Pennsylvania Catholic diocese covered up decades worth of child abuse, grand jury says, Pell blames bishop for Australia child abuse cover-up
March 2, 2016 Comments Off on Pennsylvania Catholic diocese covered up decades worth of child abuse, grand jury says, Pell blames bishop for Australia child abuse cover-up
has graphic descriptions of abuse
Pennsylvania Catholic diocese covered up decades worth of child abuse, grand jury says
A new grand jury report claims two Roman Catholic bishops in a central Pennsylvania diocese helped cover up the sexual abuse of hundreds of children by over 50 priests or religious leaders over a 40-year period.
by Steve Esack and Laurie Mason Schroeder
March 1, 2016
From Boston to Philadelphia to the United Nations, the Catholic Church has been accused of covering up and protecting priests and other religious leaders who sexually abused children.
Now add a slice of western Pennsylvania to the list.
A grand jury report released Tuesday accuses two bishops who ran the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown of allowing at least 50 priests and other religious leaders to sexually abuse hundreds of children for decades.
“These predators desecrated a sacred trust and preyed upon their victims … where they should have felt most safe,” state Attorney General Kathleen Kane said.
The report says the late Bishop James Hogan and former Bishop Joseph Adamec kept filing cabinets with 115,042 secret documents detailing victims’ abuse claims. It tells how church officials ordered priests to undergo treatment while transferring them to other parishes, or intervened when local and state police made inquiries starting in the mid-1960s.
The report also outlines a diocesan “payout chart” of $10,000 for victims fondled over their clothes, and up to $175,000 for victims of forced sodomy or intercourse.
The grand jury report uses those documents to explain in extraordinary detail how one priest “hypnotized” children by rubbing his genitals on their feet, another priest choked boys if they refused his advances at his cabin in the woods, and another priest plied a child with alcohol and then raped him until he bled….
After his own 2002 investigation, Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli was critical of the way the church handled abuse claims before Cullen was installed as bishop in 1998.
Before that, he said, the diocese was focused more on the priest than on the alleged victims.
“Even when priests admitted sexual abuse with minors, they were often sent to treatment centers and continued to function as priests,” Morganelli said in a 2002 report. “A number of the priests had multiple incidents involving more than one victim.”
Like Martin, Morganelli found no basis for criminal charges against church officials who oversaw priests. Also like Martin, he noted the diocese has created a policy requiring the immediate review of allegations against priests and the instant removal of those priests if the allegations are deemed credible….
Every Catholic community — including the Allentown Diocese — has its hidden information.
Such secrets go back centuries to the mid-1600s or early 1700s, when the Vatican created Canon Law 489. It is a legal mechanism that allows Catholic religious orders to keep from public view a trove of documents, including personnel and financial files, that only the local bishop and his trusted few could access, according to testimony from sex-abuse prosecutions and lawsuits that rocked the Los Angeles Archdiocese in 2013.
In 2014, the United Nations accused the Vatican of “systematically” protecting predator priests from being brought to justice for the sexual “torture” of tens of thousands of children around the globe.
In 2012, some of the Philadelphia Archdiocese’s secrets came to light when a 1994 memo was uncovered that showed the archdiocese’s top clergy — including Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua and Bishop Edward Cullen, who later headed the Allentown Diocese — ordered the shredding of a list of 35 priests suspected of sexually abusing children….
Pell blames bishop for Australia child abuse cover-up
1 March 2016
Cardinal George Pell says he was deceived by a senior clergyman over the activities of a paedophile priest.
Australia’s most senior Catholic is presenting evidence from Rome via video link over several days to an Australian Royal Commission into child sex abuse.
On Tuesday Cardinal Pell was questioned about paedophile Gerald Ridsdale, a priest who was repeatedly moved between parishes in the 1970s and 80s.
He accepted no responsibility for the failure to report Ridsdale’s abuse….
Cardinal Pell repeatedly criticised Ronald Mulkearns, who was bishop of Ballarat between 1971 and 1997, for withholding information about Ridsdale.
