Therefore I accuse by Vinnie Nauheimer
Due to the global ongoing sexual abuse and cover-up by the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, it is safe to assume that the only part of Crimen Sollicitationis that was adhered to was the demand for secrecy. Up until 2002 almost every settlement involving sexual abuse by a priest came with an enforceable gag order on the victim. The victims were silenced while most offending priests were moved to new hunting grounds.
The logical question to ask is, “Cui Bono,” who benefits? Who benefits from the silence? It could be argued that the priest and his accuser benefit from the silence. However, since there were no remedies for the care, compensation or treatment of the victim, it is hard to see how victims benefited from Crimen instruction. There has never been any proof whatsoever of rampant false charges being brought against innocent priests. Therefore innocent priests haven’t benefited. So who are the chief beneficiaries of the documentCrimen Sollicitationis? The sexually abusive priest and the Roman Catholic Church are the only beneficiaries.
Therefore, I accuse!
Lest Crimen sidetrack us, the salient points are:
1. The document was sent from the International Headquarters.
2. The document was sent out globally.
3. The document was sent in secrecy.
4. The document demanded secrecy.
5. The penalty for violating secrecy is the harshest penalty the church can mete out: excommunication.
6. It labels the sexual abuse of children as “The Worst Crime” thereby admitting to the world the Vatican’s complete understanding of the vile nature of the act of sexually abusing children.
By their own hand they are condemned.
In the 28 countries we know about, the rape, sodomization, and molestation of children are publicly documented. Why then hasn’t Interpol gotten involved? Interpol states that the protection of children is one of their primary goals. This is the first paragraph taken from Interpol’s page on children:
Crimes against children
Children are the most vulnerable individuals in our society; they are also the most precious commodity that the world has and have a right to be protected from all forms of abuse. INTERPOL as an organization is also committed to eradicating the sexual abuse of children and has passed several resolutions making crimes against children one of International policing top priorities.5
They tell us that, not preventing, but eradicating (wiping out) sexual abuse is one of their top priorities. How can the sexual abuse of children be a top priority when the chief global culprit, the Roman Catholic Church has not been formerly accused by either the UN or Interpol?
The evidence is abundant for any who would make even a cursory examination of the facts. The Dallas Morning News did an entire series on the international scope of both clergy sexual abuse and its cover-up. Central to the series was the theme of hierarchy moving predator priests internationally in order to save them from being tried for crimes committed or to provide new hunting grounds or both.6
The facts accuse!
The need to protect children around the world is a global priority of United Nations. The U.N. through its UNICEF organization has put together “The Convention on the Rights of the Child.” Here are articles nineteen and thirty-four from that convention, which address the sexual abuse of children.
1. States Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.
States Parties undertake to protect the child from all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. For these purposes, States Parties shall in particular take all appropriate national, bilateral and multilateral measures to prevent:
- The inducement or coercion of a child to engage in any unlawful sexual activity;
- The exploitative use of children in prostitution or other unlawful sexual practices;
- The exploitative use of children in pornographic performances and materials.7
I accuse the RCC of violating the Convention on the Rights of the Child!
The Holy See, which could be a member of the United Nations by virtue of the fact that the Vatican is a city-state, has elected not to become a member of the UN. Rather it has been granted the nomenclature of permanent observer. This means that they enjoy the full rights of every sovereign member except the right to vote. In this way they can lobby for whatever they desire and not have to go on record as voting for or against an issue.
They chose to not to support “The Convention on the Rights of the Child.” The Holy See declared that “the application of the Convention should be compatible in practice with the particular nature of the Vatican City State and of the sources of its objective law.” in a statement issued when they declined to be a signatory. To date, all members but two have ratified the Convention.8
The United Nations through Interpol, its international police agency, and UNICEF, their children’s agency recognize the need to police and prevent the sexual abuse of children throughout the world. They state this is a top priority. The Convention on the Rights of the Child, which has been widely accepted by governments around the world, seeks to end the sexual abuse of children. Why then have the UN, UNICEF, and Interpol chosen to totally ignore the most public, international series of sex crimes and cover-ups against children running from the twentieth into the twenty-first century?
