Onlangs had ik een IJslandse TV ploeg op bezoek met opmerkelijk nieuws. Een Zuid-Limburgse priester is aldaar beschuldigd van misbruik van negen kinderen, gedurende enkele decennia vanaf de zestiger jaren.
Deze priester kennen we bij naam (sterker nog, er is een link met mijn familie) en werkte samen met onze grote vriend Gijsen, de opmerkelijk stille bisschop van IJsland en Roermond. Sommige van jullie kunnen zich nog wel ‘de weg naar verzoening‘, herinneren met een ‘heilige mis’, OLV basiliek te Maastricht. De Limburgse als nationale pers zond delen van de mis uit, haalde het journaal. Inmiddels heeft de media zich gestort op andere onderwerpen en logisch dat Gijsen, noch de anonieme priester uit ons midden, niet meer tot de verbeelding spreken maar toch gaan we, familie of niet, binnenkort dieper op sommige zaken in, met of zonder media.
Info uit IJsland / Iceland Landakotsskóli a Catholic School
In 2011, three years after father George’s death, a former student of the Catholic School in Iceland (Landakotsskóli) came forward in the media and told his story about sexual, physical and mental abuse that he claimed he had endured on the behalf of father George and Margaret Müller, during his eight years’ stay in the school in the 60’s. Soon, more people came forward with similar stories, accusing father George and Fraulein Müller of severe mistreatment. This caused a nation-wide shock since the school had a reputation of being of high standard, with classic education and good discipline. For weeks the matters of Landakotsskóli was covered in the Icelandic media and they were even discussed in the parliament and at a governmental level.
According to the stories, children were abused over the period of four decades, that is during the whole time that father George was in charge of the school. The misdeeds took place both in the school as well as in Riftún, the summer camp run by the Catholic church. Some of the people who came forward in the media said that complaints against both father George and Margarete Müller had been made to the church authorities but no action was ever taken. In one case a girl that claims that father George sexually assaulted her over the period of two years, finally told her father about it and he immediately went to the bishop to report it. Nothing came out of it and the case did not go any further. Here we have to bear in mind that this was in the late 60’s and the zeitgeist was very different from what it is today, hence it is not so hard to understand why the father did not go to the police, also he was a foreigner in Iceland and therefore his social status was quite weak.
In 2012 the Catholic Church, under severe pressure from the Icelandic authorities and the society at large, asked the law professor, Dr. Robert Spano (Dr. Spano has since become a judge of the Human Rights Court in Haag), to put together an independent investigating committee to research the matter. Dr. Spano chose three people for the committee: Hjördís Hákonardóttir, a former high court judge, Professor Jón Fridrik Sigurdsson who at the time was the head of Psychiatry at the University Hospital of Iceland and Hrefna Fridriksdottir, a Law Professor at the University of Iceland. The committee did a thorough research, went through archives and documents of the church and the school and interviewed former students, parents, teachers of Landakotsskóli, priests and employees of the church, and held more than 40 meetings. In 2013 the report was made public.
The conclusion of the report was that the Catholic Church authorities had in numerous cases failed to react and act upon complaints and accusations made against members of the clergy and employees of Landakotsskóli (Margarete Müller). There was also evidence that documents had been destroyed in order to cover up accusations made against father George. Testimonies of mental abuse, harsh discipline and physical punishments were considered trustworthy, and in nine cases testimonies of sexual abuse were considered to be credible.
The Catholic Church was not at all happy with the result of the commitee’s work and decided to have its own council research the matter. That report has never been made public but the Catholic Church sent out a press release that says that the council’s investigation found no cases that would make the church legally responsible and more or less doubted the accusations made. Even though the church never took any responsibility and didn’t offer any kind of excuse to the victims, it did offer one of the victims compensation – the first person who stepped forward. However he declined the money, since it was presented without an excuse or recognition of the church and also because the amount was more of an insult than anything else, the equivalent of around 500€.
The Icelandic state has in total paid 200 million ISK, around 1,5 million €, in compensation to former students of Landakotsskóli. The Catholic Church still has not recognised its responsibility in the matter.
Since we started our research we have interviewed numerous former students of Landakotsskóli and we’ve found more victims than are in the report. We find their testimonies credible. For one thing these are people who were in the school decades apart, in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and the 90’s, and have never met each other or known about each other, still they tell very similar stories with little details that make them sound believable. We’ve also talked to people who can in some instances confirm and/or back up some of the stories.
Dan nog even een paar zaken rechtzetten voordat de katholieke propaganda weer de overhand krijgt in de pers. Dinsdag 15 april 2014 zat ik samen met strafrecht advocaat bij Pauw en Witteman (zie link hieronder). Ik had al in Februari 2010 als eerste mijn verhaal kunnen doen betreffende de eerste onthullingen seksueel geweld binnen de Rooms katholiek kerk. Frappant is dat de verdediging nogal in stelling werd gebracht betreffende Gijsen maar men speelde hoog spel. Ook de stichting St. Jan wilde dat bisdom Roermond de gegrond verklaring te niet zou doen ten opzichte van Gijsen. Die kwam er niet en die krijgt nu een gevolg via IJsland.
De Limburgse pers zal niet reageren want na jarenlange ontkenning en censuur, zijn de rollen nu anders. Wij geloven in een vrije pers inplaats van de leugenachtig ontkenningen, het uitsluiten en monddood maken van klokkenluiders.