February 2018 Comments

ANON Feb 24th, 2018 @ 10:07 PM

1,882 allegations of child sex abuse in 135 religious orders…

A total of 1,882 allegations of child sexual abuse were returned in the Section 5 audit questionnaire completed by all 135 religious orders.

The allegations relate to 549 clerics and religious order members, current, former, and deceased.

A total of 56, or 10%, of individuals were convicted of child sexual abuse offences.

A total of 1,078, or 57%, of allegations relates to abuse against living members that occurred in the Republic of Ireland.

A total of 37 allegations have been made against 22 members who were in ministry (at the time of the audit cut-off). And 542 allegations have been made against 159 members who have been placed out of ministry.

A final figure of 523 allegations were assessed as meeting the reporting duration threshold.

Of those, 12% of the allegations were promptly reported to the civil authorities since 1996, rising to 19% in the most recent ‘safeguarding’ phase from 2009 to 2013.

A total of 626 allegations were returned in the Section 5 audit questionnaire completed by the Congregation of the Christian Brothers the highest figure for any order.

ANON Feb 20th, 2018 @ 01:10 PM

Paedophile’s victims say abuse was known of for years…

Victims of paedophile basketball coach Bill Kenneally say they have evidence that gardaí suspected him of abusing children at least eight years earlier than has been acknowledged to date.

They say officers who detained a child in Waterford over a juvenile matter in 1979 used the opportunity to ask him what he knew about Kenneally, who lived locally.

They also say they have learned that Kenneally was interviewed about an attack on a child in 1987 (for which he was not responsible) five months before the first formal complaint about him. Gardaí say they knew nothing before this complaint.

They have called for the commission of inquiry agreed by the Government in the wake of Kenneally’s conviction to begin without delay.

Kenneally is appealing a 14-year term given in 2016 after he admitted 10 sample counts of indecently assaulting boys in Waterford between 1984 and 1987.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has said an inquiry can not take place until criminal proceedings end.

A number of victims, who waived their anonymity, claimed this was a “cop out” and said the “substantial and systematic” cover-up of Kenneally’s activities by State agencies, the Catholic Church and local people of influence should not be delayed any further.

Jason Clancy, one of the group, said the truth needed to come out.

“We are not here for ourselves anymore,” said Mr Clancy. “This is about our children, this is about everybody’s children.

Any child, if something happened them, should be able to go into a garda station and tell their story and have it dealt with properly whoever the accused is and that is still absolutely not the case.”

The group are supported by local Fianna Fáil member Kieran Hartley, who called on party leader Micheál Martin to make a statement detailing what he knew about Kenneally and when he was made aware of it.

Bill Kenneally’s cousin, former Fianna Fáil TD and minister of state Brendan Kenneally, has admitted he was told of abuse allegations in 2002 but did not report the matter to gardaí.

Mr Hartley said the matter had brought Fianna Fáil into disrepute.

Fianna Fáil and the Department of Justice have been contacted for comment.

ANON Feb 19th, 2018 @ 05:56 PM

1/2...Pope Francis ‘lacks clout’ on abuse issue…

Abuse survivor and former papal advisor Marie Collins says she has no confidence in the newly-reconvened Vatican commission on clerical child sex abuse or in the Pope’s ability to deliver on the reforms it recommended.

Ms Collins quit the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors last March in frustration at lack of action on its recommendations.

Another high-profile resignation followed and the commission finished out its three-year term last December with uncertainty surrounding its future.

Pope Francis said at the weekend the commission was reconvening, but with only two of the original lay members.

Ms Collins said this was despite members asking to be returned to continue their work. She said the clerical members were invited back.

“My confidence in the commission to bring any radical change to the Church would not be there any longer,” she said. “

“I did have great confidence in the commission and the members that were in it and when I resigned I still had confidence in it, but I think with the turnover now and the people I’ve seen leaving voluntarily or not being reappointed, it doesn’t fill me with hope at all.”

The 16-member commission had six working groups and four of the lay leaders were gone, Ms Collins said, while of the four members who were on the key working group for the healing and care of survivors, all three lay members were gone.

“The only original member left is a religious sister,” said Ms Collins. “I’m sure the people coming on to the commission are very worthy people but they’re starting at scratch again. A lot of the expertise and skill that had been built over the three years has been lost.”

Pope Francis, announcing the new commission under the leadership of US Cardinal Sean O’Malley, promised victims would be given a greater say in it work.

ANON Feb 19th, 2018 @ 05:54 PM

2/2...However, Ms Collins said the Vatican saw the previous commission as “too independent” and she did not see that attitude changing. She said the way to prove otherwise was for its recommendations to be implemented.

“Things such as the guidelines template for child protection which was to be made universal to all the churches around the world,” she said. “The commission drew it up and it was approved but it has never been disseminated.

“Also the issue of accountability of bishops. A tribunal was recommended but wasn’t implemented and the responsibility for the disciplining of bishops has been given back to the Conference of Bishops so they’re looking after their own.”

Ms Collins said she was disappointed that Pope Francis had not stood up to the Curia the Vatican governing body.

“He did not get in behind the initiatives and ensure that they were implemented so there wasn’t the force there that was needed,” she said.

“If you ask a group of experts to advise you and they give you their advice and you think it’s good advice, it’s up to you then to ensure that it happens.”

Pope Francis will visit Ireland in August for the World Meeting of Families but Ms Collins said she did not think there would be an opportunity to raise her concerns.

