Hundreds of thousands of children abused inside the French Catholic Church

An estimated 330,000 children were victims of sex abuse within France’s Catholic Church over the past 70 years, according to a report released Tuesday that represents the country’s first major accounting of the worldwide phenomenon.

The figure includes abuses committed by some 3,000 priests and other people involved in the church — wrongdoing that Catholic authorities covered up over decades in a “systemic manner,” according to the president of the commission that issued the report, Jean-Marc Sauvé…

The independent commission urged the church to take strong action, denouncing “faults” and “silence.” It also called on the Catholic Church to help compensate the victims, notably in cases that are too old to prosecute via the courts.

“The consequences are very serious,” Sauvé said. “About 60% of men and women who were sexually abused encounter major problems in their emotional or sexual life…”We consider the church has a debt towards victims,” he added.

The 2,500-page document was issued as the Catholic Church in France, like in other countries, seeks to face up to shameful secrets that were long covered up…

Francois Devaux, head of the victims’ group La Parole Libérée (The Liberated Word), said it was “a turning point in our history.”

He denounced the coverups that permitted “mass crimes for decades.”

“But even worse, there was a betrayal: betrayal of trust, betrayal of morality, betrayal of children, betrayal of innocence,” he said, calling on the church for compensation.

If there ever was a money-making operation that could afford to repay victims of crimes committed by the leaders, the authorities of that body, it is the Catholic Church. They rake it in every Sunday, regular as clockwork.

My only question is when will more brave victims come forward – in other nations?

Microsoft will get new accounts they may not want!

Apple announced new features Thursday that will scan iPhone and iPad users’ photos to detect and report large collections of child sexual abuse images stored on its cloud servers.

“We want to help protect children from predators who use communication tools to recruit and exploit them, and limit the spread of Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM),” Apple said in a statement.

“This program is ambitious, and protecting children is an important responsibility,” it said. “Our efforts will evolve and expand over time.”

Bravo!

Archbishop John Nienstedt quits after archdiocese charged with cover-up

nienstedt

Pope Francis has started making good on his promise to not let even the most senior churchmen get away with sex abuse or cover-up.

On Monday, he accepted the resignation of the embattled archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis and his deputy bishop after prosecutors there charged the archdiocese with having failed to protect children from unspeakable harm from a pedophile priest who was later convicted of molesting two boys.

Separately, the Vatican indicted its own former ambassador to the Dominican Republic with sexually abusing minors in the Caribbean country — the highest-ranking Vatican official ever to stand trial for a sex crime.

The developments came days after Francis approved the creation of a new tribunal inside the Vatican to specifically hear cases of bishops accused of failing to protect minors, answering years of criticism that top-ranked churchmen have long been immune to punishment for ignoring or covering up for priests who rape and molest children

Earlier this month, prosecutors charged the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis as a corporation of having “turned a blind eye” to repeated reports of inappropriate behavior by a priest who was later convicted of molesting two boys. No individual was named in the complaint.

The charges came two years after diocesan canon lawyer-turned-whistleblower Jennifer Haselberger alleged widespread cover-up of clergy sex misconduct in the archdiocese, saying archbishops and their top staff lied to the public and ignored the U.S. bishops’ pledge to have no tolerance of priests who abuse…

With Monday’s resignations, there have been 18 bishops who have resigned after being publicly criticized for covering up for abusers, according to Anne Barrett Doyle of the online resource BishopAccountability.org…

The criminal charges against the archdiocese stem from its handling of Curtis Wehmeyer, a former priest at Church of the Blessed Sacrament in St. Paul, who is serving a five-year prison sentence for molesting two boys and faces prosecution involving a third boy in Wisconsin.

Prosecutors say church leaders failed to respond to “numerous and repeated reports of troubling conduct” by Wehmeyer from the time he entered seminary until he was removed from the priesthood in 2015. The criminal complaint says many people — including parishioners, fellow priests and parish staff — reported issues with Wehmeyer, and many of those claims were discounted.

Another one bites the dust.

