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Catholic order moved pedophile priest to church property with summer camp after CNN investigation

A Catholic order placed a pedophile priest on church property where a summer camp for children was taking place after a year-long CNN investigation revealed new allegations of child abuse against him.

Father Luk Delft was recalled to Belgium in June this year after CNN informed the order that two boys in the Central African Republic had accused Delft of abusing them.

Read the full CNN investigation

The Salesians of Don Bosco, a religious order established specifically to protect children, housed the convicted abuser on the campus in Sint-Pieters-Woluwe in Belgium after the 50-year-old priest was removed from his role as country director of the Catholic charity Caritas in the CAR.

On Tuesday, CNN learned that the camp for children was taking place during Delft’s stay at the residence. It raises fresh concerns about the Salesians’ handling of pedophile priests and the safety of the children in their care.

Delft’s Salesian superior in Belgium, Father Carlo Loots, told CNN that the priest was kept apart from minors during his stay at the residence and that the Salesian Provincial “made a number of agreements with him [Delft] regarding his freedom of movement on the Woluwe campus.”

Salesian priests at the residence were also made aware of Delft’s situation and were asked to check on him, Loots said. Delft spent three weeks at the residence and has since been moved from the Sint-Pieters-Woluwe residence to an unknown location in Belgium.

Delft was convicted of child abuse in 2012 after abusing two boys at a school in Ghent, Belgium in 2001. CNN reported last week that the Salesians repeatedly placed Delft in contact with children after the abuse occurred, including sending him on a school trip to Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Following Delft’s conviction, the Salesian order sent him to work for Caritas in CAR despite a court ban on him working with children.

Both the Salesians and Caritas have started internal investigations following CNN’s investigation.

On Friday, the United Nations temporarily suspended its work with the CAR branch of Caritas following CNN’s report. Authorities in Belgium and CAR also began investigations into the priest.

The King Baudouin Foundation, one of Europe’s largest philanthropic foundations, has also removed Caritas and VIA Don Bosco (the Salesian NGO) from its annual list of charities to donate to during the Christmas period.

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