A digest of links to media coverage of clergy abuse.
Click on the headline to read the full story.
October 21, 2016
Daily Mail (UK)
By SARAH DEAN FOR MAILONLINE and AFP
A priest has been arrested on suspicion of molesting women while carrying out exorcisms and spiritual 'healing'.
The priest in Palermo, Sicily, was arrested on sex abuse charges along with an army colonel, local media reported Friday.
Father Salvatore Anello, 59, is suspected of molesting four women and a 12-year-old girl during 'healing prayers,' supposedly intended to help them recover from illness or liberate them from possession by the devil, the AGI news agency reported.
Anello's arrest follows a six-month investigation into Salvatore Muratore, 52, an army colonel who was active in the Renewal of the Holy Spirit Catholic community.
Muratore has been accused by alleged victims of similar assaults.
Both men have been detained in custody and the investigation is still ongoing to ascertain if there were more victims, police told AGI.
A MUCH-LOVED Riverina priest acquitted this week of raping a 10-year-old girl will never escape the black mark against his name, according to a former Griffith mayor who himself was cleared of serious charges.
Griffith councillor Mike Neville said Father Neru Leuea will always be stalked by the unproven allegations he sexually assaulted the girl in 2003.
Cr Neville faced a high-profile sexual assault case in 2012, while he was Griffith mayor, but was not found guilty.
“No matter where he (Fr Neru) goes or what he does in the future, this will follow him,” Cr Neville said.
“You don’t get your life back; you have to make a new life and it was not just for me, it was for my family – all of those lives have been changed.
Il sacerdote era anche cappellano dell'ospedale Civico. In manette anche un colonnello dell’esercito, Salvatore Muratore: è accusato di aver violentato quattro donne. L’inchiesta nata dalla denuncia di una vittima, scoperti 10 casi. Il drammatico racconto di una dodicenne, affetta da epilessia: "Mi toccava e diceva, così guarisci"
di SALVO PALAZZOLO
E’ uno dei sacerdoti più noti di Palermo, conosciuto come "guaritore" ed "esorcista". Questa mattina, padre Salvatore Anello è stato arrestato con l’accusa di violenza sessuale. Gli investigatori della sezione di polizia giudiziaria della polizia di Stato in servizio presso la procura dei minori lo hanno fermato all’interno del convento dei Cappuccini. Il 59enne sacerdote, che faceva anche da cappellano all'ospedale Civico, è accusato di aver palpeggiato due donne e tre minorenni che si erano rivolte a lui per essere aiutate. Fra riti e benedizioni avrebbe commesso violenze. “Preghiere di guarigione”, le chiamava lui. E nessuno aveva mai avuto il coraggio di reagire. Poi, il racconto di una vittima ha infranto il muro dell’omertà. Non solo sul prete che diceva di essere un esorcista, anche se ufficialmente non era riconosciuto come tale dalla diocesi di Palermo.
Le testimonianze raccolte dalla polizia hanno portato in carcere pure un ufficiale dell’esercito, si tratta del colonnello Salvatore Muratore, ha 59 anni, è in servizio alla caserma Turba: era uno degli animatori più attivi della comunità del Rinnovamento nello Spirito Santo di Palermo. Secondo la ricostruzione del sostituto procuratore Giorgia Righi e del procuratore aggiunto Salvatore De Luca, l’ufficiale avrebbe approfittato di quattro donne e di una minorenne che si trovavano in uno stato di fragilità psicologica, alcune erano anche gravemente ammalate. "Io faccio preghiere di guarigione", si vantava. Le violenze sarebbero avvenute nelle abitazioni delle vittime. Quando le donne mostravano qualche perplessità, il colonnello Muratore rassicurava: “E’ il diavolo che ti fa dire queste cose, io sto solo invocando il demone della lussuria per liberarti”.
A priest and an army colonel pretending to be exorcists have been detained in Sicily. Investigators have said they took advantage of ill women and sexually abused them.
A Catholic priest posing as a "healer" and "exorcist" was arrested in Sicily on sexual molestation charges, Italian media reported on Friday. 59-year-old Salvatore Anello is charged with inappropriately touching four adult women and a 12-year-old girl.
His case follows a similar one a few months earlier in Palermo, wherein Colonel Salvatore Muratore was charged with 10 counts of molestation while a member of the Renewal of the Holy Spirit Catholic community.
According to La Repubblica newspaper, Anello was arrested by investigators from the state police's child protection unit at a Capuchin convent. Prosecutors claim he took advantage of women who came to him for help when he was a chaplain at a local hospital. He claimed he could free them of demonic possession with "healing prayers", and took advantage of the situation to molest them.
The Diocese of Palermo has said that Anello is not authorized to act as a exorcist, La Repubblica reported. Indeed, exorcisms officially condoned by the Catholic church have dwindled significantly since the doctrine behind the practice was revised in 1999.
By REBECCA CAMBER CRIME CORRESPONDENT FOR THE DAILY MAIL
The former head of the beleaguered child abuse inquiry is to face MPs over explosive racism claims threatening to derail the £100million probe.
Dame Lowell Goddard has pledged her ‘commitment to assist’ a Parliamentary committee investigating incendiary misconduct claims, which Theresa May has been accused of covering up.
The judge, who was the third chairman of the crisis-hit inquiry, is now expected to give evidence to MPs via video link from New Zealand, where she lives.
She is set to face questions about allegations that she made racist remarks about Asian men, abused junior staff and threw tantrums during her tumultuous 16-month tenure. The accusations, which she vehemently denies, threaten to develop into a major political scandal for the Prime Minister and Home Secretary Amber Rudd, who have both admitted knowing about concerns over Dame Lowell’s conduct before she quit the inquiry in August.
By Michelle Brown
The deputy principal of an elite Sydney boys school has conceded he should have called police about sexual abuse in the school's boarding house, a royal commission has heard.
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is examining how various schools responded to students with problematic or harmful sexual behaviours.
It has heard boys at Trinity Grammar raped and simulated the rape of other students more than 15 years ago, and had used a wooden implement in some of the assaults.
Trinity Grammar's deputy principal Paul Green was asked about an incident report filed in 2000 by a Year 7 student.
It alleged a fellow boarder had forcibly held his legs in the air and simulated rape by pumping his front against him.
The Daily Telegraph
Ashleigh Gleeson, The Daily Telegraph
October 21, 2016
RAPE allegations at Trinity Grammar School involving large wooden sex toys were initially dismissed as “inappropriate rumbling”, a Royal Commission has heard.
Deputy Headmaster Peter Green stopped investigating reports multiple boys were being raped at the Summer Hill campus with the 30cm sex toy after only three days.
“I didn’t go on to find out who the victims, the alleged victims were,” Mr Green told the hearing.
“The investigation, in my part, to my regret, I did not investigate further.”
The commission heard multiple boys were raped with wooden sex toys at the school in 2000.
STUDENTS at a prestigious Sydney private school rounded the edges of a large piece of machined wood and used it to rape other students, a royal commission has heard.
The child sex abuse royal commission is focusing on what went on at Trinity Grammar School in Sydney’s inner west during August and September, 2000.
Former students who attended the boarding school say they were held down and had boot polish rubbed on their genitals. Others say that on as many as 50 occasions they were held down and raped with the wooden instrument.
When they told staff at the school, the alleged offenders were suspended “for the weekend” and allowed to return to school on Monday morning.
In his opening address, counsel-assisting the inquiry David Lloyd said one Year 7 student, known as CLA, was sexually assaulted as “a birthday present”.
Sydney Morning Herald
The deputy headmaster of Trinity Grammar School was told a student's underpants had been torn off and older boys had attempted to rape him but did not believe the allegation warranted a report to police, a royal commission has heard.
Trinity Grammar deputy headmaster Peter Green told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse he believed the year 9 student had just been "rumbled" by other boys in the school's boarding house.
The Summer Hill school's headmaster Milton Cujes' evidence is he believed the allegation was "horseplay" based on the initial report from Mr Green and Robert Scott, then head of the boarding house where 60 boys resided.
The inquiry has heard a number of boarders were allegedly attacked at the school in 2000 by older students wielding wooden dildos and at least two boys were allegedly assaulted on up to 50 occasions.
Mr Green told the commission he was made aware of an allegation that the student, CLB, had been held down by three boys who simulated sex with him in August 2000.
Australian Associated Press
October 21, 2016
The headmaster of a Sydney private boys' school has told a Royal Commission hearing that he had no idea there was anything sexual about so-called "rumbling" in the boarding house.
Trinity Grammar School headmaster Milton Cujes faced questioning at the child sex abuse Royal Commission in Sydney on Thursday about rape allegations made by two students in 2000.
Mr Cujes, his deputy Peter Green and former teacher Robert Scott all gave evidence that "rumbling" - boys wrestling each other in a non-serious manner - was a normal part of boarding house life.
The prestigious Anglican school in Sydney's inner west is the first to be examined by the inquiry in a fresh set of hearings examining institutional responses to "problematic or harmful sexual behaviour by students".
BY MELANIE ANZIDEI
STAFF WRITER | THE RECORD
A 1974 Bergen Catholic High School graduate came forward Thursday to share for the first time his account of being sexually abused by his chemistry teacher as a 13-year-old student, echoing public claims made by dozens of others who attended the school from the 1950s through 1970s.
Standing across the street from his alma mater in Oradell late Thursday morning, Walter Slapkowski, 59 of Bogota, shared in detail his recollection of the abuse he said he endured in after-school detention several decades ago.
“I was completely naked. He put me over his lap, and he started smacking me – and I mean hard,” Slapkowski said.