When the dust settles will the Roman Catholic Church have become a force for good, seeking progress and a better life for all their flock? Or does the opportunity still exist among reactionaries, the self-concerned still in hierarchal positions of trust and power, to outlast the term of this Pope and resume “business as usual”?

Stupid gun nut trick of the day!

granny gun

Sheriff’s deputies in Colorado arrested a 60-year-old woman who pointed a rifle at her neighbor’s 11-year-old son as he played his clarinet in the backyard…

Officers were called to an address in the Rocky Mountain city of Grand Junction after Cheryl Pifer allegedly told the boy, who was doing his music class homework for school, to “get his ass back inside,” the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office said.

According to an arrest affidavit, there were five other children aged one to eleven in the backyard at the time of Wednesday’s incident, and it said the boy’s grandmother told them all to return to the house.

“When they were coming inside they saw Cheryl at the door with the gun aimed at them. (The boy) stated Cheryl yelled ‘fire in the hole.’ He stated all of the kids ran into the house and called 911,” the affidavit added.

The deputy who filed the report, who said she was “very familiar” with Pifer and her address, said the woman appeared drunk when officers arrived, and that they found a 7 mm Mauser rifle by the door with two rounds in its magazine.

She was booked into jail on four counts of felony menacing, seven counts of reckless child abuse/no injury, and one count of prohibited use of a weapon. She was released on a $5,000 bond on Thursday…

No one is surprised at gun nuts having an understanding of life’s priorities roughly akin to a demented jihadist. Understanding incompetence doesn’t excuse endangering the lives of others folks, children or otherwise.

Throw away the key.

The Catholic Church in Australia finally admits to child abuse

Australia’s Roman Catholic Church has confirmed that more than 600 children have been sexually abused by its priests since the 1930s in the state of Victoria.

The archbishop of Melbourne, Denis Hart, described the figures as “horrific and shameful”.

The admission came in a submission to a state parliamentary inquiry into the handling of abuse cases, however campaigners say the true figure could be up to 10,000 victims…

“We look to this inquiry to assist the healing of those who have been abused, blah, blah, blah!

Chrissie Foster, whose two daughters were raped by their parish priest from the mid-1980s, said the church had had decades to address the issue but had only revealed the figure to the Victorian inquiry on Friday.

“It’s only been victims coming out and going to the police that has stopped all of this”.

“The church has never lifted a finger to stop their paedophile priests,” added Foster, who said one of her daughters had ultimately taken her own life.

The Victorian state government announced the inquiry into the handling of child abuse cases by religious and non-government bodies after the suicides of dozens of people abused by clergy.

Before the Victorian state government pats themselves on the back too much – consider how long they didn’t notice there may have been a problem. The Catholic Church is guilty of aiding those who were committing crimes. The government is as guilty in their own way for ignoring the abuse.

Priest in his underwear chased 12-year-old boy down neighborhood streets after the boy ran from abuse


Angel Armando Perez in his work clothes

It was close to midnight Sunday when Woodburn resident James Curths saw the 12-year-old boy running down the street toward him. Curths said the child, panting and out of breath, begged for help, telling him a man was chasing him.

Moments later, a man rounded the corner wearing only underwear. He stood a short distance away, trying to wave the boy over as Curths and his sister-in-law prepared to drive the boy to relatives.

“He was staring at us,” said Heather Rodriguez, 28, Curths’ sister-in-law, who was also outside. “Then he stood there with his hands on his hips like, ‘You’re really not going to give him to me?‘”

Rodriguez and Curths, 35, told the man they were calling the police. Only then, they said, did the man jog away.

The man who chased after the boy that night, Woodburn police say, was the Rev. Angel Armando Perez, the parish priest at St. Luke Catholic Church in Woodburn. Early Monday, the boy gave police a detailed account of the alleged sex abuse he said occurred at Perez’s home, leading to Perez’s arrest later Monday…

The Salem boy told authorities that Perez had asked his parents a few days earlier if he could take him on a trip to the mountains. He and his family attended a community church event Sunday night, and the 12-year-old went with Perez that night to the pastor’s house, a grayish-green home less than 200 paces from the church’s front door.

