News Archive 2013/14
Luton vicar James Ogley asked children to commit sex offences
A vicar who admitted asking children to sexually assault other youngsters on an internet chat blog has been jailed for two years.
Reverend James Ogley, 38, vicar at Saint Francis Church in Carteret Road, Luton, earlier pleaded guilty to seven charges of publishing obscene material. Six offences relate to material posted online in June 2012 and one to publication in November 2012.
The Diocese of St Albans said his future had not yet been decided.
Police visited the Hollybush Road vicarage in January last year after reports someone had tried to contact children via the chat room Internet Relay Chat, Luton Crown Court heard.
Chat logs showed the married father of two had asked those who appeared to be under the age of 16 to "commit child sex offences".
Prosecutor Daniel Siong said: "The material included graphic descriptions of sexual abuse of children... these included incestuous, sadistic, paedophiliac sexual acts on young and very young children - four years old in one instance."
In some exchanges he asked a 13-year-old girl to remove her clothes and sexually abuse her younger sister. Another interaction recorded him describing sex acts with an eight-year-old boy.
Ogley told police he had been "role playing" and never arranged to meet anyone.
Defence barrister Andrew Morton said Ogley was not so much a predator, but an "unhealthy fantasist" who had become "chastened and contrite" since his arrest.
"He makes no excuses and realises the folly of his conduct," said Mr Morton.
'Let people down'
Judge David Farrell QC said Ogley's actions had been "totally incompatible with the beliefs and teachings of a vicar".
"You have let down all those who looked up to you as the holder of a respected office," he said. The vicar was suspended from all his duties as a clergyman in January 2013 and remains so, a spokesman for the Diocese of St Albans said.
The Bishop of St Albans, the Right Reverend Dr Alan Smith, said he may now impose "an appropriate penalty".
Former Norfolk Catholic priest back in court facing new sex abuse charges
Father Tony McSweeney, 67, and former children’s home manager, wheelchair-bound John Stingemore, 72, allegedly molested the youths at Grafton Close Children’s Home in Hounslow, west London.
McSweeney – who officiated at the 1990 wedding of boxing legend Frank Bruno and his ex-wife, Laura – was a trainee priest at the time of the alleged attacks.
The once part-time chaplain at Norwich City FC was leading the congregation at St George’s Church in north Norwich when the claims against him emerged.
Both pensioners are accused of targeting children while Stingemore was in charge of the council-run home between February 1980 and July 1981.
The pair have already pleaded not guilty to a string of charges relating to six victims aged 15 and under. Prosecutor Peter Zinner said the Crown are seeking to add further charges to the indictment.
He said: ‘The Crown’s charges arise out of what the Crown say was systematic sexual abuse of children in a care home in the west of London in the early part of the 1980s. Mr Stingemore and Mr McSweeney already await trial.
“There were numerous young children making similar complaints against Mr McSweeney and Mr Stingemore.”
McSweeney, of Brighton Road North, Pease Pottage, West Sussex, denies taking an indecent photograph of a child and two counts of indecent assault on a male person in the 1980s. He further denies three counts of making indecent photographs of a child and a further count of possessing indecent images which were allegedly found on a Dell laptop in January and February last year. Stingemore, of Kennedy Court, Stonehouse Drive, St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, denies five counts of indecent assault on a male person, indecency with a child and taking an indecent photograph of a child.
The court heard they will face additional charges of sexual assault, gross indecency and taking indecent photographs of children.
Retired priest accused of sexually abusing young girls over 25 years period
A retired priest may have to be extradited to face a string of sex charges involving schoolgirls.
Canon Mortimer Stanley, 82, is facing 17 charges of indecent assault on girls under 14 after numerous complaints by former pupils at a Rochdale school.
The clergyman, who is now living in Ireland after retiring from St Vincent de Paul RC Church in Norden, was first quizzed by police last year.
The allegations involved ten victims and are said to have taken place between 1977 and 2002. All the victims were pupils at St Vincent’s Primary School, which has been historically linked to the parish.
Canon Stanley, who lives in Ballybunion, Kerry, has twice travelled to Greater Manchester to answer police questions. Police are now considering extradition proceedings in order to press charges.
One source close to the investigation said Canon Stanley was being given legal advice not to return to Rochdale again. The source added: "Because he is not in the UK a summons may not compel him to attend. Police are now taking legal advice."
The priest was originally interviewed in November 2013, when three women claimed they were indecently assaulted and sexually abused while pupils at nearby St Vincent’s Primary School. And he returned in May this year to be further interviewed under caution about the historic allegations. The women were under 11 when it is alleged the offences happened more than 30 years ago.
It is claimed the abuse was committed in a presbytery next to the school. After the M.E.N reported the allegations six other women came forward with information.
Canon Stanley, who joined the church as a parish priest in 1972, retired to his native Ireland in 2002.
The senior clergyman was in charge when the church opened in 1975 at St Vincent.
In a statement last year, the Roman Catholic Salford Diocese said: “The Diocese is co-operating fully with the police and the statutory agencies in these investigations in line with the robust safeguarding policies put in place by the church in this country in recent years.”
The CPS confirmed authorisation had been given for Canon Stanley to be charged.
Irish cardinal who helped to cover up abuse resigns
The Vatican has announced that it has accepted the resignation of the leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Cardinal Seán Brady. Last month, Dr Brady, who has been the leader of Ireland's Catholics for 18 years, confirmed that he offered his resignation to Pope Francis in July.
His tenure had been beset by clerical child sex abuse scandals and claims that he helped to cover up one case. Archbishop Eamon Martin has been announced as his successor.
Pope Francis has appointed him Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of all Ireland.
He was appointed as coadjutor archbishop of Armagh in January 2013 and ordained in April 2013.
Cardinal Brady resisted calls to resign in 2010, when it emerged that when he was a young priest in 1975, he attended meetings during which two teenage sex abuse victims were sworn to secrecy after they alleged they had been abused by Fr Brendan Smyth.
Brendan Smyth was at the centre of one of the first paedophile priest scandals to rock the Catholic Church on the island.
The Northern Ireland-born cleric, who was later convicted of more than 100 charges of child sexual abuse, died in prison in 1997. However, instead of going to the civil authorities about the teenagers' allegations against him in 1975, clerics, including Seán Brady, took evidence from the pair and asked them to sign vows of silence.
Cardinal Brady apologised publicly for his role in mishandling the claims against Smyth, and described himself as a "wounded healer" who would, in future, prioritise the safety of children in the church.
However, in 2012, a BBC investigation into the case revealed that Dr Brady had failed to ensure the safety of other victims of Fr Brendan Smyth, despite being given their names and addresses by one of the two teenagers who had reported the abuse in 1975.
In his response to the BBC investigation, Dr Brady said he had been asked by his then bishop to record the allegations, and described his role as merely that of a "note taker".
Cardinal Brady added that as a priest in 1975 he had "absolutely no authority over Brendan Smyth" and was "shocked, appalled and outraged" when he discovered in the mid-1990s that Brendan Smyth had gone on to abuse others.
He apologised to one of the abused teenagers in May 2012, but said he had no intention of stepping aside.
Church of England embroiled in another alleged child abuse scandal
The Church of England faces fresh scrutiny over its handling of historic child abuse after the outgoing Bishop of Gloucester was placed at the centre of a police inquiry over allegations of indecent assault on a child more than 30 years ago.