“When he was done,” he added, “he was completely on top of me. I couldn’t scream. I couldn’t tell anybody. I was so scared. I didn’t know what to do. I was so scared.”
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
By Alexis Stevens - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
A Gainesville church and the Boy Scouts of America committed fraud when they allowed a confessed predator to keep his leadership positions, according to a lawsuit filed by a former scout who was raped in 1985.
It wasn’t until 2015 that Robb Lawson learned the name of his abuser, Fleming Weaver, and found out the church and scouts knew four years before the rape that Weaver was dangerous. But Lawson’s 30-year silence before confronting the church that sponsored his troop should be reason to drop his civil suit, attorneys for the Boy Scouts, the church and alleged molester argued Thursday.
Lawson’s attorneys argued that the Boy Scout oath — taken by scouts and volunteers — misrepresented the truth behind the organization, which covered up the abuse along with others in the church community.
“We’ve alleged actual fraud,” attorney Natalie Woodward told the court. “We’ve alleged fraudulent misrepresentations that continued on.”
Phnom Penh Post
Fri, 21 October 2016
A South Korean national who was the pastor of two churches in Siem Reap town was arrested yesterday after police received a tip-off that he had allegedly been sexually abusing children for “many years”, authorities said.
According to Duong Thavery, provincial chief of anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection police, suspect Park Youl had been living in Siem Reap for about 10 years, and was the pastor of one church in Siem Reap town and another in Prasat Bakong district. He was arrested yesterday at about 9am after police investigated a tip from child protection NGO Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE).
“APLE knew the information from a victim who stopped living in the church [in Seam Reap town],” said Thavery. “The victim stopped living there, and reported that she was called by the pastor to his room and he eventually had sexual intercourse with her.”
“After that, we asked for [permission] from the deputy prosecutor to look into the case. After the investigation, we called in the pastor for questioning and called in other kids,” she added. “Each of the kids was abused by the pastor for many years.”
The Cambodia Daily
BY OUCH SONY | OCTOBER 21, 2016 | អានជាភាសាខ្មែរ
Police in Siem Reap City have arrested a South Korean pastor accused of sexually abusing eight girls on multiple occasions over the past several years and buying them and their families off with gifts of rice, cash and motorbikes.
Park Youl, 62, was arrested on Wednesday morning after being called in for questioning based on a tip, Siem Reap province’s anti-human trafficking police chief Duong Thavry said on Thursday. She said one of the victims talked to police because she was angry that the pastor had refused to give her a motorbike like some of the others.
“She said the pastor had persuaded her to have sex with him many times,” Ms. Thavry said. “We invited the suspect to come in for questioning…and bring the children who were living with him at the church. That’s when the crime was revealed.”
The police chief said eight female victims had been identified so far, including six who were living with the pastor at the Christian church, which she said had no name. She said Mr. Park began abusing each of them at least five years ago, and that they were now between the ages of 13 and 21.
Farmington Daily Times
FARMINGTON — About three years after the Diocese of Gallup declared bankruptcy to address a growing number of clergy sexual-abuse lawsuits, Bishop James Wall has announced plans to officiate healing services at many affected New Mexico and Arizona churches.
Starting next month, Wall will lead healing services at parishes that employed a priest or lay person who has been "credibly accused" of sexual assault during any point of his career. A total of 36 hour-long services are scheduled through early 2018. The first local service is expected to take place in January in Farmington.
"A healing service is a prayer service with the intention of offering healing and comfort to survivors of sexual abuse," Wall said in an email to The Daily Times. "It’s a time of prayer, reflection and an opportunity to open oneself up to the healing power of God."
Wall said the services allow him "to personally apologize to survivors of sexual abuse and to unite in prayer with them to our loving God."
(ANSA) - Palermo, October 21 - Police on Friday arrested a Catholic priest and an Army officer on sexual assault charges. Father Salvatore Anello, known in Palermo as an exorcist and a healer, is accused of fondling two women and three underage girls when they turned to him for help. Colonel Salvatore Muratore, 52, is accused of sexually assaulting four women and one underage girl. The officer co-founded a group called the Renewal of the Holy Spirit, and went to people's homes along with the priest to allegedly free them from demonic possession and conduct "healing prayers".
When the victims protested at the abuse, the colonel reportedly replied, "I'm invoking the demon of lust in order to liberate you".
Exorcism from the devil is a permitted rite in the Catholic Church, but it must be authorized by higher-ups. Anello was not recognized as an exorcist by his diocesis, sources said.
By Katie Nicholson, Holly Moore, Vera-Lynn Kubinec, CBC News Posted: Oct 21, 2016
New allegations of sexual assault have emerged against a Winnipeg priest and convicted sex offender, CBC News has learned.
Four men have come forward alleging Ronald Léger sexually assaulted them beginning when they were children aged 10 to 12, during the 1980s. All frequented the youth drop-in centre he founded, Teen Stop Jeunesse (TSJ).
"When I look at it now, the place was just a giant spider web," said one of the men. CBC News is protecting their identities because of the nature of the allegations.
"You put a whole collection of kids there, and then there's some he could go farther with and some that he wouldn't, right? And I think he was a smart predator," he said. "He would just slowly test the boundaries, I guess."
All four men have given statements to Winnipeg police. Sources confirm Léger was arrested on Wednesday and charges are pending. Léger's lawyer, Saul Simmonds, said he was not in a position to comment.
October 20, 2016
A Sicilian priest and a soldier have been arrested for sexual abuse, which they carried out under the guise of spiritual 'healing', local media reported on Friday.
The pair, both based in Palermo, used the pretext of liberating victims from demonic possession in order to abuse women and children. The two were named by media as Salvatore Anello, 59, who belonged to the Capuchin order, and Salvatore Muratore, 52, who worked for the Italian army in Palermo.
The men reportedly convinced victims that they were possessed by evil spirits, before carrying out a 'healing prayer' in their homes which involved "repeatedly touching their genitals", Palermo Today reported.
Anello was arrested at dawn on Friday morning and is being held in police custody, following a six-month long investigation into Muratore, who was a member of a local prayer group, and claimed to be able to perform exorcism.
CLIFTON - A Ukrainian Orthodox priest from Clifton is accused of trying to choke a baby in the Kansas City, Kansas, area.
Prosecutors say Oleh Zhownirovych, 54, tried to choke the 4-month-old baby while at a Wal-Mart in Overland Park, Kansas. He was charged with felony aggravated battery and misdemeanor battery.
Zhownirovych was a priest at the Ukrainian Orthodox Holy Church in Clifton.
Police say Zhownirovych walked up to a women in the checkout aisle Wednesday and started to choke her baby without provocation. The mother screamed and Zhownirovych stopped, according to police.
Wal-Mart workers apparently restrained Zhownirovych until police arrived.
By Dennis Owens
Published: October 20, 2016
HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Victims of sexual abuse are anxious.
Some say they are being re-victimized by a legislature split on a bill that would let them sue their abusers.
That bill, House Bill 1947, is in jeopardy with just three days left in the legislative session despite the fact that most lawmakers agree on most everything that’s in it.
Shaun Dougherty was in the Capitol advocating for HB 1947 this week. He was molested by a priest named in the attorney general’s report about the Johnstown-Altoona Catholic diocese.
“He sexually abused me; stair stepping from tickling to patting to fondling to groping to digital penetration,” Shaun said.
Shaun was 10 when the abuse started in 1980. The statute of limitations has expired for him to bring a civil suit. The House version of 1947 would extend the civil statute of limitations for future victims to the age of 50 and would also make it retroactive for people like Shaun.
Naples Daily News
MIAMI (AP) — A youth pastor is facing charges after being accused of recruiting teenage boys for sex.
News outlets report 52-year-old Ron Maurice Cooper was arrested Monday on human trafficking, false imprisonment and other charges.
Police say Cooper recruited several males, ages 16 to 18, telling them he could get them modeling work.
He arranged for them to meet a photographer, who the victims said was actually someone who had paid to have sex with them. Cooper allegedly posted photos of the victims on websites like Backpage to find more clients.
Police arrested a youth pastor on human trafficking charges after he allegedly forced boys into prostitution, according to a report.
Miami's Ron "Romeo" Cooper sold the boys, ages 16-18, to clients online. Romeo raped and assaulted the victims, as well as forced them to do drugs like crystal meth, the report says.
"The boys went through with the sex act because they were afraid of the defendant. The defendant has in the past physically grabbed them and yelled at them in their faces. He also has threatened to go to their families and basically extort them and blackmail them, stating that he was going to show them the photographs he had taken and the advertisements for sex he himself had posted," a prosecutor said.
Cooper used sites like Backpage for his despicable alleged actions. The Backpage CEO was arrested in Texas earlier this month on human trafficking charges.
HARRISBURG, Pa. —
A Harrisburg teacher has been charged with institutional sexual assault.
Authorities say 33-year-old Randi Lynn Zurenko of Millerstown, Perry County cultivated inappropriate relationships with two separate Bishop McDevitt High School students while she was a teacher at the school.
Read more from the Dauphin County’s DA’s office:
"Detectives from the Dauphin County District Attorney’s Criminal Investigation Division this afternoon arrested Randi Lynn Zurenko, 33, of Millerstown, Perry County. Zurenko was charged with Institutional Sexual Assault (13 counts total), Sexual Abuse of Children (153 counts total), Unlawful Contact with Minors (33 counts total), Dissemination of Obscene Materials to a Minor (20 counts) and Corruption of Minors (13 counts total).
