Pope’s efforts to stop church child abuse appear to unravel, Vatican riven by internal battle over handling of child abuse claims
February 17, 2016 Comments Off on Pope’s efforts to stop church child abuse appear to unravel, Vatican riven by internal battle over handling of child abuse claims
Pope’s efforts to stop church child abuse appear to unravel
Will Carless, GlobalPost February 15, 2016
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — A member of a commission set up by Pope Francis to advise him on child abuse says the group is a “token body” exercising in “smoke and mirrors” that won’t help children stay safe from abusive priests.
Peter Saunders, the commission member, is now on a leave of absence as he considers whether to continue with an effort he says he has lost faith in.
Meanwhile, new Catholic bishops are still being taught they’re not obliged to report cases of child abuse by priests to the police.
The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, which Francis set up with much fanfare in 2014, was supposed to issue guidelines for the Vatican on how to deal with child abuse. But the body was never consulted about the training for new bishops on exactly that topic.
These are just some of the signs that Francis’ reform efforts, and his pledge to clean up the Catholic Church’s most damaging crisis, seem to be unraveling before they’ve even really gotten started.
The problems come as Pope Francis pays a visit to Latin America, a region where, as GlobalPost has reported, the church is accused of reassigning and protecting many alleged predator priests. Among the latest scandals in the region, Chileans are outraged that the pope appointed a bishop accused of shielding the country’s most despised pedophile priest from investigation….
Vatican riven by internal battle over handling of child abuse claims
Rift comes amid signs that special commission created by Pope Francis to handle issue is being sidelined by senior church officials in Rome
Stephanie Kirchgaessner in Rome Tuesday 16 February 2016
A battle is being waged within the Vatican over how senior clergy ought to handle accusations of sexual abuse amid signs that a special commission created by Pope Francis to handle the issue is being sidelined by senior church officials in Rome.
The rift was exposed after a report in the Guardian about a training course that was offered to new bishops last year in which a controversial French monsignor instructed them that it was “not necessarily” their duty to report accusations of abuse to law enforcement authorities if local laws did not require it.
That stance was rejected this week by Pope Francis’s point man on abuse issues, Boston cardinal Seán O’Malley, who heads a special pontifical commission to protect minors.
“We, the president and the members of the commission, wish to affirm that our obligations under civil law must certainly be followed, but even beyond these civil requirements, we all have a moral and ethical responsibility to report suspected abuse to the civil authorities who are charged with protecting our society,” he said in a statement on Monday.
O’Malley also said that the special commission was committed to “extensive education efforts” within local churches since its founding two years ago, and that its members had reiterated their “willingness to provide this material at courses offered in Rome”, including at the training courses for new bishops and the offices of the Roman Curia, or bureaucracy.
But it is clear that these offers have not been accepted….
Two of Bill Cosby’s accusers join push to have entire deposition unsealed, Vatican delays trial of pope’s ex-diplomat accused of child porn, pedophilia, Only Half of Abused Children Evaluated for Occult Fracture
July 14, 2015 Comments Off on Two of Bill Cosby’s accusers join push to have entire deposition unsealed, Vatican delays trial of pope’s ex-diplomat accused of child porn, pedophilia, Only Half of Abused Children Evaluated for Occult Fracture
Two of Bill Cosby’s accusers join push to have entire deposition unsealed
Beth Ferrier and Rebecca Lynn Neal, ‘Jane Does’ in the 2005 case, join motion as Neal also spoke out against National Enquirer for pulling an interview with her
Monday 13 July 2015
Two more of Bill Cosby’s accusers have joined a motion to have the whole of a deposition unsealed from a 2005 case in which the former comedian testified to having given a woman the sedative quaaludes before having sex with her.
Bill Cosby’s defenders split after revelation comedian drugged women
One of them has also attacked the National Enquirer for allegedly suppressing a 2005 interview with her in exchange for an exclusive from Cosby about his daughter’s drug use.
