February 2017 Comments

ANON Feb 24th, 2017 @ 09:46 PM

1/2...Woman to sue State as 'deficiencies' found in handling of allegations of parental sex abuse…

A Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) investigation has found deficiencies in how Gardaí investigated allegations by a woman who claimed she was physically and sexually abused as a child by her parents.

It found one Garda, who has since died, did not act correctly in response to an allegation of assault in 1988.

GSOC also made a recommendation that disciplinary action be considered by the force in relation to at least one other Garda.

The woman is now planning a High Court action against the force and health authorities, alleging they mishandled her complaints.

The parents at the centre of the case are in their 60s and live in Co Monaghan.

Both have convictions for assault and threatening behaviour against individuals outside their family, but the Director of Public Prosecutions decided in 2014 not to pursue child abuse charges against them due to a lack of evidence.

The woman's complaint was one of around 320 cases examined under an independent review mechanism set up by the Department of Justice to consider allegations of Garda misconduct or inadequacies.

She alleged Gardaí were negligent in dealing with her complaints and engaged in "cover-ups".

Following a recommendation from a barrister working on the independent review team, Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald has requested information on the handling of the case from Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan.

ANON Feb 24th, 2017 @ 09:42 PM

2/2...The woman who made the complaint has expressed concerns to authorities about her parents having ongoing access to their young grandchildren and is seeking a fresh inquiry.

In her GSOC complaint, she said the abuse she received from both parents involved physical and sexual violence, emotional abuse and neglect.

She said the abuse began when she was four and involved daily beatings, leaving her with heavy bruising and cuts. She alleged she was kept home from school for periods and made to do housework.

The woman said the abuse intensified during her teenage years and she attempted to run away from home several times before finally leaving the family home for good.

She said she suffered from a chronic post-traumatic stress disorder as a result.

According to a complaint filed with the HSE, a referral was made by her school to child protection services in the mid-1980s, when she was 14. It is alleged a social worker who came to the family home was physically thrown out by the woman's mother and verbally abused by both parents.

The complaint alleged the HSE did not do a follow-up on the referral from the school.

However, the complaint was not upheld by Tusla. A review of the case by the child and family agency last year said social work staff had attempted to assess the situation, but were limited in their ability to intervene in family life.

"While certainly there would be a different response to such concerns today, the matter must be viewed in the context of social work intervention at the time, and no specific practitioner can be singled out for failing to act," the Tusla official who conducted the review found.

Benson Feb 21st, 2017 @ 10:40 AM

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said that Cardinal Connell passed away peacefully during the night in his sleep.

Unlike the 1000s of abused children who lived miserable lives because of clergy abusers

ANON Feb 17th, 2017 @ 04:48 PM

OMG IS THIS REALLY HAPPENING IN MOTHER IRELAND?….New mums fear baby will be taken into care if they admit depression…

Women who suffer from depression during and after pregnancy are often reluctant to admit to it for fear their baby will be taken into care.

Dr Krysia Lynch, chairwoman of the Association for Improvements in Maternity Services Ireland (AIMS), said the lack of supports tailored towards perinatal mental health means women face being admitted to general acute mental health units, separated from their newborn, if they admit to poor mental health.

“Women are very reluctant to admit to perinatal mental health issues because they are frightened Tusla will get involved and that the baby will be taken away from them,” Dr Lynch said.

Dr Lynch was speaking at yesterday’s deliberations on the new National Maternity Strategy (NMS) 2016-2026 as part of a presentation by AIMS to the the Oireachtas Joint Health Committee.

She said AIMS is urging Health Minister Simon Harris to implement the recommendations of the strategy associated with perinatal mental health which she said “remains particularly under-resourced” despite figures showing antenatal depression and anxiety at rates of 17-18% and postnatal depression at 18-19%.

The strategy recommends that all health care professionals involved in antenatal and postnatal care, be trained to identify women at risk of developing or experiencing emotional or mental health difficulties in the perinatal period.

It also recommends improved access to mental health and family supports to ensure appropriate care is provided quickly and additional support for women who have experienced traumatic birth or the loss of a baby.

ANON Feb 17th, 2017 @ 04:45 PM

2/2...However, vice-chairwoman of AIMS, Breda Kerans, said the first recommendation of the NMS that an implementation plan be put in place within six months of the strategy being published - has not happened more than a year later.

“Therefore, for the woman and her family on the ground currently using the services the National Maternity Strategy has changed nothing so far,” she said.

