THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- A report on a Dutch inquiry said "several tens of thousands of minors" were sexually abused by Catholic Church personnel between 1945 and 2010, and it faulted church leaders for covering up the abuse and failing to help victims.
Dutch bishops and heads of religious orders expressed "shame and sorrow" at the revelations and pledged to "take all measures provided for under church and civil law" to prevent and punish such abuse in the future.
The report, issued Dec. 16, was the result of a lengthy independent inquiry requested by the Dutch bishops' conference and the Conference of Dutch Religious. The commission that conducted the study had access to church archives, and it received 1,795 specific reports of sexual abuse of minors in the church; it also conducted a survey to estimate the scale of abuse over the 65-year period.
The report estimated that between 10,000 and 20,000 children who spent part of their youth in a Catholic institution in the Netherlands suffered abuse by church personnel.