bishops fight sex abuse bill, implicated in coverup, complaints ‘unpunished’

April 13, 2010 § Leave a comment

Connecticut bishops fight sex abuse bill Jamie Guzzardo, CNN April 11, 2010 Hartford, Connecticut (CNN) — A bill in Connecticut’s legislature that would remove the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse cases has sparked a fervent response from the state’s Roman Catholic bishops, who released a letter to parishioners Saturday imploring them to oppose the measure.

Under current Connecticut law, sexual abuse victims have 30 years past their 18th birthday to file a lawsuit. The proposed change to the law would rescind that statute of limitations.

The proposed change to the law would put “all Church institutions, including your parish, at risk,” says the letter, which was signed by Connecticut’s three Roman Catholic bishops.

The letter is posted on the Web site of the Connecticut Catholic Public Affairs Conference, the public policy and advocacy office of Connecticut’s Catholic bishops. It asks parishioners to contact their legislators in opposition of the bill.
http://www.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/04/11/connecticut.abuse.bill/index.html

Ex-St. Catharines bishop implicated in coverup By GRANT LAFLECHE, QMI AGENCY 4/12/10 As local Catholics puzzle Friday over the sudden resignation of their bishop, his predecessor was implicated in the coverup of sexual abuse by a priest in Pembroke. Former St. Catharines bishop John O’Mara was named by former Pembroke bishop Joseph Windle in a 1993 letter to the Vatican’s ambassador in Ottawa. O’Mara was named as part of a group of Ontario bishops who backed Windle’s recommendation that the abuse of minors by a Pembroke priest be kept silent. The priest in question, Father Bernard Prince, had been shipped off to Rome and became a friend of then Pope John Paul II.

In his letter, Windle was deeply concerned that if the Vatican graced the priest with any attention or honours, it would expose the abuse and create a scandal….Prince was convicted in 2008 of sexually molesting 13 boys between 1964 and 1984, and was formally defrocked by Pope Benedict XVI last year. He was sent to Rome and became a Vatican official in 1991 after church officials in Canada first heard from a victim of his crimes. In his letter, which became public Friday as part of a civil case against the Pembroke Diocese and Prince, Windle supported the move even in light of the seriousness of the allegations. “I would not object to him being given another chance since it would remove him from the Canadian scene,” Windle wrote. By 1993, further allegations against Prince surfaced. Windle explained in his letter there were four or five known victims and at least one of them was asking pointed questions about how the church was handling the situation. Still, Windle believed the Church could keep the situation secret because the victims were unlikely to go to the police or the press.  http://www.niagarafallsreview.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=2529871

Paedophilia complaints ‘unpunished’ April 13, 2010 BELGIAN bishops have failed to punish any clergy over 300 complaints of paedophilia brought to their attention in the 1990s, claims a priest who helped many victims. ”We brought forward between 1992 and 1998 more than 300 complaints from victims of abuse committed by priests, but only 15 ended up with admissions” of guilt, Father Rick Deville told the Flemish dailies De Standaard and Het Nieuwsblad yesterday.

”A priest accused would most often be moved, but was never punished,” he complained. Founder of the group Human Rights in the Church, which defends victims of abuse, the 65-year-old Father Deville deplored the lack of support from the Belgian Catholic hierarchy. ”Very few bishops helped us,” he said. In most cases the victims were told that their actions were ”unfortunately banned”. In some cases the victims themselves were accused of defamation, he said. AFP
http://www.theage.com.au/world/paedophilia-complaints-unpunished-20100412-s4e9.html

Vatican Clarifies Its Policy on Reporting Abuse VATICAN CITY (AP) – The Vatican on Monday responded to allegations it long concealed clerical sex abuse by making it clear for the first time that bishops and clerics worldwide should report such crimes to police if they are required to by law.
The policy, spelled out in a guide for laymen and posted on the Vatican’s Web site, matches the policy worked out by U.S. bishops after an explosion of sex abuse cases in 2002.

Unlike the American norms, however, the Vatican guide contains no call for ”zero tolerance” for priests who rape and molest children, and victims immediately criticized it as insufficient.
The Vatican insists it has long been the Catholic Church’s policy for bishops, like all Christians, to obey civil reporting laws. But such an explicit policy had never been spelled out — until Monday. ”Civil law concerning reporting of crimes to the appropriate authorities should always be followed,” said the newly posted guideline.
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2010/04/12/world/AP-EU-Church-Abuse.html

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