The Rt Rev Michael Perham, 66, suddenly quit after nearly a decade as bishop on Friday citing “personal reasons” but it can be revealed that a police inquiry was launched centred on the parish in south London where the senior cleric started his career in the Church as an assistant curate in 1976.
The force confirmed today that officers from its sexual offences, exploitation and child abuse command are investigating “allegations of indecent assault on a child said to have occurred between 1980 and 1981”. Nobody has been arrested during the course of the continuing inquiry, the force said in a statement.
The Metropolitan Police said that a 66-year-old attended a police building where he was interviewed under caution on suspicion of indecent assault on a child aged under 18 and a woman aged over 18. They did not name the bishop.
The diocese has declined to comment further on the reasons for the bishop’s departure but it is understood that senior Church officials have been in contact with a group representing victims of abuse after it was alerted about the allegation four weeks ago. The Diocese of Gloucester said: “This is a police matter. We have no further comment to make.”
Bishop Perham’s departure has been the subject of speculation in Gloucester since authorities announced his “stepping back” with immediate effect from the post he had taken since 2004. He played no part in the service of remembrance to mark the centenary of the start of the First World War held at Gloucester Cathedral at the weekend.
Bishop Perham, married with four grown-up daughters, announced last year that he would be retiring in November 2014 after completing a pilgrimage across his diocese. He said that the time was right for him and his family. A special service was due to take place on 8 November to celebrate his time as Bishop of Gloucester. Church officials said they did not know if it was still going ahead.
The investigation is connected with St Mary’s Church, in New Addington, south London. The bishop served the first of his six full-time posts in the Church of England as curate there from 1976 to 1981, according to the Gloucester diocese website.
Since then he rose up the ranks and has worked as chaplain to the bishop in Winchester, in Poole, at Norwich Cathedral and as Dean of Derby until 2004. He became Bishop of Gloucester in 2004. The bishop, who has been a strong advocate of the role of women in the Church as bishops, is a member of the House of Lords and the House of Bishops standing committee.
In March, a former Bishop of Gloucester became the most senior Anglican cleric to be prosecuted for a child sex crime after being accused of exploiting his position to abuse young men over 15 years.
The Rt Rev Peter Ball, 82, was charged with indecently assaulting two people, one a boy aged as young as 12 in 1978, and misconduct in public office following an investigation into alleged attacks on 19 young men and boys.
The alleged offences date to the time he was Bishop of Lewes in the Chichester diocese before he was promoted to Bishop of Gloucester in 1992. He resigned from that post the following year. His case has yet to come to trial. In a statement, the Gloucester diocese said that a process was under way to allow the Bishop of Tewkesbury to take over the Bishop of Gloucester’s duties. “As was stated on Friday, the Rt. Revd. Michael Perham has stepped back from his role as Bishop of Gloucester,” it said.
Details of the police inquiry came as it emerged that a national police group was being set up to link child sex abuse investigations involving public figures and institutions such as schools and care homes. All police forces in the United Kingdom have been asked for details of their ongoing inquiries with senior investigators asked to sit on the group to share information between forces where inquiries overlap.
Last month, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said he dealt with issues of child sex abuse on a daily basis and he anticipated that more “bad stories” would emerge. He said: “I would love to say there weren’t, but I expect there are.”
He told the BBC that it was “becoming clearer and clearer that for many, many years things were not dealt with as they should. He is due to meet with campaigners next month. Lucy Duckworth, of the Minister and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors group, said: “We’re going to talk to him about cases that have not been resolved and his response to survivors because it’s just not good enough.”
Speaking at the Anglican Synod in York, 2014
Dr Margaret Kennedy PhD. Founder of MACSAS UK
How does a former Catholic woman living in Greystones, Co Wicklow end up addressing delegates at a ‘fringe’ mee>ng in the Anglican Synod in York last week?
In 1993 I founded a group for clergy sexual abuse survivors in the UK. It is stllgoing strong: MACSAS ‘Minister & Clergy sexual abuse survivors’. I lived in theUK for 42 years and after a traumatc sexual assault by a University Anglican chaplain as a young adult, began to support others who had such experiences.
Retring in 2010 and returning home I still kept up with some MACSAS work. The group invited me to be part of the delegates chosen to speak at York. For several years the MACSAS committee had been uncovering Anglican Clergy sexual abuse, especially in the Diocese of Chichester. Two members of the committee were survivors of Anglican clergy sex offenders from that Diocese.
They worked very hard with the new Bishop of Chichester, and the head of the Church of England’s safeguarding team Bishop Butler, Bishop of Durham to un-mask the secrets. Clergy sex abusers were charged and jailed. More charges are on-going. None of this would have happened had not the victims broken the secrets, reported and given evidence.
Being a wheelchair user ge]ng to the Synod from Co Wicklow was not easy. But I stayed the night before in London then travelled up with 4 others, and met another in York. One survivor at Kings X station declared she had already vomited three times due to ‘nerves’. We were apprehensive, yet excited. We wanted to be part of the ‘justice--Making’ for Anglican clergy sexual abuse survivors. For to date, Catholic clergy abuse had received the most attention.
We each admitted to each other that si]ng down to prepare our talks we were filled with many emotions. There was a mixture of relief (to be able to share the experience) honour (to represent all Anglican Clergy abuse victims ) fear (in case we ‘folded’ in a heap, or failed to share the needed learning to those present) and pain (in re-visiting our violation).
On the train I read one victim’s talk and promptly dissolved in buckets of tears. It was awful, yet courageous, controlled anger and yet beautiful witness and clear confronting of the Church in what it failed to do and what needed to be done. Seeing my distress, she came and we hugged for several minutes. I told her she was SO brave!
The male victim checked his presentation. We all did, and ours, to make last minute adjustments. “is it OK?” we asked …”is it ok”?
On arrival at York, me in a powered wheelchair, we rang for an accessible taxi. We didn’t have to wait long. But oh it was SO hot. I was buckled and belted and bolted into the taxi and we went to York University Campus, by--passing women dressed up to the nines on their way to the races. Life goes on as we in almost (not quite) terror tackled more serious issues. We found our rooms, chatted, received our ID badges and given information on the Synod programme. We were shown where the fringe meeting would take place and we fixed a few things and met a few bishops! Then we went to look at ‘stalls’.
At 4.30 were taken into the main Synod assembly to hear discussion on the safeguarding Church Laws being amended, upgraded and voted on. Women and men, clergy, lay and some male Bishops gave moving testimony and all agreed the priority was to safeguard children and adults from sexually predatory clergy.
Sittng there in an almost collapsed state from broiling heat and tiredness it lifted my heart and soul to hear really genuine thoughts and feelings in this matter. These were words of intent and the intent was a serious analysis of what needed to be done. I was glad to hear several speakers address the area of ADULTS beings exploited sexually and the need to protect such adults. For my abuse by an Anglican Chaplain was not as a child but as a young adult and THAT is what my presentation would be about.
When this ended we went to the ‘fringe’ room for a buffet supper before our presentation.
A lovely spread of food was prepared and laid out down the left side of the room. At the end of the room there were bottles of wine and juice (a lot). From the top table where we sat we looked down towards the wine, over the heads of those who came to hear, and behind them was the York University Lake. The sky was blue, the sun shone. Each MACSAS presenter nervously presented…whilst some delegates ate their supper, knives and forks clattering on plates, and many looking at us with solemn faces, some in tears.
