Category Archives: Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good
The church-installed Deetman Commission says there were up to 20,000 victims of abuse between the end of World War II and 1981.
Roman Catholic bishops in the Netherlands protected sexual abusers and covered up their crimes, according to a major new report released today. The church-installed Deetman Commission says there were up to 20,000 victims of abuse between the end of World War II and 1981.
Radio Netherlands Worldwide journalist Robert Chesal – together with NRC Handelsblad’s Joep Dohmen – brought to light the abuse that led to a national scandal. Robert Chesal looks back at how the story unfolded.
You could say that 2010 was the year when the Roman Catholic sex abuse scandal went viral. Until February of that year, abuse of youngsters by Catholic clergy was primarily seen as a problem in Ireland and the United States.
But that month, as northern Europe lay buried in snow, a simmering problem began to reach boiling point. Reports from a Catholic boarding school run by Jesuits in the German capital Berlin spoke first of a few, then of a dozen, and then of over a hundred victims of abuse by priests.
One of those reports reached me at the RNW newsroom in mid-February. That same day I read that Pope Benedict XVI had ordered the entire Irish bishops’ conference to appear at the Vatican, where they would receive a dressing down for failing to tackle abuse in their dioceses. I decided to investigate what, if anything, had happened in the Netherlands.
On the internet I quickly found a testimony by a man named Janne Geraets, now in his late 50s, who claimed to have been abused at a boarding school in the early 1960s. I arranged to meet him the following day and heard his story of the painful and deeply damaging abuse he suffered at the hands of a Salesian father.
As I walked to the bus stop after that interview, my head still filled with the disturbing images Geraets had described, I started thinking about where to look next.
I discovered that there were some worrying trends in the Netherlands which were as yet unreported in the mainstream media. For instance, a prominent Dutch jurist told me why he had stepped down as chairman of the assessment board of the Roman Catholic abuse hotline.
In fact, he said, the entire board had resigned because their recommendations on how to deal with known abusers in the church were repeatedly being ignored by the Dutch bishops.
I was confronted with another ominous sign when I rang up the Protestant counterpart to the Catholic hotline and was told that all cooperation between the Protestant and Catholic centres for abuse notification had ceased years earlier.
The representative I spoke to suspected the reason the partnership had broken down was that the Catholic side “had something to hide”. Another hotline employee lamented the fact that the Catholics showed no interest in a new protocol established by the Protestant abuse notification centre which the Protestants were more than willing to share.
Hotbed of abuse
Spurred on by Janne Geraets’ insistence that he was just one of many children abused at his school, I enlisted the help of experienced investigative journalist Joep Dohmen at the NRC Handelsblad newspaper. Together, Dohmen and I pieced together a story that revealed the abuse of three minors by Salesians from the same boarding school.
We also brought to light the fact that one of the most respected bishops in the Netherlands, monsignor Ad van Luyn, had taught at that same school, in close proximity to what later appeared to be a hotbed of sexual abuse.
Our first publication, on 26 February 2010, sparked an avalanche of abuse reports from former boarding school pupils throughout the Netherlands. The Catholic hotline was completely unable to handle the workload and within weeks the first steps were taken to create a commission of inquiry led by former government minister Wim Deetman.
Pope angers Europe
Meanwhile, it was rapidly becoming clear that the Catholic Church had a scandal of epidemic proportions on its hands in Europe. From Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Austria, shocking testimonies of abuse and allegations of church cover-ups were making headlines.
There was an angry reaction when Pope Benedict apologised to churchgoers in Ireland for decades of abuse that went unpunished. Why, the Germans and Dutch asked, should we be treated any differently from Irish victims?
The Vatican never gave a satisfactory answer to that question. On the contrary. A cardinal close to the pope called the scandal “petty gossip” and even some bishops who acknowledged wide-scale abuse blamed it on the freemasons, on homosexuality and on the loosening of society’s sexual morals following the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s (a particularly odd fallacy, since so many cases of abuse stem from the 1950s and earlier).
On Good Friday, Pope Benedict’s own preacher compared the incrimination of priests in the sex abuse scandal to past examples of persecution of Europe’s Jews. Public relations are not exactly a strong point in Rome.
The church in the Netherlands hardly made a better impression. The top Catholic figure here, Cardinal Simonis, left mouths agape when he denied that Dutch church leaders were aware of the wide-scale abuse by priests in their midst.
He chose a historically loaded phrase the Dutch normally use to mock feigned German ignorance of the Nazi concentration camps, saying “Wir haben es nicht gewusst”.
