Child abuse scandal casts ‘spotlight’ on France’s top Catholic, French education minister says 27 school staff fired for child sex abuse

March 17, 2016 Comments Off on Child abuse scandal casts ‘spotlight’ on France’s top Catholic, French education minister says 27 school staff fired for child sex abuse

Child abuse scandal casts ‘spotlight’ on France’s top Catholic
2016-03-16
Allegations of a cover-up in the highest reaches of French Catholicism have revived the spectre of clerical child sex abuse and cast a pall over France’s most prominent cardinal

….the allegations have the potential to profoundly rattle the Church in a country where half the population continues to consider itself Catholic. In particular, they threaten to derail the career of France’s most prominent clergyman, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, the archbishop of Lyon, a man long touted as a possible candidate for the papacy.

The 65-year-old prelate has fiercely denied charges that he covered up paedophilia crimes by failing to remove a priest in his diocese known to have abused boy scouts decades before he took up his post in 2002. Barbarin is also accused of failing to act against another Lyon priest when it emerged in 2009 he had abused a boy in the past.

“I have never, never, never covered up acts of paedophilia,” Barbarin said at a press conference on Tuesday, noting that the cases had passed the legal statute of limitations when they were reported. He added an unfortunate “thank God” – and later apologised for his choice of words.

The cardinal spoke just hours after French Prime Minister Manuel Valls urged him to “take his responsibility and act” upon the allegations of cover-up – a rare step for France, which has a strict separation of church and state.

Pandora’s box

Barbarin is among six church officials targeted in a preliminary judicial investigation that grew out of allegations that a priest had molested boy scouts in the 1980s. Barbarin wasn’t a cardinal at the time and says he was convinced the priest had been reformed by the time he found out about the abuse in 2007.

The priest, Bernard Preynat, was charged on January 27 of this year with sexual aggression and rape of a minor by a person in authority. The charges are based on complaints filed by members of an association of alleged victims of the priest, known as Parole libérée (Freed word).

Several of the alleged victims have spoken to Euronews journalist Valérie Gauriat about the abuse….

The association says it has received dozens of testimonies from alleged victims, who had previously kept quiet about their story, or were simply not listened to. “Since our establishment, barely two months ago, we have been submerged by messages from victims seeking psychological support or advice,” says Dominique Murillot, the wife of a former child abuse victim and a psychologist at Parole libérée….

Adding to Barbarin’s woes, Le Parisien reported that the Lyon cardinal had in 2013 promoted a convicted sex offender, whose suspended jail term in 2007 was well known to the archdiocese….

France was shocked last year by the disclosure that a school headmaster who had been appointed despite a previous conviction for possessing child pornography was charged with aggravated rape of several pupils.

On Wednesday, the Education Ministry said it had struck off twenty-seven members of staff in French schools and high schools in 2015 because of paedophilia-related offenses, adding that it would tighten cooperation with the justice ministry to scrutinize the criminal records of all teachers it employs….
http://www.france24.com/en/20160316-child-abuse-spotlight-france-catholic-cardinal-barbarin-paedophilia


French education minister says 27 school staff fired for child sex abuse

016-03-16
Twenty-seven members of staff in French schools and high schools were struck off in 2015 because of pedophilia-related offenses, Education Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem said Wednesday.

Vallaud-Belkacem said most of those fired where male staffers. She did not say whether they were teachers or administrative personnel, nor when the offenses happened.

France was shocked last year by the disclosure that a school headmaster who had been appointed despite a previous conviction for possessing child pornography was charged with aggravated rape of several pupils. Earlier this year, a high school teacher who had been convicted in Britain 10 years ago was given preliminary charges of sexual assault after police found pornographic images and video in his mobile phone.

According to a report aiming at improving communication between the ministries of education and justice published Wednesday, 19 members of staff in schools and high schools were fired in 2014 in cases related to child pornography or pedophilia. There were 26 staff at French schools laid off in 2013 for the same reason, and 15 in 2012.

