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.

November 27, 2015

Campaigners hail ‘powerful’ investigation into child sexual abuse at Nottinghamshire councils

UNITED KINGDOM
Nottingham Post

By Dan Robinson

Campaigners have welcomed a “powerful” announcement that Nottinghamshire councils will be investigated over historic child sexual abuse claims at care homes.

Nottingham City Council and Nottinghamshire County Council will be scrutinised over alleged “failings to protect children in [their] care or supervision”.

Justice Lowell Goddard, chairwoman of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, said in a speech yesterday the alleged victims would have the chance to make their voices heard in an investigation of “unprecedented” scale.

A number of allegations of historic abuse in children’s homes, previously operated by councils and other organisations, have been made, dating back to the 1950s.

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.

Former priest fails to have dismissal overturned

IRELAND
RTE News

The Catholic Bishop of Cloyne, Dr William Crean, has announced that a former priest of the diocese, Daniel Duane, has failed to have his dismissal from the priesthood overturned.

Mr Duane, who is in his late 70’s, has twice been tried and found not guilty at the Circuit Criminal Court in Cork of indecently assaulting teenage girls.

In a statement issued today, Dr Crean said that last January, he had announced that Mr Duane had been dismissed from the clerical state following a Canonical – or internal Church – trial for the crime of abusing minors and that his appeal of this penalty had been rejected by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome.

He said an attempt to make a further appeal to Rome has not been upheld and that Mr Duane is no longer a priest and continues not to be allowed to exercise any form of priestly ministry.

Bishop Crean reiterated his New Year statement of gratitude to the survivors of abuse who had the courage to come forward to tell their stories. He said the process has been a long and painful one for all involved.

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.

Deadline nears for sale of Twin Cities archdiocese properties

MINNESOTA
Minnesota Public Radio

Martin Moylan Nov 27, 2015

There are several interested buyers now for all the St. Paul properties put up for sale by the bankrupt Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

The Minnesota Historical Society has offered $4.5 million for the Hayden Center, a three-story, former school on Kellogg Boulevard.

But there also are potential buyers for the chancery building on Summit Avenue and some properties on Dayton Avenue, said Paul Donovan, an executive with the firm selling archdiocese properties.

“We have interested parties for both properties and we’re working through necessary steps to finalize a purchase agreement,” he said. “We’re not disclosing names and dollars.”

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.

AZ–Secret records about ex-AZ abusive cleric are released

ARIZONA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Friday, Nov. 27, 2015

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those abused by Priests (314 566 9790, davidgclohessy@gmail.com)

More than 600 pages of long-secret records about a child molesting Catholic priest who spent years in Arizona have been released. Arizona church officials should tell parents, parishioners and the public about him.

He’s Father Bruce Wollmering. Twice, he was a graduate student (1969-70, 1975-78) at the University of Arizona in Tucson. In 1976, he had an internship at U of A hospital and family clinic in Benson, AZ. In 1985-1986, he was granted “academic leave” from U of A.

In 2004, two individuals made allegations against him of “sexual misconduct in the 1980s.” In 2009, two civil lawsuits were filed against him and his church supervisors alleging abuse in the 1970s and 1980s. In 2011, cases against him were settled. Last year, his name was included on a list of monks likely to have offended against minors by St. John’s Abbey in Minnesota.

Tucson Bishop Gerald Kicanas should personally visit the parishes near where Fr. Wollmering lived or worked, begging victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to come forward. He should also use parish bulletins, church websites and pulpit announcements across the entire diocese to seek out others who may have been assaulted and are still suffering. And he should permanently post on his diocesan website the names, photos and whereabouts of every child molesting Arizona are cleric, whether alive or dead, diocesan or religious order, or admitted, proven or credibly accused. (About 30 US bishops have done this. It’s the bare minimum a bishop should do to protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded.)

We hope that every single person who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes or cover ups in Arizona will summon the strength to speak up. Kids are safer only when victims, witnesses and whistleblowers are courageous enough to act. Silence is tempting but it only helps wrongdoers.

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.

MPs, Spies And Clergy Focus Of Abuse Inquiry

UNITED KINGDOM
Sky News

The Anglican and Catholic churches and “certain people of public prominence associated with Westminster” will be investigated by the independent abuse inquiry, it has been announced.

Justice Lowell Goddard, who is leading the investigation, also said councils in Lambeth, Nottinghamshire and Rochdale will be examined.

She set out 12 different areas which will come under scrutiny.

Justice Goddard said: “The investigation will focus on high-profile allegations of child sexual abuse involving current or former members of parliament, senior civil servants, government advisers and members of intelligence and security agencies.

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.

Goddard inquiry: Nottinghamshire child sexual abuse investigated

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC News

The abuse of children in care in Nottinghamshire is to be investigated as part of a national inquiry into child sexual abuse.

Nottinghamshire Police has been investigating abuse in the county’s care homes since 2010, and 263 victims have reported offences so far.

The inquiry will also look at children cared for by foster carers and adoptive parents.

The councils involved have both welcomed the inquiry. …

Complainants from Nottinghamshire include actress Samantha Morton, who said she was sexually abused by two residential care workers in a Nottingham children’s home.

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.

British abuse inquiry to look at politicians and churches

UNITED KINGDOM
RTE News

A British inquiry into child abuse is to look at allegations involving current or former MPs, the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches and members of intelligence agencies.

The British royal family may also be drawn into the probe as it considers whether “inappropriate attempts” were made by prominent figures to interfere in a case relating to a bishop.

Last month, a royal spokesperson was forced to deny that Prince Charles made an intervention in the judicial process on behalf of Peter Ball, who was jailed for sexually abusing aspiring priests – 22 years after the claims first came to light.

There have been accusations of an establishment cover-up with Ball, the former Anglican bishop of Lewes and Gloucester, counting a member of the royal family among those who wrote letters of support before he was let off with a caution in 1993.

Chairwoman Justice Lowell Goddard confirmed the case will be considered by the inquiry, adding that it will “investigate whether there were inappropriate attempts by people of prominence to interfere in the criminal justice process after he was first accused of child sexual offences the case would be considered”.

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.

‘Prominent political figures’ to be investigated in historic child abuse probe

UNITED KINGDOM
Metro

Ashitha Nagesh for Metro.co.uk
Friday 27 Nov 2015

An inquiry into child sexual abuse is going to investigate ‘certain people of public prominence associated with Westminster’.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse is also going to look into clergy members from Anglican and Catholic churches, children’s homes, and councils in Lambeth, Nottinghamshire and Rochdale.

Justice Lowell Goddard, who is heading the investigation, set out 12 different areas that will be scrutinised.

‘The investigation will focus on high-profile allegations of child sexual abuse involving current or former members of parliament, senior civil servants, government advisers and members of intelligence and security agencies.

‘It will consider allegations of cover up and conspiracy and review the adequacy of law enforcement responses to these allegations.’

The full list of investigations

Children in the Care of Lambeth Council
Children in the Care of Nottinghamshire Councils
Cambridge House, Knowl View and Rochdale Council
Child Sexual Abuse in the Anglican Church
Child Sexual Abuse in the Roman Catholic Church
The Sexual Abuse of Children in Custodial Institutions
Child Sexual Abuse in Residential Schools
The Internet and Child Sexual Abuse
Child Sexual Exploitation by Organised Networks
The Protection of Children Outside the United Kingdom
Accountability and Reparations for Victims and Survivors
Allegations of Child Sexual Abuse linked to Westminster

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.

Head of inquiry into sex abuse outlines scope of probe

UNITED KINGDOM
Washington Post

By Associated Press November 27

LONDON — The head of a British inquiry into child sex abuse says the Anglican and Catholic churches will be among the institutions investigated in the wide-ranging probe.

Justice Lowell Goddard on Friday identified some of the targets of the public inquiry into decades of alleged abuse. Politicians will also come under investigation.

The inquiry under Goddard, a judge from New Zealand, was set up last year amid public outcry following the 2011 death of entertainer Jimmy Savile, after which dozens came forward to say he had abused them.

Subsequent revelations have implicated entertainers, clergy, senior politicians and others. Some victims have also claimed the police failed to investigate allegations of abuse.

Goddard says the probe will “consider allegations of cover-up and conspiracy and review the adequacy of law-enforcement responses.”

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.

Westminster and church face investigation in child abuse inquiry

UNITED KINGDOM
The Sun

WESTMINSTER and the church were warned they face investigation by the independent child abuse inquiry today.

Justice Lowell Goddard – who chairs the probe – warmed “current or senior MPs, senior civil servants, government advisors and members of the intelligence and security agencies” could all be in the firing line.

She said: “We will conduct an objective, fact finding mission into allegations of abuse by certain people of public prominence associated with Westminster.”

The Catholic and Anglican Churches were also named and councils in Lambeth, Nottinghamshire and Rochdale were told they would be examined too.

Speaking in central London the judge set out 12 different areas which will come under scrutiny.

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.

IPI urges Vatican to drop charges against Italian journalists

VIENNA
International Press Institute

By: IPI Contributor Cagla Zimmerman and staff

VIENNA, Nov 27, 2015 – The International Press Institute (IPI) today called on Vatican City to drop criminal charges against two Italian journalists it accuses of publishing classified information in books that have cast the city-state and the Catholic hierarchy in a harsh light.

A Vatican judge earlier this week ruled that the case against Emiliano Fittipaldi and Gianluigi Nuzzi, whose respective books Avarice and Merchants in the Temple alleged rife mismanagement and corruption in the Vatican, would go forward. The books’ claims are reportedly based in part on documents leaked to the journalists by Vatican insiders. A Spanish priest and two former members of a Vatican commission on economic reforms are facing charges in connection with the leak.

Fittipaldi and Nuzzi are said to be the first journalists in history to be put on trial in the Vatican. If convicted, they could face up to eight years in prison.

Both journalists have rejected the accusations against them and have insisted they were only doing their job. “This is a trial against freedom of the press”, Fittipaldi said in an interview with AP. “In no other part of the world, at least in the part of the world that considers itself democratic, is there a crime of a scoop, a crime of publishing news.”

IPI Director of Press Freedom Programmes Scott Griffen said the Vatican’s decision to prosecute Fittipaldi and Nuzzi demonstrated a lack of understanding about the role and rights of the media in modern society.

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Spotlight review by Professor David O’Brien

UNITED STATES
David O’Brien

[note: This article does not link to a web site.]

David O’Brien is Loyola Professor of Catholic Studies Emeritus, College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass.

“Spotlight” brings well-deserved honor to the Boston Globe editors and reporters who in 2002 broke open the crimes of sex abuse by Boston priests and cover-ups by Boston’s Archbishop. The issue of clerical sex abuse first surfaced with a 1984 case in Louisiana. Slowly victims and a handful of victim advocates exposed one after another local case until the Globe exploded the issue. In the months that followed investigative reporters, district attorneys and grand juries, and victims and their attorneys, forced the release of evidence of horrific crimes and cover-ups across the country. As the recent resignations of bishops in Kansas City and St Paul make clear, that process of exposure, disgrace, delayed financial and criminal accountability, and stubborn efforts to protect bishops, is far from over.

The Catholic priests and people of Boston can share only a little of the honor that comes with recognition of the Globe’s good work. A small group of Boston priests helped bring about the resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law, but most priests, and clerical organizations, kept silent. The most effective organization of victims, featured in the film, Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) found leadership from victims in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Worcester journalist Kathy Shaw developed a national archive of documentation and Boston activists sustained that important work with Bishop Accountability. But these and other advocacy groups received little financial support from Catholics and even less political support when they asked legislatures to modify statutes of limitation. They still render great service but, lacking popular support, they remain far outside the life and work of the organized American church.

But in 2002 ordinary church-going Boston Catholics did respond to the Spotlight report. Led by Catholics in Wellesley they launched Voice of the Faithful (VOTF), hoping to organize Catholics to support victims, affirm good priests, and work for reform in the Church. A July, 2002, Boston rally drew thousands to Hynes Auditorium and, helped by national publicity, local groups appeared in cities across the country. Under pressure from the media, the Bishops adopted a new “zero tolerance” policy and appointed a National Review Board of prominent lay Catholics. New advisory boards were set up in many dioceses as well.

But in Boston and elsewhere the Bishops ignored, at best, Voice of the Faithful, drew back from their earlier efforts to build parish and diocesan structures of shared responsibility, and carefully limited to work of the new advisory bodies. The diocesan abuse committees would help construct policies to protect children and, at the Bishop’s discretion, they might offer advice on new charges of abuse. But rarely if ever were they granted access to older files, older court cases, legislative strategies or strategies for dealing with grand juries, civil suits or financial payoffs. They reported to the Bishop, who reported to other Bishops, but rarely if ever did they see fit to report to the public. The National Review Board did much better, overseeing a flawed but helpful study of the scope of the problem and independently exploring it’s “causes and context”. In 2004 they issued two reports. One, detailing the extent of the problem, was widely reported. The second, a preliminary suggestion of causes and consequences in need of further study, was almost totally ignored. New national Review Board members decided to direct their attention to child protection; they took little interest in causes and consequences. No one asked them to do more.

Of course Catholic lay leaders responded generously when asked for help, as they did in Boston when Sean O’Malley arrived to replace Cardinal Law. Boston College alumnus Geoffrey Boisi gathered prominent business and professional leaders to offer advice on request on matters of church management. But the vast majority of priests, religious and laity declined to join or support independent groups like SNAP and VOTF and very rarely took any interest in monitoring new committees or new policies. Liberal Catholics offered kind words but little else; their attitude was captured by a magazine cover of a big ear with the banner “Are the Bishops Listening?” Conservatives helped the bishops shape an official narrative that blamed abuse on secularism and sexual permissiveness and praised the Church for its new found openness and care for children and their families. The Bishops were listening alright, but not to voices calling for reform, for there weren’t any they needed to listen to.

