Nuns charged in Smyllum Park child abuse investigation, The ghosts of St. Joseph’s orphanage: BuzzFeed News reveals extent of child abuse
August 28, 2018 Comments Off on Nuns charged in Smyllum Park child abuse investigation, The ghosts of St. Joseph’s orphanage: BuzzFeed News reveals extent of child abuse
“In the United States, however, no such reckoning has taken place. Even today the stories of the orphanages are rarely told and barely heard, let alone recognized in any formal way by the government, the public, or the courts. The few times that orphanage abuse cases have been litigated in the US, the courts have remained generally indifferent. Private settlements could be as little as a few thousand dollars. Government bodies have rarely pursued the allegations.”
Nuns charged in Smyllum Park child abuse investigation
Police examining claims of abuse over decades at Catholic home charge 12 people Severin Carrell Scotland editor
Thu 23 Aug 2018
Police in Scotland have arrested and charged nuns and a number of other former staff in an investigation into alleged child abuse at a Catholic children’s home.
The nuns are among 12 people who have been charged by detectives investigating detailed allegations of systematic physical and sexual abuse of children over many decades at Smyllum Park in Lanark.
Police Scotland said another four former staff at the Catholic institution would be reported to the Crown Office, Scotland’s prosecution service, later on Thursday.
The force would not release any further details about the identities of those charged or the offences they face, pending final decisions by prosecutors.
“Twelve people, 11 women and one man, ages ranging from 62 to 85 years, have been arrested and charged in connection with the non-recent abuse of children,” it said….
The allegations of abuse at Smyllum Park, including unsubstantiated claims of “satanic” rituals at the home, have been at the centre of a long-running official public inquiry into child sexual abuse at children’s homes in Scotland.
The Scottish child abuse inquiry (SCAI) has been told by former residents that lay staff and nuns at the home, run by the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul until it closed in 1981, repeatedly beat and punched them, verbally abused and humiliated them for wetting beds and left them without food and that some male and female staff sexually abused the children in their care.
It is alleged that at least one child, a boy aged six, died as a result of a severe beating that prevented him from recovering from an infection some days later.
Gregor Rolfe, a lawyer for the Daughters of Charity, told the SCAI last year that one male former member of staff may have sexually abused children whom he took on holidays. Those allegations were reported to nuns but not passed to the police….
The families of former residents were horrified to discover that the remains of up to 400 children were buried in a large plot of unmarked graves in a cemetery nearby.
More than 11,000 children were placed at Smyllum Park from its opening in 1864 to its eventual closure 117 years later. Some were orphaned, but others were from families unable to look after them. Death certificates revealed that many of the children died from tuberculosis, pneumonia and pleurisy.
Smith is expected to release a special preliminary report on Smyllum Park in coming weeks. Her full report is not expected until some time after October 2019.
The Scottish Daily Mail reported on Thursday that police had also begun a separate investigation into the Sisters of Nazareth, another Catholic order that ran children’s homes that are under scrutiny by Smith’s inquiry.
The ghosts of St. Joseph’s orphanage: BuzzFeed News reveals extent of child abuse
Christine Kenneally, BuzzFeed Aug. 27, 2018
In the 1990s, Burlington Free Press journalists including Sam Hemingway reported extensively on allegations of child abuse by former residents of St. Joseph’s Orphanage in Burlington. Two decades later, Christine Kenneally, a reporter for the online news site BuzzFeed News, has spent four years revisiting the scandal of child abuse at Catholic orphanages around the United States.
Much of Kenneally’s report focuses on abuse at the Burlington orphanage, which was located on North Avenue. With BuzzFeed News’ permission, the Free Press publishes this excerpt.
It was a late summer afternoon, Sally Dale recalled, when the boy was thrown through the fourth-floor window.
“He kind of hit, and— ” she placed both hands palm-down before her. Her right hand slapped down on the left, rebounded up a little, then landed again.
For just a moment, the room was still. “Bounced?” one of the many lawyers present asked. “Well, I guess you’d call it — it was a bounce,” she replied. “And then he laid still.”
Sally, who was speaking under oath, tried to explain it. She started again. “The first thing I saw was looking up, hearing the crash of the window, and then him going down, but my eyes were still glued— .” She pointed up at where the broken window would have been and then she pointed at her own face and drew circles around it. “That habit thing, whatever it is, that they wear, stuck out like a sore thumb.”….
A nun was standing at the window, Sally said. She straightened her arms out in front of her. “But her hands were like that.”
There were only two people in the yard, she said: Sally herself and a nun who was escorting her. In a tone that was still completely bewildered, she recalled asking, Sister?
Sister took hold of Sally’s ear, turned her around, and walked her back to the other side of the yard. The nun told her she had a vivid imagination.
We are going to have to do something about you, child.
Sally figured the boy fell from the window in 1944 or so, because she was moving to the “big girls” dormitory that day. Girls usually moved when they were 6, though residents of St. Joseph’s Orphanage in Burlington, Vermont, did not always have a clear sense of their age — birthdays, like siblings and even names, being one of the many human attributes that were stripped from them when they passed through its doors. She recounted his fall in a deposition on November 6, 1996, as part of a remarkable group of lawsuits that 28 former residents brought against the nuns, the diocese, and the social agency that oversaw the orphanage.
I watched the deposition — all 19 hours of grainy, scratchy videotape — more than two decades later. By that time sexual abuse scandals had ripped through the Catholic Church, shattering the silence that had for so long protected its secrets. It was easier for accusers in general to come forward, and easier for people to believe their stories, even if the stories sounded too awful to be true. Even if they had happened decades ago, when the accusers were only children. Even if the people they were accusing were pillars of the community.
But for all these revelations — including this month’s Pennsylvania grand jury report on how the church hid the crimes of hundreds of priests — a darker history, the one to which Sally’s story belongs, remains all but unknown. It is the history of unrelenting physical and psychological abuse of captive children. Across thousands of miles, across decades, the abuse took eerily similar forms: People who grew up in orphanages said they were made to kneel or stand for hours, sometimes with their arms straight out, sometimes holding their boots or some other item. They were forced to eat their own vomit. They were dangled upside down out windows, over wells, or in laundry chutes. Children were locked in cabinets, in closets, in attics, sometimes for days, sometimes so long they were forgotten. They were told their relatives didn’t want them, or they were permanently separated from their siblings. They were sexually abused. They were mutilated…..
In the United States, however, no such reckoning has taken place. Even today the stories of the orphanages are rarely told and barely heard, let alone recognized in any formal way by the government, the public, or the courts. The few times that orphanage abuse cases have been litigated in the US, the courts have remained generally indifferent. Private settlements could be as little as a few thousand dollars. Government bodies have rarely pursued the allegations….
Changes in Awareness of Severe Abuse and Child Abuse Crimes Over Twenty Five Years by Neil Brick