A 61 year old priest for the Bruges parish has quit after a third sexual abuse complaint. The priest, who was already under suspicion, still had the trust of his superiors, De Morgen and Het Laaste Nieuws reported on Wednesday. The first complaint about “inacceptable behaviour” was in 2005, when the individual was pastor at Marke (Courtrai). But “there was mediation and the victim was compensated”, says Peter Rossel, the spokesman for the Bruges parish.
In 2012, there was a second complaint against the priest. This time, a young boy accused the man of molesting him between 1983 and 1994, when he was in Zwevezele (Wingene). The Bruges parish did the same thing as in the previous case.
The priest then went to the parish contact centre at the beginning of June 2015, and spoke about problems with his behaviour dating from 1983 to 1994. The 61 year old man went to the centre voluntarily after the father of one of the boys in his congregation at the time asked him to explain his behaviour. “The priest handed in his resignation the next day, which the bishop immediately accepted”, says Peter Rossel. The contact centre said they had informed the Prosecutor’s office.