Deepcut soldier ‘ordered to have sex with another squaddie before she died’ inquest hears, Rotherham child abuse trial: four men and two women found guilty, Former Ballarat Bishop Ronald Mulkearns apologises for his handling of abuse allegations

February 25, 2016 Comments Off on Deepcut soldier ‘ordered to have sex with another squaddie before she died’ inquest hears, Rotherham child abuse trial: four men and two women found guilty, Former Ballarat Bishop Ronald Mulkearns apologises for his handling of abuse allegations

– Deepcut soldier ‘ordered to have sex with another squaddie before she died’ inquest hears
– Was girl soldier’s death covered up because she was raped on orders of Army top brass?
– Rotherham child abuse trial: four men and two women found guilty
– Child abuse royal commission: Former Ballarat Bishop Ronald Mulkearns apologises for his handling of abuse allegations

Deepcut soldier ‘ordered to have sex with another squaddie before she died’ inquest hears

A TEENAGED female soldier was ordered to have sex with another squaddie the night before she died, an inquest heard.
By Peter Henn Wed, Feb 24, 2016
Private Cheryl James, 18, was found with a fatal bullet wound in Deepcut barracks, Surrey, in November 1995.

She was one of four recruits to die at the army training camp over the space of seven years.

Fellow soldier Mark Beards told Woking Coroner’s Court that she had confided in him about the order and he had been “destroyed” by “carrying the guilt” of her death for 20 years.

But under cross-examination he was accused of being “a liar and a fantasist”.

He was also accused of assuming that Pte James was referring to sex the night before her death when she never used the word.

He told the inquest he bumped into Pte James at around 11.10pm and she told him she had been ordered by Sergeant Andrew Gavaghan to go into a room with Pte Ian Atkinson – known as Aki – to have sex.

He said: “I asked her what she was doing there and she said she had to meet Aki. I asked her why she had to meet Aki and she explained to me she had to go into the room with him.

“I asked her, ‘What do you mean?’. She said ‘I’ve got to do it’….
http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/647229/Deepcut-soldier-Cheryl-James-inquest-ordered-to-have-sex

Was girl soldier’s death covered up because she was raped on orders of Army top brass?
THE death of a teenage soldier at a notorious army barracks where three other youngsters also died may have been covered up by the establishment because she was raped on the orders of her officers, it was claimed today.
By Nick Gutteridge  Mon, Jan 25, 2016

Police and army officials have conspired to keep the truth about the supposed suicide of 18-year-old Cheryl James from ever coming to light according to her family, who have fought a 20-year battle for justice.

But new evidence has now emerged suggesting that the young Private may have been ordered to sleep with a male colleague in the hours before her death by bullying officers who were “pimping out” female recruits at the infamous Deepcut barracks in Surrey.

The latest claims will rock the military and police establishment, both of whom have repeatedly insisted that her death was a suicide, even suggesting she may have killed herself because of complications with her love life….

But serious questions began to be asked several years later when it emerged that four young recruits had all died at the same barracks within a short space of time.

Detectives came under serious pressure to reopen their investigation after 17-year-old James Collinson was also found at the Deepcut base with a fatal gunshot wound in March 2002.

The calls became a clamour when it then emerged that there had been two more deaths at the notorious barracks – home to the Royal Logistics Corps – in the space of just seven years.

Private Sean Benton, 20, died a few months before Pte James, while 17-year-old Geoff Gray died in September 2001.

Surrey Police, which has been savagely criticised over its bungled investigations of the deaths, was then forced to admit that it had received almost 60 allegations of bullying and sexual assaults at the base in 1995 alone.

Her family are hoping that the truth will finally come out after a High Court judge quashed the verdict of her original inquest, with a fresh inquiry set to get under way next week.

