Everyday thousands of children are being sexually abused. You can stop the abuse of at least one child by simply praying. You can possibly stop the abuse of thousands of children by forwarding the link in First Time Visitor? by email, Twitter or Facebook to every Christian you know. Save a child or lots of children!!!! Do Something, please!

3:15 PM prayer in brief:
Pray for God to stop 1 child from being molested today.
Pray for God to stop 1 child molestation happening now.
Pray for God to rescue 1 child from sexual slavery.
Pray for God to save 1 girl from genital circumcision.
Pray for God to stop 1 girl from becoming a child-bride.
If you have the faith pray for 100 children rather than one.
Give Thanks. There is more to this prayer here

Please note: All my writings and comments appear in bold italics in this colour

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Stories from Poland, USA-2, Colombia, Vatican, on This Week's Catholic PnP List

Polish Catholic Church expects 'wave' of child sex abuse reports after release of film on paedophilia

Crowd-funded 'Just Don't Tell Anyone' has been seen 14 million times on YouTube CREDIT: KACPER PEMPEL

Matthew Day, Warsaw

Poland's Catholic Church says it is expecting a "wave" of reports of child sex abuse by priests as it struggles to cope with the impact of a new film on paedophilia in the church that has been seen by millions.

The crowd-funded two-hour-long film 'Just Don't Tell Anyone' has so far had over 14 million views on YouTube in just three days, and proved to be a sensation in Poland while appearing to deliver a hammer blow to the moral credibility of the Catholic Church.

The film, which hears the accounts of victims and some confessions from their abusers, has already prompted Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki, the head of Poland’s episcopate, to issue an apology to “all those harmed” but now the Church appears to be bracing itself for an avalanche of sexual abuse allegations.

“So far Poland has not seen the huge increases in reported cases as seen in other countries,” said Father Piotr Studnicki, from the Church’s Centre for Child Protection, during a television interview. “But that wave is probably coming.”

The Catholic Church has also said that it will re-open old cases and start new investigations in response to the material shown in the documentary.

CSA sentences to be doubled

Reacting to the film Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of Law and Justice, Poland’s governing party, said the government was preparing changes to the penal code that would introduce sentences of up to 30 years for child abuse. 

Currently, maximum sentences are about 15 years. it will be interesting to see if new sentences can be applied to historical cases. In most countries it would not be the case.

The film could also have an influence on the European elections later this month.

Before its release Law and Justice had sought to make political capital by portraying itself as the defender of the Catholic Church and conservative values, with Mr Kaczynski even going as far to say that “anyone who raises their hand against the Church, raises their hand against Poland”.

But his party now risks being tainted by the scandal engulfing the Church, and opposition parties have been quick to exploit the possibility. Grzegorz Schetyna, the leader of Civic Platform, Poland’s main opposition party, has already parodied his opponent’s words by saying “anyone who raises their hand against children, raises their hand against Poland”. 

Dallas Catholic church leaders concealed details of
sexual abuse accusations, police say

Det. David Clark writes in a search warrant affidavit,
“individuals involved in the Dioceses’ vetting process have
lost confidence in that process.”
Author: Tasha Tsiaperas

The investigation into sexual abuse accusations of the Catholic Diocese of Dallas was repeatedly stonewalled by church officials, a search warrant executed Wednesday details.  

But Bishop Edward Burns disputed details of that search warrant, saying church officials have been "cooperating" with law enforcement. 

The Dallas police child exploitation unit has been investigating sexual abuse allegations since February 2018. 

In January of this year, Catholic officials released the names of 31 priests who have been "credibly accused" of sexual abuse. 

Though the bishop said diocese officials have handed over all of its priest files, Det. David Clark writes in the search warrant affidavit that the diocese handed over incomplete files. 

"Individuals involved in the Dioceses’ vetting process have lost confidence in that process.” 

Searches were conducted Wednesday at the diocese, a Catholic church and a warehouse in connection with the sexual abuse allegations.

