December 15, 2017 Comments Off on Australia Gripped by Decades of Sexual Abuse of Children, Panel Finds
Australia Gripped by Decades of Sexual Abuse of Children, Panel Finds
By JACQUELINE WILLIAMS DEC. 14, 2017
Australia’s senior Roman Catholic prelate, Cardinal George Pell, in June became the highest-ranking Vatican official in recent years to face criminal charges involving accusations of sexual offenses.
SYDNEY, Australia — A royal commission investigating the sexual abuse of children in Australia found Friday that the nation was gripped by an epidemic dating back decades, with tens of thousands of children sexually abused in schools, religious organizations and other institutions.
The commission, the highest form of investigation in Australia, urged government action on its 189 recommendations, including the establishment of a new National Office for Child Safety and penalties for those who suspect abuse and fail to alert the police, including priests who hear about abuse in confessionals. It also urged Australia’s Roman Catholic leadership to press Rome to end mandatory celibacy for priests.
“Tens of thousands of children have been sexually abused in many Australian institutions,” said the report, which was particularly critical of Catholic organizations. “We will never know the true number. Whatever the number, it is a national tragedy, perpetrated over generations within many of our most trusted institutions.”
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the commission had exposed “a national tragedy.”
The commission’s chairman, Justice Peter McClellan, said that the panel heard from more than 1,000 witnesses over nearly 15 months in assessing the magnitude of the abuse.
“It is not a case of a few rotten apples,” the report said. “Society’s major institutions have seriously failed. In many cases those failings have been exacerbated by a manifestly inadequate response to the abused person. The problems have been so widespread, and the nature of the abuse so heinous, that it is difficult to comprehend.”
Australia created the commission in 2012 to investigate decades of sexual abuse in religious institutions, schools and other establishments — the only country in the world so far to initiate such a sweeping government-led inquiry. More than 4,000 institutions have been implicated in abuse allegations, the commission found.
Australian government investigators identified 4,444 victims of abuse and at least 1,880 suspected abusers from 1980 to 2015. Most of those suspected of abuse were Catholic priests and religious brothers. The report released Friday said 62 percent of the survivors who told the commission they were abused in religious institutions were abused in a Catholic facility….
The most damaging revelations about child sexual abuse have centered on scandals in towns like Ballarat, the hometown of Cardinal George Pell, who this year became the highest-ranking Roman Catholic prelate to be formally charged with sexual offenses….
The charges brought in June against Cardinal Pell, one of Pope Francis’ top advisers, followed years of criticism that he had at best overlooked, and at worst covered up, the widespread abuse of children by clergymen in Australia.
June 3, 2017 Comments Off on Principals of Catholic schools throughout Australia have apologised for abuse
Principals of Catholic schools throughout Australia have apologised for abuse
KATHRYN POWLEY, Herald Sun
June 1, 2017
PRINCIPALS of Catholic schools have jointly apologised for sexual abuse inflicted on students at their schools.
In a move likened to the Australian Government apologising to the Stolen Generation, Edmund Rice Education Australia today led a “National Ritual of Apology” for victims of abuse at schools including St Patrick’s Ballarat, St Kevin’s College Toorak, and Parade College.
In a special session at the organisations national principals’ conference in Canberra, executive director Wayne Tinsey read a “long overdue statement of acknowledgment and regret”, with principals and representatives of all 34 Edmund Rice Australia schools endorsing each point in unison saying “For this we apologise”.
Dr Tinsey read the statement, beginning: “Today we begin a journey of major change by publicly acknowledging the sexual abuse of students in our schools, some dead, some above, some unknown.
“Today we directly acknowledge the scarring harm of sexual abuse as abhorrent, sinful, shameful and disgraceful. And we also acknowledge that whatever was done can never be undone,”….
Young people had felt “betrayed” when they should have been nurtured. They had felt anger against their abusers and those who failed to protect them.
Dr Tinsey acknowledged the “sadness, grief and sense of loss” felt by victims.
Survivor Ian Whitehead.
“Today we directly acknowledge the alarming statistics of serial sexual abuse, assault and molestation of young people in our schools by Christian Brothers, Clergy and lay staff,” it said…..
Australia: Children stripped, assaulted and tear-gassed at detention center, Dublin Rape Crisis Centre line….reporting of childhood sex abuse and ritual abuse, Evidence of ‘torture’ of children held in Don Dale detention centre, Malawi man arrested after describing sex with young girls
July 27, 2016 Comments Off on Australia: Children stripped, assaulted and tear-gassed at detention center, Dublin Rape Crisis Centre line….reporting of childhood sex abuse and ritual abuse, Evidence of ‘torture’ of children held in Don Dale detention centre, Malawi man arrested after describing sex with young girls
– Australia: Children stripped, assaulted and tear-gassed at detention center
– Dublin Rape Crisis Centre line….notes a ‘resurgence’ in the reporting of childhood sex abuse
– Evidence of ‘torture’ of children held in Don Dale detention centre uncovered by Four Corners
– Malawi man arrested after describing sex with young girls
Dublin Rape Crisis Centre line sees surge in first-time callers
Centre’s annual survey notes a ‘resurgence’ in the reporting of childhood sex abuse
Kitty Holland July 26, 2016
The number of first-time callers to the national helpline for victims of rape and sexual assault was more than 50 per cent higher last year than the number in 2013, figures published this morning show.
The 2015 annual report from the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre also says there has been a “resurgence” in reporting of childhood sex abuse as well as a “noticeable” increase in levels of hopelessness among callers.
Also noted was a growing willingness by people who had been raped or sexually assaulted by someone they knew to report the crime to the Garda.