But Simonis’ words sounded decidedly hollow when we reported, months later, that he had helped move a pedophile priest from one parish to another, allowing abuse of minors to continue.
Incidents like these are among the many disconcerting facts that the Deetman Commission had to grapple with in its inquiry. Of the estimated 10,000 to 20,000 victims in institutional care between 1945 and the early 1980s, approximately half were repeatedly subjected to sexual abuse for longer than a year, the commission says.
Personal accounts reveal that the physical and psychological damage caused by such extended periods of victimisation is immense and long-lasting.
The commission singled out Roman Catholic boarding schools, orphanages, seminaries and other institutions, reporting that children there ran a greater risk of being abused. The inquiry blasted the institutions’ failure to monitor the well-being of minors in their care.
In a first reaction to the 1,200-page Deetman report, Bishop Gerard de Korte said the church leadership had made wrong choices by protecting abusive priests and putting the reputation of the church before the well-being of victims. It’s unlikely to be the last word we hear from the bishops on that sensitive point.
Justice a step closer
Along with many other journalists, I crowded into a meeting room in the Dutch political capital The Hague this morning for the official presentation of the report. Afterwards, colleagues asked me if this was a crowning moment in my career. I had to think about that. And my answer was no. Because I did not become a journalist to hold the Roman Catholic Church accountable for sexual abuse.
I did, however, become a journalist out of some kind of desire for justice and truth. And in that sense, I would have to conclude that with the Deetman Commission report, we’ve gotten one step closer to that goal.
Again Roman Catholic Church leaders knew of the abuse and hid it in the Dutch Roman Catholic horror mental facilities
Roman Catholic orders, congregations and dioceses knew about the abuse of minors in Catholic institutions, but failed to help the victims or take action against the abusers.
This is the conclusion of the Deetman Inquiry which on Friday published its final report on abuse in the Roman Catholic Church in the Netherlands.
The report points to the inadequate organisation, and the closed culture of the Dutch archdiocese as the main reason for its inadequate response to the widespread abuse. The church also sought to avoid a scandal.
Inquiry chair Wim Deetman, a former education minister, estimates that between 10,000 and 20,000 minors were abused in Catholic boarding schools, children’s homes and orphanages. In several thousands of cases the abuse could be characterised as very serious.
The Deetman Inquiry was able to identify 800 of the abusers. It received more than 2,000 reports, 1,800 of which involved sexual abuse. The abusers were, or are, active in dioceses, congregations and orders. At least 105 of them are still alive. Mr Deetman could not say how many of these 105 are still active in the Roman Catholic Church. In the report, Mr Deetman argues for a government-controlled approach to sexual and physical abuse of minors.
The report says that the Roman Catholic Church’s compulsory celibacy was not a crucial factor in the abuse, but was an additional risk factor. Mr Deetman writes that this requirement makes priests vulnerable to transgressive behaviour. The inquiry feels that those who, often in their formative years, decided to become priests did not fully realise what their choice would entail.
For its investigation, the Deetman Inquiry studied the archives of dioceses, religious orders and congregations. It held a large-scale survey, studied international literature on the subject and met numerous current and former church officials.
Chesal and Dohmen
The inquiry was prompted by reports published by investigative journalists Robert Chesal from Radio Netherlands Worldwide and his colleague Joep Dohmen from national newspaper NRC Handelsblad. In February 2010, they published a report on abuse by the Salesian Fathers at the Don Rua boarding school in ‘s-Heerenberg in the 1960s. It was later followed by reports on other Catholic institutions.
“Little promise for the future”
Victims’ organisation Klokk says the conclusions of the Deetman Inquiry are even more shocking than they had expected. Klokk says the passive attitude of the Roman Catholic Church “holds little promise for the future.”
The Dutch bishops and the Conference of Members of Dutch Religious Orders have announced they will hold a press conference on Friday afternoon.
SNAP: Survivors Network for those Abused by Priest has come under a hardball attack by the Roman Catholic Church and it’s Perverted Pimps and Leaders.
Bishops reportedly approved new “hardball” strategy v. SNAP
- Bishops reportedly approved new “hardball” strategy v. SNAP
- Group tells top church officials: “Go after predators, not victims”
- It begs Catholics and citizens for help in fighting “unprecedented attacks”
- And it urges St. Louis archbishop to “come clean” about who’s behind the moves
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will respond to a new page one New York Times story today and will urge St. Louis’ archbishop to:
–stop demanding the private e mails of a teenaged St. Louis child sex crime victim,
–apologize for and explain his decision to make this “intimidating” move, and
–disclose which bishops may have discussed or approved a new church “hardball” legal strategy.