Beth Ferrier and Rebecca Lynn Neal were unidentified witnesses – known as “Jane Does” – in a 2005 case in which Cosby was sued by Andrea Constand, the first of more than two dozen women to come forward with allegations of sexual abuse against the comedian.
Last week a judge granted a motion by the Associated Press to unseal part of Cosby’s deposition. Constand has now been joined by Ferrier and Neal in a motion to have the rest of the deposition, which has so far been barred from public view, unsealed.
In a statement Gloria Allred, the lawyer representing both Ferrier and Neal, said she was concerned the partial testimony, “if believed”, would cause reputational damage to her clients.
….“The National Enquirer, more than any other publication, was unflinching in our aggressive coverage of allegations against Mr Cosby beginning in 2000 when everyone else avoided the story,” a spokesman told the Wrap. “We continue to remain aggressive in our reporting today and stand by the integrity of our coverage of this story which we have taken the lead on for more than a decade.”
Only Half of Abused Children Evaluated for Occult Fracture
Jenni Laidman July 13, 2015
Despite some 20 years of recommendations to perform a skeletal survey on infants and toddlers with injuries associated with abuse, hospital personnel failed to conduct such surveys in roughly half of suspected abuse cases, according to results from a study published online July 13 in Pediatrics.
Joanne N. Wood, MD, MSHP, from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and colleagues examined data from 4486 children younger than 2 years with a diagnosis of abuse or injuries often associated with abuse at 366 hospitals from 2009 to 2013.
The study indicated that 48% of children with an abuse diagnosis and 51% of infants with traumatic
brain injury were evaluated with a skeletal survey for occult fracture. Only 53% of infants with femur fractures were examined for further fractures, the researchers found.
Previous studies suggest that skeletal surveys would have revealed occult fractures in approximately 25% to 30% of the children in the study, which means about 1 in every 7 or 8 children might have had an undiagnosed occult fracture, the authors report….
Vatican delays trial of pope’s ex-diplomat accused of child porn, pedophilia
By Faith Karimi, Delia Gallagher and Hada Messia, CNN
Sat July 11, 2015
A former papal ambassador accused of sexually abusing minors has been hospitalized in an intensive care unit — pushing back his trial once set to start Saturday in Vatican City.
Jozef Wesolowski, 66, was under house arrest in Vatican City when he fell ill Friday night and was rushed to a public hospital.
A judge held a short hearing and adjourned Wesolowski’s trial to a yet undetermined date, the Vatican Press Office said. It did not provide any details on his condition.
Wesolowski, 66, is the highest-ranking Catholic official arrested for alleged sexual abuse of minors.
In addition to sexual abuse allegations, he is accused of possession of child pornography during his time as papal nuncio — or ambassador — to the Dominican Republic. The maximum punishment for these crimes could be 9 years in prison, although sentencing is entirely at the discretion of the judges.
The Vatican, which operates as a city-state, has its own judicial system. This is the first trial on charges of sex abuse to be heard by the Vatican tribunal, which is composed of 3 lay Italian judges….
Before arriving in the Dominican Republic seven years ago, Wesolowski was nuncio to Bolivia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.
He began his career as a priest in Poland in 1972, and became a bishop in 2000….
Mass grave of up to 800 dead babies exposed in County Galway, Pope to meet abuse victims with Boston’s O’Malley, Re-Watching Woody Allen The newly-chilling themes that you can see throughout his movies
May 27, 2014 Comments Off on Mass grave of up to 800 dead babies exposed in County Galway, Pope to meet abuse victims with Boston’s O’Malley, Re-Watching Woody Allen The newly-chilling themes that you can see throughout his movies
Mass grave of up to 800 dead babies exposed in County Galway
Cahir O’Doherty May 26,2014
According to a report in the Irish Mail on Sunday, a mass grave has been located beside a former home for unmarried mothers and babies in County Galway. The grave is believed to contain the bodies of up to eight hundred babies, buried on the former grounds of the institution known locally as “The Home” in Tuam, north of Galway city, between 1925 and 1961
Run by the Bon Secours nuns, “The Home” housed thousands of unmarried mothers and their “illegitimate” children over those years.