The boy told police Perez gave him a beer and they watched a movie. The boy told investigators that an air mattress was set up on the living room floor for him to sleep on. He said he fell asleep on the mattress, the affidavit said.

Later, the boy said, he was “woken up by a couple of flashes.”

He said that when he opened his eyes, he saw Perez next to the air mattress, with one hand on the boy’s genitals and one hand holding a cellphone. The boy discovered his underwear and shorts lowered to his knees, while Perez was dressed in underwear and a T-shirt, the boy told police.

The boy said he went to pack up his things when Perez went upstairs. “Father Angel called to him saying, ‘Come back to bed,'” the police affidavit says…Instead, the boy said goodbye and ran off.

RTFA for exactly what we have come to expect. Excuses that are decades old, e.g. too much to drink, blacked-out, don’t recall touching the boy, please believe in the church.

The only difference in that [1] we live in a day and age when the Catholic Church can’t get away with simply moving the pedophile priest to another parish and making the event disappear; and [2] we live in a day and age when the Catholic Church no longer wields the sort of political power that could require accommodation with lousy practices from local politicians and police. Well – most places, nowadays.

The church that has been forced to make halfway moves towards modern practices in dealings with civil society still hasn’t tried in the least to reform its internals. It ain’t going to get any better until and unless they do.

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish rally against dangers of the Internet — women and press banned!

Tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jewish men attended a rally Sunday at the New York Mets’ Citi stadium on the dangers of the Internet and how to use modern technology in a religiously responsible way.

Women were not permitted to attend the meeting at Citi Field in Queens. However, it was broadcast live to audiences of women in schools and event halls in ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods…

Eytan Kobre…spokesman for the event’s organizers…cited online pornography and gambling as well as the risk of social media undermining “our ability to pray uninterruptedly, to focus and to concentrate…”

Shlomo Cohen of Toronto told The New York Times that he uses the Internet for shopping, business and staying in touch with friends, but that “desires are out there…we have to learn how to control ourselves…”

The rally was organized by a rabbinical group called Ichud Hakehillos Letohar Hamachane, which means Union of Communities for the Purity of the Camp. Published reports have put the cost at $1.5 million…

A group urging more support for the victims of child sexual abuse inside the close-knit community held a counter-protest outside the stadium.

Abuse of children, women, non-Orthodox Jews, non-whites are all persistent problems within this community. Anyone recall anytime they held a rally to deal with bigotry?

Inside Citi Field, two billboards for Cholula hot sauce were censored, with the female in the company’s ad campaigns covered up. Telling the press reporters would not be permitted inside because of Homeland Security was another Cloud Cuckooland touch.

The mass dementia of minds closed to science, reality, modern knowledge is an affront to all. I have to wonder if the owners of Mets’ Citi stadium would have rented the venue out for a non-Othordox rally with the purpose of relegating women to servility. If it’s religious I guess that’s sufficient excuse to profit from bigotry.

Catholic Bishop indicted for failure to report child abuse


“Just leave your wallet or checkbook at the door on the way in!”

A bishop in the Roman Catholic Church has been indicted for failure to report suspected child abuse, the first time in the 25-year history of the church’s sex abuse scandals that the leader of an American diocese has been held criminally liable for the behavior of a priest he supervised.

The indictment of the bishop, Robert W. Finn, and the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph by a county grand jury was announced on Friday. Each was charged with one misdemeanor count involving a priest accused of taking pornographic photographs of girls as recently as this year. They pleaded not guilty.

The case caused an uproar among Catholics in Kansas City this year when Bishop Finn acknowledged that he knew of the photographs last December but did not turn them over to the police until May. During that time, the priest, the Rev. Shawn Ratigan, is said to have continued to attend church events with children, and took lewd photographs of another young girl.

