Dutch Catholic church sets up compensation panel

The Hague, Netherlands - The Dutch branch of the Catholic church has agreed to launch a compensation system that clears the way for victims of abuse by priests and other church workers to receive payments of up to euro100,000 ($138,000).

The country's Bishops' Conference and Conference of Religious Orders said in a statement Monday the new compensation system will likely come into effect next month.

Thousands of past cases of alleged sexual abuse by Dutch priests are under investigation by an independent but church-funded commission in the Netherlands, where the Catholic church has more than 4 million members.

The new compensation system has a scale of payments starting at euro5,000 ($6,886) and rising to a maximum of euro100,000 depending on the nature of the abuse.