4,444 vitcims: The travesty of sexual abuse in Australia’s Catholic Churches

Four thousand four hundred and forty four cases of sexual abuse in 35 years.

The number is astounding. So much abuse, so many lives tormented. These numbers come from recently released information about Australia’s Catholic archdiocese. From the Guardian:

Seven per cent of Australia’s Catholic priests were accused of abusing children in the six decades since 1950, according to new data from the royal commission.

On Monday the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse released damning statistics on the scale of the crisis within the Catholic Church. The numbers confirm the extent of sexual predation already suggested by four years of royal commission hearings involving the church, which are now entering their final weeks.

Up to 15% of priests in some dioceses were alleged perpetrators between 1950 and 2015, with abusers most prevalent in the dioceses of Sale and Sandhurst in Victoria, Port Pirie in South Australia, and Lismore and Wollongong in New South Wales. The numbers were even worse in some national Catholic orders. By far the worst was the order of the St John of God Brothers, where a staggering 40% of religious brothers are believed to have abused children.

Forty percent. Try to fathom that two thirds of a dioceses clergyman are child rapists. For the number to be that high, one would imagine they were not hiding their activities. There would be far too many victims. The most logical conclusion is also the most disturbing and horrific: the Church knew about the abuse and intentionally did nothing. Continue reading

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“Can’t Breathe From Guilt, Pain”: Teen Boy Shares Date Rape Story — “Was it because I got my hair coloured?” thought aloud the 19-year-old Delhi boy whose conversation with his California-based friend Arnav Barbaad, sharing his ordeal of being drugged and raped, recently went viral on Facebook. In a series of conversations with The Quint, Arnav relays selective details of the survivor’s plight, with his permission.

Child sex abuse link to male victims of domestic abuse — Michael Lynch, from Men’s Action Network (MAN) spoke at the La Dolce Vita Project’s Conference about men who were victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence locally. He said that MAN had a team of 18 counsellors seeing around 70 men every week, around 10 per cent of whom would have experienced sexual or domestic violence.

Court: OK to move teen into adult system to protect him — State prosecutors took the unusual step of acknowledging Wisconsin’s troubled youth prison is too dangerous for juveniles as they argued to move a teen into the adult system for his own protection, according to court documents released Wednesday. Racine County Circuit Judge John S. Jude agreed that the prison was too dangerous and waived the boy into the adult system last February. The 2nd District Court of Appeals affirmed Jude’s decision Wednesday. Continue reading

Woman claims Islamic upbringing led her to abuse boys

A New Jersey woman blamed her religion for her repeated sexual abuse of several boys:

A high-school teacher who was jailed for performing sex acts on her underage pupils has blamed her strict religious upbringing for her crimes.

Linda Hardan, from Prospect Park in New Jersey, was jailed to three years in prison yesterday after sending scores of sexually explicit text messages to pupils, aged 14 to 16 years-old in 2014, and then engaging in sex acts with them.

Her defense lawyer, Alissa Hascup, said the Muslim woman was driven in part to commit the offences due to her strict religious upbringing, and suggested that she be treated by a therapist as oppose to serving time in prison.

I do not claim to be an expert on Islam, however, based on what I know of the religion it does not condone, encourage, or teach that adult women should have sex with boys. It actually teaches the opposite: that women should have not sexual contact with any male until marriage. As such, I am curious how Hardan explained this contradiction.

The judge appeared to make the argument for her: Continue reading

Catholic church accused of using ‘mafia-like’ tactics to fight sex abuse bill

Is anyone surprised that the Catholic Church attempted to subvert legislation that would allow victims of abuse more time to sue their abusers?

The lobbying campaign against the legislation is being led by Philadelphia archbishop Charles Chaput, a staunch conservative who recently created a stir after inadvertently sending an email to a state representative Jamie Santora, in which he accused the lawmaker of “betraying” the church and said Santora would suffer “consequences” for his support of the legislation. The email was also sent to a senior staff member in Chaput’s office, who was apparently the only intended recipient.

The email has infuriated some Catholic lawmakers, who say they voted their conscience in support of the legislation on behalf of sexual abuse victims. One Republican legislator, Mike Vereb, accused the archbishop of using mafia-style tactics.

