Nuns charged in Smyllum Park child abuse investigation, The ghosts of St. Joseph’s orphanage: BuzzFeed News reveals extent of child abuse

August 28, 2018 Comments Off on Nuns charged in Smyllum Park child abuse investigation, The ghosts of St. Joseph’s orphanage: BuzzFeed News reveals extent of child abuse


In the United States, however, no such reckoning has taken place. Even today the stories of the orphanages are rarely told and barely heard, let alone recognized in any formal way by the government, the public, or the courts. The few times that orphanage abuse cases have been litigated in the US, the courts have remained generally indifferent. Private settlements could be as little as a few thousand dollars. Government bodies have rarely pursued the allegations.”

Nuns charged in Smyllum Park child abuse investigation
Police examining claims of abuse over decades at Catholic home charge 12 people Severin Carrell Scotland editor
Thu 23 Aug 2018

Police in Scotland have arrested and charged nuns and a number of other former staff in an investigation into alleged child abuse at a Catholic children’s home.

The nuns are among 12 people who have been charged by detectives investigating detailed allegations of systematic physical and sexual abuse of children over many decades at Smyllum Park in Lanark.

Police Scotland said another four former staff at the Catholic institution would be reported to the Crown Office, Scotland’s prosecution service, later on Thursday.

The force would not release any further details about the identities of those charged or the offences they face, pending final decisions by prosecutors.

“Twelve people, 11 women and one man, ages ranging from 62 to 85 years, have been arrested and charged in connection with the non-recent abuse of children,” it said….

The allegations of abuse at Smyllum Park, including unsubstantiated claims of “satanic” rituals at the home, have been at the centre of a long-running official public inquiry into child sexual abuse at children’s homes in Scotland.

The Scottish child abuse inquiry (SCAI) has been told by former residents that lay staff and nuns at the home, run by the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul until it closed in 1981, repeatedly beat and punched them, verbally abused and humiliated them for wetting beds and left them without food and that some male and female staff sexually abused the children in their care.

It is alleged that at least one child, a boy aged six, died as a result of a severe beating that prevented him from recovering from an infection some days later.

Gregor Rolfe, a lawyer for the Daughters of Charity, told the SCAI last year that one male former member of staff may have sexually abused children whom he took on holidays. Those allegations were reported to nuns but not passed to the police….

The families of former residents were horrified to discover that the remains of up to 400 children were buried in a large plot of unmarked graves in a cemetery nearby.

More than 11,000 children were placed at Smyllum Park from its opening in 1864 to its eventual closure 117 years later. Some were orphaned, but others were from families unable to look after them. Death certificates revealed that many of the children died from tuberculosis, pneumonia and pleurisy.

Smith is expected to release a special preliminary report on Smyllum Park in coming weeks. Her full report is not expected until some time after October 2019.

The Scottish Daily Mail reported on Thursday that police had also begun a separate investigation into the Sisters of Nazareth, another Catholic order that ran children’s homes that are under scrutiny by Smith’s inquiry.

The ghosts of St. Joseph’s orphanage: BuzzFeed News reveals extent of child abuse
Christine Kenneally, BuzzFeed Aug. 27, 2018

In the 1990s, Burlington Free Press journalists including Sam Hemingway reported extensively on allegations of child abuse by former residents of St. Joseph’s Orphanage in Burlington. Two decades later, Christine Kenneally, a reporter for the online news site BuzzFeed News, has spent four years revisiting the scandal of child abuse at Catholic orphanages around the United States.

Much of Kenneally’s report focuses on abuse at the Burlington orphanage, which was located on North Avenue. With BuzzFeed News’ permission, the Free Press publishes this excerpt.

It was a late summer afternoon, Sally Dale recalled, when the boy was thrown through the fourth-floor window.

“He kind of hit, and— ” she placed both hands palm-down before her. Her right hand slapped down on the left, rebounded up a little, then landed again.