In front of me sat Bishop Butler, Bishop of Durham; Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop Welby, and the Archbishop of York, Archbishop Santamu. The latter I knew from living in Hackney, East London where before he’d been Bishop. You could not fail to quiver slightly!
We wasted no time and the first speaker read what she wanted to say with strong, nervous, brave voice. No wishy-washy round about the bushes presentation either; straight for the truth. And her truth left no stone unturned, and her truth was powerful. (all talks are available below) next came a male survivor who, again, without varnish or preamble said his piece, challenging, remonstrating and both critiquing past responses, challenged for future better ones. Another two talks we were in no doubt about the ‘harm done’. Then a survivor presented our work, how we supported clergy sexual abuse survivors. Explaining our helpline; and costs and funding. She presented the ‘voice’ of many others, why they phoned
us and what they needed. MACSAS was doing and would con>nue to do desperately needed support work. However she said, funding would always dictate how many we could reach.
A third speaker, a lawyer who has represented many victims, quietly but authoritatively asked that the Church do the right thing for victims. He was not happy with legalistic uncaring responses and said so. Another female victim stood up to present. Quietly and carefully she plotted HER journey, deeply moving those present with the soO touch of her anger. And the soft touch of her entreaty and advice.
Then we broke for a short rest. Wine replenished, baUeries recharged, air sucked in outside!
I spoke next. Explaining how clergy sexual abuse of a person who is ADULT is no ‘second-class’ offence. No less serious, no less worthy of condemnation. I told my story and challenged them about stereotypes and false naming. It was not an “affair”, nor “adultery” and NOT “conduct unbecoming the ministry…” it was sexual violation …of ME…of ME…
After this, the delegates present asked questions, made comments and shared. Two people especially impacted on me. A woman right at the back, in tears, saying “you never forget” and Archbishop Santamu sinking to his knees in front of us, in the front row, saying “come to us, come to us”; to help the Church of England put it right.
Archbishop Welby apologised and said the Church had still a long way to go, with hard work to do. Bishop Butler said a few words about safeguarding and on--going efforts to protect both children and adults.
Then the fringe meeting ended as our chair for the evening (former chair of MACSAS) expressed how dialogue, listening and new ways of working needed to develop between us and them. People came up to shake hands, to say a few awkward words. Some close to tears. All said the fringe meeting was hugely valuable, and hugely necessary.
From left to right: Phil Johnson, Lucy Duckworth (chair), Dr. Margaret Kennedy,
Helen Charlton, Jo Kind and Alana Lawrence.
After a short press conference, we the survivors, relieved the bottom table of some bottles of wine… and repasted to the green outside our residential block… and feasted and celebrated… our courage and a task well done.
Click Here to download David Greenwood's speech to Synod
Click Here to download Jo Kind's speech to Synod
Click Here to download MACSAS chair, Lucy Duckworth's speech to Synod
Click Here to download Dr. Margaret Kennedy's speech to Synod
Click Here to download Phil Johnson's speech to Synod
Archbishop of Canterbury Welby warns of more revelations Following Meeting with MACSAS at The General Synod
Disgraced vicars convicted of child sex attacks have abused their former Church titles by posing as respected members of society, victims claimed last night, after the Archbishop of Canterbury warned that new cases of abuse by clergy were likely to emerge.
Justin Welby said the Church had to be absolutely transparent, after learning from victims of cover-ups, bungled investigations and the devastating long-term impact of abuse, at a fringe meeting of the Synod of the Church of England. His comments came as the Pope described child abuse as “leprosy” that affected 2 per cent of clergy in the Roman Catholic Church and was determined to confront the problem.
The figure would represent some 8,000 out of a global figure of more than 400,000 priests worldwide.
The intervention of two of Christianity’s most prominent religious figures highlighted the damaging legacy of long-term child abuse and the failure of organised religion to confront the problem.
A group representing victims said that it welcomed the Archbishop’s comments but said that the Anglican Church was still responding too slowly to genuine complaints of abuse.
The Minister and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors (Macsas) group told The Independent that it was aware of at least two men with child abuse convictions who still called themselves “reverend” and wore dog collars.
“If they knock on the door and say ‘I’m a reverend’ they already have trust. It’s not all about sexual gratification, it’s all to do with power,” said the group’s chair Lucy Duckworth. “To abuse a child, you need to get the trust of the families and children, it’s a lot easier to do that if you’re called reverend.” She said one of the men, living in the South-east of England, had previously been convicted of the abuse of young girls.
The Church of England said it was powerless to prevent anyone using the term “reverend”. But after years of accusations of cover-ups and inadequate investigations, the Synod last week agreed a “draft safeguarding and clergy discipline measure” to give Bishops the power to suspend clergy on arrest – an earlier stage than previously permitted. However, the change would be put in place at the earliest in November, officials said.
In an interview with the BBC’s Andrew Marr, the Archbishop said he dealt with issues of child sex abuse on a daily basis and he anticipated that more “bad stories” would emerge. “I would love to say there weren’t, but I expect there are.” He said that it was “becoming clearer and clearer that for many, many years things were not dealt with as they should.
“We must show justice to survivors of abuse, that’s the first and absolute principle and we must be absolutely transparent and we have to keep saying how utterly devastated and how sorry we are.”
Survivors said the Anglican Church had opened their doors more than other they worked with, but that it “was still not enough and not fast enough,” said Ms Duckworth. In an address to a fringe meeting at the Synod, a victim, Phil Johnson, highlighted the failure of inquiries to resolve child sex abuse investigations.
Mr Johnson, who was abused by two priests when he was a choirboy in the Chichester Diocese, criticised the failure of an earlier inquiry headed by Baroness Butler-Sloss – who has now been appointed to head the Government’s overarching review of child abuse allegations, following claims that clergy were part of an Establishment paedophile ring that went to the heart of Westminster. She had previously been appointed to look into how the Church handled claims of abuse, following the convictions of two vicars and a choirmaster in 2008.
In his address on Friday, Mr Johnson said: “She seemed far too ready to believe accounts by bishops and far too interested in keeping damaging revelations out of the press.”
The Home Office defended her appointment to run the inquiry after revelations at the weekend by Mr Johnson that she refused to go public about the Right Rev Peter Ball, the former Bishop of Gloucester, after Mr Johnson made allegations against him.
The former Bishop was charged with indecently assaulting two people, one a boy aged as young as 12 in 1978, and misconduct in public office, following an investigation into alleged attacks on 19 young men and boys.
Mr Johnson’s claims put fresh pressure on the former High Court judge who faced calls to step down after reports that her brother Sir Michael Havers tried to prevent ex-MP Geoffrey Dickens airing claims about a diplomat in Parliament in the 1980s. Lady Butler-Sloss insisted she is “mindful of the very real suffering” and that she “has never put the reputation of an institution including the Church of England, ahead of justice for victims”.
Chichester child abuse victims wait 10 years for report
A report on child abuse in the diocese of Chichester has been published more than a decade after it was written, following pressure from victims.
The report on abuse between the 1970s and 2000 in the diocese and at the Cathedral was written in January 2004. The case review followed the conviction of Terence Banks in 2001 for 32 sexual offences against 12 boys over 29 years.
The diocese said victims had "consistently asked for the full facts to be brought to light". The review was commissioned by the then Bishop of Chichester, the Right Reverend Dr John Hind. Banks had a long association with Chichester Cathedral and grew up living in the Treasury, before leaving home to move to London.
