August 2018 Comments

ANON Aug 30th, 2018 @ 09:28 AM

/2...State warned on adoption violations…

The State has been urged to ensure family members of children who were forcibly disappeared through adoption or unidentified burials while in institutional care are given information about their fate and warned that a similar system in Spain constituted crimes against humanity.

On UN International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) said enforced disappearance is widely considered one of the gravest possible human rights violations.

It said it is recognised in international law as a crime against humanity when widespread or systematic.

Under international law, an enforced disappearance occurs when a person is detained or abducted with the involvement of the State, following which the State refuses to disclose their fate or whereabouts.

“The State-sponsored system of forcibly separating unmarried mothers and their children during the 20th century appears to ICCL to involve ‘enforced disappearance’, one of the gravest violations of European and international human rights law,” said Liam Herrick, director of ICCL.

“Last year a European Parliament committee recognised that a similar system in Spain that of the ‘stolen babies’ constitutes crimes against humanity.

“Ireland needs to wake up to the seriousness of what is at stake.”

ANON Aug 30th, 2018 @ 09:26 AM

2/2…ICCL wants the State to provide statutory rights to information to all those who survived the Irish system, “including all people who were forcibly separated from their family members through the closed, secret adoption system in Ireland, as well as the family members of children who died in institutional care”.

“This means that the bodies of children in the Tuam grave must be exhumed, identified, and all possible information about their circumstances of death given to their family members,” it said.

Mr Herrick said it is simply not good enough that Galway County Council conducted a “straw poll” on what should be done in the Tuam case, including the option of covering over the site and placing a memorial there.

“The State is obliged to identify the children’s bodies, to conduct a full public investigation, and to provide guarantees that nothing like this can ever happen again.

“We know that there are mass unmarked graves of children in places other than Tuam.

"We have heard adopted people and many others who were forcibly separated from their family members call repeatedly for information about what happened to them and to their relatives.”

“Full disclosure of information is required. The secrecy must stop and the State must recognise its human rights obligations towards all of these individuals.”

ICCL wants the Government to ratify the UN Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, which it has already signed.

The declaration states that enforced disappearances occur when “persons are arrested, detained, or abducted against their will or otherwise deprived of their liberty by officials of different branches or levels of government, or by organised groups or private individuals acting on behalf of, or with the support, direct or indirect, consent, or acquiescence of the government, followed by a refusal to disclose the fate or whereabouts of the persons concerned or a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of their liberty, which places such persons outside the protection of the law

ANON Aug 30th, 2018 @ 09:24 AM

State 'may be breaking international law' over Tuam Mother and Baby home…

Campaigners say the State could be in breach of international law for its involvement in the Tuam Mother and Baby home.

The Irish Council for Civil Liberties says the crime of 'Enforced Disappearance' involves a state refusing to disclose the whereabouts of people who have been abducted.

It is thought hundreds of children were secretly buried on the Tuam site.
Thousands of children were also thought to have been illegally adopted through homes nationwide.

Liam Herrick from the ICCL says the State has important duties in the Tuam case.

Mr Herrick said: "This is not a question of the State having a choice in how it deals with these matters, there are matters of legal obligation.

"The obligations are that a full public investigation should take place, that the bodies should be identified, in so far as is possible, that the remains are returned to the families, in so far as is possible

ANON Aug 24th, 2018 @ 11:58 AM

1/2…200 new abuse victims claim on fund…

More than 200 institutional child abuse victims sought housing, health, or other aid for the first time in the two months coming up to the final deadline for claims from the Caranua fund.

The statutory fund for victims of child abuse in residential institutions announced in late May that it would no longer accept applications after August 1.

The law restricts its spending to the €110m promised by religious orders after agreeing to volunteer additional funding in the wake of the 2009 Ryan Report on institutional child abuse.

Figures provided to the Irish Examiner show that Caranua, which administers the fund created by the 2012 law, received 509 applications after the May 31 announcement of this month’s deadline.

They included 230 people who had not previously applied, while 191 previous applications were reactivated.

Caranua has received a further 88 applications up to the August 1 deadline from people who previously sought aid from the fund.

The main publicity around the final Caranua closing date was restricted to a press statement and ads placed in Irish Sunday newspapers and Irish-community news outlets in Britain and the United States.

However, Caranua also advised groups working with institutional abuse survivors in May that it would announce a final call for claims shortly, and posters were circulated to public buildings, medical facilities, and other locations.

