May Comments

ANON May 30th, 2015 @ 10:00 PM

Mum of child rape victim (4) guilty of perverting justice…

A woman whose four-year-old daughter was raped by her partner as she attended an evening class found out she was pregnant by him on the day of the sex attack, a court has heard.

The 27-year-old woman was remanded in custody after appearing in the dock of Belfast Crown Court on a charge of trying to pervert the course of justice.

In March the woman's now former partner was unanimously convicted by a jury of raping her four-year-old daughter in the house they shared in Co Antrim.

However, it emerged yesterday that despite being found guilty of raping the child on November 13, 2013, the 26-year-old Co Antrim man continues to deny the offence.

Both the victim and her mother have since left NI.

During the trial, the jury was told the man was not the child's biological father, that he had met the child's mother via the internet and that they then set up home together in Co Antrim.

On the evening of the attack the girl's mother was attending an evening class and the little girl was being looked after by the man she called "Daddy".

While at the class the mother received a call from the accused.

When she arrived home and saw her child was bleeding, she asked a neighbour for advice and the youngster was taken to Antrim Area Hospital.

While there, the girl's mother initially lied about how her daughter sustained the injury.

She claimed that she swiped the child's hand away from her private area while in the shower.

But she later admitted this was a lie and pleaded guilty to trying to pervert the course of justice.

Her barrister, Kieran Mallon QC, said that on the date of the offence his client "became aware she was pregnant" with her partner's child, which rendered her both shocked and confused.

She went on to have a little boy.
He also said despite her initial lies, his client did "come clean" and inform police she was not at home when the injuries were sustained.

Crown prosecutor Terence Mooney QC also said how the former partner, found guilty of rape, continues to "resist culpability" despite the "overwhelming and compelling" evidence.

Judge Gordon Kerr QC remanded both her and her ex-partner into custody and reserved sentence until next Wednesday.

Sat

ANON May 29th, 2015 @ 11:46 AM

1/2...One year after Tuam scandal, survivors blast lack of progress…

One year after the Tuam babies story made global headlines, survivors say they are “deeply disappointed” by the lack of progress being made by the inquiry.

For decades after it closed, the Tuam, County Galway Mother and Baby Home lived on in the local consciousness, a gloomy and folkloric place that had been left alone and not built over.

Instead a small plaque had been erected in the remaining plot of land that read: “In loving memory of those buried here, rest in peace.”

Just as they had in its decades of operation, most locals were content to look the other way.

But one woman found she couldn't. Catherine Corless, who had grown up in Tuam whilst the Home was still in operation, vividly remembered how stigmatized the Home Babies in her own class had been by both teachers and pupils.

“Those children were brought up to believe they weren’t worthwhile, that they didn’t have the same rights as everybody else,” Corless told RTE's "Where In The World" in April.

The unease this awareness created compounded by the fact that her own mother had grown up in a similar institution finally compelled her to explore the baleful history of the Tuam Mother and Baby Home with a level of engagement that contrasted sharply with the nation’s long indifference.

What she discovered shocked the entire world. Chronic infant mortality rates and most shocking of all the death certificates of 798 forgotten children whose tragically short lives had been erased by unmarked and unrecorded graves.

ANON May 29th, 2015 @ 11:43 AM

2/2...That fact the that it took the efforts of an impassioned and diligent local historian rather than a government investigation or a fully fledged academic inquiry to bring this scandal to light is one of the things that makes it especially distinctive and compelling.

Unconstrained by political considerations, Corless was free to pursue her investigation wherever it led her.

What eventually emerged at Tuam held a mirror up to every other Mother and Baby Home in the country and to the pervasive and controlling shame that help foster their notorious cruelty.

From 1922 onward, records show that unsanctioned motherhood was effectively outlawed by the Irish State. The contagion also spread to their offspring, who were variously treated as unfortunate,unwelcome and undeserving of the care and compassion afforded to the children of married couples.

It remains to be seen how much of an appetite the Irish people or their political leaders really have for the whole truth to emerge.

The Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes (and Certain Related Matters) was announced in February of this year by the Irish Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr James Reilly, but it is still getting under way. Despite a €21 million ($23m) operating budget, it does not yet have a dedicated website.

The time frame the Commission announced for the completion of its work is three years. It could be 2018 before we read a line of their report.

Critics, fearing that this heralds a whitewash, demand to know just how limited the Certain Related Matters subheading will turn out to be.

ANON May 29th, 2015 @ 11:41 AM

3/3...Denis Vincent Twomey, an Irish Catholic priest and a Professor Emeritus of Moral Theology, has also expressed his own unease about the Commission of Investigation, but in his case because the appointment of Judge Yvonne Murphy as chairperson raises the expectation of criminal findings and “may have the undesired effect of leading many people to think the investigation will not be all that different from those that went before” into child abuse and neglect by church authorities.

Twomey has also lamented what he calls the sensationalistic and inaccurate early reporting of theTuam Mother and Babies Home story, although the death certificates of the children and their unmarked graves are both a matter of public record and observable fact.

What is certain is that the legacy and scale of the crisis is much larger than Tuam itself and that for many mothers and babies who were sent to these institutions the crisis has not ended.

In May, Terri Harrison from the “Mother to Mother Dublin” group called for greater transparency in the investigations into the homes.

“As life givers in Ireland, we were cast aside, denied our basic human rights. Our loss hidden, our truth never told, our lives lived beneath a veil of deceit.

“No Mother has been asked to partake in the Commission of Inquiry to assist, or to support them in unveiling the very essence of an unspoken chapter of Irish history.

“It is only when we all acknowledge our wrongs, our misgivings, can we truly face each other” It is still an open question how much will be acknowledged, or when.

Fri

ANON May 29th, 2015 @ 11:20 AM

Cop and Paste...http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/uk/jail-terms-for-school-abuse-trio-31258419.html

ANON May 29th, 2015 @ 11:19 AM

China has executed a primary school teacher for raping and sexually abusing 26 schoolgirls....

Li Jishun committed the crimes between 2011 and 2012 while teaching at a village in Gansu province.

During his trial, the Supreme People's Court heard that Mr Li preyed on pupils aged 4 to 11 who were "young and timid".

Dubbed locally as the 'Grave threat', the teacher is believed to have raped 21 of his victims and sexually abused the other five in classrooms, dormitories, and the forest surrounding the village near Wushan town.

In a statement read out in court, police said that some of his victims had been raped or abused more than once.

No mention was made to how he was caught.

Mr Li was put to death on Thursday by the court in Tianshui, who said that the “heaviest punishment possible was required because of the harm caused to the children and the extremely negative social impact of the case.”

“He took advantage of those who were both childish and timid and committed his acts in dormitories or classrooms,” it added.

In a rare disclosure of abuse statistics, the Supreme People's Court reported that it had heard 7,145 cases of child sexual abuse last year, and that these case types had risen by 40pc between 2012 and 2014.

Mr Li's sentencing was met with widespread approval on China's microblogging platform Weibo, with many expressing shock at the youth of his victims.

Fri

ANON May 29th, 2015 @ 11:14 AM

PSNI officers disciplined over handling of suspected sex offender…

Two PSNI officers have been disciplined for their handling of a suspected sex offender.

Failures in the early investigation meant a man who allegedly exposed himself to three young schoolgirls was never caught, a watchdog has found.

Police Ombudsman Dr Michael Maguire said: " This report required police to attend immediately; regrettably this did not happen.

"Police lost 32 minutes in responding to the call and with this an opportunity to apprehend the man."

The alleged incident happened at Beersbridge Road in east Belfast last August.

In a 999 call, it was claimed the suspect had approached the girls, all aged seven, exposed himself and asked them to touch him.

Despite circulating his description within two minutes, the case was not prioritised as an emergency.

It was only after a second call was received advising the alleged offender was still in the area that a police vehicle was sent to the scene, the Ombudsman said.

Also, CCTV footage from a nearby petrol station was not retrieved and the tapes were automatically wiped while further footage from a shop was overlooked.