For just a moment, the room was still. “Bounced?” one of the many lawyers present asked. “Well, I guess you’d call it — it was a bounce,” she replied. “And then he laid still.”

Sally, who was speaking under oath, tried to explain it. She started again. “The first thing I saw was looking up, hearing the crash of the window, and then him going down, but my eyes were still glued— .” She pointed up at where the broken window would have been and then she pointed at her own face and drew circles around it. “That habit thing, whatever it is, that they wear, stuck out like a sore thumb.”….

A nun was standing at the window, Sally said. She straightened her arms out in front of her. “But her hands were like that.”

There were only two people in the yard, she said: Sally herself and a nun who was escorting her. In a tone that was still completely bewildered, she recalled asking, Sister?

Sister took hold of Sally’s ear, turned her around, and walked her back to the other side of the yard. The nun told her she had a vivid imagination.

We are going to have to do something about you, child.

Sally figured the boy fell from the window in 1944 or so, because she was moving to the “big girls” dormitory that day. Girls usually moved when they were 6, though residents of St. Joseph’s Orphanage in Burlington, Vermont, did not always have a clear sense of their age — birthdays, like siblings and even names, being one of the many human attributes that were stripped from them when they passed through its doors. She recounted his fall in a deposition on November 6, 1996, as part of a remarkable group of lawsuits that 28 former residents brought against the nuns, the diocese, and the social agency that oversaw the orphanage.

I watched the deposition — all 19 hours of grainy, scratchy videotape — more than two decades later. By that time sexual abuse scandals had ripped through the Catholic Church, shattering the silence that had for so long protected its secrets. It was easier for accusers in general to come forward, and easier for people to believe their stories, even if the stories sounded too awful to be true. Even if they had happened decades ago, when the accusers were only children. Even if the people they were accusing were pillars of the community.

But for all these revelations — including this month’s Pennsylvania grand jury report on how the church hid the crimes of hundreds of priests — a darker history, the one to which Sally’s story belongs, remains all but unknown. It is the history of unrelenting physical and psychological abuse of captive children. Across thousands of miles, across decades, the abuse took eerily similar forms: People who grew up in orphanages said they were made to kneel or stand for hours, sometimes with their arms straight out, sometimes holding their boots or some other item. They were forced to eat their own vomit. They were dangled upside down out windows, over wells, or in laundry chutes. Children were locked in cabinets, in closets, in attics, sometimes for days, sometimes so long they were forgotten. They were told their relatives didn’t want them, or they were permanently separated from their siblings. They were sexually abused. They were mutilated…..

In the United States, however, no such reckoning has taken place. Even today the stories of the orphanages are rarely told and barely heard, let alone recognized in any formal way by the government, the public, or the courts. The few times that orphanage abuse cases have been litigated in the US, the courts have remained generally indifferent. Private settlements could be as little as a few thousand dollars. Government bodies have rarely pursued the allegations….

Ritual Abuse Conference – Dr. Randy Noblitt and Neil Brick

Changes in Awareness of Severe Abuse and Child Abuse Crimes Over Twenty Five Years by Neil Brick

The Credibility of Ritual Abuse Allegations by Dr. Randy Noblitt

Child and Ritual Abuse Conference Helps Educate Survivors and Their Helpers

N.S. reaches $29m settlement in Home for Colored Children abuse claim

June 4, 2014 Comments Off on N.S. reaches $29m settlement in Home for Colored Children abuse claim

N.S. reaches $29m settlement in Home for Colored Children abuse claim 
EVA HOARE Staff Reporter Published June 3, 2014

The Liberal government announced a $29-million tentative settlement for the abuse victims of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children on Tuesday.

It’s a first step in a proposed two-prong process the McNeil government had promised some 130 to 150 former residents of the Dartmouth home who had endured decades of severe physical, sexual and psychological abuse while there.

Most of the victims were black, orphaned, or from homes where families could no longer look after them. Their cries for the abuse to be acknowledged had largely gone unanswered, until the former residents launched a class action lawsuit against the province and the home itself for failing to protect them.