Caranua is legally restricted from spending any more than €110m, from which running costs that amounted to more than €8m by late May must also be paid.

By then, it had already given €74m to more than 5,000 abuse survivors for housing, health, education, and other services.

ANON Aug 24th, 2018 @ 11:56 AM

2/2...However, Education Minister Richard Bruton asked in May that applications continue to be accepted in cases of hardship or exceptional circumstances after the August 1 closing date.

“With concerns raised by groups working with institutional abuse victims about supports after the exhausting of the Caranua fund, Mr Bruton also promised that an inter-departmental committee to address this issue would meet “in the near future”.

However, the Department of Education has told the Irish Examiner it will be September before the first meeting of this group is held”.

The committee is to examine how survivors’ needs can be met by existing mainstream State services, and will include representatives from the departments of education, health, justice, and social protection.

Mr Bruton also plans to publish soon the analysis of a survey that closed two months ago for survivors to offer views on the format of planned consultations with them about measures by the State “following the realisation of the systemic abuse that occurred in residential institutions”.

He said he supports a proposal from a number of survivors for meetings to serve as a forum for former institutional residents to reflect on their experiences, the State’s response to institutional abuse, and to make any recommendations.

The views on the format of the consultation, which is to be managed by an external facilitator, were also being accepted from survivors through a free telephone service operated by Barnardos.

The Department of Education told the Irish Examiner last month that it still expects the last €8.8m due to the Caranua fund from the Christian Brothers to be paid over this year

ANON Aug 24th, 2018 @ 11:52 AM

1/2...Catholics ‘cannot turn eyes away from revelations of sex abuse’…

Catholics can no longer ignore revelations of clerical sexual abuse, a Trinity College Dublin (TCD) expert has said.

Fainche Ryan said she was shocked by the “cover-up” of abuse and called for a system of checks and balances.

Pope Francis issued a statement earlier this week apologising for clerical sexual abuse.

The pontiff was speaking ahead of his visit to Ireland this week to attend the World
Meeting of Families (WMOF) celebrations.

John Paul II addressing hundreds of thousands in Galway in 1979 (PA)

It will be the first papal visit to the country since John Paul II in 1979.

More than half a million people are expected to turn out at events in Dublin and Knock to catch a glimpse of the Pope.

“There has been great goodness done (within the Catholic Church),” Dr Ryan said.

“But we cannot turn our eyes away from all the revelations of sex abuse, both in Ireland and globally.

“We have to have institutions to survive… but within that there is a need for checks and balances.”

The director of the Loyola Institute of Theology at TCD said she was “shocked” by the abuse scandal, in particular “the cover-up by the bishops, by the leaders”.

But she added: “We in the Church have to take our responsibility as well, particularly for what’s happened in the Church.”

He’s coming because he wanted to come to Ireland, it’s very brave of him he knows our story of our problems and issues that we are facing all the time and he himself wanted to come

ANON Aug 24th, 2018 @ 11:50 AM

2/2...The theologian cited mother and baby home scandals as an example.

“It was an Irish society, it was Irish fathers and Irish mothers and Irish parents that brought these daughters to these homes and left them there, in many cases.

“We also have to ask, where were the fathers of these children?”

She said she believed the papal visit will be largely positive, and she was glad it was Francis coming to Ireland.

“He’s a very influential worldwide character in the political scene as well as the ecclesiastical scene.

“People say over and over in Ireland that the Church in Ireland is dead and yet there a huge amount of interest of this forthcoming visit of Francis,” she said.

“He’s coming because he wanted to come to Ireland, it’s very brave of him… he knows our story of our problems and issues that we are facing all the time and he himself wanted to come.”

Dr Ryan said that even though not as many people will see Francis as came out to see John Paul II in 1979, there will be a lot of people watching on TV at home and on screens in churches across the country.

“It could give a good injection of hope to the Church in Ireland if we, the Church in Ireland, take on board some of what Francis is about.

“He’s quite a radical leader.

He’s made a lot of difference but all the time we need to remember he’s the leader of a 2,000-year entity and change comes slowly.

ANON Aug 24th, 2018 @ 11:46 AM

A survivor of serious clerical child sex abuse has said she could not care less about the Pope’s visit to Ireland this weekend.

Kate Walmsley, 62, accused the authorities of “lying through their teeth” after she sought answers about her alleged attacker.