The strategy admits that perinatal mental health supports are inadequate. It says there are just three perinatal psychiatrists, all based in Dublin who work part time “with services under significant pressures”.

Speakers at yesterday’s committee also highlighted the lack of perinatal mental health psychologists. Ms Kerans said all maternity units in France have them, but that there are none here.

Fine Gael Dublin Bay South TD, Kate O’Connell, said because there are no mother and baby units for perinatal mental health issues means if women “were on the edge of a breakdown”, separating them from their baby is likely to “send them over the edge”.

AIMS is calling for a perinatal mental health strategy with ring-fenced funding, as in Britain. It is also seeking dedicated mother and baby psychiatric beds there are none as it is considered best practice to keep mothers and babies together when an admission to a psychiatric unit becomes necessary.

AIMS is also seeking additional perinatal psychiatrists and psychologists.

The issue of additional supports to encourage breastfeeding was also raised.

The point was made that breastfeeding rates among the Polish community in Ireland are up to 95% while they are as low as 40% among Irish women

ANON Feb 17th, 2017 @ 04:12 PM

No decision’ to excavate Bessborough despite high death rate…

There has been “no decision” to carry out excavations on the site of any other mother and baby home other than Tuam despite the HSE confirming as far back as 2012 that there had been a higher infant death rate in Bessborough in Cork .

The Mother and Baby Homes Commission is currently carrying out its second excavation of the site in Tuam, where almost 800 children are reportedly buried.

The Irish Examiner put a number of queries to the commission in relation to similar excavations in other mother and baby homes in particular Bessborough.

A death register for this institution maintained by the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary has been held by the HSE (and now Tusla) since 2011 and records that 478 infants died in the home between 1934 and 1953 a higher infant death rate than recorded in Tuam.

A statement issued by Ita Mangan from the commission stated that “no decision” had been made to look at potential burial sites in any other institution it is investigating.
“No decision has yet been made about excavations at other mother and baby homes.

The examination of the Bessboro documents is continuing and will take several more months. Decisions will be made when all the documentary evidence has been analysed. In Bessboro’s case, that will not be for several months,” said the statement.

In a follow-up query, the Irish Examiner asked if all the documentary evidence relating to Tuam had been analysed as that site has been examined twice. The commission declined to issue a response.

An Irish Examiner investigation in 2015 revealed that the HSE informed the Department of Health and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs of a “shocking” infant mortality rate at Bessborough in 2012.

The unpublished report also expressed concerns that deaths may have been falsified at Bessborough so that children could be “brokered into clandestine adoption arrangements”.

The investigation revealed that the HSE had also reported concerns in 2012 that up to 1,000 children may have been “trafficked” to the US from the Tuam mother and baby home in “a scandal that dwarfs other, more recent, issues within the Church and State”.

Senior HSE officials advised “that this goes all the way up to the minister” so “a fully fledged, fully resourced forensic investigation and State inquiry” could be launched. An inquiry was not launched by the Government until two y

ANON Feb 14th, 2017 @ 10:52 AM

A disgraced teacher who posed as a lawyer to send a letter describing child abuse to a prisoner has been jailed for three-and-a-half years.

Robert Lightband wrote "legal correspondence" on the envelope of the 12-page document to Jason Jordan to avoid prison staff opening it.

A court heard the letter contained "graphic and distressing" descriptions of the abuse of children.

The 70-year-old was placed on the sex offenders register for 10 years.

A sheriff also imposed a 10-year sexual offences prevention order on Lightband, who was sacked from Dundee's Menzieshill High School in 2002 for possessing child abuse material.

Dundee Sheriff Court was told that Lightband had "acquainted" Jordan in Perth Prison's sex offender unit after he was jailed for four months on a separate indecent images charge last year.

After his release, Lightband sent the letter to Jordan, pretending it was legal correspondence from "Goodwin Moir".

Depute fiscal Vicki Bell told a previous hearing: "In general, prison staff don't open legal mail.

"Staff checked the Law Society website and there was no firm of Goodwin Moir listed.

"They opened the letter and it contained references to sexual abuse of children."

Ms Bell said the letter also referred to "a solicitor called Robert Lightband".
She said: "The letter is two typed pages and enclosed a 12-page document containing graphic and distressing descriptions of the abuse of children.

"The accused's laptop was seized under the terms of his sexual offences prevention order.
"When he was detained he said 'there will be stuff you don't like on the computer'."
Ms Bell said Lightband "freely admitted" downloading indecent images of children following his release from prison.

