legal complaint.

“It will be the only way to stop these whimsical people,” he said. “This is an umpteenth story and, as time passes, their stories are fantastic. The worst thing is that these people are once again enjoying a platform and I’m afraid it will continue until one of them is sentenced for slander.”

When Bishop Vangheluwe’s previous abuse was revealed in 2010 it emerged that Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels had urged the victim not to go public. His spokesman at the time said this was not a cover-up but that the cardinal had been trying to “help the family in question reach a reconciliation”.

source 12/2017 Catholic Herald