Tuesday, 6 September 2011

The Catholic Church's Secret Sex-Crime Files

The five co-defendants sit close enough to shake hands in the Philadelphia courtroom, but they never once acknowledge one another. Father James Brennan, a 47-year-old priest accused of raping a 14-year-old boy, looks sad and stooped in a navy sweater, unshaven and sniffling. Edward Avery, a defrocked priest in his sixties, wears an unsettlingly pleasant expression on his face, as though he's mentally very far away. He and two other defendants – the Rev. Charles Engelhardt, also in his sixties, and Bernard Shero, a former Catholic schoolteacher in his forties – are accused of passing around "Billy," a fifth-grade altar boy. According to the charges, the three men raped and sodomized the 10-year-old, sometimes making him perform stripteases or getting him drunk on sacramental wine after Mass.

Heinous as the accusations are, the most shocking – and significant – are those against the fifth defendant, Monsignor William Lynn. At 60, Lynn is portly and dignified, his thin lips pressed together and his double chin held high. In a dramatic fashion statement, he alone has chosen to wear his black clerical garb today, a startling reminder that this is a priest on trial, a revered representative of the Catholic Church, not to mention a high-ranking official in Philadelphia's archdiocese. Lynn, who reported directly to the cardinal, was the trusted custodian of a trove of documents known in the church as the "Secret Archives files." The files prove what many have long suspected: that officials in the upper echelons of the church not only tolerated the widespread sexual abuse of children by priests but conspired to hide the crimes and silence the victims. Lynn is accused of having been the archdiocese's sex-abuse fixer, the man who covered up for its priests. Incredibly, after a scandal that has rocked the church for a generation, he is the first Catholic official ever criminally charged for the cover-up.

-read the extensive, full report at Rolling Stone Culture.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Australian Professor says church suppressed child abuse report

"A LEADING child protection expert has urged the Victorian government to hold a public inquiry into the handling of child-sex cases by a Catholic religious order after the Catholic Church suppressed a report it asked him to write.

Sydney University law professor Patrick Parkinson wrote yesterday to the Victorian Attorney-General, Robert Clark, and Police Minister, Peter Ryan, seeking an inquiry into the behaviour of the Salesians of Don Bosco.

In his letter, Professor Parkinson says the church's actions have cast doubt on its commitment to protect children before it protects itself."
-full report at Sydney Morning Herald

'via Blog this'

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Clerical abusers shielded by 'cabal' -Dr Diarmuid Martin

The Archbishop of Dublin Dr Diarmuid Martin has admitted that "a cabal" protecting clerical sex abusers may be operating at the highest levels in the Catholic Church.

Dr Martin said: "There may be a cabal in Cloyne. They may have friends in other parts of the Irish Church. They may have friends in Irish society. There may be friends in the Vatican."

Asked yesterday who was preventing the protection of children, he said: "The numbers that are involved in this are few. The damage that these people cause is horrendous. It's for all of us to see where they are, but in the long term I have to take the responsibility that in Dublin there are not cabals who reject our child protection laws"
- Independent.ie: "

Friday, 2 September 2011

Report criticizes Missouri diocese on priest porn case

"Catholic church officials in Kansas City are pledging to review immediately a new report on how to protect children after a local priest was charged in May with possessing child pornography.

A law firm hired by the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph found in the report that diocese leaders "failed to follow their own policies and procedures" in responding to reports that priest Shawn Ratigan had hundreds of child pornography images on his laptop computer."

-full report from Reuters