They will also beg parishioners and the public to
–contact Catholic officials and insist that they stop and/or denounce this legal tactics, and
–use their time, energy, and donations to help the support group “fight the legal attacks.”
Today, Tuesday, March 13, 2:00 p.m.
Outside archdiocesan chancery office, 4445 Lindell (near Sarah) in St. Louis MO
Two-four clergy sex abuse victims who belong to a confidential support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org) including the organization’s long time director
A page one New York Times story today details what victims and their advocates are calling an unprecedented attacks” by Missouri Catholic officials to “intimidate child sex abuse victims, witnesses, whistleblowers and those who help them” by seeking subpoenas and massive amounts of private communications between victims and a support group.
It quotes the head of the NY-based Catholic League as suggesting that several bishops have decided to “come together collectively” to “better toughen up” (However, the US bishops’ official public relations staffer denies this.)
In St. Louis, archdiocesan lawyers are demanding that SNAP turn over perhaps hundreds of pages of the group’s confidential records, including emails to and from a now 19 year old who was repeatedly raped nine years ago by a priest. And in Kansas City, church lawyers and demanding private communications going back 23 years, even from now-deceased individuals who never set foot in KC and who had no knowledge of or role in clergy sex cases there.
The demands, SNAP says, are “invasive, chilling, and designed to discourage victims, witnesses, whistleblowers, police, prosecutors and journalists” from contacting the group for help. They are also costing SNAP tens of thousands of dollars and “causing severe financial hardship” to the group. So SNAP is begging the public and parishioners to “use their resources, clout, voices and donations” to help the organization survive.
The demands arise from two civil lawsuits one called “Jane Doe v. Fr. Joseph D. Ross and the St. Louis archdiocese” and another called “John Doe BP v. Fr. Michael Tierney and the Kansas City diocese.”
The St. Louis suit charges that Ross molested a girl from 1997-2001 at St. Cronan’s Catholic church in the Grove neighborhood of St. Louis city. In 1988, Ross pled guilty to sexually assaulting an 11 year old boy. But after his sentence was completed, Catholic officials quietly put Ross at St. Cronan’s and warned no one of his criminal past. Ross worked as recently as 2002. His current whereabouts are unknown.
The Kansas City suit charges that Tierney molested a boy. At least four other accusers in separate lawsuits have come forward against Tiereny and he was suspended last year because church officials deemed some of the allegations credible.
SNAP believes that this intrusion into the private messages and writings of a child rape survivor is “unwarranted, unnecessary, and hurtful.” They are calling on the two Missouri bishops to call off these hardball tactics immediately. And they want a former St. Louisan, NYC Cardinal Timothy Dolan (who heads the US Conference of Bishops) to publicly denounce the bishops who are using this “mean-spirited” legal tactic.
The demands for document are and depositions are “firsts” in SNAP’s 23 year history. SNAP is not a party to either lawsuit.
Ross has been defrocked. In recent years, he lived in Arkansas but worked in the St. Louis area for 30+ years. Tierney is still a priest and believed to be living in Kansas City.
SNAP is holding similar events today in Washington DC(where the US Conference of Catholic Bishops is headquartered) and New York City (where Dolan, head of the USCCB, now works).
This is a letter I found online, written by James Salt, political director of Catholics United, who stands up for perverted pedophile priests and the church leaders who covered this assault and rape of children up and how he got pissed off that New Hampshire House Republican Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt wrote on his Facebook page that Manchester’s Catholic bishop, John McCormack was a “pedophile pimp” who should have been arrested and led away from the New Hampshire statehouse in handcuffs for his past involvement with the sex abuse scandal in Boston.
Salt wrote the following:
The Granite State’s Mushy Moral Compass
By James Salt, political director of Catholics United
Late last week it came to light that New Hampshire House Republican Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt had made
outrageous and demeaning statements about Manchester’s Catholic bishop, John McCormack. Apparently,
Bettencourt had written on his Facebook page that McCormack was a “pedophile pimp” who should have been
arrested and led away from the New Hampshire statehouse in handcuffs for his past involvement with the sex
abuse scandal in Boston. Rep. Bettencourt issued these offensive comments only after Bishop McCormack had
given a speech at the statehouse where he expressed the Catholic Church’s strong support for trade unions and
its opposition to proposed budget cuts that would severely hurt the poor.