What might have been done? Priests associations, lay people serving on church committees, and professionals employed by the Church might have monitored the work of the national and local review boards. They might have asked those committees to report to the public and answer questions about their access to information and their role in decisions. Religious orders of priests should have let the public know that they were not covered by the new policies and established their own transparent review boards—and used their independence to push for reform. Instead of listening to mean-spirited attacks on trial lawyers assisting victims, Catholics might have organized attorneys to offer free or low cost assistance. Small advocacy groups could have been available to raise the costs if church leaders penalized employees who told the truth. Catholic colleges and universities, far more independent than other Catholic institutions, could have highlighted the problems of clericalism, misuse of authority and sheer ignorance opened by the National Review Board’s 2004 report. To its credit Boston College has tried to create forums for discussion of serious problems in the Church, though like other Catholic institutions it seems paralyzed when dealing with the fallout from the scandal.

A few weeks after the Spotlight team’s report of January, 2002, a great Boston priest predicted that “first there will be the explosion, then the erosion”. So it has been. What he could not have predicted is the almost universal denial of responsibility. Perhaps “Spotlight” will encourage Catholics who love the Church to think again, as they did in 2002, about what should be done.

“Spotlight” deserves the high praise of reviewer Maurice Timothy Reidy. He thoughtfully reflects that “the abuse scandal is something that all Catholics have to recon with” and the film “in its own way calls on all Catholics to take responsibility for the church”. A few Catholics tried hard to do just that, notably through Voice of the Faithful. Not only did bishops refuse offers to help but very few American Catholic priests, religious or laity moved from anguish to action. Few sent checks and even fewer organized to support victims and demand change. By February, 2004, when the first National Review Board offered a preliminary agenda for reform, no one noticed. Change came mostly from the work of victims and their advocates, district attorneys and grand juries. With very few exceptions Catholic journalists asked almost no hard questions, priests councils and religious orders were silent, and Catholics employed by the church and church-related institutions like universities did next to nothing. The bishops, with the help of invited, confidential advisers, were allowed to shape the post-Spotlight story. To their credit they have adopted policies that will limit future abuse. They have also carefully limited the role of local and national advisory bodies and easily diverted attention from what the first Review Board called “causes and context” to which we could add consequences. Internal church issues, even issues of massive irresponsibility and near universal denial, much less problem of “erosion” that followed the 2002 Boston “explosion” (to use the words of a prominent Boston priest), are of interest to few people. Mr. Reidy properly thinks Catholics should take responsibility for their Church but, as a wonderful Jesuit replied when asked about that: “But Dave, they won’t let you!”

So far that seems to be the final word.

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Former Melbourne archbishop’s plan to adopt out baby of priest

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

NOVEMBER 28, 2015

Tessa Akerman
Reporter
Melbourne

Former Melbourne archbishop Frank Little sought to convince a woman who fell pregnant to a priest to have the baby adopted, the child sex abuse royal commission has heard.

The commission previously heard Melbourne’s Catholic archbishop from 1974 to 1996 failed to remove pedophile priests including Peter Searson.

Former vicar-general bishop Peter Connors said yesterday that Little, who died in 2008, kept his own files on the priests’ sexual conduct with adults.

Bishop Connors said Little would confide in him, but not about all complaints regarding priests. He said after a priest had told Little he made a woman pregnant, the priest was moved to another­ parish. Little then went to Bishop Connors, who as vicar-general was effectively the second-in-charge of the Melbourne archdiocese, for help.

“Then eventually he said to me: ‘I’ve got to move him to another­ state and will you go and meet the woman and get her to get the baby adopted’,” Bishop Connors told the commission.

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Ex-priest loses Vatican appeal against defrocking for ‘abusing minors’

IRELAND
Irish Times

A former priest in the Diocese of Cloyne has lost his second and final appeal against dismissal from the priesthood after the Vatican found a canonical court was right to defrock him for “the crime of abusing minors”.

Dan Duane (77) had an initial appeal against a decision by the Canonical Court in Ireland to dismiss him from the priesthood rejected in January 2015, He attempted to make second appeal to the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome in August 2015.

But on Friday Bishop of Cloyne, Dr William Crean confirmed Mr Duane’s submission to the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith has been rejected and no further appeal can be made in relation to the matter, thus ending the canonical process.

“I can confirm that the judgement of the Canonical Trial to dismiss Dan Duane from the clerical state is upheld,” said Bishop Crean in a statement, adding that Mr Duane is no longer a priest and cannot exercise any form of priestly ministry.

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Paedophile claims at Lambeth children’s homes named among new inquiries into child sex abuse

UNITED KINGDOM
Evening Standard

BY MARTIN BENTHAM

A new investigation into claims that paedophiles exploited young people at children’s homes in a London borough over decades was announced today by the judge heading the Government’s inquiry into child sex abuse.

Justice Lowell Goddard said a “thorough and searching examination” into claims of historical abuse of children in care in Lambeth — already being looked into by Scotland Yard — would form one of 12 separate investigations to be carried out as part of her five- year inquiry.

Other investigations will focus on claims of child abuse within the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches, and alleged paedophile rings operated by MPs, civil servants and other people “of public prominence” connected to Westminster.

There will also be an inquiry into whether the armed forces, the Foreign Office and the British Council failed to prevent staff from exploiting children abroad.

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Rochdale Council to be investigated in child sex abuse inquiry

UNITED KINGDOM
ITV

The public inquiry into historical child abuse is to investigate Rochdale Council.

The inquiry was setup after claims of high level cover ups of abuse.

It will investigate politicians, past and present, including the former Rochdale MP Cyril Smith.

Smith, who was elected to Parliament in 1972, was dogged by rumours of abuse throughout his career but charges were never brought.

Both Greater Manchester Police (GMP) and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) have said if Smith had been accused today he would be charged and prosecuted.

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Cambridge House and Knowl View to be investigated by Justice Lowell Goddard

UNITED KINGDOM
Rochdale Online

Cambridge House boys’ home and Knowl View, in Rochdale, will be investigated, including claims relating to the late Cyril Smith, by Justice Lowell Goddard as part of the wide ranging inquiry into allegations of child sexual abuse and subsequent cover ups.

Justice Lowell Goddard said Rochdale Council, along with Lambeth and Nottinghamshire councils, will also be examined as part of 12 separate investigations in England and Wales.

The scale of the inquiry was “unprecedented” in the UK, but she was determined it would succeed, she added.

The inquiry is due to take five years.

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Churches join MPs as first to be investigated in abuse inquiry

UNITED KINGDOM
Church Times

by Madeleine Davies

Posted: 27 Nov 2015

THE sexual abuse of children in the Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches are to be investigated in the first phase of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, its chairwoman, Justice Lowell Goddard, confirmed on Friday.

Twelve investigations will begin immediately, Justice Goddard said, as she launched the Public Hearings Project. Also in the first tranche of institutions to be investigated are Lambeth, Nottinghamshire, and Rochdale councils. She will also look at “allegations of child sexual abuse linked to Westminster”, and the reparations available to victims and survivors of abuse.

Most, if not all of the investigations, will culminate in public hearings, she said. Further investigations will be announced as the Inquiry, expected to last five years, develops.

Justice Goddard welcomed the invitation from the Archbishop of Canterbury to investigate the Church of England as a matter of priority (News, 17 July).

The investigation will cover “the nature and extent of, and institutional responses to, child sexual abuse within the Church of England, the Church in Wales, and other Anglican churches operating in England and Wales”. It would consider the experience of Chichester, a diocese “beset by allegations of sexual abuse, and subject to numerous investigations, reviews and inquiries”, Justice Goddard said (News, 24 August, 2012).

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Notts to form part of independent inquiry into child sex abuse

UNITED KINGDOM
Newark Advertiser

One of 12 investigations in the first phase of the national independent inquiry into child sex abuse will centre on Nottinghamshire.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, also known as the Goddard Inquiry, has been set up to investigate whether public bodies and other non-state institutions have taken seriously their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse in England and Wales.

Both Nottinghamshire’s Chief Constable, Chris Eyre, and Police and Crime Commissioner, Paddy Tipping, welcomed today’s announcement by the inquiry chairman Justice Lowell Goddard.

They say they have held discussions with the inquiry team over the last eight months to encourage this focus on Nottinghamshire and the ongoing work with survivors of historical sexual abuse.

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Child sexual abuse inquiry: ‘People of public prominence’ in Westminster and alleged cover-up to be investigated

UNITED KINGDOM
The Independent

Lizzie Dearden

“Certain people of public prominence associated with Westminster” are to be investigated in Britain’s largest-ever public inquiry into child abuse.

Anglican and Catholic churches, children’s homes and councils in Lambeth, Nottinghamshire and Rochdale are also among the 12 separate investigations launched by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.

Justice Lowell Goddard, who took over as head of the probe following the resignation of two previous chairwomen, gave an update on its progress in London today.

“The investigation will focus on high-profile allegations of child sexual abuse involving current or former members of parliament, senior civil servants, government advisers and members of intelligence and security agencies,” she said.

“It will consider allegations of cover-up and conspiracy and review the adequacy of law enforcement responses to these allegations.“

The Home Secretary announced the probe up last year following claims of a high-level cover up of historic abuse but it has been beset by delays and controversy.

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Nottinghamshire among first to be investigated under national child sex abuse inquiry

UNITED KINGDOM
Retford Times

Nottinghamshire will be one of a dozen counties included in the first round of the independent inquiry into child sex abuse, it has been announced.

The chair of the investigation, Hon. Lowell Goddard DNZM, unveiled the news this morning.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, (IICSA, also known as the Goddard Inquiry) has been set up to investigate whether public bodies and other non-state institutions have taken seriously their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse in England and Wales.

Both Nottinghamshire’s Chief Constable, Chris Eyre, and Police and Crime Commissioner, Paddy Tipping, say they sincerely welcomed this announcement.

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Anglican and Catholic churches to face investigation in Lowell Goddard’s child abuse inquiry

UNITED KINGDOM
Premier

Fri 27 Nov 2015
By Hannah Tooley

The Anglican and Catholic churches will be among several institutions facing investigation in the UK’s independent child abuse inquiry.

The investigation, known as the Goddard Inquiry, is being led by Justice Lowell Goddard, who also said councils in Lambeth, Nottinghamshire and Rochdale will be examined.

The New Zealand judge set out 12 different areas which will come under scrutiny.

Simon Bass, from the Churches Child Protection Advisory Service, told Premier churches should be trustworthy places: “The Church by-and-large is a place of safety and sanctuary, but clearly it’s also a place where individuals have been harmed – and often by those individuals in positions of authority.

“This will I’m sure be a wake-up call, not just for the Church of England and the Catholic Church, but all denominations to ensure they have addressed safeguarding by current standards today and by examining past cases.”

The probe was set up last year following claims of a high-level cover up of abuse and has been beset by delays following the resignations of two previous chairwomen.

Mr Bass said that “the inquiry itself has got quite a lot of prominence, because for the first time we’ve had this national inquiry.

“Clearly within the Church there have been a number of inquiries, but this is the first independent government-backed inquiry to look at institutional abuse.”

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Child abuse inquiry: MPs, churches and spies among those examined for historic investigation

UNITED KINGDOM
International Business Times

By Ewan Palmer
November 27, 2015

Current and former MPs, local councils and the Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches are among the 12 sections of investigation during the “unprecedented” government inquiry into child abuse. Lambeth, Rochdale and Nottinghamshire councils will also be investigated over their failure to protect children from abuse in their care from paedophile gangs.

Knowl View School and Cambridge House Hostel – where former Lib Dem MP for Rochdale Cyril Smith was said to have abused children for years – will also be examined as part of the inquiry into how institutions failed to protect children.

Justice Lowell Goddard, head of the inquiry, announced 12 investigations will run at once across England and Wales. She said she hopes some of these will be concluded within 18 months, whereas others could take several years, describing the original five-year timetable for completion as “ambitious, but achievable”.

Goddard said: “The investigation will focus on high-profile allegations of child sexual abuse involving current or former members of parliament, senior civil servants, government advisers and members of intelligence and security agencies. It will consider allegations of cover-up and conspiracy and review the adequacy of law enforcement responses to these allegations.

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Child sex abuse inquiry to probe British VIPs, churches and schools

UNITED KINGDOM
Brisbane Times

November 27, 2015

Stephen Holden

London: A major British inquiry into decades of institutional child sex abuse will investigate allegations involving “people of prominence” and politicians as well as the Catholic and Anglican Churches, councils and schools, its head said on Friday.

The inquiry, which will last at least five years and cost about 18 million pounds ($36 million), was set up in July 2014 after a series of child sex abuse scandals dating back to the 1970s, some of which have involved celebrities and politicians.

Various institutions have been accused of failing to deal with abuse allegations and, in some cases, of actively covering them up at the behest of powerful establishment figures such as senior lawmakers, spies and police officers.

“We will conduct an objective fact-finding inquiry into allegations of abuse by people of public prominence associated with Westminster,” said the inquiry’s chairwoman, New Zealand High Court judge Lowell Goddard.

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Child abuse inquiry to probe ‘people of prominence’ linked to Westminster

UNITED KINGDOM
Express & Star

The Anglican and Catholic churches and “certain people of public prominence associated with Westminster” are facing investigation in the independent child abuse inquiry, it was announced today.

Justice Lowell Goddard, who is leading the probe, also said councils in Lambeth, Nottinghamshire and Rochdale will be examined.

Speaking in central London the judge set out 12 different areas which will come under scrutiny.

The probe was set up last year following claims of a high-level cover up of abuse and has been beset by delays following the resignations of two previous chairwomen.