The home has already settled with the residents for $5 million, but the province, under Darrell Dexter’s government, continued to wage the battle against the action being certified. The total settlement, from the province and the home, amounts to $34 million and is to cover residents who suffered abuse at the facility from late 1951 to 1989. Residents’ lawyer Ray Wagner of Wagners law firm in Halifax Lawyer said the distribution plan will go back to 1921….

Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children
For the people who were raped, abused, humiliated and terrorized when they lived as children at the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children, it has indeed been a “life journey,” as Premier Stephen McNeil aptly put it, to the tentative $29-million settlement of their class-action lawsuit announced Tuesday….

EDITORIAL: The road to healing
THE CHRONICLE HERALD Published June 3, 2014

Accused Kidnapper Ariel Castro Beat Wife, Threatened Neighbors, Police Records Say

May 14, 2013 Comments Off on Accused Kidnapper Ariel Castro Beat Wife, Threatened Neighbors, Police Records Say

Accused Kidnapper Ariel Castro Beat Wife, Threatened Neighbors, Police Records Say

Cleveland cops were summoned six times to handle accusations that accused kidnapper Ariel Castro had assaulted or menaced people, including three alleged beatings of his wife, but he was only convicted once and was never sentenced to any prison time.

One of the accusations against Castro was that he battered his wife while she was recovering from brain surgery, according to newly released police records.

It is unclear whether any of the reported incidents could have led police to the three women allegedly held as sex slaves for a decade in his house, but the number of times his name pops up in the Cleveland police database is far more than the two incidents police originally reported.

There was no immediate response today from police or prosecutors….

Castro’s ex-wife, Grimilda Figueroa, who died last year, first accused Castro of assault in 1989, 1993 and again in 2005, three years after he allegedly abducted his first victim Michelle Knight in 2002.

Castro was “a monster,” according to Figueroa’s family members who spoke to ABC News last week on the condition of anonymity. He was “nice when he was outside but behind closed doors he was an animal. Two faced. He had done terrible things to her [Figueroa] and treated her like trash.”

Ariel Castro, Cleveland suspect, has a dark past that foreshadowed crimes he’s now accused of
By Manuel Roig-Franzia, Jerry Markon and Luz Lazo, Published: May 11

Cleveland — Shorty needed a ride home.

She got confused sometimes, the result of some undefined mental condition, and wasn’t always sure where she’d wandered. Her family knew this about Michelle “Shorty” Knight, all 4 feet 7 inches of her, and that’s why they worried.

She got in a car.

It begins there, with that simple act, a 21-year-old — in many ways still very much a girl — got in a car. Aug. 22, 2002. If she’d looked up in that last moment of freedom, she would have seen a church steeple.

Eight months later, another girl. Same road. Two-tenths of a mile away.

Mandy had just finished her shift at Burger King, was still in her Burger King hat and shirt. Tomorrow would be Amanda “Mandy” Berry’s 17th birthday; a party was planned.

She got in a car.

The hunter of girls had found a rich hunting ground, a stretch of road clotted with used-automobile lots, discount jewelers, fast-food joints — and schoolgirls.

A year later, April 2, 2004, the hunter was back. Gina, just 14, was walking home with friends from Wilbur Wright Middle School, a stately brick building set on a shaded street two blocks from Burger King. Georgina “Gina” DeJesus broke off on her own, steps away from the spot where Knight was taken.

A car pulled up. The driver was the father of one of her best friends.

She got in the car.

For the next nine years, authorities say, Knight, Berry and De­Jesus together endured an excruciating ordeal as captives in a seemingly normal house on a seemingly normal street in a busy residential neighborhood less than four miles away. Until their remarkable rescue last week, authorities say, they were physically, sexually and psychologically abused by their captor, Ariel Castro, a school bus driver who played salsa music in nightclubs and harbored a dark past that foreshadowed the crimes he’s now accused of committing.