Between January 1, 2013 and October 14, 2016, Zurenko cultivated inappropriate relationships with two separate Bishop McDevitt High School students while she was a teacher at the school. Victim #1 graduated from the school in 2013. Prior to victim #1’s graduation, Zurenko engaged in behavior that led to an encounter between the two at Fort Hunter In Susquehanna Township. During this encounter, Zurenko massaged victim #1’s back and undid the victim’s bra. On several occasions, both before and after victim #1’s graduation, Zurenko provided alcohol to victim #1 who was underage at all times during these incidents. Victim #1 was interviewed by police on October 17 and 18, 2016.
By Chris Eckstine
Published: October 20, 2016
HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A Bishop McDevitt High School teacher is facing institutional sexual assault charges for allegedly having inappropriate relationships with two separate students.
Detectives from the Dauphin County District Attorney’s Criminal Investigation Division arrested Randi Lynn Zurenko, 33, of Millerstown, Perry County on Thursday.
Zurenko was charged with 13 counts of institutional sexual assault, 153 counts of sexual abuse of children, 33 counts of unlawful contact with minors, 20 counts of dissemination of obscene materials to a minor and 13 counts of corruption of minors.
Authorities allege that Zurenko had inappropriate relationships with two Bishop McDevitt students while she was a teacher at the school.
By Eric Veronikis | email@example.com
The Dauphin County District Attorney's office arrested and charged a Bishop McDevitt High School teacher with dozens of child sex abuse counts Thursday.
Randi Lynn Zurenko, 33, of Millerstown, Perry County, is charged with 13 counts of institutional sexual assault, 153 counts of sexual abuse of children, 33 counts of unlawful contact with minors, 20 counts of dissemination of obscene material to a minor and 13 counts of corruption of minors.
Between January 1, 2013 and October 14, 2016, Zurenko sexually abused two Bishop McDevitt students while she was a teacher at the school in Lower Paxton Township, according to DA Ed Marsico Jr.'s office.
The DA's office said Zurenko and the first victim had "an encounter" at Fort Hunter park in Susquehanna Township before the student graduated in 2013.
Walter Slapkowski graduated from Bergen Catholic High School in 1974. But over 40 years after he left, Slapkowski returned Thursday to detail how he was allegedly abused while attending the school.
Slapkowski alleges that Christian Brother Timothy Joseph O'Sullivan took advantage of him during what was supposed to be detention. He says he came forward now because of a $1.9 million settlement in August, after a lawsuit from 21 men accusing staffers of sexual abuse decades ago. Slapkowski is one of the seven other victims who came forward, after the settlement.
Road to Recovery, a non-profit group that provides help to sex abuse victims, backs Slapkowski in his mission to spread awareness and stop the abuses.
By Daniel Hubbard (Patch Staff) - October 20, 2016
A former Passaic County pastor was arrested Wednesday after he allegedly choked an infant girl in a Kansas City-area Walmart.
Oleh Zhownirovych, 54, was charged with aggravated battery, Overland Park Police spokesman Officer John P. Lacy said.
Police responded to the Walmart Wednesday at 7:23 a.m. on a report of a man choking a 4-month-old girl, Lacy said.
The infant was with her mother, Quisha Hill, in a checkout line when a man walked up from behind her and put his hands around the baby's throat, Lacy said.
Hill said the man told her he was taking the baby and tried to pull the infant's carrier out of Hill's shopping cart, Lacy said.
By Sara Jerde | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
ORADELL — Eight more former Bergen Catholic High School students have come forward to accuse former staff members at the school of sexual abuse.
The eight have levied their allegations since it was revealed in August that the all-boys high school in Oradell had reached a $1.9 million settlement with 21 men who said they were sexually abused at the school.
The eight men, who are now between the ages of about 55 to 75 years old, say they were sexually abused when they were teens between the years of 1956 and 1977, said Mitchell Garabedian, a Boston lawyer who represented some of the previous alleged victims.
The timeframe of the alleged attacks is similar to the one provided by the other alleged victims who settled with the school. They had said they were abused between 1963 and 1978.
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
For immediate release: Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016
Statement by Mary Dispenza, volunteer Seattle director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (425-644-2468, Seattle@SNAPnetwork.org)
Seattle Archbishop Peter Sartain should fire a Bellingham principal for deceiving parents – in at least two ways - about a sex offender at a Catholic elementary school.
First, the principal kept the offender's presence secret for a year. When he finally did “come clean (only after having been prodded by distraught parents), he further deceived parents by claiming, with no apparent basis, that the offender was "in the first percentile" of child molesters who were rehabilitated. (According to one news account, the man remains “registered as a level II sex offender, meaning he is considered at moderate risk to reoffend.”)
That principal, Dan Anderson (360 733 6133, firstname.lastname@example.org, ,email@example.com) claims “It was never that we weren’t going to communicate this information to parents” and “We gave (the information) to (parents) when we felt it was necessary.”
No, Anderson and his colleagues gave the information when they were virtually forced to do so because parents discovered it on their own and were beginning to pressure church and school staff. And Anderson and his colleagues should have given as much information to parents about a sex offender at their school as quickly as possible, not when officials “felt it was necessary.” That self-serving arrogance – that Catholic officials get to hide information about known predators - is the reason 6500 priests (and countless nuns, brothers, bishops, seminarians and other current and former church employees) have been able to molest more than 100,000 children.
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
For immediate release: Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 503 0003 cell, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org)
A former Catholic cleric who headed an elementary school here will plead guilty to indecently assaulting two boys at a school in Australia.
Gregory Joseph Sutton, 65, was one of four men police charged earlier this year. He belonged to a Catholic group called the Marists.
For two years in the 1990s, Sutton was principal of St. Dismas Catholic school in Florissant MO and lived in Shrewsbury MO.
According to BishopAccountability.org: “Sutton, principal of Catholic school in Missouri, was arrested 8/95 on charges he molested students in Australia in 1980s. No accusations in Missouri. He was extradited at request of Australian officials 5/96 after several court battles. US officials knew he was wanted in Australia for almost year but didn't know he was a school principal. In Australia in 5/96 he pleaded guilty to numerous charges of abuse between 1976-1987. Sentenced to 18 yrs jail on total of 67 charges against 15 children. As of 5/14, he had been ranked as one of Australia's most-publicized child sex offenders.”
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
For immediate release: Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, 314 645 5915 home, firstname.lastname@example.org)
A priest faces charges of strangling a four month old in a Kansas City suburb. His church supervisors and colleagues must aggressively reach out to others in KS, MO and NJ who may have seen, suspected or suffered other crimes by the cleric.
The accused is Fr. Oleh Zhownirovych, of Clifton, NJ is or was a priest affiliated with the Ukrainian Orthodox Holy Ascension Church in Passaic County.
All too often, when church staff and volunteers are arrested on criminal charges, their current and former church colleagues do nothing. All too often, corrupt church officials refuse to act and thus essentially protect criminals and endanger children. And all too often, secular officials with the power and duty to safeguard society’s most vulnerable pursue ONLY church staff who COMMIT abuse and ignore church staff who CONCEAL abuse.
Church members and employees in any place this priest has been have a moral and civic duty to help law enforcement investigate and prosecute him. They’ll be tempted, of course, to do nothing. But that’s wrong. And their inaction might help enable the priest to exploit legal technicalities and escape punishment and hurt more kids.
Church officials will no doubt be tempted to do nothing about him. That too is wrong. Their inaction might well encourage other clerics to ignore or conceal known or suspected crimes against children by their colleagues.
So we hope that anyone who saw, suspected or suffered this priest’s crimes will speak up, call police, protect kids, expose wrongdoers, deter cover ups and start healing. We hope church officials will take aggressive steps to help police and prosecutors.
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
For immediate release: Thursday, October 20, 2016
Statement by Melanie Jula Sakoda of Moraga, California, Orthodox Director for SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (925-708-6175, email@example.com)
A Serbian Orthodox priest was arrested last week on a sex charge and a St. Louis based victims’ group wants church officials to stop some parishioners from rallying around him.
Father Daniel James Mackay, pastor of Saint John the Wonderworker Orthodox Church in Eugene, was arrested on October 12th on suspicion of purchasing sex with a minor on more than one occasion and also of using the girl to traffic cocaine.
Members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, responded to the news.
Melanie Jula Sakoda, one of the two Orthodox Directors for SNAP stated, “Since, according to the police, this apparently wasn’t a ‘one time’ offense, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that kids in the parish were also victimized. Parents need to be acutely aware of this possibility and not rush to the defense of the priest in front of their children. It’s really hard for survivors to come forward, and public displays of support for the clergyman, and I'm already aware of one in this case, can have a chilling effect on these important disclosures.”
By Daniel Barnett, Digital Producer
By Chris Oberholtz, Digital Content Manager
By Lisa D'Souza, News Reporter
OVERLAND PARK, KS (KCTV) -
A man is in jail accused of trying to strangle a 4-month-old girl at and Overland Park Walmart.
That man is from Clifton, NJ. Police say they're trying to figure out what he was doing in Kansas City and what would have motivated him to go after an infant.
Police say a man in his 40s named Oleh Zhownirovych tried to strangle the child in the checkout line with her mother. The store is located in the 7700 block of Frontage Road.
Officers say other customers and security quickly got involved, pinning the suspect to the ground until police arrived. The baby was treated at the scene. She is OK.
Zhownirovych was taken to a hospital before he was sent to jail. Police are investigating if drugs or alcohol could be a factor in this attack. Meantime, they're relieved others were to quick to help.