Bishop Edward Burns of the Catholic Diocese of Dallas says his organization has been "cooperating" with law enforcement. “We know we have given them the files, so we say, ‘By all means look,’” Burns said. “What this does is give us another opportunity to be cooperative and transparent.” 

He said the diocese's investigation went through 2,424 files dating back to 1950 to identify 31 priests who have been "credibly accused" of sexual abuse. 

The police search warrant carefully details the investigation into the local diocese and sexual assault allegations against five priests who have worked in Dallas.

The warrant says one of the accused priests was actually asked to investigate himself, records show. And, the warrant says, the outside investigators hired by the diocese were initially asked to look into "financial improprieties" by the priests and not sexual abuse allegations. 

So far, no priests have been arrested in connection with the sexual assault investigation, and only one currently faces a sexual assault criminal charge. 

Investigators are looking for details on five men: Edmundo Paredes, 70; Richard Thomas Brown, 77; Alejandro Buitrago, 77; William Joseph Hughes, Jr., 63; Jeremy Myers, 62, according to a search warrant affidavit. 

A detective with the Dallas child exploitation unit believes the five men committed sexual abuse of a child, the search warrant says.

Paredes fled the country after an arrest warrant was issued in January, authorities said. He is the only priest named in the search warrant who currently faces a criminal charge in the abuse allegations. 

Clark writes that when he was assigned to the case he talked to the diocese’s attorney, Bill Sims.  

The attorney, according to Clark, said he believed “the victims were in a monetary settlement process and he believed the victims did not want to pursue criminal allegations.” 

Incomplete files

The diocese hired a team of six investigators to examine its priests’ files. Dallas police met with Burns, who “assured” them that there was a process in place to investigate all priest files and that the investigators would be former law enforcement officials.  

Burns said the diocesan review board also reviewed its internal investigation. He said the review board is made up of people "who are so very credible." But the police search warrant says the diocese didn't turn over all the names of the people involved in the internal investigation. 

“However, Diocesan attorneys only provided police personnel with the names of only one or two of the individuals who would exercise the promised oversight,” Clark writes in the search warrant.  

Investigators “requested the number of priests’ files flagged for sexual abuse” but were denied the request by an attorney representing the diocese. The attorney told investigators the information was “privileged.”  

“To date, the Dallas Police Department has not been given the number of priests’ files flagged for sexual abuse,” the search warrant says.  

The search warrant also says that investigators were not granted requests to meet with the investigators hired by the Catholic diocese.  

Clark points out in the search warrant that the diocese's investigators were initially hired to look into “financial improprieties” involving priests and not sexual assault allegations.  

Burns said there were many inaccuracies in the search warrant at a news conference Wednesday afternoon. He did not clarify what those inaccuracies were. 

“We’d be more than happy to address those inaccuracies with the Dallas Police Department,” Burns said. But, he said, he supports the police investigation. “If you really think there is something more, then look. If you want to look at something closer, then take it," Burns said. 

The allegations:

Father Alex Buitrago, 77
Maria Carrillo/Facebook

Dallas police met with the Diocese’s lawyers on Jan. 16, where Buitrago was named as a “credibly accused priest.” A victim had reported in 2015 that she had been sexually abused by Buitrago. The detective wrote that he received the priest’s file on Feb. 3. 

On Feb. 20, detectives interviewed the victim who said that she and her family were parishioners at St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church in Plano, where Buitrago was a priest. She told police he “quickly befriended her family after her parents divorced,” the affidavit said. 

The victim said she was between five and seven years old when the priest visited her family and her grandmother came to live with them from Peru. Her grandmother became close to the priest and would come visit her grandmother. 

She told detectives that Buitrago “sat her on his lap and started kissing her on her mouth,” the affidavit said. “She remembered Buitrago moving her back and forth on his lap.” 

The victim said she never told anyone about his incident and that a short time later, her family moved and left the parish. 