It will be Britain’s largest-ever public inquiry and is expected to take up to five years and cost tens of millions of pounds.

Justice Goddard said: “The investigation will focus on high-profile allegations of child sexual abuse involving current or former members of parliament, senior civil servants, government advisers and members of intelligence and security agencies.

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Child sex abuse inquiry to focus on churches and politicians

UNITED KINGDOM
The Guardian

The independent inquiry into child sex abuse in England and Wales is to include current and former MPs, the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches, local councils, schools and young offender institutions.

Outlining an investigation with 12 distinct lines of inquiry, each with its own timetable of public hearings, the chair, Justice Lowell Goddard, said churches and councils in Lambeth, Nottinghamshire and Rochdale would be among the first areas investigated.

She added that the inquiry would investigate high-profile allegations of a child sex abuse ring operating in Westminster, including sitting and former members of parliament, senior civil servants and government advisers.

Goddard said: “The investigation will focus on high-profile allegations of child sexual abuse involving current or former members of parliament, senior civil servants, government advisers and members of intelligence and security agencies.

“It will consider allegations of cover-up and conspiracy and review the adequacy of law enforcement responses to these allegations.”

Among the other lines of investigation outlined were inquiries into Medomsley juvenile detention centre in County Durham, in connection with which Goddard said she had already received “many hundreds” of allegations of abuse.

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Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse announces first investigations

UNITED KINGDOM
Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

27 November

The Chair of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has today announced the first phase of investigations into the extent to which institutions have failed to protect children from sexual abuse. Hon. Lowell Goddard DNZM announced the Inquiry’s first 12 investigations which will begin immediately and provided a statement on the work of the Inquiry to date.

In her statement the Chair said:

“I am pleased to launch the Public Hearings Project by announcing the start of the Inquiry’s investigative work. Twelve investigations are proposed for this first phase. They will all begin with immediate effect and most, if not all, will culminate in public hearings. They represent the first phase of the inquiry’s investigations and are by no means the total of the work we intend to conduct; further investigations will be announced as the Inquiry progresses.

“By adopting both an institution-specific and a thematic approach, we will ensure that the Inquiry reaches its conclusions on as broad an evidence base as possible. We will not be limited to considering the particular institution that is the focus of the investigation, but will address the range of institutional responsibility for child protection.

“There is no doubt that the task we have set ourselves in the first phase is ambitious. To run 12 investigations in parallel represents an organisational challenge that is unprecedented in a public inquiry in the UK. We are determined to succeed and expect full cooperation of all institutions and individuals who can assist us in our work.”

The 12 investigations are:

1. Children in the Care of Lambeth Council

2. Children in the Care of Nottinghamshire Councils

3. Cambridge House, Knowl View and Rochdale Council

4. Child Sexual Abuse in the Anglican Church

5. Child Sexual Abuse in the Roman Catholic Church

6. The Sexual Abuse of Children in Custodial Institutions

7. Child Sexual Abuse in Residential Schools

8. The Internet and Child Sexual Abuse

9. Child Exploitation by Organised Networks

10. The Protection of Children Outside the United Kingdom

11. Accountability and Reparations for Victims and Survivors

12. Allegations of Child Sexual Abuse Linked to Westminster

The Inquiry website has been updated with documents providing more detail of the scope and focus of each of the 12 investigations. Procedural timetables for each investigation will be published early in the New Year.

Commenting on the procedure for the investigations, the Chair said:

“It is impossible to put a timescale on the completion of all of this work, but it is reasonable to assume that while some of the investigations may be completed within 18 months, others may take several years to conclude. In some cases, overlapping criminal proceedings may cause substantial delay to the progress of individual investigations. Nonetheless, in my Opening Statement I committed to completing the work of the Inquiry within five years and my current assessment is that that timeframe, whilst ambitious, is achievable.”

The Victims and Survivors Consultative Panel to the Inquiry said:

“Too many victims and survivors of child sexual abuse have suffered in silence. These investigations will give public voice to that suffering and bring greater understanding of why so many horrific crimes went unreported and undetected for so long. They will enable the Inquiry to make proposals for reforms that will better protect children in the future and improve the support and reparation available to victims and survivors.

“We welcome the progress of the Truth Project element of the Inquiry, enabling victims and survivors through their personal accounts to contribute to the Inquiry’s work. We encourage anyone who is a victim or survivor of child sexual abuse and who wants to share their experience to contact the inquiry.”

The investigations fall into two categories; institution-specific and thematic. Taken together they will cut across the five workstreams of the Inquiry:

* Allegations of abuse by people of prominence in public life – led by the Chair, Hon. Lowell Goddard DNZM

* Education and religion – led by Panel member, Prof. Malcolm Evans OBE

* Criminal Justice and law enforcement – led by Panel member, Drusilla Sharpling CBE

* Local authorities and voluntary organisations – led by Panel member, Prof. Alexis Jay OBE

* National and private service organisations – led by Panel member, Ivor Frank

Update Statement November 2015
Business Update Statement
Update Statement November 2015 – FAQs

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Churches, Westminster Figures In Abuse Inquiry

UNITED KINGDOM
Sky News

The Anglican and Catholic churches and “certain people of public prominence associated with Westminster” will be investigated by the independent abuse inquiry, it has been announced.

Justice Lowell Goddard, who is leading the investigation, also said councils in Lambeth, Nottinghamshire and Rochdale will be examined.

She set out 12 different areas which will come under scrutiny.

Justice Goddard said: “The investigation will focus on high-profile allegations of child sexual abuse involving current or former members of parliament, senior civil servants, government advisers and members of intelligence and security agencies.

“It will consider allegations of cover up and conspiracy and review the adequacy of law enforcement responses to these allegations.”

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Child abuse by Westminster VIPs, priests and celebrities will be at the centre of new multi-million pound inquiry, judge reveals

UNITED KINGDOM
Daily Mail

By MARTIN ROBINSON FOR MAILONLINE

Alleged child abuse by VIPs at Westminster, Church of England and Catholic priests and celebrities will be at the centre of the new national inquiry, it was revealed today.
Councils in Lambeth, Nottinghamshire and Rochdale will also be probed, inquiry chair Justice Lowell Goddard has announced.

Speaking in central London the New Zealand judge set out 12 different areas which will come under scrutiny.

The Anglican and Catholic churches and ‘certain people of public prominence associated with Westminster’ are facing investigation in the independent child abuse inquiry, she said.

The probe was set up last year following claims of a high-level cover up of abuse and has been beset by delays following the resignations of two previous chairwomen.

It will be Britain’s largest-ever public inquiry and is expected to take up to five years and cost tens of millions of pounds.

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Child sex abuse inquiry: Westminster, churches and local councils to be put under spotlight

UNITED KINGDOM
Telegraph

By David Barrett, Home Affairs Correspondent 27 Nov 2015

The judge leading the child sex abuse inquiry has announced the first investigations will focus on institutions in Westminster, the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches and a number of local councils.

Former Liberal MP Sir Cyril Smith was the first individual named by Justice Lowell Goddard as a person whose activities will be scrutinised.

The late MP was identified as a “specific individual” whose activities in Rochdale will be placed under the microscope.

Other strands of the inquiry will focus on Lambeth council in south London and Nottingham city council and Nottinghamshire county council, Justice Goddard said.

There will be 12 investigations initially, running in parallel, with others to follow.

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Child abuse inquiry to probe ‘people of prominence’ linked to Westminster

UNITED KINGDOM
Belfast Telegraph

The Anglican and Catholic churches and “certain people of public prominence associated with Westminster” are facing investigation in the independent child abuse inquiry, it was announced today.

Justice Lowell Goddard, who is leading the probe, also said councils in Lambeth, Nottinghamshire and Rochdale will be examined.

Speaking in central London the judge set out 12 different areas which will come under scrutiny.

The probe was set up last year following claims of a high-level cover up of abuse and has been beset by delays following the resignations of two previous chairwomen.

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Child sex abuse inquiry to focus on churches and politicians

UNITED KINGDOM
The Guardian

The independent inquiry into child sex abuse across the UK is to focus on the Anglican and Catholic church, local councils, schools and youth offender institutes and prominent figures in Westminster politics.

Outlining a dozen lines of inquiry which will each hold public hearings with victims, witnesses and experts, chair Justice Lowell Goddard said churches and councils in Lambeth, Nottinghamshire and Rochdale would be among the first areas investigated.

The investigation was set up last year following claims of a high-level cover-up of abuse and has been beset by delays following the resignations of two previous chairwomen. It will be Britain’s largest-ever public inquiry and is expected to take up to five years and cost tens of millions of pounds.

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Child sexual abuse inquiry faces huge task

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC News

By Tom Symonds
Home Affairs correspondent

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse formally opened in July – but it won’t begin public hearings until next year. So what is it up to?

Justice Lowell Goddard, the senior New Zealand judge leading it, opened the inquiry with these words: “The task ahead of us is daunting. The sexual abuse of children over successive generations has left permanent scars.”

She wasn’t overestimating the challenge.

Her terms of reference mean she will have to examine the causes and effects of child abuse in all state or non-state institutions, as far back in history as required.

That could take 10 years. No-one really believes the official estimate, that it could take five.

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Holy See loses the plot in Vatican Five trial

IRELAND
The Irish News

Tom Collins
27 November, 2015

FREEDOM of the press is one of the essential attributes of a civilised society, or so we say, yet it is always open season on journalists.

Governments distrust the press, and journalists are often the targets of oppressive regimes. I have touched before on the risks faced by reporters, photographers and cameramen and women around the world. But it is not just conflict zones where they are at threat.

An alarming number of journalists are disappeared by repressive regimes; and in our own more benign democratic environment the rich and powerful flex their muscles (or get the courts to flex muscles for them) to minimise public scrutiny.

I doubt there is a single journalist who has not been the victim of intimidation and threats. Many have risked their personal safety to bring us the news.

It is unsurprising perhaps to see tin pot Latin American dictators, jumped up Russian oligarchs, and repressive regimes such as those in North Korea, China and the Middle East turn on the media.

This week, the Holy See joined the list of countries incapable of differentiating between the importance of a free press and its own narrow self-interest.

The Church has form. Silencing dissidents has been stock in trade of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith since its foundations as the Inquisition. (Don’t mention Monty Python).

Denunciation by the Church was a sign you had something worthwhile to say. From Galileo to the theologian Hans Kung independent thinkers have been viewed with suspicion.

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Pope admits corruption in Vatican too

KENYA
ANSA

(ANSA) – Nairobi, November 27 – Pope Francis on Friday admitted that the Holy See was not immune from the plague of graft. “Corruption is in all the institutions, corruption is everywhere, there’s corruption in the Vatican too,” the pope said in response to a question from a young person during a meeting at a stadium in Nairobi. The Argentine pontiff has repeatedly spoken against against corruption, including within the Church, since being elected the head of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics in 2013.

The Vatican administration and its bank have been hit by several scandals in recent years.

This month it was hit by the so-called VatiLeaks 2 scandal and the related publication of two books using leaked Holy See papers documenting alleged waste, mismanagement and lavish spending by clergymen.

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Melbourne Hearing, Church’s legal Guidelines

AUSTRALIA
Truth Justice Healing Council

Francis Sullivan – 27 November 2015

We are now at the end of the first week of the Commission’s hearing into the way in which the Archdiocese of Melbourne dealt with years of abuse that took place in the Doveton Parish in outer suburban Melbourne.

This week has focused for the most part on the appalling behaviour of a Parish Priest call Peter Searson who seems to have been some sort of psychotic monster who used the primary schools he had control of in the 1980s as a personal fiefdom.

This week we heard about his perverted activities in the confessional with little children, his brandishing of a hand gun in front of little kids, his killing of a cat, showing children a dead body in a coffin and much more.

We also heard from teachers and a local principal at Doveton’s Holy Family Primary School about the frustration and struggle they endured as they tried to get the Catholic Education Office and Archbishop Frank Little to do something about Searson.

What we heard during the week was the story of a complete failure in administration, a refusal of church leaders to face up to the bleeding obvious and, yet again, the tragic and lifelong damage child sexual abuse has on innocent people.

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El Salvador Church suspends Father Delgado over sexual abuse

EL SALVADOR
BBC News

The Roman Catholic Church in El Salvador has suspended a well-known priest for paedophilia.

Father Jesus Delgado sexually abused a young girl over an eight-year period during the 1980s, the Church said in statement.

He is willing to meet woman, who is now 42, and ask for forgiveness, reads the statement.

The Church was forced to act after the government of El Salvador warned that it would name the priest.

Secretary of Social Inclusion Vanda Pignato informed the Catholic Church in October of the results of the government’s findings, La Prensa Grafica newspaper reported.

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El Salvadoran church suspends priest in sex abuse case

EL SALVADOR
The Hindu

AP

Amilcar Melendez, who is also a Catholic but attends another church, said Delgado should be jailed.

El Salvador’s Roman Catholic Church announced on Thursday it has suspended a well-known priest, saying he acknowledged sexually abusing a young girl.

Monsignor Jesus Delgado was the vicar general of the Archdiocese of San Salvador and was considered a close associate of assassinated Archbishop Oscar Romero.

The 77-year-old Delgado is known affectionately as “Father Chus,” the familiar form of the name Jesus. He has written two books about Romero, who was gunned down by a right-wing death squad on March 24, 1980.

The head of external affairs for the archdiocese, Monsignor Rafael Urrutia, said Delgado had acknowledged the abuse and “is willing to meet with the victim to ask her forgiveness.” Monsignor Urrutia said Delgado has been suspended from all priestly functions, including his role in canonization process for Romero.

