Monthly Archives: June 2013

Paedophile priest claims ‘rent boy’ scandal operated at Vatican with ‘starving’ victims picked up at gay bar for sex with clergymen


Paedophile priest claims ‘rent boy’ scandal operated at Vatican with ‘starving’ victims picked up at gay bar for sex with clergymen

By Craig Mackenzie

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Starving and desperate victims from eastern Europe were picked up outside gay bar called Twink

  • Former Carabinieri officers pimped boys for nine clergymen, says Don Patrizio Poggi
  • Vatican dismiss allegations and accuse priest of seeking revenge

A convicted paedophile priest has claimed a rent boy ring operated at the Vatican with clergymen hiring teenagers for sex inside churches.

Don Patrizio Poggi, 46, who served a five-year sentence for abusing five boys aged 14 to 15, at his parish outside Rome, has given police a list of nine names.

Four people have been placed under investigation – including a monsignor who is currently the secretary of an important bishop, it has been alleged.

Also being investigated is a former Carabinieri policeman suspected of recruiting under-age boys for the alleged prostitution ring.

The ex-officer apparently snared the teenagers, mostly eastern European immigrants, outside a gay bar named Twink near Rome’s Termini train station.

A senior Vatican official has dismissed the allegations, accusing Poggi of seeking revenge because the church refused to reinstate him.

Poggi, the former priest at the San Filippo Neri church in Rome, said he made the allegations to ‘protect the Holy Church and the Christian community.’

The boys were chosen because they were starving and desperate, he claimed, according to Il Messaggero newspaper.

The former policeman allegedly selected the victims as he sat in his Fiat Panda – marked ‘Emergency Blood’ to avoid parking fines.

He was helped by a friend who ran a modelling agency, luring underage boys through ‘false work offers for modelling and acting roles’, Poggi said.

The agent also looked for victims at gay discos, saunas and gyms across Rome. An accountant was also said to be involved.

The boys were paid €150-€500 (£130-£425) to perform sex acts in church premises across the capital.

Poggi also accused the former Carabinieri of selling consecrated hosts for satanic rites.

When he met the authorities, Poggi reportedly presented documentary and photographic evidence in the company of two senior Vatican clergymen who vouched for his credibility.

One of the clergymen was Monsignor Luca Lorusso, an adviser to the Papal Nuncio to Italy, who is himself a confidante of Pope Francis.

Poggi’s list of names included two senior church officials and a religion lecturer.

Cardinal Agostino Vallini, head of the Catholic Vicariate of Rome, accused Poggi of making false claims out of a desire for vengeance and personal resentment.

Vallini said: ‘The cardinal expresses his full confidence in the magistracy and declares himself full convinced that this slander will be demolished, demonstrating Poggi’s claims to be untrue

‘God will hold everyone accountable for their deeds.’

The controversy comes just weeks after Pope Francis confirmed the existence of a ‘gay lobby’ in the Vatican to a visiting Latin American church group.

The apparent network inside the supposedly celibate and staunchly anti-homosexual Church is one reason why Pope Francis is working on a thorough house-cleaning of the Roman curia.

‘Prepare to be shocked,’ Milwaukee archbishop warns of priest sex files


‘Prepare to be shocked,’ Milwaukee archbishop warns of priest sex files

Archdiocese to release documents Monday

By Annysa Johnson of the Journal Sentinel

June 29, 2013 5:41 p.m

From the link: http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/prepare-to-be-shocked-milwaukee-archbishop-warns-of-priest-sex-files-b9944386z1-213713061.html

In a major turning point in its nearly 3-year-old bankruptcy, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee on Monday is scheduled to make public thousands of pages of documents detailing the sexual abuse of minors by priests going back decades, and what church leaders did — and did not do — in response.

The records will contain parts of 42 priests’ personnel files as well as depositions of former Archbishop Timothy Dolan, now cardinal of New York; retired Archbishop Rembert Weakland; retired Bishop Richard Sklba; and now-defrocked priest Daniel Budzynski.

Most of the information, which is being released as part of an agreement in the archdiocese’s bankruptcy proceedings, has never been seen publicly.

“Needless to say, there are some terrible things described in many of the documents,” Archbishop Jerome Listecki said in his weekly letter to local Catholics in advance of the release. To those deciding to read the files, Listecki advised, “prepare to be shocked.”

According to interviews and court records, the documents are expected to include: details about how church officials shuttled abusive priests from one parish or school to the next without divulging their histories; correspondence between the archdiocese and the Vatican, which has the final word on defrocking priests; evidence that the archdiocese under Dolan paid some priests to accept that decision without protest; and graphic accounts of sexual assault of young people.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Susan V. Kelley has acknowledged in court the disturbing nature of some of the documents. Earlier this year, commenting on the case of Franklyn Becker, a priest who molested at least 10 teenage boys beginning in the 1960s, Kelley said: “Every time I have to read his file, I’m just devastated.”