She told police that in 2015, she contacted Chancellor Edlund “but never heard back with what action, if any, was taken.” Dallas police contacted Plano police and found that the allegation was never investigated and they had no record of Buitrago or the victim in their files.

Father Jeremy Myers, 62
St Mary's School/Facebook

Myers is accused of sexually assaulting a student at a Catholic school in the 1980s. At the time, the school's headmaster told Myers he had been accused of abusing a male student, and Myers said he would talk to the alleged victim, the search warrant says. 

When Myers responded to the headmaster, he claimed the victim said "he was lying about any sexual contact between him and Myers," the warrant says. 

“I said to Abott Wangler he basically had Myers to investigate his own sexual allegation claim, to which Abott Wangler had no response,” Clark writes. 

The alleged victim told Clark he first met Myers while attending Subiaco Catholic School in 1986, where Myers was dean of his dorm during his freshman year. He said Myers “seemed to like him and would come to his defense anytime he got in trouble,” the affidavit said.

He “stated he would start to see some extra privileges the other kids did not receive.” He said Myers allowed him to stay in his room and hang out. 

The victim said he was kicked out of the school the sophomore year and moved back home. A short time later, his parents reached out to Myers and the priest agreed to let him come and visit him in Dallas where he was working at that time. The victim said he began living with Myers and said the priest enrolled him in school and rented a duplex for him to live in.  

The victim said he would spend the night at the rectory where Myers worked and that while staying with the priest, the priest performed oral sex on him, the affidavit says. 

After several months, he moved back home to live with his parents.

William Joseph Hughes Jr., 63

The investigation into Hughes revealed he was accused of having a sexual relationship with a minor for more than a year.  

However, “nowhere in Hughes' 319-page file did it reveal the accusations, reveal the identity of the victim(s), or state the punishment, if any, assessed Hughes,” the search warrant says.  

In a lawsuit settled in 1998, Hughes admitted to the sexual abuse. 

The dioceses also possessed love letters between Hughes and the sexual abuse victim, but a priest destroyed them.  “I requested an interview with that priest but the request has not been granted,” Clark writes.  

The detective also says the diocese’s lawyers “never made any attempt to provide the name of Hughes’ victim.”

Richard Thomas Brown, 77

Brown acknowledges sexually abusing two victims, but his file only names one victim, the warrant says.  

A diocese official received an email from a woman who said her niece was sexually assaulted by Brown in the 1980s. The alleged victim met Brown at Holy Family Catholic Church in Irving.  

During that time, Brown repeatedly took the girl to his home and “would digitally penetrate her and make her touch his penis,” the warrant says.  

The woman reported the abuse to the diocese in 2004, but her accusations were not included in the priest’s file. The diocese’s attorneys later sent an additional 51 pages from Brown’s file to investigators, the warrant says.  

Brown is also accused of sexually abusing a girl in 1980 in Washington D.C.  

His file shows that in 1994, the priest "admitted during therapy sessions he would become sexually aroused when juvenile girls would sit on his lap,” the warrant says.  

The diocese received a report in 2002 that Brown was inappropriately touching at least one daughter of an Illinois family between 1996 and 2001. The priest later called this an "accident." 

Edmundo Paredes, 70 

One male victim reported he was an altar server when he met Paredes in 1991. The victim said Paredes took “him and other altar servers out to eat between masses and bought them things.” He said he was sexually abused from 1991 to 1994 by Paredes, the search warrant says.  

Several office staff, parishioners and priests were interviewed by Dallas police. They reported that Paredes was seen taking juveniles into his residence at night and on the weekends.  

Clark writes in the search warrant that Dallas diocese officials reported there was a meeting with church members in 2006. The official said Paredes' priest file should contain information on that meeting. The file had no information regarding the meeting, Clark writes. 

Colombia’s catholic church promises action
against child abuse, but plays down extent
by Adam Veitch
Colombia Reports

Colombia’s Catholic Church is facing around 100 criminal investigations involving sexual abuse, the religious institution’s leader admitted Wednesday.