Cardinal Pell was one of the consultors who gave advice to Bishop Mulkearns from 1977 to 1984.
Particular attention was paid to a meeting of the consultors that Cardinal Pell attended in 1982, where a decision was taken to move Ridsdale for a sixth time.
Counsel assisting the commissioner, Gail Furness, said it was “implausible” that Cardinal Pell and other priests at the meeting did not know the reason for Ridsdale’s relocation.
Cardinal Pell responded: “That is complete nonsense.”….
He said that responsibility for Ridsdale’s relocation lay “overwhelmingly with the bishop”, who used “gentle and euphemistic language” to disguise the truth of Risdale’s actions.
“I can’t nominate another bishop whose actions are so grave and inexplicable … His repeated refusal to act is, I think, absolutely extraordinary,” Cardinal Pell said.
The cardinal provoked gasps from survivors earlier in testimony when he said the news of Ridsdale’s abuse was “a sad story and it wasn’t of much interest to me”.
“The suffering, of course, was real and I very much regret that but I had no reason to turn my mind to the extent of the evils that Ridsdale had perpetrated,” he said….
Cardinal Pell, who is not accused of sexual abuse, denied knowing about paedophile priests who were active in the Ballarat diocese during his time there as a priest in the 1970s and 1980s.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse is holding its second round of inquiries into child sex abuse that occurred in the city of Ballarat in Victoria state.
Cardinal Pell was a priest in Ballarat and lived in a seminary with a notorious paedophile priest, Gerald Ridsdale, in the early 1970s.
Ridsdale committed more than 130 offences against young boys while working as a chaplain at Ballarat’s St Alipius school between the 1960s and the 1980s….
Police officers involved in cover up of paedophile ring, says former Deputy Police Chief Lenny Harper led the investigation into allegations of child abuse at former children’s home Haut de la Garenne in 2008, Pope accepts resignation of Australian bishop accused of being evasive at abuse inquiry
January 13, 2016 Comments Off on Police officers involved in cover up of paedophile ring, says former Deputy Police Chief Lenny Harper led the investigation into allegations of child abuse at former children’s home Haut de la Garenne in 2008, Pope accepts resignation of Australian bishop accused of being evasive at abuse inquiry
Police officers involved in cover up of paedophile ring, says former Deputy Police Chief
12 January 2016
A former Deputy Chief Officer of Jersey’s police force has today claimed senior police officers were involved in the cover up of a paedophile ring.
Lenny Harper led the investigation into allegations of child abuse at former children’s home Haut de la Garenne in 2008.
Today he told the inquiry into historical child abuse in the island of his growing concern there was a top-level cover up.
I was hugely concerned there was a cover up happening in Jersey and I was concerned that a lot of evidence was going missing and that witnesses were being intimidated. There was a clear story emerging in my mind and whilst I may not have used the term paedophile ring, my view there was certainly a culture emerging in Jersey of systematic child abuse.
– Lenny Harper, former Deputy Chief Officer of Jersey’s police
He went on to give examples of times, he claims, officers were pressured to drop investigations: “A former senior detective where his credibility and integrity were questioned by two paedophiles. Others where a police officer on another case alleged that he was obstructed and intimidated throughout the investigation.”
When asked by counsel for the inquiry who was responsible for the alleged cover up, he replied: “It was a group of individuals who were involved in a number of cases. It was the involvement of police officers that concerned me, with allegations by junior officers that led me to believe that some senior officers were involved in the cover up of abuse of children.”
I was told about exhibits in a case disappearing, that officers were not allowed to look at other exhibits, generally speaking exhibits and files were going missing.
– Lenny Harper, former Deputy Chief Officer of Jersey’s police…. http://www.itv.com/news/channel/2016-01-12/police-officers-involved-in-cover-up-of-paedophile-ring-says-former-deputy-police-chief/
Child abuse investigation could have started four years earlier says former Deputy Police Chief
12 January 2016
A former Deputy Chief Officer of Jersey’s police force says officers could have begun their investigation into claims of child abuse at Haut de la Garenne four years earlier than they did.
