Spotlight: the reporters who uncovered Boston’s Catholic child abuse scandal

January 15, 2016 Comments Off on Spotlight: the reporters who uncovered Boston’s Catholic child abuse scandal

Spotlight: the reporters who uncovered Boston’s Catholic child abuse scandal

A Boston Globe investigation into widespread child abuse by Catholic clergy has been turned into a new film starring Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams. The Pulitzer-winning team talk small-town secrets, collective guilt – and whether anything has really changed within the church

Henry Barnes Wednesday 13 January 2016

n 2002, the Boston Globe’s Spotlight team, a group of five investigative journalists, uncovered the widespread sexual abuse of children by scores of the district’s clergy. They also revealed a cover-up: that priests accused of misconduct were being systematically removed and allowed to work in other parishes.

The team’s investigation brought the issue to national prominence in the US, winning them the Pulitzer prize for public service. The journalists’ story, and those who suffered at the hands of the clergy, are the subject of Spotlight, a Hollywood movie starring Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams. It is a love letter to investigative journalism and a reminder that, 13 years and some $3bn in settlement payments later, survivors in Boston and beyond are still waiting for satisfactory long-term action from the Vatican….
http://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/jan/13/spotlight-reporters-uncovered-catholic-child-abuse-boston-globe

Two of Bill Cosby’s accusers join push to have entire deposition unsealed, Vatican delays trial of pope’s ex-diplomat accused of child porn, pedophilia, Only Half of Abused Children Evaluated for Occult Fracture

July 14, 2015 Comments Off on Two of Bill Cosby’s accusers join push to have entire deposition unsealed, Vatican delays trial of pope’s ex-diplomat accused of child porn, pedophilia, Only Half of Abused Children Evaluated for Occult Fracture

Two of Bill Cosby’s accusers join push to have entire deposition unsealed

Beth Ferrier and Rebecca Lynn Neal, ‘Jane Does’ in the 2005 case, join motion as Neal also spoke out against National Enquirer for pulling an interview with her

Nicky Woolf

Monday 13 July 2015

Two more of Bill Cosby’s accusers have joined a motion to have the whole of a deposition unsealed from a 2005 case in which the former comedian testified to having given a woman the sedative quaaludes before having sex with her.

Bill Cosby’s defenders split after revelation comedian drugged women

One of them has also attacked the National Enquirer for allegedly suppressing a 2005 interview with her in exchange for an exclusive from Cosby about his daughter’s drug use.

Beth Ferrier and Rebecca Lynn Neal were unidentified witnesses – known as “Jane Does” – in a 2005 case in which Cosby was sued by Andrea Constand, the first of more than two dozen women to come forward with allegations of sexual abuse against the comedian.

Last week a judge granted a motion by the Associated Press to unseal part of Cosby’s deposition. Constand has now been joined by Ferrier and Neal in a motion to have the rest of the deposition, which has so far been barred from public view, unsealed.

In a statement Gloria Allred, the lawyer representing both Ferrier and Neal, said she was concerned the partial testimony, “if believed”, would cause reputational damage to her clients.

….“The National Enquirer, more than any other publication, was unflinching in our aggressive coverage of allegations against Mr Cosby beginning in 2000 when everyone else avoided the story,” a spokesman told the Wrap. “We continue to remain aggressive in our reporting today and stand by the integrity of our coverage of this story which we have taken the lead on for more than a decade.”
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/13/bill-cosby-deposition-quaaludes-motion-unseal

Only Half of Abused Children Evaluated for Occult Fracture
Jenni Laidman   July 13, 2015

Despite some 20 years of recommendations to perform a skeletal survey on infants and toddlers with injuries associated with abuse, hospital personnel failed to conduct such surveys in roughly half of suspected abuse cases, according to results from a study published online July 13 in Pediatrics.

Joanne N. Wood, MD, MSHP, from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and colleagues examined data from 4486 children younger than 2 years with a diagnosis of abuse or injuries often associated with abuse at 366 hospitals from 2009 to 2013.

The study indicated that 48% of children with an abuse diagnosis and 51% of infants with traumatic
brain injury were evaluated with a skeletal survey for occult fracture. Only 53% of infants with femur fractures were examined for further fractures, the researchers found.