The Ombudsman was asked to investigate after a complaint from one of the girls' fathers.

Investigators examined all police documentation, listened to phone calls and radio transmissions, visited the scene of the reported incident and spoke to a number of people, including the mother of one of the alleged victims.

The police dispatch officer and the investigating officer were both disciplined.
Fri

ANON May 27th, 2015 @ 10:25 AM

Copy and Paste...http://news.sky.com/story/1490572/abuse-survivors-lose-faith-in-goddard-inquiry

ANON May 27th, 2015 @ 10:21 AM

Copy and Paste...http://news.sky.com/story/1490903/police-vow-to-provide-justice-over-abuse

ANON May 27th, 2015 @ 09:35 AM

Copy and Paste...http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3098468/Blood-chilling-scandal-thousands-babies-stolen-State-TV-agony-aunt-Denise-Robertson-s-spent-years-investigating-says-s-monstrous-injustice-age.html

ANON May 26th, 2015 @ 11:27 AM

1/2...Children in direct provision at risk of abuse…

Inspections watchdog Hiqa has expressed serious concerns about children living in the direct provision system, with an inspection report showing they are at risk of physical and mental abuse.

The inspections carried out by Hiqa, the Health Information and Quality Authority, showed that evidence or claims of physical or mental illness of parents, exposure to domestic violence, physical abuse, and neglect were “common themes” in children in the asylum system who were the subject of referrals to the Child and Family
Agency, Tusla.

Hiqa said there was an obvious “disparity” given that 85% of the children in direct provision who were the subject of child welfare and protection concerns in one year met the threshold for an initial assessment.

That compares to an average of 50% of children generally who are similarly referred and meet that threshold.

The inspections found there had been 209 referrals of child protection and welfare concerns about 229 children in the year to the end of last August 14% of the total number of children living in direct provision (DP).

That rate is considerably higher than the 1.6% of children in the general population who were the subject of a referral in the same period. Of the 178 referrals that met the threshold for an assessment, 91 related to child welfare and 87 to protection.

The report by Hiqa on the management of child protection and welfare concerns by the Child and Family Agency involving children in DP also highlighted the potential for mental health issues in children, gaps in practical support, and “excessive physical chastisement”.

ANON May 26th, 2015 @ 11:24 AM

2/2...There were also instances where children were left “home alone”.

The inspections took place across numerous dates in November in Louth, Meath, the Midlands, Sligo, Leitrim, West Cavan and in the Dublin North City area, with office-based interviews in December.

Worryingly, the report the first of its kind indicates that in some cases action was not taken to protect children because cases were closed prematurely or because information was not passed on due to “gaps in communication” between service providers and Tusla. Of the 87 cases involving DP children referred nationally in 2013, care orders were obtained for 13 children and Gardaí were notified about abuse in 18 cases.


EPIC (Empowering People In Care) said the report indicated a “crisis” in DP while Tanya Ward, chief executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, said: “Hiqa’s report paints a painful picture of life in direct provision for children: children not having enough clothes or toys; children not experiencing play or normal family life; children forced to share communal bathrooms with strangers; and parents being unable to care for their children due to their own deteriorating mental health.”

Gordon Jeyes, the chief executive of Tusla, said the agency accepted there were issues that needed to be addressed and that Tusla’s chief operations officer was overseeing a rapid improvement programme.

Sue Conlon, CEO of the Irish Refugee Council who earlier this year resigned from the Government-appointed expert group that is reviewing protection issues involving DP, said of the report:

“There are no surprises the surprise is nobody seems to be taking it seriously.

What are we waiting for? Do we have to wait for the death of a child? I hope not."

Tues

ANON May 26th, 2015 @ 11:18 AM

1/2‘...Hollow’ apologies over child sex abuse…

Apologies by governments for historical child sexual abuse “ring hollow” when children continue to be abused by the system, a leading charity has said.

Children at Risk in Ireland (CARI), which provides therapeutic services to sexually abused children, said that the lack of services nationally was harming “a new generation of forgotten children” to whom an apology will need to be given one day.

