Over 800 Roman Catholic priests and monks were involved in abusing children in their care between 1945 and 1985, according to a report into the Catholic church’s sexual abuse scandal in the Netherlands published Friday.
Church officials, bishops and lay people were aware of what was going on but failed to take action regarding the children, said Dutch media reports quoting the commission chair Christian Wim Deetman, a former leader of the Christian Democratic Party.
The commission was set up by the Catholic church in March 2010 after the sexual abuse scandal broke in the Netherlands and hundreds of victims came forward.
Over 2,000 people have now registered their abuse with the authorities and a number of cases will be taken to court.
The 1,100-page report aims to establish the size of the scandal, the consequences of the church’s silence and make recommendations for dealing with abuse in the past and in the future Deetman estimats that between 10,000 and 20,000 minors were abused in Catholic boarding schools, children’s homes and orphanages.
The Commission report said it has identified at least 800 priests, monks and other members of religious orders who were involved in abuse, of whom 105 are still alive.
The report noted that the Roman Catholic Church’s compulsory practice of celibacy was not a crucial factor in the abuse, but was an additional risk factor. It said that this celibacy obligation makes priests vulnerable to transgressive behaviour.