Jeffrey Anderson, who represents most of the 575 men and women who filed sex abuse claims in the bankruptcy, argued for the release of the documents and called it a victory for victims and survivors.

“From the outset, what survivors have wanted most is to protect other kids,” said Anderson. “And the only way you can do that is to have full disclosure of what has been done in the past.”

Listecki, who was not available for this story, worried in his letter how victims would weather the public release of such information. To some, that rang hollow.

“Releasing these documents is not going to hurt us. The damage has been done. We can’t suffer any more than we already have,” said Charles Linneman of Sugar Grove, Ill.

Linneman was abused by Becker at the age of 14 at St. John’s Parish in South Milwaukee and now serves as chairman of the bankruptcy creditors committee.

“I haven’t met one survivor who wants those documents to stay sealed,” he said.

One group of offenders

The individual priest files will focus on one group of offenders accused in the bankruptcy claims: 42 of the 45 priests named on the archdiocese’s website as having substantiated allegations of sexually abusing at least one minor.

They include some of the archdiocese’s worst sex offenders. Among them: the late Father Lawrence Murphy, who is believed to have molested as many as 200 deaf boys, most during his decades at St. John School for the Deaf in St. Francis; and Sigfried Widera, who was facing 42 counts of child abuse in Wisconsin and California when he jumped to his death from a Mexico hotel room in 2003 as authorities closed in.

All of the files will be redacted to omit names and other information that would identify victims, their families or those who reported the abuse who were not employed by the local archdiocese or another Catholic entity. They also will omit private medical information and information covered by attorney-client privilege.

The archdiocese and attorneys for victims are expected to post the documents on their respective websites — www.archmil.org and www.andersonadvocates.com— at 1 p.m. Monday.

The cache will not include the records of religious order priests, brothers and nuns; or teachers and others accused in bankruptcy claims. Also omitted will be three defrocked or deceased priests who appear on the archdiocese’s list — James Godin, Roger Schneider and Donald Musinski. In the case of Godin and Schneider, their victims could be identified; as for Musinski, he was added late in the process.

The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, many of whose members have claims in the bankruptcy, has criticized the limited nature of the release and called on the archdiocese to add to its list religious order priests and other offenders who worked in the archdiocese’s parishes, schools and other ministries in the 10-county area.

Nearly a dozen religious order men and women have substantiated allegations against them, according to news accounts, court records and a database of abuser priests maintained by the nonprofit Catholic watchdog site www.bishop-accountability.org. And victims’ attorneys say there are 100 known or accused offenders identified in bankruptcy claims — 75 of them priests — who do not appear on the archdiocese list.

“Every clergy person known to have harmed or assaulted a child — every teacher, every person who worked in the archdiocese — should be on that list. For public safety,” said Peter Isely, SNAP’s Wisconsin director, who was sexually assaulted by a Capuchin priest while a student at St. Lawrence Seminary in Mount Calvary in the 1970s.

The records to be released have been under seal as part of a protective order issued by Kelley early in the bankruptcy to protect victims and some of the accused. The order is so broad that even legal arguments must be filed under seal.

The archdiocese had fought the release for months — as it has in past court cases — saying victims could inadvertently be identified. But it reversed course in April after Kelley made it clear in court that she was likely to unseal at least some of the documents.

The archdiocese on Saturday issued a series of talking points and a Q&A for priests and parishes to address the issue. It makes no mention of Kelley’s comments. Instead, it says, it decided to release the records “as part of our commitment to open and candid communication.”

Interest in depositions

The depositions are expected to draw particular scrutiny, especially any new information connected to Dolan, who led the Milwaukee Archdiocese from 2002 to 2009. Now considered the most powerful American bishop, he was heralded at the time for his outreach to victims. But since then, allegations have been made that in anticipation of the bankruptcy filing, he directed the movement of millions of dollars into special trusts in an attempt to shield them from abuse settlements. Both Dolan and the archdiocese have denied the allegations.

Sklba’s deposition will also be examined closely because as auxiliary bishop he was, in Weakland’s words, the “go-to” person for dealing with sex abuse cases. In anticipation of Monday’s document release, Sklba wrote what he called “a few words of introduction” to his deposition.

“Although the decisions I made and the actions I took to deal with clergy offenders were done in good faith and in light of the knowledge available at the time, I deeply regret any initial judgments which added to the pain of victims of this tragedy,” he wrote.

