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British paedophile who groomed Kenyan children caught after holidaymaker's 'gut instinct' …

A British paedophile who preyed on vulnerable Kenyan children was caught after a holidaymaker used ‘gut instinct’ to report him to authorities.

Keith Morris, from Hull, travelled to a rural village in Kilifi County over a period of about 20 years, and met with groups of young girls, but was flagged to the National Crime Agency by David Bushell after the tourist believed something was "seriously wrong."

Bushell, from London, said that he observed Morris over three days after spotting the 72-year-old with groups of girls aged between 10 and 12.

Speaking to the BBC, he said: "I felt like something was wrong but I was not really sure why the alarm bells were ringing.

"By the second day I felt like I just wanted to go and confront him and ask 'What are you doing with these children? What relationship are they to you?'”

After hotel staff told Bushell that Morris was in the process of adopting eight girls, he called the NCA.

"Ultimately if there is nothing wrong then all you will do is cause someone a small amount of stress but if there's something seriously wrong you may save someone's life or save them from the horrendous actions of someone that is quite monstrous," he said.

Morris, a retired locksmith, was convicted at Leeds Crown Court of four counts of rape, four counts of assault by penetration, two charges of sexual assault and two counts of perverting the course of justice.

A spokesperson from the NCA said: “This report from a member of the public played an integral part in the operation.

“Child sexual abuse is a very difficult crime to detect and we know that it is difficult for victims to report too.

“We rely on the public to have the confidence to be able to report crimes of a sexual nature to the authorities, especially child sexual abuse and this is why there is a need for clear reporting processes.

“It is everyone’s business to keep children safe from harm.”

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DCC members vote to halt sale of Magdalene Laundry site…

Elected members of Dublin City Council have voted overwhelmingly to halt the proposed sale of the site of the former convent and Magdalene Laundry on Sean McDermott St.

The two-acre site in Dublin's northeast inner city is the last remaining Magdalene Laundry in state ownership and was to be sold to a Japanese Hotel group.

The €50m development was to include a hotel, a community centre, a memorial garden and cultural venue to commemorate Magdalene victims and survivors, as well as a supermarket and 55 social housing units.

At a special meeting this evening, 37 councillors voted to retain ownership, with just eight voting against and two abstaining.

Survivors of the Magdalene Laundries applauded from the public gallery as the result of the vote was read out.

A number of protesters had gathered outside Dublin Castle ahead of the debate.

Some held signs saying "no sale", others held aloft posters which read "our land is not yours to sell".

Councillor Gary Gannon, who proposed the motion, said the proposed sale of such a culturally sensitive property to private developers without proper consideration for the victims and survivors of institutional abuse was entirely inappropriate.

"It is the only laundry of its type in the possession of the State, which is why it is so important," he told the council.

"When I think of conversations I have had with survivors, every single one had a simple request, to be remembered.

"These are people who had their names removed, we still don't have burial records where some were placed.

"There is a simple request and responsibility on us as a council custodians of that building, to provide a place where people can be remembered in an honourable way."

The council will now consider the future of the site.

Survivors have called for a museum and interpretive centre on the site.

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1/2...Report details thousands of Catholic abuse cases in Germany since 1946…

A report on sexual abuse inside the Catholic Church in Germany says 3,677 people were abused by clergy between 1946 and 2014, two leading German media outlets have said.

Spiegel Online and Die Zeit said the report they obtained, commissioned by the German Bishops Conference and researched by three universities, concludes that more than half of the victims were 13 or younger and most were boys.

Every sixth case involved rape and at least 1,670 clergy were involved, both weeklies reported.

Die Zeit wrote that 969 abuse victims were altar boys.

The report also says that the actual number of victims was likely much higher, according to the research by experts from the Universities of Giessen, Heidelberg and Mannheim.

The German Bishops Conference said in a written response a few hours later that it regretted the leaking of the report, but that the study confirms "the extent of the sexual abuse" that took place.

"It is depressing and shameful for us," Bishop Stephan Ackermann said.

He did not further elaborate on the findings of the report, but said the Catholic group would present the study as initially planned on September 25 together with the authors.

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2/2...Die Zeit wrote that researchers were not allowed to look at the original church files but had to provide questionnaires to the dioceses, which then provided the information.

In their conclusions, the researchers write that there was evidence that some files were manipulated or destroyed, many cases were not brought to justice, and that sometimes abuse suspects, primarily priests, were simply moved to other dioceses without the congregations being informed about their past.

The Catholic Church has been struggling with sex abuse by its clergy for a long time.
In 2010, the German church was rocked by a sex abuse scandal triggered by the head of a Jesuit school in Berlin who went public about decades-long sexual abuse of high school students by clergy.

Following that, a whole wave of victims who were sexually abused by clergy spoke out across the country.