And in a bombshell development a pre-inquest hearing held earlier this month was told how the young recruit, from Llangollen on the Welsh borders, had been subjected to “vile treatment”, sexual exploitation by senior ranks and may have been “sexually coerced or raped” the night before she was found dead….
http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/637700/Deepcut-deaths-Private-Cheryl-James-inquest-claims-rape-army-officers

Rotherham child abuse trial: four men and two women found guilty
Gang including three brothers, led by Arshid Hussain, targeted 15 girls, one as young as 11
Lisa O’Carroll and Josh Halliday Wednesday 24 February 2016

Six men and women were found guilty of offences relating to the sexual exploitation of teenage girls in Rotherham, as it emerged that the conduct of more than 50 officers from South Yorkshire who had dealt with the victims is now under investigation.

A gang of three brothers, their uncle and two women were found guilty of 55 serious offences, some of which lay undetected for almost 20 years. They targeted 15 vulnerable girls, one as young as 11, and subjected them to brutal and degrading acts between 1987 and 2003 including rape, forced prostitution, indecent assault and false imprisonment.

Allegations by victims that those found guilty – Arshid, Basharat and Bannaras Hussain, their uncle Qurban Ali and their associates Karen MacGregor and Shelley Davies – were able to commit crimes for so long with apparent impunity are now the focus of two separate investigations into the police.

It can now be reported that the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has launched 55 separate investigations into how South Yorkshire police dealt with victims, in one of the biggest inquiries into potential neglect of duty and corruption in recent policing history.

The police watchdog said that 46 misconduct notices had already been served on 26 officers, and warned the figure could increase. It is understood that more than 50 officers are being investigated. Complaints cover “a range of allegations from a failure to act on reported child sexual exploitation to corruption by police officers,” it said….
http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/feb/24/child-sex-abuse-rotherham-guilty-gang-hussain

Child abuse royal commission: Former Ballarat Bishop Ronald Mulkearns apologises for his handling of abuse allegations
By Margaret Paul and staff  2/25/16

Former Catholic bishop Ronald Mulkearns has told a royal commission he is not sure if he knew child abuse was a crime during his time in charge of the Ballarat diocese, but he knew it was wrong.

The former bishop made his much-anticipated appearance at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse via videolink from the nursing home in which he now lives.

Until now Bishop Mulkearns had been excused from giving evidence because he was too sick.

Asked if he referred paedophile Gerald Ridsdale for help because he knew he was abusing children, he said yes.

Bishop Mulkearns told the hearing he never asked priests directly if they were abusers but instead got reports from psychologists.

He conceded the only reason he sent priests off for treatment was because he believed they had been offending.

“I didn’t really know what to do or how to do it,” he said.

He apologised on Thursday for the way he handled complaints of abuse in his diocese….
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-25/royal-commission-former-ballarat-bishop-ronald-mulkearns-appears/7198260

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

UK police 2,228 child abuse suspects, Catholic church knew it had abuse ‘time bombs’, child sex abuse inquiry hears

December 4, 2015 Comments Off on UK police 2,228 child abuse suspects, Catholic church knew it had abuse ‘time bombs’, child sex abuse inquiry hears

Operation Hydrant: UK police identify 2,228 child abuse suspects
1 December 2015

More than 2,200 suspects are being investigated by UK police probing historical child sex abuse allegations.  Figures from Operation Hydrant – which was set up by the National Police Chiefs’ Council – show the total has risen by almost 800 since May. It includes 302 people of “public prominence”, including 99 politicians and 147 from television, film or radio. Some 761 different institutions are now on the Hydrant database, including 288 schools and 204 children’s homes.

Operation Hydrant was set up last summer to oversee the investigation of allegations of “non-recent” child sex abuse within institutions or by people of public prominence. It does not conduct any investigations itself, but gathers information from other inquiries carried out by police forces in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Of the 2,228 suspects currently under investigation:
Some 286 are now dead, while 554 are classified as unknown or unidentified
Among those of public prominence, 39 come from the music industry and 17 from the world of sport
A total of 1,217 are alleged offenders who operated within institutions, including 86 religious institutions, 39 medical establishments and 25 prisons or young offenders institutes
Other institutions named include 22 sports venues, 10 community institutions, such as youth clubs, and 81 other institutions, such as guest houses….
http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-34977255

Catholic church knew it had abuse ‘time bombs’, child sex abuse inquiry hears
‘The big time bomb was ticking away’ in Ballarat diocese, former Melbourne archdiocese vicar-general Bishop Peter Connors tells royal commission
Australian Associated Press Thursday 3 December 2015

The Catholic church knew it had child abuse “time bombs” ticking away in a number of Australian dioceses, an inquiry has heard.
A special issues committee meeting at the Australian Catholic Bishops conference in 1992 noted: “It was agreed that there are serious time bombs ticking away in a number of dioceses at the present time.”