In their letters, both Listecki and Sklba emphasized a common theme within the church hierarchy throughout the sex abuse scandal — that the understanding of child sex abuse has evolved, and that — to use Listecki’s words, “it is easy to question decisions of the past with the insight of today.”

Over 40 years, Sklba wrote, “society’s general attitude toward perpetrators of sexual abuse moved in a trajectory from understanding abuse as sin with the possibility of forgiveness, to psychological flaw with hope of treatment, to deeper issues of addiction and finally to criminal activity.”

The Milwaukee Archdiocese has been in bankruptcy since January 2011, becoming the eighth Catholic diocese to file for Chapter 11 protection to minimize its liability in mounting sex abuse lawsuits. Under Chapter 11, a debtor and creditors negotiate a reorganization plan that would allow the debtor to compensate creditors — primarily sex abuse victims, in these cases — and retain enough in the way of assets to continue to operate.

Victims believe the documents will prove the archdiocese defrauded them by knowingly moving abusive priests from one parish or school to the next without divulging their histories — the allegation underlying their claims to compensation.

The archdiocese denies the fraud. But if it had defrauded victims, its lawyers have argued, the clock on the six-year statute of limitations started ticking by at least 2004 when it first posted the names of 42 abusive priests on its website.

Magdalene survivors to receive €11,500 to €100,000


Magdalene survivors to receive €11,500 to €100,000

By Joe Humphreys Wed, Jun 26, 2013, 20:24

From the link: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/magdalene-survivors-to-receive-11-500-to-100-000-1.1443375#.UcsskVXU5Fo.facebook

Government provides at least €34.5 million to compensate women held in laundries

Survivors of the Magdalene laundries are to receive lump sum payments of between €11,500 and €100,000 for their time spent in the institutions, the Government has announced.

Under a new compensation scheme, Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said approximately 600 women were expected qualify for the ex gratia payments, and “crucially payment of these sums of money is not dependent on proof of any hardship, injury or abuse”.

Members of one group representing survivors have rejected the offer. Magdalene Survivors Together want all the women detained to be given a basic payment of €50,000 and one member has called on the Government to go back to the drawing board.

While Mr Shatter said it was impossible to give an accurate prediction of total costs as the number of validated applicants had yet to be established “my officials estimate the total cost of these lump sum payments would be in the range of €34.5 million to €58 million.

A woman who spent any time of three months or less would receive a lump sum of €11,500, and the amount then increases. For one year it will be €20,500 and for five years €68,500. The maximum payment is €100,000 for women were in a laundry for 10 years or more.

Women who are entitled to more than €50,000 through the scheme will receive a €50,000 lump sum, plus an annual payment calculated from the remaining sum, which would be paid weekly.

Allowing for this condition, “one off payments in the range would total €24 million to €40 million with total weekly payments amounting to €70,000 to €1.26 million annually.”

To minimise further legal costs, Mr Justice Quirke, president of Law Reform Commission, recommended that before accepting any payment, the woman should agree not to make any further claim against the State and should have access to independent legal advice.

Mr Shatter said it was in discussions with the Legal Aid Board on how to provide that advice.

Mr Shatter has met the four religious congregations which ran the laundries and told them they are expected to contribute to the compensation. “There will be great disappointment within Cabinet if the congregations fail to make a contribution,” he said. Mr Shatter would not put a figure on how much they are expected to pay. During talks with the orders, some nuns said they still care for more than 100 Magdalene survivors at their own expense. “They are making a contribution by providing them with accommodation and supports,” he said. “Of course they are going to incur expense and work has to be done in providing us with the verifying records that are necessary.”

Women who were held in one of the Magdalene laundries rejected the offer and called on the Government to go back to the drawing board. Members of

Magdalene Survivors Together want all the women detained to be given a basic payment of €50,000 for the emotional and psychological damage suffered, with additional compensation sought for work at the laundries. They also want all the money paid in one bulk, instead of an initial lump sum followed by weekly amounts making up the balance.

Maureen Sullivan, the youngest known survivor admitted to one of the laundries, said women were forced to work from morning till night — washing floors from 7.30am, in a laundry throughout the day, and then making rosary beads at night. “I think they totted it up all wrong,” she said. “They need to go back to the drawing board.”

But Sally Mulready of the Irish Women Survivors Network, which represents around 60 UK based survivors, said it welcomed the scheme as a “fair, fast and just settlement, without endless lawyers and legal costs”.

She particularly welcomed the provision for enhanced pension which was fitting recognition of the time women spent working in the laundries.

The Sisters of Mercy ran two laundries, one in Dun Laoghaire which closed in 1963 and one in Galway which closed in 1984. It said its archives will be open for women to check how long they spent in the institutions.