An investigation in the United States last month found rampant sexual abuse of more than 1,000 children by about 300 Catholic priests in Pennsylvania.

Earlier this week, the Vatican said it is preparing the "necessary clarifications" about accusations that top Vatican officials including Pope Francis covered up the sexual misconduct of a now-disgraced American ex-cardinal.

Also today, the Vatican said it was summoning the presidents of every bishops conference around the world for a February summit to discuss preventing clergy sex abuse and protecting children.

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Pope Francis to meet US church leaders over abuse claims…

Pope Francis is to meet with US Catholic Church leaders who want to discuss the fallout from a scandal involving a former American cardinal and demands from an archbishop that the pontiff step down.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, asked for the meeting after Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano last month accused the pope of knowing for years about sexual misconduct by former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and of doing nothing about it.

The Vatican said in a statement the pope would meet on Thursday with Cardinal DiNardo, Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley of Boston, and two USCCB officials.
In the 11-page statement published on 26 August, Archbishop Vigano, the former Vatican ambassador to Washington, launched an unprecedented broadside by a Church insider against the pope and a long list of Vatican and US Church officials.

Cardinal DiNardo has said Archbishop Vigano's accusations "deserve answers that are conclusive and based on evidence".

The accusations shook the US Church, following a damning Grand Jury report in the state of Pennsylvania that found that 301 priests in the state had sexually abused minors over the past 70 years.

Cardinal DiNardo has called for the Vatican to help with an investigation into how McCarrick could have risen steadily through the ranks of the US Church although many people knew that he had engaged for years in sexual misconduct with adult male seminarians.

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10 more sex abuse allegations made in Kilmore diocese…

The diocese of Kilmore has received 10 new allegations of clerical sex abuse against priests, with a report praising the way in which senior Church figures responded to the issue.

The Second Review of Child Safeguarding Practice in the Diocese of Kilmore was undertaken by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland and was published yesterday.

It paints an extremely positive picture of the work done by Church management in the diocese in relation to ensuring the safety of children and the management of those against whom allegations have been made.

The diocese of Kilmore covers most of Cavan, large sections of Leitrim, three parishes in Fermanagh, and parts of Sligo and Meath.

According to the report, allegations have been made with regard to 13 priests in the area since 1975, relating to 17 claims.

However, since the last review of the diocese, conducted in 2010, 10 allegations have surfaced in relation to six priests, four of whom are still living.

Regarding the status of the living, accused priests, one is still in ministry and three are out of ministry.

Of the 10 allegations that have been reported since 2010, four relate to one priest, who was later convicted in the courts, and two relate to another cleric.

Regarding the cleric against whom four allegations have been made, the report states that he also faced allegations made prior to 2010.

As for the 10 allegations made in the last eight years, seven were reported to gardaí and three were reported to the diocese by An Garda Síochána.

Eight allegations were also reported to Tusla, while one was reported to the diocese by Tusla. The report says Tusla was “aware of” another allegation since the 2010 review.

One priest has been convicted of offences since 2010 and one priest has been found guilty in a canonical process.

The report stresses that the response to the allegations was swift and comprehensive. Case files were “extremely well documented”, all allegations were reported promptly, and actions taken to restrict ministry were taken “decisively” by Bishop Leo O’Reilly.

Undoubtedly, the primary focus of diocesan interventions is on safeguarding children,” states the report.

“There is also evidence of compassionate responding to complainants, even when civil authority agencies do not take action.

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Tougher sentence sought for cleric’s cover-up of abuse…

Australian prosecutors have said they will appeal for a tougher sentence for the most senior Roman Catholic cleric convicted of covering up child sex abuse.

A magistrate ordered ex-Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson to be detained at his sister's New South Wales home for at least six months of a one-year sentence before he is eligible for parole.

The 67-year-old cleric was convicted in May of failing to report to police the repeated abuse of two altar boys by a paedophile priest in Sydney in the 1970s.

The Australian director of public prosecutions' office said prosecutors are appealing the "inadequacy" of the sentence.

Wilson had faced a possible sentence of two years in jail

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New York's attorney general has issued civil subpoenas to all eight Roman Catholic dioceses in the state as part of a sex abuse investigation, a law enforcement source has said….

The subpoenas are part of an ongoing civil investigation by Attorney General Barbara Underwood's office into how dioceses reviewed, and potentially covered-up, allegations of extensive sexual abuse of minors, said the source, who asked not to be identified.

Last month Ms Underwood sought to partner with district attorneys, the only entities with the power to convene grand juries in the state, to investigate possible crimes and potentially prosecute individuals who have committed criminal offences within the statutes of limitations.

There is no time limit under New York state's statute of limitations for so-called Class A crimes such as rape.