CARI said if these children are left unsupported, many struggle to cope and that children as young as eight experience thoughts of suicide and self-harm.

CARI therapy supervisor Monica Murphy said the lack of services for such children was “a shocking scandal”. CARI runs a therapeutic service in Dublin and Limerick, while statutory services are only available in Dublin.

Speaking at the launch of CARI annual report for 2013 and 2014, she said: “There are huge gaps in the provision of services. Where you live in Ireland may decide whether a service is available or not.

Therapeutic services are urgently needed at a regional and national level.”

She said CARI had been trying to bridge this gap, but has had to shut services in Cork, Naas, and Wicklow due to funding cuts.

The reduction of funding has also resulted in the number of therapists it has being cut by a third. This has had the effect of a 29% cut in therapy hours available to children and their families.

“It feels like we are swimming against the tide for funding,” said Ms Murphy.

“National apologies for past practices ring hollow when children continue to be abused by an inadequate system.

The sad irony is that the lack of services and practice is harming a new generation of forgotten children to whom a national apology will one day be owed.”

ANON May 26th, 2015 @ 11:15 AM

2/2...CARI chief executive Mary Flaherty said the charity has suffered “impossibly difficult budgetary pressures” since 2009.

She said it was unacceptable that there were waiting lists at their Dublin and Limerick centres and that children can be waiting up to a year to be seen.

The report said that given an appropriate therapeutic space these children “can go on to lead a fulfilling life”.

Addressing the launch, Children’s Minister Dr James Reilly said he would “like to see more investment” in the area. He told the media afterwards that the lack of services nationally was “something this Government needs to look at no doubt about that”.

The report, which said 3,000 children report sexual abuse every year, comes just days after the sixth anniversary of the damning Ryan report the commission into child abuse at religious institutions.

The CARI report said a new Child Advocates service in Galway where a staff member supports children attending the sexual assault and treatment unit was the first of its kind. Figures showed that 58% of children using the service were pre-schoolers.

The most common age was four years old, with the youngest child being an infant of eight months.

Helpline: 1890 92 45 67; helpline@cari.ie; www.cari.ie

Tues

ANON May 26th, 2015 @ 11:10 AM

Man arrested over child abuse allegations…

A 76-year-old man has been arrested in connection with an investigation into child sexual abuse over a 13 year period.

The man is being detained at Terenure Garda Station pending an appearance at Dublin District Court later this morning.

The man, who worked in a lay position at a church in Dublin, is due to face more than 70 charges.

The abuse is alleged to have occurred between 1977 and 1990.

The investigation was carried out by officers from the Garda child protection unit.

The man was arrested by Gardaí from the sexual crime management unit in the city this morning.

The arrest arose out of a long running Garda investigation - 'Operation Bluebird' - into child sexual abuse.

Tues

ANON May 26th, 2015 @ 10:36 AM

Copy and Paste... http://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/fintan-o-toole-poverty-in-our-republic-of-equals-is-written-on-children-s-bodies-1.2225573

ANON May 26th, 2015 @ 10:28 AM

Magdalene survivors can still apply for redress and special medical cards…

Magdalene laundry survivors have been told they can still apply for redress and avail of special medical cards.

The HSE will start to issue ‘RWRCI Cards’ to women in June and eligibility for the health services will take effect on July 1.

In the meantime, the HSE will be directly contacting the women who have accepted a formal offer made under the Restorative Justice Scheme.

A woman who has accepted a formal offer made to her under the scheme will receive a Redress for Women Resident in Certain Institutions (RWRCI) card from the HSE, which identifies the holder as qualifying for a range of health services provided for in the Redress for Women Resident in Certain Institutions Act 2015.

The HSE will make available, without charge, the following primary and community health services:
• GP services;
• prescribed drugs, medicines, aids and appliances;
• dental, ophthalmic and aural services;
• home nursing;
• home support;
• chiropody/podiatry;
• physiotherapy;
• counselling services;

The HSE will also provide further information about the health benefits directly to the qualifying women.