The congregation also said it supported the possibility of mediation between nuns and surviving women. “We will welcome the opportunity for such interaction mindful that all Sisters who held positions of responsibility and worked in Galway or Dun Laoghaire are now deceased,” they said.

Other recommendations made by Judge Quirke include:

* Magdalene women will be granted free access to services — including GP, hospital care, drugs and dental counselling — by way of an enhanced medical card.

* All Magdalene women who have reached pensionable age will have income equivalent to the state contributory pension.

* Those who have not reached pensionable age will have income of 100 euro per week.

* All cash payments will be exempt from income tax and other taxes and will not be taken into account in means testing for social welfare or other benefits.

* A dedicated unit will be created to provide advice and support, assistance in meeting with religious congregations and social opportunities to meet other such women.

Bishop Rhoades: Priest admits truth of child abuse allegation


Bishop Rhoades: Priest admits truth of child abuse allegation

Monday, June 24, 2013 – 8:50 am

The priest removed from St. Joseph Catholic Church in Hessen Cassel admitted to allegations of child abuse after being confronted, according to Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend.

Rhoades has named the Rev. William Kummer as the church’s new administrator. Its previous administrator, the Rev. Cornelius Ryan, was removed June 10 because of the allegation of past sexual abuse of a minor.

Kummer, whose appointment is effective July 16, is no stranger to Fort Wayne, previously serving at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, 4500 Fairfield Ave. The diocesan website, www.diocesefwsb.org, lists him as the current pastor of St. Michael Catholic Church in Plymouth.

Rhoades made the announcement after he finished celebrating the 5 p.m. Mass on Saturday at St. Joseph, according to a copy of his remarks made available by the diocese.

He also told parishioners he and the diocese will help them as the congregation moves forward and heals.

“I will continue to pray for you every day,” he told parishioners. “I love you very much. I am asking Saint Joseph, your patron, to watch over you as he took loving care of Mary and Jesus. He watches over and protects the Church. I implore his intercession for you as well as the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, his spouse. May Christ our Hope be with you with his infinite love and grace!”

Rhoades clarified a few details about the allegations against Ryan, a member of the Congregation of Holy Cross, which is based in South Bend.

Ryan, who had served as administrator at St. Joseph since December 2011, was removed from that post June 10 by the Holy Cross order after it received an allegation he had sexually abused a minor while serving in Africa about 20 years ago.

In his remarks after Mass, Rhoades said the alleged abuse took place in Uganda.

“The (Holy Cross) Provincial Superior, Father Thomas O’Hara, as part of the investigation, confronted Father Ryan with the allegation he received,” Rhoades said in his remarks. “Father O’Hara has informed me that ‘Father Ryan immediately and freely admitted the allegations made.’

“This is the sad and painful truth,” Rhoades told parishioners. “Father O’Hara wrote the following to me this past Thursday: ‘Like many of your parishioners, we were saddened by the allegations and then were shocked by the admission they were true. No one wants to believe someone as beloved as Father Ryan is capable of committing sexual abuse, but we also must face what now is fact, and move toward comforting and reconciling with the victim of the abuse, who needs our pastoral support and prayers.’

“‘Father Ryan is very remorseful and understands the actions taken by you and I are justified. He is in need of our prayers as well,’” O’Hara said in the letter.

In his homily during the Mass, Rhoades expressed his care and concern for the St. Joseph congregation, which had its pastor removed in December 2011 because of an allegation of sexual abuse while he served at a previous parish. That case currently is being reviewed by the Vatican in Rome.

“I have prayed for you every day, begging the Lord to give you comfort and fortitude in the midst of the distress of this painful situation,” Rhoades told parishioners. “I have deeply desired to be with you at this time, to pray with you and to encourage your perseverance in faith.

“You are in my heart in a special way,” he said, “for I know of no other parish in our diocese that has had to undergo such a difficult trial as you are undergoing.”

Clergy sex abuse victims to see Milwaukee archdiocese files


Clergy sex abuse victims to see Milwaukee archdiocese files

Written by M.L. JOHNSON Associated Press Jun. 23, 2013

From the link: http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/viewart/20130623/GPG0101/306230271/Clergy-sex-abuse-victims-see-Milwaukee-archdiocese-files

MILWAUKEE — The Archdiocese of Milwaukee plans to make dozens of priests’ personnel files public in the next week, along with hundreds of pages of other documents that sex abuse victims hope will hold church leaders accountable for transferring abusive priests to other parishes and concealing their crimes for decades.

The documents are being released as part of a deal reached in federal bankruptcy court between the archdiocese and victims suing it for fraud. The archdiocese has said the records will include personnel files for 42 priests with verified claims of abuse against them, along with depositions from top church officials, including New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who previously led the Milwaukee archdiocese. The documents are to be posted on the archdiocese’s website by July 1.