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Woman fell pregnant to Melbourne priest

AUSTRALIA
Sky News

A Melbourne archbishop tried to convince a woman who fell pregnant to a priest to have the baby adopted, an inquiry has heard.

Frank Little, Melbourne’s archbishop from 1974 to 1996, had secret files on complaints against priests ‘acting out sexually’, the child abuse royal commission heard.

Former vicar-general Bishop Peter Connors said Archbishop Little kept his own files on the priests’ sexual conduct with adults.

Bishop Connors said Archbishop Little would confide in him, but not about all complaints about priests.

After a priest told Archbishop Little he made a woman pregnant, the priest was moved to another parish.

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Bishop defends homily for abuser priest

AUSTRALIA
Sky News

A Victorian bishop who spoke favourably at an accused pedophile priest’s funeral now says he was in an difficult and awkward position.

Fr Nazareno Fasciale was given a funeral with full religious honours when he died of cancer in 1996 while awaiting trial for child sex abuse.

Bishop Peter Connors said he felt he was in a difficult position after then Melbourne archbishop Frank Little asked him to officiate at the funeral mass.

‘I did not feel that I could make any statement about the allegations of abuse at his funeral or express sorrow to victims, when the matter had not gone to court,’ Bishop Connors said in a statement to the child abuse royal commission.

Bishop Connors, then an auxiliary bishop in the Melbourne archdiocese, said he was careful to ensure the homily referred to Fasciale’s failings and the fact that he too was a sinner.

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Melbourne archdiocese’s handling of complaints ‘amateur’, Bishop says

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian

Australian Associated Press
Friday 27 November 2015

The Melbourne archdiocese’s amateurish handling of complaints about a dangerous pedophile priest hurt a lot of people, a bishop says.

Former Melbourne archbishop Frank Little had a blind spot when it came to complaints about priests, his long-time second-in-command Bishop Peter Connors says.

The church failed to remove the gun-toting Doveton parish priest Peter Searson – described by a Catholic education staffer as “an extremely devious and dangerous man” – despite years of complaints.

“I would accept that certainly we responded in a very amateurish way and probably left a lot of people hurt,” Bishop Connors told the child abuse royal commission on Friday.

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Child abuse inquiry ‘to name institutions to be investigated’

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC News

The judge leading the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse is set to announce its first investigations.

Justice Lowell Goddard will make a public statement later outlining progress that has been made since the inquiry was formally opened in July.

She is expected to name about a dozen areas that will be examined, including naming a number of institutions in England and Wales to be investigated.

It is not thought that any individuals will be named at this stage.

The independent inquiry was launched by Home Secretary Theresa May to look at how institutions and organisations, including the BBC, police, armed forces, schools and children’s homes, handled abuse claims.

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Madrassa scandal: Why child sex abuse has no religion

INDIA
Times of India

Last Sunday VP Rajeena, a journalist in Kozhikode, Kerala, put up a Facebook post where she described the sexual abuse of children that she had witnessed in a madrassa where she had studied many years ago. What followed was a vicious outpouring of hate and threats. Indeed, there was such an avalanche of complaints against her post, complaints that she was trying to besmirch her religion, that Facebook was forced to block her account.

Rajeena, who works in a Malayalam newspaper, wrote about a teacher at a Kozhikode madrassa who allegedly groped male students. Young boys would be asked to unzip their pants and the teacher would proceed to touch them, she wrote. She also talked about another teacher who apparently abused little girls.

This could be a snapshot of child sex abuse from anywhere in the world. It should have evoked shock and outrage, consternation even, that here was one more example of the fact that the schools where we send our children to study are not safe havens of scholarship; they often harbour sexual predators who may prey on them and leave them psychologically scarred forever.

However, the anger that Rajeena’s post evoked was not directed at the paedophiles she talked about. The anger was directed at her. Online lynch mobs quickly gathered around and rained invectives on her because it was felt that by turning the spotlight on the evil of child sex abuse in a madrassa, which is an Islamic school, she was trying to discredit the schools, and by extension, the religion itself.

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Oscar contenders ‘Spotlight,’ ‘Room’ take on ‘Mockingjay’

UNITED STATES
Las Vegas Review-Journal

By Christopher Lawrence
Las Vegas Review-Journal

It isn’t quite as foolhardy as asking a teenage girl to lead a rebellion against a brutal police state.

But it’s close.

Both “Spotlight” and “Room” deal with the trauma of sexual abuse. As two of the year’s best films, they’re expected to be Oscar contenders. And they both face an uphill battle at the box office while most moviegoers will be occupied with “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2.”

It’s a tough task, but if any small films can gain traction against Katniss Everdeen, it would be these.

“Spotlight” follows the Boston Globe’s investigation that exposed the Catholic Church’s protection of pedophile priests. And, much like the explosive stories that followed, there’s very little flashy about it.

Upon his arrival from Miami, new Globe editor Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber) tasks the paper’s Spotlight team — editor Walter “Robby” Robinson (Michael Keaton) and reporters Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams), Michael Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo) and Matt Carroll (Brian d’Arcy James) — with following up on a column about a local priest charged with abusing young parishioners. A year later, the Globe exposed more than 70 additional Boston priests as well as the systemic corruption that allowed them to continue.

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Monks accused of FIVE DECADES of sexual abuse of children at Minnesota abbey – and one is alleged to have had 200 victims

MINNESOTA
Daily Mail (UK)

By REGINA F. GRAHAM FOR DAILYMAIL.COM

Shocking sex abuse allegations against 19 monks in Minnesota have been revealed in previously secret files.

The files on several monks from St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota were made public Tuesday and suggest that 19 of the men may have abused hundreds of children for more than five decades.

Attorney Jeff Anderson released the files of five of those monks – two of whom are now deceased – to encourage victims to step forward because the statute of limitations on the Child Protection Act runs out in just six months.

St. John’s Abbey agreed to release the files as part of a court settlement with a victim who was known only as John Doe No.2, KMSP reported.

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El Salvador church suspends priest over sexual abuse of minor

EL SALVADOR
Yahoo! News

By Lara Rebello | International Business Times

The Roman Catholic Church of El Salvador has announced that it has suspended a priest after he acknowledged having sexually abused a girl in the 1980s. Father Jesus Delgado is accused of abusing the minor over a period of eight years, from the time she was nine, right up to the age of 17.

The victim, who is now 42, has only asked that Delgado “leave the priesthood and apologise” for his wrongdoings.

According to the La Prensa Grafica newspaper, the country’s Secretary of Social Inclusion, Vanda Pignato brought the issue to the attention of the church in October after the results of the government’s findings were released.

The head of external affairs for the archdiocese, Monsignor Rafael Urrutia said Delgado has acknowledged the crime and has expressed his willingness to seek forgiveness from the victim. Urrutia confirmed that after an internal investigation, Delgado was suspended from all priestly functions. He added, “We will not cover up cases of abuse of minors.”

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Former priest not fit to be around children, commission told

November 27, 2015
AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

Beau Donelly
Reporter

Former archbishop Frank Little kept “secret files” detailing complaints about priests’ sexual conduct with adults, the royal commission has heard.

Bishop Peter Connors testified that Little, who was archbishop of Melbourne from 1974 to 1996, once directed him to visit a woman who had fallen pregnant to a priest.

Little had already moved the priest to a different parish but wanted his deputy to convince the mother to give up her baby.

“He eventually said to me, ‘I’ve got to move him to another state and will you go and meet the woman and get her to get the baby adopted.’ And I said, ‘She will not do that’.”

Appearing before the child abuse royal commission on Friday, Bishop Connors, former vicar-general, said he failed to investigate allegations against paedophile priest Peter Searson because he “foolishly trusted” him.

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November 26, 2015

Cardinal George Pell locked in two-front battle at the Vatican

VATICAN CITY
Sydney Morning Herald

November 27, 2015

Desmond O’Grady

Cardinal George Pell is fighting battles on two fronts, one financial and the other in the realm of church doctrine, an area in which he managed to irk Pope Francis.

The Australian cardinal is attacked in two new books by Italian journalists as a “spendthrift moraliser” who spent €500,000 ($730,000) in his first six months as Prefect of the Vatican Secretariat for the Economy.

The journalists, Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi, are being tried in the Vatican for using its secret documents, together with three Vatican employees for supplying them. The trio of employees worked for COSEA, a now dissolved commission set up by Pope Francis to identify financial situations needing reform after much mismanagement and corruption.

Fittipaldi’s book is called Avarizia (Avarice), Nuzzi’s book has been translated into English as Merchants in the Temple.

The COSEA documents portray the situation at the beginning of last year when Francis appointed Cardinal Pell as a new broom and the two books are largely based on them. Nuzzi’s book has a transcript of a February 24, 2014, meeting in which Francis surprised the 15-member cardinalate commission, which controlled the Vatican budget, by telling them they were being replaced by Cardinal Pell and his Secretariat. He praised Cardinal Pell for stepping down from being Primate of the Australian Catholic Church to become a banker.

The Secretariat has replied that the expenses were not €500,000 but €292,000 and included establishing both the Secretariat office and its chapel.

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El juez procesa al padre Román por indicios racionales de abusos sexuales contra un menor

ESPANA
RTVE

El juez instructor del caso Romanones sobre abusos sexuales presuntamente cometidos por sacerdotes a menores, ha acordado procesar al padre Román M.V.C. por un supuesto delito de abuso sexual continuado con prevalimiento, al considerar que existen indicios racionales de criminalidad en su conducta contra el denunciante de los hechos cuando éste era menor de edad.

En un auto fechado el 26 de noviembre, al que ha tenido acceso Europa Press, el titular del Juzgado de Instrucción número 4, el magistrado Antonio Moreno, declara procesado al padre Román por el citado delito, castigado con pena de prisión de cuatro a diez años, como paso previo a recibirle en declaración indagatoria y confirma la responsabilidad civil subsidiaria del Arzobispado de Granada.

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El juez procesa al líder de los Romanones por supuestos abusos sexuales

ESPANA
ABC

[A magistrate in Granada, Spain, has issued an indictment against the leader of a group of priests and laity known as the Romanones for alleged sexaul abuse of a child.]

DIEGO MÁRQUEZ
Granada – 26/11/2015

Diego Márquez. El titular del Juzgado de Instrucción 4 de Granada, Antonio Moreno, ha dictado auto de procesamiento contra el líder del grupo de sacerdotes y seglares conocido como los Romanones por supuestos abusos sexuales a un joven cuando era menor de edad. El juez observa «indicios racionales de criminalidad» en el padre Román, que era párroco de la iglesia de San Juan María Vianney de Granada donde conoció al chaval que fue allí monaguillo.

El auto de procesamiento mantiene la situación de libertad provisional al padre Román, para la que tuvo que pagar una fianza de 10.000 euros, y prorroga la medida cautelar de alejamiento y prohibición de comunicación de la víctima, que ahora tiene 25 años y vive en Navarra. Se llamará al procesado a una declaración indagatoria en los próximos días, en fecha que aún se desconoce, para concluir la instrucción antes de que, previsiblemente, se siente en el banquillo por un supuesto delito de abuso sexual «continuado con introducción de miembro corporal por vía anal, y tentativa de introducción de miembro viril», con prevalimiento, es decir haciendo valer su posición de poder. El Código Penal lo castiga con penas de cárcel de entre 4 y 10 años de prisión.

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No effort was made to save Protestant orphans from neglect

IRELAND
Irish Examiner

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Conal Ó Fátharta’s indepth article (Irish Examiner, November 23) exposed the scandal of child mortality in Bessborough mother and baby home during the 1940s.

He showed how the state had to battle with the Roman Catholic Church to bring in reforms. Ó Fátharta demonstrated how even Bessborough’s medical officer, Dr O’Connor, tried to justify death and illness, because the children were ‘illegitimate’.

Dr James Deeny became Chief Medical Advisor of the new Department of Health in 1944. It was he who raised the storm between Church and State. He detailed visiting Bessborough in ‘To Cure and to Care’ (1989, p85’). “I… could not make out what was wrong; at last I took a notion and stripped all the babies and, unusually, for a Chief Medical Advisor, examined them. Every baby had some purulent infection of the skin and all had green diarrhoea, carefully covered up… without any legal authority I closed the place down and sacked the matron, a nun, and also got rid of the medical officer. The deaths had been going on for years. They had done nothing about it.”

I write because not so long before this, in 1939, the then Deputy Chief Medical Advisor, Dr Winslow Sterling Berry, was tasked with investigating large scale increases in death and illness in Dublin’s Protestant evangelical Bethany Home. Since outsiders had publicised removing children to hospital, Sterling Berry visited Bethany three times in 1939. Each time he covered up death and neglect.

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Padre Jesús Delgado, suspendido por la iglesia por pederastia

EL SALVADOR
La Prensa Grafica

El Arzobispado de San Salvador informó hoy que monseñor Jesús Delgado fue suspendido de sus funciones en la Iglesia Católica debido a una denuncia por pederastia, de la cual informó ayer la secretaria de Inclusión Social, Vanda Pignato.

Pignato dijo ayer, en el programa radial de Pencho y Aida, que al sacerdote “le gusta mucho hacer misas para niños, pero es un pedófilo”.

Delgado no podrá ejercer ninguna función sacerdotal, pastoral ni administrativa, según detalló el Arzobispado mediante un comunicado de prensa.

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Monseñor Jesús Delgado confesó haber violado a una niña

EL SALVADOR
Zocalo Saltillo

El Salvador.- Representantes del Arzobispado de San Salvador informaron esta mañana sobre la separación de todas sus actividades pastorales de monseñor Jesús Delgado, quien ha confesado haber violado a una niña en la década de los 80.