Having established that the sexual abuse of children is accepted by the RCC as being a criminal act, it follows that aiding and abetting criminals is also a crime. The international criminal activity of aiding and abetting sexual predators by the RCC is well documented. The award winning newspaper The Dallas Morning News did an excellent series of articles dealing with the international flight of pedophile priests to escape prosecution entitled Runaway Priests. The following are excerpts from some of their articles as listed on the website Bishop-accountability.org.
Dr. Navarro-Valls (chief spokesperson for the pope) previously declined to comment on The News’ investigation, which found more than 200 accused priests, brothers and other Catholic workers hiding across international borders and living in unsuspecting communities, often with the church’s support. About 30 of the men were wanted by law enforcement in another country.9
Where is Interpol? Where is the outcry from UNICEF?
Bishop Thomas V. Daily of the Diocese of Brooklyn, in an exchange of correspondence with a Venezuelan bishop in 1991 about allegations against Father Diaz, praised the priest’s work in his diocese even as a 60-count indictment was pending against him in Queens on child sexual abuse charges. Later that year, after pleading guilty to three counts of sexual abuse in the case, Father Diaz was deported to Venezuela, where the pattern of victimizing young boys continued unabated.
And so it went throughout Father Diaz’s ministry. Moving from country to country, from parish to parish, from victim to victim, he was often held unaccountable by church officials and was treated delicately by some law enforcement authorities, the interviews and documents show.10
How can the above be anything but an international criminal conspiracy?
His order, the Salesians of Don Bosco, has long moved priests accused of sexual abuse from country to country, away from law enforcement and victims. Indeed, it is how many others in the Catholic Church have dealt with the problem, a yearlong Dallas Morning News investigation has found.11
The crimes committed by the hierarchy of the RCC against the children of the world have been documented many times in many countries. In each country from Poland, to Ireland, to the United States around and down to Australia, the story is the same. Priests who commit criminal acts of sexual abuse against children are shuffled from country to country with no regard for either local or international law. These priests are shuffled by a complicit hierarchy who are guilty of aiding and abetting criminals. Once transferred, these priests are free to prey upon a fresh population of unsuspecting families who revere the priest as god’s representative on earth.
In 2002 Pope John Paul II stated before the world, “There is no room in the priesthood for those who sexually abuse children.”12 But nothing was done; priests were still being shuffled and names of priestly perpetrators are still a closely guarded secret. In April of 2008, while on the plane over to the United States, Benedict XVI said, “I am deeply ashamed” 13 while referring to the Clergy Sex Abuse Scandal. On July 19, 2008, in Australia, he said,
“I ask all of you to support and assist your bishops, and to work together with them in combating this evil. Victims should receive compassion and care, and those responsible for these evils must be brought to justice.”14
“And those responsible for these evils must be brought to justice!” Strong words from the pope! The pope is an honorable man; bishops and cardinals are all honorable men and they speak well. Yet nothing was said about revoking Crimen Sollicitationis. Did he forget that as Cardinal Ratzinger in 2001, he reaffirmed its validity? He can say one thing publicly, but as long as he still binds everyone with knowledge of clergy abuse to the absolute law of secrecy under the chapter 11, “ a secret of the Holy Office,15” the pope is only mouthing words. As long as Cardinals, Law, Mahony, George, Egan and Levada remain in office, he is only mouthing words. As long as bishops and the leaders of religious orders who shuffled pedophiles from country to country remain in the priesthood, the pope is only mouthing words. The pope is the only one who can start bringing those responsible for these evils to justice!