A priest made her remove her underwear and assaulted her while she was a child, she said.

"When I was about 12 he was having sex with me. I ended up with bulimia as well."

“We were told to vomit up our mortal sin; the nun would say we had a big black spot on our soul”

“I ended up being very ill.”

She said Pope Francis was just an ordinary man to her.

“I could not care less about the Pope. (As a child) I heard someone saying he was the head of the Catholic Church but he was not really anybody to me.

“A lot of people think that he is a great man, he is just an ordinary man to me”

Ms Walmsley is living in west Belfast but hails from Glasgow originally.
In 1964, aged seven, she was taken to a residential home in Derry run by the Sisters of Nazareth nuns.

In 2014 she revealed allegations of physical violence and sex abuse at the home when she appeared before a public inquiry.

The Historical Institutional Abuse inquiry led by retired Northern Ireland High Court judge Sir Anthony Hart recommended compensation be paid to victims.

His instructions are yet to be acted on following the collapse of political powersharing at Stormont.

Ms Walmsley recalled the alleged abuse.

She said: “I was like an entertainment for him. He would lock me in a room where the uniforms were and he would take me there and kept me in, and made me take off my pants and do things to him, and he was just sort of grooming me.

“When I was about 12 he was having sex with me.”

She said later in life she had eight pregnancies and two live births.

Ms Walmsley added: “I knew it was to do with everything, I have just got everything wrong with me.”

ANON Aug 24th, 2018 @ 11:42 AM

1/2...Nuns arrested over Smyllum child abuse claims…

Twelve people, some of them nuns, have been arrested over claims of abuse at a former children's home in Lanarkshire.

Police said 11 women and one man - all aged between 62 and 85 - had been charged in connection with the abuse of children at Smyllum Park.

The home, which closed in 1981, was run by a Catholic order known as Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul.

Police said a further four people were due to be reported to the Crown Office in connection with their investigation.

Smyllum Park took in more than 11,600 children over the course of its existence from 1864 to 1981.

It has been hit by claims of sexual and physical abuse and is being investigated as part of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (SCAI).

Police Scotland said the allegations related to non-recent abuse of children. It is not known how many of those arrested are nuns.

A spokeswoman said: "Twelve people, eleven women and one man, ages ranging from 62 to 85 years, have been arrested and charged in connection with the non-recent abuse of children.

"All are subject of reports to Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal. A further four individuals will be reported today. Inquiries are continuing."

Marie Peachey, a former resident at Smyllum, told BBC Scotland she felt "shocked, scared, sick happy" on learning of the arrests.

"All the emotions in one," she added.

ANON Aug 24th, 2018 @ 11:40 AM

2/2...Ms Peachey spent five years in the children's home with her older brother Samuel and younger sister Brenda.

She said the events she witnessed at the home never leave her.

"It could be something stupid, then you're straight back to Smyllum, back to being a scared little girl sometimes," she said. "I'm in my 50s now and I still feel scared."

The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry, which is investigating allegations of abuse against children in care across Scotland, has heard from former residents at the home, who described suffering beatings, abuse and mistreatment.

Their testimony prompted an apology from Sister Ellen Flynn, who currently heads the Daughters of Charity, who said the "horrifying" accounts were "totally against" everything the order stood for.

The inquiry is being heard before High Court judge, Lady Smith. She is due to publish her report into the allegations surrounding Smyllum Park in the coming weeks.

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) said it had instructed police to investigate the allegations of abuse at care institutions across Scotland.

A spokesman added: "As a result of those investigations, COPFS received information from Police Scotland which was considered by our expert team, in consultation with Police Scotland, and it was determined that further investigation was required into allegations against a number of individuals relating to the Daughters of Charity.

"It would not be appropriate to comment further at this time.

ANON Aug 24th, 2018 @ 11:37 AM

Please Copy and Paste...https://www.irishcentral.com/opinion/catholic-priests-predators

ANON Aug 19th, 2018 @ 11:07 AM

1/3...Survivors say Vatican statement on child abuse 'falls short' …

Abuse survivor Marie Collins has said that a statement by the Vatican on child abuse goes further than similar statements in the past, but still fell short in some areas.

She was speaking after the Vatican released a statement saying that Pope Francis was on the side of victims of more than 300 "predator" priests in the United States who are accused of abusing over 1,000 children across seven decades.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Miriam, Ms Collins said the statement labels abuse as "criminal", whereas in the past it was described only as "sinful".

