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

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Pedophile scandal engulfs Church in Latin America

Brazil, the largest country in Latin America and by extension the country with the biggest Catholic population in the world, has been shocked by the pedophile scandal in recent weeks.

A hidden-camera video broadcast on television -- and now being sold illicitly on the streets -- shows one 84-year-old priest in northeastern Brazil, Luiz Marques Barbosa, receiving oral sex from a former choir boy in front of an altar.
Two other priests were implicated in the video, in which three former choir boys said they were sexually abused as minors by them. The video has triggered a parliamentary inquiry and Barbosa's arrest.
The local bishop in charge of the three priests, Valerio Breda, wrote to parishoners pleading for "forgiveness in the name of the Church."
Other Church officials in Latin America have done likewise.
"There is no place for a priest who abuses children. There is no excuse that can justify this crime," the head of Chile's bishops' conference, Alejandro Goic, told a news conference.
"We ask forgiveness, and we appeal for these acts to be communicated to us," he said, adding that the Church was committed to ensuring "these grave crimes are never repeated."
So far, 20 known cases of pedophile priests have been revealed in Chile, five of whom have been convicted.
The Mexican Bishops Conference a week early also asked for pardon for the crimes, including those perpetrated by the late founder of the Legion of Christ order.
The bishops pledged to allow civilian authorities to intervene "to carry out the law" in current and past pedophile cases.
Although the scandal has galvanized and revolted many in recent months, pedophilia is not new in the Church's activities in Latin America.
In 2002, five Argentine priests were convicted to eight to 24 years in prison for sexual abuse, while a bishop had to step down after being implicated in sexual impropriety.
A more recent case, in December 2009, saw an Argentine former archbishop, Edgardo Storni, given an eight-year prison term for abusing a seminarist in 1992.
Last year, a priest, Julio C├ęsar Grassi, was also convicted and sentenced to 15 years for sexual abuse and corruption of a minor in a foundation for vulnerable children.
Costa Rica was shaken by a priest, Enrique Delgado, famous for presenting a popular religious television program, who was sent behind bars in 2005 for 12 years for abusing three minors.
Also in 2005, orphans accused an Italian priest, Marcos Dessi, of sexually abusing them while he ran a Nicaraguan orphanage, earning him a 12-year prison sentence in Italy.
In Paraguay, ex-members of the parish blasted a local bishop, Rogelio Livieres, for covering up a priest's alleged abuse of an adolescent.
In Venezuela, where no predatory behaviour has come to light, Caracas Bishop Luis Armando Tineo told AFP that while he rejected such crimes and found them unjustifiable, "we can't fall into the impression that there's an epidemic." (By Ana Ines Cibils/ AFP)

Clerical Abuse - in Africa

MAKANKA, Sierra Leone — A rutted red dirt track leads to the "bar," a couple of homemade wood benches in the shade of an old tree dripping with wild mangoes. Within easy reach, there's a yellow plastic jerry can of the fiery palm wine the American priest loved.
A 40-year-old schoolteacher now charges that the Rev. James Tully gave the palm wine to teenage boys to make them more susceptible to his advances.
This faraway corner of West Africa — with no electricity or piped water — is where the Roman Catholic Church sent Tully, twice. The teacher told The Associated Press that Tully abused him and other boys repeatedly during his first stint in Sierra Leone, from 1979 to 1985. After a conviction in the U.S. for giving minors alcohol and groping them, the church sent Tully back to Sierra Leone for a second stint from 1994 to 1998.
Tully's story is an example of how the church transferred abusive priests from country to country, in a scandal now emerging worldwide. But it also shows the deep reluctance to come out against a Catholic priest in many parts of Africa.
Catholic Archbishop Buti Tlhagale of Johannesburg cautioned this month that the scandals in the church were not particular to the United States and Europe.
"It simply means that the misbehavior of priests in Africa has not been exposed to the same glare of the media as in other parts of the world," Tlhagale said.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Parish priest accused of rape by his 18-year-old helper

An 18-year-old woman has filed a complaint with public prosecutors in Agusan del Norte that a parish priest whom she had served as a domestic helper repeatedly raped her earlier this year.

The priest, Fr. Raul Cabonce, has reportedly sought refuge in the Bishop's residence in Butuan City and could not be reached for comment, but has previously denied the allegations.

The complainant said in her affidavit filed last Thursday that Father Cabonce had offered her a scholarship in exchange for her services as a "convent girl" who would serve his household needs.

Hired in her hometown of Las Nieves, Agusan del Norte where Cabonce was then parish priest, the alleged victim was brought to the town of Tubay last year when Cabonce was reassigned"