It is time to put an end to the global scourge of clerical child abuse and put these criminal priests behind bars along with the members of the hierarchy who have purposefully aided them. (It seems that Pope Benedict agrees with me.) These crimes are a violation of God’s law, Church law, Civil law, and International law (all covered in this treatise). As proven in the United States, the only thing that will change the way the RCC harbors their criminals is a courtroom. Interpol must aid in the capture of these international child abusing fugitives and the U.N. must bring charges against the Vatican in the World Court. Only the credible threat of listing the Vatican as a criminal organization, making them stand trial for the abuse of tens of thousands of children and covering-up for thousands of priests will force the much needed changes while making the world a safer place for children. Interpol and the UN had every right to get involved in the clergy abuse scandal because it violates their conventions. Now both the UN and Interpol have an invitation to get involved straight from the pope’s mouth. Pope Benedict XVI has just asked for “aid and assistance” followed up by “those responsible for these evils must be brought to justice.” The Vicar of Christ on earth is asking for help in bringing to justice to those who committed and helped in crimes of sexual abuse against children. What greater invitation can be made?
Note 1. To any lawyers who may represent or have represented survivors of sexual abuse. Crimen Sollicitationis means “crime of solicitation” which refers to crimes of the confessional. Reading this text is extremely difficult because everything up until Title V is about soliciting in the confessional. Title V paragraph 72 states: “Those things that have been stated concerning the crime of solicitation up to this point are also valid, changing only those things necessary to be changed by their very nature, for the worst crime,” TakeCrimen Sollicitationis (English version) and put it in a Word document. Then do a find/replace with find Solicitation and replace it with child abuse. You will be amazed at how it clarifies the document giving you a clearer understanding of what Crimen Sollicitationis says about the clergy abuse of children.
About the author: Vinnie Nauheimer has written extensively on the subject of clerical abuse. He has written two books on the subject of clergy abuse. One of poetry “Silent Screams” and one comprised of selected letters sent over an eight year period on the subject of clergy abuse called “Epistles on Clergy Abuse.” His art, poetry and writing can be found on websites around the world. Though they don’t issue a degree in Clergy Abuse, Mr. Nauheimer successfully survived advanced classes from the School of Intimidation and Slander sponsored by the NY Archdiocese. Both his and his family’s degree of pain were acknowledged by a Grand Jury probing the issue of clergy abuse. His goals are the same as those stated by Pope Benedict XVI in Australia on July 19, 2008: “Victims should receive compassion and care, and those responsible for these evils must be brought to justice.”
1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Catholic_sex_abuse_cases_by_country#See_also July 9, 2008 and http://www.scribd.com/doc/1021887/SEXUAL-ABUSE-IN-THE-CATHOLIC-CHURCH-2002 – July 9, 2008
2. http://www.priestsofdarkness.com/crimen.pdf – July 10, 2008
3. The 1922 Instruction and the 1962 Instruction “Crimen Sollicitationis,” Promulgated by the Vatican: Thomas Doyle, O.P., J.C.D. – June 30, 2008
4. http://www.priestsofdarkness.com/crimen.pdf – July 10, 2008
5. http://www.interpol.int/Public/Children/Default.asp – July 11, 2008
priests_hiding_in_plain_sight.5ee1e9be.html, – July 11, 2008
7. http://www.interpol.int/Public/Children/Conventions/unConvCR.asp – July 12, 2008
8. http://www.unicef.org/pon95/chil0008.html – July 12, 2008
9. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news/2004_09_12_Dunklin_InThe.htm – July 12, 2008
10. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/resources/resource-files/timeline/2002-04-20-Murphy-Diaz.htm – July 13, 2008
11. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news/2004_06_20_Dunklin_ConvictedSexual.htm July 13, 2008
12. http://www.poynterextra.org/extra/abusetracker/2002_04_21_archive.htm – July 18, 2008
13. http://aftermathnews.wordpress.com/2008/04/15/pope-says-he-is-deeply-ashamed-of-clergy-abuse-scandal/ – July 18, 2008
14. http://www.thewest.com.au/default.aspx?MenuID=2&ContentID=85771 – July 19, 2008
15. http://www.priestsofdarkness.com/crimen.pdf – July 10, 2008.
Former Catholic priest found guilty of child sexual abuse dating back 30 years
A jury has convicted former Salesian College vice-principal David Rapson over the rape and abuse of eight students.
Rapson, 60, was member of the Salesians of Don Bosco religious order, which operated the Salesian College “Rupertswood”, a boarding school in Sunbury, north-west of Melbourne.