She said it was disappointing that the statement "falls short" when it spoke about holding those to account who had enabled abuse.

Ms Collins said it should specifically have spoken about those "church leaders" who had enabled abuse.

She said the statement spoke about complying with civil law in terms of the mandatory reporting of child abuse, but she said it did not say church leaders must report abuse in countries where such reporting is not mandatory.

"Victims should know that the pope is on their side," the Vatican said in a statement after a devastating US grand jury report published on Tuesday decried a systematic cover-up by the Catholic church.

"Those who have suffered are his priority, and the church wants to listen to them to root out this tragic horror that destroys the lives of the innocent," the Vatican said.

"There are two words that can express the feelings faced with these horrible crimes: shame and sorrow," it said.

ANON Aug 19th, 2018 @ 11:05 AM

2/2..."The Holy See condemns unequivocally the sexual abuse of minors. The abuses described in the report are criminal and morally reprehensible.

"The acts were betrayals of trust that robbed survivors of their dignity and in many cases, also their faith.

The church must learn hard lessons from the past, and there should be accountability for both abusers and those who permitted abuse to occur."

The US report is thought to be the most comprehensive to date into abuse in the US church since The Boston Globe first exposed paedophile priests in Massachusetts in 2002.

But while Tuesday's report led to charges against two priests, one of whom has pleaded guilty, the majority of those responsible are dead and the vast majority of crimes happened too long ago to prosecute, officials said.

The two-year investigation by a grand jury into all but two Pennsylvania dioceses turned up dozens of witnesses and half a million pages of church records containing "credible allegations against over 300 predator priests".

More than 1,000 child victims were identifiable, but the "real number" was "in the thousands," the grand jury estimated.

Victims were often traumatised for life, driven to drugs, alcohol and suicide, the grand jury said.

The only recourse was to recommend changes to the law and expose what had happened to make sure such widespread abuse was never repeated.

So far, only two new priests are being charged with crimes that fall within the statute of limitations.

ANON Aug 19th, 2018 @ 11:03 AM

3/3...The grand jury called for changes in the law that would scrap the statute of limitations for child sex abuse, give victims more time to file civil lawsuits and tighten legislation compelling people to report abuse they find out about.

Abuse survivor and Chief Executive of Amnesty International in Ireland Colm O'Gorman has said the Vatican now making it clear that church authorities should co-operate with civil law is a welcome move but, he said, it was not backed up by actions in advance of the Pennsylvania report or subsequently.

"We are seeing a reaction and on one level this is welcome", he said.

But the Vatican's expression of shame and sorrow was hard to take, he added.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, he said "it was almost as if this was a surprise" to the church.

Mr O'Gorman said: "It's been the case now for many decades that the Vatican itself asserts absolute exclusive competence in deciding what happens in cases where priests are accused of sexually abusing children.

All cases have to [be] notified to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, who decides what happens.

"It can't be the case given that all the information that the grand jury considered came from secret diocesan and church archives-It can't be the case that the
Vatican didn't know about this before the grand jury report."

He said the pope was saying that he is on the side of victims, yet in Pennsylvania, church leaders were resisting efforts to extend the statute of limitations in order to allow victims access to justice.

He said all the way through this investigation a great many church leaders declined to be interviewed.

Mr O'Gorman said the Vatican knew this was going on and he asked why it simply did not instruct all bishops to co-operate with the process.

There are widespread accusations that the Catholic church ignored and covered up child abuse in countries from Ireland to Australia to Chile.

ANON Aug 18th, 2018 @ 10:48 AM

1/2...RTÉ documentary to tell story of baby was born after hospitals turned away unmarried mum…

The tragic life of a baby girl born after her dying unmarried mother was coldly turned away from two Kerry hospitals in the advanced labour near 70 years ago has been uncovered in an RTÉ documentary.

On February 10, 1946, gravely ill Peggy McCarthy was refused medical help twice by nuns in charge in hospitals in Listowel and Tralee during her agonising last hours because of council rules not allowing mothers whose baby were conceived out of wedlock into their wards.

Her neighbour, hackney driver John Guerin, desperately drove the distressed 25-year-old from one hospital to the other but it is unclear if she died after giving birth on the side of the road or shortly after he carried her in his arms into a third hospital in Killarney.

RTÉ’s compelling Documentary On One: In Shame, Love, In Shame relays how the young Kerry mother died from certified eclampsia.

