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.

February 1, 2017

Statement from National Safeguarding Adviser

UNITED KINGDOM
The Church of England

01 February 2017

Statement from Graham Tilby, the Church of England’s National Safeguarding Adviser, following reports on Channel 4 news:

“The violent abuse of young men between 1978-82, as outlined in the Channel 4 programme, should never have happened and we utterly condemn this behaviour and abuse of power and trust. The report into these horrific activities, drawn up by those linked with the Iwerne Trust, a non-denominational Christian charity, should have been forwarded to the police at the time. When the Church of England was alerted by a survivor, through the diocese of Ely in 2013, the police were immediately informed as was the Anglican Church in South Africa where Mr Smyth was then living. The national safeguarding officer, which was a part time post, was informed and helped find support for the survivors. Clearly more could have been done at the time to look further into the case. We now have a dedicated central team made up of six full time posts – we will be reviewing all files making further enquiries as necessary. We echo the Archbishop’s unreserved and unequivocal apology to all the survivors and are committed to listen to anyone who comes forward and we would urge anyone with any further information to report it to the police ”

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.

Archbishop admits Church ‘failed terribly’ over abuse revelations

UNITED KINGDOM
Channel 4

The Church of England has tonight apologised unreservedly after a Channel 4 News investigation revealed that a prominent Anglican evangelical and former colleague of the Archbishop of Canterbury is alleged to have severely assaulted boys and young men for decades.

The alleged abuse was carried out by prominent QC and part time judge called John Smyth, who was chairman of the Iwerne Trust, a charity closely linked to the church which ran Christian holiday camps for public school students.

The Church admitted that it had “failed terribly”, after this programme learned that the Trust had discovered the alleged abuse in 1982, but failed to report it to the police.

Winchester College, where some of the young men met Smyth, was made aware of the alleged abuse, but also failed to report it to the police at the time. There is no suggestion that any abuse took place at the College or with the knowledge of its staff.

The Archbishop’s apology comes after a six month investigation by Channel 4 News, in which we tracked down and spoke with many of Smyth’s alleged victims. One man told us that he and other boys were beaten so violently by Smyth that they had to wear nappies to staunch the bleeding.

The statement on behalf of the Archbishop, who was a colleague of Smyth’s at the Iwerne Trust, said: “We recognise that many institutions fail catastrophically, but the Church is meant to hold itself to a far, far higher standard and we have failed terribly. For that the Archbishop apologises unequivocally and unreservedly to all survivors.”

Smyth was a moral crusader who made his name as a barrister representing the Christian campaigner Mary Whitehouse in a landmark prosecution against the Gay News newspaper.

In the Church he was an influential figure as chair of the Iwerne Trust, a group which promoted the bible to young people.

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.

The NSW scripture in schools debate is not about religion, it’s about child protection

AUSTRALIA
Newcastle Herald

Joanne McCarthy
2 Feb 2017

SCRIPTURE in public schools is not an issue about religious views or what you believe about the historical accuracy of the Bible, which is where a lot of the argument seems to settle these days given the heavy involvement of evangelical Christian churches.

The scripture debate is about a more basic issue than that – child protection.

For more than three years the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has considered how institutions – churches, schools, sporting organisations, welfare providers, government departments, police, the justice system – have responded to child sexual abuse.

What can be said today, without any doubt, is that an institution with responsibility for children that fails to make child protection the top priority, is an institution where children are potentially at risk.

As a principle, child protection includes protecting children from sexual, physical and emotional harm.

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.

Case Study 50, February 2017, Sydney

AUSTRALIA
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

The Royal Commission will hold a public hearing to inquire into the current policies and procedures of Catholic Church authorities in Australia in relation to child-protection and child-safety standards, including responding to allegations of child sexual abuse.

The public hearing will commence on 6 February 2017 at the Royal Commission’s hearing rooms in Sydney.

Location
The hearing will be held at Level 17, Governor Macquarie Tower, 1 Farrer Place, Sydney.

The scope and purpose of the public hearing is to inquire into:

1. The current policies and procedures of Catholic Church authorities in Australia in relation to child protection and child-safe standards, including responding to allegations of child sexual abuse.

2. Factors that may have contributed to the occurrence of child sexual abuse at Catholic Church institutions in Australia.

3. Factors that may have affected the institutional response of Catholic Church authorities in Australia to child sexual abuse.

4. The responses of Catholic Church authorities in Australia to relevant case study report(s) and other Royal Commission reports.

5. Data relating to the extent of claims of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church of Australia.

6. Any related matters.

The purpose of this public hearing is not to inquire into individual sets of facts or particular events as has occurred in previous Royal Commission case studies.

Leave to appear

The Royal Commission may invite selected individuals or organisations to speak to, or give evidence about, the submissions they have previously provided, however it is not proposed that leave to appear will be granted to these individuals or organisations, on the basis that they are speaking or giving evidence in this capacity.

It is not essential for others who give evidence in a hearing to apply for leave to appear – witnesses may give evidence without applying for leave.

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.

Archbishop urges change as Commission ends Catholic review

AUSTRALIA
Catholic Leader

Posted by: Mark Bowling

CHURCH leaders are bracing for a grim and confronting final hearing into the Catholic Church at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The three-week hearing in Sydney, set down to start … (February 6), aims to establish how widespread abuse was and what cultural issues allowed it to occur within the Church in Australia.

Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge is preparing to appear several times during the hearing.

“Through these three weeks there will be some grim moments and there will be some shocks, inevitably,” Archbishop Coleridge said in a video message to parishioners.

Archbishop Coleridge, a supervisory council member of the Catholic Church’s Truth, Justice and Healing Council, described the Royal Commission as “long and agonising, but a very important journey for the Church and many others as well”.