“Nuestra Arquiodiócesis no va a encubrir ningún caso de abuso de menores, al contrario estará siempre en favor de la justicia y la verdad y en defensa de los niños”, reza el comunicado que leyó monseñor Rafael Urrutia.

Urrutia mencionó que Delgado ha sido suspendido de todas sus funciones mientras se desarrolla el proceso en su contra, el cual se hará únicamente a nivel de la iglesia, ya que judicialmente el delito prescribió. La suspensión incluye su participación en la comisión postuladora ante el Vaticano de las causas de monseñor Óscar Arnulfo Romero y del padre Rutilio Grande.

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Senior El Salvador priest fired over alleged sex with minor

EL SALVADOR
Daily Mail (UK)

SAN SALVADOR, Nov 26 (Reuters) – El Salvador’s Roman Catholic Church said on Thursday it had fired a senior priest and former secretary of murdered Archbishop Oscar Romero after allegations that he had sex with a minor.

The Archdiocese of San Salvador said its preliminary investigation showed Jesus Delgado, 77, the third-ranking priest in the country’s Catholic church, had sex with a minor aged between 9 and 17.

The female victim, who is now 42, presented the allegations to the Salvadoran government.

“We will not cover up cases of abuse of minors,” said Monsignor Rafael Urrutia, chancellor of the Archdiocese of San Salvador. He added that Delgado had been relieved of his duties and was ready to ask the victim’s forgiveness.

Delgado was the biographer and personal secretary of the Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero, who was shot by a right-wing death squad while giving mass in 1980.

Pope Francis has criticized conservative clergy and bishops who he said “defamed” Romero.

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Ministerin: Kein Geld für Arbeiten zu Missbrauch

DEUTSCHLAND
RP Online

[The commission on child sexual abuse will have to do without a cash infusion.]

Berlin. Die Aufarbeitungskommission zu sexuellem Kindesmissbrauch muss auf eine Geldspritze des Forschungsministeriums verzichten. Das Ressort plane keine finanzielle Unterstützung der Kommission, teilte ein Sprecher von Ministerin Johanna Wanka (CDU) mit. Man fördere auf Empfehlung des früheren runden Tisches “Sexueller Kindesmissbrauch” Forschungsvorhaben zur Bildungs- und Gesundheitsforschung mit rund 35 Millionen Euro.

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Geldmangel bei Aufarbeitung sexuellen Kindesmissbrauchs

DEUTSCHLAND
RP Online

[A special commission for reappraisal of child sexual abuse should be operational in a few weeks. But they are still fighting for financing.]

Berlin. In wenigen Wochen soll die Kommission zur Aufarbeitung sexuellen Kindesmissbrauchs ihre Arbeit aufnehmen. Doch noch immer kämpft der Unabhängige Beauftragte der Bundesregierung, Johannes-Wilhelm Rörig, um die Finanzierung. Von Jan Drebes
“Ich bin verärgert, dass ich bis heute keine verbindliche Zusage der Bundesregierung zur Finanzierung der Kommission habe”, sagte Rörig auf Anfrage. Aktuell sei völlig unklar, ob die für 2016 bereitgestellten Mittel aus dem Familienministerium auch für die Jahre 2017 und 2018 gesichert seien. “Aber nur wenn das der Fall ist, kann ich die Kommission im Januar 2016 an den Start bringen”, sagte Rörig und droht nun mit Einschnitten.

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Child sexual abuse inquiry: County council to discover on Friday if they will be included in investigation

UNITED KINGDOM
Newark Advertiser

Alan Rhodes will make “an unreserved apology” to survivors of child abuse if Nottinghamshire County Council is found to have failed in its duty of care.

The leader of the county council was speaking ahead of tomorrow’s announcement by Lowell Goddard, chair of the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse, about which investigations will form the first part of the inquiry’s major work.

Nottinghamshire County Council will find out then if it will be examined by the inquiry.

Currently, two investigations – Operation Daybreak and Operation Xeres – are being run by Nottinghamshire Police. Xeres concerns allegations in north Nottinghamshire, including at South Collingham Hall and Caudwell House in Southwell. All of the centres have either closed or changed use since the alleged abuse, and none of the allegations relate to their current use.

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Historical child abuse: Council to apologise if failed

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC News

An “unreserved apology” has been promised if a local authority’s care system is found to have failed alleged victims of historical child abuse.

Police are investigating allegations of abuse at children’s homes and secure units in Nottinghamshire committed over a number of years.

Alan Rhodes, the county council leader, pledged to expose any wrongdoing and help bring perpetrators to justice.

Campaigners lobbied the authority to demand more support for those affected.

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Vatileaks, i messaggi hot del monsignore

ROMA
Il Giorno

di NINA FABRIZIO

Roma, 26 novembre 2015 – SPUNTANO passaggi torbidi, con contenuti fortemente espliciti anche sul piano sessuale. E minacce, intimidazioni per nulla velate. Ma emerge anche come si muovesse con una disinvoltura spregiudicata Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui, la pierre – ora imputata nel Vatileaks due -, fintanto che era membro della Cosea, la commissione referente vaticana sui tagli di spesa. Tanto che risulta dagli atti del fascicolo con cui il pm vaticano ha ottenuto il suo rinvio a giudizio, come promettesse anche ai genitori del premier Matteo Renzi incontri a Santa Marta con papa Francesco in persona. Riuscendo a portarli fin sotto l’uscio di Bergoglio senza che l’incontro andasse all’ultimo momento in porto.

SONO CENTINAIA i messaggi via Whatsapp tra Chaouqui e il monsignore spagnolo, Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda, anche lui ora imputato con le accuse di divulgazione di documenti riservati e associazione a delinquere. All’epoca della commissione, sciolta l’anno scorso, i due avevano un legame di ferro poi naufragato. Ma ancora la primavera scorsa la confidenza era massima. «Senti scrive – Chaouqui a Vallejo – ora che vai a San Sosti (il paese in Calabria di cui è originaria) – mia mamma ti porta da Silvana… è perfetta, ed è una mia cugina, così può anche essere salvato il patrimonio genetico. Poi mi dici che ne pensi. 36 anni. Morbida». La risposta di Vallejo sembra mostrare interesse: «Hmmmmm». Scrivono gli inquirenti che il prelato risulta poi essere andato a San Sosti, a casa della famiglia Chaouqui. «Martedì sera viene a casa tua a trombare. Ok?».

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Explicit messages between Vatileaks trial defendants published

ROME
Irish Times

Paddy Agnew in Rome

The ongoing Vatican City trial into the theft of confidential Holy See documents, popularly known as Vatileaks 2, took a sensational turn this morning when the Milan daily, Il Giorno, published a selection of “hot” text messages exchanged by two of the defendants, Spanish Monsignor Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda and Holy See lay consultant Francesca Chaouqui.

Msgr Balda (54), who works for the Vatican Prefecture of Economic Affairs, and 33-year-old PR consultant Ms Chaouqui, are arguably the two major defendants in the Vatileaks trial. Both of them are accused of having abused their position on Cosea, a short-term economic reform commission to which they were appointed by Pope Francis in 2013.

In essence, the Vatican prosecution argues that they leaked confidential documents from the commission, documents that ended up in two current Italian best-sellers, Greed by Emiliano Fittipaldi and Merchants of the Temple by Gianluigi Nuzzi. Both authors are also on trial in Vatileaks 2.

Hundreds of text messages, usually exchanged on WhatsApp, between Msgr Balda and Ms Chaouqui depict a close relationship between the pair which steadily deteriorates. At one point, Ms Chaouqui attempts to arrange a meeting between the monsignor and her cousin, Silvana, writing to him: “On Tuesday night, she will be coming round to your place to f**k . . . You are perfect and Silvana is very soft . . .”

The monsignor declines the offer, however, replying: “Forget it, she is ugly . . .”

Il Giorno claims that the hundreds of text messages form part of the prosecution’s case against both defendants. The paper points out that, as time goes by, the once-warm relationship between the defendants deteriorates. At one point, Ms Chaouqui calls the monsignor an “egotistical pr**k” because he will not help her organise for a TV crew to do some filming in the Sistine Chapel.

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Stormont officials must give evidence over abuse inquiry victims

NORTHERN IRELAND
Belfast Telegraph

Stormont officials are to be compelled to give evidence to an Assembly committee on a controversy surrounding victims who fall outside the terms of the on-going Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) inquiry.

Members of the committee that scrutinises the Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) voted to trigger the exceptional step after a failed year-long quest to obtain information.

The committee’s repeated requests for a briefing about what OFMDFM was going to do for abuse victims not covered by the HIA’s terms of reference have not been fulfilled.

The inquiry established by the Stormont Executive is currently hearing the testimony of residents who were abused in church, state and voluntary run institutions from 1922 to 1995, but only those who were under 18 at the time the crimes were committed.

That excludes older victims, such as young women abused in Magdalene Laundry-type institutions.

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‘Spotlight’ filmmakers defend portrayal of BC spokesman

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Globe

By Evan Allen GLOBE STAFF NOVEMBER 26, 2015

The filmmakers behind “Spotlight,” the movie about The Boston Globe’s investigation of the coverup of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests, this week defended their portrayal of a Boston College spokesman in the film, and refused to remove the scene in which he appears.

The contested scene shows a meeting at Boston College High School between Boston College spokesman Jack Dunn; the high school’s president, Bill Kemeza; Globe reporters Walter “Robby” Robinson and Sacha Pfeiffer; and a composite character, in which they discuss whether past administrators were aware of sexual abuse.

Dunn’s character says at one point, “It’s a big school, Robby, you know that. And we’re talking about seven alleged victims over, what, eight years?”

In a letter to the moviemakers dated Nov. 18, an attorney for Dunn said the scene casts the BC spokesman as a collaborator in the coverup, and called the portrayal “defamatory,” and a “devastating fabrication.” He demanded the scene be removed, and has pressed his case in recent days in newspaper and television interviews.

But in a response dated Nov. 24, the filmmakers “respectfully, but vigorously” disagreed.

“The gist of Mr. Dunn’s claim is that ‘Spotlight’ implies that he actively conspired with the Catholic Church to cover up child abuse,” the letter from Breaking News Productions, Participant Media, and Open Road Films reads. “However, the portrayal of Mr. Dunn, which amounts to a few lines in one scene of a two-hour, eight-minute movie does not support this implication. And the implication that actually arises — that Dunn is a trained public-relations professional who cares deeply about the reputation of BC High — is not actionable.”

During the scene, Dunn’s character states that the reporters are “reaching” for a story, and tells Robinson that “you care about the school as much as we do.” Dunn’s attorney argued that the character appears to be attempting to “suppress the truth and minimize the Globe reporting about the abuse of children.”

But the filmmakers say that is a fundamental misunderstanding of the scene, which they say was not about whether abuse occurred, but whether past administrators knew it was happening at the time. Dunn, their letter states, is not depicted trying to cover up any abuse. Rather, they say, he is shown arguing simply that past administrators may not have known about it in part because of the size of the school.

“A reasonable viewer of the film would conclude that Mr. Dunn, who is accurately characterized as an alumnus and public-relations professional from an affiliated institution, was concerned about the reputation of BC High, and acted in concert with his affiliation and professional training,” says the moviemakers’ letter, which includes multiple legal citations supporting their argument.

The filmmakers based the scene on the recollections of Robinson, which were vetted by Pfeiffer, according to the letter.

On Wednesday night, Robinson said the scene is faithful to what occurred in the meeting, which was depicted in the movie as happening in 2001, though in reality it occurred in 2002.

“It was a not-atypical encounter between a reporter with tough questions and a public relations representative who is doing his very best to minimize the damage that is going to be done to his institution in what is clearly going to be an unhappy story,” said Robinson, who spoke on behalf of himself and Pfeiffer. “That’s what happened in 2002, and that’s what the scene is about.”

Robinson, a BC High alum, said he had a vivid recollection of what happened because the meeting itself was very difficult for him.

“This was my school, which I love. And it was a very painful interview for me to do, at an institution which I remain very close to. So I remember it quite well,” he said.

He acknowledged he did not remember the verbatim words spoken by each person, but said Dunn did what any public relations person would do: He challenged the notion that administrators knew about the abuse at the time it happened. It was a moment made even more memorable, Robinson said, by Kemeza interrupting Dunn to say if he had been president at the time, he would have known.

Kemeza did not respond to messages seeking comment.

Dunn referred comments to his attorney, David H. Rich, who in a statement said it was “remarkably disappointing that the makers of a movie about investigative journalism would fabricate quotes about a real individual’s response to the horrific clergy abuse sex scandal and contend that this was legally permissible or morally correct.”

Rich said the “It’s a big school, Robby” line was originally written for the fictional character, and said the shifting of dialogue from a fictional character to a real person was “a transparent attempt to portray him as one of the villains in the movie.”

Evan Allen can be reached at evan.allen@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @evanmallen.

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Ontario lawyer faces more misconduct allegations from residential school survivors

CANADA
CBC News

By Jody Porter, CBC News Posted: Nov 26, 2015

Twenty-one residential school survivors have come forward with new allegations of professional misconduct against lawyer Doug Keshen, from Kenora, Ont., according to the Law Society of Upper Canada.

The Law Society Tribunal is already looking into several previous allegations against Keshen, including a claim that he transferred settlement funds of residential school clients to himself.

Keshen denied the previous allegations, telling CBC News earlier this year that all of his clients “received their full entitlement.”

Four of the 21 new complainants allege Keshen arranged for high interest loans, secured against anticipated settlement funds, which is prohibited by the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.

There are also claims that Keshen withdrew legal fees and disbursements from survivors’ settlement funds without sending them a bill or setting out what the fees would be.