But even more tragically it details how her baby daughter spent nearly all of her adult life incarcerated by the Church.

The documentary, by Conor Keane, relays how Breda, who was born with an intellectual disability now believed to have been caused by her young mother’s protracted labour, was placed in a Magdalene Laundry by a priest at the age of 18.

ANON Aug 18th, 2018 @ 10:46 AM

2/2...She never got out and was so institutionalised when the laundries finally shut their doors in the 90s that she had to remain in a care home where she resides to this day.

Her mother, Peggy’s horrific last hours were captured in the play Solo Run by local Listowel playwright, Tony Guerin, whose father John was the hackney driver who valiantly fought to get medical attention for his young neighbour.

His father continued to fight for her after her death when the local parish priest, Canon Patrick Brennan, refused to let her body lie in the church after he brought her coffin home on the roof of his taxi.

In an extraordinary act of defiance that night a group of angry local men in Listowel led by John Guerin forced open the locked gates of the church.

Negotiations took place and she was taken back to the hospital chapel in Listowel and buried in a family plot in a Christian burial but the priest still refused to give her a funeral Mass.

The cousin of baby Breda, Eileen Roche, said it became apparent in her teenager years her childlike cousin had an intellectual disability: “She had the most beautiful smile, she’d light up a room but there was that innocence there.

All the time Peggy was in labour we don’t know did it do the little baby any good.”

ANON Aug 18th, 2018 @ 10:44 AM

Archbishop says 'clock is ticking' for Catholic church leadership…

The Archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Seán O'Malley has said the "clock is ticking" for those in leadership positions in the Catholic church.

The comments come after a Grand Jury revealed that more than 300 "predator" priests in Pennsylvania were accused of abusing more than 1,000 children across seven decades.

The Grand Jury’s report estimated that while over 1,000 child victims were identifiable, the "real number" was "in the thousands".

To date, only two priests have been charged with crimes that fall within the statute of limitations.

The grand jury called for changes in the law that would scrap the statute of limitations for child sex abuse, give victims more time to file civil lawsuits and tighten legislation compelling people to report abuse they find out about.

Archbishop O’Malley said Catholics had now lost patience with church leadership and that civil society had lost confidence in them.

He said: "There are times when words fail us when they do not capture the depth of overwhelming situations we sometimes face in life.

For the church in the United States this is one of those times."

He said the church leadership remained "shamed" by the failure to protect children and those who are vulnerable.

He said this must never be repeated.

Today’s comments come after the Vatican issued a statement expressing its "shame and sorrow" over the Pennsylvania revelations.

The Vatican vowed to hold accountable sexually abusive priests and bishops who enable them to continue to prey on minors.

Meanwhile, Irish abuse survivors said the Vatican’s statement fell short on accountability.

Archbishop O’Malley said that the current crisis was the product of clerical sins and clerical failures.

He said the accountability needed by the Catholic church is only possible with the significant involvement and leadership of lay men and women

Benson Aug 17th, 2018 @ 08:24 AM

The Vatican does things in its own time, and coughing up a response to a damning grand-jury report outlining rampant abuse over seven decades involving more than 300 priests and 1,000 children was no exception. At around 9:30 p.m. in Rome on Thursday, Vatican spokesman Greg Burke issued a carefully worded statement decrying the actions described in the report as “criminal and morally reprehensible.”

This is the first time the Vatican has used the word criminal when referring to sex-abuse allegations by its own clergy. In the past, they have consistently referred to these rampant abuses against children as “sins and omissions” that could be made better through “forgiveness and prayer.”

ANON Aug 16th, 2018 @ 09:49 PM

Vatican expresses 'shame and sorrow' over sexual abuse…

The Vatican has expressed "shame and sorrow" for sexual abuse by clergy, in its first response to a report by a US grand jury.

Earlier this week more than 300 "predator" priests in Pennsylvania were accused of abusing more than 1,000 children across seven decades, a grand jury said in a devastating report that decried a systematic cover-up by the Catholic Church.

This evening the Vatican said the Church "must learn hard lessons from its past", and vowed to hold abusers and enablers accountable.

The Church has also stressed a "need to comply" with civil law, including mandatory reporting of abuse against minors.

In a statement the Church added that Pope Francis understands how "these crimes can shake the faith and spirit of believers", and vows to "root out this tragic horror".