He pleaded not guilty to eight charges of indecent assault and five counts of rape relating to the abuse of eight students, who were between 12 and 17 years of age, between the mid-1970s and 1990.
The court heard he would use computer games, soft drinks, alcohol and cigarettes to lure the young boys into his office, where he would sexually abuse them.
The jury was told on one occasion, a 12-year-old boy was given a glass of lemonade that made him feel sleepy.
When he regained consciousness he had been raped.
In another case, a 16-year-old boy was given three-quarters of a bottle of scotch before he was indecently assaulted by Rapson.
One of the former students alleged he was raped by Rapson on four separate occasions in 1990.
Defence lawyer, Shaun Ginsbourg, said while Rapson had crossed the line by plying the children with cigarettes and alcohol, it did not make him a sex abuser.
The jury verdicts were unanimous on all charges, despite the defence arguing the charges were too old to prove.
Witness statements tendered in a previous court hearing revealed Rapson blamed God for his crimes.
One complainant recalled a number of boys being drugged with hot drinks and then assaulted in the infirmary in the 1970s.
He told police when another priest interrupted and told Rapson to restrain himself, he replied: “God made us this way and it’s his fault.”
It is not the first time the former priest has been convicted of child sex abuse under similar circumstances.
In 1992, he was sentenced to two years’ jail after pleading guilty to abusing a 15-year-old boy at the Sunbury College in 1987.
The boy was a boarder in a dormitory that was supervised by Rapson and was offered alcohol and cigarettes before he was assaulted.
At the time of the 1992 court case, Rapson was still a member of the religious order.
It is understood he was stripped of his priesthood in 2004, 12 years after he was jailed as a convicted child molester.
Second ‘Runaway Priest’ found by Dallas News sent back to Australia to face sex-abuse charges
Another priest from our landmark 2004-2005 series on the Catholic Church’s international transfers of sex abusers has been arrested.
Australian authorities charged the Rev. Julian Fox, pictured, after he returned from his religious order’s headquarters in Rome. He faces 10 counts of sexually and physically abusing boys at a Melbourne-area boarding school, according to press reports.
In our series, I reported that Fox was moved to Fiji after an abuse complaint in the late 1990s was made to his order, the Salesians of Don Bosco. The Salesians also paid his accuser a settlement, officials acknowledged to me.
When I talked to Fox by phone in 2004, he said a church review had exonerated him. He declined to further discuss the allegations.
“That’s in the past,” he said. “I’m not keen to be trolling through all of that again.”
Fox was also the Salesians’ South Pacific leader during the 1990s. In that role, he received allegations that the Rev. Frank Klep had previously abused boys. As you may recall, Klep is the fugitive priest we found on another Pacific island, Samoa, handing out candy to children at a church.
Fox told me that he had investigated the Klep complaint. But he couldn’t remember what he had found because the case was “history under a bridge,” he said.
The recent interest in Fox is two-fold:
First, an Australian government inquiry spawned a widening criminal investigation that has produced multiple arrests. Second, a leading investigative news program there, Four Corners, examined the Fox case last year.
Calls for Full Investigation: Number of Church Abuse Cases Continues to Rise in Germany
The Catholic Church in Germany is under pressure as more and more cases of sexual abuse come to light. Now the government is demanding that the Church take rigorous action to investigate the incidents. By SPIEGEL staff.
For years, Jörg D. was plagued by feelings of shame, insecurity and rage. Finally, on Sept. 17, 2009, he sent the pope a four-page letter describing his plight. “I beg you for help, in whatever form possible,” he wrote.
But Benedict XVI remained silent. To this day, Jörg D., now 25, has not received a response, “not even a two-liner, nothing, nothing at all
Franz-Josef Bode, the bishop of the city of Osnabrück in northwestern Germany, hasn’t been much help either. He advised D., a victim of abuse, to “forgive and forget.”
In fact, Bishop Bode wants all the 14 victims, who at the time were altar boys and children preparing to receive their first communion, to forgive and forget. Over the course of several years, ending in 1995, they were sexually abused a total of 227 times by their priest in a village near the Dutch border. The priest involved, Father Alois B., got off lightly, with only a probation sentence.