“He never met with the members other than to shake our hands after Mass,” she said.

Ms Collins was appointed to the original commission because of her campaigning work for victims in Ireland after she challenged the late Cardinal Desmond Connell over his failure to tackle paedophile priests such as the hospital chaplain who attacked her when she was 13.

She said she had committed to a number of training sessions with the members and
had one more to fulfill.

“Then I won’t have any more association with the commission,” she said. “I will be cutting my ties completely.”

ANON Feb 19th, 2018 @ 05:49 PM

1/2...Children in two unmarked graves: Shame of what lies beneath….

Children from the Bessborough Mother and Baby Home, some of whom died as late as 1990, are buried in unmarked graves in a Cork City cemetery.

The discovery comes as the Mother and Baby Homes Commission has called for information relating to the burials of a “large number” of children who died at the home between 1922 and 1998.

An Irish Examiner investigation has uncovered three grave plots in St Finbarr’s cemetery in Cork City which contain the remains of at least 21 children.

The first of these plots is unmarked and was purchased by the now closed St Anne’s Adoption Society. Founded in 1954 by the then Bishop of Cork Cornelius Lucey, it was set up with the purpose of arranging the adoption of babies born to Irish unmarried mothers in Britain. It closed in 2003 and its records are now in the possession of Tusla.

This plot contains the remains of three girls and one boy. Their deaths occurred in 1979, 1983, 1988, and 1990.

The plot is unmarked and contains no headstone or any markings to indicate that it is a grave.

In the case of the last burial in 1990, the child’s death certificate notes that while she died in St Finbarr’s Hospital in Cork, she was in the care of the nuns at Bessborough Mother and Baby Home.

A birth entry for this child in this name could not be located.

In the case of the three other children buried in the plot, just one has both the birth and death recorded. The other two children have birth certificates but no death certificates could be located in those names.

It may be the case that the deaths were recorded in the names of the foster/prospective adoptive parents.

The second plot belongs to the former St Patrick’s Orphanage run by the Mercy Sisters. It operated a nursery for St Anne’s Adoption Society, where children were kept until the society could arrange for an adoption to be contracted.

There are a total of 16 children buried in this plot their deaths occurring between 1957 and 1978.

This grave is marked but just one name is recorded that of the final child buried in the plot.

The other 15 children in the plot are not named.

ANON Feb 19th, 2018 @ 05:45 PM

2/2...Two of these children died in Bessborough in 1976 and 1978, while a third was born in Bessborough but died in St Finbarr’s Hospital.

In the case of the other children, a number were born in UK, with others born in Ireland.

The third plot is a non-perpetuity plot — indicating it is unowned. It holds the remains of at least one child.

The death certificate states her death occurred at St Finbarr’s Hospital in 1989 but that she was in the care of “c/o Sacred Heart Hospital, Blackrock, Cork”he address of the Bessborough Mother and Baby Home.

In 2015, the Irish Examiner revealed 470 infants and 10 women were recorded as having died at the Bessborough mother and baby home between 1934 and 1953.

The Irish Examiner put a series of questions to Tusla on the latest revelations. It stated that, between 1957 and 1990, there were 16 recorded infant deaths in St Anne’s Adoption Society and St Patrick’s Orphanage.

“Records which were accessed indicate that 13 mothers were informed,” said a statement. “This does not mean the remaining three mothers were not informed; records of notification to mothers/family members are not always held on files.”

“All 16 births were officially registered. Fifteen of the 16 deaths were identified as recorded on the Register of Births, Deaths and Marriages. Records in relation to the death of one child were not located.”

In a statements, the Sister of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary said: “As indicated previously all records relating to Bessborough were passed to the HSE in 2011 and are now in the possession of Tusla. We will continue to deal directly with the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes on all such matters.”

Similarly, the Sisters of Mercy said that they would “deal directly with this Commission on all related matters”.

anon Feb 19th, 2018 @ 05:23 PM

Bessborough children buried in unmarked Cork city graves as late as 1990 – reports…

Children who died as late as 1990 at the Bessborough Mother and Baby home in Cork are buried in unmarked graves at St Finbarr's Cemetery in the city, according to the Irish Examiner.

In a brief statement, the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary, who ran the home, said it will continue "to deal directly with the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes on all such matters".

Their comments follow a report in today's Irish Examiner claiming three grave plots have been uncovered at the city cemetery containing the remains of at least 21 children.

According to the report, one unmarked plot was purchased by the now closed St Anne's Adoption Society and contains the remains of three girls and one boy who died between 1979 and 1990.

The death certificate of the last child to be buried in the plot in 1990 notes that while she died at St Finbarr's Hospital in Cork, she was in the care of the nuns at Bessborough.

However, a birth entry for this child in the name given could not be found.

The second plot belongs to the former St Patrick's Orphanage run by the Mercy Sisters which operated a nursery for St Anne's Adoption Society.

It contains 16 children who died between 1957 and 1978 but only one name is recorded on the grave.

The third plot is a non-perpetuity plot, meaning that it is unowned.

The newspaper reports that it holds the remains of at least one child whose death certificate indicates she was in the care of the Bessborough Mother and Baby Home.

Earlier this month, the Mother and Baby Homes Commission said it would like to hear from anyone "who has personal knowledge, documentation or other information concerning the burial arrangements and/or burial places of children who died in Bessborough between 1922 and 1998", on or before 1 April next.