According to Irish Mail on Sunday the causes of death listed for “as many as 796 children” included “malnutrition, measles, convulsions, tuberculosis, gastroenteritis and pneumonia.”
The babies were usually buried without a coffin in a plot that had once housed “a water tank,” the report claims. No memorials were erected, the site was left unmarked and unmourned.
The staggering mortality rate of “The Home” was apparently replicated elsewhere in Ireland….
Pope to meet abuse victims with Boston’s O’Malley
By John L. Allen Jr. Globe Staff May 26, 2014
ROME — Pope Francis said Monday that he plans to celebrate a Mass with a small group of victims of sexual abuse in the coming weeks and to hold a private meeting to hear from them, a session in which Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston will also take part.
Francis also revealed that three Catholic bishops are under Vatican investigation for matters related to sexual abuse, citing those inquiries as proof that there will be no “daddy’s boys” in the clergy who enjoy special privileges on his watch.
Francis did not make it clear whether those three bishops are being investigated for abuse they are alleged to have committed or for an alleged failure to respond properly to possible abuse by others….
Re-Watching Woody Allen The newly-chilling themes that you can see throughout his movies By Stephen Marche on February 4, 2014
….Nobody except Dylan Farrow and Woody Allen knows what happened in that attic, and no one else ever will. But the sheer vividness with which Farrow recounts the experience, as well as the forum in which she does so, is enough to make even the most ardent fan reevaluate an artist’s entire body of work, especially one as personal as Allen’s.
So what happens when you go looking for evidence of sex crimes in Woody Allen movies? If you look, you find it, again, and again, and again….
Pope updates Vatican law, criminalizing sex abuse, leaks, The case of Fran and Dan Keller – Fran’s Day Care, PTSD treatments
July 13, 2013 Comments Off on Pope updates Vatican law, criminalizing sex abuse, leaks, The case of Fran and Dan Keller – Fran’s Day Care, PTSD treatments
Pope updates Vatican law, criminalizing sex abuse, leaks
New laws apply to clergy, others in the city-state
By Nicole Winfield Associated Press
July 12, 2013 VATICAN CITY
Pope Francis overhauled the laws that govern the Vatican city-state on Thursday, criminalizing leaks of Vatican information and specifically listing sexual violence, prostitution, and possession of child pornography as crimes against children that can be punished by up to 12 years in prison.
The legislation covers clergy and laypeople who live and work in Vatican City and is different from the canon law which covers the universal Catholic Church.
It was issued at a critical time, as the Vatican prepares for a grilling by a UN committee on its efforts to protect children under a key UN convention and prevent priests from sexually abusing children. The Vatican signed and ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990 yet only now — 23 years later — has it updated its legislation to reflect some of the treaty’s core provisions….
Fran’s Day Care Case – Randy Noblitt, PhD
The case of Fran and Dan Keller
“Some of the parents whose children attended the preschool became suspicious when their children returned home wearing underwear not their own, or with their clothes inside out or with their hair wet. There were always reasonable explanations: the child had an accident and was changed into clothes on hand for that purpose; or the child splashed water on herself when the children were cleaning up; and so forth. However, when one of the children made an outcry, the parents more closely scrutinized the strange behaviors some of the children had started engaging in and the aforementioned episodes, and they took their concerns to the police. The police took the concerns seriously and collected statements and evidence. The grand jury found a basis for indictment. The Kellers responded to the warrant for their arrest by fleeing the state in disguise, obtaining false identifications in their new personas, and attempting to leave the country. They were apprehended in Las Vegas, Nevada and extradited back to Travis County.”