Lightband, a prisoner at HMP Perth, admitted charges of attempted fraud committed on 29 September last year and breaching a sexual offences prevention order.

Sheriff Alastair Carmichael told Lightband: "This is an extremely serious case and an attack on the solicitor-client relationship."

ANON Feb 13th, 2017 @ 09:19 AM

Fort Augustus Abbey monk appears at extradition hearing in Sydney…

A former Catholic monk accused of child abuse at a Scottish school has appeared in court in Australia facing extradition.

Father Denis "Chrysostom" Alexander was one of several monks accused of abusing boys at the former Fort Augustus Abbey boarding school in the Highlands.

He has always denied the allegations.

He appeared via a video link at the hearing in Sydney and was refused bail.

The full extradition case is set to be heard in May.

In 2013, Father Alexander was confronted by BBC Scotland in Australia as part of a documentary into alleged abuse by monks at the school, which prompted a major police investigation.

The BBC's correspondent in Sydney, Phil Mercer, attended the latest court hearing.

He said: "His lawyer argued that he should be released given his age, a lack of mobility and various medical conditions.

"It was discussed in court that Father Alexander has diabetes and hypertension and a history of falls, and the lawyer said that the former priest was not a flight risk and that his incarceration was punitive.

"A lawyer for the British government said that being held in custody would not harm Father Alexander's health, and he also suggested that the former monk might be a flight risk, that he could be driven to a Benedictine monastery somewhere in Australia to evades the authority."

After hearing from both sides, the magistrate decided Father Alexander should remain in custody until the full extradition hearing in three months time.

The former monk's lawyer said he would fight extradition to Scotland.

Father Alexander was returned by the Catholic Church to Australia in 1979 after allegations of abuse were made by a Fort Augustus Abbey pupil, and continued working as a priest for a further 20 years or more.

He was stripped of his priestly faculties in 2013 after the BBC programme.

ANON Feb 13th, 2017 @ 09:17 AM

1/2...Historical Abuse Inquiry ignored report on paedophile doctor: Claim…

A researcher who helped uncover how a paedophile doctor was allowed to continue working with children has lambasted a major inquiry after it refused to include his damning report.

Dr Niall Meehan, head of the journalism and media communications faculty at Griffith College Dublin, found that the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) was made aware in 1971 that Royal Hospital Belfast child-psychiatrist, Dr Roderick Morrison Fraser, had abused a 13-year-old Belfast boy in London.

Fraser had pleaded guilty to the sex offences in 1972, however he was not jailed and continued to work with children.

The report exposed major failings by health boards, medical professionals and the RUC after they failed to stop him working within the health service.

Dr Meehan who produced the report entitled Child Abuse, Corruption and Collusion in Britain and Northern Ireland said he contacted the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIA) with a copy of his evidence after references to Fraser were made in its hearings in April last year.

He was told by HAI officials that the inquiry would consider matters "relevant to its terms and conditions".

However, Dr Meehan has accused the inquiry of ignoring the submission after it was not included in the report.

“I asked the inquiry to investigate why the RUC and London Metropolitan Police failed to inform hospital authorities that Fraser was under investigation since August 1971 for sexual abuse of two Belfast boys in London, aged 10 and 13," Dr Meehan said.

"But it appears that the inquiry took a very differential attitude towards RUC spokespeople as well as British security and intelligence spokespeople.

ANON Feb 13th, 2017 @ 09:14 AM

2/2..."It adapted their narratives and a kind of mindset and wasn't going to waver from it," he claimed.

Despite being a convicted sex offender, Fraser continued to remain on the medical register.

A week after his conviction, the paedophile was the main speaker at an ISPCC (Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) conference at Jordanstown.

The Kincora whistleblower and abuse survivor, Richard Kerr, claimed he was abused by Fraser during counselling at the doctor's medical offices in the Royal Victoria

Hospital in the early 1970s when he was aged about 13. Mr Kerr said that Fraser had access to all of the children's homes in Belfast.

"The police could have told health authorities they were employing a child abuser," Dr Meehan continued.

He added: "The RUC knew he was a child abuser, they could have told the hospital and said that guy is a paedophile but they didn't and there is something very wrong there.

"I named the RUC officer who took Fraser's statement that led to his conviction and who was aware of what he did, but the officer did nothing.

"The officer is still alive today."