OCTOBER 20, 2016
A Ukrainian Orthodox priest from North Jersey reportedly has been arrested and is facing charges for allegedly choking a 4-month-old girl inside a Walmart in Overland Park, Kan.
The child was not seriously injured and police credited a security guard and bystanders who responded to her mother's screams with tackling the assailant, identified as Oleh Zhownirovych, of Clifton, Passaic County, Kansas City station KCTV5 reports.
Until 10 months ago, Zhownirovych was a priest affiliated with the Ukrainian Orthodox Holy Ascension Church in Passaic County, according to KMBC.com and KansasCity.com.
Montes Claros -
In Brasilien hat ein Pfarrer ein kleines Mädchen sexuell missbraucht. Die Polizei nahm den Pastor fest, nachdem sie im Zimmer der Fünfjährigen verstörende Zeichnungen entdeckt hatte.
Auf den Bildern hatte sich das Mädchen selbst gezeichnet, wie es von einem Mann bedrängt wird. Nach ihrem Fund verhaftete die Polizei Pfarrer Joao da Silva aus Montes Claros, berichten
[Rome, 19:10:16 (kath.ch) The Jesuit Hans Zollner of the Child Protection Center at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome is one of the best experts for the prevention of sexual abuse. In the interview, a member of the papal Child Protection Commission talks about a change of mentality among bishops and the future of the Commission.]
Rom, 19.10.16 (kath.ch) Der Jesuit Hans Zollner leitet das Kinderschutzzentrum an der Päpstlichen Universität Gregoriana in Rom und ist einer der renommiertesten Fachleute für die Prävention von sexuellem Missbrauch. Im Interview spricht das Mitglied der päpstlichen Kinderschutzkommission über einen Mentalitätswandel unter Bischöfen und über die Zukunft der Kommission.
Papst Franziskus hat im Juni ein neues Gesetz erlassen. Danach können nun auch jene Bischöfe kirchenrechtlich belangt werden, die einem Verdacht auf sexuellem Missbrauch in ihrem Bistum nicht ausreichend nachgehen. Ist das aus Sicht der päpstlichen Kinderschutzkommission ausreichend?
[The Ingolstadt prosecutors had launched an investigation against the then parish priest of the town of Pfaffenhofen in April on criminal charges of abuse. The investigation finished but was no action was taken against the priest.]
Die Staatsanwaltschaft Ingolstadt hatte im April auf die Strafanzeige der Missbrauchsbeauftragten des Bistums Augsburg ein Ermittlungsverfahren gegen den damaligen Stadtpfarrer der Stadt Pfaffenhofen an der Ilm eingeleitet. Dem lagen von anonymer Seite erhobene Verdachtsmomente zugrunde, dass sich der Beschuldigte sexuell motivierter Übergriffe gegen Ministranten der vom Beschuldigten in der Vergangenheit betreuten Pfarreien schuldig gemacht haben könnte.
Wie Staatsanwaltschaft nun mitteilt, konnten nach Durchführung der polizeilichen Ermittlungen, insbesondere der Einvernahme von Angehörigen der betroffenen Pfarreien und möglichen Geschädigten, jedoch keine Hinweise dafür gefunden werden, dass das Verhalten des Beschuldigten gegenüber Kindern und Jugendlichen strafrechtlich relevantes Tun darstellte.
[Prosecutor presents an investigation against former Pfaffenhofener town priest on suspicion of sexual abuse of children.]
Staatsanwaltschaft stellt Ermittlungsverfahren gegen ehemaligen Pfaffenhofener Stadtpfarrer wegen des Verdachts des sexuellen Missbrauchs von Kindern ein
(zel) Es war ein Paukenschlag in Pfaffenhofen, als erklärt wurde, dass die Staatsanwaltschaft Ingolstadt ein Ermittlungsverfahren gegen Stadtpfarrer Peter Wagner eingeleitet hat. Es ging dabei um nicht weniger als den Verdacht des sexuellen Missbrauchs von Kindern. Bekannt wurde diese schockierende Nachricht heuer am Fronleichnamstag, verkündet von Generalvikar Harald Heinrich von der zuständigen Diözese Augsburg, der dafür eigens angereist war. Wagner wurde vom Dienst suspendiert, die Fronleichnams-Prozession fiel aus.
Heute wurde nun bekannt, dass das Ermittlungsverfahren der Staatsanwaltschaft gegen den Geistlichen eingestellt worden ist. Das bestätigte Oberstaatsanwalt Nicolas Kaczynski auf Anfrage unserer Zeitung. Im Verlaufe der Untersuchungen seien Angehörige der Pfarreien, in denen Wagner eingesetzt war, ebenso befragt worden wie mögliche Opfer. Ergebnis: Es haben sich nach den Worten von Kaczynski "keinerlei Hinweise auf strafrechtlich relevante Vorfälle" oder Vorgänge ergeben.
The Patriot Ledger
By Andy Tomolonis
FALL RIVER - Radoslaw Czerkawski, a Polish national awaiting trial for animal cruelty charges in Quincy's Puppy Doe case, was convicted Tuesday on a litany of larceny-by-check charges in a separate New Bedford case and sentenced to serve three to five years in state prison.
Czerkawski, 35, pleaded guilty to eight counts of larceny by check over $250 stemming from the theft of money from St. Lawrence Parish in New Bedford, where Czerkawski had stayed for several months in 2012. He is already serving a three-to-five-year sentence on an embezzlement conviction out of Quincy.
During a sentencing hearing in Fall River Superior Court – held immediately after the court accepted Czerkawski’s guilty plea – Assistant District Attorney Brian Griffin argued that based on Czerkawski’s history of convictions, he should serve three to five years in prison. Czerkawski requested a one-year sentence at the county House of Correction. Judge Raffia Yessayan imposed the prosecution’s full sentence after hearing arguments from both sides.
In 2012, Czerkawski told officials with the Diocese of Fall River that he wanted to become a priest, according to a statement from the office of Bristol District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III. The diocese assigned him to the St. Lawrence Parish in New Bedford, knowing that the head pastor speaks Polish and the church has a large number of Polish congregants. Czerkawski, a Polish national, was assigned to the church to explore the seriousness of his calling to become a priest, according to Quinn’s statement.
NASHVILLE, Tennessee, October 19, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) -- Three mental health professionals are warning parents whose children attend Fr. Ryan High School in Nashville, Tennessee that the school’s mandatory explicit sex-ed course puts their children at risk for sexual abuse. Their concerns are amplified by the fact that the school has a history of sexual abuse of students by administration dating back to the early 1960s.
“In my line of work I’ve seen time and again the pattern of how predators use material like this emphasizing explicit sexual detail and encouraging physical contact to erode a child’s innate sense of modesty, making them vulnerable to be preyed upon,” psychiatrist Dr. Rick Fitzgibbons told LifeSiteNews.
When Fitzgibbons reviewed Fr. Ryan High School’s sex-ed program, including the supplement “Growing toward Intimacy” by Bob Bartlett, he told LifeSiteNews that the course puts children at risk of future sexual abuse.
AAP on October 20, 2016
WA Premier Colin Barnett says scrapping the six-year time limit for survivors of child sexual abuse to take civil action has been adopted as Liberal policy but it won't become law this year.
Debate on the private member's bill was adjourned last week after Mr Barnett didn't speak in support of it, then descended into personal abuse, with independent MP Rob Johnson labelling the premier a "disgraceful turd".
On Thursday, Mr Barnett said the name-calling was shameful and "basically killed off the debate".
"We have adopted formally now as government policy that we will change the statute of limitations but it's not going to happen in the next two (parliamentary sitting) weeks, I'm afraid," he told ABC radio.
The West Australian
Dylan Caporn - The West Australian on October 20, 2016
Four Liberal and National backbenchers have backed an Opposition motion to spark a debate on removing the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse claimants.
The motion, moved by shadow attorney-general John Quigley, called on Parliament to make Liberal MP Graham Jacobs’ Bill a priority.
Liberal backbenchers Ian Britza, Peter Abetz and Nationals MP Wendy Duncan joined Dr Jacobs in supporting the motion.
Mr Quigley said the statute of limitations was shutting victims out of the legal system.
“There is an old legal maxim – justice delayed is justice denied,” he said.
By Jacob Kagi
Time restrictions on when victims of child sexual abuse in Western Australia can sue for damages appear certain to remain in place until next year, despite four Government MPs crossing the floor to vote with Labor on an attempt to bring the issue to a parliamentary vote.
The vote, which followed a fiery debate, means the scrapping of the six-year statute of limitations for child sexual abuse civil cases will not happen until after the state election even though both major parties have now declared support for the policy.
Labor sought to bring the private member's bill introduced by Liberal backbencher Graham Jacobs to a vote this morning, following Premier Colin Barnett's comments that the legislation would not proceed until after the election.
Dr Jacobs and fellow Liberal MPs Ian Britza and Peter Abetz, as well as National Wendy Duncan and Independent Rob Johnson, all voted with Labor but the motion was still defeated 23-29.
Sydney Morning Herald
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
The King's School headmaster Tim Hawkes told the parents of a student who suffered an alleged indecent assault on a camp that the boy "bore some of the blame" for subsequent bullying, a royal commission has heard.
The school failed to make a formal report to police about the incident, despite a senior constable advising the deputy headmaster to do so, according to evidence to be presented to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
In his opening address, counsel assisting the commission David Lloyd told the hearing The King's School student, given the pseudonym CLC, was on a camp in April 2013 when another student allegedly ejaculated on his sleeping bag.