The development comes atfter a grand jury in the US state of Pennsylvania published a report decrying a systematic cover-up of abuse by the church there.

"The Pennsylvania grand jury report shined a light on incredibly disturbing and depraved acts by Catholic clergy, assisted by a culture of secrecy and cover ups in the dioceses," Ms Underwood said in a statement, announcing the New York investigation.

The Archdiocese of New York said in a statement it was eager to work with Ms Underwood in the investigation and provide any information available.

"Not only do we provide any information they seek, they also notify us as well when they learn of an allegation of abuse, so that, even if they cannot bring criminal charges, we might investigate and remove from ministry any cleric who has a credible and substantiated allegation of abuse," said Joseph Zwilling, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York.

The Diocese of Buffalo said in a statement that it would cooperate with any investigation by the New York State attorney general or district attorney.

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said that his office was creating a task force to investigate allegations of sexual abuse by clergy members within the state's Catholic dioceses.

Mr Grewal said he was troubled by the Pennsylvania report.

"We owe it to the people of New Jersey to find out whether the same thing happened here," he said in a statement.

"If it did, we will take action against those responsible"

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1/2...‘No plans’ to open committee archive on Magdalene laundries…

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s department has said there are “no plans” to open to the public the McAleese Committee archive on the Magdalene laundries despite repeated calls from campaigners and survivors.

It comes just weeks after Mr Varadkar asked the Pope to use his “office and influence” to ensure “justice and truth and healing” was given to survivors of institutional abuse.

The archive, which contains data from the religious congregations that ran the laundries as well as copies of relevant official records across departments, State agencies, and bodies, has been with the Department of An Taoiseach since 2015.

The department has refused calls to open the archive to the public in the years since.

In a Freedom of Information refusal issued to the Justice For Magdalenes Research (JFMR) group in 2016, the department said it was holding the archive for “safe keeping” and that it was “not held within the control of the department for the purposes of the FOI Act”.

The department has said the Commissions of Investigation Act 2004 informed the decision to deposit the archive with the Taoiseach. However, it pointed out that the act “does not apply to the work of the Inter-Departmental [McAleese] Committee or bind it in any way”.

Professor James Smith of Boston College and JFMR asked, given that the Taoiseach had asked the Pope to use his “office and influence” to bring about “justice and truth and healing for victims and survivors” of the Magdalene laundries and other institutions, could he not do the same by opening the archive.

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2/2...“There is now an opportunity for Mr Varadkar also to use his office and influence to ensure that the McAleese Committee archive is made public in the interests of ‘justice and truth’.

An Taoiseach’s department currently holds that archive. It was placed there for ‘safe keeping’, as detailed in the committee’s first interim report.

“The Commission of Investigations Act 2004 informed these decisions and yet the McAleese Committee was not subject to that legislation.

The archive is exempt from Freedom of Information requests. It is not governed, that we know, by the National Archives Act 1986.

“It sits, literally, in a legal limbo that impedes greater understanding and truth.”

Prof Smith also said the department’s stance was at odds with the Government’s response to the UN Committee Against Torture last month when it stated: “Any records held in a public archive are publicly available.”

“Is the Taoiseach’s department suggesting that it is somehow exempt from that assertion?” he said.

In a statement, the department said there were “no plans” to open the archive but said any future decision would have to take account of the “sensitivity” of the records.

“If at some point in the future there is to be any access to the data, such access could only ever be considered in the context of the sensitivity of the material and on the basis of the legislative protections for the personal and confidential information,” the statement said.

“This would include the requirements for any consultations that might be necessary at that time.

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1/2...The Catholic Church was given far too much power…

On your letter column on August 28, Patrick Dalton wrote of us being collectively responsible for the society we live in going on to say, “who said stop when families handed over their ‘fallen’ daughters to institutions?

Who said stop when the State broke up struggling families and put their children into care? Who said stop when Irish priests, brothers and nuns abused these citizens?”

So, Patrick Dalton believes we are responsible collectively and that “the shame of this inaction lies with us alone”.

For centuries the Catholic Church has had tremendous power in Ireland; communities respected, looked up to religious priests particularly. I believe the

Church had excess power. Power is a gift and if divinely given has wonderful potential to help people to better their lives.

Instead, children were violated in shocking ways by misuse of power, pregnant girls and unmarried were sent to mother and baby homes to have their newborn infant maybe sold abroad.

In the mother and baby home in Tuam hundreds of babies’ bodies were hidden away in a sewer-like condition, without respect or dignity.

Powerful priests abused innocent boys like Colm O’Gorman, during his early teen years, a cruel betrayal of trust at a vulnerable time in a young boy’s life.

The list of abuse and horror goes on. During the Pope’s visit my head was spinning.
I half-heartedly watched parts of the visit on television, my thoughts and heart were with the victims, the survivors of abuse and of Magdalene laundries and mother and baby homes.