Fraser remained in post for a further year until a publicised arrest in New York in May 1973, when he was exposed as part of a nine-man paedophile-ring.

Dr Meehan claims that one week after that, a 'certificate of conviction' relating to Fraser's 1972 sex offences was sent by police to the Northern Ireland Hospital Authority.

"In other words, it was sent a year late when the police game was up," he accused.

"It is astonishing that the Hart Inquiry did not investigate why police permitted an admitted abuser to continue interacting with institutionalised children.

"If the inquiry could not accomplish even that simple task, its report is compromised," Dr Meehan added.

The HIA failed to respond to a request for comment..

ANON Feb 10th, 2017 @ 09:20 PM

1/2...Priest who molested boy, 12, jailed…

An English priest who molested a 12-year-old boy after bringing the child and his brother on holiday to Ireland over 40 years ago has been jailed for nine months.

Michael Dunn, aged 67, who pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual assault, intends to appeal the sentence, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard yesterday.

Dunn knew the boy and his family as the child served as an altar boy.

The victim was bullied at school and Dunn became his “trusted confidant”, the court heard.

The victim told the court Dunn groomed him to comply and that said he felt helpless to escape.

“I was imprisoned in what was supposed to be a holiday and 100 miles from home,” he said.

The now 53-year-old said in his Garda statement he felt he loved Dunn as he was a father figure and friend.

He was the only person who showed him physical affection and he later “felt bad for letting it happen”.

Dunn, with an address in Lawrence St, York, England, pleaded guilty to three charges of sexual assault in August 1975 when he was 26 years old.

He was jailed for 18 months in England in March 2005 after he was convicted of sexual assaulting another young boy in the 1970s.

ANON Feb 10th, 2017 @ 09:17 PM

2/2...Judge Melanie Greally noted Dunn entered the priesthood at a very young age, when he was “ill-prepared for the challenges of priesthood, both sexually and socially”.

The judge took into account mitigating factors including his guilty plea and the fact he had lived an “irreproachable” life ever since.

Bernard Condon, defending, indicated Dunn would be appealing the sentence and asked that he be granted bail pending the outcome.

Judge Greally denied the bail application.

In a victim impact statement, the man said he had been at an early stage of his sexual and emotional development.

“I cannot say the abuse made me gay but it normalised in my psyche an attraction to men.”

He said that, as a married man and father, he led a “secret life of alcohol and infidelity with other men”.

He said his “greatest sadness” was the pain this process had caused his wife and children. He described life with him as “intolerable”, two of his older children left home and his marriage had broken down.

He said he had completed 60 hours of therapy and had finally started a process of coming to terms with what happened to him. “I hope to live a normal, honest and fulfilled life from now,” he said.

Mr Condon said his client apologised and regretted his behaviour.

He said he recognised the impact the abuse had on the man and “is full of remorse, horror, and shame”.

ANON Feb 10th, 2017 @ 09:13 PM

Childline receives 50,000 calls about serious mental health issues…

One of the young callers who turned to the charity for help described feeling as if they had "turned into a monster".

More than 50,000 young people turned to Childline last year for help with serious mental health issues - a rise of 8% over the past four years.

Data from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) shows youngsters aged 12 to 15 made up a third of all the counselling sessions, with girls almost seven times more likely to seek help than boys,

Childline saw a 36% rise over four years in young people needing help for depression and other disorders, while there was also a rise in the number of children and young people feeling suicidal.

One young person who called Childline said: "I'm struggling to cope with bipolar. One minute, I feel so low, like I'm trapped, and all I want to do is disappear.

"Then suddenly, I feel the complete opposite, and I'm really happy and I start thinking about everything in a really positive light.

I feel like I push away everyone that tries to help, I tell them I hate them and blame them for everything. I just feel like I've turned into a monster."

Peter Wanless, chief executive of the NSPCC, said he was "deeply concerned" by the figures.

"To ensure the next generation aren't left to deal with a mental health epidemic, there has to be a much more comprehensive network of professional support and treatment in place that is easily accessible for young people who are desperate for help to get their lives back on track," he said.

Childline founder Dame Esther Rantzen said: "It's striking how many more children seem to be suffering serious mental health problems today than when we launched Childline 30 years ago.

"So many desperately unhappy children seem to be suffering suicidal thoughts, self-harming, becoming anxious and depressed, with many of them turning to Childline because no other support is available."