Lenny Harper is giving evidence to the inquiry into historical child abuse.
Today the inquiry heard Operation Rectangle was originally set up to investigate historical allegations of abuse in Jersey’s Sea Cadets. That happened over a period of years and the team had – at one point – worked with the FBI as part of a global effort to find abusers. Today, Mr Harper explained that line of inquiry hit a stumbling block in 2006….
He went on to say: “Senior officers were ignoring requests for an investigation. There was a decision not to follow up. The request was ignored. There’s no way around it. Even inertia, whether it was too difficult, whether indeed it was malicious, it was still ignored and it was wrong.”
Lenny Harper because the senior investigating officer into allegations about abuse at Haut de la Garenne in early 2008.
When asked if he was the right person to be in charge, he said: “Yes. I think I was able to engender the trust of victims who had mistrust in not only the police but in all of the caring agencies in Jersey…. http://www.itv.com/news/channel/2016-01-12/child-abuse-investigation-could-have-started-four-years-earlier-says-former-deputy-police-chief/
Pope accepts resignation of Australian bishop accused of being evasive at abuse inquiry
Brian Finnegan was accused of not being candid about his knowledge of paedophile priests in a bid to protect himself and the Catholic church
Guardian staff and agencies Wednesday 30 December 2015
An Australian bishop accused of protecting himself and the Catholic church at the child abuse royal commission has resigned.
The pope has accepted Brisbane auxiliary bishop Brian Finnegan’s resignation upon his reaching the retirement age, the Vatican’s press office has announced.
Finnegan, 77, was accused of not being candid about his knowledge of paedophile priests in a bid to protect himself and the church during his December evidence to the child abuse royal commission’s inquiry into the Ballarat diocese.
Finnegan was secretary to the bishop of the Ballarat diocese, Ronald Mulkearns, between 1979 and 1985 when the priest Gerald Ridsdale was abusing children in parishes within the diocese.
Finnegan repeatedly told the commission he was unaware of Ridsdale’s abuse at the time and had no concerns about the priest.
But the commission heard evidence Finnegan had been phoned by a mother who was concerned about Ridsdale’s interactions with her eldest son.
In documents revealed by the commission, Finnigan once described the Mortlake parish where Ridsdale worked as priest in 1981 and 1982 as “a real trouble spot” where there was “drama” around “kids in classes”…. http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/dec/31/pope-accepts-resignation-of-australian-bishop-accused-of-being-evasive-at-abuse-inquiry
Police set to question celebrities, politicians and sports stars in investigation into child abuse on island of Jersey, Top Vatican Cardinal Pell trailed by old child abuse scandal from Australia
June 5, 2015 Comments Off on Police set to question celebrities, politicians and sports stars in investigation into child abuse on island of Jersey, Top Vatican Cardinal Pell trailed by old child abuse scandal from Australia
Top Vatican cardinal trailed by old child abuse scandal from Australia
“a notorious pedophilia ring just down the road from where Pell once served as parish priest”
“abuse victims and fellow priests have given testimony under oath that Pell knew about the dozens of children who were mistreated there”
“Other priests gave testimony that Pell was probably part of high-level meetings about Ridsdale’s offenses by 1977, an allegation Pell has denied”
Police set to question thirteen ‘celebrities, politicians and sports stars’ in investigation into historic child abuse on island of Jersey
States of Jersey Police say they are to imminently quiz 13 famous figures
They are among the 45 suspects identified as part of Operation Whistle
The investigation is looking into allegations of child sex abuse on Jersey
By Jennifer Newton for MailOnline 4 June 2015
Police investigating child abuse claims on the island of Jersey say they are set to question 13 celebrities, politicians and sports stars.
Detectives have revealed that the prominent figures, who are ‘well known’ will be quizzed ‘imminently’ into allegations of institutionalised sex offences on the Channel island.
Their identities have not been revealed but police have said that 13 of the 45 suspects are public figures, including media personalities, politicians and sports people and they will be questioned as part of Operation Whistle.