“We believe that a teacher, or an adult, or an administrative agent in contact with children can’t work with children as soon as he has been sentenced for offenses as serious as pedophilia or child pornography,” Vallaud-Belkacem told RTL radio….
http://www.france24.com/en/20160316-france-27-school-staff-fired-child-sex-abuse-paedophilia

 

Catholic Church saves $62 million on sexual abuse claims, Priest warned police officer to drop investigation or lose job, child abuse hearing told, Lord Janner: Judge rules dementia sufferer is unfit to plead in child sex abuse trial

December 8, 2015 Comments Off on Catholic Church saves $62 million on sexual abuse claims, Priest warned police officer to drop investigation or lose job, child abuse hearing told, Lord Janner: Judge rules dementia sufferer is unfit to plead in child sex abuse trial

Catholic Church saves $62 million on sexual abuse claims
The Catholic Church avoided paying up to $62 million in compensation to sexual abuse victims by creating the controversial Melbourne Response program, which capped payments at $50,000 for each victim.
Internal documents also show church leaders ordered written records about sex abuse be “kept to a minimum” to avoid losing lawsuits, and hired one of the country’s best spin doctors in a bid to prepare for the scandal in the early 1990s….

In August 1996, Archbishop Pell discussed the idea of creating a special trust to “avoid an open-ended call on funding for counselling fees” for abuse victims, to only days later canvass suggestions of how the church could financially support three paedophile priests set to be released from prison.

Meetings also describe plans for multimillion-dollar property deals and commissioning a new painting of the archbishop, while senior leaders were also expressing concern about “being seen to apply the maximum penalty” against paedophile priests, the protection of church assets and their own exposure to liability in sexual abuse lawsuits…. http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/catholic-church-saves-62-million-on-sexual-abuse-claims-20151205-glgavf.html

Priest warned police officer to drop investigation or lose job, child abuse hearing told

Father Peter Taffe ‘told officer Denis Ryan he would be out of a job’ if he pursued an investigation into the Mildura parish priest Monsignor John Day

Australian Associated Press  Sunday 6 December 2015

A Victorian priest warned a police officer to drop his investigation into a colleague over child abuse allegations, an inquiry has heard.

Father Peter Taffe told the police officer he would be out of a job if he pursued an investigation into the Mildura parish priest Monsignor John Day, the child abuse royal commission was told.

Senior counsel assisting the commission, Gail Furness SC, said 140 people had made child sex abuse claims against priests and others in religious orders in the diocese of Ballarat since 1980. Ninety per cent of the claims were against seven priests, including 78 against Gerald Francis Ridsdale and 15 against Day.

Furness said a man had told Mildura assistant priest Taffe in January 1972 his son had been abused by Day. She said Taffe’s first words had been: “I thought he was over all this.”

A former Mildura police officer, Denis Ryan, had already been investigating complaints against Day, she said, and would tell the commission Taffe had warned him in December 1971: “Drop the inquiry into Monsignor Day or you’ll be out of a job.”

Ryan wrote to then Ballarat bishop Ronald Mulkearns setting out allegations from seven complainants. The inquiry was told Mulkearns had said he had been assured police were satisfied there was no substance to the charges, and it was impossible to move Day out of Mildura.

“Any such move would be tantamount to a public declaration that I consider him guilty,” he said….

Furness said Mulkearns had told another Mortlake victim’s mother: “How am I to take the word of a child over one of my priests?” http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/dec/07/priest-warned-police-officer-to-drop-investigation-or-lose-job-child-abuse-hearing-told

Lord Janner: Judge rules dementia sufferer is unfit to plead in child sex abuse trial
Court hearing on 87-year-old peer’s mental health is told former Labour grandee is suffering from ‘advanced and disabling’ dementia

By David Barrett, Home Affairs Correspondent
07 Dec 2015
Lord Janner has been declared unfit to plead in a criminal trial over a range of sex abuse charges dating back 50 years, a senior judge has ruled.

In a hearing at the Old Bailey on the 87-year-old’s mental health, Mr Justice Openshaw said the peer was suffering from “advanced and disabling” dementia.

He detailed reports from four leading psychiatrists and psychologists which had been commissioned by both prosecution and defence – all of which agreed the peer’s mental health was very poor. Janner did not attend the latest court hearing….