Childline said early signs of a serious mental health problem in children and young people include becoming withdrawn from friends and family, being tearful or irritable, sudden outbursts, and problems eating or sleeping.

The figures were released at the start of Children's Mental Health Week

ANON Feb 10th, 2017 @ 09:09 PM

1/2...One in 14 Catholic priests accused of abuse in Australia …

The commission has made over 300 referrals to police but so far there have only been 27 prosecutions with 75 cases pending

An inquiry into institutional sex abuse in Australia has heard that 7% of the country's Catholic priests were accused of abusing children between 1950 and 2010 but the allegations were never fully investigated.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse heard that 4,444 alleged incidents of pedophilia were reported to church authorities and in some dioceses, more than 15% of priests were perpetrators.

Australia ordered the Royal Commission in 2012 after a decade of growing pressure to investigate allegations of child abuse across the country, with the inquiry now in its final phase after four years of hearings.

"Between 1950 and 2010, overall 7% of priests were alleged perpetrators," said Gail Furness, the lawyer leading questioning at the inquiry in Sydney.

"The accounts were depressingly similar. Children were ignored or worse, punished. Allegations were not investigated. Priests and religious (figures) were moved," she added.

"The parishes or communities to which they were moved knew nothing of their past. Documents were not kept or they were destroyed. Secrecy prevailed as did cover ups."

The average age of the victims at the time was 10 for girls and 11 for boys.

ANON Feb 10th, 2017 @ 09:07 PM

2/2...Of the 1,880 alleged perpetrators, 90% were men.

The St John of God Brothers religious order was the worst, with just over 40% of members accused of abuse.

The commission has spoken to thousands of survivors and heard claims of child abuse involving churches, orphanages, sporting clubs, youth groups and schools.

The church in Australia set up the Truth, Justice and Healing Council to coordinate its response.

"These numbers are shocking, they are tragic, they are indefensible," its chief executive Francis Sullivan told the commission.

"This data, along with all we have heard over the past four years, can only be interpreted for what it is: a massive failure on the part of the Catholic Church in Australia to protect children from abusers.

The inquiry has embroiled Australia's most senior Catholic cleric George Pell, now the Vatican's finance chief, who was questioned over his dealings with paedophile priests in Victoria state in the 1970s.

Mr Pell was also accused of historic sex abuse claims when he was the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney in 2002, but was later cleared of any wrongdoing. He has denied all allegations.

Since being set up, the commission has made over 300 referrals to police but so far there have only been 27 prosecutions with 75 cases pending.

ANON Feb 10th, 2017 @ 09:04 PM

Extent of sexual abuse by Australian priests revealed…

Australia's Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has been sitting since 2013

Thousands of children reported sexual abuse at more than 1,000 Catholic institutions across Australia, an inquiry has been told.

It was revealed that 7% of priests in Australia's Catholic Church were accused of sexually abusing children over the past few decades.

Officials investigating institutional abuse across Australia revealed for the first time the extent of the crisis at a hearing of Australia's Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The royal commission which is Australia's highest form of inquiry has been investigating since 2013 how the Catholic Church and other institutions responded to the sexual abuse of children over decades.

The commission has previously heard harrowing testimony from scores of people who suffered abuse at the hands of clergy.

But the full scale of the problem was never clear until yesterday, when the commission released the statistics it has gathered. Commissioners surveyed Catholic Church authorities and found that between 1980 and 2015, 4,444 people reported they had been abused at Catholic institutions, said Gail Furness, the lead lawyer assisting the commission.

The average age of the victims was 10.5 for girls and 11.5 for boys.

Overall, 7% of priests in Australia between 1950 and 2010 were accused of sexually abusing children, Ms Furness said.

Francis Sullivan, chief executive of the Truth Justice and Healing Council, which is co-ordinating the Catholic Church's response to the inquiry, said the data reflected "a massive failure" by the church to protect children.

"These numbers are shocking, they are tragic and they are indefensible," he told the commission. "As Catholics, we hang our heads in shame."

The Vatican has watched the proceedings closely.

Cardinal George Pell, who was Australia's most senior Catholic before becoming Pope Francis' top financial adviser, has testified at previous hearings about how Church authorities responded to allegations of child sex abuse during his time in Australia.

Several senior Australian Catholics will be testifying over the next few weeks.

The commission's final report is due by the end of this year.

ANON Feb 10th, 2017 @ 09:01 PM

Children sue Swansea council over abuse allegations…

Four children are seeking £200,000 in damages from Swansea council, over claims it did not protect them from their abusive parents.