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.

Bails extended for former Moravian church leaders in sex scandal

JAMAICA
Loop

The two former leaders of the Moravian church group charged with having sex with a girl when she was 12 and 14 years old had their bails extended when they appeared in the Manchester Parish Court on Wednesday.

Rev Dr Paul Gardner, former president of the church body, and his ex-deputy Jermaine Gibson had their bails extended until next Wednesday, when both are scheduled to return to court.

Both men were arrested Monday, January 23 and charged with carnal abuse in relation to the reported incident that occurred in 2002 and two years later when the child was 14 years old.

Gibson allegedly had a sexual relationship with the complainant when she was 12 years old. Gardner allegedly also engaged in sexual relations with her when she was 14.

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.

Bail extended for embattled Moravian clergymen

JAMAICA
Jamaica Observer

MANCHESTER, Jamaica — Bail was today extended for former Moravian Church president Rev Dr Paul Gardner and his deputy Jermaine Gibson when they appeared in the Manchester Parish Court.

The two, who are charged with carnal abuse, are to return to court next Wednesday.

Bail was extended after attorney Peter Champaignie, who represents Gardner, and Gibson’s lawyer, Pierre Rogers, said they are yet to be issued with a statement from the police.

The sex charges were laid against the clergymen in relation to the alleged sexual assault of a 12-year-old girl 14 years ago.

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.

CALL TO PRAYER: Archbishop Costelloe issues Pastoral letter ahead of final Royal Commission hearings

AUSTRALIA
The Record

Archbishop Timothy Costelloe has this week encouraged the Perth Catholic community to pray for the work of the Royal Commission, as it begins to bring its public hearings to a conclusion.

In a Pastoral Letter issued to all Catholic parishes across the Archdiocese of Perth, the Archbishop said a call to prayer must never be seen as a substitute for decisive, transparent and effective action in relation to the horror of sexual abuse.

“Our faith assures us that if our actions are deeply grounded in our openness to God’s grace then they will produce the fruit we, and the whole of our society, so desperately want to see,” the Archbishop said.

“I ask you too, to continue to pray for the victims and survivors of sexual abuse in our Church,” the Archbishop said.

The final hearings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse are scheduled to run for six weeks from 6 February, with the first three weeks to be devoted to an investigation into the response of the Catholic Church in Australia to the tragic scandal of sexual abuse in Catholic parishes, schools, orphanages and other institutions.

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.

Brothers sue Archdiocese of Portland for $6 million over alleged sex abuse

OREGON
KATU

PORTLAND, Ore. —
Two brothers, who are now adults, have announced they’re suing the Archdiocese of Portland for childhood sex abuse.

The plaintiffs allege they were abused as children while living in St. Paul, Ore. by Father James Harris, who served as a Catholic priest in the St. Paul Parish in Silverton during the mid to late 1960s. One of the brothers also alleges he was abused by Father Maurice Grammond.

Harris, who is now deceased, faced at least four other sex abuse claims, all settled by the Archdiocese since 2006.

According to the lawsuit, the two brothers knew Father Harris from church and school while they were growing up. Their stepfather was diagnosed with leukemia, so Father Harris began spending more time with the brothers, taking them on many overnight trips.

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.

Adult brothers file sex suit against Oregon priests

OREGON
KOIN

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Two adult brothers filed suit against the Archdiocese of Portland Wednesday alleging they were sexually abused by priests as children in Oregon.

The lawsuit, filed by the Dumas Law Group, claims Fr. James Harris and Fr. Maurice Grammond abused the brothers in the mid- to late-1960s in St. Paul, Oregon.

Harris, who is now dead, also allegedly abused one of the brothers’ friends. The late priest has been the focus of at least 4 prior sex abuse claims, which were settled by the Archdiocese since 2006, lawyer Gilion Dumas said in a release.

The suit also claims the Archdiocese of Portland first became aware of Grammond’s sexual abuse as far back as 1957.

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.

Teacher accused of child sexual abuse

MARYLAND
Catholic Review – Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore

February 01, 2017

The Archdiocese of Baltimore released the following statement Feb. 1.

Robert Bonner, a teacher, coach and part-time assistant athletic director at Our Lady of Mount Carmel School, a Catholic elementary and high school in Middle River, turned himself in to Baltimore County law enforcement officials today after a warrant for his arrest was issued Monday on charges of sex abuse of a minor, second degree assault, and two counts of fourth degree sex offense. Mr. Bonner worked at the school from 1992-99 and again from 2011-17.

The school suspended Bonner on Monday, January 23, when police gave the school permission to do so.

The alleged incident that led to his arrest involved a student at Our Lady of Mount Carmel High School and occurred on January 20, 2017. Once the school became aware of the alleged incident, the Archdiocese of Baltimore reported the matter to Baltimore County Police.

All Archdiocesan employees and volunteers who work with children are screened for criminal histories and the national sex offender registry, and go through training on how to recognize, prevent, and report child abuse. Mr. Bonner completed this process most recently in 2011 and he was re-trained in 2014, as required by archdiocesan policies.

Mr. Bonner served as a part-time assistant athletic director and business teacher at the high school from 1992-1999. From 1992-98 he coached the women’s soccer team. From 1992-99 he coached the women’s basketball team. In 1993 he coached women’s softball. From 2001-17, Mr. Bonner served as part-time assistant athletic director and as a physical education teacher for both the elementary and high schools. In addition, from 2011-13 he coached middle school boys’ basketball and baseball and from 2012-15 he coached women’s soccer and women’s basketball.

