N.J. Catholics outraged over accused priest’s access to children
By Mark Mueller Religion News Service, April 30, 2013
NEWARK, N.J. — Amid calls for a Vatican investigation, Newark Archbishop John J. Myers is facing fierce criticism for his handling of a priest who attended youth retreats and heard confessions from minors in defiance of a court-ordered lifetime ban on ministry to children.
At St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Colts Neck, where the Rev. Michael Fugee had been spending time with a youth group, angry parishioners said they were never told about Fugee’s background, and they questioned Myers’ defense of the priest, the subject of a lengthy story in The Star-Ledger….
Fugee, 52, is a priest of the Archdiocese of Newark and under Myers’ supervision. His work at St. Mary’s, however, was in the neighboring Diocese of Trenton, where Bishop David O’Connell has ordered the pastor of St. Mary to bar Fugee from any church activities, a spokeswoman said in a statement….
Fugee was convicted in 2003 of criminal sexual contact for allegedly fondling a 14-year-old boy’s genitals on two occasions. Three years later, an appellate court vacated the verdict, ruling the trial judge should not have allowed jurors to hear the part of Fugee’s confession in which he described himself as homosexual or bisexual. The rest of the confession was not called into question.
Rather than retry Fugee, prosecutors allowed him to enter a rehabilitation program for first-time offenders, on the condition that he undergo counseling for sex offenders and sign an agreement barring him from any work in which children are involved. The archdiocese’s vicar general, on behalf of Myers, signed the agreement as well.
Yet The Star-Ledger found Fugee has apparently violated that pledge with impunity, attending retreats and hearing confessions and traveling with members of the St. Mary youth group to Canada….
Catholics paid $36m to 600 abuse victims in Victoria
By Greg Ansley Thursday May 2, 2013
Australia’s bid to prise open the secret world of endemic child sexual abuse in churches and other powerful institutions has stepped up a notch with revelations of the scale of perversion.
The Victorian inquiry resumed this week to admissions, contrition and apologies from the Catholic Church, which said it had paid A$30 million ($36 million) in compensation to about 600 victims of deviant priests in the state.
Next week the New South Wales special commission of inquiry will open its hearings in Newcastle, north of Sydney, in the diocese that triggered both the state inquiry and the federal royal commission into abuse of children in the care of religious, government and other institutions.
A key focus of the NSW hearings will be the late, defrocked priest Denis McAlinden, whose long-term abuse of dozens of children was known to the church but hidden as he was shuffled between Australia, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand, where he worked at Tokomaru Bay near Gisborne.
McAlinden – whose predecessor was later convicted of child sexual abuse – was central to investigations by Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox, the whistleblower policeman who sabotaged his career by making public alleged cover-ups by the Church….
In Ballarat, Church officials knew by 1975 that priest Gerald Ridsdale was a paedophile, but allowed him to continue working. Ridsdale was later twice convicted for child sexual abuse, and moved to different parishes.
The Catholic Order of Salesians of Don Bosco, which works with homeless and at-risk youths, and runs schools and boys’ clubs, said it had paid more than A$2 million in compensation to abuse victims and had 49 complaints against its priests in Victoria, three of whom will face courts this year. The Brothers of St John of God said it had received 31 cases of abuse by 15 members.
An ongoing battle against the porn connection
Bharat Dogra The Statesman Asia News Network New Delhi May 2, 2013
Recent years have seen massive worldwide changes in cultural and social norms that are closely related to the spread of pornography and new forms of prostitution. These need to be studied and understood carefully, particularly in the context of their impact on violence and crime against women and children.
Researchers Rebecca Whisnant and Christine Stark describe the many-sided spread of this global industry: “Prostitution is a multi-billion dollar global industry that includes adult and child pornography, bartering sex for food and shelter, massage parlours, prostitution rings, stripping, saunas, live sex shows, street prostitution, escort services or outcall, ritual abuse, peep shows, phone sex, international and domestic trafficking, mail-order bride services and prostitution tourism. The prostitution industry is an enormously powerful and pervasive culture presence.”….
According to Forbes magazine, the contemporary legal pornography business is a $56-billion global industry, including a huge presence of some big multinational companies….
In a research paper titled “The Use of New Communication Technologies for Sexual Exploitation of Women and Children”, Donna Hughes…. This study quotes experiences of police officers who blame the Internet particularly for the spread of child porn. Raymond Smith of the US Postal Inspection Service, who has handled hundreds of cases of child pornography, found that the rise in Internet use by sexual predators has also increased their use of the US mail service. He said that from the time they first started investigating child pornography in the early 1980s until five years ago, they had almost eliminated the distribution of child pornography.
But since the Internet this has steadily increased. In 1998, 32 per cent of cases of distribution of child porn were related to the Internet. In 1999, 47 per cent were Internet-related, and in 2000 this had risen to 77 per cent. This paper concludes, “The use of new communication and information technologies for the sexual exploitation of women and children is creating a crisis for women’s and children’s status, and dignity all over the world.”