The US report is thought to be the single most comprehensive report to date into abuse in the US church, since The Boston Globe first exposed paedophile priests in Massachusetts in 2002.

But while the report led to charges against two priests, one of whom has pleaded guilty, the majority of those responsible are dead and the vast majority of crimes happened too long ago to prosecute, officials said.

The two-year investigation by a grand jury into all but two Pennsylvania dioceses turned up dozens of witnesses and half a million pages of church records containing "credible allegations against over three hundred predator priests".

More than 1,000 child victims were identifiable, but the "real number" was "in the thousands," the grand jury estimated, given those children whose records were lost or who were afraid to ever come forward

ANON Aug 16th, 2018 @ 10:51 AM

1/2...Tuam mother and baby home survivors to hold vigil during pope’s visit
Historian Catherine Corless calls on Pope Francis to make a public apology

Survivors and relatives of infants from the Tuam mother and babies home are planning a peaceful vigil in Co Galway to coincide with the papal Mass in Dublin’s Phoenix Park.

Historian Catherine Corless, who traced the death certificates for 796 infants at the former home in Tuam town, will join relatives at the vigil on the afternoon of August 26th.

“Pope Francis needs to make a public statement saying he is sorry for what was done in the name of the church in the past, rather than meeting victims in private,” Ms Corless said.

“I cannot see what the problem is with a public statement of apology,”she added.
The State’s Commission of Investigation confirmed in March 2017 that it had discovered 'significant quantities' of infant bones at the Tuam site

Ms Corless and members of the Tuam Babies Family Group will light candles and place a special sculpture made by Flemish women in the shape of a baptismal font at the grave site of the former Bon Secours home.

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone has said a recommendation on the future of the burial site of the former mother and baby home in Tuam is expected to be announced in early autumn.

They will also read out the names of those who are believed to have been buried there.

There are no burial certificates, apart from two, to match the 796 death certificates traced by Ms Corless, and it is feared that the death certificates of some infants may have been falsified to facilitate adoption.

ANON Aug 16th, 2018 @ 10:49 AM

2/2...The event has been timed to coincide with the Mass that Pope Francis will celebrate at Dublin’s Phoenix Park. He is due to spend 55 minutes at Knock shrine in Co Mayo on the morning of Sunday, September 26th, before the Mass in Phoenix Park.

Ms Corless said she would not be travelling to Knock. She said there had been a groundswell of support for the Tuam event.

Last month, Minister for Children Katherine Zappone said that a recommendation on the future of the burial site of the former mother and baby home in Tuam is expected to be announced in early autumn.

Ms Zappone told a public meeting in Tuam it was her personal opinion that the possibility of exhumation and reinterment in a respectful and sensitive manner should be investigated.

The Minister also said she was willing to introduce any legislation required to ensure the approach decided on could be carried out.

The State’s Commission of Investigation, which was set up to examine the actions of 18 State-linked religious institutions, confirmed in March 2017 that it had discovered “significant quantities” of infant bones at the Tuam site, which was managed by the Bon Secours Sisters between 1925 and 1961.

Galway County Council was asked to liaise with the investigation, local residents and other interested parties, and it undertook a public consultation, which is intended to inform a future Government decision

ANON Aug 16th, 2018 @ 10:47 AM

1/2..Campaigners frustrated as State won’t open up Magdalene archives…

Campaigners have criticised the Government for refusing to allow public access to the records of the McAleese inquiry into Magdalene laundries more than five years after the State apology.

It comes as the Government has issued its response to the UN Committee Against Torture (UNCAT) findings on abuse in Magdalene laundries.

In July of last year, UNCAT’s vice chair Felice Gaer sharply criticised the Government’s view that there was no evidence to support claims that abuse took place in the laundries and accused it of “walking back” on the State apology made in 2013 by then taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Ms Gaer expressed concern that the McAleese committee may not have fully investigated all of the archives available to it.

UNCAT also called on the Irish State to “promote greater access of victims, and their representatives, to relevant information concerning the Magdalene laundries, held in private and public archives”, and that it must provide additional information on these measures to the committee.

However, in its response to UNCAT, the Government repeated its view that there is no “credible evidence of systematic torture or criminal abuse being committed in the Magdalene laundries” and that it has no intention of setting up a formal State inquiry into the Magdalene laundries as recommended.

ANON Aug 16th, 2018 @ 10:45 AM

2/2..It also said it has no power to access any religious records as they are “in the ownership of the religious congregations and held in their private archives”.

