ABUSE TRACKER

A digest of links to media coverage of clergy abuse. For recent coverage listed in this blog, read the full article in the newspaper or other media source by clicking “Read original article.” For earlier coverage, click the title to read the original article.

May 1, 2014

Cries for help from sexually abused boys ignored by WA police

AUSTRALIA
The West Australian

May 1, 2014

Aleisha Orr
Reporter, WA Today

A public hearing has heard how at least two young boys, sent to Australia from overseas reported sexual abuse at Christian Brothers run ‘schools’ to police officers but were not taken seriously.

Edward Delaney, a child migrant from the United Kingdom described being sexually abused as a child at Bindoon Farm School while giving evidence to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

He left Bindoon at the age of 16 and told the commission that two years later he went to the police to report the abuse he’d experienced.

Mr Delaney said he went to Mount Lawley Police Station and told officers that he’d been sexually abused by the brothers at Bindoon.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

John Paul is no saint – his canonisation is political theatre

AUSTRALIA
The Conversation

Marcus O’Donnell
Senior Lecturer, Journalism at University of Wollongong

The week after Easter, Pope Francis presided over the canonisation ceremony which declared his two most famous contemporary predecessors, John Paul II and John XXIII, were now “saints”. This is an important marker in his papacy, a transparently political act which seeks to balance the canonisation of the deeply conservative John Paul II with a simultaneous nod to John XXIII, who reigned from 1958 to 1963 and unleashed the progressive reforms of Vatican II.

Saints are the most distinctive part of the Catholic church’s symbolic world. From the courage of martyr saints to the eccentric ecstasies of its mystics, they people catholic theology, providing both illustration and inspiration. But they are not just resources for personal piety.

They are a powerful part of the church’s international political theatre. Canonisations are in some senses a pacifying, distracting ritual – but they are always also an important statement about the church’s key values.

The canonisation of John Paul II seemed inevitable since the chants at his funeral in 2005: “Sancto subito” – sainthood immediately. The process started when his successor Pope Benedict, forever the loyal lieutenant, waived the standard five-year waiting period.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Day 4: Royal commission told Christian Brothers…

AUSTRALIA
Perth Now

Day 4: Royal commission told Christian Brothers tried to avoid liability over alleged abuse

A LAWYER who represented the Christian Brothers against survivors of extreme abuse in WA has agreed it’s inconceivable the order’s leaders did not know sexual abuse and gratuitous violence was going on.

On Thursday, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual abuse heard from two lawyers who sat on opposite sides of litigation brought in the mid-1990s by abuse survivors from four Christian Brothers institutions in WA.

Under questioning from commission chairman Peter McClellan, Carroll & O’Dea partner Howard Harrison, who was a lawyer for the Christian Brothers in the 1990s, acknowledged the leaders of the order must have known about the violence at its institutions. “It is inconceivable they didn’t know that the violence went beyond punishment, was gratuitous in many cases. It is inconceivable they didn’t know that, isn’t it?” Justice McClellan asked.

“Well, yes, your honour,” Mr Harrison replied.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

NBSCCCI Issues 2013 Annual Report 162 New Allegations of Abuse Reported

IRELAND
National Board for the Safeguarding of Children in the Catholic Church

(May 1st 2014)

The National Board for the Safeguarding of Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland (NBSCCCI) published its annual report today. It details the work done by the Board and its National Office during the year ending 31st March 2014. It notes that 162 new allegations of abuse were reported to the Board, and to the State Authorities, between April 1st 2013 and the end of March 2014. Most allegations relate to abuse allegedly having taken place between the 1940’s and 90’s, with the biggest number of allegations relating to the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.

The Board are satisfied that all of these have also been passed to the Gardaí/PSNI and where appropriate to the HSCT/HSE (Child and Family Agency).

2013 was a particularly significant year in that it saw the retirement of the organisation’s first CEO, Ian Elliott and the appointment of its second, Teresa Devlin. This change was used as an opportunity to re-examine the activity of the Board, to ensure that it was doing most effectively what it was established to do.

“I’ve inherited a really important role and it’s great to be leading a small but busy and committed team of people who are making the Church a safe place for children and to ensure that past mistakes are not repeated,” said Teresa Devlin, CEO, NBSCCCI. “Over the last year we have undertaken 18 reviews of safeguarding practice, initiated a busy 3 year training programme and on a day to day basis, offered advice and support across the various church bodies.”