Speaking to RTÉ radio, Kathleen Lynch, the minister of state for primary and social care said there is still time for women to apply for redress so they can avail of the medical cards.

Some 512 women have already accepted an offer of redress.

Claire McGettrick of Justice For Magdalenes Research said the group were “appalled” that the Government announced further delays to the implementation of the Quirke redress scheme on the same day so many Irish people turned out to vote for equality.

Ms McGettrick pointed out that, to date, no guide to health services has been produced for Magdalene women, while “the health needs of Magdalene women who have emigrated now seem to have dropped off the agenda”.

Meanwhile, the Coalition of Mother And Baby Home Survivors (CMABS) held a remembrance service outside the Dáil to mark the first anniversary of the Tuam infant deaths story breaking.

The group has called on the Government to implement its ‘Just Three Principles’ an immediate apology and redress; full inclusion of all mothers and children forcibly separated and all related institutions; and the passing of Senator Averil Power’s Adoption Bill within six months.

Tues

ANON May 26th, 2015 @ 10:05 AM

Copy ans Paste...http://news.sky.com/story/1490565/abuse-survivor-cops-guarded-as-i-was-raped

ANON May 25th, 2015 @ 05:44 PM

Royal Commission investigating detention centre allegations…

The head of the Immigration Department has confirmed the royal commission into child sex abuse is investigating the department over claims of children being abused in Australian immigration detention centres.

The commission would also demand ‘‘Notices to Produce’’ documents from the department over alleged abuse of children in immigration facilities, secretary Michael Pezzullo told a Senate estimates hearing in Canberra on Monday.

Last week, Fairfax Media revealed the national inquiry was investigating the department the first federal agency to be examined by the commission regarding allegations of sexual abuse.

The department said it was only aware of the commission being interested in ‘‘historical matters’’.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton described the article as ‘‘rubbish’’.

‘‘Well, it’s a rubbish story,’’ he told 2GB radio.

‘‘Unfortunately, they haven’t accurately reported that.

As I’m advised, the royal commission is seeking advice about some instances from decades ago and the department will comply, they’ll provide whatever documents are requested and they’ll answer the questions.’’

But Mr Pezzullo said immigration officers had since met with the commission.

‘‘There certainly have been discussions with officers of the commission about a prospective draft notice to produce documentation,’’ he said.

Mr Pezzullo said his department would co-operate with the investigation. He knew about a number of sexual abuse ‘‘incidents’’ that had occurred since late February in both Australian detention centres and offshore detention centres such as Nauru, the Senate hearing was told.

Senate documents show the Department of Immigration and Border Protection has recorded a further 28alleged sexual abuse incidents involving children occurred in Immigration detention facilities from February 2014 to February 2015.

A recent Australian Human Rights Commission inquiry also uncovered 44 instances of children being sexually abused between January 2013 and July 2014.

Mr Pezzullo said 12 cases were ongoing, 20 had been closed or referred to other authorities and seven had been ‘‘declassified’’.

The rest of the cases may have been doubled up, he said.

Mon

ANON May 23rd, 2015 @ 10:30 AM

Magdalenes finally get promised health cards…

Women who worked in the Magdalene laundries and two similar institutions will get a long-awaited health card giving access to a range of free services including GP care

The card will be given to women who have accepted a formal offer of compensation under the Restorative Justice Scheme.

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald and Social Care Minister Kathleen Lynch said the "RWRCI Cards" will issue to the women in June and take effect from July 1.
In the meantime, the HSE will be directly contacting the women who have accepted a formal offer made under the Restorative Justice Scheme.

It will entitle them to GP services, prescribed drugs, medicines, aids and appliances, dental, ophthalmic and aural services, home nursing, home support, chiropody or podiatr, physiotherapy and counselling.

Ms Fitzgerald said: "The Government has given its commitment to implementing all of the recommendations made by Mr Justice Quirke in his report on the Magdalene Laundries.

"The Government has already set up a range of payments and supports for the women who worked in these institutions.

"Payments of up to €100,000 are being made to these women, depending on their length of stay in the laundries. In addition, the Department of Social Protection is making pension type payments to these women."

