Denmark: Religious sect cleared of neglect charges

Religious sect Father House was cleared of child neglect charges by a Lolland court on Thursday, finding that no children lived at the address without a parent present.

The case was taken up by Bandholm municipality after reports of sexual abuse to the 3-year-old daughter of one of the sect’s members. The court, however, only considered the legality of the children’s existence at the Father House property.

‘There are some families living there fully legally, and they should be allowed to do so,’ Bandholm’s mayor, Stig Vestergaard, told public broadcaster DR. He added that the day care workers, teachers and other public employees having daily contact to the children have a responsibility to watch out for any signs of neglect.

Vestergaard also said that the municipality did not consider the sexual abuse changes because they occurred at a previous Father House residence not within its jurisdiction.

Bente Boserup, operations manager of children’s rights organisation Børns Vilkår, said the court completely misunderstood the crux of the case.

‘It was the parents who neglected the children, but the city has only looked at how many children were living at Father House without parents. It doesn’t make sense,’ she said.

It is not known whether additional charges of sexual abuse have been filed against Father House.

News in English from the Copenhagen Post

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog)
The Copenhagen Post, Denmark
Apr. 25, 2008

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This post was last updated: Apr. 25, 2008