It is alleged that one child had seen its parents snort cocaine and another was still wearing nappies aged seven.

The children were eventually put into foster care but lawyers acting on their behalf say that should have happened sooner.

Swansea council said it would be "inappropriate to comment".

The legal action has been launched on the children's behalf by the Official Solicitor - part of the justice ministry which acts for those too vulnerable or young to sue for themselves.

Papers lodged with the Royal Courts of Justice in December 2016 also allege that the mother had refused to take one of her children to hospital despite it having breathing difficulties.

'Emotional abuse':

The mother and child were later escorted to hospital by police.
The action claims the local authority should have done more to protect the youngsters from "physical and emotional abuse and neglect which they were subject in their family home".

The papers state the claimants expect to recover more than £200,000, saying their parents had been known to social workers for "quite some time".

ANON Feb 10th, 2017 @ 08:58 PM

Canadian mother found guilty of hiding six baby bodies in locker…

Staff at storage facility found decomposed remains in Andrea Giesbrecht’s locker
Canadian judge found a mother guilty on Monday of concealing the decomposing remains of her six babies in a storage locker.

Andrea Giesbrecht, who turns 43 this week, was charged with six counts of concealing the body of a child in October, 2014.

Staff at storage company U-Haul, a subsidiary of Amerco , discovered the decomposed bodies in her locker after she fell behind on payments.

Police then found the remains of five boys and a girl, at gestational ages ranging between 34 and 40 weeks, in garbage bags, plastic bins and pails, along with children’s toys and clothing.

One infant’s remains were encased in concrete and another in a detergent like powder, and all were too badly decomposed to determine a cause of death.

The remains of all six infants were linked to Giesbrecht and her husband through DNA evidence.

Giesbrecht’s defence lawyers had argued that she was not concealing the remains, but saving them.

But Judge Murray Thompson ruled in Manitoba provincial court in Winnipeg that Giesbrecht packed up the bodies to keep them secret, and used an incorrect address and her maiden name for the storage locker account.

He accepted experts’ testimony that the babies were likely born alive.

The couple has two other children.

Each charge carries a maximum penalty of two years in jail.
Sentencing will happen at a later date.

ANON Feb 10th, 2017 @ 08:55 PM

Northern Ireland indecent child image crimes soar by 70%...

Offences involving the possession of indecent images of children in Northern Ireland soared by 70% last year - sending alarm bells ringing throughout the province.
Nearly 400 crimes were reported, police figures show.

The NSPCC has warned there are hidden dangers in using the internet and has called on parents to be more vigilant.

Referring to Safe Internet Day, which is today, the head of the NSPCC for Northern Ireland, Neil Anderson, said: "With the use of internet devices rising year on year, knowing how to protect young people online is becoming an even greater challenge.
"To children, online friends are real friends and online life is real life. There's no difference.

"This leaves them open to the risk of online abuse more than ever before.

"The dangers of the internet are clear.

“Last year alone, the number of offences involving the possession of indecent images of children recorded by the PSNI rose by over 70% to 394 in 2015/16.

"Young people can often share too much about themselves online without realising the consequences.

"Therefore, it is also vital that they know how to get help if they ever feel scared or uncomfortable about something they see online.

"We would always encourage parents to have open and honest conversations with their children to understand how to stay safe and where to go when things go wrong.

"Setting up parental controls, alongside regular chats about their digital lives, can go a long way to minimising the risks.

Meanwhile, seven in 10 children and young people have seen unsuitable images and videos online across the UK, according to a report.

The vast majority of eight to 17-year-olds questioned (84%) told researchers they had shared a photo online in the last day, with around 17% saying they had done so in the last hour.

The poll of 1,500 eight to 17-year-olds was commissioned by the UK Safer Internet Centre.

ANON Feb 10th, 2017 @ 08:52 PM

1/2...Northern Ireland father caught with images and videos of child abuse jailed…

A 40-year old north Down man who was caught with images and videos of child abuse has been sent to jail for five months on Monday.

Jailing father-of-one Timothy Bates, Judge Patricia Smyth said that whilst the amount of videos and images were not the highest in number, what was depicted on the video clips and images was so serious that a custodial sentence was warranted.

As well as being sent to prison, Bates, from Bayview Road in Bangor, was also placed on the Sex Offenders Register for seven years and made the subject of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order for the same period.