Similar files made public by other Roman Catholic dioceses and religious orders have detailed how leaders tried to protect the church by shielding priests and not reporting child sex abuse to authorities. The cover-up extended to the top of the Catholic hierarchy. Correspondence obtained by The Associated Press in 2010 showed the future Pope Benedict XVI had resisted pleas in the 1980s to defrock a California priest with a record of molesting children. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger led the Vatican office responsible for disciplining abusive priests before his election as pope.

Archdiocese officials in Milwaukee have long acknowledged that abusive priests were transferred to new churches with no warning to parishioners. Former Archbishop Rembert Weakland publicly apologized to a Sheboygan church for this in 1992, and in a 2008 deposition previously made public, he spoke of multiple cases in which church leaders were aware of priests’ histories but members were not. Still, victims have pushed aggressively for the priests’ files to be released.

Charles Linneman, 45, of Sugar Grove, Ill., said he was an altar boy when he met Franklyn Becker at St. Joseph’s Parish in Lyons in southeastern Wisconsin in 1980 and was abused by him when he visited Becker following the priest’s move to Milwaukee. Linneman read Becker’s file several years ago when it became public during litigation in California, where Becker also served.

Linneman said he had long wondered whether coming forward before he did in 2002 would have kept other children from being hurt. It was a relief, he said, when the file showed no reports of children being abused after him.“It helped me move on,” Linneman said. But it also led him to leave the Catholic church, stunned by what he saw as a massive cover-up.

“I really got fed up,” he said. “I’m like, I just can’t believe all these lies and betrayals that went on. … The archdiocese is supposed to be people in charge that are responsible and morally ethical, and that’s not what they did.”

Becker was removed from the priesthood in 2004. Messages left at a Mayville number listed in his name weren’t returned. His file is among a few from Milwaukee that have already been made public. But Linneman said he still plans to read whatever comes out on July 1 because his attorneys told him the records will likely include some he hasn’t seen.

While certain church officials and attorneys for both sides have seen the roughly 6,000 pages of documents, the victims have not.

Jerry Topczewski, chief of staff for Archbishop Jerome Listecki, said the archdiocese had shared some files with some victims over the years but was reluctant to make them public because of privacy concerns. It eventually agreed to do so when it became clear that victims would hold up the bankruptcy case until the information came out. Some of the files contain graphic material, and people “should be prepared to be shocked,” he said.

At the same time, most of the priests’ names have been known since the archdiocese’s release of 43 with verified abuse claims against them in 2004. Two others, Ronald Engel and Donald Musinski, were added to the list later. The allegations against Musinski came to light only after the archdiocese filed for bankruptcy in 2011 and his file will be released later, once it is complete, Topczewski said. Two other priests’ files aren’t being released because they involve single victims who could easily be identified.

The impact of church documents released elsewhere has varied greatly, said Terry McKiernan, who has spent more than a decade collecting and preserving clergy sex abuse records for BishopAccountability.org. In one of the biggest scandals involving the church, Cardinal Bernard Law resigned as the head of the Boston archdiocese within days of the 2002 release of child sex abuse documents that also described a priest abandoning his adult lover as she overdosed. But in other places, where files were too massive or disorganized for most people to make sense of them, they drew little attention, McKiernan said.Even when victims were successful in bringing the truth to light, some found it didn’t have the result they had hoped. Joelle Casteix, 42, of Newport Beach, Calif., was abused by a teacher at a Catholic high school in the 1980s. Documents in her case were made public in 2005 as part of a $100 million settlement with the Diocese of Orange, an experience she called “life-changing.”

“I got my human dignity back,” she said in an email. “I was able to get truth and power for the first time since I was 16. For years, people thought I was crazy. But now, everyone knows that I was right and truthful all along.”

Yet despite the publicity, her former teacher was able to keep his job at a Michigan college. Officials there see her as a disgruntled ex-girlfriend, Casteix said, adding that the situation “makes me ill.”

5 things to know

How many priests were involved? The Archdiocese of Milwaukee has verified claims of sexual abuse by 45 priests, including 23 who are still alive. None is allowed to work as a priest, and 15 have been officially defrocked. Most of them are accused of abuse that took place before 1990.

How many victims are there? It’s hard to say because some victims may not have come forward. But one former priest, Lawrence Murphy, has been accused of sexually abusing some 200 boys at a school for the deaf from 1950 to 1974. Other priests have been accused by only one person thus far. There are more than 570 sexual abuse claims pending in bankruptcy court, but some of those involve lay people or priests assigned to religious orders, not the archdiocese. Attorneys have not said specifically how many of the 570 claims relate to the 45 priests on the archdiocese’s restricted list.