That was the case in a number of dioceses, former Melbourne archdiocese vicar-general Bishop Peter Connors, who chaired the committee, told the child abuse royal commission.
It also included Melbourne’s Doveton parish, where a succession of paedophile priests were sent.

“There would certainly be other dioceses where that problem, of time bombs ticking away, existed,” Bishop Connors said.
“That would certainly be the case, I think particularly, in the diocese of Ballarat, the big time bomb was ticking away there.”
The meeting of special issues groups, set up to deal with allegations against priests, noted it was important the alleged offender be treated fairly.

Bishop Connors agreed with Gail Furness SC, senior counsel assisting the commission, who said there was little, if any, concern about the victims.
The commission heard there was a culture in the Catholic church of keeping abuse allegations secret.
http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/dec/03/catholic-church-knew-it-had-abuse-time-bombs-child-sex-abuse-inquiry-hears

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….
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-19/child-abuse-inquiry-begins-ballarat-hearings/6479902

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….
http://www.wdam.com/story/29090052/rabbi-sentenced-to-six-and-a-half-years-prison-term-for-voyeurism

Reduced Child Abuse Sentence Causes Uproar in Argentina
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — May 18, 2015
Associated Press

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.”
http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/reduced-child-abuse-sentence-uproar-argentina-31129194

Rotherham abuse: Researcher’s warning ‘ignored in 2002’, Child abuse royal commission: Rabbi Yosef Feldman resigns as director of Yeshiva centre

February 11, 2015 Comments Off on Rotherham abuse: Researcher’s warning ‘ignored in 2002’, Child abuse royal commission: Rabbi Yosef Feldman resigns as director of Yeshiva centre

Rotherham abuse: Researcher’s warning ‘ignored in 2002’
By Alison Holt Social Affairs Correspondent, BBC News 9 February 2015

A former Home Office researcher says a bullying culture at Rotherham Council led to her warnings of child sexual exploitation being suppressed in 2002, years before action was finally taken.

A report this month by government official Louise Casey concluded the council was not “fit for purpose”.

The way many in the authority denied a 2014 finding children were exploited between 1997 and 2013 was criticised.

The council says it is investigating researcher Adele Gladman’s claims.

At the time of the claims, Ms Gladman was undertaking research for a Home Office pilot. But she found her findings about the scale of sexual exploitation in Rotherham were also met with denial….
Ms Gladman was based at Rotherham Council when she carried out the work for the Home Office.

She describes being subjected to bullying and intimidation after her research found a small number of men, mainly of Pakistani heritage, were sexually exploiting a significant number of young people.

She says the council sent her on race awareness training and effectively suppressed her report.

“I had every aspect of my professionalism questioned,” she said.

“I had every aspect of my work questioned. I had data removed over a weekend so that I couldn’t substantiate my findings. Fortunately I had made copies.”

She says the bullying she faced went beyond the local authority and remembers a police officer approaching her outside her office.

“He and a colleague said words along the lines of ‘Wouldn’t it be a shame if these perpetrators found out where you and your family lived’.

“And I took that as a direct threat to my personal safety. The message was very clear.”….
http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-31327781

Child abuse royal commission: Rabbi Yosef Feldman resigns as director of Yeshiva centre
Tue 10 Feb 2015

Rabbi Feldman called for leniency for paedophiles who had been treated and had not offended for decades during his testimony. (ABC News)

The director of the ultra-orthodox Jewish Yeshiva centre in Sydney has resigned after last week telling a royal commission hearing he did not know it was a crime for an adult to touch a child’s genitals.