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Fr Tom Shields ‘fully restored to ministry’ after historical abuse investigation

SCOTLAND
Scottish Catholic Observer

Former parish priest of St John the Baptist in Perth as been appointed as parish priest of St Fillan’s Church, Crieff and St Margaret’s Church, Comrie

Fr Tom Shields has been appointed as parish priest of St Fillan’s Church, Crieff and St Margaret’s Church, Comrie, after being restored to ministry in Dunkeld Diocese.

Fr Shields (above) was temporarily removed from parish ministry at St John the Baptist, Perth, in August after a complaint of historical abuse was made against him. The diocese followed national safeguarding protocols, and referred the complaint to police. The police have now confirmed they are not actively investigating, and the Church said their investigation found no evidence of criminality.

“In August, a historical allegation was made against Fr Tom Shields, parish priest of St John the Baptist Church, Perth; he was removed temporarily from parish ministry, while the necessary police and diocesan investigations were conducted,” a Church spokesman said. “This process is now complete and Fr Shields has been fully restored to ministry in the Diocese of Dunkeld.”

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Does George Pell still have questions to answer over his handling of child sexual abuse claims?

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

[with video]

Cardinal George Pell is due to re-appear before the Royal Commission next month over his handling of allegations of child sexual abuse. One survivor of abuse gives evidence for the first time and claims George Pell downplayed the conduct of her abuser at a previous parliamentary inquiry.

Louise Milligan

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Next month, Catholic Cardinal George Pell will make his much-anticipated appearance before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

New evidence about the case of Victorian predatory priest Peter Searson raises new questions for Cardinal Pell about how he managed allegations of sexual abuse.

The cardinal has consistently defended his handling of abuse by the clergy, but one victim claims she has evidence he knew far more than he’s let on.

Louise Milligan has the story.

LOUISE MILLIGAN, REPORTER: Julie Stewart is coming back to Melbourne, a place she ran away from almost 20 years ago.

JULIE STEWART: I just wanted it out of my life. We moved to Cairns. Been there ever since.

LOUISE MILLIGAN: What Julie ran away from is the abuse she suffered at her Catholic primary school, Holy Family Doveton in outer Melbourne. Here abused was parish priest, one Peter Searson.

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Ballarat child sex abuse survivors unite with residents to march against abuse

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By Charlotte King

Victims of child sex abuse have joined more than 100 residents in a community march across Ballarat.

The march was intended to coincide with the child sex abuse royal commission’s public hearings into the Melbourne diocese, which is expected to start this week.

The second hearings into Ballarat clergy abuse will start as part of the same sitting.

The march was launched at the old St Alipius Primary School site, where five staff were found to be convicted paedophiles.

Several victims of child sex abuse were marching for the first time, including one survivor, who asked only to be named as Humphrey.

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Last word: Croody’s Investor Services upgrades Vatican Bank

VATICAN CITY
IR Magazine

November 26, 2015 | By Clare Harrison

Bank benefits from robust stewardship of de facto non-exec chair Pope Francis

New York – Croody’s today upgrades the foreign currency long-term deposit rating of the Vatican Bank (formally known as the Institute for Religious Works) to BBB+ status.

Croody’s typically retrospective grading reflects the following key drivers:

1) Initiation of a careful process to reverse historical ‘light-touch’ approach to tax evasion, mafia drug money laundering and fraud, while protecting economic and financial stability
2) Improvements to governance and transparency initiated by non-executive director Pope Francis, the 266th pope of the Catholic Church
3) Expectation of further improvement in the bank’s earnings over the next three to four years.

Summary

The bank, which has an estimated $8 bn in assets, has benefited from the more robust stewardship in the form of its de facto non-executive chairman Pope Francis. The pontiff’s non-deal US roadshow at the end of Q3 2015 came on the back of stellar earnings growth (20x) the previous year and underlines management improvements at the bank.

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Abuse royal commission: ex-archbishop Frank Little ‘refused to act’

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

NOVEMBER 27, 2015

Tessa Akerman
Reporter
Melbourne

Shocking details of former Melbourne archbishop Frank Little’s failure to deal with a gun-toting pedophile priest have emerged at the royal commission into child sex abuse.

Former Catholic Education Office chief Tom Doyle has ­revealed he went direct to the late archbishop about complaints regarding the wildly unpredictable Father Peter Searson. Little had refused to act.

The commission also heard that Little received letters from parishioners and other concerned parties complaining about Searson. In 1982, Little received a letter from a parishioner who said he had instructed his children not to be alone in Searson’s office.

He also received a letter from fellow priest Philip O’Donnell saying: “I have not the slightest doubt that Peter is psychologic­ally unsuitable to be the pastor of this parish, or any other … His utter humiliation of women has to be seen to be ­believed. He revels in reducing people to tears.”

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Priest accused of exposing self to police gets 6 months probation

TEXAS
San Antonio Express-News

By Elizabeth Zavala
November 25, 2015

A Catholic priest who was arrested in April and charged with indecent exposure after police said he solicited sex has pleaded no contest.

Rocky Henri Lee Grimard, an Oblate of Mary Immaculate priest from Canada, was arrested April 1 after he approached undercover park police officers at Olmos Park, solicited oral sex from one of them and exposed himself to conduct a sex act, according to a report.

The officers said Grimard then touched the crotch of one of the officers, after which they identified themselves and took him into custody, the report stated. He was later released after posting $1,600 bail.

“Father Grimard does not have an assignment in the Archdiocese of San Antonio,” said Jordan McMorrough, director of communications for the archdiocese. “At the time of his arrest on April 1, he was serving at the Lebh Shomea House of Prayer in Sarita.”

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Lawyers for Jack Dunn and ‘Spotlight’ engage in war of words

BOSTON (MA)
Media Nation

Dan Kennedy

The dispute between Boston College spokesman Jack Dunn and the makers of “Spotlight” is escalating. “Spotlight,” as you no doubt know, is a movie about The Boston Globe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting on the pedophile-priest scandal in the Catholic Church.

For the past few days, starting with a Kevin Cullen column in Sunday’s Globe, Dunn has been making media appearances claiming that he was falsely portrayed in the movie as uncaring toward victims at BC High School. The filmmakers have pushed back hard, arguing that the depiction of Dunn is accurate and that it was vetted by Globe reporters Walter Robinson and Sacha Pfeiffer.

According to an exchange of letters that I obtained this evening, Dunn’s lawyers are accusing the filmmakers of portraying Dunn in a way that is “false, malicious and fabricated.” The letter on behalf of Dunn, addressed primarily to screenwriters Tom McCarthy and Joshua Singer (McCarthy is also the director), says in part:

In general, the film, in dramatic fashion, divides the individuals it depicts into those who heroically searched for the truth about the horrific sexual abuse of children by members of the clergy and those who sought to suppress facts about the abuse. In a critical scene in the film, which is nearly entirely fabricated, Spotlight squarely and falsely places Mr. Dunn in the category of those who actively attempted to interfere with and thwart the efforts of the Boston Globe reporters to unearth and report on the abuse scandal.
In their answer, the filmmakers’ lawyers “respectfully, but vigorously, disagree with your allegation that the film defames Mr. Dunn.” Here’s a key excerpt:

Most importantly, the film’s portrayal of Mr. Dunn is substantially true. It is based on the recollections of Walter Robinson and was vetted by him and Sacha Pfeiffer. Mr. Dunn’s overarching concern for Boston College High School (and Boston College) is reflected in contemporaneous and later media accounts. Indeed, there is no evidence that Mr. Dunn was an outspoken advocate for transparency or accountability before the Boston Globe broke the story, or that he came forward on his own to initiate an investigation into abuse at BC High before the Globe’s coverage forced the school to act.

I am posting these rather lengthy documents in the interest of putting them before the public in advance of what could be a significant legal battle.

Click here (pdf) for the full letter (with exhibits) from Dunn’s lawyers, David H. Rich and Howard M. Cooper of the Boston firm Todd & Weld.

Click here (pdf) for the full letter (also with exhibits) from the filmmakers’ lawyer, Alonzo Wickers IV of the Los Angeles firm Davis Wright Tremaine. No, I do not know why parts of it have been highlighted in yellow.

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Vic archbishop did nothing about priest

AUSTRALIA
Sky News

A parish priest should have been removed over his ‘extremely alarming’ behaviour but then Melbourne archbishop Frank Little did nothing, an inquiry has heard.

Former Catholic Education director Monsignor Thomas Doyle agreed Archbishop Little did nothing about parishioners’ complaints about Doveton parish priest Peter Searson.

‘In my opinion he should have be removed from the parish,’ he said.

Monsignor Doyle said he expressed that view ‘constantly to the archbishop’.

But royal commission chair Justice Peter McClellan asked Monsignor Doyle why he did not do more himself about Searson’s ‘extremely alarming’ behaviour.

‘I would have thought it was no use to go to the regional bishop. If I couldn’t convince the archbishop I don’t think the regional bishop could have either.’

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Archbishop ‘shut his eyes’ to sex abuse allegations against priest: royal commission

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

November 26, 2015

Beau Donelly

Former Melbourne Archbishop Frank Little “shut his eyes” to child sex abuse allegations against a priest, the royal commission has heard.

Appearing before the commission on Thursday, former head of the Catholic Education Office Monsignor Thomas Doyle accepted that the handling of allegations against clergy rested entirely on the judgment of the archbishop.

When asked by counsel assisting the commission, Stephen Fee, why the Archbishop failed to investigate complaints against Doveton parish priest Peter Searson, Monsignor Doyle said he believed his superior had an “exaggerated respect” for the priesthood.

“I think he was in some sort of denial that these things were happening,” he said.

“So he was shutting his eyes to it?” Mr Free asked.

“Yes”

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Archbishop ‘in denial’ about abuser priest

AUSTRALIA
Sky News

A Melbourne archbishop was blinded by loyalty to the priesthood when he ignored years of complaints from parishioners about a gun-toting paedophile priest, an inquiry has heard.

Hundreds of complaints about Doveton parish priest Peter Searson went nowhere because then Melbourne archbishop Frank Little did not want to believe it.

Monsignor Thomas Doyle told the sex abuse royal commission that Archbishop Little was blinded to reality by his great respect for the priesthood and loyalty to priests.

‘I think he had an exaggerated respect for the priesthood, and I think he really didn’t think these things were happening,’ the archdiocese’s former Catholic Education Office (CEO) director said.

‘I don’t think he believed Fr Searson was innocent, but I think he was in some sort of denial that these things were happening.’

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Suspended priest allowed to return to work following investigation

SCOTLAND
The Courier

By JAMIE BUCHAN, 26 November 2015

A Perth priest who was suspended over historic abuse allegations has said goodbye to his congregation and thanked them for their support.

Father Tom Shields was ordered to stand down earlier this summer after a serious complaint was made against him.

The Catholic Church suspended him from his duties while police were called to investigate.

Now he has been allowed to return to work, but has been told not to go back to his old parish.

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Canada Commits an Abuse of Process in Newfoundland Indian Residential School Trial

CANADA
CNW

ST. JOHN’S, Nov. 25, 2015 /CNW/ – On November, 25, 2015, Justice Robert Stack of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador held that Canada has committed an abuse of process against the Plaintiffs and the Province in the ongoing Indian Residential School trial.

In his reasons, Justice Stack found that Canada’s attempt to re-litigate a decision made 2 years ago in the very same proceedings constituted “a collateral attack” on the court’s previous decision.

Justice Stack also found that “It is unconscionable that a party would raise an important legal issue mid-trial that has already been decided against it – with its concurrence – earlier in the same proceeding”.

The Court also took the uncharacteristic step of ordering Canada to pay the legal costs of the Plaintiffs and the Province. Costs are only awarded in class proceedings in Newfoundland and Labrador in cases of egregious conduct.

Kirk Baert, lead counsel for the Plaintiffs, has stated “Canada’s primary tactic over the 8 years that this case has been litigated has been to delay its timely resolution. Class members are elderly and have died in the interim without any access to justice. The finding that Canada has abused this court’s process is long overdue.”

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Ruling in N.L. residential schools says Canada ‘abused process’

CANADA
CBC News

A judge in St. John’s has ruled that the federal government has abused the process in the Newfoundland Indian Residential School Trial.

Judge Robert Stack, of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador, awarded costs to the province of Newfoundland and Labrador and the more than 1,000 people in the class action who claim they were abused at residential schools in the province.

The class action involves former students from aboriginal communities who attended residential schools in Labrador and northern Newfoundland, including in periods before Newfoundland entered into Confederation with Canada in 1949.

The federal government has maintained that the schools at the centre of the class action were not created under the Indian Act and therefore were not true residential schools.

Stack on Wednesday found that the federal government’s attempt to re-litigate a decision made two years ago in the long-running court battle constituted a “collateral attack” on the prior decision — a ruling that pleased one of the lawyers representing former residents.

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Journalists backed against Vatican clampdown

ROME
The Irish Catholic

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has announced its support for Italian journalists Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi, who have been indicted by the Vatican, along with three others, for the crime of disseminating secret documents.

“By writing Avarizia [Avarice] and Via Crucis [published in English as Merchants in the Temple] Italian journalists Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi just exercised their right to provide information in the public interest and should not be treated as criminals in a country that supposedly respects media freedom,” according to Alexandra Geneste, head of RSF’s EU-Balkans bureau.

Mr Nuzzi cited his free speech rights to justify his refusal to be questioned by Vatican investigators after his book Merchants in the Temple contained material that had apparently been leaked in contravention on Law XI of the Vatican City State, which rules that disseminating illegally obtained documents is a crime punishable with prison sentences and heavy fines.

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‘Spotlight’ Producers Refuse To Cut Jack Dunn Scene

MASSACHUSETTS
CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) – The makers of the movie “Spotlight” are refusing to cut a scene a Boston man claims ruined his reputation.