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Annual Report:The National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland

IRELAND
National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church

Allegations Notified to the National Office – 1 April 2013 to 31 March 2014

The National Office has been collecting information on allegations, concerns and suspicions of child
abuse against priests and religious since 2009. In the first couple of years the flow of information to
the National Office was slow; however, there is now a real acceptance that in addition to notifying the
civil authorities, relevant information should also be shared with the National Office consistent with
requirements of data protection legislation. To allow the exchange of information, all Church authorities have signed a memorandum of understanding with the Board. The National Office staff offer advice regarding notification to the civil authorities and the management of risk by the Church authority. The data also allows the National Office to provide an overview of the numbers of allegations. In the past five years there has been a significant number of allegations made (see charts below), totalling 1,042.

However, care needs to be exercised in interpreting this data, as a small number of these notifications can be re-referrals and also the data includes allegations, suspicions and concerns and should not be viewed as the total number of allegations of proven abuse. During the period April 2013 until end March 2014, there has been a decrease in numbers of allegations made in comparison to the same period 2012–2013. There were 64 received against priests from dioceses and 100 against
priests and religious from religious congregations. The total number received was 164. Monthly, the notifications made to the Board are as follows:

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Watchdog says Catholic Church must respond better to abuse victims

IRELAND
RTE News

[annual report]

The Catholic Church here must learn better and more compassionate ways of responding to victims of clerical child sexual abuse.

That is according to the Chief Executive of the Church’s child protection watchdog

Writing in the annual report of the National Board for the Safeguarding of Children in the Catholic Church, Teresa Devin revealed that the number of allegations made in the past year has fallen to 164.

Ms Devlin says that in the twelve months to the end of March, the board received 64 allegations, suspicions or concerns of child sexual abuse relating to priests from dioceses and 100 against members of religious congregations.

As some clerics were subject of more than one complaint, it is not clear how many were concerned.

Some of the allegations date back as far as 1948.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Five Sex Abuse Lawsuits Filed Against Joliet Diocese

JOLIET (IL)
NBC Chicago

[with video]

[The David Rudofski Child Protection Archive – BishopAccountability.org]
[Joliet diocese]
[Abuse by Clergy in Chicago]

By Charlie Wojciechowski | Wednesday, Apr 30, 2014

Five lawsuits were filed Wednesday against the Joliet Diocese alleging sexual abuse by four priests dating back as far as the 1950s.

The accusers’ attorneys released thousands of documents they say shows a pattern of protecting priests at the expense of their young victims.

“In each case, because the Diocese of Joliet in the past and to the present has, in our view, failed to protect the children and have failed institutionally to do the right thing,” attorney Jeff Anderson said.
The cases were made possible by a settlement clergy abuse survivor David Rudofski made with the Diocese in which he demanded that more than 7,000 pages of secret files be released detailing cases involving 16 priests.

“It’s not over, but I feel a small sense of relief that these documents are the first step in trying to make things better,” Rudofski said.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Church officials saw red flags before priest was hit with sex abuse lawsuit

JOLIET (IL)
Chicago Sun-Times

[Lawrence Gibbs]

BY BRIAN SLODYSKO Staff Reporter April 30, 2014

Even before the Rev. Lawrence Gibbs became a priest in 1973, Diocese of Joliet officials showed a lack of faith in their young charge, using terms like “pompous” and “not too bright” to describe the seminarian, according to church records.

But in a 1971 performance review of the seminarian, there was a phrase that proved prophetic: “possible source of scandal.”

Father Larry — as Gibbs was known — created plenty of that during his roughly 20 years as priest, records show. Records allege he started molesting boys as early as 1976 — a practice he allegedly continued until at least 1987.

Accusations of sexual abuse against Gibbs — and 15 other priests from the Diocese of Joliet — was included in thousands of pages of records released by the attorneys for a plaintiff who previously sued the diocese. As part of the legal settlement, diocesan priest files were released to the plaintiff — some of which were released to the public for the first time Wednesday. According to the documents, the diocese found that sexual abuse complaints against all 16 were credible.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

His mental health was questioned in seminary, long before priest accused of sex abuse

JOLIET (IL)
Chicago Sun-Times

[Donald O’Connor]

BY FRANCINE KNOWLES Religion Reporter April 30, 2014

Concern was raised in seminary about the late Rev. Donald O’Connor’s mental health before he was ordained a priest in 1964.

Two years later, allegations of sexual abuse began and continued over the years, according to Diocese of Joliet documents, released by attorneys Wednesday on the priest and 15 others, whom the diocese found had credible allegations made against them.

An altar boy said he was taken to a hotel by O’Connor after a trip to the Museum of Science and Industry in or around 1966, according to a 2005 document. When the boy woke up, he had no clothes on and found shaving cream on his stomach with a smiley face. Someone else was in the room, but he didn’t know who because he was drowsy. He suspected he was drugged.

Meanwhile a 1980 report disclosed allegations that O’Connor attempted to molest several teenage boys. “Don has forced at least two boys on the bed in the rectory. One fought him off. The other result is vague,” the document said.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.