Previous studies suggest that skeletal surveys would have revealed occult fractures in approximately 25% to 30% of the children in the study, which means about 1 in every 7 or 8 children might have had an undiagnosed occult fracture, the authors report….

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/847835

Vatican delays trial of pope’s ex-diplomat accused of child porn, pedophilia
By Faith Karimi, Delia Gallagher and Hada Messia, CNN
Sat July 11, 2015

A former papal ambassador accused of sexually abusing minors has been hospitalized in an intensive care unit — pushing back his trial once set to start Saturday in Vatican City.

Jozef Wesolowski, 66, was under house arrest in Vatican City when he fell ill Friday night and was rushed to a public hospital.

A judge held a short hearing and adjourned Wesolowski’s trial to a yet undetermined date, the Vatican Press Office said. It did not provide any details on his condition.

Wesolowski, 66, is the highest-ranking Catholic official arrested for alleged sexual abuse of minors.

In addition to sexual abuse allegations, he is accused of possession of child pornography during his time as papal nuncio — or ambassador — to the Dominican Republic. The maximum punishment for these crimes could be 9 years in prison, although sentencing is entirely at the discretion of the judges.

The Vatican, which operates as a city-state, has its own judicial system. This is the first trial on charges of sex abuse to be heard by the Vatican tribunal, which is composed of 3 lay Italian judges….

Before arriving in the Dominican Republic seven years ago, Wesolowski was nuncio to Bolivia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.

He began his career as a priest in Poland in 1972, and became a bishop in 2000….
http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/11/europe/vatican-sex-abuse-trial/

2 Bishops Resign in Minnesota Over Sexual Abuse Scandal, Vatican ex-envoy Wesolowski faces child sex abuse trial

June 16, 2015 Comments Off on 2 Bishops Resign in Minnesota Over Sexual Abuse Scandal, Vatican ex-envoy Wesolowski faces child sex abuse trial

2 Bishops Resign in Minnesota Over Sexual Abuse Scandal
By MITCH SMITH and LAURIE GOODSTEIN JUNE 15, 2015

CHICAGO — Two bishops in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis resigned their posts Monday, the second time this spring that American church leaders have stepped aside after complaints over their handling of sexual abuse claims involving priests.

In Minnesota, Archbishop John C. Nienstedt and an auxiliary bishop, Lee A. Piché, announced their departures less than two weeks after prosecutors in St. Paul accused the archdiocese of willfully ignoring warning signs of a pedophile priest. Their resignations followed the April exit of Bishop Robert W. Finn from the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph in Missouri, who had been convicted of a misdemeanor for failing to report a priest who took pornographic pictures of girls….

John J. Choi, the prosecutor in Ramsey County, Minn., said the resignations would not affect his office’s criminal and civil cases against the archdiocese, which accused church leaders of failing to intervene against a priest despite repeated complaints of misconduct. That priest, Curtis Wehmeyer, has since been defrocked and imprisoned on sexual abuse charges involving boys in his parish.

“While today’s resignation will be viewed as a positive development by many in our community, the pending criminal action and civil petition and the ongoing investigation will continue,” Mr. Choi said in a statement. “As we have said, the goals of our actions are to hold the Archdiocese accountable, seek justice for the victims and our community, and to take appropriate steps to ensure that what we have alleged and intend to prove about the past conduct of church officials will never be repeated.”….

The Minnesota and Missouri church leaders are hardly the first bishops to resign under scrutiny or accusations that they failed abuse victims. Since the papacy of John Paul II — now St. John Paul — began in 1978, 16 other bishops have resigned or been forced from office under a cloud of accusations that they mishandled abuse cases, according to research by BishopAccountability.org, an advocacy group in Waltham, Mass. Archbishop Nienstedt is the 17th, by that group’s count.

Archbishop Nienstedt had become one of the most embattled figures in the American Catholic hierarchy, under fire in the courts, in the pews and on newspaper editorial pages. He had refused to resign about a year ago after coming under sharp criticism from his own former chancellor for canonical affairs, Jennifer M. Haselberger, who charged that the church used a chaotic system of record keeping that helped conceal the backgrounds of guilty priests who remained on assignment….
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/15/us/archbishop-nienstedt-and-aide-resign-in-minnesota-over-sex-abuse-scandal.html


Catholic Archdiocese in Minnesota Charged Over Sex Abuse by Priest

By MITCH SMITH JUNE 5, 2015

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

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

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

Mr. Wehmeyer, 50, who was dismissed as a priest in March, was sentenced to five years in a Minnesota prison in 2013 for criminal sexual conduct and possession of child pornography. He also has been charged with sex crimes in Wisconsin.