Jack Dunn, the longtime spokesman for Boston College, says the scene suggests he tried to interfere with the Boston Globe investigation into the cover-up of abusive priests.

“Hollywood needed a villain, and in this particular scene they assigned that to me,” Dunn said in an interview with WBZ-TV’s Paula Ebben earlier this week.

Dunn’s lawyer is threatening to sue the moviemakers if they do not delete the scene.

They have responded with a 38 page letter, saying “Mr. Dunn’s interpretation of the film’s portrayal of him is incorrect. The film does not imply that he conspired with the Catholic Church to cover up any abuse… Courts have recognized that producers may compress events as they see fit as long as the depiction of the events themselves is substantially true… We respectfully decline to alter the film.”

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Globe reporters defend portrayal of Jack Dunn in movie

MASSACHUSETTS
Boston Herald

Jack Encarnacao Thursday, November 26, 2015

Two Boston Globe reporters depicted in the new Hollywood flick “Spotlight” broke their silence last night, saying the movie accurately portrays a Boston College spokesman’s stance during the paper’s investigation of the archdiocese clergy sex abuse scandal.

That spokesman, Jack Dunn, is demanding a scene be removed of his character trying to minimize the church abuse story.

In a joint statement, the Globe’s Walter Robinson and Sacha Pfeiffer said the scene captures Dunn’s “spirited public relations defense of BC High during our first sit-down interview at the school in early 2002.”

“Both of us were there for the interview, and we consider the scene faithful to what happened,” the statement reads. “The scene depicts a fairly common exchange involving reporters who have unpleasant questions to ask and a skilled public relations person doing his best to frame a story in the most favorable way possible for the institution he is representing. That’s what Jack did that day.”

A lawyer for “Spotlight,” Alonzo Wickers IV, wrote that the scene in question was derived from an interview screenwriter Josh Singer conducted with Robinson, in which Robinson 
recalled Dunn saying he couldn’t imagine past BC High administrators would know about sexual offenses made by the Rev. James Talbot.

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Cardinal George Pell calls Catholic Church’s handling of child sex abuse complaints ‘shameful’

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

The Catholic Church’s failure to deal with Melbourne paedophile priests is shameful, Cardinal George Pell has said in a statement from the Vatican.

Cardinal Pell, now the Vatican’s financial chief, said church leaders had failed to address the conduct of abusers such as Father Peter Searson but had again defended his handling of abuse complaints.

Father Searson, who died in 2009, was never convicted of a sex offence.

One of his victims, Julie Stewart, criticised Cardinal Pell for telling a Victorian inquiry there may have been victims of Father Searson, after years earlier apologising to her for the abuse.

When questioned in 2013 by Victorian MP Frank McGuire, Cardinal Pell defended his actions in relation to Father Searson.

“No conviction was recorded for Searson on sexual misbehaviour. There might be victims,” the official transcript said.

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Cardinal Pell, his lawyers and the Royal Commission

AUSTRALIA
Independent Australia

Given the high degree of scrutiny applied to Pell by the commission and the media, Father Frank Brennan argues that it’s only fair his lawyers cross examine the two victims and that the hearing be public so we can all make our assessments of recollection and credibility.

THE ROYAL Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is about to recommence its case study on the Catholic Church in Ballarat. Last week, the Melbourne Herald Sun reported:

‘Victims of child sexual abuse look set to be grilled by lawyers for Cardinal George Pell in a bid to quash explosive allegations he was complicit in a widespread cover-up.’

Cardinal Pell will have legal representation separate from the legal team appearing for the Church. He will return from Rome and give evidence at the public hearing next month.

I am one of those Catholic priests who thinks that the church’s Truth Justice and Healing Council has done a good job insisting that the needs of victims be paramount. From the start, the council’s lawyers told the Royal Commission that they would not be cross-examining witnesses, testing their credibility, and doubting their evidence of sexual abuse by church personnel.

Wanting to assist with healing for victims and wanting to learn all available lessons about how to avoid future abuse and cover-ups, the Church has been prepared to place second issues of institutional and personal reputation of church officials. The wellbeing of victims has been put first during the church’s conduct of the commission.

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Part 2: Sex abuse case: Jesuits asked to pay $16M

PHILIPPINES
Rappler

Chay F. Hofileña

[EXCLUSIVE] In the Philippines, very rough and possibly outdated estimates say about 3% of the country’s priests may have committed sexual misconduct

(READ: Part 1: Ex-Jesuit accused of sexual abuse)

MANILA, Philippines – Days after the Chinese New Year of 2015, Lucas (not his real name) received a supposed email from the man he accused of sexually abusing him when he was a minor. It had been decades since their last communication.

Dated February 22, 2015, the email was shared with the Jesuits investigating the case. Parts of it were also shown to us.

“It is with great sadness, sorrow and grief, above all, of humility that I write this letter in response to your email. I know this letter will never undo the hurt and pain that you have gone through all these years but after having gathered enough courage myself, I will try in my own fumbling way,” it began.

The writer, who by then had left the Jesuits to become a diocesan priest, continued, “I am old now and I also want to be at peace first with you, with God and myself.” He left the Society of Jesus in 1998 for reasons undisclosed after his ordination 10 years before.

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Sex abuse royal commission: People intimidated by priest who pointed a gun at student

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By Parthena Stavropoulos

A former director of Catholic Education at the Archdiocese of Melbourne has been questioned over why he did not take action against a parish priest who pointed a gun at students.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse heard more evidence about Father Peter Searson, when he was parish priest at a Doveton school in the 1980’s.

On Tuesday, a former principal of Holy Family Primary School told the hearing Father Searson once terrified year 12 students when he pointed a gun at them.

The students, from the local secondary school, were working as cleaners at the Doveton school.

Monsignor Thomas Doyle, the former director of Catholic Education at the Archdiocese of Melbourne, admitted to being alarmed about the accusations, but did little about them.

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Sex abuse commission: Archbishop failed to act on serious concerns about priest, inquiry told

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

November 26, 2015

Beau Donelly
Reporter

A former Melbourne archbishop failed to act on complaints about a predator priest who carried a gun to school and made students kneel between his legs during confession, the child sex abuse inquiry has heard.

Monsignor Thomas Doyle, former head of the Catholic Education Office, testified on Thursday that Archbishop Frank Little did nothing about complaints concerning Doveton Parish priest Peter Searson, despite receiving written warnings about his increasingly erratic behaviour.

“It was difficult, required I think, action by the archbishop, and the archbishop didn’t act,” Monsignor Doyle said. “In my opinion he [Searson] should have been removed from the parish.”

Monsignor Doyle said the issues at Doveton were “one of the worst of its kind” dealt with by his office, but, despite concerns being raised about the risk Searson posed to children, the archbishop and vicar-general chose to leave him at Doveton.

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Letters show Melbourne archbishop failed to act on allegations about priest

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian

Melissa Davey
@MelissaLDavey
Wednesday 25 November 2015

A number of extraordinary letters from then Melbourne archbishop Frank Little, in response to serious allegations about behaviour towards children by parish priest Peter Searson, have been revealed by the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse.

Little received a letter from a parent in 1982 concerning children who were scared of Searson, then priest of Our Lady of Carmel parish and school in Sunbury, Victoria, the royal commission heard on Thursday.

“Parents have no trust in his decisions,” the parent said in the letter, adding that he had instructed his own children not to go to Searson’s office unless accompanied. The commission heard Searson was renowned for his bizarre behaviour, which included placing children on his lap during confession, and teasing, touching and belittling them.

But Little responded that it was “difficult for every priest to fulfil the expectations of every parishioner entrusted to his pastoral care”.

In response to another letter from parish staff that said Searson had brought a handgun to school and threatened children with it, Little responded that he was not the correct person to alert.

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Church’s failure to address paedophile priests ‘shameful’, says George Pell

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian

Australian Associated Press
Wednesday 25 November 2015

Cardinal George Pell says the Catholic church’s failure to deal with Melbourne’s paedophile priests was shameful.

Pell, now the Vatican’s financial chief, said church leaders had failed to address the conduct of abusers such as Father Peter Searson, but he has again defended his own handling of abuse complaints.

One of Searson’s victims, Julie Stewart, criticised Pell on the ABC’s 7.30 program on Wednesday for telling a Victorian inquiry there “might be” victims of the priest – who was never convicted of a sex offence, despite being charged with unlawful assault of an altar boy in 1997 and pleading guilty.

Years earlier, Pell had apologised to her for the abuse.

Pell was moved by Stewart’s courage and openness in giving evidence to the child abuse royal commission, a statement from the Vatican said.

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November 25, 2015

Statement on Release of Files, November 22, 2015

MINNESOTA
St. John’s Abbey

The law firm of Jeff Anderson & Associates, in cooperation of Saint John’s Abbey, is releasing portions of the personnel files of monks against whom there have been credible allegations of misconduct involving minors. We expect the first batch of files to be published on Jeff Anderson & Associates’ website on Tuesday, November 24, 2015.

The Abbey provided Anderson’s office with complete personnel files. Anderson’s office has reviewed the files and made decisions on what information to publish. The materials to be published include the monks’ work histories, the accusations made against them and personal correspondence.

The files provided include those of monks currently living on the Saint John’s campus under safety plans. Their actions are limited and they are closely supervised. Files also include nine monks who are deceased and two men who have left Saint John’s and the Benedictine order. The allegations against these men involve incidents that occurred more than two decades ago; some of the incidents are 30 or 40 years old.

There are documents in each file which may be quoted and framed in a lurid context. But the huge majority of the documents in each of these files acknowledges the very real failures of some monks while showing each of the accused monks as a fallible, relatable person. The files also show that the Abbey did not try to cover up allegations and did a reasonable job of managing the monk and the problem. St. John’s Abbey has been and is proactive in dealing with problems of child sexual abuse, and the Abbey is voluntarily sharing these documents (with the permission of the accused monks) out of a sincere desire to achieve transparency and in furtherance of healing for victims.

Saint John’s Abbey began publicly disclosing the names of those against whom there were credible allegations of misconduct against minors in 2002 and voluntarily released additional names periodically as new claims were presented and evaluated.

Anderson’s law firm has files of all monks against whom there have been credible allegations of misconduct involving minors and it is likely that some or all will be released in the coming weeks or months as Minnesota approaches the May 2016 expiration of legislation that suspended the statute of limitations for such cases.

“The Abbey has striven to be both transparent and thorough in confronting credible allegations. The Abbey has accepted full responsibility for abuses that have been committed and has made sincere and heartfelt apologies directly to victims and their families as well as through the media and in other public forums,” said Abbot John Klassen, OSB. “We are hopeful that, with this disclosure, we can help survivors find peace and resolution.”

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Abbey Information, Contact, and Official Statements

MINNESOTA
St. John’s Abbey

Questions and Answers regarding release of files by Attorney Jeff Anderson, November 25, 2015

Q: Why are the files of these monks being released now?

A: The Abbey voluntarily gave the files to the law firm of Jeff Anderson and Associates some time ago. Anderson and Associates are releasing these materials now in batches—this is the first. The materials to be published include the monks’ work histories, the accusations made against them and personal correspondence. The monks whose files are being released all have been publicly identified by Saint John’s Abbey years ago.

Q: Does the release of files reflect new allegations against the monks?

A: No. The allegations involve incidents that occurred 20-50 years ago. Minnesota media have reported that Anderson is releasing the files now to encourage those who feel they may have claims against the monks to come forward before the May 2016 expiration of the Minnesota Child Victims Act, the legislation that suspended the statute of limitations for such cases.

Q: Mr. Anderson alleged that some monks may have been involved in hundreds of incidents. If true, how did all this occur without the Abbey taking action?

A: Every instance of abuse is a tragedy. Every allegation the Abbey received involving abuse of a minor was dealt with thoughtfully, with respect for the victims and with the intention of holding abusers accountable. Mr. Anderson’s press conference statements and the follow-up media coverage make it easy for the public to infer that there were hundreds of cases involving minors, that some cases of abuse are recent and that the Abbey willfully overlooked these actions. None of that is true. Here are the facts:

First, the Abbey received a single allegation of abuse of a minor involving Father Finian McDonald. The allegation received prompt attention and was a major factor for the increasing restrictions placed on Father McDonald. Beyond that, though, it is clear that Father McDonald had a secret life involving illicit behavior during his travels. This secret life only came to light because of the Abbey’s pursuit of the truth and its determination to get Father McDonald into further treatment. The Abbey was not covering up for Father McDonald, it was responsible for revealing to Mr. Anderson and others the extent of his actions.

Second, Mr. Anderson implies that every student who accompanied Father Richard Eckroth to his lake cabin was the victim of abuse. Again, that claim is not supported by the facts, including the accounts of the vast majority of those who were at the cabin with Father Eckroth. Every case of abuse is a tragedy and this is not to minimize what those who claimed to have been victimized experienced. But it also is unfair to stigmatize everyone who was with Father Eckroth as Mr. Anderson’s implications do.

Third, Mr. Anderson in his press conference seemed to intentionally use recent dates and extreme numbers of incidents to suggest that abuse of minors is current, that the Abbey was negligent in its efforts to uncover the facts and that vulnerable people, including children, remained vulnerable to those against whom there were credible allegations of abuse. None of that is true. As the news media reported, Mr. Anderson’s goal in his press conference was to encourage people who want to file a claim to come forward before the May 2016 expiration of the extended statute of limitations. There is no question that some monks’ actions were inexcusable, but some of Mr. Anderson’s claims simply don’t stand up to scrutiny.

Q: Mr. Anderson said the Abbey paid “hush” money in return for some monks’ agreement to leave the Abbey. Is this true?

A: This claim is outrageous. Because monks do not receive a salary or accrue benefits while they are members of the Abbey, monks who leave the order for any reason are provided some funds in lieu of any retirement benefits, financial support, health care benefits and other compensation.