While living in Hammersmith, Banks often visited Chichester at weekends and took over the role of head steward at the cathedral from his father, following his death in 1989. He was offered a church-owned property after the death of his mother in 1994.
The report said Banks was widely regarded as part of the cathedral choir's organisation, although he had no official role. As a result he was able to seen as having "some power" over both choristers and their parents.
He groomed and sexually abused children, both boys and girls, between January 1971 until just before his arrest in early 2000, the case review said. He met all but one of his victims through his activities in the cathedral.
Terence Banks was jailed for 32 sexual offences
He took children out to tea and brought them presents. The report said "he used alcohol to break down inhibitions" of his victims and would then introduce his victims to pornographic films "to start the process of abuse".
The assaults took place at his homes in Chichester and London, and he would also show the boys round BBC studios where he worked as a floor manager in the 1970s and 1980s. One victim was taken to a hotel in Guildford and one to a sauna in Brighton. Two of the boys were abused in each other's presence. The case review was set up after concerns about the way the church had responded to allegations made in 2000.
'Slow to change'
Banks was still allowed access to children while working at the cathedral, the report said. The report said the Anglican community in the Chichester area had been "slow to change their child protection responses".
An allegation in 1991 about Banks' use of pornography with a 12-year-old was not reported to the dean of the cathedral. In the same year, two victims reported abuse which was investigated by the cathedral but police were not informed.
The report said Banks' three youngest victims were 11 years old, but all were under the age of 16. In 2001, Banks was found guilty of 32 sexual offences. A further eight charges, involving another three victims, remain on file. He was jailed for 16 years. The diocese of Chichester said at the time of the report, case reviews were not published as a matter of course.
A spokesman said: "First and foremost our thoughts are with the survivors and their families.
"The effects of abuse can last a lifetime, and the passing of the years may or may not have brought any kind of healing."
UN warns Vatican to hand over sex abuse files to police
The United Nations anti-torture watchdog has ordered the Vatican to hand over files containing details of clerical sexual abuse allegations to police forces around the world amid concerns over the use of “diplomatic immunity” to hamper investigations.
Members of the UN Committee on Torture also warned the Holy See against effectively allowing suspected paedophiles to seek sanctuary in Rome, after calls for a former Papal ambassador to be extradited to his native Poland to face investigations.
In a highly critical report, published in Geneva, it questioned attempts by the Vatican to claim that its obligations under international law only apply within the tiny city state.
It ordered the Vatican to use its authority over the Roman Catholic Church worldwide to ensure all allegations of clerical abuse are passed on to the secular authorities and impose “meaningful sanctions” on any Vatican officials who fail to do so.
And it voiced “regret” at a lack of openness by the Vatican about its co-operation with civil authorities in sexual abuse investigations.
The report comes after senior officials sought to distance the Vatican legally from the wider church, which has been riven with allegations of child abuse dating back decades, saying priests were not legally tied to the Vatican but fell under national jurisdictions.
But the committee insisted that officials of the Holy See - including the Pope’s representatives around the world and their aides - have a responsibility to monitor the behaviour of all under their “effective control”.
It said it is up to the Vatican itself, rather than simply local dioceses, to ensure suspected abusers are suspended and, specifically, that they are not simply transferred.
In making an explicit link between Rome and the wider church, the report is likely to aid victims attempting to bring legal action against the Vatican.
In contrast to a separate report by the UN’s Committee on the Rights of the Child, it praises efforts by Pope Francis to bring the perpetrators of historic abuse to justice, including reforms of the Vatican’s penal code and the establishment of what amounts to a ministry of child protection.
But among areas of concern, it singles out the case of Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, the former Papal Nuncio to the Dominican Republic who was recalled to Rome last year amid claims he sexually abused children in the slums of Santo Domingo.
The report points out that Poland has requested his extradition but the Vatican insists he is now under investigation there.
“The Committee is concerned that the [Holy See] did not identify any case to date in which it has prosecuted an individual responsible for the commission of or complicity or participation in a violation of the Convention,” it said.
It urged a “prompt and impartial” investigation into the Archbishop and “any other persons” suspected of abuse, adding: “If warranted, the State party should ensure such persons are criminally prosecuted or extradited for prosecution by the civil authorities of another State party.”
Since 2001 all cases of clerical sexual abuse have been referred to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the body then headed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who later became Pope Benedict.
But the committee voiced alarm at claims that it has refused to share information with national authorities and singled out reports that documents recently passed to an inquiry in Australia had previously been withheld on grounds of “diplomatic immunity”.
“The [Holy See] should take effective steps to ensure the provision of information to civil authorities in cases where they are carrying out criminal investigations of allegations of violations of the Convention perpetrated by Catholic clergy or acquiesced to by them,” the committee concluded.
Keith Porteous Wood, executive director of the National Secular Society, said: “The Committee are entirely justified in making this point; failure to do so does not bring these perpetrators - or those who abetted them - to justice and potentially leaves the window open for further abuse.
“It is also a further abuse of those violated by these perpetrators.”
A Vatican spokesman welcomed the report, adding: “These observations recognise that the Holy See has made many serious and substantial reforms on its procedures that further advance the principles and objectives of the Convention Against Torture.”
Fife priest Thomas Mullen dismissed over child abuse claims
A catholic priest at the centre of child abuse allegations has been dismissed.
The Catholic Church said Thomas Mullen, who was the priest at Our Lady of Lourdes in Dunfermline, Fife, had been found guilty of "canonical offences".
BBC Scotland has spoken to a man, now in his 30s, who claims he was abused by the priest from the age of nine.
Archbishop Leo Cushley said the gravity of the abuse of minors was something which could not go unheeded. In a letter Archbishop Cushley, of the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh, said the diocese was obliged in canon law to continue to look after Thomas Mullen's practical and pastoral needs.
The priest was arrested three years ago following statements from two alleged victims.
Prosecutors attempted to use the Moorov doctrine, a legal mechanism which applies where two or more separate offences are closely connected in time and circumstances, to establish a case. However, the Crown Office decided they could not proceed using Moorov due to the time lag between the alleged crimes.
The man who claims he suffered sexual abuse from the priest said he was unsure of how to take the news. He said: "People are telling me I should feel happy and that I've managed to make a change in the church's attitude, but have I?
"No amount of money is going to fix the damage it's (the abuse) caused but I'd like to be able to offer my services to help people who find themselves in the dark place I did."
The Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh suspended Father Mullen in 2011 while the allegations were investigated by police before ordering a full review into the claims, which were then sent to the Vatican.
Two months ago the Vatican ruled to dismiss Father Mullen. It made the findings public on Sunday when the appeal period had expired.
The Vatican struggles to address child abuse allegations
Last week Pope Francis asked for forgiveness for the damage done to children who have been abused by members of the clergy and asserted that sanctions must be imposed to tackle the problem of child abuse within the Church. It is the first time a pope has ever taken personal responsibility for the abuses committed by the Church’s priests.
In a speech made during a meeting with the International Catholic Child Bureau, a non-governmental child rights group, Pope Francis stated, “I feel compelled to personally take on all the evil which some priests, quite a few in number, obviously not compared to the number of all the priests, to personally ask for forgiveness for the damage they have done for having sexually abused children.”
The statement is being described as Pope Francis’ strongest stance on the issue thus far. It comes after a scathing United Nations report lambasted the Vatican earlier this year for failing to protect children from child abusers within its ranks and for turning a blind eye or covering up cases of molestation and rape over the decades.