The six criminal charges filed Friday, misdemeanors with a maximum fine of $3,000 each, accused the archdiocese of failing to protect children. Mr. Choi also filed a civil petition against the archdiocese that he said was intended to provide legal remedies to prevent similar inaction from happening again.

The 44-page criminal complaint states that concerns about Mr. Wehmeyer date to the 1990s, when he was in seminary and supervisors suggested that his past sexual promiscuity and alcohol abuse made him a poor candidate for the priesthood….

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

The archdiocese placed Mr. Wehmeyer in a monitoring program for priests facing complaints of abuse or other problems, but prosecutors said in court documents that the supervision and follow-through was “lax or nonexistent.”….
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/06/us/catholic-archdiocese-in-minnesota-charged-over-sex-abuse-by-priest.html

Vatican ex-envoy Wesolowski faces child sex abuse trial
15 June 2015

The Vatican is to put its former envoy to the Dominican Republic, Jozef Wesolowski, on trial on child sex abuse and child pornography charges.

Pope Francis has also accepted the resignations of a US archbishop and his deputy, accused in Minnesota of having ignored a priest’s child abuse.

Jozef Wesolowski is accused of sexually abusing children in the Dominican Republic from 2008 to 2013. He is under house arrest in the Vatican.

The trial is to begin on 11 July.

Wesolowski, 66, is also charged with possession of child pornography, dating from his return to Rome in 2013….

Wesolowski, who is originally from Poland, was recalled from the Dominican Republic in 2013, after allegations surfaced accusing him of abusing Dominican boys.

He had spent five years in the Caribbean country as the papal envoy.

He was defrocked in June last year after he was found guilty by a Church tribunal – he is the highest-ranking church official to be defrocked for such abuse.

He will now be tried by a Vatican criminal court….
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-33136393

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.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3111224/Police-set-question-thirteen-celebrities-politicians-sports-stars-investigation-historic-child-abuse-island-Jersey.html

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….
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/06/03/top-vatican-cardinal-trailed-by-old-child-abuse-scandal-from-australia/

 

Vatican defends Cardinal George Pell in child sex abuse scandal

June 3, 2015 Comments Off on Vatican defends Cardinal George Pell in child sex abuse scandal

Vatican defends Cardinal George Pell in child sex abuse scandal
June 02, 2015

THE Vatican has defended its finance chief, Australian Cardinal George Pell, after he was accused by one of Pope Francis’ commissioners for child protection of being almost sociopathic.

Spokesman Federico Lombardi says Peter Saunders, who called for Pell to be dismissed over allegations he covered up abuse and denigrated victims, was expressing his personal views and not speaking on behalf of the commission.

Lombardi told journalists Pell, formerly the top Catholic cleric in Australia, has replied to all questions posed by the authorities and his defence must be considered reliable and worthy of attention and respect.

Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse yesterday requested Pell give evidence when the inquiry next meets at a date to be determined.

Pell says he will be present at the hearing.

Mr Saunders, an abuse survivor, made headlines earlier this week when he called on the Pope to sack Cardinal Pell as the Vatican’s financial chief over allegations he helped cover up paedophile activity in Australia.

Now Mr Saunders has revealed the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors may not be able to do its job properly due to a lack of resources.

“George Pell is in the Pope’s cabinet, the inner sanctum, and is in charge of Vatican finances,” he said….

Cardinal Pell, who denies the cover-up allegations, said he was consulting his legal advisers after Mr Saunders said the Australian’s lack of care for victims was “almost sociopathic”.