Mr Lloyd told the hearing that the teenage boy was bullied by other students and called "cum rag" and "cum dumpster". The inquiry heard a student changed the name of a Wi-Fi network at the school to "CLC's a cum rag".
The commission was told CLC did not report the alleged incident to the school because that would "make the situation worse".
October 20, 2016
A prestigious Sydney private school did not tell police about the alleged rape of pupils with a wooden dildo for a month, with the victim’s parents not told for another month after that, a royal commission heard today.
A second of the city’s leading boarding schools did not report an alleged indecent assault to police, despite being told “there is little doubt that there has been an offence”, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse heard.
Both schools, Trinity Grammar in Sydney’s inner-west and The King’s School in the city’s west, are Anglican-run and the Archbishop of Sydney, Glenn Davies, is the president of both, the commission heard.
In August 2000, staff at Trinity Grammar School became aware that at least two older students were “raping” other boys using cricket bats and wooden dildos made during a technology class, which they nicknamed the Anaconda and the Excalibur.
Australian Associated Press
Wednesday 19 October 2016
Students at Sydney’s Trinity grammar school used an item made during a woodwork class to rape a younger student, the abuse royal commission has heard.
On day one of fresh hearings in Sydney, counsel assisting David Lloyd gave an overview of the cases of “institutional responses to children with problematic or harmful sexual behaviours” to be examined by the inquiry.
These include instances of harmful behaviour and sexual assault perpetrated by students at two of Sydney’s most prestigious private boys’ schools – the King’s school in Parramatta and Trinity grammar school in Summer Hill.
There will also be private hearings into incidents at three public primary schools, which include behaviour by a 12-year-old towards two younger children and two children in a special needs class.
Andi Yu - AAP on October 20, 2016
A culture of cover-up was at the centre of a top Sydney school's response to a boy who was raped with an assortment of pole-like implements, the abuse royal commission has heard.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse began fresh hearings on Thursday in Sydney, this time casting a spotlight on schools' responses to children with "problematic or harmful sexual behaviours".
Prestigious Anglican school Trinity Grammar, in the inner-western suburb of Summer Hill, is the first of several schools to come under the inquiry's spotlight over the next two weeks.
The commission heard of two boys in the school's boarding house in 2000 who reported they had been repeatedly "raped" with a range of implements that their attackers had nicknamed the Anaconda, the Excalibur and the Dagger.
By Raveen Hunjan
Students at Trinity Grammar School in Sydney's inner-west raped and simulated rape on other students using a wooden implement more than 15 years ago, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has heard.
The inquiry is hearing evidence about responses to harmful sexual behaviour at three unnamed New South Wales primary schools, three faith-based private schools — Trinity Grammar School, The King's School and St Ignatius College — as well as a private school, Shalom Christian College in Queensland.
In his opening address, counsel-assisting the inquiry David Lloyd said Trinity Grammar School staff knew about sexual abuse against a Year 7 student, known as CLA, for a month before action was taken.
"Between 11 August 2000 and 7 September 2000, at least some staff at the school were aware of multiple written accounts of students who alleged that there had been repeated incidents of rape or simulated rape of young boys in the boarding house by the use of a wooden dildo and other implements," he said.
The Canberra Times
A former Marist College Canberra teacher will plead guilty to indecently assaulting two boys at the school in the 1980s, a court has been told.
Gregory Joseph Sutton, 65, was one of four men police charged with fresh offences earlier this year as part of an investigation into historical child sexual abuse in territory schools.
Sutton had faced allegations in the ACT Magistrates Court of indecent assault committed against two children in the early 1980s.
He had not entered pleas but the matter was committed to the ACT Supreme Court in August.
Sutton will now avoid going to trial after lawyers told the court on Thursday he would plead guilty to two charges of indecent assault against the boys in 1980 and 1981.
Often the simplest questions are the hardest to answer.
As we reported yesterday, the troubles of the inquiry into historical child abuse continue to unravel.
But the departure of the inquiry head, Dame Lowell Goddard, potentially could cause the prime minister herself a significant political headache.
During Prime Minister's Questions today Theresa May was asked the question - what did she know, and when, about the problems at the inquiry? The prime minister's answer implied that she had known something was up.
She said: "There were stories around about the inquiry and about individuals related to the inquiry but the home secretary cannot intervene on the basis of suspicion, rumour or hearsay."
A conversation in April involving a Home Office official "was asked to be confidential and as far I am aware it was treated as such", she said.
A former lay worker with the Church of Ireland will be sentenced next month for the rape and molestation of 14 young boys over the course of 30 years.
Patrick O’Brien (76) pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to 48 sample counts of indecent assault, including various instances of anal penetration, and three counts of sexual assault of the boys between 1977 and 2010 at numerous locations throughout the state including Kildare, Westmeath, on a boat in Loughrea in Co Galway and at St Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin where he worked as a volunteer.
He has one previous convictions for a sex assault of another boy in 1989 for which he got a one year suspended sentence.
O’Brien, with an address at Knocklyon Road, Templeogue, Dublin, was sent forward for trial from Dublin District Court. Judge Cormac Dunne previously ruled that the media could identify the accused following an application by RTÉ at the District Court.
Indian Country Today Media Network
In March 2016, two Navajo siblings filed suit against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—also known as LDS or Mormon Church—in the Window Rock District of the Navajo Nation Court. In their suit, the siblings allege that they were sexually abused numerous times in several homes during their time in the “Indian Placement Program,” a foster care program operated by the church. All names and identifying information of the plaintiffs have been changed to protect their privacy.
‘Wrestling a Shadow’
He had decided to call it quits. After buying two fifths of whiskey and two cases of beer, Plaintiff X had secreted himself away in a hotel room in Salt Lake City, Utah, planning to drink himself to death. For more than three decades, he had been haunted by memories of violent physical and sexual abuse at the hands of Mormon foster parents, with whom he was placed in the seventh grade. By early 2014, however, the weight of his past had reached a point where he could no longer face the prospect of living another day in pain.
“I drank for five days straight,” he told Indian Country Today Media Network in an exclusive interview in Ogden, Utah, in September. “I wanted to end it.”
But on the fifth day, he fell into unconsciousness and wound up in a Salt Lake City hospital with life-threatening liver and kidney damage. When he came to, the doctors told him in no uncertain terms that if he did not quit drinking he would die.
It was a turning point for the shy, 48-year-old Navajo Nation citizen. After dropping out of high school in the 10th grade, he started drinking heavily and spent the next 33 years running from his demons. On his hospital bed, confronted with the very real prospect of leaving his wife and family, X made the decision to turn and fight.
Thursday, October 20, 2016
A former lay worker with the Church of Ireland will be sentenced next month for the rape and molestation of 14 boys over the course of 30 years.
Patrick O’Brien, aged 76, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to 48 sample counts of indecent assault and three counts of sexual assault of the boys between 1977 and 2010.
O’Brien, with an address at Knocklyon Rd, Templeogue, Dublin, has one previous conviction for a sex assault of another boy in 1989, for which he got a one-year suspended sentence.
One of O’Brien’s youngest victims, who was raped as a nine-year-old boy, described himself in his victim impact report as “a lion without a roar”. He said he developed a shield and like a tortoise, a shell, to bury this “violent secret” inside.
One victim cycled to his local Garda station to report O’Brien a day after the man tried to rape him. When he arrived he got “cold feet” and felt intimidated. He was worried about the consequences for him if he reported it and decided to put the abuse to the back of his mind. O’Brien continued to abuse the boy in the months afterwards until the boy threatened to report or kill him.
Rev. Jennifer Butler
CEO, Faith in Public Life Action Fund
Every American should be appalled by Donald Trump’s recently unearthed —and sadly revealing—comments on his behavior toward women. Yet these comments do not just speak to the character of Mr. Trump, they reveal a grander injustice that our sisters, mothers, and daughters suffer each and every day.
This moment presents all of us, especially faith leaders, with an opportunity and an obligation to directly confront the aggression and marginalization that almost every woman experiences at some point in her life. The Access Hollywood tape ignited a national dialogue about the twin sins of sexual violence and misogyny, and we should seize the moment to preach, teach and bring people together.
Trump and his supporters have tried to dismiss his comments as “locker room talk.” Pat Robertson echoed this sentiment by saying the presidential candidate was just “trying to be macho.” This is precisely the problem. When we teach our sons that being a man means debasing women, we perpetuate a destructive rape culture for another generation.
When we refuse to condemn abusive behavior, we harm our communities and play a part in normalizing oppression. When we dismiss the stories of women who have been victimized, we make it harder for tomorrow’s victims to come forward to receive the help they need to heal. And for faith leaders, when we fail to call attention to violence, we fail in our pastoral responsibility to provide compassion.
Recently, I asked Christian women clergy to join me in condemning Trump’s abusive remarks; more than 1,200 faith leaders have responded by signing an open letter calling for a full offer of contrition by Mr. Trump that acknowledges the seriousness and depravity of his actions. But condemnation is not enough, and while an unlikely act of contrition would help move us forward, I believe we have an additional responsibility to preach and teach a different message.
The Irish Catholic
by Greg Daly
October 20, 2016
The head of the Irish Church’s safeguarding committee has reiterated that keeping clerical abusers out of ministry remains an absolute priority for the Church.
Her comments come against the background of an RTÉ documentary which questions whether the Church’s approach to priests who have harmed children or vulnerable adults demonises abusers and ultimately endangers children.
On ‘Beyond Redemption?’, a Would You Believe? special, UCD’s Dr Marie Keenan claims that the Catholic Church’s response to clerical offenders is driven by public opinion with the intention of protecting the institution.