At Castro’s home on Seymour Avenue, he chained the young women in his basement, according to a police report. Eventually, investigators say, he moved them to the second floor of his house, a two-story place with a small back yard, a saggy porch, peeling paint and faded white siding. Most of the time, they were trapped inside, and on the rare occasions they were allowed to venture into the yard, Castro forced them to wear wigs and sunglasses, the report says. He told them to keep their heads down.

Castro, now 52, raped all his captives, authorities say….

In the beginning, the romance between the 20-something Ariel Castro and Grimilda Figueroa went fine. But it quickly deteriorated.

In the early 1990s, the unmarried couple lived on the second floor of the home of Figueroa’s parents. Once, Castro shoved Figueroa down a steep flight of stairs, family members recall. Her father, aided by a pack of neighbors and relatives, beat Castro in retaliation. He didn’t fight back. “He didn’t fight no man,” Figueroa Jr. says.

Things only got worse when the couple moved to their own place; Castro’s beatings of his common-law wife became more frequent and more severe, Figueroa’s relatives say.

He exhibited strange, domineering traits. Grimilda Figueroa became a near-prisoner in her home, a sister, Elida Caraballo, says. Castro padlocked doors from the outside when he left. One day, Caraballo went into their house and saw Castro shoving Figueroa into a cardboard box and closing the lid….

More recently, neighbors say police have been contacted at least twice in the past two years because of suspicious activity. The first time, neighbor Elsie Cintron says she called police after spotting a child’s face in an attic window and hearing banging. Officers responded, Cintron says, but left when no one answered the knocks at Castro’s door. The next time, her son Israel Lugo says, a group of elderly women who were exercising in the area called police. According to Lugo, the women and his sister had all seen a naked woman on all fours with a dog collar around her neck in Castro’s back yard. Cleveland police say they have no record of the calls….

Ariel Castro Allegedly Kept Sexually Abused Kidnap Victims In ‘Chains And Ropes’, Eric Toth, accused of child pornography, evaded authorities for 5 years

May 9, 2013 Comments Off on Ariel Castro Allegedly Kept Sexually Abused Kidnap Victims In ‘Chains And Ropes’, Eric Toth, accused of child pornography, evaded authorities for 5 years

Ariel Castro Allegedly Kept Sexually Abused Kidnap Victims In ‘Chains And Ropes’

The three kidnapped women who endured a decade inside a rundown Cleveland home were bound by ropes and chains and rarely let outside, according to Cleveland’s police chief.

“We have confirmation that they were bound and there was chains and ropes in the home,” Police Chief Michael McGrath said Wednesday morning on the “Today” show. He also said they were “very rarely” permitted in suspect Ariel Castro’s backyard.

Ohio man charged with kidnapping, rape By Meghan Barr and Thomas J. Sheeran Associated Press  May 08, 2013

CLEVELAND (AP) — Kidnapping and rape charges were filed Wednesday against a man arrested after three women missing for about a decade were found alive at his home.

Homeowner Ariel Castro was charged while his brothers, Pedro and Onil Castro, were held but faced no immediate charges.

The men were in custody and couldn’t be reached for comment. Their brother-in-law has said the family is ‘‘shocked’’ after hearing about the women at the home.
The three women were subjected to prolonged sexual and psychological abuse and suffered miscarriages, a city councilman briefed on the case said Wednesday.

Councilman Brian Cummins said that many details remain unclear, including the number of pregnancies and the conditions under which the miscarriages occurred. He also said the women were kept in the basement for some time without having access to the rest of the house. Police said they were apparently bound with ropes and chains.

The horrific allegations came out as police built a case.

‘‘We know that the victims have confirmed miscarriages, but with who, how many and what conditions we don’t know,’’ Cummins said. He added: ‘‘It sounds pretty gruesome.’’….

