Thousands of Kids Abused in Dutch Catholic Church
Institutions did little to halt epidemic, help survivors: report
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Dec 16, 2011 8:45 AM CST
People protest child abuse by priests, in the Hague.   (AP Photo/Rob Keeris)

(Newser) – Thousands of children were sexually abused in the Netherlands' Catholic organizations, says an independent inquiry, which concludes that church leaders didn't do enough to end the problem or help victims, reports AP. The inquiry estimates that between 10,000 and 20,000 kids were abused from 1945 to 1981 in church institutions, notes the New York Times. The abuse included "several thousand" cases of rape.

The conference of Roman Catholic Bishops in the Netherlands said it was "shocked" by the report. It "fills us with shame and sorrow," said the bishops. The commission that conducted the inquiry, established by a former government minister last year, found that Catholic organizations were hampered by "a failure of oversight." One issue was a tendency to deal with such problems within the organization rather than airing "their dirty laundry."