Rabbi Yosef Feldman’s evidence at a Melbourne hearing of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was widely criticised by Australia’s broader Jewish community.

In a statement, Rabbi Feldman apologised for the comments he made to the royal commission and said he would step down from all responsibilities as the director on the board of management at Yeshiva….

During the royal commission hearing, Rabbi Feldman said not all abuse cases should be referred to police and that paedophiles should be granted leniency.

“I would be asking for more leniency on people who have shown that they haven’t offended in the last 20 years or decades ago, and have psychological analyses that this is the case,” he said on Monday….

Vic Alhadeff from the New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies said Rabbi Feldman was unfit to be a leader in the Jewish community.

“The remarks which have come to light are repugnant to Jewish values. They are not representative of the Jewish community,” he said….
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-11/rabbi-yosef-feldman-resigns-after-royal-commission-evidence/6085654

Child abuse royal commission: Victim recounts being raped during ritual at Satyananda Yoga Ashram

December 5, 2014 Comments Off on Child abuse royal commission: Victim recounts being raped during ritual at Satyananda Yoga Ashram

– Child abuse royal commission: victim recounts being raped during ritual at Satyananda Yoga Ashram
– Child abuse royal commission: Mindset of NSW yoga retreat ‘as dangerous as ever’, witness tells hearing
– Child abuse royal commission: Yoga leader told children sex acts would aid ‘spiritual growth’

“At the ashram, family relationships were broken down and parents separated from their children, who were routinely beaten, sexually abused and deprived of adequate medical treatment and food.”

Child abuse royal commission: victim recounts being raped during ritual at Satyananda Yoga Ashram
By Claire Aird December 4, 2014

A young girl was raped by the head of a global yoga movement, Satyananda Sawaswati, on his visit to a New South Wales ashram, an inquiry has heard.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse hearing into the Satyananda Yoga Ashram at Mangrove Mountain on the state’s central coast was also told a group of swamis abused the girl in a ritual setting.

The girl, known as APR in the hearing, moved to the ashram with her mother, father and sister in the late 1970s.

The abuse started when she was three years old.

“The ashram was the kind of place that if you scream, no-one comes,” she said.

At the ashram, family relationships were broken down and parents separated from their children, who were routinely beaten, sexually abused and deprived of adequate medical treatment and food.

Attendees were referred to as “Innamtes” by the head of the movement, handed their assets to the ashram, shaved their heads, and wore orange robes.

“I feel the entire ashram was groomed into a place of powerlessness,” APR said….
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-12-04/victim-recounts-being-raped-during-ritual-at-satyananda-ashram/5945010

Child abuse royal commission: Mindset of NSW yoga retreat ‘as dangerous as ever’, witness tells hearing
By Nicole Chettle December 3, 2014

A former resident of Australia’s oldest yoga ashram has received applause after delivering a passionate call for justice at the child sexual abuse royal commission in Sydney.

The commission has been looking at the handling of 11 complaints made against former spiritual leader Swami Akhandananda Saraswati over the past 40 years, relating to abuse that happened in the 1970s and ’80s.

The issue came to a head around Easter this year when the Satyananda Yoga Ashram in New South Wales sent an email to former members detailing a “healing ceremony” that formed part of its 40th anniversary commemorations.

One woman known as APK, who, along with her sister, endured years of physical and sexual abuse….

Akhandananda was convicted on charges of indecency and jailed in 1989, but his conviction was overturned in 1991. He died in 1997….
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-12-03/child-abuse-royal-commission-nsw-yoga-retreat/5938936

Child abuse royal commission: Yoga leader told children sex acts would aid ‘spiritual growth’
By Brad Ryan, Nicole Chettle and Emily Bourke December 2, 2014

The spiritual leader of a New South Wales yoga retreat sexually abused child residents after summoning them to a hut and asking them for a massage, an inquiry has heard.

Children were also allegedly directed to travel around Australia with the man, known as Swami Akhandananda Saraswati, and perform sexual acts in his bed.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has opened its 21st case study, focused on the the Satyananda Yoga Ashram at Mangrove Mountain in the hinterland of the New South Wales central coast.

The commission is examining allegations from the 1970s and 1980s involving the ashram’s former leader, Akhandananda, who was jailed for sex offences in the late 1980s but had his conviction overturned before his death in 1997.

Counsel assisting the commission, Peggy Dwyer, said nine alleged victims would give evidence of sexual and physical abuse, and statements would be tendered by another two.

“I expect that the royal commission will hear evidence that this sexual abuse often occurred in the hut that Akhandananda shared with [fellow swami] Shishy,” Ms Dwyer told the Sydney hearing….

Akhandananda was jailed in 1989 for sexually abusing four teenage girls whilst they were residing at the ashram, including Ms Buchanan.

She said she felt “victimised all over again” when Akhandananda’s conviction was overturned on appeal and he was released after serving 14 months in prison….
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-12-02/yoga-leader-told-children-sex-acts-would-aid-spiritual-growth/5931610

Cardinal George Pell compares priests to truck drivers as he claims Catholic Church leaders should not be held responsible for child sex abuse

August 22, 2014 Comments Off on Cardinal George Pell compares priests to truck drivers as he claims Catholic Church leaders should not be held responsible for child sex abuse

Cardinal George Pell compares priests to truck drivers as he claims Catholic Church leaders should not be held responsible for child sex abuse

Cardinal Pell spoke at the royal commission via a video link from the Vatican in Rome on Thursday
He said the church was no more legally responsible for priests who abuse than a trucking company that employs a driver who molests women
The Vatican has refused to hand over the files of Australian priests accused of sex crimes to the child abuse royal commission

By Sarah Dean For Daily Mail Australia and Aap
21 August 2014

….When the Australian federal government announced the establishment of a Royal Commission in late 2012 into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Cardinal Pell also caused controversy when he stated that priests who hear confessions from people who commit child sex abuse must remain bound by the Seal of Confession.

‘If that is done outside the confessional (it can be reported to the police)…. (But) the Seal of Confession is inviolable. If the priest knows beforehand about such a situation, the priest should refuse to hear the confession… That would be my advice, and I would never hear the confession of a priest who is suspected of such a thing,’ he said.

On Thursday the Vatican also refused to hand over the files of Australian priests accused of sex crimes to the child abuse royal commission.

The Vatican said the commission’s request for documents on each allegation involving an Australian cleric was ‘neither possible nor appropriate’.

Reasons included ongoing church investigations, and that internal working documents were the sovereign property of the Holy See….
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2731340/Cardinal-George-Pell-compares-priests-truck-drivers-claims-Catholic-Church-leaders-not-held-responsible-child-sex-abuse.html

Pell denies church responsible in abuse
Friday, 22 August 2014

The Catholic Church is no more legally responsible for priests who abuse children than a trucking company which employs a driver who molests women, Cardinal George Pell maintains.

Victims’ families say it’s a ludicrous comparison and even the chair of the child abuse royal commission thinks the situation is quite different when it comes to a priest getting access to a child.

Cardinal Pell accepts the church has a moral obligation to victims, but when it comes to its legal responsibility, the actions of its priests are not necessarily its fault.

‘If the truck driver picks up some lady and then molests her, I don’t think it’s appropriate, because it is contrary to the policy, for the ownership, the leadership of that company to be held responsible,’ Cardinal Pell told the commission via video link from Rome on Thursday.

But Cardinal Pell said if the church had been warned about a priest or had bad policies or procedures in place, ‘then certainly the church official would be responsible’….

Commission chair Justice Peter McClellan said priests got access to children with the parents’ consent, unlike truck drivers.

‘The relationship between the priest and a child is quite different to that between the truck driver and the casual passenger, isn’t it?’ he asked Cardinal Pell.

‘Yes, I would certainly concede that,’ Cardinal Pell responded….
http://www.skynews.com.au/news/national/2014/08/22/pell-denies-church-responsible-in-abuse.html

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