“The case ended with the conviction of the Kellers and their sentencing to 48 years in prison each. They are in prison still, any efforts for appeal having failed to date.”
“the perspective was one of advocacy for falsely accused, persecuted, prosecuted, and convicted victims of a malicious or inept legal system that places too much trust in the stories children tell. A particular flaw in this story was the story. It was certainly not founded on anything I witnessed during my participation in the case. Evidence was not withheld from the prosecution to my knowledge. The defense was left flat-footed by their own conviction that the children would not be believed. And the advice I offered may have helped to prevent influence or contamination of the children’s testimony. The children’s stories were credible – Fran and Dan Keller’s defense was not.”
“One of the child victims, Veejay Staelin, a now 21-year old…re-asserted that he had been abused by Fran and Dan Keller.”
Meta-analysis of the efficacy of treatments for posttraumatic stress disorder. Authors Watts BV, et al
J Clin Psychiatry. 2013 Jun;74(6):e541-50. doi: 10.4088/JCP.12r08225.
OBJECTIVE: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an important mental health issue in terms of the number of people affected and the morbidity and functional impairment associated with the disorder. The purpose of this study was to examine the efficacy of all treatments for PTSD….
RESULTS: Effective psychotherapies included cognitive therapy, exposure therapy, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (g = 1.63, 1.08, and 1.01, respectively). Effective pharmacotherapies included paroxetine, sertraline, fluoxetine, risperidone, topiramate, and venlafaxine (g = 0.74, 0.41, 0.43, 0.41, 1.20, and 0.48, respectively)….
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that patients and providers have a variety of options for choosing an effective treatment for PTSD. Substantial differences in study design and study participant characteristics make identification of a single best treatment difficult. Not all medications or psychotherapies are effective.
Pope: Stopping child sexual abuse key to ‘credibility’ of Catholic Church, Leesburg child p_rn suspect had more than 500,000 images and videos at his home
April 6, 2013 Comments Off on Pope: Stopping child sexual abuse key to ‘credibility’ of Catholic Church, Leesburg child p_rn suspect had more than 500,000 images and videos at his home
Pope: Stopping child sexual abuse key to ‘credibility’ of Catholic Church
By Philip Pullella, Reuters Fri Apr 5, 2013
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis wants the Catholic Church to “act decisively” to root out sexual abuse of children by priests and ensure the perpetrators are punished, the Vatican said on Friday.
Francis, in a meeting with the Holy See’s doctrinal chief, Archbishop Gerhard Mueller, had declared that combating sexual abuse was important “for the Church and its credibility”, a statement said.
Francis inherited a Church mired in problems and a major scandal over priestly abuse of children. It was believed to be the first time he had taken up the issue of sex abuse with a senior member of his staff since his election on March 13….
Judge could order Leesburg child porn suspect to pay for own attorney
Friday, April 5, 2013 LEESBURG, Fla.
A man who the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said downloaded the most child pornography in the state of Florida was denied bail Friday morning.
Officers said John Shearen had more than 500,000 images and videos at his home in Leesburg.
He was arrested Thursday, on his 51st birthday, at his home in the Lakeside Pointe apartment complex, FDLE said. Agents said they identified Shearen last month while monitoring child porn websites, and they caught him at his computer Thursday morning as he was downloading more videos….
“We were able to seize anywhere from 500,000 to 1 million images and videos. They were stored on several computers and external hard drives to actually being transferred from the computers to separate DVDs, and he has a DVD collection of child pornography. So, we have a lot of work to do. Those initial cases will be charged today,” said Special Agent Jeff Duncan.
Agents said Shearen admitted his crimes….
Shearen faces 20 counts each of distribution and possession of child porn, but agents said there may be more charges filed as the investigation continues.
“He is the No. 1 person who can distribute child pornography throughout the world,” said Duncan. “And he’s been doing it.”
No bond for Leesburgh child porn suspect
A man who the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said downloaded the most child pornography in the state of Florida was denied bail Friday morning.