Tens of thousands abused in Dutch Catholic institutions

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An independent Dutch inquiry probing sexual abuse allegedly committed by Roman Catholic clergy said Friday it found "tens of thousands" of victims since 1945, identifying 800 alleged perpetrators.

Tens of thousands of minors were exposed to "mild, severe or very severe sexual behaviour" by clergy or lay workers in the Dutch Catholic Church between 1945 and 2010, the commission said in its final report.

"Based on 1,795 reports, the commission could find the names of 800 abusers who work or have worked for the bishops," the report said. "Of these 800 people, 105 are still alive."

The Dutch bishops' conference decided in 2010 to open an inquiry after revelations of widespread abuse were first reported in the national press.

The six person commission was chaired by former cabinet minister Wim Deetman and includes a former judge, university professors and a psychologist. It began work on August 24, 2010 to probe allegations of abuse committed from 1945 to the present day."

"The problem of sexual abuse was known in the orders and dioceses of the Dutch Catholic Church," the commission said, "but the appropriate actions were not undertaken".

In February, a Catholic order in the Netherlands said it would pay compensation to more than two dozen victims of sexual abuse committed by its priests.

The Order of Salesians of Don Bosco reached a deal to make "generous" restitution to individuals who fell victim to sexual abuse by priests as pupils at its boarding schools between 1950 and 1971, a joint statement said.

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