Cardinal Ruben Salazar admitted to the ongoing criminal investigations in an interview with El Tiempo, but downplayed the gravity of the sexual abuse claims, saying that sexual abuse by priests is “not an epidemic.”

The national church leader promised an investigation into historical child sex abuse in Colombia “as soon as we have a sufficiently qualified team and the resources to carry it out.”

The Catholic Church’s history of abuse in Colombia

Despite evidence to the contrary, Salazar told El Tiempo that there was no culture of covering up child abuse within the hierarchy of the Catholic Church.

Knowing the bishops in this country as I do, I can tell you that no point has it ever been our desire to obscure the facts
Cardinal Ruben Salazar

Can he possibly be that naive?

Over the past few years, several cases of abuse have come to light in which church authorities in Colombia have been at best negligent in ensuring the welfare of young victims, and at worst complicit in endangering it.

Journalists reporting on these abuse cases suffered harassment allegedly orchestrated by church leaders.

Medellin archbishop denies protecting alleged child rapists, accuses alleged victims of lying

Transferring alleged pedophiles

One particular practice employed by the church hierarchy has been that of transferring priests facing child abuse accusations rather than reporting them to legal authorities.

One notable example of this practice was the case of Jairo Alzate, a priest from the city of Pereira who died in prison in 2015 while serving a seven-year sentence for the abuse of 10 children.

Shockingly, before the arrest preceding his 2011 conviction, the bishop had allowed him to return to his job at a new parish, despite the priest admitting to a history of child abuse.

This decision was justified by the Judicial Vicar Francisco Salazar on the basis that he had made a “hard promise” not to repeat his past mistakes.

Moving alleged pedophiles abroad

Another common means of perverting justice was for accused priests to simply leave the country, and as of today many Colombian priests are being charged with pedophilia abroad.

Notable examples of this include Danilson Mena Abadia, who left Colombia in 1997, assumed a new identity and was convicted of rape in Nicaragua in 2001 before returning to Bogota, where he was accused of abusing a 13 year old girl.

Moreover, El Tiempo claimed in their interview with Salazar that evidence existed of bishops actively assisting accused figures to leave the country, having published a list of priests facing legal action in the US.

Catholic Church in Medellin protecting 17 pedophile priests: report

What the church is (and isn’t) doing to combat it

The Colombian Episcopal Conference, of which Salazar is the chairman set out a series of guidelines to tackle the problem of sex abuse at the order of Pope Francis.

These guidelines that followed a papal conference in February include not housing children with priests except in exceptional circumstances, and preventing clergy with past convictions or allegations from engaging with children in any capacity.

Colombia cardinal assumes responsibility over widespread sexual abuse in church

However, the guidelines also include a provision aiming to justify why those facing allegations are not removed from their posts altogether, and failed to explicitly acknowledge the need to investigate past abuses.

Pope Francis Issues New Rules on Reporting
Child Sex Abuse

The Legal Examiner

On May 9, Pope Francis issued new rules creating worldwide accountability for reporting allegations of abuse. This new set of Papal norms, Vos Estis Lux Mundi, will govern both reporting and investigation into accusations of clerical sexual abuse and its cover-up.

This new set of rules will take effect June 1, 2019 and remain in place as an experiment for three years. It will obligate officials in the Roman Catholic Church worldwide to report cases of clergy sexual abuse — and attempts to cover it up — to their superiors. Previously reporting on abuse cases in the Catholic Church varied widely in different countries and often even between dioceses in the same country. In many countries the Catholic Church still denies or downplays the existence of abuse and there are no reporting procedures in place.

Pope Francis is being heralded for trying to enshrine accountability for bishops – who are responsible for implementing the new rules – into church law. However, the new rules still rely on self-reporting and do not detail specific punishments for Church leaders who violate these norms. Nor do the new rules mandate the involvement of authorities outside the Church.