In response to Bettencourt’s behavior, Catholics United, the organization which I work for, issued a press release
calling on elected leaders in New Hampshire to distance themselves from these offensive comments and for
Bettencourt to publicly retract his statement. After receiving a torrent of criticism, Bettencourt recently
announced that he has asked for a personal meeting with Bishop McCormack, presumably to apologize in
private. Although this is a good step, it does not go far enough. Bettencourt should publicly apologize for his
outrageous behavior. Until he does so, every elected leader who serves with Bettencourt in the New Hampshire
legislature and every Presidential candidate who visits that state should be asked to publicly distance themselves
from these embarrassing comments.
To be clear: The sex abuse scandal has been a long and tragic chapter in the history of the Catholic Church. And
this sad chapter has caused untold harm to thousands of innocent victims while simultaneously driving many
Catholics away from the faith. However, the saga surrounding Majority Leader Bettencourt’s statements reveals a
disturbing inconsistency regarding the selective moral outrage of some conservative leaders.
Let me offer one example of this moral hypocrisy. During Rep. Bettencourt’s elected tenure in the New
Hampshire House he has served on the Judiciary Committee. On multiple occasions Bishop McCormack has
appeared before that committee and offered testimony in opposition to gay marriage and abortion. In response
to this testimony, Rep. Bettencourt never once raised a question about the bishop’s moral standing in the
community. It was only after the bishop chose to speak out publicly in support of trade unions and against budget
cuts in programs that aid the poor – two key progressive legislative priorities — that the bishop became an open
target for Bettencourt.
Sadly, this inconsistency is not limited to New Hampshire. It also can be found in Washington DC. During last
year’s health care reform debate, conservatives made a great deal of noise about the Catholic bishops’ opposition
Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good • 1612 K Street NW, Suite 400 • Washington, DC
Well get used to your perverted pedophile McCormack to be slammed on my blog Mr James Salt and if you think you will get me to shut my mouth against McCormack, your Papal Bullshitter Pope Benedict Arnold, Cardinal Timothy Dolan or the other leaders of your morally bankrupt and perverted Roman Catholic Church….like you are trying to shut the mouth of Rep Bettencourt, well buddy, you got another thing coming.
To find out the true disaster of the Roman Catholic Church and their pedophile priests, the bishops and others who covered them up and of course the High Unholiness the Perverted Papal Bullshitter Pope Benedict, then this is the one site you should go to.
What you will read on the website Bishop Accountability is harrowing and horror in it’s purist form. To read the stories of the victims and how the RCC did all they could to bring even more harm onto these victims should have everyone up in arms. These children, myself included, are your brothers, cousins, fathers, etc. We have been severely harmed by the actions of these sick and twisted individuals.
For you to understand I want to share with you this website
PLEASE if you do go to this site understand, you are going to be reading stories of us victims of these sick and twisted pervert priests. Keep the victims in your minds. Even though I no longer believe, you may pray for us, for if anyone does need healing for our souls, it is us victims of priest rape.
Enough is enough. The victims of Clergy Abuse Deserve Justice. We the victims of the sick and twisted priests of the Roman Catholic Church and his High Unholiness the Perverted Papal Bullshitter Pope Benedict and his protectors need to be tossed into prison period. All statue of limitations and protections for these sick and twisted perverts should be immediately removed. They are pedophiles and perverts being protected under the Vatican being it’s own country and having it’s own rules and laws. Their laws state it is perfectly normal to rape and abuse a child. The Papal Bullshitter himself stated in one of his christmas addresses that child porno is considered normal as well as sex between an adult and a child.
So you people of the Roman Catholic Church are protecting your perverted priest and pope at the sake of your religion and at the destruction of the children eh? You RCC adherents are just as damn guilty as your priests, bishops and pope who covered this shit up. When are YOU adherents of the RCC going to DEMAND full accountability for what your priests and church leaders have done to children? Is it you just want to be ostriches and stick your heads in the sand and hope this scandal goes away and vanishes like a fart in the wind?
It is NOT gonna happen as long as victims of your perverted priests and pope such as I are still living and breathing.
In March of 1975 a priest at St Thomas Moore Church in Durham New Hampshire raped me. He destroyed my mind, heart, soul and body. My life has been a living hell since then. Now I am fighting back. I will NOT go quietly into that good night. I will fight these perverts to my last breath and I dedicate the rest of my life fighting this sick and twisted group of pedophiles and child rapists.