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Tijdschrift Tijdschrift voor Religie, Recht en Beleid x Jaar 2012 x

    As a result of reported cases of child abuse by Roman Catholic priests and brothers in The Netherlands, a Dutch solicitor has formally accused the archdiocese of Utrecht and the diocese of Rotterdam of conspiracy. The charges being ill-founded were rejected by the public prosecutor. The present article points out that the charge of conspiracy was ill-considered and legally untenable under Dutch criminal law, because it could not be maintained that the archdiocese of Utrecht or the diocese of Rotterdam were parties to an agreement to commit the offences in question. Unfortunately child abuse and the tendency to keep it silent are a common problem in Dutch society, not only within the Roman Catholic Church, so it should be addressed accordingly. The Dutch Bishops’ Conference and representatives of congregations established in The Netherlands have set up a fact-finding committee under the expert guidance of the elder states-man Mr. Deetman to make an independent investigation into the facts and circumstances of sexual abuse of children within the ecclesiastical province of The Netherlands and to make recommendations for redress and compensation. The committee has submitted its report in December 2011. Like this the Dutch bishops and congregations have set an example how the problem of prescribed cases of child abuse within a complex social organization can be revealed and dealt with. For that purpose criminal law is a less appropriate instrument. It is satisfying to see that other organizations, religious and secular, have taken similar initiatives.


René Guldenmund
Mr. R.M.A. Guldenmund studeerde burgerlijk recht en internationaal recht, en was van 1984-1993 onderzoeker aan de Universiteit Utrecht. Sindsdien werkte hij als jurist aan verschillende ministeries. Hij publiceerde o.a. over de strafrechtelijke handhaving van het EU-gemeenschapsrecht. Thans werkt hij aan het proefschrift God in de publieke ruimte. rene@guldenmund.eu.
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