“The church was more concerned about the offenders than the victims,” says Jörg D. “It provided them with therapy, stays in health resorts, new apartments or new positions, and it assiduously wiped away their old tracks. The abused children were left to fend for themselves.”
German Church Apologizes
New allegations of abuse by members of the Catholic Church are emerging every day. Ursula Raue, a Berlin attorney who has been engaged by the Jesuits to handle abuse cases, has counted 12 suspects and 120 victims in the space of only three weeks. Raue says that the order knew of only two suspects and seven victims in late January. “The numbers are rising by the day,” she says. Many other orders, Catholic institutions and parishes are affected, as new victims report cases of alleged abuse to dioceses, newspapers and counseling centers throughout the country.
Despite the apparent urgency of the situation, Germany’s highest-ranking Catholic, Freiburg Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, had been unavailable for comment for weeks during the scandal. At a meeting of the German Bishops’ Conference this week in Freiburg, the issue of “sexual abuse” was initially intended as a secondary item on the agenda. “The aging society” was meant to be the main focus of the meeting.
However Zollitsch on Monday told the conference that he wanted to apologize in the name of the Church to the victims of abuse at Catholic schools. “Sexual abuse of children is always a horrible crime,” he said, adding that he wanted to “apologize to all those who were victims of such crimes.”
Biggest Scandal in Decades
In reacting to what is probably the biggest scandal within their ranks in decades, German bishops have seemed helpless and dazed, sometimes concerned about the victims, but often stubborn, out of touch with reality or ignorant — and generally confused. Some say they are “stunned and concerned,” while others, like Augsburg Bishop Walter Mixa, have summarily assigned some of the blame for the abuse to the “so-called sexual revolution.”
All of the publicity has overshadowed the more urgent needs of conducting a thorough investigation into the incidents, prosecution of the offenders and help for the victims.
What is needed is an independent commission, with a staff to investigate all allegations and hold accountable the offenders and those who knew about them within the church hierarchy. Such a commission would also have to ensure that the long-neglected victims finally receive counseling, therapy and compensation.
This is the way the abuse scandals involving the Catholic Church in Ireland and the United States were dealt with. Commissions in those two countries investigated thousands of alleged offenders. Ireland’s commission was headed by an experienced judge, who was given the authority to inspect secret Church records and question the parties involved. Are Germany’s bishops afraid of so much transparency and the results it could yield?
Hiding Behind Pretexts
Even the German government is unequivocally calling upon Church leaders to take action — an extremely unusual approach in the context of the relationship between Church and state.
“I expect the Catholic Church to provide concrete information on which measures are being taken for a complete investigation,” says German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger. “It is not very helpful when a few people in positions of authority, like Bishop Mixa, hide behind polemical pretexts instead of helping to resolve the matter.”
Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, a member of the liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP), proposes the appointment of ombudsmen and a round table of representatives of the government, the Church and victims. Such a panel, she says, would be “a good way to clear up the many abuse cases and give the Catholic Church an opportunity to enter into dialogue with the victims over voluntary compensation.
The prevalent view within the clergy, however, is still that sexual assaults are isolated cases, the regrettable transgressions of brothers gone astray. German bishops are determined to avoid the fate of their Irish counterparts, who were summoned to Rome last week for a public dressing-down over their handling of child abuse scandals.
At the same time, the many new suspected cases indicate that abuse of children and adolescents was apparently widespread throughout the Catholic world. One of the German Catholic institutions where child abuse allegedly took place is the Franz Sales House, a facility for handicapped people in the western city of Essen, which recently celebrated its 125th anniversary as a “venerable institution with a great history.” It represents “a culture of attentiveness,” Essen Auxiliary Bishop Franz Vorrath said.
Rolf-Michael Decker describes what he claims happened to him there as a 14-year-old. “We were sometimes locked into rooms in the attic, for example after attempts to run away,” he recalls. “One night K., one of the teachers, stood in front of my bed and told me to come with him. He took me to his room, locked the door and told me to take off my nightshirt. He began fondling me and undressed himself in the process. It was all very strange to me, and I felt uncomfortable, but he threatened me, saying that if I didn’t keep quiet I would be locked up for much longer.”