Belfast Crown Court heard that whilst Bates had no recollection of being sexually abused by a teacher at his school who was subsequently jailed, he believes certain aspects of his sexuality may have been impacted by this teacher.

This included Bates memory of "inappropriate and highly sexualised discussions within the school, including sex education".

At a previous hearing, prosecutor Simon Jenkins said just over 100 images were found during a search of Bates' former home in east Belfast on June 13, 2015.

The search occurred after police received information that indecent images of children were being accessed from that address.

Bates was spoken to at the scene, when his laptop and a computer tower were seized.

When the items were analysed, it emerged that Bates was in possession of 44 indecent images of children and 55 indecent video files.

Also found on his laptop was an extreme pornographic video and prohibited images of children.

ANON Feb 10th, 2017 @ 08:49 PM

2/2...The court was told that the images ranges from the lowest to the highest category, including scenes of sadism and beastiality. Mr Jenkins revealed the two-hour long compilation video includes scenes were a two-year old is in "physical distress and crying whilst being abused".

Bates was interviewed both on the day his home was searched, and again in March when the results of the analysis of the laptop came back.

He admitted searching for images of young girls, but claimed this has initially occurred by accident.

Saying there were over 100 images - both still and moving Mr Jenkins spoke of the "very young age of some of the children involved", adding: "There were obvious signs of fear and distress induced in several of the videos."

Defence barrister John O'Connor said Bates came before the court with no previous convictions and an excellent work record, but since his arrest he now has nothing.

"As a result of this he has lost everything.

He has lost his employment, his wife has left him and he has no contact with his son, apart from supervised visits."

He said Bates, who has a degree and a Masters, made full admissions of his guilt, and has been seeking help via a psychiatrist "to try and understand what led him down this destructive path."

The barrister told the court that Bates started viewing the images and videos whilst "highly intoxicated", and has since told probation he feels disgusted by what he has done - but at the time he just couldn't stop.

Mr O'Connor concluded by saying Bates accepted he was "the author of his own downfall."

Sending Bates to jail, Judge Smyth spoke of the young age of some of the children being abused, and of the "obvious signs of fear and distress."

The Judge said the prison sentence was necessary "to reflect the public disgust and to deter others, thereby offering some protection to children against the horrendous abuse the children in these images have suffered."

ANON Feb 10th, 2017 @ 08:46 PM

1/2...Ex-resident of Kincora boys' home to launch legal action over inquiry findings…

The inquiry dismissed claims that senior politicians, civil servants and businessmen were in a paedophile ring at the home in the 1970s

A former resident of a notorious Belfast boys' home is set to mount a legal challenge against the findings of an inquiry that rejected claims that senior establishment figures used it to abuse children.

Richard Kerr, who alleges he was abused by "very powerful people" with links to the Kincora home, does not accept the conclusions of the four-year Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) inquiry.

The inquiry dismissed long-standing claims that senior politicians, civil servants and businessmen were complicit in a paedophile ring that operated at the home in the 1970s and for which three staff members were jailed.

The report also rejected associated allegations that the UK security services knew what was going on and, instead of intervening, used the information to blackmail the establishment figures involved.

Publishing the HIA findings in January, inquiry chairman Sir Anthony Hart said of Kincora: "It was not a homosexual brothel, nor was it used by any of the security agencies as a honey pot to entrap, blackmail or otherwise exploit homosexuals."

The retired judge added: "It is now time to finally lay these unfounded myths to rest."
Mr Kerr, who claims he was abused inside Kincora and at other locations in Belfast and London, was due to give evidence to the inquiry last year but withdrew his co-operation at a late stage after claiming key state documents related to the home were not disclosed to his legal team.

ANON Feb 10th, 2017 @ 08:43 PM

2/2...Sir Anthony was critical of some of those who declined to give evidence, naming Mr Kerr specifically.

He said there had been an "unwillingness of some individuals who have been vocal in the past about their purported knowledge of sexual abuse relating to Kincora, but when the opportunity was offered to them to assist this Inquiry refused to do so".

Mr Kerr's solicitor Claire McKeegan said the HIA's inability to compel state files and a number of potentially key witnesses to give evidence meant it had been unable to properly investigate the claims around Kincora.

Confirming legal action was planned, Ms McKeegan said: "Mr Kerr has been disappointed by the inquiry's approach, which appears to have subjected the accounts and records of the state and institutions to inadequate scrutiny in relation to the allegations of collusion at Kincora.

"Instead the inquiry's focus on examining of historical documents relating to him in order to identify what the inquiry believes to have been inconsistencies has been conducted in a manner which failed to adequately consider the credibility or reliability of these records and, in any event, appears to have been inherently unfair to Mr Kerr, particularly in circumstances where they did not benefit from hearing any evidence from him.

"This is particularly disappointing given the serious allegations of collusion that surround the abuse perpetrated at Kincora, and particularly so given that the persistence of these rumours has ensured there is particular need for a comprehensive human rights compliant investigation in order to finally determine the truth of these matters.

"In any event the criticisms of Richard Kerr are entirely unjust, unwarranted and inappropriate."

ANON Feb 10th, 2017 @ 08:41 PM

Paedophile teacher Mark Frost gets 13 life sentences…

Mark Frost will die in jail after committing "horrific" abuse against children from Thailand to Worcestershire over two decades.

A retired teacher has been given 13 life sentences after admitting a "horrific" catalogue of abuse on children.

Mark Frost, 70, pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to 45 offences against nine children aged 11 to 15 in Thailand between 2009 and 2012.

Frost, formerly known as Andrew Tracey, also admitted having sex with two pupils in Worcestershire over three years in the 1990s.

The court heard how some of the abuse took place at school and on other occasions at the home where Frost lived with his adopted son.

He was sentenced to serve a minimum of 16 years for each life sentence and is likely to die in jail.

Judge Mark Lucraft told Frost he was responsible for "the most appalling catalogue of sexual abuse" and it was clear he had an "ongoing obsession" with young boys.

He said: "Your conduct towards each and every one of these victims is horrific and deeply disturbing.

"You are someone who continues to present a very real risk to children of serious sexual offending."

In addition to the 13 life sentences, Frost was handed 10-year terms for other sex offences and five-year terms for indecent images.

The ex-English teacher gave no reaction as he was jailed.

A spokesman for the NSPCC said: "Frost was a prolific and dangerous paedophile who worked as a teacher and Scout leader for decades.

We hope that anyone who suffered can now find the courage to speak out."

ANON Feb 10th, 2017 @ 08:38 PM

Victim came forward after reading about sentencing…

Another victim of sexual assault by convicted paedophile Patrick Bassett came forward and complained to Gardaí of what happened to him as a child after reading media coverage of his last prison sentence.

At Cork Circuit Criminal Court yesterday, Sergeant Annamarie Guiney testified that Patrick Bassett sexually assaulted a boy who was aged between 8 and 11 in the late 1960s in Co Cork.

Bassett pleaded guilty to all 12 charges.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin acknowledged that the 82-year-old was presently serving a three-year sentence having been convicted on a total of 40 charges of a similar nature in relation to three separate injured parties.

The judge imposed a two-year jail sentence but suspended it.

Sgt Guiney said the background to the latest sexual assault before the court was that the defendant, while he was in his 30s, took advantage of the boy.

He removed the child’s pants and masturbated him.

When questioned initially about the charges in the Midlands prison, Bassett made no comment to the investigating sergeant.

However, he ultimately pleaded guilty to the 12 charges.

The victim was not present in court yesterday for the case and did not want to appear or to give a victim impact report.

Sgt Guiney said that the injured party did have difficulties arising out of these assaults and had 34 sessions of counselling to deal with his issues.

However, he indicated to her that he was in a good place now and did not want to come to court as he simply wanted to put the matter behind him.

Defence barrister John Devlin stressed the age of the defendant and the fact that he had served prison sentences for such crimes and was still serving one of those sentences of three years. With remission he will be released in April from that sentence.

ANON Feb 10th, 2017 @ 08:34 PM

1/...2Man abused by Marist as a boy awarded €75,000 against order…
Court ruling on vicarious liability of religious orders may have implications for others

Given the Supreme Court’s majority judgment, Mr Justice Donal O’Donnell held a religious order is an unincorporated association whose members are vicariously liable for acts of a fellow member

The Supreme Court has ruled a man who was “systematically” sexually abused by a Marist while a national school pupil is entitled to €75,000 damages against the brother’s order.

The four to one majority ruling concerning vicarious liability of religious orders for sexual abuse by their members may have implications for religious orders and other unincorporated associations.

The High Court found the man, now in his 50s, was abused by his teacher, then Marist Brother Christopher Cosgrove, of Claremorris, Co Mayo, at St John’s School, Sligo, between 1969 and 1972.