The alleged abuse is said to have occurred between the late 1930s until the mid 2000s across four institutions, including the Haut de la Garenne children’s home.
The other institutions, which have not been named, are no longer functioning….
An investigation was launched into allegations of historic child abuse in Jersey in 2007 with former children’s home Haut de la Garenne becoming the focus.
By February 2008, the investigating team had received some claims about possible murders at Haut de la Garenne, a children’s home for 86 years until it closed in 1986….
the investigation did show numerous instances of abuse against past residents, with one former staff member being convicted of abuse.
Gordon Wateridge, was found guilty of eight indecent assaults on teenage girls and jailed for two years in August.
Top Vatican cardinal trailed by old child abuse scandal from Australia
By Sarah Kaplan June 3
Cardinal George Pell left Sydney two years ago to great fanfare. The longtime archbishop of Sydney and lauded “defender of the faith down under” had just been appointed chief of the Vatican’s finances — sometimes described as the second most powerful position in Rome. It is the highest an Australian has ever ascended in the church.
But Pell couldn’t leave behind the child sex abuse scandal that had rocked his hometown or the hushed accusations that he had a part in it. Those accusations have grown louder and much more public since last month, when an Australian commission began hearings into a notorious pedophilia ring just down the road from where Pell once served as parish priest.
Amid fervent coverage in the Australian news media, an accusation that his handling of the issue was “sociopathic” and testimony that Pell ignored warnings about his abusive colleagues and attempted to bribe one victim to stop him from speaking out, Pell has now hired lawyers to fight off attacks from the decades-old scandal he can’t quite shake….
Ten thousand miles from Rome, in Pell’s hometown of Ballarat, abuse victims and fellow priests have given testimony under oath that Pell knew about the dozens of children who were mistreated there….
Pell was ordained in Rome in 1966 and moved to Oxford for his PhD. But when he returned to Australia in 1971, he moved back to his home state of Victoria, and two years after that he was back in Ballarat. There he served as a parish priest and vicar. Just down the road, St. Alipius Primary School had become the site of one of Australia’s most notorious pedophilia rings….
One of the worst abusers was Gerald Ridsdale, a now-defrocked priest convicted of sexual offenses against more than 50 children. Ridsdale lived with Pell in Ballarat for two years.
Ridsdale, who told his family he had “hundreds” of victims, according to the Australian newspaper the Age, was moved to nine different parishes over the course of his career — something the church is often accused of doing when faced with allegations of abuse.
Pell said he knew nothing about his colleague’s treatment of children until the 1990s, when Ridsdale was arrested and charged with dozens of counts of sexual assault over the course of two decades.
When Ridsdale appeared in a Melbourne court in 1993, Pell stood alongside him, dressed in a priest’s garb….
In 1994, Ridsdale pleaded guilty to 46 counts of sexual abuse and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. He was sentenced to an additional four years in 2006 after pleading guilty to 35 more charges, and eight more years in 2013, after additional offenses came to light during the Australian inquiry into the Church’s handling of abuse allegations. All told, he is convicted of abusing 54 children. The youngest was 4 years old….
Meanwhile, Pell’s star continued to rise. He was named archbishop of Melbourne in 1996 and then Archbishop of Sydney in 2001. A 2003 article on his appointment as cardinal called his ascent to the upper echelons of the Church “inexorable,” noting Pell’s moral fervor and reputation as a “staunch and public upholder of Catholic purity.”….
Last August, when Pell appeared before the commission for a broader inquiry on the Church’s handling of abuse cases, he said that the Church should not be held legally responsible for the actions of its priests, comparing it to a hypothetical trucking company that hired a driver who molested women….
Other priests gave testimony that Pell was probably part of high-level meetings about Ridsdale’s offenses by 1977, an allegation Pell has denied….