The Archdiocese of Baltimore and Our Lady of Mount Carmel are committed to protecting children and helping to heal victims of abuse. We urge anyone who has any knowledge of any child sexual abuse to come forward and to report it immediately to civil authorities (Baltimore County Police, Crimes Against Children Unit: 410-853-3650). If Church personnel is suspected of committing the abuse, we ask that you also call the Archdiocesan Office of Child and Youth Protection Hotline at 1-866-417-7469.

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Md. Teacher Wanted for Child Sex Abuse Turns Himself In

MARYLAND
CBS Baltimore

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– A Our Lady of Mount Carmel teacher and coach wanted for charges of sex abuse, has turned himself in Wednesday, according to Baltimore County Police.

A warrant was issued Monday for Robert Bonner, who was also a part time assistant athletic director at the Catholic elementary and high school in Middle River, for charges of sex abuse of a minor, second degree assault and two counts of fourth degree sex offense.

The incident that led to his arrest occurred on Jan. 20 and involved a student from the high school.

Bonner worked at the school from 1992-1999 and then from 2011-2017. He was suspended Jan. 23 when police gave the school permission to do so.

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Catholic school teacher faces sex abuse charges

MARYLAND
WBAL

Saliqa A. Khan
Digital Editor

Tim Tooten
Education Reporter

MIDDLE RIVER, Md. —
A Catholic school teacher is facing sex abuse charges after being taken into custody by police on Wednesday.

Robert Bonner, a teacher, coach and part-time assistant athletic director at Our Lady of Mount Carmel School a Catholic elementary and high school in Middle River, turned himself in to Baltimore County police Wednesday after a warrant for his arrest was issued Monday, a spokesman with the Archdiocese of Baltimore said in a statement.

Bonner, 48, of Middle River, faces charges of fourth-degree sex offense and other related sexual assault offenses, police said.

Police said Bonner is accused of having numerous inappropriate verbal and text message conversations with a student at the school in January. On at least two occasions, once on Jan. 19 and once on Jan. 20, Bonner engaged in inappropriate and unwanted physical contact with the student on school property, police said.

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Jehovah’s Witness abused girls after luring them with video games, court told

UNITED KINGDOM
Gazette Live

A Jehovah’s Witness sexually abused three young girls after luring them with video games, a court was told.

Paul Shields, 57, who was living in Guisborough at the time, allegedly sexually touched the youngsters, who at the time were too young to understand the seriousness of Shields’ actions, said prosecutor Andrew Espley.

The prosecution alleges that Shields, a married father and former plumber, repeatedly abused the girls when he was in his 30s.

Mr Espley said it was not until 2014 that two of the women, who were under-age at the time of the alleged offences, reported the matters to police.

Shields, now of Gordon Street, York, was arrested and charged with three counts of indecent assault. He denied the allegations and appeared for trial this week dressed in a smart navy-blue blazer and tie.

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POPE FRANCIS IS THE ANTI-TRUMP

UNITED STATES
The New Yorker

By James Carroll

For readers consumed with the Trumpian chaos of the past ten days, images of a white-robed Pope Francis standing beside a man dressed like a nutcracker—the Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, epauletted and festooned in red and gold—likely seemed absurd and irrelevant. The Pope, one might have read, had forced the resignation of the head of an ancient vestige of Catholic Europe’s cult of aristocracy. Headlines conveyed the impression of a bizarre Vatican dustup sparked by yet more conservative resistance to the liberalizing impulses of the Pope from Argentina. But the contest between Francis and the Order is more than an irrelevant mummers’ play. It is an emblem of the Church’s wider effort to embrace modernity. More than that—and here is the news—it is a front in the now urgent global struggle against all that Donald Trump has come so quickly to represent. Pope Francis is the anti-Trump.

The Sovereign Military Order of Malta is a small but powerful Catholic organization that traces its lineage all the way back to the Crusades. Its history consists of a bloody, centuries-long retreat forced by infidels, from the Levant to Rhodes and finally to the island-fortress of Malta, where, instead of disappearing, it underwent a metamorphosis. The Order’s creation myth combines military valor in holy wars with humanitarian virtue in maintaining hospitals for the war-ravaged, a tension that survives in the martial nostalgia of its uniforms and its significant charitable outreach. Now based in Rome, it counts more than thirteen thousand members—known as knights and dames—and engages more than a hundred thousand employees and volunteers worldwide. Its claim to be a sovereign national entity is bolstered by the passports it issues, the stamps it prints, and the more than a hundred nations with which it has diplomatic relations. That it is an expressly Catholic organization, holding no territory, with its leaders bound by a vow of obedience to the Roman pontiff suggests, however, that this is a sovereignty that genuflects.

Last week, the Grand Master knelt, symbolically yielding his sword to the Pope. Fra’ Matthew Festing, a Brit, had been embroiled in a nasty squabble with an underling, Grand Chancellor Albrecht Freiherr von Boeselager, a German, whom Festing fired for allowing the Order’s charity to distribute condoms in Myanmar—a violation of Catholic practice. The details of the dispute matter less than Pope Francis’s firm intervention on the side of Boeselager, who, after Festing’s resignation, was reinstated. Defenders of the Order objected to the papal intrusion, calling it a violation of sovereignty—and with condoms at issue, many also caught a whiff of the Pontiff’s liberalizing incense. Conservatives, as usual, gagged. (Ross Douthat, for example, saw a “characteristic move of the papacy” of which he famously disapproves.) Traditionalists have become increasingly peeved with Francis since last November, when he released the encyclical “Amoris Laetitia” (“The Joy of Love”), which seemed to provide an opening for divorced and remarried Catholics to be readmitted to the sacraments. The conservative Order of Malta is not to be confused with anything having to do with the actual island nation, a fact underscored last month when the Catholic bishops of Malta, appealing to “Amoris Laetitia,” declared that a separated or divorced person “at peace with God” cannot be denied communion.