Commenting separately on today's newspaper report, the Sisters of Mercy said they would "deal directly with this Commission on all related matters."

ANON Feb 19th, 2018 @ 11:05 AM


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ANON Feb 18th, 2018 @ 10:31 AM

1/2...Two women sexually abused by their father believed 'this happened in everyone's house'…

Two young women who suffered years of sexual abuse at the hands of their father have told how the abuse was so constant that they had grown up believing it to be normal and “this happened in everyone’s house”.

John Murphy (60) originally from Bonniconlon in Co Mayo but now a prisoner in Arbour Hill was sentenced to eight years in prison after Judge Rory McCabe labelled him a paedophile adding there was nothing to say he did not represent an ongoing danger.

He sentenced the Mayo man after hearing Victim Impact Statements from Murphy’s adopted and biological daughters and a third victim.

Murphy pleaded guilty to 20 counts out of a 72 count indictment on a full facts basis. The abuse took place at four locations in Galway and Mayo over more than 20 years from 1992 to 2013.

He subjected his adopted daughter Stephanie Prendergast (29) to years of sexual abuse which started when she was just four-years-old while also abusing his biological daughter Michaela Murphy (19) from the age of 11.

Both women waived their right to anonymity in the hopes of encouraging more abuse victims to come forward.

Ms Prendergast, who was adopted by Murphy and his wife when she was just two, was abused from the age of four to 12 and was subjected to “constant and daily sexual assault”.

“It was constant. It was literally daily. When I think about it now it didn’t feel like sexual abuse because it was a daily event. It was the way I was brought up,” she told gardai.

Michaela Murphy was abused by her father over a three year period from 2009 when she was just 11.

Murphy, a former member of the Defence Forces, also pleaded guilty to assaulting a third victim on numerous occasions between 2006 and 2013.

ANON Feb 18th, 2018 @ 10:29 AM

2/2...In her victim impact statement Ms Prendergast said there had always been “a sense of normality about” the abuse, adding she believed “that this happened in everyone’s house”.

She attempted suicide and self harmed adding: “My life in that house was filled with fear and anxiety”.

It was only when she had her own child that the true extent of the abuse was brought to the surface. She said she couldn’t trust anyone else to mind her child and questioned everybody’s motives.

Michaela Murphy told the court that her father “took away my innocence, the child left inside and destroyed her”.

She said that when she was a little girl and still innocent she felt she had “the best father in the world” but when she was 12 or 13 she realised what he had done to her.

She said she became nervous to bring friends home because of him and was also fearful others would find out what was happening.

She said it had taken all the strength she had to finally talk about it.

The court heard that Murphy had come to the attention of social workers in 1988.

When he was interviewed by gardai he said he could not recollect all the incidents but admitted he could have grabbed his victims, 100, 500 or 1,000 times.

He told gardai he was sick and needed help.

The court heard Murphy had a previous conviction for sexual assault on a female and was sentenced to five years in 2015.

Murphy suffers from Wilson’s disease which affects the liver and underwent a liver transplant 12 years ago after which he was given 10 years to live.

Judge Rory McCabe said the impact on the victims had been cataclysmic.

He questioned how the abuse had been allowed to continue for so long and said there were many people who ought to examine their consciences.

He sentenced Murphy to eight years in prison without any suspension and ordered that he be supervised for five years post release.

ANON Feb 15th, 2018 @ 09:30 PM

1/2...Scots aid charity Sciaf confirms two child sex cases…

A Scottish international aid charity has confirmed it has dealt with two cases of alleged sexual misconduct involving children.

The Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (Sciaf) said one case involved the alleged rape in 2012 of a 15-year-old girl by a 45-year-old Burundian man.

He volunteered for a local partner organisation for Sciaf in Burundi.

The second case in 2016 involved an Ethiopian man accused of sexual misconduct with a boy under 16.

He was a junior staff member working in the shared office of Sciaf and its sister UK and Irish aid charities Cafod and Trocaire.

Neither of the alleged victims were being helped by Sciaf and the incidents did not take place during any of the charity's projects.

Sciaf director Alistair Dutton said both incidents were dealt with "decisively" and reassured supporters that the charity had stringent safeguarding procedures.

Sciaf has spoken out about the cases amid scrutiny of the UK aid sector after the Oxfam sexual misconduct scandal.

Oxfam has been accused of concealing the findings of an inquiry into claims staff used prostitutes while delivering aid in Haiti in 2011

Mr Dutton said the Burundi man was reported to police, arrested and suspended as a volunteer, and the local charity partner co-operated with the police investigation and provided counselling and legal advice to the girl's family.

It is understood that the case had been dropped.

ANON Feb 15th, 2018 @ 09:28 PM

2/2...Child protection policies...

The 2016 incident was reported to the charity by police and the man was suspended immediately and has since been dismissed for gross misconduct following an internal investigation. The criminal case is continuing.

The charity said the Burundi partner organisation did not have a child protection policy in 2012 but has since put one in place and extra training has been given to staff in both locations, with general child protection policies updated.

Sciaf provides grants to partners to develop child protection policies which stipulate that all safeguarding cases must be reported to Sciaf with evidence to show that appropriate action is being taken.

Mr Dutton said: "Sciaf is doing everything we can to minimise the risk of these events and to deal with them appropriately.

"We commissioned a well-known and respected safeguarding expert in the sector to conduct an external evaluation for us. He reviewed all our child protection policies including these two cases and commended us for our policies but also the way we dealt with the cases.