Theresa Devlin, head of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland (NBSCCCI), told The Irish Catholic that the board’s new guidelines help give clarity to Church bodies in handling clergy and religious against whom allegations have been made. Denying that the policies are intended to protect the Church, she said they are based on extensive research and consultations with survivors, convicted abusers, and Church bodies.
Harriet Sherwood Religion correspondent
Wednesday 19 October
Behind a locked door in York Minster, 100 stone steps spiral up to the door of the bell chamber. A second key is needed to enter the room, revealing spectacular views over the city and surrounding countryside. At its centre hang thick ropes leading up to 14 bells, with the heaviest weighing in at three tonnes.
It was in this chamber that the minster’s volunteer campanologists regularly gathered to make music, exercising a creative skill that was regarded by many as the best in the country.
But that all ended last Tuesday, when the 30-strong bellringing team was summoned at short notice to a meeting which blew the lid off the tensions that been simmering for months within the walls of the 15th-century cathedral.
According to bellringers’ accounts, those present were abruptly told they were being sacked. A few minutes were allowed for questions, then letters were handed to the assembled men and women, some of whom had been members of the York Minster Society of Change Ringers for decades. ...
Six days after the meeting, John Sentamu, the archbishop of York and the second most senior person in the Church of England, held a press conference at which he disclosed that a safeguarding issue lay behind the mass dismissal.
Reading a statement from the minster’s governing body, the Chapter of York, Sentamu said: “Earlier this summer it was necessary for the chapter to take action regarding a member of the bellringing community on safeguarding grounds. This came after complex multi-agency activity involving the City of York council, York diocese safeguarding adviser and the Church of England’s national safeguarding officer.”
Since then, some campanologists had “consistently challenged the chapter’s authority on this and other important matters”, he added. Decisive action had been required. “This is why the chapter took the decision to disband the bellringing team last week.”
Few of the people closely involved in the drama were willing to speak on the record this week. But accounts from both sides suggest that the dispute centres on David Potter, a leading figure in the bellringing team who has been the subject of two police investigations following allegations made in 1999 and 2015. On neither occasion were charges brought.
In January 2000, days after Potter had been awarded an MBE for bellringing services over three decades, he was suspended as ringing master at York Minster and from his job as a teacher after claims of indecent assault. The following month, the police said he would not be charged.
Last year, Potter was the subject of another police investigation. “In June 2015 North Yorkshire police applied for a sexual risk order following concerns raised during multi-agency safeguarding processes about a 66-year-old York man and his contact with children,” the force said in a statement.
October 19, 2016
October 20, 2016
The first episode of Ballarat’s Children details a criminal conspiracy between Victoria Police and the Catholic Church in 1972. The prolific pedophile priest Monsignor Day avoided charges, victims were denied justice and the detective who sought to bring Day to account, Denis Ryan, had his career roughly terminated.
It is my strong view that this incident known now as the Mildura Conspiracy led to a proliferation of clerical abuse within the Ballarat diocese. Offending priests learned they could act with impunity and Bishop Ronald Mulkearns understood he was required to do no more than move offending priests from parish to parish when complaints grew too loud.
In some considerable way, this answers the question, why Ballarat?
Still, we are left to ponder why so many pedophile priests were active in that particular diocese and not in others like, for example, the adjoining Sandhurst diocese.
By Katie Nicholson, Vera-Lynn Kubinec, CBC News Posted: Oct 19, 2016
A Métis man alleges he was physically and sexually abused by a Catholic priest and a nun at the Vogar church school in Manitoba's Interlake region more than 70 years ago.
The allegations are in a lawsuit filed last week in Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench naming the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Winnipeg, the order of nuns Les Oblats de Marie Immaculée du Manitoba, the province of Manitoba, as well as the priest and the nun.
"The plaintiff states that he did not complain to his parents or any authorities because his grandmother was the head of the family and she said he needed to be a good Catholic," the claim said.
It is believed the priest and nun accused in the case are no longer alive, according to the lawsuit. The nun was a teacher at the Vogar church school in the R.M. of Siglunes from 1937 to 1942 when the incidents are alleged to have occurred, the lawsuit said.
Published in the Gallup Independent, Gallup, N.M., Oct. 15, 2016
By Elizabeth Hardin-Burrola
GALLUP — The Diocese of Gallup released a schedule of healing services to address the legacy of clergy sex abuse in the diocese, featuring 36 upcoming services that will take Bishop James S. Wall 15 months to complete.
The first service will be held at Gallup’s Sacred Heart Cathedral Nov. 19. The last scheduled service — in February 2018 — will be held at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Gallup. The other 34 services will take the bishop to almost every currently operating parish across Arizona and New Mexico.
“Bishop James Wall and the Diocese of Gallup will unite in prayer for a series of healing services,” the news release stated. “We extend our invitation to attend these healing services to all who have been affected by physical, emotional, or sexual abuse in the Diocese, especially our brothers and sisters who have survived abuse by members of the Church.
“Families and friends of survivors, Catholics and community members who are struggling with forgiveness or who have been affected by the sin of abuse, and all people wishing to unite and seek healing; to them we extend the invitation to attend these services as well,” the statement continued.
The visits by the bishop were mandated as part of the Gallup Diocese’s Chapter 11 plan of reorganization. In the plan’s non-monetary commitments, the bishop agreed to visit each operating Catholic parish or school in which abuse occurred or where identified abusers served. According to the court document, the bishop “shall provide a forum/discussion during his visit to address questions and comments.” The news release, however, did not indicate the healing services would include a forum/ discussion time for general attendees.
According to the announcement, “The healing services will consist of prayer, scripture reading, and a reflection from Bishop Wall. The Bishop will also be available after the service to privately meet with survivors.”
“To those survivors, I wish to express my sincere apologies, profound sorrow, and deepest gratitude,” Wall is quoted as saying in the news release. “I am sorry, first and foremost, that you were abused and betrayed by members of the Church, and that the Diocese betrayed your trust. I am also grateful to you, for your courage in coming forward, in continuing to seek justice, even when that justice was not given for many years.”
For clergy sex abuse survivors who do not want to attend the church services, diocesan officials suggested they contact Elizabeth Terrill, the victims assistance coordinator pro tem, for a meeting with the bishop in a different setting. Terrill can be contacted at 505-906-7357.
“We understand that for many, even the idea of stepping into a church may prove painful,” the statement said.
The following is the 15-month schedule of healing services:
Nov. 19: Gallup – Sacred Heart Cathedral.
Nov. 29: Fort Defiance, Arizona – Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament.
Dec. 2: Holbrook, Arizona – Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Dec. 9: Show Low, Arizona – St. Rita.
Jan. 19: Lumberton – St. Francis of Assisi.
Jan. 20: Farmington – Sacred Heart Parish and School.
Jan. 27: Chinle, Arizona – Our Lady of Fatima.
Jan. 28: Page, Arizona – Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Jan. 29: Tuba City, Arizona – St. Jude.
Feb. 23: Grants – St. Teresa of Avila.
Feb. 24: Winslow, Arizona – Madre de Dios.
Feb. 25: St. Johns, Arizona – St. John the Baptist.
April 28: Flora Vista – Holy Trinity.
May 12: Seboyeta – Our Lady of Sorrows.
May 19: Springerville, Arizona – St. Peter.
May 20: McNary, Arizona – St. Anthony.
June 2: Bloomfield – St. Mary.
June 8: Thoreau – St. Bonaventure.
July 15: Winslow, Arizona – St. Joseph.
July 21: Overgaard, Arizona – Our Lady of the Assumption.
July 22: Snowflake, Arizona – Our Lady of the Snows.
Aug. 11: Concho, Arizona – San Rafael.
Aug. 18: St. Michaels, Arizona – St. Michael.
Aug. 27: Lukachukai, Arizona – St. Isabel.
Sept. 15: Blanco – St. Rose of Lima.
Sept. 29: Cibecue, Arizona – St. Catherine.
Sept. 30: Pinetop, Arizona – St. Mary of the Angels.
Oct. 6: San Rafael – San Rafael.
Oct. 19: Cubero – Our Lady of Light, St. Joseph and St. Joseph School.
Oct. 28: Crownpoint – St. Paul and Risen Savior.
Nov. 2: Vanderwagen – St. Patrick and Good Shepherd.
Dec. 1: Shiprock – Christ the King.
Jan. 19: Farmington – St. Mary.
Jan. 20: Cuba, New Mexico – Immaculate Conception.
Feb. 3: Aragon – Santo Nino de Atocha.
Feb. 9: Gallup – St. Francis.
By Marie Whitehead
When the state House voted 18-15 in April to approve a bill reforming Pennsylvania's statutes of limitations for child sex abuse cases, survivors of child sex abuse and advocates across the state breathed a sigh of relief.
With the legislation's elimination of the criminal statute of limitations and extension of the civil statute to age 50—along with retroactivity—survivors felt assured that they might one day have the chance to bring their abusers to justice in court.
Then the bill hit a major roadblock in the Senate Judiciary Committee
Swayed by misleading claims about the bill's constitutionality and effect on private organizations, such as the Catholic Church, State Senators gutted the bill.
They stripped it of its retroactivity provisions and inserted a preamble that has become a poison pill for survivors and advocates, and threatens to adversely affect all tort and personal injury cases in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
For immediate release: Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 503 0003 cell, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org)
Today's New York Times reports that unwanted sexual groping is rarely addressed through criminal cases or civil lawsuits. This must change.