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Priest avoids jail for sex assault on boy after Mass

IRELAND
Irish Independent

Conor Gallagher
PUBLISHED
01/02/2017

A priest has received a suspended sentence for sexual assault after a court heard he has been put under effective house arrest by his order.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard the 65 year old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, molested a boy after Mass one Sunday.

The abuse came to light after the boy’s mother went to gardaí and the priest made admissions. A garda told the court that the priest had been since living under strict rules in a different house operated by his order. The order also cannot be identified.

He is not allowed celebrate mass or wear “priestly garb” and is not allowed leave the house alone except to go to his doctor or solicitor, the court was told.

He is also not allowed unsupervised access to children or vulnerable adults, including his own family. The regime is to continue “indefinitely”, Ronan Kennedy BL, defending, told the court.

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Priest gets suspended sentence for 2015 abuse of teenage boy

IRELAND
RTE News

A priest has received a suspended sentence for the 2015 sexual assault of a teenage boy after a court heard he has been put under effective house arrest by his order.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard the 65-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, molested the boy, who was in his early teens, after mass one Sunday in September 2015.

The victim told his mother about the incident the following month and she went to gardaí. The accused was interviewed and said he accepted the boy’s allegations and apologised.

A garda told the court that the priest had been since living under strict rules in a different house operated by his order. The order also cannot be identified.

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SNAP statement regarding the Gretchen Hammond’s recent lawsuit

UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Statement by Mary Ellen Kruger of St. Louis, MO, SNAP Volunteer Leader and Chairman of the SNAP Board of Directors – (314) 962-0964 cell, MEK1234567@gmail.com

The past few weeks have been a difficult time for SNAP. Longtime friend and executive director David Clohessy has retired from SNAP, and inflammatory and untrue allegations have been made against SNAP in a lawsuit filed in Chicago, Illinois last week.

David Clohessy informed the SNAP Board of Directors in October, 2016 that it was his intention to resign from SNAP. His resignation was voluntary and was effective December 31, 2016. SNAP is grateful for the many years of dedication and hard work David has given victims of abuse worldwide. We would not be here today if it were not for David’s contributions. Unfortunately, the lawsuit containing false and inflammatory allegations filed last week by Gretchen Hammond has cast an unfair and undeserved pall on David’s resignation—a resignation that was submitted long before the lawsuit was filed.

I will also address some of Ms. Hammond’s allegations.

SNAP is not and has never claimed to be a counseling organization. We are a volunteer-based, peer support network of survivors who help each other in support group meetings, over the phone, through the internet, in person, and through public events.

SNAPs support meetings are closed to non-survivors for privacy reasons. As a member of support staff and a non-survivor, Ms. Hammond’s presence at a meeting would be considered intrusive and a violation of the privacy rights of victims of abuse.

Ms. Hammond admitted that she had very little contact with SNAP leaders and was not given information about their activities. Her position was as a fund-raiser, not a support leader.

All of our peer support and public outreach is done by volunteers who are trained, connected, and supported by the main SNAP office.

All of our leaders’ contact numbers are public and are listed on the SNAP website. SNAP posts dozens of meeting times in 22 states for peer-to-peer survivor meetings that are facilitated by trained SNAP leaders. Ms. Hammonds’ allegation that SNAP has abandoned its survivor outreach work is highly uninformed, if not malicious and defamatory.

It is correct that victims of abuse are referred to attorneys in an effort to bring accountability to those that have condoned and perpetuated this abuse for decades. If abuse victims do not have the courage and the ability to fight back against the system, systemic abuse of authority would continue unabated.

Like all nonprofits, SNAP solicits and accepts donations from anyone who believes in our cause. This includes individuals from all walks of life. This has also included attorneys who have filed lawsuits against priests and “the system.” To be clear, SNAP has never and will never enter into any “kickback schemes” as alleged by Ms. Hammond in her lawsuit, nor has SNAP ever made donations an implied or express condition of the referral of victims.

Most people who have the opportunity to work with victims of abuse feel motivated to help support and to contribute to efforts to bring justice to this systemic abuse.

SNAP has zealously and unapologetically guarded its members’ rights to privacy and anonymity, and will continue to do so. Our members must be protected in reaching out to other survivors of abuse for support and assistance. This is and will continue to be a core part of SNAPs philosophy.

Ms. Hammond says that her lawsuit is an effort to force SNAP to go back to its original mission. Ms. Hammond never voiced any concerns whatsoever to SNAP’s volunteer Board of Directors. Instead of sharing her concerns with the board or volunteer leaders to elicit change within the organization, she filed a lawsuit for personal promotion and financial gain four years after she separated from SNAP.

Our Board of Directors is committed to assisting and protecting victims of abuse in an ethical and forthright manner. If anyone has concerns about SNAPs practices and policies, the Board is active in SNAPs operations and is accessible.

We are saddened and disappointed that Ms. Hammond would sue a group of volunteers—a group with whom she has never spoken about her concerns—in an attempt to challenge our mission. We are more than happy to meet with her and let her know that each of us volunteer dozens of hours a week to help people in crisis. Our work is its own reward. We do it because we want to stop the cycle of abuse.

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‘You do a great disservice to mankind by keeping silent’

NORTHERN IRELAND
Derry Journal

BRENDAN MCDAID

Wednesday 01 February 2017

Patrick O’Rourke recently visited the graves of some of the Sisters of Nazareth in the grounds of the Long Tower. Some of the nuns buried there had resided at Termonbacca during their lifetimes, and others from the same Order had been in charge when Patrick was subjected to traumatic physical, sexual and emotional abuse at the former boys’ home there.

