Catholic child abuse – nuns also accused

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Following recent reports about sexual abuse of children by
Dutch priests, it now appears that some nuns also took advantage of
their charges. Tuesday’s edition of newspaper De Telegraaf
contains the story of Herman Harends, who says he was abused by nuns at a
Roman Catholic boarding school he attended in the 1950s.

Radio Netherlands Worldwide and newspaper NRC Handelsblad published
their report
on sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic church two weeks ago. Since
then, more and people have come forward, saying they, too, were
childhood victims.

Mr Harends and his two brothers attended a boarding school in the
southern Dutch town of Tegelen.
"I have not spoken out before because it is a hard claim to
substantiate,” he explains, “I’m not looking for atonement or apologies,
most of the nuns have died.”

“The abuse by the sisters started when I was 11. When I was in the bath
they played with my penis and tried to give me an erection … They
would also put my hand under their robes and into their underwear.”

Mr Harends (now 63) does not believe the abuse was an isolated case.
“I had dealings with two nuns who  worked independently,” he tells the
paper, “I can’t imagine that I, one of the hundreds of students, was the
only one they used to vent their desires on.”

Mr Harends says he once tried to talk about what happened with one of
his brothers. “He didn’t want to discuss it. And I respect that.”

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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