[New York Times]
Heightened awareness to sexual assaults is welcome. But those of us who were molested as children you know that greater public visibility isn’t enough. Awareness does not automatically bring reform. Aggressive action must follow awareness.
So we strongly urge
--police and prosecutors to more vigorously pursue cases of sexual violence (involving adults or kids, penetration or no penetration), and
--legislators to strengthen laws against all types of sexual assaults (especially by ending or extending predator-friendly statues of limitations).
Most of all, we urge every victim of sexual assault – whether groped or raped – to
--report their experiences to law enforcement (even if you believe nothing will happen), and
--check out whether they have any civil options.
It’s our civic duty to at least share what we know or suspect about sex offenders with the independent professionals in law enforcement. And it’s our moral duty to at least consider whether we can stop predators through civil lawsuits.
No matter what lawmakers or other officials do or don’t do, we urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered sex crimes and cover ups – especially by the powerful or in institutions –– to protect others by calling police, get justice by calling attorneys, and be comforted by calling support groups like ours. This is how the vulnerable will be safer, the victimized will recover, the criminals will be prosecuted, the “enablers” will be exposed, the cover ups will be deterred and the truth will surface.
By Sas Taylor - October 19, 20160
Twin brothers from Birmingham, who suffered sexual abuse as teenagers in a children’s home in Northern Ireland, are camping on The Green in Kings Norton as part of a campaign to raise awareness of the need for proper support for victims of abuse.
Bobby and Joe Blair were taken into foster care at Rubane House in County Down in 1977, where they were beaten and subjected to sexual abuse.
They waived their right to anonymity to tell their story the The Irish Sun in 2015, after giving evidence at the Historical Abuse Inquiry in Northern Ireland.
Road to Recovery
Bergen Catholic High School alumnus and childhood sexual abuse victim of Br. Timothy Joseph O’Sullivan, CFC, Walter Slipkowski, of Bogota, New Jersey, to speak publicly for the first time about his childhood sexual abuse at Bergen Catholic High School
Walter Slipkowski was a minor child in approximately 1970 when he entered Bergen Catholic High School and met a sexual abuser, Br. Timothy Joseph O’Sullivan, CFC, who was his science teacher
A press conference by Walter Slipkowski of Bogota, New Jersey, at which he will announce that he was sexually abused as a minor child at Bergen Catholic High School, Oradell, New Jersey, by Br. Timothy Joseph O’Sullivan, CFC
Thursday, October 20, 2017, at 11:00 am
On the public sidewalk across from the main entrance of Bergen Catholic High School, 1040 Oradell Avenue, Oradell, New Jersey 07649
Walter Slipkowski of Bogota, New Jersey, a 1974 graduate of Bergen Catholic High School, and resident of Bogota, New Jersey; Robert M. Hoatson, Ph.D., a former Irish Christian Brother of 23 years and President of Road to Recovery, Inc., a non-profit charity based in New Jersey that assists victims of sexual abuse and their families
Walter Slipkowski will turn 60 years of age on October 31, 2016. His family moved from Jersey City, New Jersey, to Teaneck, New Jersey, when he was approximately 10 years old. Approximately 4 years later (1970), he began attending Bergen Catholic High School at approximately the age of 14. It was at Bergen Catholic High School in approximately 1970-1971 that he was a student in the science class of his teacher, Br. Timothy Joseph O’Sullivan, CFC, who sexually abused him in an anteroom of the science class and laboratory. It is believed that Br. Timothy Joseph O’Sullivan, CFC, left the Irish Christian Brothers many years ago and may have taught (or still may be teaching) at a college in Massachusetts. Walter Slipkowski will share his story of having been sexually abused as a minor child at Bergen Catholic High School in order to try to heal, be a support to other victims, and hopefully alert others to the dangers posed by pedophile Br. Timothy Joseph O’Sullivan, CFC.
Robert M. Hoatson, Ph.D., Road to Recovery, Inc. – 862-368-2800 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, Boston, MA – 617-523-6250 – email@example.com
Wed 19 Oct 2016
By Aaron James
The chair of the national inquiry into child abuse has said former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey could face "explicit criticism" for the way he dealt with a paedophile bishop.
Peter Ball (below), now 84, pleaded guilty last year to assaulting two young men and using his position to do the same to others whilst the Bishop of Lewes.
The Old Bailey heard that when police initially investigated in 1992 he escaped prosecution. He received a caution and retired from ministry in 1993.
There have been claims that Lord Carey (main picture) helped covered up the child abuse of former Bishop of Lewes Peter Ball.
Lord Carey has always denied this and has applied to be personally represented in the national abuse inquiry, rather than by the Church of England, to avoid a conflict of interest.
More than 2,000 people have signed a petition calling for the Church of England to re-examine the case against a former Bishop of Chichester.
Last year the church acknowledged that a woman had been sexually abused by the late George Bell in the 1940s and 1950s when she was a child.
It apologised and paid compensation to the victim.
Campaigners supporting the bishop said the case should be reopened as there was "a strong case for his defence".
Dr Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson, a supporter of the George Bell Group, said: "In light of the fact that a strong case for the late bishop's defence has now been assembled by a number of people with close connections to him, there is no excuse for the church to delay a fresh investigation any further."
Melissa CunninghamMelissa Cunningham
19 Oct 2016
Lifeline has been inundated with calls for help in the wake of the royal commissions into child sexual abuse and family violence.
During a visit to Ballarat on Wednesday, Lifeline chief executive Pete Shmigel said calls to the service related to past childhood trauma and family violence have been steadily increasing.The number of Australians taking their own lives has hit a 10-year high.
Mr Shmigel said rates of suicide were up to two and half times higher in regional areas than metropolitan cities. Ballarat is estimated to have between 100 and 150 annual suicide deaths but no official figures have ever been released.
“Suicide never comes down to a single factor, it is a tremendously complex phenomena,” he said. “Different things contribute to it, whether it’s trauma, abuse, family violence, economic restructures. Most of the people that call us aren’t actually mentally unwell. They’re overwhelmed, isolated and they feel alone.”
Peter Walker Political correspondent
Wednesday 19 October 2016
Theresa May has rejected claims that the Home Office failed to act early enough on concerns about the leadership of the national child abuse inquiry, telling prime minister’s questions it could not be expected to respond to “suspicion, rumour or hearsay”.
May was placed under pressure after it emerged on Tuesday that a member of the abuse inquiry panel raised worries about the then inquiry chair, Dame Lowell Goddard, with the director general of the Home Office in April this year. May was still home secretary at the time.
The home affairs select committee also heard that relations between leading panel members and Goddard, who resigned in August, were so bad a professional facilitator had been brought in.
One of May’s officials told the committee that the Home Office first heard of the worries about Goddard only six days before she stepped down.
By MATT DATHAN, POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT FOR MAILONLINE
Theresa May today defended her role in the disastrous child abuse inquiry after it emerged that concerns were raised when she was still Home Secretary in April.
She denied the Home Office dragged its feet over allegations Dame Lowell Goddard, the former chair of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), had mishandled the probe despite members of the panel revealing yesterday that Home Office officials were told of tensions in the inquiry four months before she quit.
Mrs May, who set up the inquiry more than two years ago, said those concerns were raised confidentially and insisted she was not made aware of them at the time.
The Prime Minister has admitted she knew about concerns over the leadership of the child abuse inquiry but did nothing.
Theresa May said there were "stories" around about Dame Lowell Goddard's leadership of the inquiry but said as Home Secretary she was not able to intervene on the basis of "suspicion" or "hearsay".
Speaking at Prime Minister's Questions Mrs May admitted that complaints about Dame Lowell's behaviour had been made to the Home Office in confidence months before she left the post.
However, she said the concerns had been raised in confidence and therefore she was unable to act.
By Katie Stallard, in Wellington, New Zealand
Dame Lowell Goddard has told Sky News no concerns were raised with her before her resignation from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse in August, and that she was never warned, officially or otherwise, about the alleged use of racially derogatory language.
The New Zealand judge is alleged to have said Britain had so many paedophiles "because it has so many Asian men", according to a report in The Times.
The newspaper report included a number of allegations made by what it said were "well-placed figures" at the inquiry's headquarters about her alleged conduct, including claims she treated staff with contempt.
The unnamed sources in the report also claimed she voiced shock at the size of the country's ethnic minority population and allegedly complained of having to travel 50 miles from London to see a white face.
Theresa May has told MPs she was right not to intervene when concerns were raised about the previous head of the child abuse inquiry while she was home secretary.
The PM said she could not step in on the basis of "suspicion, rumour or hearsay" about Dame Lowell Goddard.
The inquiry, set up in 2014, has been beset with controversy.
On Tuesday, new chairwoman Prof Alexis Jay said things would have become "very difficult" if Dame Lowell had not quit.
Do G1 Grande Minas
Um pastor de uma igreja evangélica foi preso na tarde desta quinta-feira (13) suspeito de estuprar uma criança de cinco anos em Montes Claros, no Norte de Minas. A Polícia Civil diz que ele dava aulas de inglês na sede da própria igreja, no Bairro Roxo Verde, onde os abusos aconteceram.
O inquérito foi instaurado no dia seis de setembro deste ano, após os pais denunciarem o caso à Polícia Civil. Eles relataram que desconfiaram do caso quando a criança se mostrava resistente em frequentar as aulas na igreja. “Ela dizia que não queria ir porque o Tio João fazia bobagem com ela”, diz um investigador.
[Note: The accused cleric is not a priest but pastor of an evangelical church.]
Toby Meyjes for Metro.co.uk
Wednesday 19 Oct 2016
A priest has been arrested in Brazil after the parents of a five-year-old girl discovered drawings that appeared to show a child being abused.
Father Joao da Silva, 54, is being interviewed by police over child abuse charges, which he denies, according to local media.
The girl’s parents, who live in Minas Gerais, are said to have found the pictures after their daughter refused to attend any more of the priest’s English classes.
She was so upset they took her to a child psychologist who suspected sexual abuse and urged her parents to search her room for any signs.
Hidden among her books they found six drawings detailing the sexual abuse in horrific detail.
The West Australian
Dylan Caporn - The West Australian on October 19, 2016
A bid by a Liberal backbencher to remove the statute of limitations for claims of damages resulting from child sexual abuse before Parliament rises before the March state election appears doomed to fail.
Both the Liberal and National parties have given strong indications they would not support the Bill drafted by Liberal backbencher Graham Jacobs.
Despite receiving support in the Liberal Party room yesterday, it appears concerns from Attorney-General Michael Mischin about “unintended consequences” flowing from the legislation meant it will not be supported in its present form.
Deputy Liberal leader Liza Harvey said the party had agreed to accept the stance as policy, but it would be for a “future government” to consider.
Melissa CunninghamMelissa Cunningham
18 Oct 2016
Peter Blenkiron describes his photography exhibition as an emotional journey made up of fragments of complete darkness and moments of light.
The clergy sexual abuse survivor unveiled his exhibition Putting The Pieces of Self Together One Moment at a Time at Vox Populi Art Gallery, upstairs at Boah Organic at the Bridge Mall on Friday.
The former Ballarat electrician describes the impacts of his complex post traumatic stress disorder on his mind as being like a “blown electrical circuit”.
Each image offers a rare glimpse into the inner world of a child abuse survivor learning to re-inhabit his body and mind.
With the guidance of his counsellor and from behind the lens of his smartphone he started taking photographs as form on mindfulness and solace.
19 OCT 2016
BY JAMES MONCUR
THE 14-year-old's death was blamed on boxing match injuries - but schoolmates claim he could be a victim of violence at the notorious Christian Brothers home.
POLICE are being urged to launch a new probe into the death of a teenager at a notorious care home.
Alexander Harvey died at St Ninian’s School, in Fife, in 1960. His death was blamed on injuries he had received in a boxing match.
The 14-year-old’s death was never fully investigated but rumours have circulated in the village of Falkland that Alexander may have been the victim of abuse.
Schoolmates claim he could be a “forgotten victim” of violence at the Christian Brothers home, which has been at the centre of a historic scandal.
Pittsburgh City Paper
By Rebecca Addison
If you look at the legislation that Pennsylvania state Rep. Mark Rozzi has sponsored over the past year, you’ll notice a theme.
In February, Rozzi (D-Berks County) proposed a resolution designating April 2016 as “Sexual Assault Awareness Month.” In March, he co-sponsored a bill to add child sex abuse as an exception to sovereign-immunity laws. And his current fight to pass House Bill 1947 would eliminate the criminal statute of limitation on child sexual-abuse cases.
For Rozzi, sexual assault isn’t just another legislative issue. It’s the reason he ran for office in 2012. Rozzi was molested by an Allentown Diocese priest when he was 13.
After being molested, in the 1980s, Rozzi did his best to move on from the trauma. But he was spurred to take action in 2009 after a second childhood friend committed suicide; both of them had been molested by the same priest.
October 18, 2016
Mark Woods CHRISTIAN TODAY CONTRIBUTING EDITOR 19 October 2016
Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey faces possible censure over his conduct regarding paedophile Peter Ball, formerly Bishop of Gloucester.
Ball was jailed last year for sex offences and misconduct in public office.
After serving as Bishop of Lewes, he was made Bishop of Gloucester in 1992. He received a caution in 1993 for gross indecency, rather than being charged with with indecent assault, and resigned his bishopric though he later returned to ministry.
Carey wrote to the director of public prosecutions at the time expressing concern at Ball's "fragile health".
While Carey was Archbishop, Lambeth Palace received six letters after Ball was cautioned revealing that he encouraged victims to pray naked, perform sex acts in front of him and share his bed. Lambeth Palace officials reviewing the letters in 2009 noted that had such evidence as provided by the letters been given to detectives in 1993, Ball may have been convicted of serious sexual offences as opposed to merely being cautioned.
by Jason Nark, STAFF WRITER
An Archdiocese of Philadelphia priest accused of trying to rape a teenage boy will receive probation after pleading no contest Monday.
Jury selection had been set for Oct. 24 for James J. Brennan's retrial on charges of attempted rape and endangerment, but a deal was reached Monday, according to the District Attorney's Office.
Brennan, 53, pleaded no contest to one count of simple assault and will be sentenced to two years' probation. He has not been in active ministry for more than 10 years.
Brennan's attorney, William J. Brennan, said he was confident that a retrial would result in an acquittal but the offer from the District Attorney's Office "was simply too good to refuse."
"It's the same level as a first-time DUI," said Brennan, who is not related to his client.
By Ralph Cipriano
The district attorney's office has struck a deal with Father James J. Brennan, who was accused of the attempted rape twenty years ago of a then 14-year-old boy.
On Monday, Father Brennan, whose retrial was scheduled to begin Oct. 24th, pleaded no contest to a second-degree misdemeanor charge of simple assault, and was placed on two years probation.
"This case, which took six or seven years to resolve, ended with a whimper and not a bang because they made us an offer we couldn't refuse," said criminal defense lawyer William J. Brennan, no relation, who represented Father Brennan.
The case sure started with a bang. Back in 2011, the district attorney issued a grand jury report, still online, which stated eleven times that Father Brennan had anally raped 14-year-old Mark Bukowski back in 1996. It happened in the priest's apartment, on a night when the priest admitted he showed the boy pornography and then got into bed with him.
This excerpt is from pages 11 and 12 of the 2011 grand jury report:
Father Brennan, who was now shirtless, insisted that Mark remove his gym shorts and climb into bed with him in only his underwear, which Mark did. Mark attempted to sleep on his side, with his back to Father Brennan, because he was afraid to look at the priest. As Mark lay in that position, Father Brennan hugged him from behind, resting his chin on Mark’s shoulder and pulling the boy closer to him.
When Father Brennan pulled Mark toward him, Mark felt Father Brennan’s erect penis enter his buttocks. Mark began to cry, and asked himself over and over again, “Why is this happening?” as Father Brennan anally raped him. Mark fell asleep that night with Father Brennan’s penis still in his buttocks.
If it were less important for the victims and survivors of abuse, the tale of the biggest and most costly statutory inquiry ever launched would be a farce. But the scale of the responsibility of the independent inquiry into the institutional failure that allowed thousands of children to be abused over decades leached the humour from this afternoon’s Commons home affairs committee session with permanent secretary Mark Sedwill. After an hour of parrying and blocking MPs’ questions it felt damagingly like a high grade version of the institutional cover-ups that victims and survivors of abuse want the inquiry to expose.
Mr Sedwill was in an impossible position. The more he tried to argue that the independence of the inquiry into historic child abuse meant he could not know what was going on, the harder it was to understand why he had met the former chair, Dame Lowell Goddard, on at least two occasions. It was even more confusing that a member of the panel with which Dame Lowell was supposed to be working, Drusilla Sharpling, had actually raised her concerns with the Home Office in April this year, several months before Dame Lowell’s abrupt resignation in August.
The permanent secretary is impaled on the relationship between the inquiry, with its budget of £17m, and its sponsoring department, the Home Office. In a manner that must have appeared suspiciously opaque to victims and survivors of abuse, he tried to explain how an arm’s-length relationship can coexist alongside the home secretary’s power to hire and fire the inquiry’s chair. To those forgiving of the ways of Whitehall, this is an everyday expression of the kind of arrangement that keeps the bureaucracy moving; Mr Sedwill said the Home Office was insulated from the inquiry by an air gap. To the lay observer, it seems incomprehensible that the department, which has supplied a fifth of the inquiry’s staff, would not have got wind of the troubles at the top that led within weeks not only to the resignation of Dame Lowell, the third chair to exit unexpectedly, but also the departure of the inquiry’s counsel, Ben Emmerson QC, and its junior counsel, Elizabeth Prochaska.
Sandra Laville and Haroon Siddique
Tuesday 18 October 2016 1
A member of the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse panel has said she went to the Home Office with concerns about the then chair, Dame Lowell Goddard, in April, months before the Home Office said it was aware of the reservations surrounding her.
Goddard unexpectedly resigned as chair of the public inquiry in August, throwing it into turmoil.
Last week the Times reported alleged concerns about her conduct and professionalism, including claims that she linked Britain’s child abuse problem to its population of Asian men. She has denied the allegations.
The Home Office said people within the inquiry raised concerns about Goddard on 29 July, six days before she resigned, but that version of events was challenged at a hearing of the home affairs committee on Tuesday.
Inquiry panel member Drusilla Sharpling told the committee she did not want to indulge in discussions of character but that there were “questions about the quality of the leadership” which she raised with the Home Office in April.
Dame Lowell Goddard, the former head of an inquiry into child sexual abuse, kept panel members at a distance and would rather have worked alone, MPs have heard.
Professor Alexis Jay, her successor, told the Commons Home Affairs Committee that despite this, they tried to make arrangements work.
Dame Lowell Goddard, the inquiry's third chairwoman, resigned in August.
The inquiry, set up in 2014, has been beset by controversies.
The committee quizzed Prof Jay, who was previously on the panel, and two current panel members about Dame Lowell Goddard's departure and the inquiry's progress.