Patrick said he was glad the Sisters of Nazareth were able to have their say at the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry in the north “in case anyone thought this was a one-sided thing.”

“They went in, which was great, which is as it should be,” he added. “I’ve nothing personal against the Sisters of Nazareth. As a matter of fact I visited their graves. The gate was open across from the Long Tower and I’m sure a lot of them were good nuns. I wouldn’t have known them, they’ve been buried there for hundreds of years. I’m not a religious man, but I acknowledged them anyway.”

In what he described as a “pilgrimage” like journey, he also returned to Termonbacca while in Derry recently and met with some of the monks now stationed there (who had no involvement at Termonbacca during its time as a boys’ home).

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Depositions sought from victims as lawsuits seek $55M

GUAM
Guam Daily Post

Mindy Aguon | For the Post and Neil Pang | Post News Staff

At least three former altar boys who claimed they were sexually abused by the former leader of the island’s Catholic Church, Archbishop Anthony Apuron, have been contacted by a stateside priest to provide information about their stories. Attorney David Lujan confirmed that three of his clients were contacted to be interviewed in a deposition for Apuron’s canonical trial.

In addition to the canonical trial, which is held behind closed doors in the Vatican, the number of recently filed civil lawsuits against the Archdiocese of Agana in the federal court in Guam rose to 11, after five additional cases were filed yesterday.

The 11 cases now filed in the District Court of Guam seek more than $55 million in damages combined. The lawsuits also seek to hold the Vatican responsible for the allegations against the archdiocese.

Not much is known of the canonical trial for Apuron, and it’s unclear why Apuron was found living in Fairfield, California if the trial is ongoing in Rome. Private investigators working for Lujan tracked Apuron to a two-story house in Fairfield.

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Bistum Osnabrück: Hinweise auf 28 Missbrauchsfälle in 70 Jahren

DEUTSCHLAND
Osnabruck Zeitun

KNA/epd Osnabrück. Im Bistum Osnabrück hat es in den zurückliegenden Jahrzehnten 28 Hinweise auf Missbrauchsfälle gegeben. Sie bezogen sich auf 21 Personen, darunter auf 16 Geistliche der Diözese. An 17 Missbrauchsopfer zahlte das Bistum Geld.

Die Zwischenbilanz teilte das Bistum am Montag vor Journalisten in Osnabrück anlässlich der Vorstellung des neuen Ansprechpartners für Missbrauchsfälle, des früheren Landgerichtspräsidenten Antonius Fahnemann, mit. Die Fälle verteilten sich auf einen Zeitraum von sieben Jahrzehnten.

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“Betroffene ernst nehmen”

DEUTSCHLAND
Domradio

[The Osnabruck diocese has reported 28 allegations of sexual abuse in past decades. The accused include 21 people, including 16 clergy.]

Im Bistum Osnabrück hat es in den zurückliegenden Jahrzehnten 28 Hinweise auf Missbrauchsfälle gegeben. Sie bezogen sich auf 21 Personen, darunter auf 16 Geistliche der Diözese. Diese Zwischenbilanz teilte das Bistum jetzt mit.

Anlass war die Vorstellung des neuen Ansprechpartners für Missbrauchsfälle, des früheren Landgerichtspräsidenten Antonius Fahnemann. Die Fälle verteilten sich auf einen Zeitraum von sieben Jahrzehnten, hieß es.

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Child abuse inquiry judge, a vase and £6,000 shipping bill: Former chief billed taxpayers to transport possessions to the UK from her home in New Zealand

UNITED KINGDOM
Daily Mail

By Rebecca Camber, Crime Correspondent For The Daily Mail

The disgraced former head of the child abuse inquiry charged taxpayers almost £6,000 to fly treasured possessions including a vase 11,400 miles across the world from New Zealand.

Dame Lowell Goddard, who became Britain’s highest paid civil servant when she took up the role as the third chair of the beleaguered inquiry, demanded that a favourite vase and other personal items be flown from her home in Wellington to Britain.

The New Zealand judge, who was paid £360,000 – double the wages of the Prime Minister – billed the public purse £5,812 to fly out cherished possessions which she claimed she could not be parted from.

She said she needed to have the objects in her flat in Kensington, West London, for which taxpayers were also paying £119,207 in rent and utility bills.

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Child sexual abuse could have been prevented, finds review

UNITED KINGDOM
ITV

We’re making the suggested changes, says council leader

A Serious Case Review has been published investigating how organisations in West Sussex handled allegations of sexual offences against children, committed by people in positions of trust.
I welcome this comprehensive report from the Safeguarding Children’s Board and accept the recommendations it makes for safeguarding practices. We recognise that there is learning for us and other agencies. The council has already started making the changes suggested for us.

Protecting young people from harm is the priority for the council and one of the most crucial roles that councils perform. We have 25,000 pupils at school in the district and school safeguarding policies and procedures are very important to us. The interests of young people are at the centre of everything we do. We work closely with schools to ensure we have plans which are robust and regularly reviewed. This review will help us further improve them.

In working closely with schools the Local Authority’s role is to both support them in improving and on occasions to challenge their performance with regards to safeguarding. We are committed to continually improving the safeguarding of all West Berkshire children wherever they are educated. We will work closely with all schools and through the LSCB to ensure this. I am very grateful to the West Berkshire Safeguarding Children’s Board for this review and together we will ensure the recommendations continue to be implemented without delay.”

– COUNCILLOR ROGER CROFT, LEADER OF WEST BERKSHIRE COUNCIL

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The Church will not tolerate abuse by clergy, says Bishop

UNITED KINGDOM
ITV

A Serious Case Review has been published investigating how organisations in West Sussex handled allegations of sexual offences against children, committed by people in positions of trust.