Mr Saunders responded by stating the threat of legal action wasn’t surprising and he wouldn’t shut up for anyone.
http://www.news.com.au/national/vatican-defends-cardinal-george-pell-in-child-sex-abuse-scandal/story-fncynjr2-1227378918090

US Government trying to block Prince Andrew’s alleged ‘sex slave’ from Jeffrey Epstein case, Images of child abuse found in Vatican City

February 3, 2015 Comments Off on US Government trying to block Prince Andrew’s alleged ‘sex slave’ from Jeffrey Epstein case, Images of child abuse found in Vatican City

US Government trying to block Prince Andrew’s alleged ‘sex slave’ from Jeffrey Epstein case Monday, 2 February 2015 – Washington ANI

US Government is trying to bar Prince Andrew’s alleged ‘sex slave’ Virginia Roberts from Jeffrey Epstein lawsuit case with a new filing.

On January 30, the government filed the declaration of FBI Special Agent Timothy R Slater, who joined the investigation of Epstein in 2006, Radaronline.com reported. It was noted in the declaration that sometime during January – February 2007 Slater called Roberts and told about the investigation of Epstein but she quickly became uncomfortable and expressed her desire to let everything in the past and demanded to not be bothered about this again.

So now the government has been trying to prevent her from having any say in the ongoing civil suit. Sources have revealed that they are filling this evidence in order to do everything they could do to prevent the release of documents about what really went on relating to Epstein’s plea deal….
http://www.dnaindia.com/world/report-us-government-trying-to-block-prince-andrew-s-alleged-sex-slave-from-jeffrey-epstein-case-2057560
Woman’s Claims About Prince Andrew, Others Reignite Sex Case
MIAMI — Feb 2, 2015 By CURT ANDERSON AP Legal Affairs Writer
First came the allegations late last year that Britain’s Prince Andrew and a prominent American lawyer took part in a wealthy sex offender’s abuse of teenage girls aboard private jets, in luxury homes and on the financier’s Caribbean island.

The story, part of a long-running U.S. legal fight focused on the rights of the women, gained steam when Buckingham Palace took the unusual step of issuing a carefully worded denial of the kind of salacious claims that royal officials rarely acknowledge. Defense attorney Alan Dershowitz, who represented the highly connected Jeffrey Epstein and was himself named in the latest court filings, then called the most outspoken of the four women a serial liar and practically dared her to prove her accounts.

Instead of letting the case play out from there, the woman known as Jane Doe No. 3 hit back with a 23-page affidavit detailing dates, locations and more about the powerful men she says Epstein forced her and the others to satisfy.

More than six years after Epstein pleaded guilty to Florida charges involving sex with underage girls, the case has erupted anew….

Dershowitz has accused Jane Doe No. 3 of making up most or all of her claims, including a story about seeing Clinton on Epstein’s island years ago.

Jane Doe No. 3 and three others who say Epstein victimized them want a federal judge to make public and throw out the part of Epstein’s plea deal that guaranteed that neither he nor any co-conspirators would face federal charges. Federal prosecutors oppose the request, contending they did their best to confer with the victims but that the women aren’t entitled to details of the plea negotiations….
http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/womans-claims-prince-andrew-reignite-sex-case-28657678

Images of child abuse found in Vatican City
Holy See’s prosecutor general says two cases involving indecent material came to light last year, along with other crimes Rosie Scammell in Rome Sunday 1 February 2015

Two cases of child pornography possession were uncovered within the walls of the Vatican last year, along with numerous other crimes in the city state, the Holy See’s prosecutor general has announced.

Following worldwide allegations of sex abuse by priests, Gian Piero Milano, the Holy See’s Promoter of Justice, said the Vatican was now taking action against paedophilia in the heart of the Catholic church.

Unveiling the Vatican’s justice report, Milano stopped short of naming those accused of possessing child pornography. Holy See spokesman Federico Lombardi however identified Josef Wesolowski, a disgraced former ambassador, as one of the people facing charges.

Wesolowski was stripped of his diplomatic immunity last year following accusations that he abused young boys during his time as envoy to the Dominican Republic. The Polish former archbishop is currently awaiting trial at the Vatican, in what will be the first sex abuse trial ever held at the Holy See….
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/01/images-child-abuse-found-vatican

Pope sacks Paraguay bishop accused of protecting abuser priest

September 26, 2014 Comments Off on Pope sacks Paraguay bishop accused of protecting abuser priest

Pope sacks Paraguay bishop accused of protecting abuser priest 

Pope Francis’s latest crackdown on clerical sex abuse comes days after Vatican ordered Polish archbishop to be put on trial for allegedly abusing young boys
Livieres Plano, a member of the conservative Opus Dei movement, has been removed by Pope Francis from a Paraguayan diocese

By Nick Squires, Rome  25 Sep 2014

Pope Francis has sacked a bishop in South America who for years protected a priest accused of sexual misconduct.