The Department of Health said that, with the HSE, it was examining arrangements to be put in place for health services for women living abroad.

Sat

ANON May 23rd, 2015 @ 10:28 AM

Child abuser has sentence halved as judges rule six-year-old victim 'was gay'

Two Argentine judges are under fire after cutting the sentence of a paedophile in half on the grounds that his six-year-old victim was gay.

Describing the now 11-year-old as having a “homosexual orientation”, appeal court judges Horacio Piombo and Benjamín Sal Llargués decided to cut the prison sentence for Mario Tolosa from six years to three, as they felt his victim was “accustomed to sexual behaviour” following years of abuse by his father.

“It cannot be considered abuse when a boy is used to being abused in his home and is accustomed to sexual behaviour and has a homosexual orientation,” they said in their ruling.

Calls to impeachment the judges have spread across the country after the verdict came to light last week.

Justice Piombo defended the decision on Monday, saying that before Mr Tolosa molested the boy, the child had already suffered “the initiation by his father into the worst of worlds, leading him to depravation.”

The judge said that as a result of that experience, the boy had showed “signs of a transvestite conduct, of conduct we had to take into account.”

Adding that Mr Tolosa’s actions could not be considered “gravely outrageous” in legal terms because his victim was already “making a precocious choice” about his sexuality.

The ruling dates from last year but become public last week as prosecutors at Buenos Aires’ Supreme Court decided to appeal the verdict.

The Argentine Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Trans have demanded the judges be removed from the bench, saying the ruling placed the victim "in the position of a suspect".

Interior Minister Florencio Randazzo said the ruling was "an embarrassment".

"It's repugnant to say that the presumed sexual orientation of an abused six-year-old boy is a reason to reduce the sentence of the abuser," he added.

Sat

ANON May 23rd, 2015 @ 10:26 AM

Children's nurse in dock on child porn allegations…

A children's nurse nurse has appeared in court accused of child porn offences.
Belfast man Aaron Ravel (45) faces four charges connected to "graphic" material allegedly found on his computer.

It was stressed that none of the images are connected to his work. Ravel, of Cavehill Road in the city, is charged with making, possessing and distributing indecent photographs of children.

He is further accused of having an extreme pornographic image.

All of the charges relate to discoveries made in October last year.

Ravel is understood to have been suspended from duties since his arrest.
Standing in the dock at Belfast Magistrates' Court, dressed in a dark grey suit, he nodded to confirm he understood the alleged offences.

A detective constable said he could connect the defendant to the charges.
Defence solicitor Padraig O Muirigh stressed that the accused fully co-operated with police.

Judge Bagnall agreed to adjourn the case for 10 weeks. Ravel was released on continuing bail to return to court on July 31

Sat

ANON May 23rd, 2015 @ 10:24 AM

89-year-old jailed for child abuse…

An 89-year-old former teacher and Scout leader has been jailed for seven years for "awful" abuse of two of his pupils.

Peter Farrands, also a former church minister, told one of his victims the young boy was his "special lad" as he abused him in a classroom at the Folville Junior School in Leicester during the 1980s.

His other young victim was abused as he stood at the front of the class and read a book, but Farrands was careful to ensure the other pupils could not see his assault.

Sentencing a frail-looking Farrands, Judge Hammond said that the attacks were "awful, awful offences" on vulnerable youngsters which had left the victims "tormented" into adulthood.

The judge was "moved" by the witness testimony of one of the men for whom the effect of abuse "has been frankly devastating", he added.

The other youngster was Robert Gibb, who said after sentencing today at Leicester Crown Court: "There's no forgiveness."

The 49-year-old, who has waived his right to anonymity, said: "If he had been a younger man, he'd have got longer.

"He did wrong to me and I think the sentence is adequate."

Farrands was convicted last month by a jury of five counts of indecent assault against both his victims during the 1970s and 1980s.

Some of the abuse happened at school, but also while both boys were out on organised trips along the canal accompanied by the then Scout master.