The Catholic Church has been ravaged by the plague of sexual abuse committed by clergy members. To date the response of the church has been marked by paralysis and created a crisis of confidence among the faithful. While on the surface the Vatican’s new reporting rules could be commended, a closer look reveals them to be toothless and potentially ineffectual because of the absence of full accountability to civil authorities. Sexual abuse is a crime and should be treated as such; the church should never be a shield from prosecution. History has shown the Catholic Church is not capable of policing itself against abuses of power, yet the Pope’s new rule relies entirely on self-policing. It establishes no mechanisms for reporting abuse allegations outside of the Catholic hierarchy and requires no involvement from local authorities. The rule acknowledges that many countries may require Catholic leaders to report abuse allegations to civil authorities, but does not state that this is required.

As the church’s sex abuse scandal has spread throughout the world the one universal constant has been the church’s demonstrated inability to police and punish its own. What reason do we have to believe now that anything has changed when bishops inside the church will still be in charge of investigations? Why now, and not before, will they be rigorous and impartial? The Catholic Church and its officers long ago ceded any moral authority when it comes to sexual abuse within its ranks. For too long if a priest raped a child he was transferred, not prosecuted, by his bishop. It was more important to protect the brand than the victims.

According to SNAP, a network of survivors of clergy sexual abuse, only “Oversight from external, secular authorities will better protect children and deter coverups,” Until this happens, Pope Francis can never offer full accountability for abusive priests and due justice for their victims. Self-policing has been, and will continue to be, unsuccessful and it will allow sexual predators to continue to prey on children behind the Vatican’s cloak of secrecy.

US Catholic abuse victims sue Vatican
to name predatory priests

Suit seeks to hold Vatican at fault for abuse

A lawsuit in federal court in Minnesota seeks to trace a direct line from clergy sex abuse victims, through Minnesota church officials, to the Vatican, with claims made by three brothers who were abused by a Catholic priest.

(Vincenzo PINTO / AFP)

-Five Americans who say they were sexually molested by Catholic priests filed a lawsuit against the Vatican on Tuesday to compel the church to open its archives and hand over the names and details of abusive clergy.

The plaintiffs "were harmed as a result of the Defendant Holy See's practice and policy of not reporting suspected child abuse to law enforcement officials," stated the lawsuit filed in US federal court in the state of Minnesota.

"Holy See's practices of retaining, hiding, and concealing evidence of crimes of its agents and former agents has endangered numerous children and continues to put children in peril," it added.

Stephen Hoffman, one of three brothers who are plaintiffs for the case, said at a press conference the suit's intention is to "let something like this never happen anymore." 

"I don't want anyone to go through what I and my brothers went through... I just want the Vatican to do what's right," he said.

Hoffman and his brothers Luke and Benedict say they were molested by Curtis Wehmeyer, a Catholic priest arrested in 2012 and sentenced to five years in prison after the siblings' mother reported the case, sparking a scandal that caused the resignation of an archbishop in 2015.

Another plaintiff, 51-year-old Jim Keenan, said he was assaulted throughout the 1970s by a priest whose actions were documented in secret by the church.

"I come forward today to sue the Pope and the Vatican, because it needs to stop. They are not above us," he told reporters.

No kidding. Well below, I would say.

The fifth plaintiff, Manuel Vega, said he was one of 30 victims of a Mexican priest who he believes returned to his home country after being accused of abuse in the US.

"He is nowhere to be found," the 53-year-old said. "From what I heard, he is somewhere in Mexico, or in Spain, still practicing, still dangerous."

The lawsuit comes after Pope Francis announced this month that every Catholic diocese would have to come up with a plan for reporting abuse, a measure expected to bring countless new cases of molestation to light.

The Catholic church is struggling to deal with a global epidemic of sexual assault by priests, in particular of minors. Much of the abuse has gone on for decades.

No comments:

Post a Comment