“This mob boss approach of having legislators called out, he really went right up to the line,” Vereb told the Guardian. “He is going down a road that is frankly dangerous for the status of the church in terms of it being a non-profit.”

We can set aside the absurdity of the church’s non=profit status for the moment. The issue here is that the bill would allow victims to file claims until they are 50-years-old. It would appear to be retroactive, meaning that if a person would were prevented from filing a suit under law, which stops at 30-years-old, they could do it under the new law. If it passes, it opens the door for many new lawsuits, potentially costing the Catholic Church millions of dollars.

This obviously poses a problem for the Church, hence the opposition to the bill. However, what is unusual is the attack on the legislators themselves. According to the article: Continue reading

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80.9% of sex convicts in Lagos prisons abused during childhood — At least, 80.9 percent of sex convicts and inmates awaiting trial for sexual and gender based violence in Lagos prisons have been abused during childhood, a recent report has revealed. The report, conducted by the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Response Team, DSVRT, revealed that due to the early abuse, the inmates had been sexually active, leading to sexual offences being committed by them.

Archdiocese of Ottawa paid former altar boy $50,000 after sex abuse allegations — More than a decade before the Archdiocese of Ottawa told Jacques Faucher he could no longer be a priest, it paid tens of thousands of dollars to a former altar boy who had accused the reverend of molesting him. Faucher was convicted in March of historical sex offences against three other children, but newly obtained documents by the Sun show the diocese wrote a $50,000 cheque to a former altar boy when he was an adult in 1998, more than a year after he told the church about the alleged sexual abuse.

Denver man freed after 28 years in prison acquitted of rape — A Denver man who spent more than a quarter of a century in prison for a rape he long denied committing was acquitted of the crime on Monday, leaving a courtroom to applause from supporters and chants of “it’s over.” Clarence Moses-EL, 60, was freed in December, after a judge overturned his 1988 conviction on rape and assault charges and found that he would likely be acquitted if his case went to trial again. Continue reading

What happens when you play loose with the definition of rape

I wrote about case in February in which an Iraqi refugee raped a 10-year-old boy because the man had a “sexual emergency”. The man, known as Amir A, claimed he had not had sex in four months and felt the need to release his “excess sexual energy”. He assaulted the boy while they were a pool facility. After the assault, Amir went back to the pool and continued diving and swimming. The boy reported the assault, and when confronted, Amir admitted to committing the crime.

This occurred Austria, a country that has taken in a number of Middle Eastern refugees. The Austrian government tries, like many European nations, to avoid any apparent attacks on Middle Easterners or Muslims. While this is a noble and reasonable position, the application of it is far from either of those. Instead of revealing what happened, the Austrian government attempted to conceal the assault from the media, claiming to do so for the victim’s protection.

Now, the Austria Supreme Court has taken it one step further. Amir A was convicted and sentenced to six years in jail for sexual assault and the rape of a minor. The Supreme Court decided recently to throw out the conviction. Their reason is because the prosecutors did not prove the victim said “no”: Continue reading

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Dogged determination delivers justice for victims caught up in 20 year web of sexual abuse — Shame. Guilt. Fear. Anger. This is the impact sexual abuse has on its victims. Some of the young men molested by Taranaki man Nigel Allan Hauauru Nelson feigned sleep, froze or blocked out their feelings, using drugs and alcohol as a means to cope. Others chose to lock it away and not talk to police at all. But thanks to the efforts of New Plymouth Detective Pat Tongi and his team, Nelson will be held accountable for the harm he caused to 14 men.

Ex-police officer abused two boys at offenders’ centre, court told — A retired police superintendent sexually abused two boys in the 1980s when he ran an attendance centre for young offenders, a jury has been told. Gordon Anglesea, 78, a former officer with North Wales police, abused the boys when they were 14 or 15, the court heard. The first alleged victim claims that he was assaulted by Anglesea in the showers and a changing room of the centre in Wrexham, north Wales.

Families apologize after more sex abuse details surface against dead Minnesota teacher, spouse — The families of South St. Paul teacher Aric Babbitt and his husband spoke publicly Wednesday for the first time about alleged sexual abuse of teen boys made against the couple before they turned up dead last week in Washington of an apparent murder-suicide.When reached by the Pioneer Press at his South St. Paul home, Babbitt’s father read a statement he said was prepared on behalf of his family and Matthew Deyo’s family. Continue reading