“A total of 11,789 counselling contacts were responded to by helpline staff, comprising 10,468 helpline calls and 1,321 contacts via emails, text and social media,” says the report.
Some 5,902 were first-time callers, an increase of 16.25 per cent since 2014 (5,077) and of 50.25 per cent compared to 2013 (3,928)….
Of the calls last year, 51 per cent or 3,736 related to sexual violence experienced in adulthood.
This was a 10 per cent decrease on 2014 when there were 4,163 such calls.
Some 3,519 calls last year, or 48.5 per cent, related to childhood sexual abuse and ritual abuse, an 8 per cent rise on 2014 and 10.5 per cent on 2013….
Australia: Children stripped, assaulted and tear-gassed at detention center
By James Griffiths, CNN Tue July 26, 2016
(CNN)Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has called for a national investigation into allegations of abuse and torture at a juvenile detention center.
The allegations, which appeared on Australian Broadcasting Corp.’s “Four Corners” investigative program, showed children as young as 10 being stripped naked, assaulted, tear-gassed and kept in solitary confinement.
“Like all Australians, I have been deeply shocked, shocked and appalled, by the images of mistreatment at the Don Dale center” in Darwin, the capital of Australia’s Northern Territory, Turnbull said….
Evidence of ‘torture’ of children held in Don Dale detention centre uncovered by Four Corners
By Caro Meldrum-Hanna and Elise Worthington July 25, 2016
Vision of the tear-gassing of six boys being held in isolation at the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre in Darwin in August 2014 has been obtained by Four Corners, exposing one of the darkest incidents in the history of juvenile justice in Australia.
The vision is part of an investigation featuring a chilling catalogue of footage revealing a pattern of abuse, deprivation and punishment of vulnerable children inside Northern Territory youth detention centres.
The tear-gassing incident was described as a “riot” at the time, with media reporting multiple boys had escaped their cells in the isolation wing of the prison, known as the Behavioural Management Unit (BMU), and threatened staff with weapons.
But CCTV vision and handy-cam recordings made by staff, obtained exclusively by Four Corners, show only one boy escaped his cell after it was left unlocked by a guard….
Malawi man arrested after describing sex with young girls
Tuesday, July 26, 2016 Associated Press
BLANTYRE, Malawi (AP) — Malawi police on Tuesday arrested a man who said he was hired by families to have sex with more than 100 young women, including children, in what was described as ritual cleansing.
President Peter Mutharika ordered the arrest of Eric Aniva, who told local and international media he had been paid to have sex with young girls. Aniva also told the media he was HIV-positive.
Aniva was charged with multiple cases of defilement, Malawi Police Inspector General Lexten Kachama told The Associated Press.
“Out of the many women he had sex with, most of them were under-aged children,” Kachama said.
In interviews, Aniva claimed to be a paid sex worker, known as a “hyena,” hired by families and village elders in southern Malawi to have sex with young girls once they reach puberty as a form of ritual cleansing.
In a statement, Malawi’s president said it is unacceptable to commit such violations under the guise of culture….
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….
February 13, 2015 Comments Off on ‘Australia is ashamed,’ Human Rights Report Records Hundreds Child Abuse Cases In Detention
‘Australia is ashamed,’ Human Rights Report Records Hundreds Child Abuse Cases In Detention
By Sounak Mukhopadhyay February 13 2015
The Australian Human Rights Commission submitted an inquiry report late on Wednesday night. The report comes with the recommendation of a royal commission.
The royal commission has to examine the impact on hundreds of children being detained for long periods in immigration detention centres. The report, called “The Forgotten Children,” also asked for the release of all the children from mainland detention and from the detention centre on Nauru. The commission examined hundreds of incidents of child abuse that included more than 30 cases of sexual assault as well. The report was then submitted to the Australian government on Nov. 11.
The report happens to be the largest survey ever conducted in the world involving children in detention. There were 1129 children whom the inquiry staff interviewed in a period of more than 15 months. The interview period spanned both the Labor and Coalition governments and went on from January 2013 to March 2014.
According to reports, there were 233 recorded cases of child abuse and 33 cases of reported sexual assault, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. The royal commission is going to examine “the use of force by the Commonwealth against children in detention and allegations of sexual assault against these children.”
The report has asked 119 children on Nauru to be removed into the Australian community. The report notes that children who are detained indefinitely on Naaru have been “suffering from extreme levels of physical, emotional, psychological and developmental distress.”….
September 20, 2013 Comments Off on Historic child abuse inquiry opens in Australia
Historic child abuse inquiry opens in Australia
By Amy Coopes
Published September 15, 2013
SYDNEY (AFP) – An Australian inquiry into church and institutional child abuse began public hearings Monday, with warnings that widespread and “shocking” allegations would be heard against places of worship, orphanages, community groups and schools.
Justice Peter McClellan opened the hearings in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, announced by the government last November, saying that thousands of people had so far come forward.
“It is now well known that the sexual abuse of children has been widespread in the Australian community, however the full range of institutions in which it has occurred is not generally understood,” McClellan said in an address….
The inquiry was established by former prime minister Julia Gillard in response to a series of child sex abuse scandals involving paedophile priests, though she insisted the probe would be much broader than the Catholic Church….
McClellan said a hotline set up for survivors of abuse to contact the commission had so far received 4,301 relevant calls….
the first of five public sessions to be held before the end of the year, will examine the “case study” of convicted paedophile Steven Larkins, who headed an Aboriginal children’s charity and was also a Scout leader.
Larkins pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting two boys — aged 11 and 12 — in separate incidents in 1992 and 1997, and is currently in jail for child pornography offences and forging a declaration of his fitness to work with juveniles.