"Sciaf helps about a quarter of a million people directly every year, that makes a massive difference for some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world.

"In over 50 years we have had two cases reported to us relating to sexual misconduct and both were dealt with decisively."

He added: "I want to reassure all our supporters that you can trust us, that we do have policies and procedures in place and that we do deal decisively with any hint of a safeguarding issue. I won't tolerate that in any part of our operation."

ANON Feb 14th, 2018 @ 03:05 PM

Outrage over 11-year-old rape victim who 'isn't a child'…

The question of the age of consent in France has been brought in sharp focus after a 29-year-old man went on trial accused of sexually abusing an 11-year-old girl.

France does not have a legal age under which a minor cannot agree to a sexual relationship, although a previous ruling by France’s high court stated that children aged five and under are unable to consent.

But in the latest case, the 29-year-old defendant’s lawyers have argued that the girl was consenting and aware of what was happening, while her lawyers have claimed she was too young to resist.

In a divisive decision, the prosecutor’s office in the town of Pontoise has decided to put the man on trial for charges of ‘sexual abuse of a minor under 15’ and not rape.

The man’s defence argues that the man and the girl met in a park and the girl voluntarily followed him to an apartment before consenting to sex. It is also claimed that the man believed she was at least 16.

Despite the girl’s family filing a rape complaint in the town of Montmagny, prosecutors did not feel that the crime constituted rape as the suspect did not use violence or coercion.

Now, the trial has been subsequently postponed after lawyer Carine Diebolt asked the court to change the charge to rape.

‘It’s a victory,’ Diebolt told press outside court.

‘The main thing is that [the girl] can at last be heard as a victim of rape we can say it’s a victory for the victims.’

At present, the government of President Emmanuel Macron has proposed a bill to introduce a minimum legal age for sexual consent.

It would reportedly include a provision stating that intercourse with children under a certain age is coercive.

The proposed minimum age is yet to be decided, but it could be between 13 and 15.

ANON Feb 14th, 2018 @ 11:49 AM

"Evil Monk" Vincent Lewis was back in court on Friday to have his jail sentence of eight and a half years increased by a year for his abuse of three young boys…

Judge Desmond Marrinan said his aim was not to further punish the 89-year-old, but to have regard to the time he will later serve on probation, which was in turn reduced from two years to 12 months.

The Antrim Crown Court judge told Lewis, formally Bro Ambrose of Our Lady of Bethelem Monastery in Portglenone, since jailing him last month he had reflected on it, but was still of the opinion a custody probation order was the appropriate sentence.

Defence barrister Noel Dillon had argued the sentence remain unchanged as the former monk will be well into his 90s by the time he is released and that his circumstances then and his possible state of health "are entirely uncertain".

Mr Dillon said that the original period of two years probation was totally appropriate and also both reasonable and proportionate.

However, Judge Marrinan, who labelled the former brother, "an evil monk", said that the probation was not another form of Social Services, adding, "that is not the role of probation officers".

Lewis, whose brother, Fr Eugene Lewis is also a convicted paedophile, was told last month if he'd been a younger man he would have been jailed for longer for his 57 crimes of indecent assaults, gross indecency and buggery committed against the boys, including two brothers on differing dates, up to 1983.

At the time Judge Marrinan branded his catalogue of abuse as "horrific ... terrible ... and despicable", telling Lewis the "cruelty meted out was almost unbelievable".

He unfortunately was unable to fend for himself, and for four years had to endure endless indecent assaults and abuse from the age of nine.

His behaviour, said Judge Marrinan, caused his victims, "to lose the precious right to innocence and in the case of two of them, has caused them life long damage and pain which cannot be repaired".

And it was yet another "grim reminder of the incalculable damage that a paedophile like the defendant can do".

ANON Feb 14th, 2018 @ 11:42 AM

Co Dublin girl (3) dies in hospital after alleged assault on Saturday...

Child had been in induced coma in Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin

A three-year-old girl who was on life-support after an alleged assault in her home in Co Dublin at the weekend has died.

The child was taken to hospital by ambulance with a Garda escort after emergency services were called to a house in Aubrey Grove, Shankill, south Dublin, at about 4.15pm on Saturday.

The girl was being treated in Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin, Dublin, where she was in an induced coma. However, her life-support was withdrawn on Tuesday morning and she was pronounced dead.

A woman in her 40s was charged with assault when she appeared at a special sitting of Bray District Court on Sunday evening.

The woman was charged with assault causing harm to the child under the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act.

She was remanded in custody and is due to appear again at Bray District Court on Thursday

ANON Feb 8th, 2018 @ 09:14 PM

1/2...Australia to apologise to institutional child abuse victims …Australia will apologise to survivors of institutional child sex abuse by the end of this year, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said, after a five-year inquiry detailed harrowing stories from victims.

A royal commission established in 2012 to investigate abuse was contacted by more than 15,000 survivors with claims some decades-old involving churches, orphanages, sporting clubs, youth groups and schools.

Mr Turnbull told parliament that he would consult with survivors before making the apology on behalf of the state "before the end of the year".

"As a nation, we must mark this occasion in a form that reflects the wishes of survivors and affords them the dignity to which they were entitled as children, but which was denied to them by the very people who were tasked with their care," he said.

"Reading some of the witness statements, it's clear that being heard and being believed means so much to the survivors ... Three words: 'I believe you,' coming after years, often decades, of authorities' denial of responsibility."