The Vatican confirmed in January that Pope Benedict XVI had defrocked almost 400 priests in a two-year period due to child abuse allegations. Since taking over the papal office Pope Francis has vowed to continue the changes instigated by his predecessor. To support this promise, in December 2013 Pope Francis announced the creation of a Vatican commission that would recommend practices to combat clerical sexual abuse and organize help for victims. Pope Francis also strengthened Vatican laws on child abuse last year by specifically including child prostitution, sexual violence, sexual acts with children and indecent images of children in a broader definition of ‘crimes against minors’.
Despite these efforts, the Vatican continues to be accused of inadequately addressing the long-standing problem within the Church, the toll it has taken on victims and for failing to hold priests accountable for the crimes they have committed.
During an interview last month with an Italian newspaper called Corriere della Sera, Pope Francis defended the Church’s response to child abuse allegations saying, “No one else has done more [to tackle child sexual abuse]. Yet the Church is the only one to have been attacked.”
U.N. report demands more action from Vatican
Pope Francis’ defense of the Church continued in the Vatican’s reaction to a report released earlier in the year by the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child, which argued the Vatican had “systematically” adopted policies that enabled priests to molest and rape tens of thousands of children worldwide over the course of decades.
The U.N. report was the product of an intense grilling of Holy See representatives by the U.N. Committee in Geneva on January 16, 2014.
Calling for priests who have abused children to face civil prosecution and justice, the report urged the Vatican to “immediately remove all known and suspected child sexual abusers from assignment and refer the matter to the relevant law enforcement authorities for investigation and prosecution purposes.”
Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, who headed the Holy See delegation to the U.N. meeting in Geneva, told Vatican Radio that the Committee was trying to interfere in the freedom of religion and the Church’s moral teachings. He added that the Committee had not taken into account the actions the Vatican has taken to remedy the problem of child abuse and to protect children in the future. “The Holy See presented the concrete measures taken both at the level of the State of Vatican City and of the Church at large, taking into account that priests are not employees of the Pope but they are responsible citizens of the countries where they work and therefore accountable to the judicial system of those countries.”
Pope Francis’ year in office
Reacting to the U.N. report, Barbara Blaine, president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), told the BBC that the report “reaffirms everything we’ve been saying. It shows that the Vatican has put the reputation of Church officials above protection of children.”
“Church officials knew about it and they refused to stop it. Nothing has changed. Despite all the rhetoric from Pope Francis and Vatican officials, they refuse to take action that will make this stop.”
Since taking office just over a year ago, Pope Francis has been praised for his humble messages of inclusion and caring, becoming a beacon of hope for the revitalization of the Catholic faith and a Church described as out of touch with the modern era.
His easing of rigid doctrines and emphasis on helping the poor and dispossessed earned him the title of Time magazine’s 2013 Person of the Year. Perhaps equally telling of the high praise he has received, a popular LGBT magazine called The Advocate named Pope Francis their 2013 Person of the Year.
As such, the issue of child abuse within the Church and the Vatican’s perceived inadequate response to the problem represents a significant blight on Pope Francis’ record thus far.
Unfortunately, just as victims of abuse face long roads to recovery, it will likely be years before concrete evidence of positive change and healing within the Church can satisfy either critics or victims.
Bishop Peter Ball charged with sex offences
After more than 20 years since the first complaints of sexual misconduct were made to Police, Bishop Peter Ball has finally been charged. In that time there have been at least 3 Police investigations into his activities by Gloucestershire Police in 1992/3, Northants Police in 2009 and the latest by Sussex Police over the last 2 years.
The former Bishop of Lewes, is to be prosecuted for sexual offences against a young boy and a man.
Sussex Police was informed by the Crown Prosecution Service that it has authorised the prosecution of Bishop Peter Ball, now aged 82, of Langport, Somerset, for three offences.
The charges allege misconduct in public office between October 1977 and December 1992 while a Bishop in the Church of England, by misusing his position and authority to manipulate and prevail upon others for his own sexual gratification;
indecent assault on a boy aged between 12 and 13, in 1978 and indecent assault on a man aged 19 to 20 between 1980 and 1982.
The decisions by the CPS follow Operation Dunhill, an investigation by Sussex Police detectives into information received from the Church of England in May 2012.
The team, working with the full co-operation of the Church of England, investigated alleged sexual offences by Bishop Ball against 19 men and young boys, who were at time in their late teens or early twenties, at addresses in East Sussex and elsewhere between the 1970s and the early 1980s, except for two who were 12 and 13 when the alleged offending occurred in the late 1970s.
Bishop Ball was arrested on 13 November 2012 but was released at his home that afternoon on medical advice, without being interviewed.
It was subsequently established, following medical advice, that he was not medically fit to be further arrested, or interviewed by police. However in March 2013 he was supplied by police with details in writing of the allegations against him, and supplied a written response.
A spokesperson for Sussex Police said, “This response was submitted to the CPS in May 2013, along with all the other evidence obtained during the investigation. Since that date Sussex Police have continued to provide the CPS with all the further information they requested to assist in their decision making process.
“As soon as the CPS notified us of their decisions this afternoon we began to contact all the people concerned to advise them.
“The CPS is arranging the service of summons on Bishop Ball, for him to appear at Brighton Magistrates Court on April 10.”
Pope appoints abuse survivor and campaigner to church group on sex abuse
Pope Francis on Saturday named a victim of sexual abuse by a priest to be part of a core group formed to help the Catholic Church tackle the problem of clerical paedophilia that has dogged it for two decades.
The formation of a group of experts was first announced in December, and today the pope named the first eight members - four female and four male - from eight different countries.
These initial members will be responsible for rounding out the "commission for safeguarding minors" with other experts from around the world and defining the scope of the group's action.
"Pope Francis has made clear that the Church must hold the protection of minors amongst Her highest priorities," Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi said in a statement.
"Looking to the future without forgetting the past, the Commission will take a multi-pronged approach to promoting youth protection," he said.
These will include taking criminal action against offenders, educating people about the exploitation of children, developing best practices to better screen priests, and defining the civil and clerical duties within the Church, Lombardi said.
Among those named to the group was Marie Collins, who was a victim of sexual abuse in Ireland in the 1960s and who has campaigned actively for the protection of children and for justice for victims of clerical paedophilia.
Another member of the commission is the archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley, known as a pioneer for a more open approach to tackling scandal since he published a database of Boston clergy accused of sexual abuse of minors online in 2011.
Paedophile priest Francis Cullen admits abusing children in East Midlands
An 85-year-old Catholic priest has pleaded guilty to a series of child-related sex offences after being extradited from Tenerife.
In a hearing at Derby Crown Court, Francis Paul Cullen admitted 21 counts of indecent assault on seven children. The abuse of boys and girls aged six to 16 took place from 1957 to 1991. Cullen, born in Dublin, worked in Scunthorpe, Leicester, Nottingham and Alfreton, Buxton and Mackworth, Derbyshire.
A spokesman for the Diocese of Nottingham said he was pleased Cullen had "taken responsibility for his terrible crimes". Cullen was first arrested in Nottingham in 1991, but he skipped bail and fled to Tenerife in Spain where he lived for more than 20 years.
Cullen will be sentenced on 24 March.
Father Andrew Cole, spokesman for the Diocese of Nottingham, said: "I would like to offer our sympathy to those who have been affected by this tragedy in any way and assure them that we will do whatever we can to support them.
