Read the story here. Advertise at Before It's News here.
Profile image
By CNA Daily News - Europe (Reporter)
Contributor profile | More stories
Story Views
Last hour:
Last 24 hours:

Aid to the Church in Need confirms ‘credible’ accusation of ‘serious sexual assault’ against founder

% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.

CNA Staff, Feb 10, 2021 / 11:53 am (CNA).- The Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) confirmed on Wednesday the existence of a “credible” description of “serious sexual assault” against its founder, Fr. Werenfried van Straaten.

Thomas Heine-Geldern, ACN’s International Executive President, said in a statement on Feb. 10 that the allegation was made against the Dutch priest in 2010. 

Van Straaten, nicknamed “the Bacon Priest,” founded the international charity in 1947 and led it until his death in 2003.

Heine-Geldern said that ACN was committed to a “transparent and full investigation,” reported CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner.

In a statement, Heine-Geldern confirmed the sexual assault allegation published on Feb. 10 by “Christ und Welt,” a supplement of the German newspaper Die Zeit, which obtained a copy of a 2010 letter. 

Van Straaten was accused in the letter of committing sexual assault in 1973 against a 20-year-old woman working for the charity. The letter was sent to the Vatican and several German dioceses.

“The description was credible, even if the question of guilt could no longer be clarified due to the death of Fr. van Straaten,” Heine-Geldern said.

“Those responsible at Aid to the Church in Need followed the practice recommended for the ecclesiastical sector (sic) in Germany for coming to terms with cases of abuse.” 

“Therefore, the victim was awarded financial aid of 16,000 euros [around $19,415] in recognition of the suffering.”

After the allegation became known in the fall of 2010, ACN immediately informed the relevant Church authorities, he explained.

“The initiation of civil action, which was considered at the same time, proved to be impossible, as the accused had already died,” he said.

ACN issued a separate statement, consisting of 27 questions and answers relating to the claims against van Straaten.

The charity said: “According to files in the archives, we can assume that in 1996/1997 Fr. van Straaten gave money to the father of the person concerned.”

In 2011, the father had denied in writing that this payment concerned a sexual assault on his daughter, saying it was compensation payment for unfair treatment by van Straaten when he left his position as an ACN employee.

The organization said that it did not immediately go public with the sexual assault accusation because the person concerned had expressed a desire for confidentiality and the relief organization had respected it. 

Heine-Geldern also said that no further allegations of sexual violence against van Straaten were known.

At the end of January, the charity, which was refounded as a foundation of pontifical right in 2011, decided to postpone this year’s annual commemoration of its founder, apparently due to coronavirus restrictions. The service was originally planned for Jan. 30 in Cologne Cathedral.

Between 2009 and 2011, Bishop Manfred Grothe, the then auxiliary bishop of Paderborn, carried out an apostolic visitation of the organization based in Königstein, Germany.

“The visitation was in no way related to the person of Fr. van Straaten. He had already been dead for six years at the beginning of the visitation. The visitation was exclusively aimed at modernizing the charity,” ACN said.

During this period, “a number of people” had attempted to initiate a beatification cause for van Straaten. 

“It was in this context that Auxiliary Bishop Grohe learned of the serious allegations against Fr. van Straaten. He wanted with his letter to immediately put a stop to any possible beatification process,” ACN said in its Feb. 10 statement.

According to media reports, the visitation also found evidence suggesting that the founder had an “intemperate lifestyle,” “significant deficiencies in personnel management,” and a susceptibility to “fascist ideas.”

In its statement, ACN said: “In his writings during the 55 years in which he led the charity (1947-2003) there is no indication of far-right or fascist leanings. On the contrary, Fr. van Straaten condemned all dictatorships and took a strong stance against them.”

Werenfried van Straaten was born in 1913 in Mijdrecht, in the Netherlands. He was ordained as a Premonstratensian priest in 1940. Following the Second World War, he organized donations for the 14 million German civilians displaced from the former eastern parts of the country. He earned his nickname because of his appeal to farmers for bacon to feed the needy. 

His charitable work extended to Eastern Europe in the 1950s. Today, ACN oversees more than 5,000 individual projects each year in around 140 countries.

The charity said: “Aid to the Church in Need deeply regrets the grave allegations that have been made. The charity distances itself completely from behavior such as that of which Fr. van Straaten has been accused.”


Before It’s News® is a community of individuals who report on what’s going on around them, from all around the world.

Anyone can join.
Anyone can contribute.
Anyone can become informed about their world.

"United We Stand" Click Here To Create Your Personal Citizen Journalist Account Today, Be Sure To Invite Your Friends.

Please Help Support BeforeitsNews by trying our Natural Health Products below!

Order by Phone at 888-809-8385 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Order by Phone at 888-809-8385 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Humic & Fulvic Trace Minerals Complex - Nature's most important supplement! Vivid Dreams again!

HNEX HydroNano EXtracellular Water - Improve immune system health and reduce inflammation

Ultimate Clinical Potency Curcumin - Natural pain relief, reduce inflammation and so much more.

MitoCopper - Bioavailable Copper destroys pathogens and gives you more energy. (See Blood Video)
Oxy Powder - Natural Colon Cleanser!  Cleans out toxic buildup with oxygen! 
Nascent Iodine - Promotes detoxification, mental focus and thyroid health.
Smart Meter Cover -  Reduces Smart Meter radiation by 96%!  (See Video)

Immusist Beverage Concentrate - Proprietary blend, formulated to reduce inflammation while hydrating and oxygenating the cells.

Report abuse


Your Comments
Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

Load more ...




Email this story
Email this story

If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.