AMSTERDAM (AP) — A Catholic diocese in the Netherlands says its former bishop has been accused of sexually abusing two boys in the 1950s.

The diocese responded to a report in newspaper NRC Handelsblad, which published details of the accusations Wednesday. The paper quoted 78-year-old Jo Gijsen, the former bishop of Roermond, Netherlands, denying wrongdoing.

The church says the accusations have been turned over to public prosecutors and church investigators.

After abuse scandals in other countries, a church-appointed panel in the Netherlands began investigating cases there in May.

At least 1,600 complaints have been registered, mostly from decades ago. Gijsen, the most prominent Dutch clergyman to be accused to date, was not yet bishop at the time of the alleged abuse.