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Just nine days after clergy abuse victim advocates held a protest in Belgium calling for more state and church action against pedophile priests and their protectors, police have raided the Belgian Catholic Church headquarters and the home of recently-retired Cardinal Godfried Danneels of Brussels. The investigators have seized Danneels’ personal computer and records related to an internal investigation of about 500 allegations of clergy sex abuse as possible evidence.

This, to quote fellow Beliefnet blogger Rod Dreher, is “big.”

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) has released this statement:

This raid is precisely what’s needed, not just in Belgium but in other church offices across the globe. Law enforcement officials must stop giving the Catholic hierarchy a ‘free pass’ when it comes to clergy sex crimes and cover ups. Police and prosecutors need to step up, and promptly and thoroughly investigate allegations against predator priests and corrupt bishops, and use their full powers to gain access to and control over church records that likely document the crimes and cover ups.

Kids will be safer only when secular authorities stop giving excessive deference to church officials and start doing all that they can to catch, expose, prosecute and jail both child molesting clerics and their complicit colleagues and supervisors.

We call on all citizens of Belgium – Catholic and non-Catholic – to contact law enforcement with any information or suspicions they may have – however old, small, or seemingly insignificant – so that this can be an effective investigation that results in the imprisonment of those who hurt children and those who enable others to hurt children.

For more information:

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