According to Decker, other boys were also subjected to rape and anal sex over a period of years. He also accuses a priest who worked at the facility of sexual abuse. “During confession, he would ask us about obscene things while masturbating.” Decker, 55, has already found four other witnesses.
An investigation into the dark past of the Franz Sales House could have been launched once before, in 2002. At the time, the director, who had been accused of sexual abuse, albeit not at the Franz Sales House itself, resigned immediately “so as not to harm the good reputation of the Franz Sales House over a transgression that happened long ago.” The Church was apparently not interested in pursuing the issue further.
Today, however, the current director of the institution, Günter Oelscher, does want to see the abuse allegations cleared up, “regardless of (the effect on) the institution’s image.”
Apparently the order of the Salesians of Don Bosco has been particularly hard-hit. As a spokeswoman admitted in response to a SPIEGEL inquiry last Friday, abuse allegations have been leveled against four individuals currently or previously associated with the order, both members of the order and employees. They relate to the former Salesians of Don Bosco, where two priests and an employee allegedly molested underage youths until the 1970s.
Another accusation is directed against a former member of the Salesian order, who worked in the Don Bosco Students’ Home in the Bavarian city of Augsburg until the mid-1970s. According to spokeswoman Gabriele Merk-Horstmann, the order intends to look into “all allegations without regard to the identity of the individuals involved,” and to “offer victims the support available to us.”
Sexual abuse is also believed to have occurred in a children’s home run by the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul in the town of Oggelsbeuren in southern Germany. A victim says that, as a child, he was required to bring the pastor his meals in his room. The pastor apparently showed the boy pornographic images while fondling him. The man was later transferred abroad. The case was submitted to the abuse commission of the Rottenburg-Stuttgart diocese late last week.
At a Catholic Marist boarding school in the Bavarian town of Mindelheim, boys aged 13 to 15 were allegedly summoned to the room of a lay teacher which was adjacent to the students’ dormitory during the night. According to a former student, the teacher would then give the children brandy until they were drunk, and would then molest and, in some cases, rape them.
The witness estimates the number of affected boys at “10 to 15,” just in his dormitory alone. Father Winfried Schreieck, the former director of the school, says today that he never heard of the abuse allegations. He adds that he is also certain “that those in charge of the order attempt to clear up any accusations that abuse victims report to the order.”
Dozens of former victims of abuse have contacted SPIEGEL in the last two weeks with similar reports. Some say that now, decades later, they still feel disgust at the thought of the fondling, flirtation and kisses coming from the priests and laypeople, while others remain traumatized today after having been raped as children.
‘Nothing Was Right in My World Anymore’
The names of the institutions, parishes and orders involved read like a who’s who of the Catholic establishment. The Franciscans, for example, are dealing with charges of sexual abuse at a boarding school, long since closed, in Grosskrotzenburg near Frankfurt. A former student claims that several priests at the school engaged in abusive acts between the late 1960s and early 1970s. “We have contacted the former student, so that we can discuss the charges and, if possible, clear them up,” says Hadrian Koch, the Franciscan provincial vicar in charge of the case.
Many Catholic entities and organizations, including the Salvatorians, the Pallottines, parishes, Church-run children’s homes and scouting organizations, must now deal with allegations from former students.
Given their experiences, however, many victims have little confidence in an investigation conducted by precisely the institution that concealed the abuse, sometimes for years or even decades.
“What I experienced changed something fundamental in me,” says a man who, as a child, was placed in a kind of relocation camp in Unna-Massen near Dortmund for ethnic Germans who were immigrating to Germany from former Communist countries. There, he was abused in a car by a priest from the Paderborn diocese.
“All of a sudden, nothing was right in my world anymore,” the man recalls. “An offender like that has no idea what he’s destroying in someone.”
FRANK HORNIG, SVEN RÖBEL, MARCEL ROSENBACH, PETER WENSIERSKI
Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan