Hague Court Declines Inquiry Into Church Abuse Cover-Up

June 16, 2013 Comments Off on Hague Court Declines Inquiry Into Church Abuse Cover-Up

Pope Benedict XVI International Criminal Court Investigation Requested By Clergy Sex Abuse Victims Rejected
AP  By RACHEL ZOLL  06/13/2013

NEW YORK — The International Criminal Court has rejected a longshot request by clergy sex abuse victims to investigate former Pope Benedict XVI and Vatican cardinals for possible crimes against humanity.

The tribunal, based in The Hague, told attorneys for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests that “there is not a basis at this time to proceed with further analysis.”

“The matters described in your communication do not appear to fall within the jurisdiction of the court,” a court official wrote in a May 31 letter to the Center for Constitutional Rights, the nonprofit legal group that represents the victims. The legal organization released the letter Thursday.

Jeffrey Lena, the U.S. attorney for the Vatican, had called the 2011 request to the court a “ludicrous publicity stunt.”

“The common thread running through all these cases is the mistaken idea that ‘everything is controlled by Rome,'” Lena said Thursday.

Pam Spees, senior staff attorney for the Center for Constitutional Rights, said her group was confident it could collect enough evidence as new abuse victims come forward to press the tribunal to reconsider.

The odds against the court opening an investigation have been enormous. The prosecutor has received more than 9,700 independent proposals for inquiries since 2002, when the court was created as the world’s only permanent war crimes tribunal, and has never opened a formal investigation based solely on such a request….
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/13/pope-benedict-international-criminal-court-_n_3436720.html

Int’l court case against ex-pope fizzles
By RACHEL ZOLL  AP Religion Writer  Thursday, 06.13.13
http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/06/13/3449145/intl-court-case-against-ex-pope.html


Hague Court Declines Inquiry Into Church Abuse Cover-Up

By LAURIE GOODSTEIN June 13, 2013
The International Criminal Court in The Hague has decided not to investigate or prosecute the former pope and other leaders of the Roman Catholic Church on allegations of covering up the sexual abuse of children by priests.

Victims of sexual abuse filed a complaint in 2011 asking the court to prosecute Benedict XVI, then the pope, and three other Vatican officials for what they called an international and systemic cover-up of sexual abuse that amounted to “crimes against humanity.”

The court responded in a letter dated May 31 that after analyzing the complaint, it had determined that the matters “do not appear to fall within the jurisdiction of the court.” The letter said that “some of the allegations” fell outside the court’s jurisdiction, which is to prosecute genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

In addition, the case did not appear to meet the court’s time limits. For the most part, the court may prosecute only crimes committed after it was constituted in July 2002, and even though the cases submitted by the victims involved more recent allegations, some of the supporting material predated 2002….
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/14/world/europe/hague-court-declines-inquiry-into-church-abuse-cover-up.html

Keith O’Brien Resigns: Top UK Cardinal Will Skip Papal Conclave Over Allegations Of Misconduct

February 26, 2013 Comments Off on Keith O’Brien Resigns: Top UK Cardinal Will Skip Papal Conclave Over Allegations Of Misconduct

Keith O’Brien Resigns: Top UK Cardinal Will Skip Papal Conclave Over Allegations Of Misconduct
By GREGORY KATZ and NICOLE WINFIELD 02/25/13

LONDON — Cardinal Keith O’Brien, Britain’s highest-ranking Catholic leader, says he is resigning as archbishop in the wake of misconduct allegations and will be skipping the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.

The cardinal said in a statement Monday that he will not attend because he doesn’t want media attention focused on him during the important session in Rome.

Experts said the decision not to attend the papal conclave is unprecedented; never before has a cardinal stayed away from a conclave because of personal scandal, according to Vatican historian Ambrogio Piazzoni, the vice prefect of the Vatican library.

The Vatican confirmed that O’Brien had resigned as archbishop of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh. It was accepted under the code of canon law due to O’Brien’s age; he turns 75 – the normal retirement age for bishops – on March 17.

He said in a statement that he is in “indifferent health” and that he had offered his resignation last November. A church statement says the pope accepted O’Brien’s resignation on Feb. 18….

O’Brien has said through his spokesman that he is contesting allegations made Sunday in a British newspaper that three priests and a former priest have filed complaints to the Vatican alleging that the cardinal acted inappropriately with them.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/25/uk-cardinal-resigns_n_2758151.html

Files Show How Los Angeles Church Leaders Controlled Damage

January 22, 2013 Comments Off on Files Show How Los Angeles Church Leaders Controlled Damage

Files Show How Los Angeles Church Leaders Controlled Damage

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS January 21, 2013

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Retired Cardinal Roger Mahony and other top Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles officials maneuvered behind the scenes to shield molester priests, provide damage control for the church and keep parishioners in the dark, according to church personnel files.

The confidential records filed in a lawsuit against the archdiocese disclose how the church handled abuse allegations for decades and also reveal dissent from a top Mahony aide who criticized his superiors for covering up allegations of abuse rather than protecting children.

Notes inked by Mahony demonstrate he was disturbed about abuse and sent problem priests for treatment, but there also were lengthy delays or oversights in some cases. Mahony received psychological reports on some priests that mentioned the possibility of many other victims, for example, but there is no indication that he or other church leaders investigated further.

“This is all intolerable and unacceptable to me,” Mahony wrote in 1991 on a file of the Rev. Lynn Caffoe, a priest suspected of locking boys in his room, videotaping their crotches and running up a $100 phone sex bill while with a boy. Caffoe was sent for therapy and removed from ministry, but Mahony didn’t move to defrock him until 2004, a decade after the archdiocese lost track of him.

“He is a fugitive from justice,” Mahony wrote to the Vatican’s Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who is now Pope Benedict XVI. “A check of the Social Security index discloses no report of his demise, so presumably he is alive somewhere.”….

Mahony was out of town but issued a statement Monday apologizing for his mistakes and saying he had been “naive” about the lasting impacts of abuse….

The apology stands in contrast to letters Mahony was writing to accused priests more than two decades ago.

In 1987, he wrote to the Rev. Michael Wempe — who would ultimately admit to abusing 13 boys — while the priest was undergoing in-patient therapy at a New Mexico treatment center.

“Each of you there at Jemez Springs is very much in my prayers and I call you to mind each day during my celebration of the Eucharist,” Mahony wrote to the priest, adding that he supported him in the experience….

When parents complained the Rev. Nicholas Aguilar Rivera molested in LA, church officials told the priest but waited two days to call police — allowing him to flee to Mexico, court papers allege. At least 26 children told police they were abused during his 10 months in Los Angeles. The now-defrocked priest is believed to be in Mexico and remains a fugitive….

The personnel files of 13 other clerics were attached to the motion to show a cover-up pattern, said attorney Anthony De Marco, who represents the 35-year-old plaintiff. In one instance, a memo to Mahony discusses sending a cleric to a therapist who also is an attorney so any incriminating evidence is protected from authorities by lawyer-client privilege. In another instance, archdiocese officials paid a secret salary to a priest exiled to the Philippines after he and six other clerics were accused of having sex with a teen and impregnating her….

The exhibits offer a glimpse at some 30,000 pages to be made public as part of a record-setting $660 million settlement. The archdiocese agreed to give the files to more than 500 victims of priest abuse in 2007, but a lawyer for about 30 of the priests fought to keep records sealed. A judge recently ordered the church to release them without blacking out the names of church higher-ups after The Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times intervened….

Mahony, who retired in 2011 after 26 years at the helm of the 4.3-million person archdiocese, has been particularly hounded by the case of the Rev. Michael Baker, who was sentenced to prison in 2007 for molestation — two decades after the priest confessed his abuse to Mahony….
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2013/01/21/us/ap-us-california-church-abuse.html

Pope German Visit: Religious Leader Talks With Sex Abuse Victims

September 24, 2011 Comments Off on Pope German Visit: Religious Leader Talks With Sex Abuse Victims

Pope German Visit: Religious Leader Talks With Sex Abuse Victims

ERFURT, Germany — Pope Benedict XVI met with German victims of sexual abuse by priests and expressed “deep compassion and regret” at the suffering of those abused by members of the clergy, the Vatican said Friday….

Germany’s Catholic church has seen the numbers of faithful leaving the congregation jump, after hundreds of people came forward last year with stories of having been physically or sexually abused by members of the clergy. Church leaders had expressed hope that Benedict’s visit could help heal wounds left by the scandal.

Benedict has been accused by victims groups and their lawyers of being part of systematic practice of cover-up by church hierarchy for pedophile priests, in his earlier roles as an archbishop in Germany and later at the helm of the Vatican morals office….

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/23/pope-german-visit-sex-abuse_n_978265.html

Priest Sex-Abuse Case Hits Church of Pope’s Adviser

May 28, 2011 Comments Off on Priest Sex-Abuse Case Hits Church of Pope’s Adviser

Priest Sex-Abuse Case Hits Church of Pope’s Adviser
By Alessandra Pieracci and Giacomo Galeazzi / La Stampa / Worldcrunch Thursday, May 19, 2011 (GENOA)

The latest sex-abuse case to rock the Catholic Church is unfolding in the archdiocese of an influential Italian Cardinal who has been working with Pope Benedict XVI on reforms to respond to prior scandals of pedophile priests.
Father Riccardo Seppia, a 51-year-old parish priest in the village of Sastri Ponente, near Genoa, was arrested last Friday, May 13, on pedophilia and drug charges.

Investigators say that in tapped mobile-phone conversations, Seppia asked a Moroccan drug dealer to arrange sexual encounters with young and vulnerable boys. “I do not want 16-year-old boys but younger. Fourteen-year-olds are O.K. Look for needy boys who have family issues,” he allegedly said. Genoa Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco, who is the head of the Italian Bishops Conference, had been working with Benedict to establish a tough new worldwide policy, released this week, on how bishops should handle accusations of priestly sex abuse….

According to investigators, Seppia told a friend — a former seminarian and barman who is currently under investigation — that the town’s malls were the best places to entice minors. In tapped phone conversations the two cursed and swore against God. The priest is charged with having attempted to kiss and touch an underage altar boy and of having exchanged cocaine for sexual intercourse with boys over 18.

Seppia’s defense lawyers are expected to argue that those conversations — monitored since Oct. 20, 2010 — were just words, sex games that were played by adults. It was just a game even when he claimed to have “kissed on the mouth” a 15-year-old altar boy, according to the defense.
http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2072613,00.html

Munich Abuse Case – Archbishop Ratzinger Failed to Deal with Suspected Pedophile Priest

November 30, 2010 Comments Off on Munich Abuse Case – Archbishop Ratzinger Failed to Deal with Suspected Pedophile Priest

Munich Abuse Case – Archbishop Ratzinger Failed to Deal with Suspected Pedophile Priest By Conny Neumann and Peter Wensierski 11/29/2010

New documents show how the former Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger — now Pope Benedict XVI — and his successor Reinhard Marx failed to properly deal with a suspected pedophile. Despite massive allegations of abuse, the archdiocese allowed the priest to continue working with children…..

According to the allegations, during his tenure in Munich, Ratzinger did not give sufficient attention to the type of duties that were assigned to the alleged pedophile H. Despite massive allegations of abuse levied against the priest, the archdiocese led by Ratzinger allowed H. to continue to be involved in church work with children and young people.

For months now, very little progress has been made in clearing up this case. This is partly because the current archbishop of Munich, Reinhard Marx, who the pope recently promoted to cardinal, swiftly decided that the matter was settled.
H. was transferred to Munich in January 1980 after he had apparently sexually abused a number of boys in his home diocese of Essen. Under Ratzinger’s leadership, the Munich archdiocese expressly approved H.’s transfer on January 15, 1980. It was decided that the cleric was to undergo therapy.

No Doubt
Recently discovered documents now show that there could have been no doubt in Munich about the priest’s previous history. The head of personnel in Essen had informed Ratzinger’s head of personnel by phone and in writing that, in regard to H., “there is a risk which has prompted us to immediately remove him from the parish.” Furthermore, he said that “an official complaint has been lodged by members of the parish.”
But his victims are still waiting in vain for a genuine clarification of the matter. Wilfried Fesselmann, for instance, who says that he was abused by H. in 1979, wrote to Pope Benedict XVI last May. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith replied: “Your request is being processed.” Since then, he has heard nothing from them. The archdiocese of Munich is also reticent to comment on the case, despite the fact that Marx has pledged: “We want to do everything to clear this up — we will not look away, play it down or point the finger at others.”….

In spring 2010, the Munich affair caused an enormous stir. It initially looked as if the abuse scandal would engulf Ratzinger personally. After all, the pedophile who was accepted by him into the archdiocese in Munich was able to continue working there as a pastor for three decades and find new victims — despite the fact that he was charged a fine and given a suspended sentence in 1986 for abusing schoolchildren.
http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,731683,00.html

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