OOSTAKKER - November 1967. The police raid the Martens-Sotteau orphanage in Oostakker. Following the report of a social worker, it is suspected that the children there are being abused. Father O., Capuchin and confessor, and the guardian P.J. were arrested.
December 1967. Investigating judge Guy Jespers has enough clues to also raid the school, just down the road, run by the friars Our Lady of Lourdes (Glorieux). Several friars are arrested and tried in 1968. Others flee to Brazil and the Netherlands. In the 1980s, all traces are carefully erased by members of the congregation. Time seems to do its work. Until an old article emerges from a Dutch newspaper, 54 years later.
At least 250 children were found to have been abused and mistreated. After many conversations with survivors, this forgotten sex scandal appears to leave lasting marks on the victims, who are still waiting for some form of recovery and recognition.
© Thomas Holvoet
- Het vergeten zedenschandaal van Oostakker, Apache, 16/08/2023.