Q. Why weren’t these monks criminally prosecuted at the time they allegedly committed the violations?

A: Monks who are accused of illegal behavior are subject to criminal investigation and prosecution under state and federal laws, exactly the same as everyone else is. Monks do not get any special protection or immunity from criminal charges or jail sentences.

When the Abbey receives a report of any suspected abuse of a child, we report it to law enforcement authorities as required by law. Law enforcement makes the decision as to what to investigate and the State decides what to prosecute.

None of the accused monks have ever been found guilty of criminal sexual abuse.

Criminal charges were brought against one of the former monks whose file is being released today, Francis Hoefgen. He was investigated by law enforcement in Dakota County related to an allegation of sexual abuse. Hoefgen denied the allegation and during a full criminal trial last spring, the jury found him “not guilty” on all charges.

Q: Do the files show any cover-up by the Abbey?

A: No. The files reflect the Abbey’s on-going efforts to deal directly with the issues and the monks involved and that the Abbey did not try to cover up allegations. Saint John’s Abbey has been and is proactive in dealing with problems of child sexual abuse, and the Abbey is voluntarily sharing these documents (with the permission of the accused monks) out of a sincere desire to achieve transparency and in furtherance of healing for victims.

Q: Will other files be released?

A: Yes. This is just the first batch. Anderson’s law firm has files of all monks against whom there have been credible allegations of misconduct involving minors and it is likely that some or all will be released in the coming weeks or months prior to the expiration of the Child Victims Act. While the Anderson law firm controls the timing of the release, the Abbey has urged that all information on the monks be released simultaneously.

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Documents reveal extent of sex abuse allegations against Minnesota priests

MINNESOTA
The Guardian (UK)

Amanda Holpuch in New York
@holpuch
Wednesday 25 November 2015

Sex abuse allegations against priests at St John’s Abbey in Minnesota were revealed in stark detail on Tuesday with the release of confidential documents concerning five priests accused of child sex abuse.

Among the psychological evaluations and personal correspondence are documents showing that the Rev Finian McDonald told a therapist that he had sexual encounters with about 200 adults and minors as a priest. Another evaluation shows that the Rev Richard Eckroth admitted to bringing children to a cabin, where he would give massages to naked boys, but denied claims of sex abuse. And the Rev Tom Gillespie’s personnel file shows that he had restricted access to minors after abusing a child in 1978.

The documents were published as victims and their attorneys prepare for the expiration of a state law that temporarily eliminated the statute of limitations for child sex abuse.

“We still need to get our voices out to people who have not come forward,” said Troy Bramlage, who was abused as a teenager.

The files were released as part of a settlement between St John’s Abbey and Bramlage.

It is the first time St John’s Abbey has released confidential documents, which include personal correspondence, personnel files and psychological evaluations by the Catholic mental health center, Saint Luke Institute.

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Pastor and parishioners charged with murder in teen’s fatal beating at secretive church

NEW YORK
Washington Post

By Lindsey Bever November 25

The pastor and six parishioners at a secretive upstate New York church have been charged with murder after a teenager was beaten to death during what congregants called a “counseling session.”

A grand jury indicted the seven church members Tuesday, charging them with second-degree murder in the death of Lucas Leonard, 19. The members — including an eighth — were also charged with manslaughter, kidnapping and assault.

Lucas Leonard and his brother, Christopher, 17, were punched, kicked and whipped with a four-foot electrical cord during the hours-long beating that began Oct. 11 after a Sunday night service at Word of Life Christian Church near New Hartford, N.Y., Christopher Leonard said last month in court. Lucas Leonard was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. Christopher Leonard was hospitalized with serious injuries.

“It hurt — everywhere,” Christopher Leonard testified in court last month, according to the Associated Press.

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Victims of Catholic Sex Abuse Cite Impact of ‘Spotlight’

UNITED STATES
InsideSources

by Graham Vyse

The new movie Spotlight is generating Oscar buzz for its depiction of the Boston Globe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation into sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. In the nation’s capital, the film is also encouraging advocates for abuse victims who want religious institutions — and the D.C. government — to do more for their cause.

“It’s very motivating to myself and other leaders,” said Becky Ianni, the D.C. and Virginia director for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). Ianni told InsideSources she’s seen an increase in phone calls from victims since Spotlight has been promoted and released in the past few months.

“Some people have actually mentioned the film,” she said.

Ianni came forward in 2006 with her own story of molestation by a pastor in Alexandria, Va. Since then, she and SNAP have been pushing for church dioceses to publish the names of all their current and former priests accused of abuse credibly. “That should be right on their website,” Ianni said.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington declined to address Ianni’s request following an inquiry from InsideSources. The archdiocese also offered no comment on another of SNAP’s priorities, D.C. Council legislation eliminating the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse cases. In a statement, the archdiocese did stress that the church prays for all those affected by abuse and “takes seriously its responsibility to the children entrusted to its care.”

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Monk accused of abuse had 200 sexual partners

MINNESOTA
WTSP

John Croman, KARE-TV, Minneapolis-St. Paul

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Father Finian McDonald, who for years worked as a counselor at St. John’s University, had sex with at least 200 people and paid child prostitutes for sex while abroad, according to documents released on Tuesday.

Attorney Jeff Anderson released the personnel files of five monks and priests who were part of St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville.

The five, including two who are now deceased, were previously listed by St. John’s Abbey as credibly accused of child sexual abuse. Anderson said the redacted version of the posted on his website, show that priests who admitted battles with sexual urges still had access to potential victims.

“What the files show us is a culture of permissive access by known offenders,” said Anderson, who for decades has represented child sex abuse victims in lawsuits against the Catholic Church and other institutions.

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Court hears claims priest abused boy in chapel

IRELAND
RTE News

The trial of a priest for alleged indecent assault at Rockwell College near Cashel in Co Tipperary in the 1980s has heard more evidence from his alleged victim.

Fr Henry Moloney,77, who lives in Dublin, worked as a music teacher in the Co Tipperary secondary school at the time of the alleged assaults.

He has pleaded not guilty to eight counts of indecent assault against a student over 30 years ago.

Fr Moloney denies the eight charges which relate to allegations of indecent assault in the early 1980s.

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‘Spotlight’ chronicles great investigative reporting

UNITED STATES
Arizona Daily Star

By Richard Gilman SPECIAL TO THE ARIZONA DAILY STAR

Editor’s note: The Star asked Gilman, a Tucsonan who was publisher of the Boston Globe during the period portrayed in the movie “Spotlight,” to offer his opinion on how closely the film sticks to the facts.

Newspaper reporters, at least those of the old school, do their best to stay out of the spotlight. The story isn’t about them.

But there they are up on the big screen, journalists I know and deeply respect being played by movie stars in a full-length feature film getting rave reviews. Goodbye photophobia. Hello, Hollywood!

“Spotlight” is the four-person investigative team of the Boston Globe, circa 2001, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for uncovering the Catholic Church pedophile priest scandal. We all now know Boston was not alone. Similar patterns have since been revealed in city after city around the world.

I was in charge of the Globe in those days. As such, I took considerable pride in our reporting then and have a particular interest in the movie today. “Spotlight” opens in Tucson tomorrow.

The movie is several stories at once:

* The devastating impact on the victims of the abuse.
* A cautionary tale of the conspiracy of silence that existed even among the authorities.
* A monumental ode to newspapers doing their job. And a not-so-subtle warning of what will be lost if newspapers go away.
* A textbook study in investigative reporting. In dramatic form, this is what it takes – in time, talent and methodology – to pursue a big story the subjects don’t want told.

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Chief Rabbi’s initiative sees 120 rabbis train to deal with child sex abuse

UNITED KINGDOM
Jewish News

More than 120 United Synagogue rabbis have been trained to recognise and deal with cases of child sex abuse as Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis warned that the Jewish community was “not immune”.

The full day of training featured Mirvis’s wife, Valerie, a child protection expert, and heard from some of the Jewish community’s most senior religious leaders, including Rabbi Dweck, who heads the Spanish & Portuguese Sephardi community, and Dayan Gelley, from the London Beth Din.

Specialists from the Metropolitan Police and Barnet Children’s Service advised on detection and safeguarding, while a team of psychotherapists led workshops in the afternoon.

“We are determined to attach the greatest possible seriousness to both historic and current child sexual abuse,” said Chief Rabbi Mirvis. “Tragically, our community is not immune to this evil.”

This week’s training was originally envisaged in May, after a Manchester court found a Charedi teacher guilty of seven counts of sexual abuse against girls aged 14 and 15.

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“CASABLANCA”

MISSOURI
Berger’s Beat

WHISTLEBLOWER DOUG LAY, the student body’s 2015 Teacher at St. Louis Christian College, has written a self-published book on his experiences with the school and with First Christian Church of Florissant. Lay was given a choice – remain silent or be suspended and then dismissed – after raising questions about the way the church’s senior pastor, Steve Wingfield, handled allegations of sexual abuse against now-imprisoned ex-youth minister Brandon Milburn. It is for sale on Amazon.com. Meanwhile, Wingfield is on a sabbatical and church attendance has reportedly slipped to less than 400 from 1,200.

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Records reveal Minnesota priests raped hundreds of kids for decades — and church buried the evidence

MINNESOTA
The Raw Story

DAVID FERGUSON
25 NOV 2015

Personnel records made public on Tuesday revealed that Catholic priests at St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota engaged in a sustained and coordinated campaign of child rape, which they took pains to keep secret from the public for decades.

According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, a court case brought by one of the priests’ former victims has resulted in a judge’s order for the monastery to release records on all priests and monks credibly accused of child abuse.

The documents released regarding five abusive priests on Tuesday mark the first time the monastery has opened its records to the public after being embroiled in abuse lawsuits for more than 20 years. The files include psychiatric assessments of the five men, records of abuse allegations and the abbey’s responses dating back from the 1960s to the last few years, including records of one priest who molested more than 200 victims, all boys, from the sons of parishioners to child prostitutes as young as 13 in Thailand.

Rev. Finian McDonald confessed in a 2012 psychiatric session that he molested more than 200 boys, 18 of whom were children under his care in the dormitories of St. John’s Preparatory School, the private boys’ school run by the monks. McDonald admitted that he drank heavily and freely preyed on students during his years as a dormitory prefect.

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How Hollywood Distorts Reality: ‘Spotlight,’ For Example

MASSACHUSETTS
WGBH

By DAN KENNEDY

Consider the contradictions posed by a movie that’s based on a true story. The events are presented as real, yet they are compressed and exaggerated for dramatic effect. The characters — many of them, anyway — are stand-ins for their real-life counterparts, sharing their names and, depending on the skill of the actors, their appearance and mannerisms. Yet the words that come out of their mouths are not things they actually said; rather, they are things the filmmakers imagine they might have said.

Or, as at least four people in the film Spotlight claim, things that they never said, never would have said, and that tarnish their reputations.

Update: Open Road, the distributor of Spotlight, has issued a statement defending the accuracy of the portrayal of Boston College spokesman Jack Dunn. See details at the end of this post.

In fact, there is nothing new or unusual about such complaints. They are inherent to the genre of “true life” stories, quotation marks used advisedly. Spotlight is a terrific movie — maybe the best film about journalism since All the President’s Men. That doesn’t excuse smearing the names of good people, if that is indeed what has happened. But it does underline the problems that can arise in the making of fact-based fiction rooted in real events and real people.

The most aggrieved of the Spotlight four is Jack Dunn, the spokesman for Boston College and a trustee at Boston College High School. Dunn’s character is seen as minimizing the pedophile-priest scandal in a meeting attended by Boston Globe reporters Walter Robinson and Sacha Pfeiffer. It was, Dunn said in a column by the Globe’s Kevin Cullen and in an interview on WGBH’s Greater Boston, the opposite of the approach he took.

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.

Priest who destroyed evidence now taking reports of abuse in San Diego

CALIFORNIA
The Worthy Adversary

Posted by Joelle Casteix on November 25, 2015

A controversial priest accused of covering up abuse in the Diocese of San Diego is in charge of taking victims calls and emails.

Msgr. Steven Callahan shot to the spotlight in 2014 after he became the temporary diocesan administrator after the death of Cirilo Flores.

Victims, supporters and Catholics were rightfully upset:

In 2007, Callahan testified that he destroyed evidence of child sex abuse and cover-up.

But now, if you are a victim of abuse, a witness, or a whistleblower, he is the guy you call or email to report what you know.

Why would anyone—especially a victim of abuse—believe that he would do the right thing?

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.

Vatican thwarts review boards, documents show

UNITED STATES
The Worthy Adversary

Posted by Joelle Casteix on November 25, 2015

Everything the bishops have been led you to believe about the independent power of lay review boards is deliberately misleading.

Citing a sex-offening priest’s “right to privacy,” a newly released Vatican document shows that priests are able to shield potentially damning evidence from review boards who are charged with determining whether abuse allegations against a priest have merit.

The 2006 document, sent from a Vatican office that oversees religious orders, says that canon law states that no priest’s files may be turned over to a third party, including internal and external review boards, without the priest’s permission and signature.

You can read the documents here. Start at page 94 (stamped on the actual page as 00526).

The findings of the Vatican office—saying that McDonald’s privacy was violated and that review boards may not access a personnel file without the priest’s signature is on page 100 (stamped 00532)

The review boards were set up by bishops nationally as a part of sweeping 2002 reforms instituted as a result of the Boston Archdiocese sex abuse scandal. They are a part of the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.”

While religious orders like the Benedictine’s were not a part of the agreement, the Canon Law cited in the Vatican’s response applies to all priests, whether they belong to a diocese or a religious order.

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.