A man from West Flanders says that Roger Vangheluwe abused him several times while he was in a church-run children’s home in the 1990’s.
The man reported the abuse to the judicial authorities a couple of weeks’ ago. Bishop Vangheluwe regularly visited the children’s home in the West Flemish village of Loker where his alleged victim was being cared for.
He also visited the children while they were holidaying in the coastal resort of Oostduinkerke. The abuse is alleged to have taken place over a 5-year-period and was perpetrated both at the children’s home and while the children were on holiday.
The victim is now 30 and is reported as still bearing the mental scares of the abuse.
His solicitor Walter Van Steenbrugge told journalists "We have appointed a psychiatrist and his analysis of the man’s mental state makes disturbing reading.”
Despite all this, it is unlikely that the case will come to court, as any prosecution would become barred as the alleged abuse happened so long ago.
Not only Vangheluwe accused
The alleged victim’s legal action is not only directed against Bishop Vangheluwe, but also against “persons unknown” that failed to help a minor in need”, as well as against the Roman Catholic Church.
The Church is accused of having shirked its responsibilities by neglecting to investigate the abuse allegations.
The nuns that were responsible for the children’s home at Loker at the time of the alleged abuse have said in a reaction that they never received any reports of sexual abuse by Bishop Vangheluwe from any of the children while they were running the home.