Mr Gibb was aged 10 or 11 when a three-year period of abuse started in 1976 while he was a pupil at the school in the Braunstone area of the city.

During that time, Farrands rubbed his genitals over Mr Gibb's clothing while in class, and then again on a Scout trip.

On one occasion during an assault he told Mr Gibb: "Let's get this little soldier to stand up", out of hearing of the other pupils.

Judge Hammond recounted another incident where Mr Gibb was drying himself with a towel on a scouting excursion and Farrands touched him.

"Robert broke free and said if he didn't stop touching him he'd tell his mother. He was 13," said the judge.

"After the incident, Robert told his parents and his parents contacted the school and met the headmaster, who was very dismissive and said Robert was lying.

Sat

ANON May 22nd, 2015 @ 12:41 PM

1/2...Hundreds of children neglected as ‘urgent’ files found

At least 127 children have been identified as requiring “urgent attention” following an emergency review by the Child and Family Agency of case files recently discovered in Laois and Offaly.

Tusla confirmed that an audit of 743 case files had found that 660 required the allocation of a social worker including 127 that require immediate action.

The review had been prompted by the discovery at the end of April of hundreds of files by a recently appointed principal social worker in Tusla’s Portlaoise office.

The discovery of the files as well as another 822 files where gardaí had made referrals to either Tusla or to the HSE had sparked concerns for the welfare of the children mentioned in the previously unattended-to files.

Tusla said it was “with regret” that it acknowledged it had not had the capacity to get a “clearer picture” of the situation in the two Midlands counties and that it was now taking steps to bring in additional staff so it can deal with referrals while the backlog of cases receives “urgent attention”.

Fred McBride, Tusla chief operating officer, said: “A clear weakness identified in the Laois/Offaly area has been that relating to filing and records management.

“It is with regret that Tusla acknowledges its lack of capacity to readily access information which would have given a clearer picture of the operation of social work in Laois/Offaly which would have lessened concerns regarding files.

“Efforts will be ongoing to strengthen IT capacity, not just in Laois/Offaly but throughout the organisation.”

Some of the files discovered in Portlaoise dated back as far as 1998

ANON May 22nd, 2015 @ 12:39 PM

2/2...Tusla said that, following the completion of the audit of the discovered social work files, its management procedures are being reviewed and improved and a reform duty and intake system is also in operation involving six social workers managed by a principal social worker.

The revelation that some children may have remained in vulnerable or abusive situations because of the lack of attention paid to the files comes after Tusla chief executive Gordon Jeyes told an Oireachtas committee earlier this month that the status of the files had been “unclear” at the time they were found in the office in Portlaoise.

Mr Jeyes said the “previously unidentified” files had been found after Tusla’s new service delivery framework had been put in place.

However, the Impact trade union said the files were not “unidentified” and claimed senior management within the agency had been made repeatedly aware of their existence over a number of years.

Impact assistant general secretary Denis Rohan said the files had been “part of the statistical returns” social workers made on a monthly basis and the reason they had not been fully attended to was due to a failure to provide cover for staff on maternity leave alongside an increased demand for child and family services.

Tusla said yesterday: “While all referrals, some of which dated back to 1998, had received some level of attention, the standard file management procedures had not been followed.”

Laois/Offaly already had a backlog of 500 cases awaiting allocation when the additional files were discovered.

Tusla is currently piloting the National Child Care Information System, an IT system for tracking and recording child welfare cases, in the Midwest which, pending a review, will be rolled out.

Fri

ANON May 22nd, 2015 @ 12:36 PM

OAP faces prison for breaching sex order…

A pensioner faces up to five years behind bars after he pleaded guilty to multiple breaches of a court-imposed order to keep him away from children.

Standing in the dock of Newry Crown Court, 72-year-old Robert McComb pleaded guilty to four counts of breaching the court-imposed sexual offences prevention order (SOPO) a number of times between September 12 and October 18 last year.

No facts of the case were heard, but details of the charges disclose how McComb had unsupervised contact with a child without prior approval from Social Services and loitered near Banbridge Leisure Centre and Assumption Grammar School.