"I also wish to thank Cullen's victims for their bravery in coming forward after many years of silence; it is due to them that Cullen has pleaded guilty.
"Nothing can take away the horror of what happened to them, but I hope that today's verdict will help them in some small way to find peace."
Derbyshire Police urged any other victims who have not yet come forward to contact them.
"Given the length of the offending history of this investigation, which lasted from 1955 to 1991, I believe it is inconceivable that there are not more victims of this man's crimes," Det Con Matt Goodwin said.
Cullen worked as a priest at the Mackworth parish of Christ the King in Derbyshire between 1960 and 1978.
He was parish priest in Buxton from 1978-87 and in Hyson Green, Nottingham from 1988-91.
He retired in September 1991.
As with so many recent cases, it is due to the bravery and strength of one survivor in particular that this man was brought back from Teneriffe to face trial at all. The police did nothing until this survivor, supported by MACSAS pursued his case relentlessly.
A UN human rights committee has denounced the Vatican for adopting policies that allowed priests to rape and molest tens of thousands of children, and urged it to open its files on the paedophiles and the churchmen who concealed their crimes.
In a devastating report on Wednesday, the UN committee also severely criticised the Holy See for its attitudes toward homosexuality, contraception and abortion and demanded that the Vatican "immediately remove" all clergy who are known or suspected child abusers and turn them over to civil authorities.
The committed said the Holy See should also hand over its archives on sexual abuse of tens of thousands of children so that culprits, as well as "those who concealed their crimes", could be held accountable.
The watchdog's exceptionally blunt paper – the most far-reaching critique of the church hierarchy by the world body – followed its public grilling of Vatican officials last month.
"The committee is gravely concerned that the Holy See has not acknowledged the extent of the crimes committed, has not taken the necessary measures to address cases of child sexual abuse and to protect children, and has adopted policies and practices which have led to the continuation of the abuse by and the impunity of the perpetrators," the report said.
The Vatican was expected to issue a statement on the report later on Wednesday.
The UN committee on the rights of the child said the Catholic church had not yet taken measures to prevent a repeat of cases such as Ireland's Magdalene laundries scandal, where girls were arbitrarily placed in conditions of forced labour.
It called for an internal investigation of the laundries and similar institutions so that whose who were responsible could be prosecuted and that "full compensation be paid to the victims and their families".
A commission created by Pope Francis in December should investigate all cases of child sexual abuse "as well as the conduct of the Catholic hierarchy in dealing with them", the report said.
Abusers had been moved from parish to parish or other countries "in an attempt to cover up such crimes", it added.
"Due to a code of silence imposed on all members of the clergy under penalty of excommunication, cases of child sexual abuse have hardly ever been reported to the law enforcement authorities in the countries where such crimes occurred," the UN body said.
At a public session last month, the committee pushed Vatican delegates to reveal the scope of the decades-long sexual abuse of minors by Roman Catholic priests that Pope Francis called "the shame of the church".
The Holy See's delegation, answering questions from an international rights panel for the first time since the scandals broke more than two decades ago, denied allegations of a Vatican cover-up and said it had set clear guidelines to protect children from predator priests.
UN panel confronts Vatican on child sex abuse by clergy
The Vatican is being confronted publicly for the first time over the sexual abuse of children by clergy, at a UN hearing in Geneva.
Officials faced a barrage of hard questions such as why would they not release full data and what were they doing to prevent future abuse.
Archbishop Silvano Tomasi said such crimes could "never be justified" and every child should be "inviolable".
A fellow official said "things need to be done differently". The Vatican earlier refused a request from the UN's Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) for data on abuse, and was accused of responding inadequately to abuse allegations.
The Vatican came to Geneva expecting a rough ride and so far it is getting one, the BBC's Imogen Foulkes reports. Victims say they hope the hearing, which is being broadcast live, will prompt the Church to end its "secrecy".
Pope Francis announced last month that a Vatican commission would be set up to fight sexual abuse of children in the Church. The Holy See is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, a legally binding instrument which commits it to protecting and nurturing the most vulnerable in society. It ratified the convention in 1990 but after an implementation report in 1994 it did not submit any progress reports until 2012, following revelations of child sex abuse in Europe and beyond.
Members of the CRC asked about the Church's practice of moving priests suspected of abuse and allegations that it had concealed such abuse.
Why, it was asked, did the Vatican continue to describe such abuse as an offence against morals rather than a crime against children?
"Does the Holy See believe that paedophilia is something that can be successfully overcome?" was one question.
How, the Vatican was asked, did it go about training priests for work with children? What oversight was in place for Catholic institutions such as schools?
"The best way to prevent new offences is to reveal old ones," one of the questioners said.
Archbishop Tomasi, who is the Vatican's envoy to the UN, said that it was important to note that priests were "not functionaries of the Vatican but citizens of their countries and fall under the jurisdiction of their own countries". Bishop Charles Scicluna, the Vatican's former chief prosecutor of clerical sexual abuse, insisted it was "not the policy of the Holy See to encourage cover-ups".
But he added: "The Holy See gets it that there are things that need to be done differently."
Archbishop Tomasi said no profession was immune from producing sex offenders but the fact that there were cases in the Church was very damning: "Abusers are found among members of the world's most respected professions, most regrettably including members of the clergy and other church personnel.
"This fact is particularly serious since these persons are in positions of great trust and they are called to levels of service that are to promote and protect all elements of the human person, including physical, emotional and spiritual health."
'We request justice'
While Thursday's questions were numerous and far-ranging, they were asked in blocs, with the Vatican delegation given time to retire to prepare its answers.
Observers vented frustration at the lack of specific answers.
"Holy See: 'We get it' in UN review on child sexual abuse Catholic Church," wrote the children's rights watchdog CRIN in a tweet. "Do you? Why then don't you make statistics public?"
Barbara Blaine, president of a group representing US victims of abuse by priests, told BBC News that the hearing had brought "hope to victims across the globe".
But it would also stand, she said, as a "record of how the Church officials refused to answer the questions, how they claim to be open and transparent, and yet they don't live up to that ideal".
Priest, 82, quizzed in Rochdale child sex abuse case
An 82-year-old parish priest has been questioned under caution over alleged child sex abuse that spanned two decades in Greater Manchester.
The alleged indecent assault and sexual abuse occurred in the presbytery next door to St Vincent's RC Primary School in Norden, Rochdale, police said.
Investigations began after three women complained to police.
The women were pupils at the school between 1980 and 2000 and police have appealed for more information.
The parish priest, who has not been formally arrested, was serving at St Vincent de Paul RC Church at the time of the alleged offences.
Det Con Christian Chivers said: "While we do not believe there is any reason for current pupils or their families to be unduly concerned, this is extremely serious and upsetting for the victims in this case."
"The safeguarding of pupils is without doubt a top priority for us, the school and Salford Diocese and we are working together as part of this investigation," he added.
In a statement Salford Diocese said: "The diocese is co-operating fully with the police and the statutory agencies in these investigations in line with the robust safeguarding policies put in place by the Catholic Church in this country in recent years."
Police are appealing for former pupils who may have information to contact them.
Failing to report child abuse should be a crime,
says Keir Starmer
The former Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer QC calls for a change in the law to force doctors, social workers and priests to report all allegations of child sexual abuse
Doctors, social workers and priests should be required by law to report all allegations of child sexual abuse, according to the former Director of Public Prosecutions.