Janner is accused of 15 counts of indecent assault and seven counts of a separate sexual offence against a total of nine alleged victims in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

Twenty-one of the offences relate to complainants who were aged 16 or under at the time…. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/12036837/Lord-Janner-Judge-rules-dementia-sufferer-is-unfit-to-plead-in-child-sex-abuse-trial.html

Woman Says Dennis Hastert Abused Her Brother, Paying to Hide ‘Misconduct’, Catholic Archdiocese in Minnesota Charged Over Sex Abuse by Priest, Ex-PSU student sues school over fraternity allegations

June 9, 2015 Comments Off on Woman Says Dennis Hastert Abused Her Brother, Paying to Hide ‘Misconduct’, Catholic Archdiocese in Minnesota Charged Over Sex Abuse by Priest, Ex-PSU student sues school over fraternity allegations

Woman Says Dennis Hastert Abused Her Brother in High School
Hastert Case Is Said to Be Linked to Decades-Old Sexual Abuse
– U.S. Accuses Ex-House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert of Paying to Hide ‘Misconduct’
– Catholic Archdiocese in Minnesota Charged Over Sex Abuse by Priest
– Ex-PSU student sues school over fraternity allegations

Woman Says Dennis Hastert Abused Her Brother in High School

By JULIE BOSMAN and DAVE PHILIPPS JUNE 5, 2015
YORKVILLE, Ill. — As an enthusiastic young teacher and wrestling coach at the high school here, former House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert reliably had one student at his side, former classmates say. Stephen Reinboldt, a smart, slender, likable student who rose to become class president, was the wrestling team’s equipment manager. For four years, he arrived at practice early and stayed late, traveled with Mr. Hastert to overnight tournaments, even when only one wrestler was competing, and went for long rides in the coach’s sports car, sometimes driving it.

On Friday, Mr. Reinboldt’s younger sister, Jolene Burdge, said her brother, who died in 1995, was also sexually abused by Mr. Hastert, but hid the fact for years because he thought no one would believe him.

“Mr. Hastert had plenty of opportunities to be alone with Steve because he was there before the meets,” Ms. Burdge said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “He was there after everything because he did the laundry, the uniforms.”

The allegation comes a week after Mr. Hastert, who served for eight years as House speaker, was indicted on charges of making cash withdrawals, totaling $1.7 million, to evade detection by the authorities and lying to investigators.

Two people briefed on the F.B.I. investigation told The New York Times that Mr. Hastert was using the money to pay a former student hundreds of thousands of dollars to hide the fact that Mr. Hastert sexually abused him decades ago….

Ms. Burdge said she tried for years to get news organizations, including ABC News, and advocacy groups to pursue the story. She began in 2006 after it was revealed that Mr. Hastert had covered up claims that Representative Mark Foley, a Florida Republican, had sent sexually explicit emails to congressional pages.

She said she had given up on exposing Mr. Hastert. Then, two weeks ago, just before Mr. Hastert was indicted, she was contacted by the F.B.I….
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/06/us/sister-says-her-brother-was-a-victim-of-ex-speaker-hastert.html

Hastert Case Is Said to Be Linked to Decades-Old Sexual Abuse
By MICHAEL D. SHEAR and MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT MAY 29, 2015
WASHINGTON — J. Dennis Hastert, who served for eight years as speaker of the House of Representatives, was paying a former student hundreds of thousands of dollars to not say publicly that Mr. Hastert had sexually abused him decades ago, according to two people briefed on the evidence uncovered in an F.B.I. investigation.

Federal prosecutors on Thursday announced the indictment of Mr. Hastert, 73, on allegations that he made cash withdrawals, totaling $1.7 million, to evade detection by banks. The federal authorities also charged him with lying to them about the purpose of the withdrawals.

The former student — who was not identified in court papers — told the F.B.I. that he had been inappropriately touched by Mr. Hastert when the former speaker was a high school teacher and wrestling coach, the two people said Friday. The people briefed on the investigation spoke on the condition of anonymity because they did not want to be identified discussing a federal investigation.

It was not clear when the suspected behavior, which was first reported by The Los Angeles Times, occurred. Mr. Hastert was a high school teacher and coach in Yorkville, Ill., from 1965 to 1981, and the indictment said the recipient of the payments was from Yorkville and had known Mr. Hastert for decades….
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/30/us/politics/hastert-indictment.html

U.S. Accuses Ex-House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert of Paying to Hide ‘Misconduct’
By MONICA DAVEY MAY 28, 2015

CHICAGO — J. Dennis Hastert, the former speaker of the House of Representatives, has been charged with lying to the F.B.I. and making cash withdrawals from banks in a way that was designed to hide that he was paying $3.5 million to someone for his “misconduct” from years ago, a federal indictment released on Thursday said.