Priest abused every young boy at regional Victorian school, inquiry hears, – Rabbi sentenced to six and a half years prison term for voyeurism, Reduced Child Abuse Sentence Causes Uproar in Argentina
May 19, 2015 Comments Off on Priest abused every young boy at regional Victorian school, inquiry hears, – Rabbi sentenced to six and a half years prison term for voyeurism, Reduced Child Abuse Sentence Causes Uproar in Argentina
Child abuse royal commission: Priest abused every young boy at regional Victorian school, inquiry hears
By court reporter Peta Carlyon 5/12/15
A notorious paedophile priest abused every boy at a regional Victorian school between the age of 10 and 16, the child sex abuse inquiry has heard.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is holding long-awaited public hearings in Ballarat to examine historical abuse suffered by children at a number of schools in the regional centre, at the hands of Catholic clergy and other members of the Church.
Some of Australia’s most notorious abusers were part of a paedophile ring operating in and around Ballarat for years, including Gerald Ridsdale, Robert Best and Edward Dowlan.
In her opening address, Senior Counsel Assisting the Commission, Gail Furness SC, outlined the extent of Ridsdale’s offending.
She said the inquiry would hear evidence of Ridsdale’s time at the Mortlake parish during the early 1980s, including comments from the priest who took over from Ridsdale.
“Father Dennehy told the Catholic church’s insurance investigator that he thought every male child between the ages of 10 years and 16 years, who were at the school, had been molested by Ridsdale,” she said.
Ms Furness said Ridsdale was a “prolific offender” during his time at Mortlake….
Ridsdale is serving an eight-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to 30 child sex offences in 2014.
It is the fourth time he has been jailed after three previous stints in prison for more than 100 other offences….
Rabbi sentenced to six and a half years prison term for voyeurism
May 18, 2015 By Mike McDaniel, News Reporter
This is a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Bernard “Barry” Freundel, 63, of Washington D.C., a rabbi who had worked for a Jewish congregation in Washington, D.C., was sentenced today to a prison term of six years and six months on 52 counts of voyeurism stemming from a series of incidents between 2009 and 2014 in which he secretly took video recordings of women preparing for a Jewish ritual bath….
The National Capital Mikvah has two changing/showering rooms connected to the room with the ritual bath. On numerous occasions between early 2009 and October 2014, the defendant installed and maintained electronic recording devices in the larger of the two changing/showering rooms. Freundel did so for the sole purpose of secretly and surreptitiously recording women who were using the bathroom and shower; these women were totally and partially undressed before and/or after showering. The women recorded did not know they were being recorded and did not consent to being recorded…..
In addition to the 52 recordings that were the subject of the plea, computer forensic examinations revealed that Freundel secretly and surreptitiously recorded approximately 100 additional women totally or partially undressed before and/or after showering in the large bathroom at the National Capital Mikvah between 2009 and September 2014. These women did not know that they were being recorded and did not consent to being recorded….
Reduced Child Abuse Sentence Causes Uproar in Argentina
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — May 18, 2015
Two Argentine judges are under fire for reducing the sentence of a convicted child abuser on the grounds that his 6-year-old victim had suffered earlier abuse and therefore had already been traumatized.
In the newly publicized 2014 ruling, the judges cut the sentence of Mario Tolosa, a sports club vice president, from six years to 38 months. They ruled that his acts should not be considered “gravely outrageous” in legal terms because the boy already “was making a precocious choice” of his sexuality, apparently a reference to homosexuality.
Other attorneys criticized the decision and the Argentine Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Trans has demanded the judges be removed from the bench for a ruling it said placed a 6-year-old victim “in the position of a suspect.”
One of the two judges, Horacio Piombo, defended the ruling Monday in interviews with Radio La Red and the television station Todo Noticias, saying that before Tolosa molested him, the child already had suffered “the initiation by his father into the worst of worlds, leading him to depravation.”
He said that “as a result of that experience with the father, the child had showed “signs of a transvestite conduct, of conduct we had to take into account.”….
Interior Minister Florencio Randazzo, who is running for the presidency, said via Twitter that the ruling was “an embarrassment.”
“It’s repugnant to say that the presumed sexual orientation of an abused six-year-old boy is a reason to reduce the sentence of the abuser.”