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2/2...While in Ireland, Pope Francis apologised for the various abuses and asked for forgiveness.

What is crucial is to make reparation for the terrible wrongs done.

Reconciliation occurs when the perpetrators try to make amends. Strong action is needed, child abusers banished from ministry and objectors to canon law changes being fired immediately.

Minister Catherine Zappone’s initiative holds a glimmer of hope that people of her tenacity may persist and insist on the acknowledgement of the Church wrongdoing, and maybe the Church may make use of the opportunity to amend some of the harm to make amends so help those suffering after abuse to find some healing.

Maybe then we may get more Catholics attending mass instead of the shrinking numbers in many churches.

Maybe then there would be hope for the falling star of Catholicism.

Maybe then only then with an attempt at reparation made we could attempt to move forward have real trust in others especially religious priests and nuns again.

I hold my breath and wait for that reparation. It is the very least those who have been so deeply hurt, betrayed and traumatised deserve.

It should happen as quickly as possible, as suggested by Catherine Zappone.

It is only when this occurs that the Catholic Church might win back some of the trust it has lost and some of the hurt repaired that has been inflicted.

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Colm O’Gorman asks councillors to block Magdalene laundry sale

A proposal to stop the sale of the former Magdalene laundry on Sean McDermott Street in Dublin to a Japanese hotel chain will be put to Dublin city councillors on Monday.

Toyoko Inn has offered Dublin City Council €14.5 million for the two-acre site in the northeast inner city. Colm O’Gorman, executive director of Amnesty International Ireland, in recent days wrote to councillors asking that they oppose the sale.

The no-frills hotel chain wants to build a 350-bed hotel, student accommodation and shops.

The proposal also includes 60 apartments for social housing, likely to be used for senior citizens, and a permanent memorial to the women who were incarcerated in the laundry before it closed in 1996.

The laundry was one of five sites which was to be redeveloped for private and social housing under a public-private partnership (PPP) between the council and Bernard McNamara, during the boom.

The council’s deputy chief executive and head of housing, Brendan Kenny, has said the money acquired from the sale to the hotel group will be invested back into the area and the redevelopment of the vacant building would be a “ catalyst for badly needed economic and physical regeneration of this street and its environs which is only a few hundred yards away from O’Connell Street

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Redress scheme...

However, opposition has mounted to the plan since it was first mooted late last year. Social Democrats councillor Gary Gannon has tabled a motion for Monday’s council meeting calling for a halt to the sale.

A number of recommendations of a redress scheme for women incarcerated in laundries remained outstanding “including services for survivors and memorialisation”, Mr Gannon said.

In this context it was “entirely inappropriate that Dublin City Council is currently offering the Magdalene Laundry site at Sean McDermott Street for sale to private developers”, he said.

In a letter to councillors, Mr O’Gorman asked councillors to support the motion. “This is essential in order to ensure that a proper consultation on how best we might acknowledge and preserve it as a space for memorial and education about one of the darkest parts of our recent history.

This history and, most especially, the history of those incarcerated on that site, must be respected and preserved.”

The State should protect the laundry as a “site of conscience”, he said.

The site cannot be sold unless the sale is approved by councillors. A proposal to dispose of the site to Toyoko Inn is due to be put to councillors next month.

The Sean McDermott Street laundry was to have been developed by Bernard McNamara more than a decade ago with 179 apartments, 20 per cent of which would be reserved for social and affordable housing.

The scheme was one of five PPP deals between the council and the developer that collapsed in 2008.

Mr Kenny said there was an argument for the council to retain the site for social housing but he said the “immediate area already has one of the highest concentrations of social housing in the whole country”.

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Twelfth woman arrested over Smyllum child abuse claims…

A twelfth woman has been arrested and charged in connection with historical child abuse at a former children's home in South Lanarkshire.

Eleven women and a man were charged last week following an investigation ordered by the Crown Office into Smyllum Park House in Lanark.

Some of the accused are former nuns but none of those charged has appeared in court yet.

Those arrested previously are aged between 62 and 85.

The age of the latest women to be arrested is unknown.

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

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

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

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

Police Scotland said the allegations related to non-recent abuse of children.

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

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

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Six arrested over sexual child abuse and neglect in Glasgow…

Six people have been arrested as part of a police investigation into reports of child sexual exploitation in the Govanhill area of Glasgow.

A specialist unit was ordered to look into allegations which surfaced last year regarding Roma children.

Five males and one female have been arrested and charged in connection with offences relating to child sexual abuse and neglect.

One of the males has already appeared in court.

The others have been the subject of reports to prosecutors.

Police say work is continuing with other agencies to ensure children who may be at risk are protected.

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