Mr. Hastert, 73, the longest-serving Republican speaker, had worked as a lobbyist since leaving office. The indictment, announced by the United States attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, said Mr. Hastert, who was once a high school teacher and wrestling coach in Yorkville, Ill., had so far paid $1.7 million to the person, who had lived in Yorkville and had known Mr. Hastert for most of his or her life. Mr. Hastert worked in Yorkville from 1965 to 1981.

In 2010, during meetings between Mr. Hastert and the unnamed individual, the two discussed “past misconduct” by Mr. Hastert against the person, according to the indictment….
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/29/us/ex-house-speaker-j-dennis-hastert-indicted-on-federal-charges.html

Catholic Archdiocese in Minnesota Charged Over Sex Abuse by Priest
By MITCH SMITH JUNE 5, 2015

CHICAGO — Prosecutors in Minnesota filed criminal charges on Friday against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, accusing church leaders of mishandling repeated complaints of sexual misconduct against a priest and failing to follow through on pledges to protect children and root out pedophile clergymen.

The charges and accompanying civil petition, announced by the Ramsey County prosecutor, John J. Choi, stem from accusations by three male victims who say that from 2008 to 2010, when they were under age, a local priest, Curtis Wehmeyer, gave them alcohol and drugs before sexually assaulting them.

The criminal case amounts to a sweeping condemnation of the archdiocese and how its leaders have handled the abuse allegations — even after reforms were put in place by church leaders to increase accountability — and the charges are among the most severe actions taken by American authorities against a Catholic diocese.

“Today, we are alleging a disturbing institutional and systemic pattern of behavior committed by the highest levels of leadership of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis over the course of decades,” Mr. Choi said in a statement….

The charging documents also say that archdiocese officials knew that Mr. Wehmeyer used a boys’ bathroom at a parish elementary school instead of the staff restroom; tried to give an elementary-age boy a tour of the rectory in violation of policy; and took camping trips with boys where some of the sexual abuse was said to have occurred.

The archdiocese placed Mr. Wehmeyer in a monitoring program for priests facing complaints of abuse or other problems, but prosecutors said in court documents that the supervision and follow-through was “lax or nonexistent.”….

An Ohio judge in 2003 convicted the Archdiocese of Cincinnati of failing to report sexually abusive priests in the 1970s and ’80s. The judge fined the archdiocese $10,000, the maximum allowed, after the archbishop entered a no-contest plea….
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/06/us/catholic-archdiocese-in-minnesota-charged-over-sex-abuse-by-priest.html

describes graphic situations

 

 

 

 

Ex-PSU student sues school over fraternity allegations
Susan Snyder, Inquirer Staff Writer Monday, June 8, 2015

James Vivenzio says he thought pledging a fraternity at Pennsylvania State University would mean brotherhood and honor.

Instead, the 21-year-old from Great Falls, Va., says, he was force-fed buckets of liquor mixed with urine, vomit, and hot sauce; made to guzzle hard alcohol until he vomited; burned on the chest with a cigarette; and once was beaten by a member of Kappa Delta Rho after he failed to participate in a ritual.

And the university, he contends in a lawsuit filed Monday in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court, failed to act after he reported the abuse more than a year ago, including his telling the school about the existence of private Facebook pages fraternity members allegedly used to post revealing photos of females who may have been aware they were being photographed.

“It is not an understatement to say that I was afraid somebody could die unless the abuse, the Facebook . . . and all that was going on, were shut down permanently,” Vivenzio said Monday, reading from a statement at a news conference in his lawyer’s office in Center City. “I’m no hero and I’m certainly no martyr.”

The filing came the same day that Kappa Delta Rho’s national office announced it had expelled 38 of the 100 or so members of its Penn State chapter and put the rest on alumni status. Penn State last month suspended the chapter for three years after a university investigation found evidence of hazing, underage drinking, and sexual harassment.

The lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages and names the university, the fraternity, and the fraternity’s national office as defendants….
http://www.philly.com/philly/education/20150609_Frat_whistle-blower_sues_Penn_State.html

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