The enablers of child abuse in society, school, family and the Church

Manila Times [Manila, Philippines]

January 9, 2022

By Fr. Shay Cullen

After months of trial and deliberation by a jury in New York, a wealthy British socialite, Ghislaine Maxwell, has been convicted of crimes related to human trafficking, grooming and facilitating and enabling the sexual abuse of minors by her wealthy boyfriend, Jeffrey Epstein. She was the recruiter, pimp, human trafficker and enabler of child sexual abuse. Maxwell, 60 years old, is now facing a possible jail time of 65 years behind bars.

This conviction focuses attention on the persons who are the enablers. They are the cover-up agents of crimes committed by another against children. They fail to help, protect and report the sexual abuse of children.

Parents and relatives, even some teachers and social workers, are guilty of crimes of omission and failure in their mandated duty to act to protect sexually or physically abused children.

A school principal in Zambales, Philippines, received a report of child sexual abuse but instead of referring the child victim (call her Amber) for help, the school principal summoned Amber’s mother to the office and informed her of Amber’s disclosure. The mother did not believe her husband could abuse their daughter but promised she would better protect her. Months after, Amber was abused again by her father, and she sought the assistance of her teacher who referred her to the municipal social worker and police and the social worker in turn referred the child to the protection and care of Preda Foundation home for abused girls. The father will be charged in court but the principal must also be held to account and resign. The Department of Education must investigate. Amber is healing and recovering and studying continually.

It was only when Beth, in total desperation from rejection and trauma, tried to commit suicide that her parents brought her to authorities in San Marcelino. The authorities did the right thing and referred Beth to the Preda home where she was welcomed and given support, understanding and a warm welcome in the family of children recovering from heinous crimes. She immediately felt secure and free from the pain she suffered from rejection and the abuse she endured. Beth disclosed all her hardships and suffering and is now healing and recovering from her trauma.

As mentioned in previous articles, Church authorities are also enablers by hiding and covering up heinous crimes of child sexual abuse by clerics. This practice is repugnant and privately deplored and rejected by thousands of good, honorable and dedicated priests and religious clerics. They are giving their lives in serving justice, the poor and human dignity and taking a moral stand against child abuse. They rightly feel their sacred vocation is sullied by the few pedophile priests who are coddled and protected by the Church authorities.

That is not enough. They have to take a stand for the child victims, and then their own vocation, profession, priesthood and dignity and work for justice even if it goes against the bishop and the powerful clerics protecting the pedophile priests.

They can, in total confidentiality, share with us at Preda Foundation the basic information about the victim of abuse such as: who, what, when and where, and we will do the rest. They can call me at +63 9228768621 and the child victims will be rescued and protected.

In the Diocese of Naval, Biliran, Fr. Kenneth Pius Hendricks, according to reports, is walking free, celebrating Holy Mass, protected and supported by the diocese. Some Church officials are allegedly in cahoots with the local judiciary persuading them not to pursue the case against Hendricks after several altar boys accused him of sexually abusing them. The vicar general is requested to comment. A court in Ohio has issued an arrest warrant for him to stand trial in the United States for the child abuse that he committed in Biliran, Naval. The crimes in Naval are also criminal acts in the United States since

Hendricks is a US citizen. Allegedly, the parents of the altar boys have been paid off by the Church authorities to not pursue their complaints against Hendricks.

We need to understand that some bishops and senior clergy, having enabled child abuse by failing to act against pedophile priests and allowing them to continue abusing children, live in fear of exposure. They apparently feel no anguish for the suffering of the child victims. The practice of sending a child-abusing priest to a monastery or retreat house or abroad as happens in the Philippines and paying off the parents of child victims is their solution, all done by their intermediaries corrupt lawyers impeding and obstructing the course of justice for children. As Cardinal Antonio Tagle said, the Philippine church deals with clerical child abuse internally. Pope Francis said clerical child abuse must be reported to civil authorities. They, too, can be complicit in cover-up, however.

Some Church authorities cannot face the truth of their mistakes in covering up child abuse. They lack the fortitude to face the truth and endure the loss of face, humiliation, shame, disgrace, loss of status, honor and prestige that they enjoy basking in the respect of public adulation and reverence. They can expect the loss of huge donations from the Catholic community. There would likely be large monetary compensation to be paid to the victims if there was a conviction of one of their priests or themselves in a court of law. All should humble themselves and be washers of feet as Jesus taught by example. French bishops said they will sell Church property to pay the compensation due to the child abuse victims of priests in France.

Jesus of Nazareth said, “Whoever receives a child in my name receives me.” Demanding accountability and justice for child abusers, he said a millstone should be tied around the neck of a child abuser and he be thrown into the deep sea. (Matthew 18:1-7)