The royal commission released its final report in December and said more than 4,000 institutions were accused of abuse, with many of them Catholic-managed facilities.

ANON Feb 8th, 2018 @ 09:12 PM

2/2…It made 409 recommendations, which Mr Turnbull said his government was working through, including a national redress scheme that would support survivors with counselling, psychological care and financial payments.

Canberra has budgeted Aus$33.4 million (€21.2m) for the scheme, with survivors eligible for payments of up to Aus$150,000.

Mr Turnbull urged state governments and institutions to commit to the scheme, which is due to start in July, in remarks supported by Labor opposition leader Bill Shorten who was part of the previous government when it ordered the inquiry.

"The money does matter. Compensation does help get people, at least, get back on their feet a bit," he told parliament.

"But it's also a tangible admission that the institution was at fault and they should pay for their wrongs."

Survivor advocate Leonie Sheedy of the Care Leavers Network welcomed the proposed apology but said taxpayer-funded organisations that committed or did not investigate abuse, such as orphanages and the police, should also say sorry.

"They need to be on their knees begging for forgiveness of us, the victims, and also apologising to the nation".

ANON Feb 8th, 2018 @ 09:10 PM

‘Evasive’ woman jailed after helping paedophile boyfriend to rape schoolgirl twice…

Gemma Hill, 33, exchanged texts discussing in graphic detail how her boyfriend Stephan Amopp would rape the schoolgirl, as well as plans to rape a second girl aged nine.

A court heard how Arnopp, 34, and Hill were arrested after officers found their victim’s underwear at his home.

Arnopp was jailed for 11 years for abusing and twice raping a girl under 13-years-old in Welwyn Garden City, Herts.

Judge Marie Catterson said Hill, of Hatfield, Herts., had an “extremely low” IQ as she sentenced the her to six years in jail at St Albans Crown Court.

Arnopp gave the girl a phone and asked her to send photos of herself under the guise of a schoolboy called James before raping her twice on June 5 last year.

The court heard Hill urged the girl not to report the attacks but police were informed after she revealed what happened to her school.

The judge said the victim suffered “incalculable” long-terms effects likely to be “difficult and profound” after the pair admitted all charges against them.

Sentencing Hill, she said: “You were evasive, pretending you knew nothing.”

The judge made a Sexual Harm Prevention Order banning the pair from contacting the victims and from living in a house or having any unsupervised contact with girls under the age of 18.

Both defendants pleaded guilty to the charges against them.

Arnopp was given two concurrent 40-month sentences for two counts of conspiracy to commit sexual activity with a child under 13 and was jailed for eight years consecutively for two counts of raping a child under 13.

He was also sentenced to one count of inciting and one count of causing a child to engage in sexual activity, receiving four months concurrent to his other sentences and received eight months, also concurrent, for sexual activity with a child under 13.

Hill received two concurrent four and a half-year sentences for two counts of conspiracy to commit sexual activity with a child under 13 and a consecutive 18 month sentence for cruelty to a person under 16

ANON Feb 8th, 2018 @ 09:02 PM

1/2...Fr Malachy Finnegan was 'accused of 12 abuse cases'….

A Catholic diocese has settled a claim for sex abuse by a priest accused of abusing pupils at a County Down school, it has emerged.

The late Fr Malachy Finnegan, a former teacher, worked in St Colman's College in Newry from 1967 to 1976.

Bishop of Dromore, John McAreavey, said the abuse was "abhorrent" and admitted he made an "error" by officiating at Fr Finnegan's funeral in 2002.

The school began to remove the priest's image from its photographs last year.
Never prosecuted

That decision was taken in October, when the school's Board of Governors were informed that the Diocese of Dromore had reached a settlement with one of the 12 victims.

Fr Finnegan was never prosecuted for sexual abuse, but allegations against him were reviewed by the National Board for Safeguarding Children a clerical abuse watchdog set up by the Catholic Church.

In a statement, the Bishop of Dromore said that during an independent audit in 2011, he "specifically" asked the watchdog to examine the cases involving Fr Finnegan.

The diocese said it was aware of 12 allegations against the priest. October's settlement refers to just one of those cases.

"The first allegation against Malachy Finnegan came to light in 1994 some seven years after he left St. Colman's College," the bishop said.

"The second allegation came in 1998 and was not related to his tenure at St. Colman's. No further allegations emerged until after his death in January 2002."

ANON Feb 8th, 2018 @ 09:00 PM


Bishop McAreavey added that after speaking to victims, he realized that his decision to officiate at Fr Finnegan's funeral in 2002 was "the wrong one".

"In November 2002 a victim told me how hurt he was by this, I realized that I had made an error of judgement," the bishop said.

"It is something I regret and will not repeat."
He described the abuse carried out by Fr Finnegan as "abhorrent, inexcusable and indefensible".

Fr Finnegan started working in St Colman's College in 1967 and was employed as a teacher from 1973 - 1976.

He was later appointed president of the school from 1976 to 1987.

On Wednesday, a statement was published on St Colman's College's website saying that its Board of Governors "condemns in the strongest possible terms the physical, sexual and emotional abuse inflicted by Malachy Finnegan when he was in the employment of the College over 30 years ago".

The governors said they were "devastated that any pupil who was entrusted to the care of St. Colman's College should ever have suffered abuse".

"When informed in October 2017, that a case had been settled by the Diocese of Dromore, the Board of Governors instructed that Malachy Finnegan's image be removed from photographs which were on display in the College," the statement added.