How did clergy abuse cases end up in bankruptcy court? Abuse victims had long sought to hold the archdiocese accountable, but most didn’t come forward until well into adulthood, when it was too late under Wisconsin law to sue the church for negligence in supervising its priests. A 2007 Wisconsin Supreme Court decision gave them a window, saying the six-year limit in fraud cases didn’t start until the deception was uncovered. The archdiocese filed for bankruptcy in 2011, once it became clear that it could face a slew of lawsuits. It said it wouldn’t have the money to pay if those cases went against it.What’s in the documents the archdiocese is releasing by July 1? It’s hard to say for certain because no one has seen the collection yet except attorneys and certain church leaders. Jerry Topczewski, chief of staff for Archbishop Jerome Listecki, has said it will include the personnel files of 42 priests, depositions of church leaders including New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who previously led the Milwaukee archdiocese, and records from the files of bishops and other key figures.

What happens next? The release of the documents has been important to sexual abuse victims, but it does not affect resolution of the bankruptcy case. Topczewski said the next step in that will be for the archdiocese to come up with a reorganization plan detailing how it will provide for victims and pay its expenses in the future. Mike Finnegan, an attorney representing many victims, says one focus for his legal team will be trying to get the archdiocese’s former insurers to cover abuse claims.

Catholic Church Abuse Audit Finds It Longtime Problem-Another Thing You Can’t Blame On Woodstock


Catholic Church Abuse Audit Finds It Longtime Problem-Another Thing You Can’t Blame On Woodstock

at 2:45PM
June 19, 2013
From the link: http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/catholic-church-abuse-audit-finds-it-longtime-problem-061913
When the scandal in the Roman Catholic Church broke, and it was discovered that Holy Mother Church had been d/b/a an international conspiracy to obstruct justice in thousands of cases of criminal sexual abuse of the children in its charge, the defenders of the institutional church, and not a few members of the Clan Of The Red Beanie, decided that the whole thing started when The Sixties happened. The good holy celibates saw all the unauthorized fking going on around them and, swooning over the Strawberry Alarm Clock, they took to abusing children because that’s what the Sexual Revolution was all about. Also, too — birth control!

Except of course, no.

The auditors’ report, released on Tuesday, found that sexual abuse by friars in the St. Joseph Province of the Capuchin Order was discussed at meetings as far back as 1932, the first year for which minutes of meetings were available. After more than a dozen students at the province’s St. Lawrence Seminary in Wisconsin accused nine friars of abuse in 1992, it cost the province’s insurer nearly a million dollars – but 89 percent of that went to lawyers to defend the Capuchins and only 11 percent to victims for settlements and therapy, the report said.

Jimi Hendrix wasn’t born until 1942. Just sayin’.

The auditors said that the files often contained “coded language” and euphemisms to refer to sexual abusers. Friars were said to suffer from “immorality” or “evil actions and speech,” and some documents record friars sent for treatment for alcoholism when sexual abuse was clearly the issue. Peter J. Isely, who was abused by a Capuchin friar at St. Lawrence Seminary in 1970s, praised the province for commissioning the report, but said he suspected that the order had either destroyed documents or withheld them from the auditors. Mr. Isely, the Midwest director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, said that he had provided court documents to the auditors that were not in the province’s files. Asked about this discrepancy, Father Celichowski acknowledged that “file management was historically a significant problem.”

As it was in the Nixon White House, and in several large mortgage brokerages, and in many a bookie joint down through the years.

I guarantee you that there are files like this in every religious order in the Church. I guarantee you that this may well be the scandal that never ends. It wasn’t the Sixties. It was criminals in cassocks, and the other criminals in cassocks who covered for them. ‘Twas ever thus. Per omnia saecula saeculorum.

Magdalene Laundries: Women who have lost their way


Magdalene Laundries: Women who have lost their way

By Rachael Romero – posted Thursday, 20 June 2013

From the link: http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=15148

The Washington Times article: “A Magdalene Laundry survivor speaks out,” reminds us that Magdalene Laundries were not only in Ireland but replicated all over the world.

Was the Irish State’s recent apology for their complicity with the church in the enslavement of young women for years inside the notorious Magdalene Laundries, (or workhouses for girls, many of which were run by Good Shepherd nuns) – and subsequent calls for restorative justice for survivors – the impetus for the Good Shepherd Sisters in Australia putting a new spin on the history they share with Irish nuns?