“The congregations are bound by data protection regulations. In addition, the State does not have the authority to instruct them on their operation.

Any records held in a public archive are publically available,” said the Irish State response!”.

However, Prof Jim Smith of Boston College and Justice For Magdalenes Research said that what the Government failed to mention in its response to UNCAT was that it has, to date, refused to place the McAleese Committee’s collection of records regarding the Magdalene laundries in the National Archives so they are available for public inspection.

“The government of the day chose not to establish the McAleese Committee on a statutory basis with powers to compel evidence.

Rather, the orders were allowed to voluntarily supply their records to the committee, which were returned to them at the end of the process.

“Copies of material made by the committee were destroyed”.

“This arrangement was agreed at the outset.

There was no transparency. Public and/or academic scrutiny of this material was not permitted.

The McAleese Committee archive is not subject to Freedom of Information requests and it is not clear whether it is subject to the provisions of the National Archives Act,” he said.

The McAleese Committee archive is currently held in the Department of the Taoiseach.

Access to its contents was refused under freedom of information in 2016 with the former justice minister Frances Fitzgerald confirming that year there are no plans to make it publicly available.

ANON Aug 16th, 2018 @ 09:23 AM

West Midlands police officer charged with possessing indecent images of children…

A police officer has been charged with the possession of indecent images of children.
Lee Bartram, who works for West Midlands Police, was arrested on Monday at his home address and charged on Wednesday evening.

The 44-year-old has been charged with five counts of making an indecent photograph/pseudo-photograph of a child and two counts of distributing an indecent photograph/pseudo-photograph of a child.

The alleged offences are understood not to have taken place while the policeman was on duty.

Bartram, an inspector based in Birmingham city centre, has been suspended from his duties while proceedings continue.

He has been remanded in custody and is due to appear at Walsall and Aldridge Magistrates' Court on Thursday morning.

In a statement, West Midlands Police said it had made a voluntary referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

ANON Aug 15th, 2018 @ 07:28 PM

1/2...Gang of 31 people charged with rape and trafficking of girls as young as 12 in Huddersfield…

A gang of 31 people in Huddersfield have been charged with offences including rape and trafficking after an investigation into sexual offences against children.

West Yorkshire Police said the five alleged victims were girls aged between 12 and 18, with the offences said to have occurred between 2005 and 2012.
Thirty men and one woman will appear at Kirklees Magistrates’ Court on September 5 and 6.

West Yorkshire Police said the accused include:

:: Banaras Hussain, 37, of Shipley, charged with one count of rape of a female over 16.

:: Banaris Hussain, 35, of Huddersfield, charged with one count of rape of a girl aged 13-15.

:: Mohammed Suhail Arif, 30, of Huddersfield, charged with rape of a girl aged 13-15.

:: Iftikar Ali, 37, of Huddersfield, charged with attempted rape of a girl aged 13-15 and three counts of rape of a girl aged 13-15.

:: Mohammed Sajjad, 31, of Huddersfield, charged with four counts of rape of a girl aged 13-15, one rape of a girl under 13 and facilitating the commission of a child sex offence.

:: Fehreen Rafiq, 38, of Huddersfield, charged with two counts of facilitating the commission of a child sex offence.

:: Umar Zaman, 30, of Huddersfield, charged with two counts of rape of a girl aged 13-15.

:: Basharat Hussain, 31, of Huddersfield, charged with two counts of rape of a girl aged 13-15.

:: Amin Ali Choli, 36, of Huddersfield, charged with two counts of rape of a female over 16.

:: Shaqeel Hussain, 35, of Dewsbury, charged with rape of a girl aged 13-15 and two counts of trafficking.

:: Mubasher Hussain, 35, of Huddersfield, charged with rape of a girl aged 13-15 and sexual assault.

:: Abdul Majid, 34, of Huddersfield, charged with two counts of rape of a girl aged 13-15.

ANON Aug 15th, 2018 @ 07:25 PM

2/2...Further accused include:

:: Mohammed Dogar, 35, of Huddersfield, charged with two counts of facilitating the commission of child sex offence.

:: Usman Ali, 32, of Huddersfield, charged with two counts of rape of a girl aged 13-15.

:: Mohammed Waqas Anwar, 29, of Huddersfield, charged with five counts of rape of a girl aged 13-15.

:: Gul Riaz, 42, of Huddersfield, charged with rape of a girl aged 13-15.