BBC reporter Mandy McAuley has been investigating this story for several months for a forthcoming BBC NI Spotlight programme.

ANON Feb 7th, 2018 @ 11:00 AM

Fianna Fáil seeks ‘Fagin’s law’ for adults who groom children for crime…

Party says children are committing crimes under guidance and direction of older people

Fianna Fáil is seeking to make it an offence for adults to groom a child to commit a crime.

The party’s spokeswoman on children, Anne Rabbitte, has secured party approval to publish a Bill to introduce “Fagin’s law”, which will aim to target adults who commission children to commit offences such as shoplifting, burglary, carjacking or the carrying of drugs or guns.

The Government’s special rapporteur on child protection, Prof Geoffrey Shannon, has called for such legislation to be introduced as soon as possible.

Speaking to The Irish Times, Ms Rabbitte said there were gaps in existing law that needed to be addressed as soon as possible.

“The evidence is there that children are being groomed by their parents, siblings and older peers to commit crimes. Their childhood is being stolen from them.

“We need to start a conversation about it and I accept there may be different reactions but I think it is essential to start the discussion.”

In his 10th annual report to the Oireachtas, Prof Shannon said a statutory offence targeted at adults who groom children to carry out offences on their behalf ought to be introduced in this jurisdiction.

Laws too general

Mr Shannon found there are gaps in current legislation, claiming laws in the area relating to incitement are too general and fail to address the legal issues involved.

The Fianna Fáil proposal would make it illegal for a person aged 21 years or older to incite or direct a child to conduct a crime, with the maximum punishment of 10 years’ imprisonment,

Ms Rabbitte said: “There are instances where children are being sent in through bathroom windows, or going into GAA dressing rooms and fleecing the places.

They are doing it under guidance and direction of older people.”

Fagin’s law has been developed in Australia. Adults there face up to 10 years in prison for luring children into criminal activity.

ANON Feb 7th, 2018 @ 10:56 AM

1/2...Seven-year delay in child porn case…

A child pornography prosecution was delayed by more than seven years, and yesterday no penalty was imposed on the accused, who took steps to address his difficulties in the interim.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said: “It is an altogether exceptional case and I propose to give the accused the benefit of the Probation Act.”

The judge said that because the matter had come before Cork Circuit Criminal Court, rather than being dealt with at district court level, there would be a record of the offence.

The defendant was also required to enter a bond to be of good behaviour for the next 12 months.

Gavin Hurley, aged 39, pleaded guilty to a charge of knowingly having child pornography at 69A Sunday’s Well Rd, Cork, on November 9, 2010.

Detective Sergeant Denis Lynch was asked by the judge to explain the delay in bringing the case.

The detective said there was an issue with all of these type of cases. In other cases, it has been explained that the delay arose out of resources in the section dealing with the forensic examination of computers based in Dublin.

Judge Ó Donnabháin said such files were found years ago and that Hurley had been waiting for a number of years.

Siobhán Lankford, defending, said: “All of these cases are being delayed at present.

Mr Hurley took steps immediately to address the issue. It is a system’s failure on the part of the state.”

ANON Feb 7th, 2018 @ 10:54 AM

2/2...Judge Ó Donnabháin said: “I know Ireland is wonderful for bureaucracy but we cannot explain everything by system’s failure. Someone has to put their head on the block.”

The judge accepted that whoever was at fault for the delay, it was not caused in any way by Hurley.

Det Sgt Lynch said five movie files were found on Hurley’s computer when Gardaí called to his home in 2010. He gave gardaí the necessary passwords to access his computer and admitted the offending material was there.

Children in the clips were witnessing or engaged in sexual activities and their genital or anal regions were exposed.

Hurley had no previous convictions and none since. He has left Ireland and has not come to the adverse notice of police in the UK, where he works.

Ms Lankford said Hurley had co-operated fully from the beginning, and had attended for treatment in Ireland and in the UK with a clinical psychologist. She said the images were at the lower end of the scale in seriousness.

“He attended conscientiously over time for treatment,” she said. “He has been subject to a lot of stress and difficulty. He has had personal difficulties coming to terms with this. He finds himself almost eight years on facing this charge.

An amount of stress and anxiety was caused by delay, which is something the court must take into consideration.”

Judge Ó Donnabháin said child pornography is a serious issue. He said the delay in bringing the case was inexcusable and putting it down to system’s failure was not acceptable. “To know he was going to be prosecuted seven or eight years ago, it is intolerable. I have to be particularly aware of that.”

Taking all factors into consideration, including the low risk of reoffending, the judge described the case as exceptional and applied the Probation of Offenders Act.

ANON Feb 7th, 2018 @ 10:49 AM

Westminster abuse accuser charged over indecent child images…

The man, known only as Nick, told police he had been abused for nine years by a Westminster paedophile ring.

A man who claimed he was raped and abused by a Westminster paedophile ring has been charged with offences relating to indecent images of children, it is understood.

The man, who is known only as 'Nick' and cannot be identified for legal reasons, told police he had been abused for nine years by a VIP gang, sparking Operation Midland.

But the £2.5m investigation closed without a single arrest, despite the Metropolitan Police raiding the homes of prominent figures including Lord Bramall and the late ex-home secretary Lord Brittan.

Nick is now facing six charges, including making indecent images of children.
He denies all charges.

A Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) spokesman said: "In June 2017 a man was charged with four counts of making indecent images of children, one count of possessing indecent images of children and one count of voyeurism.