A decade ago the American bishops pledged to report suspected abusers to law enforcement authorities — a policy also recommended last year by the Vatican. Bishop Finn himself had made such a promise three years ago as part of a $10 million legal settlement with abuse victims in Kansas City…

“This is huge for us,” said Michael Hunter, director of the Kansas City chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, and a victim of sexual abuse by a priest. “It’s something that I personally have been waiting for years to see, some real accountability. We’re very pleased with the prosecuting attorney here to have the guts to do it…”

In a news conference, the Jackson County prosecutor, Jean Peters Baker said the case was not religiously motivated, but was about the obligation under state law to report child abuse.

“This is about protecting children,” she said.

Finally.

American police, American politicians lead the world in cowardice when it comes to addressing crimes of the Roman Catholic clergy. Sad enough these organizations don’t pay their own way, don’t meet the essential responsibility of paying taxes to fund the sustenance of civil society.

That the politicians of our nation kowtow to some mystical higher presence in the face of crime is sickening. That sleazy exploiters go unindicted and protected by the complicity of princes of the church and loyal hacks in government is one of the most disgusting chapters in the history of American politics.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny denouncing the Vatican on child abuse


YouTube audio recording of Kenny’s speech – The article link has the video
 
The Vatican has recalled its ambassador to Ireland following the release of an Irish government report that the Vatican had discouraged efforts by bishops to report cases of sex abuse to the police.”

The report, released on July 13, found that clergy leaders in the rural Irish diocese of Cloyne did not act on complaints against 19 priests from 1996 to 2009. It also concluded that the Vatican had encouraged bishops to ignore child-protection guidelines that included the “mandatory reporting” of abuse to civil authorities. [Complete text of the report here]

A brief Vatican statement explaining the decision to recall its ambassador noted, “in particular, the reactions that have followed” the release of the report.

Perhaps the most striking of those reactions was an impassioned denunciation of the Vatican by Ireland’s prime minister, Enda Kenny, who spoke for 12 minutes on the floor of Ireland’s parliament last Wednesday.

As readers can hear in the video of the complete speech, or read in a transcript of the remarks published by The Irish Times, Mr. Kenny began, with barely suppressed anger:

The revelations of the Cloyne report have brought the government, Irish Catholics and the Vatican to an unprecedented juncture. It’s fair to say that after the Ryan and Murphy Reports, Ireland is, perhaps, unshockable when it comes to the abuse of children.

But Cloyne has proved to be of a different order.

Because for the first time in Ireland, a report into child sexual abuse exposes an attempt by the Holy See to frustrate an inquiry in a sovereign, democratic republic … as little as three years ago, not three decades ago. And in doing so, the Cloyne Report excavates the dysfunction, disconnection, elitism — the narcissism — that dominate the culture of the Vatican to this day.

The rape and torture of children were downplayed or “managed” to uphold instead, the primacy of the institution, its power, standing and “reputation.”

Listen or watch. Add your personal judgement to history.

Who’s in charge of computer security for the state of New Jersey?

An audit of New Jersey state computers to be sold at public auction found that the vast majority of the machines’ hard drives had not been erased.

A report just released…said officials had discovered computers containing child-abuse reports, health records, Social Security numbers, and a state judge’s confidential memoranda and tax returns….

State rules require agencies to erase data from decommissioned computers before sending them to other agencies or to be auctioned to the public. The computers examined in the audit came from courts, the Department of Health and Senior Services, the Office of Administrative Law, and the Department of Children and Families.

Here’s the part I really love –

Employees from an unidentified state agency told auditors that they were reluctant to sweep the hard drives because the necessary equipment was noisy and they feared the magnetic fields it generated

The audit followed the discovery in 2007 that employees at the warehouse where computers were stored before auction were selling parts as scrap and rigging the auctions. Five employees were charged; four have pleaded guilty and were fired.

It is unclear how many computers moved through the warehouse. The comptroller’s office said it could identify 2,357 pieces of equipment, including desktop computers, laptops, and other items, that were distributed to other agencies. But it could not say how much equipment the warehouse had auctioned.

“That’s part of the problem. The record-keeping is very poor to nonexistent,” said Pete McAleer, spokesman for the office.

The other part of the problem is employees who fail to do their job for some of the dumbest reasons possible.

Thanks, Helen