:: Mohammed Akram, 41, of Huddersfield, charged with two counts of trafficking with a view to sexual exploitation of a female and rape of a girl aged 14-15.

:: Manzoor Akhtar, 29, of Huddersfield, charged with trafficking and three counts of rape of a girl aged 13-15.

:: Samuel Fikru, 30, of Camden, charged with two counts of rape of a girl aged 13-15.

"A further 12 men who cannot be named for legal reasons have been charged with ‘numerous offences in connection with the same investigation".

ANON Aug 15th, 2018 @ 11:04 AM

Chilean government asks Vatican for sex abuse documents….

The Chilean government has asked the Vatican to hand over documents related to accusations of sex abuse committed by clergy in Chile against children.

Police have searched Chile's Episcopal Conference the offices of the church leadership to look for evidence of accusations made about members of the Marist Brothers religious community.

An ongoing scandal involving accusations of sexual abuse and cover-up within the church in Chile has prompted Pope Francis to begin an investigation that has led to the resignations of several bishops and priests.

Chilean prosecutors have said they are investigating 38 cases of sex crimes committed by clergy and lay people against children and adults.

There are 73 people under investigation and 104 victims, most of whom were minors at the time of the abuse.

Last month, prominent Chilean priest, Oscar Munoz, who held senior positions in the archdiocese of Santiago, was detained over allegations that he sexually abused seven children.

Several offices of senior church figures have been raided as prosecutors search for evidence of accusations of sexual abuse by clergy not reported to the civilian police, and evidence of cover-ups. The scandal has rocked the church in Chile.

In June, the country's 34 bishops were summoned to Rome by Pope Francis after Vatican investigators produced a 2,300-page report alleging that senior church officials in Chile had failed to act on abuse claims and in some cases hid them.

Pope Francis has accepted resignations by five of those bishops.

ANON Aug 15th, 2018 @ 11:01 AM

1/3...Pennsylvania report lists more than 300 'predator' priests…

More than 300 "predator" priests in Pennsylvania are accused of abusing more than 1,000 children across seven decades, a grand jury said in a devastating report that decried a systematic cover-up by the Catholic Church.

It is thought to be the single most comprehensive report to date into abuse in the US church, since The Boston Globe first exposed paedophile priests in Massachusetts in 2002.

But while the report led to charges against two priests, one of whom has pleaded guilty, the majority of those responsible are dead and the vast majority of crimes happened too long ago to prosecute, officials said.

The two-year investigation by a grand jury into all but two Pennsylvania dioceses turned up dozens of witnesses and half a million pages of church records containing "credible allegations against over three hundred predator priests".

More than 1,000 child victims were identifiable, but the "real number" was "in the thousands," the grand jury estimated, given those children whose records were lost or who were afraid to ever come forward.

Victims were often traumatised for life, driven to drugs, alcohol and suicide, the grand jury said.

The only recourse was to recommend changes to the law and expose what had happened to make sure such widespread abuse was never repeated.

One cleric raped a seven-year-old girl in hospital after she had her tonsils out, the report said.

Another child drank juice, only to wake up the next morning in pain and unable to remember what had happened.

ANON Aug 15th, 2018 @ 11:00 AM

2/3...A priest forced a nine-year-old boy to perform a sex act, then rinsed out his mouth with holy water to "purify him".

Another priest abused five sisters from the same family, including one from the age of 18 months to 12 years.

When the youngest victim of the family told her parents in 1992, a police search of the priest's home found underwear, plastic containers of pubic hairs, vials of urine and sexually suggestive photographs of young girls.

The church ignored credible allegations against him for years, and the priest died awaiting trial, Pennsylvania's Attorney General Josh Shapiro said.

"The pattern was abuse, deny and cover up," Mr Shapiro said.

"As a direct consequence of the systematic cover-up by senior church officials almost every instance of child sexual abuse we found is too old to be prosecuted."

So far only two new priests are being charged with crimes that fall within the statute of limitations. One pleaded guilty earlier this month, prosecutors said.

The other allegedly assaulted two boys, one of them for eight years starting from the age of eight. His alleged crimes continued until 2010.

The grand jury called for changes in the law that would scrap the statute of limitations for child sex abuse, give victims more time to file civil lawsuits and tighten legislation compelling people to report abuse they find out about.

"Despite some institutional reform, individual leaders of the church have largely escaped public accountability," the report sai