Keir Starmer QC, who recently stepped down as DPP, called for a change in the law to make it a crime not to raise the alarm about such suspicions.
His call has received support from both the Church of England and Roman Catholic Churches, which have both faced accusations of covering up sexual abuse in the past.
But the department for Education has ruled out introducing so-called mandatory reporting claiming that it could even make children less safe in some situations.
It insisted that existing professional guidelines requiring teachers and others immediately to refer concerns social workers were the best approach.
Full story: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/10423599/Failing-to-report-child-abuse-should-be-a-crime-says-former-DPP-Keir-Starmer.html
Bishop In Priest Abuse Case Quits Over Health
A cleric who faced criticism over his handling of abuse allegations three years ago steps down blaming poor health.
The Pope has accepted the resignation of an Irish bishop who said he was stepping down because of poor health, three years after he admitted mishandling sex abuse allegations against a priest.
In a statement, Dr William Lee, Bishop of Waterford and Lismore, said he had stepped down on health grounds, making no mention of the abuse claims.
The Holy See said in a brief statement that Dr Lee was relieved of his functions under paragraph 2 of article 401 of the Code of Canon Law, which covers both serious offences, and resignations due to ill-health.
Dr Lee has previously admitted that how he dealt with abuse allegations against one of his priests in the mid-1990s was "seriously inadequate".
Priest appears in court on child sex abuse charges
A priest appeared in court charged over alleged historic sexual abuse at a children's home.
Father Anthony McSweeney, 66, was in the dock at London's Southwark Crown Court with a former manager at the home, John Stingemore, 71.
The men will appear next on December 19 for a plea and case management hearing.
No venue was set for the case which may move to Lewes Crown Court as Stingemore is in a wheelchair and lives in Stonehouse Drive, St Leonards..
Both men spoke only to confirm their names.
McSweeney, who walks with a stick, faces three counts of indecent assault, three of making indecent images of a child, one of taking indecent images of a child and one of possessing indecent images of a child.
The charges came following an investigation into alleged abuse at Grafton Close Children's Home in Hounslow, west London.
Stingemore, who attended court in brown slippers, faces eight counts of indecent assault, two of taking indecent images of a child and one count of conspiracy with persons unknown to commit buggery.
The charges relate to seven alleged victims, all of whom were aged between nine and 15 when the offences are said to have taken place during the 1970s and 1980s.
McSweeney, of Old Brighton Road North, Pease Pottage, and his co-accused were bailed on condition they have no unsupervised contact with under 16s and do not contact each other or any witnesses.
A previous bail condition for McSweeney that he not use the internet was lifted.
The court heard that as well as the seven complainants, the case involves up to 90 witnesses and a dozen police officers.
Fort Augustus Abbey abuse victims to sue Church
Six former pupils of Fort Augustus Abbey school have instructed Switalskis to sue the Benedictines.
VICTIMS of physical and sexual abuse by monks at a boarding school in the Highlands are to launch a lawsuit for hundreds of thousands of pounds in compensation against the Catholic Church.
Six former pupils of Fort Augustus Abbey school, which was run by the Benedictine Order, have instructed Switalskis, an English law firm with a reputation for securing compensation for the victims of child sexual abuse, to sue the Benedictines. Legal proceedings are expected to begin within the next few weeks.
A solicitor for Switalskis, David Greenwood, said the firm would be seeking from £30,000 to more than £100,000 per person depending on the abuse suffered and how it has impacted on each former pupil’s life and ability to secure employment.
However, he criticised the Catholic Church in Scotland and the Benedictine Order in England for failing to offer support to victims. Despite Hugh Gilbert, the Bishop of Aberdeen, within whose diocese the school was based, insisting that “all should, and must, be done”
to help the victims, the Catholic Church in Scotland has extended no assistance and has told victims to contact the Benedictines in England who, in turn, said they should speak to the charity Children 1st.
Greenwood said: “Some people may not have been able to work for a long time, in which case the value of their cases would be very high and over £100,000. These lads have been subjected to the most horrendous regime of physical abuses, in many cases sexual abuse, at Fort Augustus and they are certainly deserving men and how they have managed to cope with all the memories that have happened to them is hard to understand.
“In almost every case I have been involved in, the Catholic Church has fought tooth and nail to avoid compensating victims of sexual abuse by their priests or clergy and I don’t expect any miracles from them, I’m sorry to say. “I have experience of other cases where they have put together decent counselling packages for people without admitting liability and before legal proceedings are pursued. Some of these religious orders have been quite responsive, but the Benedictines are not going down that line.
“They are not putting any money on the table or counselling, even though they are well aware of the impact on people of these revelations coming out. It can cause a complete breakdown in people’s lives because of these memories being trawled back up.”
Police launched an inquiry into allegations of abuse at the fee-paying school in the Highlands earlier this year, after a complaint from Andrew Lavery, 41, who now lives in Newcastle and who suffered both physical and sexual assault while a pupil at the school.
He said he was unable to work after suffering a serious injury last year that brought back memories of his time at the school, and has been diagnosed as suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Lavery, who is among the victims taking legal action, said: “I’m living in purgatory at the moment. I’m unable to work. I’ve no money and the Catholic Church has offered no assistance whatsoever. When I raised the issue of material support I was treated with ill-disguised contempt.
“It is all very well for a bishop to mouth platitudes about doing all they can, but it should be highlighted that in reality they have chosen to do nothing.
“The terrible impact upon my health of the abuse that I received is only now being realised. However, I’m left waiting, often fighting for access to scarce NHS services and facing a lengthy wait for treatment. The Catholic Church were very interested in me when I was a child, but not now.”
Five men told a recent BBC Scotland documentary that they were raped or sexually abused by Father Aidan Duggan, an Australian monk who taught at Fort Augustus, and at Carlekemp, its preparatory school in East Lothian, between 1953 and 1974. Duggan died in 2004, but a number of those accused of abuse are still alive and are now subject to an ongoing investigation by Police Scotland.
A spokesman for the Benedictines said: “The English Benedictine Congregation is appalled at these very serious allegations of abuse and very sorry about any abuse that may have been committed and any failures to alert the appropriate authorities at the time.
“In terms of offering counselling to potential victims and families who may make contact with us, we sought advice from Children 1st and the police. Firstly, we urge victims of alleged abuse to contact the police. Secondly, we make people aware they can contact Children 1st, who have, in liaison with the police, set up a support line. Thirdly, people can approach us wanting to talk with us on an individual basis, and we have of course supported those people.”
A spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland said: “We deplore acts of abuse at any time, in any place, committed by anyone representing the Church.
“While our diocesan safeguarding teams remain ready to listen to anyone who has suffered, individuals would be expected to access such provision in their own locality.”
Last week an 80-year-old man was charged in connection with abuse at Fort Augustus Abbey school.
Cardinal Keith O'Brien 'blocked church sex abuse report', says archbishop
The former archbishop of Glasgow has said Cardinal Keith O'Brien blocked a report into sex abuse in the church.
Writing to the Tablet, Emeritus Archbishop of Glasgow Mario Conti said Cardinal O'Brien, who has admitted sexual misconduct with other priests, prevented the investigation.
Other Scottish bishops had agreed the inquiry should go ahead.
Archbishop Conti told the Catholic paper he was confident the percentage of priests involved in abuse was small.
The Catholic Church has said it will engage in any process which allows "lessons to be learned".