The SOPO, along with a three-month suspended jail term, was put in place on September 5, 2013 by District Judge Mervyn Bates after McComb admitted sexually assaulting a girl under 13 in the middle of a busy supermarket on July 25, 2012.

The judge heard that a week after the incident the girl's mother told police how her young daughter had been sexually assaulted in the middle of Asda supermarket in Portadown and the schoolgirl herself said a man had "slapped her bottom".

McComb was handed a further suspended term earlier this year after he pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a woman.

Judge Kevin Finnegan QC adjourned passing sentence until June 5, releasing McComb on continuing bail in the meantime, advising him to co-operate with the probation officer who will write a report on him.

Fri

ANON May 21st, 2015 @ 10:43 AM

Cardinal accused of ignoring child sex abuse…

George Pell, an Australian Cardinal who is one of the most senior figures in the Vatican, has been accused of ignoring and covering up child sex abuse claims during his service in Australia, including allegedly trying to bribe a victim of a paedophile priest to remain silent.

In dramatic testimony at Australia's royal commission into child sex abuse, David Ridsdale said he was abused by his uncle, Gerard Ridsdale a notorious paedophile and defrocked priest and phoned Cardinal Pell, who tried to silence him.

Mr Ridsdale said he spoke to Cardinal Pell in 1993 but the priest did not appear shocked and instead attempted to bribe him. Cardinal Pell has previously denied the claim.

"George then began to talk about my growing family and my need to take care of their needs. He mentioned how I would soon have to buy a car or house for my family," Mr Ridsdale said.

Mr Ridsdale said he recalled "with clarity" the last three lines of the conversation:

"Me: 'Excuse me, George, what the **** are you talking about?'

"George: 'I want to know what it will take to keep you quiet.'

"Me: '**** you, George, and everything you stand for.'"

Cardinal Pell is now based at the Vatican as prefect of the secretariat for the economy and has been given the task by Pope Francis of overseeing and reforming the city state's economy.

A former Archbishop of Sydney and Melbourne, he has long been dogged by criticisms of his handling of child sex abuse in the Catholic Church in Australia.

Lawyers for the Catholic Church's witnesses at the commission said Cardinal Pell would provide a statement if asked but it was unlikely to differ from his previous response.

In a statutory declaration in 2002, Cardinal Pell said of Mr Ridsdale's claim: "It was alleged that I said to David words to the effect 'What will it take to keep you quiet?'

"I emphatically deny having said these words or any words to that effect.

I emphatically and totally deny the allegation that I made any attempt to buy David's silence."

Thurs

ANON May 21st, 2015 @ 10:38 AM

1/2..Oakwood School: Former pupil 'forced to eat own vomit'…

After two teachers admitted abusing children at a state boarding school, a former pupil has said she was left "traumatised" after being forced to eat vomit and witnessing serious violence.

"Boys were hit, force-fed sick, slippered, beaten in the sports barn," said Niomi Gabrielle, a former pupil of the now-closed Oakwood School, in Stowmarket, run for boys with emotional and behavioural problems.

The school, which operated from 1974 to 2000, has been at the centre of a Suffolk Police inquiry into allegations of excessive physical abuse.

Two former teachers admitted two offences each this week, while other charges against them, and two other teachers, were dismissed at Ipswich Crown Court.

Corporal punishment was made illegal in UK schools in 1987.

Brian Alliban was at a mainstream primary in Bury St Edmunds but was moved by the authorities and his parents to Oakwood, from the age of eight, until he left in 1986 when he was 16.

He had gender reassignment surgery in adult life and is now known as Niomi Gabrielle. She watched the Oakwood trial from the public gallery at court.

"There were teachers who were very demanding and very violent in the way they treated other boys and elements of that have traumatised me ever since," said Ms Gabrielle.

"The punishments which were meted out were legal to a point, but when it got to the stage of whacking someone's head against a canoe for example, that is over the top in terms of how a child should be treated by a member of staff."

She said one of her worst memories was being forced to eat liver at mealtimes, which she she did not like and then being forced to eat her own sick when she vomited.