The Pope, who has vowed to adopt a much tougher stance than his predecessors on priests accused of sexual abuse, forcibly removed Rogelio Ricardo Livieres Plano from his post as bishop of a diocese in Paraguay.

The bishop is accused of protecting an Argentine priest whose former superiors in the United States had described as a “serious threat to young people.”

The bishop’s removal was the result of an investigation instigated by the Vatican earlier this year.

He had refused to resign, leaving the Pope no option but to remove him in what the Vatican described in a statement as a “hard decision”….
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/the-pope/11121607/Pope-sacks-Paraguay-bishop-accused-of-protecting-abuser-priest.html

Vatican Arrests Former Archbishop On Child Abuse Charges, Don’t turn a blind eye to child abuse or neglect

September 25, 2014 Comments Off on Vatican Arrests Former Archbishop On Child Abuse Charges, Don’t turn a blind eye to child abuse or neglect

Vatican Arrests Former Archbishop On Child Abuse Charges
September 24, 2014

Jozef Wesolowski is the first high-ranking Vatican official to face criminal charges for sexually abusing children. Steve Inskeep talks to Joshua McElwee of the National Catholic Reporter.

….Vatican City, the home of the Catholic Church, is also a tiny, independent nation with its own laws. And today, one of its citizens is under house arrest. The Vatican took former Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski into custody. He had already been defrocked in June. All of this follows allegations that he sexually abused young boys while he was the Vatican’s ambassador to the Dominican Republic. He’s going to stand trial on a Vatican criminal court. Joshua McElwee, who is Vatican bureau chief for The National Catholic Reporter, is covering this story.

….Well, the Vatican had acted a couple months ago. What they’d done is they laicized Wesolowski, who was an archbishop, which basically made him a normal Catholic. He’s no longer a priest. He’s no longer an archbishop. And now they’re saying that they’re prosecuting him according to the laws of the Vatican City State for, apparently, accusations of abuse in the Dominican Republic.
http://www.npr.org/2014/09/24/351074916/vatican-arrests-former-archbishop-on-child-abuse-charges

Don’t turn a blind eye to child abuse or neglect
By Yvonne Abraham Globe Columnist   September 21, 2014

How is it possible that Erika Murray’s oldest children went to school, had friends, and saw relatives, yet nobody raised the alarm about the horrors filling their Blackstone home?….

It all went to hell the summer before Spadaro turned 11, when she found her mother on the floor, in seizures. Doctors removed a brain tumor, leaving her mother with impaired judgment and impulse control, and dependent on sedatives.Her father, who had broken his hip and quit work years earlier, was also heavily medicated. Depressed, and with strained finances, her parents mixed alcohol with the drugs, descending into addiction.

“That combination of the unwashed people and the unwashed pets and the food that may be halfway round the bend,” recalled Spadaro, now 48. “You learn to function with the smell, but I don’t think you ever stop noticing it.”

She did what many kids do in these situations: She became the parent, at 11. She remembers trying to clear some of the mess away, hauling trash to the garage, and cleaning up after the beagle. For meals, she warmed frozen pizza in a toaster oven. She did laundry so that she and her sister — several years younger — would look presentable.

“I tried to keep things as best I could, but I could not be in charge of two parents, a younger sibling, and the pet,” she said.

For three years, none of the many adults in their lives came to their rescue….

Three years after the spiral began, her mother’s family took the girls in. Spadaro does not know why they decided to intervene then, and not sooner….