A 2005 domestic-violence filing in Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court accused Ariel Castro of twice breaking the nose of his children’s mother, knocking out a tooth, dislocating each shoulder and threatening to kill her and her daughters three or four times in a year.

The filing for a protective order by Grimilda Figueroa also said that Castro frequently abducted her daughters and kept them from her.

In 1993, Castro was arrested on a domestic-violence charge and spent three days in jail before he was released on bail. A grand jury did not return an indictment against him, according to court documents, which don’t detail the allegations….

Eric Toth, accused of child pornography, evaded authorities for 5 years
By Justin Jouvenal, Published: May 5

Eric Toth was on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list and had been featured on “America’s Most Wanted,” but last fall, one of the most notorious fugitives in America may have been set to take a stage.

He appeared to be booked to speak at a Las Vegas tech conference.

Colleagues knew the speaker under a different name as an Austin-based tech writer and computer technician they described as brilliant and friendly. But they now suspect that he is the same man who is accused of filming a sex act with a child while he was a teacher at the District’s exclusive Beauvoir school in 2007 or 2008.

They realized the night before the October speech that the tech writer had vanished. Calls and e-mails went unreturned. His Facebook page went dormant. They never saw him again.

His whereabouts remained a mystery until Toth, 31, was arrested in Nicaragua in April. Three people who saw arrest photos of the lanky man with long brown hair said he was the same person they knew from Austin. FBI officials declined to confirm their account. Toth’s attorney did not return a call for comment.

“My reaction was shock,” said Joel Stewart, one of the man’s former bosses at a computer repair store. “This was not an unlikable person. I think a lot of us came to think of him as something of a friend.”

During Toth’s five years on the run, the pattern played out again and again as the man the FBI says is an expert in social engineering and computers was able to invent fresh personas, allegedly obtain fraudulent documents and win the trust of unsuspecting people. When it appeared that he might be discovered, he would simply melt away.

All the while, the man, who authorities warned would not stop molesting children until he was caught, had contact with kids. The Washington Post has been able to reconstruct his time in hiding from the District to the Southwest to Latin America.

“It’s a case study in you never know who you are standing next to,” said Chris Bangs, who worked with the tech writer….

Scott Brown Tells ’60 Minutes’ He Was Molested as a Child

February 17, 2011 Comments Off on Scott Brown Tells ’60 Minutes’ He Was Molested as a Child

“Looking back, he explains, “It was certainly, back then, very traumatic.”

Scott Brown Tells ’60 Minutes’ He Was Molested as Child  Feb 16, 2011 Steven Hoffer  Contributor

Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown has decided the time is right to publicly reveal a secret he has kept inside for many years.

In an interview scheduled to air on CBS’s “60 Minutes” on Sunday, the Republican congressman reflects openly for the first time on his childhood hardships, including episodes of abuse from his stepfather and being sexually assaulted by a camp counselor when he was 10 years old….

Brown also mentioned that he has never discussed the incident. “When people find people like me at that young vulnerable age, who are basically lost, the thing that they have over you is, they make you believe that no one will believe you,” he said.
“My mom will read about it for the first time. I haven’t told anybody.”

Scott Brown Recalls Childhood Sexual Abuse In 60 Minutes Interview (VIDEO) 02/16/11 Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) reveals that he was sexually abused as a child multiple times in an interview scheduled to air on CBS’ “60 Minutes” on Sunday evening….

Looking back, he explains, “It was certainly, back then, very traumatic.”
“As predators do… He said ‘If you tell anybody…I’ll kill you. I will make sure that nobody believes you,” recalls Brown of being threatened by the counselor.  The interview with Brown comes just before the release of memoir Against All Odds. The Senator details the traumatic experiences he endured in the book.

Sen. Scott Brown Recalls Childhood Abuse
February 16, 2011
Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown tells Lesley Stahl he was the victim of physical, psychological and sexual abuse when he was a child. Stahl profiles the senator Sunday, Feb. 20, 7 p.m. ET/PT.

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