We welcome the findings of the Serious Case Review. We have created an action plan in response to the findings in the report and have already begun to implement the recommendations.

The Diocese of Oxford takes safeguarding extremely seriously and we are investing more resource in training, following new national guidelines.

Any case like this [case of Reverend Peter Jarvis] is a matter of sorrow and regret for the Church of England. We recognise that the suffering of survivors of sexual abuse is profound and long lasting.

The Church of England will not tolerate abusive behaviour in its clergy or anyone else for whom we have pastoral responsibility. We take allegations of abuse extremely seriously and always work with the statutory authorities to ensure abusers are brought to justice and that pastoral care is offered to those directly affected.”

– RT REVD ANDREW PROUD, BISHOP OF READING

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American ultra-Orthodox Are Starting to Talk About Sexual Abuse

UNITED STATES
Haaretz

Debra Nussbaum Cohen Feb 01, 2017

NEW YORK – The Orthodox Jewish community is slow to change, even – perhaps especially – on difficult issues like child sexual abuse. But speakers at a gathering of leading Orthodox rabbis and others made clear that significant changes are underway at both institutional and cultural levels. For example, a joint project of the Orthodox Union and Rabbinical Council of America to create training programs for synagogue staff, in an effort to help prevent sexual abuse, is getting started.

The very fact that Rabbi David Zwiebel, executive vice president of Agudath Israel of America, spoke at the meeting also reflected a shift. While the topic has been addressed at recent Agudah conventions, this was the first time that Zwiebel addressed it outside of his own community, he told Haaretz.

It is a challenging subject for a community that prizes modesty, deference to rabbinic authority and believes that turning in a Jew to secular authorities is a violation of Jewish law, especially if there is suspicion but not certainty of sexual abuse. Yet “if you compare the landscape to just a few years ago there have been enormous changes” in the Haredi community, Zwiebel told the opening session, in a conference room rented from UJA-Federation of New York in midtown Manhattan.

The “Global Summit on Child Sexual Abuse in the Jewish Community” was put together by Manny Waks and his organization Kol v’Oz. Waks, who was sexually molested as a child in Melbourne, Australia’s Chabad community, started Kol v’Oz last year in Israel to deal with the issue.

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A pastor wrote a book about being a better man. Weeks later, he was caught naked, in an affair.

FLORIDA
Washington Post

By Cleve R. Wootson Jr. January 31

Pastor O. Jermaine Simmons stood before his congregation and asked for forgiveness. But he also tried to reconcile the man his parishioners had known for a decade with the adulterer being laughed at in church circles and the media.

Since he took over as pastor in 2005, more than 4,000 people had joined Jacob Chapel Baptist Church in Tallahassee. It had added 27 ministries, focusing efforts on the homeless in Florida’s capital and ministering to youth.

And Simmons had just released his first book, “I Need a Man,” a Bible-based paperback on modeling “Godly manhood.”

Then Simmons’s affair with another man’s wife went public in dramatic fashion: On Jan. 17, the 36-year-old pastor — a married father — found himself cowering naked behind a fence, hiding from a gun-toting husband who’d stumbled on the affair, police say.

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National Audit Office in UK considers investigation into ‘excessive’ costs of inquiry formerly headed by NZ judge Dame Lowell Goddard

NEW ZEALAND
New Zealand Herald

The New Zealand former head of the United Kingdom child abuse inquiry charged taxpayers almost £6000 ($10,300) to fly treasured possessions including a vase 18,346km across the world from New Zealand.

Dame Lowell Goddard, who became Britain’s highest paid civil servant when she took up the role as the third chair of the beleaguered inquiry, reportedly had a favourite vase and other personal items be flown from her home in Wellington to Britain, the Daily Mail reported.

The Kiwi judge, who was paid £360,000 ($622,000) – double the wages of the UK Prime Minister – billed the public purse £5812 ($10,036) to fly out cherished possessions.

She reportedly said she needed to have the objects in her flat in Kensington, West London, for which taxpayers were also paying £119,207 ($205,870) in rent and utility bills.

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Lord Janner’s family to ‘undermine’ sex abuse inquiry ‘from within’ after being given formal role in investigation

UNITED KINGDOM
Telegraph

Robert Mendick, chief reporter
1 FEBRUARY 2017

The family of Lord Janner yesterday vowed to ‘undermine from within’ the Government’s beleaguered child sex abuse inquiry after being given a formal role in the investigation.

The family were granted core participant status which gives them access to documents and to have lawyers attend the inquiry’s hearings.

It is not clear if the taxpayer will pick up the bill for the lawyers or whether the family will pay for legal representation themselves.

Lord Janner, who died in December 2015, is accused of abusing boys in children’s homes in Leicestershire where he was an MP.

His children have branded the inquiry into their father a witch hunt, pointing out he was never convicted in his lifetime and that now he is dead he cannot defend his reputation.

They also point out that the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) was set up to investigate institutional abuse and that Lord Janner is the only individual who has merited an investigation strand of his own.

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Prince Charles and Tony Blair’s old schools investigated in major public sex abuse inquiry

SCOTLAND
Express

By GREG CHRISTISON
Wed, Feb 1, 2017

They are among more than 100 locations where abuse is alleged to have taken place, with boarding schools, and institutions run by religious orders and local authorities also being investigated.

The list includes Prince Charles’s former school, Gordonstoun, in Morayshire, and Fettes College in Edinburgh, known as “Scotland’s Eton” which was attended by former prime minister Tony Blair.

The details emerged on Monday as chairman Lady Smith told a preliminary hearing in Edinburgh that the inquiry will be fully independent. …

Aside from Gordonstoun and Fettes, other schools being investigated include Merchiston Castle School in Edinburgh, Loretto School in Musselburgh, East Lothian, and Morrison’s Academy in Crieff, Perthshire.