By recasting themselves online as seekers of justice they hope you don’t know of their role in more than a century of hidden imprisonment of vulnerable girls in Australia’s infamous Magdalene Laundries. When they say their doctrines promote freedom, do we infer that hypocrisy is their policy as a means to deceive and deflect criticism? Their new website says they’ve commissioned Anti-Slavery Australia to route out “hidden exploitation.” The Australian Good Shepherd’s historical perpetration of “hidden exploitation” in Magdalene Laundries no doubt informs their expertise. Disclosure: As a recipient of ‘hidden exploitation’ in their hands, so does mine!

In 1967, inside the dark-walled Dickensian world they ruled supreme, the Good Shepherd nuns suggested that I might just as well give up school. I was just fourteen. It occurred to me that school was mandatory till age fifteen so I claimed it not only as my right, but also as a way to get a few hours out of forced labor in their thundering, antiquated laundry. How had I come to this dreadful place?

Like so many others I’d run away from home following a particularly brutal and life threatening attack by my father, (who had abused me physically, psychologically and sexually for years). Having turned myself into the Welfare I was subsequently dispatched (under the signature of my parents) to endure extra-judicial imprisonment and forced labor in a Magdalene Laundry run by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd in suburban North Plympton, South Australia (1941-74.)

There, I was treated as defiled and forced to work in the laundry under the blind eye of the State of South Australia and the noses of god-fearing South Australian citizens. Out-of-sight-out-of-mind.

I was just one of tens of thousands of vulnerable girls stigmatized as “fallen,” herded like sheep to the slaughterhouse that was the Catholic solution. Those in charge of the Convent of the Good Shepherd were carrying out a mandate to get wanton, lost girls and women off the streets where they might contaminate society. The nuns’ constant vilification branded us-as livestock are branded-by fire. We were treated as mere objects of contempt, there to earn our wretched keep in Magdalene Infernos around the world.

The advocacy group, Justice for Magdalenes, brought the issue to the attention of the United Nations Committee Against Torture eventually resulting in the Irish State’s recognition of culpability this year. (Australia has yet to address this, other than the 2009-sweeping apology to all of those mistreated in care during the last century.) Imagine my disbelief when I find the Good Shepherds using words like: Hope, Action, Justice to obscure their unpardonable history as slave-drivers of the most vulnerable girls society could serve up to them, presumably hoping to gain cred by awarding the writer Sushi Das (well placed as the Opinion Editor of The Age,) an award-on International Woman’s Day.

Have the Good Shepherds Nuns “lost their way?” Their idea of themselves as altruistic shepherds saving young “fallen” girls from themselves by herding them into hard labor was and is condescending, antiquated, disingenuous and the results have been horrific and gravely injurious. Why don’t they come clean about their dirty laundry? I believe the church is afraid that survivors seeking restorative justice will cause the revelation of hard facts resulting in potential donors to beginning to see their current Anti Slavery crusade as same old sanitized with PC language.

On their newly branded Good Shepherd website, Noelene White writes: “…the work of Good Shepherd Sisters and mission partners […], isn’t that different to what Good Shepherd has done since the Order began in France in 1835.” [Italics mine]

I suggest that the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the Good Shepherd nuns’ arrival in Australia be seized as a time for the Good Shepherd Sisters to explore how they lost their way and an opportunity to taste the penitence and humility they so zealously forced upon those in their care. Let their archives be opened and those pitiful records studied. Let there be restorative justice for all those who suffered in the Good Shepherds’ Magdalene Laundries worldwide!

Give the laundry girls their compo


Give the laundry girls their compo

Rights watchdog: State acted wrongfully

SURVIVORS of the Magdalene Laundries should get compensation including unpaid wages, pensions and rehab, a watchdog has insisted.

In yesterday’s follow-up report to Martin McAleese’s laundries probe, the Irish Human Rights Commission said the State failed to protect women and girls sent to the institutions.

And IHRC commissioner Professor Siobhan Mullally said the McAleese inquiry fell short of drawing conclusions on the State’s obligations.

She added: “The State acted wrongfully in failing to protect these women by not putting in place adequate mechanisms to prevent such violations, and by failing to respond to their allegations over a protracted period.”

Prof Mullally said compensation must now match the human rights violations and their ongoing impact.She called for lost wages, pensions and social welfare benefits to be taken into account — as well as rehabilitation supports such as housing, education, health, welfare and help to deal with the psychological scars. Sinead Lucey, senior inquiry and legal officer of the IHRC, said women were subjected to a form of forced labour — and that the State profited from this.She said: “Not only did successive Irish governments not outlaw and suppress such practices, as they were required to do, but the State itself availed and benefited from such forced or compulsory labour when it entered into commercial contracts with the laundries on the basis of being the cheapest.

“But the crucial factor here was the workers were unpaid.

“The State must never be complacent in the way it treats those at risk of discrimination.”