Commenting on the continuing investigation into allegations of sexual and physical abuse at Fort Augustus School, Archbishop Conti said he would have alerted the proper authorities if the allegations had been made to him while he was Bishop of Aberdeen.
He held that post from 1977 to 2002.
Archbishop Conti, in his letter to the Tablet, said: "It was the intention of all but one member of the bishops' conference to commission an independent examination of the historical cases we had on file in all of our respective dioceses and publish the results but this was delayed by the objection of the then-President of the Conference; without full participation of all the dioceses the exercise would have been faulty."
Read the full story here.
Anger as evil former Catholic priest Malcolm McLennan spared jail for molesting altar boy
A former Catholic priest who molested an altar boy at a Medway church more than 20 years ago has today avoided a jail sentence.
Former Priest Malcolm NcLennan & Judge Jeremy Carey
Malcolm McLennan admitted molesting the boy, who is now in his late-30s, when he appeared before Medway magistrates last month.
The 69-year-old was handed a three-year community order at Maidstone Crown Court today.
After the sentence, the victim said: "I am devastated. Justice has not been served."
McLennan admitted indecent assault over the acts he committed while an assistant priest at St Simon Stock Church, in Bleakwood Road, Walderslade, back in 1989.
The court heard how McLennan would rub himself up against the victim or give him a cuddle when the boy was changing into his robes while helping at services.
One day, he put his hands down the youngster's underpants and started to touch him.
He reported the matter and was visited by a bishop the following week, who dismissed his allegations by saying: "We'll have no more of your silly talk."
After reporting the incident to police in the wake of the Jimmy Saville scandal, the victim learned McLennan had previously indecently assaulted three church boys - with the youngest believed to be five - while working in Tunbridge Wells in the mid-1980s.
The court heard how in 2009 he was jailed for 18 months and placed on the sex offenders' register for 10 years for these offences.
The court also heard he had convictions for gross indecency dating back to 1973, 1977 and 1989 involving offences in public toilets with men, but has since turned his life around.
The former alcoholic began to change when he started attending Alcohol Anonymous meetings, the court heard.
Andrew Espley, defending, said McLennan now works as an infirmary assistant looking after ill monks at an Abbey in Gloucestershire, where he has no contact with children.
But his abuse has left a mark on his victim. He is said to have lost his faith and he refuses to let his children play outdoors out of fear.
Speaking exclusively last month, the victim said he wanted the "predatory sex offender jailed".
McLennan - now of Teal Close, Quedgeley, in Gloucester - was instead sentenced to a 36-month community order, with supervision, and a requirement of attending a sex offender programme.
Judge Jeremy Carey said the sentence was a "constructive alternative" to a prison sentence as McLennan had already served a minimum of nine months in 2009 for "strikingly similar sexual offences" and could therefore only sentence him to a few more months in prison.
He told McLennan: "You have been punished as a sex offender. You have not committed further sexual offences for many years and I accept you have been leading a non-criminal life of a positive kind."
Bishop apologises for abuse at Fort Augustus School
The Bishop of Aberdeen, Hugh Gilbert, said the abuse was ''bitter, shaming and distressing''
One of Scotland's most senior Catholics has apologised on behalf of the church for decades of physical and sexual abuse of pupils at a boarding school.
Click HERE for the full story
Church warned over rights of suspected paedophile priests
By John Bingham, Religious Affairs Editor, The Telegraph
The Church of England has been warned it cannot carry out a risk assessment of suspected paedophile priests in case it breaches their human rights, it emerged yesterday.
Members of the General Synod voted to issue an "unreserved" expression of regret for the Anglican authorities' failure to prevent sexual abuse in the past or even to listen to the victims.
Members of the Synod also backed a string of proposals designed to tighten up child protection arrangements.
In a joint statement, supported unanimously, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York said: "The sexual and physical abuse that has been inflicted by these people on children, young people and adults is and will remain a deep source of grief and shame for years to come."
But the Church's legal officials admitted that privacy rules, enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights, could make it difficult to force "credibly suspected" paedophile priests to go for a professional risk assessment.
An earlier report, conducted in the wake of the child abuse scandals in the diocese of Chichester, recommended sending anyone reasonably suspected of abuse to see professionals. But a briefing paper prepared by the legal office warns that this would involve "intrusive inquiries" and could run into problems with Article Eight of the European Convention – the right to private and family life.
Bishops would therefore be forced to compile a case against suspected priests just to send them for a risk assessment. A proposal to ban priests from wearing dog collars if they have been suspended because of abuse suspicions has also run into trouble after officials claimed that because the Church of England does not own the copyright to dog collars, it does not have the right to ban their use.
"There is no distinctive uniform for Church of England clergy – a cleric in a black shirt and priest's collar could be Anglican, Roman Catholic, or Methodist, or belong to any number of small Catholic or Protestant sects that have no connection with the Church of England," they said.
Earlier the Synod heard a frank admission that the Church has become so obsessed with sex that it was failing to tackle what is by far its biggest problem: the severe decline in congregations over several decades.
In a paper presented to members, the Bishop of Sheffield, the Rt Rev Steven Croft, warned that discussion of how to attract people to church was often sidelined as issues such as gay marriage and the role of women had come to "dominate" bishops' private meetings.
Meanwhile, the Church's man in Parliament, the Tory MP Sir Tony Baldry, warned that the Church of England faced virtual oblivion within 20 years unless it united.
He told the Synod that "tribes" had been created by the "confused" debate about the role of women in the Church.
He said: "To flourish in our mission to evangelise England we have to find a way of uniting."
Archbishop Will Support Calls For Public Inquiry
Originally aired July 8th 2013
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby appears to support a full Public Inquiry saying of survivors calling for such an inquiry: 'What they want they will get'.
Church's sexual abuse victims reject synod apology
amid calls for inquiry
Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham tells colleagues church has 'reabused victims' and 'sinned through its failure to act'
Victims of sexual abuse by Church of England clergy have rejected an apology from the general synod and called for an independent public inquiry to ensure abusers are held to account and better safeguards put in place.
In York on Sunday evening, the general synod voted unanimously to endorse the apology already made by the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, to victims of abuse, and to back moves intended to tighten its safeguarding procedures.
The synod was told the church had failed victims of abuse "big time" by refusing to listen to their stories and by moving offenders to different areas in the hope that the problem would go away.
Paul Butler, the bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, said the church had sinned through its failure to act just as much as the abusers had sinned through their actions.
"[Survivors] have struggled for years to have their voices heard," he said. "They have put up with institutional resistance time and again. In doing so, we have repeatedly reabused them."
However, the synod's apology did not go nearly far enough for abuse victims, who were not permitted to speak during the debate.
In a statement read out by Butler, the Stop Church Child Abuse group said until a full and independent public inquiry was held, many would suspect the church was merely going through the motions.
It concluded: "Once such an inquiry has reported, once individual cases have been acknowledged, and once the church has begun how to learn to respond appropriately, maybe then the apologies, general as well as to individuals and their families, will carry some meaning."
The archbishops' expression of contrition came after the release of a report into safeguarding practices in Chichester diocese, which was commissioned in 2011 by Welby's predecessor, Rowan Williams, following a series of scandals involving clergymen within the diocese that saw several arrested, charged and convicted of historic sex crimes against children.
The report, said the archbishops, had laid bare "a painful story of individual wickedness on the part of the abusers".
The formal apology to survivors of abuse comes seven years after the synod said sorry for helping to sustain and profit from the slave trade.