Faith-based organisations being looked at include those run by religious orders including the Benedictines, Sisters of Nazareth and the Christian Brothers. The inquiry is also investigating the relationship between the Catholic Church and these religious orders.

Three establishments run by the Church of Scotland will also be covered.

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Prince Charles’s school named in child abuse inquiry

SCOTLAND
The Times

Mike Wade
February 1 2017
The Times

The private schools attended by Prince Charles and Tony Blair are among more than 60 institutions under investigation by the historical Scottish child abuse inquiry.

Gordonstoun in the Highlands, beloved of the royal family for its character-building outdoors education, and Fettes College in Edinburgh, where Mr Blair spent his formative years, are among five of the most prestigious schools in the country where historical abuse has been reported.

Lady Smith, the chairwoman, suggested that a specific case study within the inquiry was likely to include evidence of former pupils who attended boarding schools.

Others named by the inquiry were Loretto, Musselburgh, whose ex-pupils include the former chancellor Norman Lamont, Morrison’s Academy, Crieff, where the actor Ewan McGregor went to school and Merchiston Castle, Edinburgh, renowned for a rugby playing tradition that has produced more than 60 internationals.

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Inside Track: No price can be put on justice for abuse victims

SCOTLAND
Herald Scotland

Stephen Naysmith, Social affairs correspondent

CRYPTIC was the word chosen by one survivor to describe Lady Smith’s comments on the numbers taking part in the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (SCAI). “I don’t understand why she was being so cryptic,” Dave Sharp told me. “But the numbers are important for survivors.”

Lady Smith said she was not willing to update the figure of 170 victims of historical child abuse who had come forward to take part in the inquiry which dates back to June last year, before she was even appointed, although she did say “many more” have since been in touch.

I’ve asked, and Lady Smith says the inquiry is asked regularly, for the latest figures. “The extent of our growing knowledge and understanding about what was happening to children in care cannot be measured simply by the number of people who have talked or are talking to us … ” she said, adding: “We are not going to provide a running commentary,” and explained why not.

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Apuron owes Guam closure

GUAM
Guam Daily Post

Editorial

In the nearly 30 years that Archbishop Anthony Apuron held the title of leader of the Catholic faithful on the island, he obviously was held in high regard – until allegations started to emerge about two years ago regarding the church’s assets and finances, and the alleged abuses of altar boys.

As the allegations against the ousted archbishop started to pile up, he left Guam.

The Archdiocese of Agana didn’t really make clear to the public where he was, although in June last year, Apuron did send a video message, with a view of the Vatican in the background.

At the time, he still wore the a bishop’s robe.

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Archbishop Apuron located in Fairfield, California

GUAM
KUAM

[with video

Updated: Feb 01, 2017

By Krystal Paco

Where in the world is Archbishop Anthony Apuron? “Fairfield, California,” said Attorney David Lujan.

Cozied in a two-story home in the West Coast, you wouldn’t recognize Apuron at first glance. Here he is answering the door for investigators who faked a story about a missing dog. This picture was captured in mid-January, in a home Lujan believes belongs to Apuron’s best friend, who he identifies as Joseph Quitugua.

“Well, let me ask you this…is it flight or hiding out, isn’t that a sign of guilt? That’s what I think you know,” he said.

Now that Apuron has been located, Lujan suspects the people of Guam and Apuron’s victims have been duped into believing there’s a canonical trial ongoing in Rome. Lujan represents all 15 victims who have surfaced to date, many of whom have accused Apuron of child molestation decades ago.

“Because we found him in California, we do not believe there is any such thing as canonical trial going on in Rome,” said Lujan. “In order for there to be a canonical trial, in my opinion, regarding Apuron, it has to do with the accusations against Apuron. And the only people who have accused Apuron are the people that I represent and none of them has testified in any proceedings.”

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Laws protecting children’s rights to be updated

CYPRUS
Cyprus Mail

JANUARY 31ST, 2017 ANGELOS ANASTASIOU

Laws covering domestic violence, sexual abuse, and the exploitation of children are set to be modernised, Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou said on Tuesday announcing the modernisation of family law.

He said the improvements seek to bring it up to speed with societal views and values, aiming to address issues testing social cohesion and the institution of family. The main goal, he said, is the protection of children’s rights in relation to incidents of sexual violence, improvement in relations between parents and their children, and the availability of expert advice.

The comprehensive set of proposals, which Nicolaou said were submitted by two teams of experts – academics and professionals – will be put to a public consultation.

“Our guiding principle will be safeguarding the interests of children,” he said.

“The child-centric character of family law must be preserved preciously, and the justice ministry is and will remain the custodian of this.”

One recommendation by the experts was a constitutional amendment to provisions granting control of marriage-related issues to the Greek-Orthodox church – or other churches.

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Former youth services worker sentenced to more than 200 years for child sexual abuse

OKLAHOMA
Tulsa World

By Samantha Vicent Tulsa World

A Tulsa man was sentenced Tuesday to more than 200 years imprisonment for sexually abusing five boys he met through church and while doing volunteer work for a local Department of Human Services shelter.

A jury found Timothy Shawn Cato, 52, guilty on Nov. 10 on 11 counts of child sexual abuse committed against the boys between October 2009 and his arrest in October 2014.

In upholding the jury’s sentencing recommendations, District Judge William LaFortune said he agreed with prosecutors’ claims that Cato has consistently tried to minimize, justify or otherwise rationalize his actions against the boys, who were ages 7 to 17.

The jury acquitted Cato on one count each of child sexual abuse and manufacture, distribution or sale of child pornography.