"The man has pleaded not guilty to all charges and the matter is due for trial before the crown court."

Northumbria Police said last September that it had passed a file to the CPS to decide if charges of perverting the course of justice and fraud would be brought against Nick.

ANON Feb 6th, 2018 @ 07:42 PM

1/2...Pope was made aware of Chile abuse ‘cover up’ in 2015, says Irish survivor
Marie Collins gave a letter to Francis’ envoy, contradicting statement of pontiff

Pope Francis received a victim’s letter in 2015 that graphically detailed how a priest sexually abused him and how other Chilean clergy ignored it, contradicting the pope’s insistence that no victims had come forward to denounce the cover up, it has emerged.

The Associated Press disclosed on Monday evening that Francis received the eight-page letter through his adviser on child sex abuse scandals Cardinal Seán O’Malley in April 2015.

The Irish Times has also obtained a copy of the letter, which was given to Cardinal O’Malley by abuse survivor Marie Collins, who was then a member of the pope’s Commission for the Protection of Minors.

Ms Collins has also disclosed a photograph of the handing over of the letter, which she has made public in the wake of Francis’s claim that he had never heard of any victims’ complaints against Bishop Juan Barros over his handling of the case of Rev Fernando Karadima.

The scandal erupted last month when Francis’ trip to South America was marred by protests over his vigorous defence of Bishop Barros, who is accused by victims of witnessing and ignoring the abuse by Fr Karadima.

During the trip, the Pope dismissed accusations against Bishop Barros as “slander”.

ANON Feb 6th, 2018 @ 07:40 PM

2/2...On the plane home, the pope told a reporter: “You, in all good will, tell me that there are victims, but I haven’t seen any, because they haven’t come forward.”

But members of the Commission for the Protection of Minors said in April 2015, they had sent a delegation to Rome specifically to hand-deliver a letter to the pope about Bishop Barros.

The letter from Juan Carlos Cruz detailed the abuse, kissing and fondling he says he suffered at Fr Karadima’s hands, which he said the bishop and others saw but did nothing to stop.

Four members of the commission met with Cardinal O’Malley, explained their concerns about Francis’ recent appointment of Barros as a bishop in southern Chile, and gave him the letter to deliver to Francis.

“When we gave him (O’Malley) the letter for the pope, he assured us he would give it to the pope and speak of the concerns,” Ms Collins said. “And at a later date, he assured us that that had been done.”

Ms Collins told The Irish Times the photograph was taken to assure the victims in Chile that the letter had been handed over to the Pope’s representative.

Mr Cruz, who now lives and works in Philadelphia, heard the same later that year.

“Cardinal O’Malley called me after the pope’s visit here in Philadelphia and he told me, among other things, that he had given the letter to the pope in his hands,” he said in an interview at his home Sunday.

Neither the Vatican nor Cardinal O’Malley responded to multiple requests from AP for comment.

ANON Feb 6th, 2018 @ 07:35 PM

1/2...150,000 child abuse images seized in four of 31 homes raided…

Up to four people targeted in Garda raids of 31 homes have voluntarily admitted to possessing more than 150,000 child abuse images, the Irish Examiner understands. In one case, there are believed to be 70,000 images on the person’s digital devices.

Senior Gardaí said yesterday that arrests are “imminent” in the operation, codenamed Ketch, which ran over the last four days in 12 Garda divisions in Leinster and Munster.

The divisions are Dublin, Louth, Meath, Westmeath, Wicklow, Laois, Kildare, Carlow/ Kilkenny, Kerry, Waterford, Limerick and Wexford.

It is thought that none of the suspects are people with a public profile or are the likes of judges or Gardaí.

It is thought three or four individuals who had their homes searched have admitted to possessing child pornography, with more than 150,000 images between them.

Sources said this indicates the quantity of material that could be contained in the remaining 27 cases.

Specialist Gardaí will liaise with Interpol to identify the children in the imagery.

Sources said that if any Irish children are thought to have been abused, or if any of the suspects have children, that further action will be taken, including informing the Family and Child Agency Tusla.

Detective Superintendent Declan Daly, who led the operation, said it was a “stark warning” to those who possess or distribute child exploitation imagery that “your homes will be searched, your sexual interest in children will be exposed” and that they faced criminal prosecution.

Assistant Commissioner John O’Driscoll said the actions of cybervigilantes who entrap online predators was “fraught with danger”, saying their behaviour could endanger the successful prosecution of suspects and to leave the work to police.

The raids come a week after Dubliner Matthew Horan was jailed for more than seven years after using social media and other web platforms, including anonymous messaging services, to coerce girls as young as nine into sending him explicit images.

The 26-year-old also had thousands of child abuse images on his computers.

ANON Feb 6th, 2018 @ 07:32 PM

2/2...Operation Ketch began last Friday and ran until Monday and stemmed from information received from the Online Child Exploitation Unit of the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children in the US, the National Child Exploitation Co-ordination Centre in Canada and police agencies worldwide.

Mr O’Driscoll, head of Special Crime Operations, said this was one of four ‘enhanced’ operations being conducted this year, on top of ongoing investigations.

He said the National Protective Services Bureau, and its sub sections, the Online Child Exploitation Unit and the National Child Protection Unit, were involved.

They were assisted by local gardaí and the digital devices seized laptops, desktops, smartphones and storage devices are being analysed by the Garda Cybercrime Bureau and, if necessary, by Europol.

Ass Comm O’Driscoll said problems of delays in examining devices, highlighted again in recent court cases, were a “thing of the past” and that extra resources were effectively dealing with the backlog.

He said Courts Service figures showed that prosecutions for child pornography increased from 22 cases in 2015 to 119 cases in 2016.

He said arrests would begin in a matter of “hours”, with others in the coming days or weeks, based on a risk assessment of the suspect.

Det Supt Daly said the evidence-gathering phase of the operation was now complete and the task now was the examination of the devices and arrest of suspects.

He said as well as identifying these individuals Gardai wanted to reassure the public that this area was of “critical importance”.

He said that “at the moment” they did not think any of the children were Irish but that they were still examining the images.

He said that, generally, the profile of suspects was not someone “in a basement or dark room”, but a professional, with a knowledge of IT, aged 25-50 and male.

The timing of the operation coincides with Safer Internet Day today.

Garda Child Sexual Abuse Reporting Phoneline: 1800 555 222; www.webwise.ie

ANON Feb 3rd, 2018 @ 01:29 PM

Order puts second mother and baby home up for sale

The religious order which ran the Sean Ross Abbey mother and baby home has put a large part of the campus up for sale, just six months after placing the Bessborough mother and baby home in Cork on the market.

The site, in Roscrea, Co Tipperary, comprises of a wide range of institutional, residential, and other buildings including Corville House, woodland, farmland and a historic walled garden. The guide price is €1.25m.

The cemeteries in which children and sisters are buried will not be included in the sale and will continue to be maintained by the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

This will include future cemetery access for those who have a connection with the former mother and baby home.

The premises accommodating St Anne’s Special School, together with an additional area of land to permit further expansion of the school in the future, will also be excluded from the sale.

In a statement, the order said the planned sale was part of ongoing “restructuring and rationalisation”, which involved “examining our capacity to run various services and manage property into the future”.

“The disposal of these lands is part of an ongoing planning process for our mission throughout the whole congregation,” said a statement.

It comes just six months after the order confirmed that it intends to sell the Bessborough campus.

The order also ran the Castlepollard mother and baby home. This site was purchased and taken over by the Midland Health Board in 1970.

All three mother and baby homes are included in the current Mother and Baby Home inquiry.

The Irish Examiner has previously revealed that death registers containing almost 800 names of infants who died in Bessborough and Sean Ross Abbey were handed over to the HSE by the nuns in 2011 three years before the Tuam babies scandal made worldwide headlines.

In the case of Bessborough, the register shows that 470 infants and 10 women died there between 1934 and 1953.

A total of 273 deaths come in just a six-year period between 1939 and 1944.

The Sean Ross Abbey register lists 269 deaths between 1934 and 1967.

ANON Feb 1st, 2018 @ 08:50 PM

2/2...Department of Justice assistant secretary Jimmy Martin said the scheme was intended only to cover the 12 listed institutions.

Industrial schools and training centres located on the same site were regarded in law as separate institutions and some were covered by the Residential Institutions Redress Scheme, thereby raising the issue of double compensation.

He said the use of the word “and” instead of “or” in the phrase “admitted to and worked in” meant that both criteria had to be met.

The issue was not whether or not women had worked in the laundry, but rather had they been admitted to one of the 12 listed Magdalene institutions.

Mr Martin said any extension of the scheme beyond the 12 institutions would require a decision of Government that suggestion has previously been disputed by the Ombudsman.

Mr Tyndall also raised the issue of 17 vulnerable women, who lack capacity, who have yet to receive payment despite being admitted to the scheme in 2013.

The department said the delay in making the payments was due to delays on the enactment of the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act.

Mr Tyndall said this problem was well known to the department when the scheme was set up and the delay was “inexcusable”.

He said: “Women continue to die without access to the redress to which they are undeniably entitled.

There is no doubt about that.”

Independent TD Clare Daly said the level of disagreement between the department and the Ombudsman on the issue was “unprecedented”.

She said she was “sickened” by the attitude of the department and labelled its treatment of the women as “utterly scandalous”.

ANON Feb 1st, 2018 @ 08:49 PM

1/2...Redress move for women who worked in Magdalene Laundries ‘utterly scandalous’…

The Department of Justice has been accused of an “utterly scandalous” approach in wrongly refusing redress to some women who worked in Magdalene Laundries.

The comments were made at an Oireachtas committee hearing to discuss the Ombudsman’s report into the administration of the Magdalene Redress Scheme, published last November.

Ombudsman Peter Tyndall said he had yet to receive a formal commitment from the Government that all recommendations from the report would be implemented and was scathing in his criticism of how the scheme had been administered.

Mr Tyndall said the scheme operated based on an “overly narrow” interpretation whereby only women who could demonstrate that they had been officially recorded as “admitted to and worked in” one of 12 named institutions were eligible for redress.

It meant some women, who as young girls worked in the laundries but were recorded as living in a training centre or industrial school attached to the laundries, have been refused admission to the scheme.

“We are talking about women who went down the stairs, the same stairs, as women who had access to the scheme and who worked in the laundries that were part of the scheme,” he said.

Mr Tyndall said that in his 10 years as an Ombudsman, he had never come across such an intransigent attitude from a government department or state agency.

He said the Department of Justice had “absolutely, categorically refused to engage” with the process around accepting and implementing its recommendations.

“Women continue to die without access to the redress to which they are undeniably entitled.

There is no doubt about that,” he said