Good Shepherd Sisters denying history


Good Shepherd Sisters denying history

By Adele Chynoweth – posted Wednesday, 19 June 2013

From the link: http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=15140

The recent claims, by lawyer and lobbyist Bryan Keon-Cohen, that the Catholic Church is a law unto itself in its resistance of governmental responses to child abuse, could be applied to Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand.

On the 22nd of this month, Good Shepherd, an organisation established by the Good Shepherd Sisters has scheduled a Festival at Abbotsford Convent in Melbourne in order to celebrate 150 years since the Good Shepherd Sisters arrived in Australia. The problem is that the summary, by Trish Carroll, Good Shepherd Mission Leader, of the history of the organisation, conveniently excludes the work of the Sisters in the twentieth century. So allow me to fill in the resounding gap.

There are no precise figures for the number of girls who slaved in the eight Magdalene laundries, run by the Good Shepherd Sisters, in twentieth century Australia because Good Shepherd has not released their records. We do know, as a result of the Federal Senate reportForgotten Australians (2004) that the Good Shepherd laundries in Australia acted as prisons for the girls who were forced to labour in workhouses laundering linen for local hospitals or commercial premises. The report alsodescribed the conditions as characterised by inedible food, unhygienic living conditions and little or no education. In 2008, in Federal Parliament, Senator Andrew Murray likened the Convent of the Good Shepherd ‘The Pines’, Adelaide to a prisoner-of-war camp.

Post-war Australia was categorised by a new era of nation building led by the conservative Robert Menzies as Prime Minister. There was a perceived need for strict discipline for juveniles. Children could be placed in juvenile detention centres despite not having committed a criminal offence. Further, during this period there was a concern that ‘sexually depraved girls’ could be a cause of delinquency and therefore needed to be separated from the mainstream. As a result of these attitudes, many vulnerable children were criminalised.

Rachael Romero, at the age of 14 in 1967, was incarcerated in ‘The Pines’ for running away from her violent father who had sexually abused her. Rachael could not speak about it publicly for forty years because the Good Shepherd Sisters had branded her as ‘fallen’ and so Rachael had felt besmirched as a result of the abuse that she had endured. Wendy Sutton was admitted to ‘The Pines’ at the age of 13 having suffered physical abuse at the hands of her stepfather and having been sexually molested by a friend of the family.

Janice Konstantinidis was sent, by whom she describes as her ‘sadistic alcoholic father’ at the age of 12 to work in the laundry at Mount Saint Canice, run by the Good Shepherd Sisters in Tasmania. Janice remembers the girl who broke her back in an escape attempt by jumping through a window. The girls were told later that after being discharged from hospital that she was sent to Lachlan Park Hospital, a secure mental asylum.

Maureen Cuskelly was sent to Abbotsford Convent at the age of three because her mother was suffering from a mental illness. Later at the age of 13, in 1968, she was sent to work in the laundry at St Aidan’s Bendigo, run by the Good Shepherd Sisters. When she left, at the age of 17, her hands were damaged from years of repetitive sheet folding, in the afternoons, and her being forced to clean floors with an industrial polisher every morning.

The Good Shepherd Festival at Abbotsford this month also includes a ‘ReunionAfternoon Tea for all former residents of Good Shepherd institutions’.

I asked Maureen if she would be going, “I don’t know about that. There is not one plaque at Abbotsford about us. It’s all about them. They make me so mad. There has been no apology. No acknowledgement”.

“I went to a reunion before and they say ‘The nuns did their best at the time’. But they didn’t do their best. They were cruel. We were always hungry and cold. Girls were beaten or locked on their own in dark cells. But the worse thing they did was not let me see my brother and sister in the other section of the Convent. I got punished for waving at them”.

The Senate Inquiry into Forgotten Australians (2004) revealed that the abuse of children continued throughout institutions because a nation espoused an uncritical admiration of the work of charities and churches. Who was watching those charged with the care of Australia’s vulnerable children? We can take account now. Many Forgotten Australians have fought emotional adversity and physical scars or injuries to participate in a society that abandoned them as children. Our history needs to acknowledge the causal factors that produced such adversity so as to deflect the shame and stigma from survivors. Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand, whose slogan is “Justice, Compassion, Reconciliation, Respect, Dignity” can assist this reparation by focusing less on their public relations campaign, more on writing an authentic record and through the initiation of a genuine reconciliation process with former child slaves of their twentieth century laundries.

Maureen reminds us the significance of the current Good Shepherd’s edited history, “They’re burying what they did. They’re burying our history. They’re burying the truth”.

Former Catholic priest Gerald Ridsdale faces new allegations of child sex abuse


Former Catholic priest Gerald Ridsdale faces new allegations of child sex abuse