Several times, though, neighbors complained about pets being mistreated at the home. There was only one call about the children, found to be unsubstantiated. How those kids must have envied the dogs…..
http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/09/20/don-turn-blind-eye-child-abuse-neglect/d1OaB8XQbdqPXdaoERXf8J/story.html

For Nuncio Accused of Abuse, Dominicans Want Justice at Home, Not Abroad, Polish archbishop appeals defrocking for sexual abuse: Vatican

August 26, 2014 Comments Off on For Nuncio Accused of Abuse, Dominicans Want Justice at Home, Not Abroad, Polish archbishop appeals defrocking for sexual abuse: Vatican

“the church failed to inform the local authorities of the evidence against him, secretly recalled him to Rome last year before he could be investigated, and then invoked diplomatic immunity for Mr. Wesolowski so that he could not face trial in the Dominican Republic”

For Nuncio Accused of Abuse, Dominicans Want Justice at Home, Not Abroad
By LAURIE GOODSTEIN AUG. 23, 2014

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — He was a familiar figure to the skinny shoeshine boys who work along the oceanfront promenade here. Wearing black track pants and a baseball cap pulled low over his balding head, they say, he would stroll along in the late afternoon and bring one of them down to the rocky shoreline or to a deserted monument for a local Catholic hero.

The boys say he gave them money to perform sexual acts. They called him “the Italian” because he spoke Spanish with an Italian accent.

It was only after he was spirited out of the country, the boys say, his picture splashed all over the local news media, that they learned his real identity: Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, the Vatican’s ambassador to the Dominican Republic….

The case is the first time that a top Vatican ambassador, or nuncio — who serves as a personal envoy of the pope — has been accused of sexual abuse of minors. It has sent shock waves through the Vatican and two predominantly Catholic countries that have only begun to grapple with clergy sexual abuse: the Dominican Republic and Poland, where Mr. Wesolowski was ordained by the Polish prelate who later became Pope John Paul II….

Mr. Wesolowski has already faced the harshest penalty possible under the church’s canon law, short of excommunication: on June 27, he was defrocked by the Vatican, reducing him to the status of a layman. The Vatican, which as a city-state has its own judicial system, has also said it intends to try Mr. Wesolowski on criminal charges — the first time the Vatican has held a criminal trial for sexual abuse.

But far from settling the matter, the Vatican has stirred an outcry because it helped Mr. Wesolowski avoid criminal prosecution and a possible jail sentence in the Dominican Republic. Acting against its own guidelines for handling abuse cases, the church failed to inform the local authorities of the evidence against him, secretly recalled him to Rome last year before he could be investigated, and then invoked diplomatic immunity for Mr. Wesolowski so that he could not face trial in the Dominican Republic….

A Dominican bishop, Victor Masalles, visiting Rome in late June, said in a Twitter message that he was surprised to see Mr. Wesolowski “strolling the Via della Scrofa,” in the city’s picturesque ancient center. He added, “The silence of the Church has hurt the people of God.”….

Mr. Wesolowski, 66, was ordained at 23 in Krakow by Archbishop Karol Józef Wojtyla, who later became Pope John Paul II. In 1999, he was appointed papal nuncio to Bolivia, and in 2002, he was reassigned to Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan….

Neither the cardinal, nor other church officials, reported the allegations to the local authorities, Dominican officials say. Vatican guidelines say that criminal sexual abuse accusations should be reported in countries where reporting is required….

The case has reverberated in Poland, where prosecutors have sought to extradite Mr. Wesolowski, who holds both Vatican and Polish citizenship. Poland has indicted another Polish priest, the Rev. Wojciech Gil, who fled the Dominican Republic last year amid allegations that he abused altar boys in his rural parish. Prosecutors in the Dominican Republic say that Father Gil and Mr. Wesolowski spent time with young boys at the nuncio’s beach house….
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/24/world/americas/whisked-away-vatican-ambassador-accused-of-sexual-abuse-of-minors.html

Polish archbishop appeals defrocking for sexual abuse: Vatican
VATICAN CITY Mon Aug 25, 2014
(Reuters) – A Polish archbishop accused of child sex abuse in the Dominican Republic has appealed against a Roman Catholic tribunal’s decision to defrock him, the Vatican said on Monday.

Jozef Wesolowski, who had served as a Vatican nuncio or ambassador to the Caribbean nation, was sentenced in late June to be expelled from the priesthood, an extremely rare step against such a senior church official.

“Former nuncio Josef Wesolowski has recently appealed, within the prescribed limit of two months, against the most serious canonical sentence, that of a return to the lay state, which has been imposed upon him,” Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said in a statement….

If found guilty in a criminal trial, Wesolowski could risk extradition to the Dominican Republic, which has appointed a special prosecutor to investigate the case….
http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/08/25/us-vatican-abuse-archbishop-idUSKBN0GP1QG20140825

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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