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Utah civil rights group reaches out to sex abuse victims, calls for dialogue with Mormon church

UTAH
The Salt Lake Tribune

By JENNIFER DOBNER | The Salt Lake Tribune
First Published Jan 31 2017

A Utah civil rights group has launched a two-part initiative to raise awareness of sexual abuse and assault inside the Mormon church and help purported survivors connect with services and support.

The effort of Restore Our Humanity (ROH) also asks leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to engage in a dialogue to improve the faith’s policies related to abuse prevention and the response of ecclesiastical leaders to abuse allegations.

The focus of ROH’s undertaking follows 18 months of gathering data and hearing the personal stories of individuals from across the country, ROH founder Mark Lawrence said Tuesday before an afternoon new conference.

A common thread heard by the group: Raising allegations of abuse with lay Mormon bishops has not always resolved the issue or brought needed help.

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Police investigating possible inappropriate conduct between former church employee, minors

OKLAHOMA
Fox 25

by Austin Prickett

OKLAHOMA CITY (KOKH) —

An employee of a metro church’s theater program has been fired after being accused of inappropriate conduct with minors.

St. Luke’s United Methodist Church has notified parents that an employee with the church’s Poteet Theatre has been fired after alleged misconduct with underage members of the program.

The employee has not been officially charged or identified by police and is accused of the misconduct with several different male students. The church sent the following letter to parents regarding the incident:

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CHILD ABUSE INQUIRY MUST LOOK AT MIGRANTS PROGRAMME, SAYS GORDON BROWN

UNITED KINGDOM
Care Appointments

Written by The Press Association

An inquiry into historic abuse must consider the 200 Scottish youngsters who were amongst the thousands of child migrants abused after being sent to Australia and other Commonwealth nations, Gordon Brown has said.

The former PM said that in some cases, “abuse was piled upon abuse” for those involved in the Child Migrants Programme, which ran from the 1920s to the 1960s.

It saw poor children sent to a ”better life” in Australia and elsewhere, but many of them were physically, emotionally or sexually abused.

Mr Brown said: “Approximate 200 Scots boys and girls were child migrants. The separate Scottish inquiry into sexual exploitation, chaired by Rt Hon Lady Smith, should make this a subject of their investigations.”

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Former Moravian church leaders for court today

JAMAICA
Loop

The two former leaders of the Moravian church group charged with having sex with a girl when she was 12 and 14 years old are to make their first court appearance Wednesday.

Rev Dr Paul Gardner, former president of the church body, and his ex-deputy Jermaine Gibson are scheduled to appear in the Manchester Parish Court.

Both men were arrested Monday, January 23 and charged with carnal abuse in relation to the reported incident that occurred in 2002 and two years later when the child was 14 years old.

Both men were offered station bail in the sum of $300,000 each following their arrests by the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA).

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Diocese launches new Protection and Safety Council

AUSTRALIA
mnnews.today

As a diocese we have an absolute and enduring commitment to promoting and ensuring the safety of all who are connected with us – be it through our parishes, Catholic schools, early education or community outreach services. To ensure we deliver on this commitment and continually improve our practices, I am pleased to announce the formation of a new body − the Diocesan Protection and Safety Council (the Council).

BISHOP BILL WRIGHT PUBLISHED FEBRUARY 01, 2017

Formed in January 2016, this Council will offer independent advice to me, as Bishop, ensuring that the diocese continues to develop its policies and practices in the field of professional standards. The Council will advise on promoting the protection of children and vulnerable adults within the diocese, developing the diocesan capacity to continue to support those who have been affected by child sexual abuse and rebuilding a sense of trust within the community about the diocese’s commitment to protect children and vulnerable adults.

Consisting of a range of professionals from local and interstate communities, the Council is deliberately diverse, with a mix of both Catholics and non-Catholics, clerics and lay people specialising in both the legal and mental health sectors.

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Rozzi renews push to aid child sex abuse victims

PENNSYLVANIA
Reading Eagle

by Michael Yoder

The process of seeking justice for victims of child sexual abuse has been renewed this week in the state Legislature after last year’s contentious battle.

Lawmakers have introduced competing bills in the House and the Senate. State Rep. Mark Rozzi, a Muhlenberg Township Democrat, reintroduced his bill on Tuesday that would allow abuse victims to bring lawsuits in cases that took place years or even decades ago.

Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, a Jefferson County Republican, had his own bill move to the Senate floor Monday and could see a vote as early as Wednesday. Scarnati’s bill would give future abuse victims a longer window to bring civil and criminal charges.

But it does not include the retroactive provision Rozzi says is crucial for victims. Rozzi insists that the legislation should allow any victims of abuse to pursue civil claims in court, even if the abuse occurred decades ago and has passed the statutes of limitation.

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Bartko says “speak up”: abuse turns into advocacy

CALIFORNIA
The Collegian

Posted by: Daniel Gligich Jan 31, 2017

Ever since Fresno State Athletic Director Jim Bartko told someone what happened during his childhood, a burden was lifted.

Bartko revealed to the public in the middle of January that he was molested by a Catholic priest about 35 times as a child. He traveled in December to Tucson, Arizona, to a rehabilitation facility, Sierra Tucson, and received treatment for sleeping issues, anxiety and anxiousness.

Bartko never spoke of his experiences as a child. But after more than 40 years, he decided to talk publicly about the molestations.

“It’s kind of funny, after 40-some years you never say it,” Bartko said. “But when you get asked the hard questions, it’s kind of like, ‘Do I tell the truth, or do I lie about it or keep it in?’ and I just said it.”

It was a huge burden to first discuss the abuse, Bartko said, but after returning to Fresno, it became much easier. Talking about the molestations has been therapeutic, he said, whether it is with counselors or people at the grocery store.

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