Buddhist clerical sexual abuse in the Netherlands, new hotline

Buddhist temple in Waalwijk, the Netherlands, photo: Michael de Smit / NOS

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Independent hotline for abused Buddhists

Today, 06:02

From today on there is an independent hotline for victims of sexual abuse within the Buddhist community. It was founded by the foundation managing the Reporting Child Pornography on the Internet site, which every year gets 30,000 messages.

One of the donors is the Thai Buddharama Temple in Waalwijk. Another one is the Buddhist Union, the contact for the government of the 50,000 to 65,000 Buddhists in the Netherlands.


According to director Arda Gerkens of the foundation’s new digital reporting center this is a response to the reports on sexual abuse among Buddhists. “First, we want to offer victims and their surroundings a place to tell their stories. On the basis of the reports that come, we will identify the nature and extent of the problem. If that is clear, then we have the experience and expertise to give good advice to those involved. The ultimate aim is of course to prevent further abuse as much as possible.”

Victims can make an appointment via the website or the telephone hotline to report abuse via a web form. Gerkens: “Then there are several possibilities. We can refer you to the right persons or authorities, but also provide information about reporting the crime to the police.”

According to Gerkens this is the first contact point worldwide for Buddhists who have suffered from abuse. There have also been in the USA and in Thailand many scandals involving Buddhist teachers and monks.


Last May the NOS published on sexual abuse in Buddhist circles. This involved, among others, the Thai monk Mettavihari who was guilty at the Waalwijk temple in the 70s and 80s of abuse of young male students. Several victims were minors. Also a man reported to the NOS about having been abused by Mettavihari in that period as a 12-year-old neighbour boy.

After the monk had been dismissed from the temple, he continued at least until 1995 elsewhere in the country harassing his students. Altogether now between twenty and thirty victims have reported in several places. There are still new cases emerging. Eg, Toine van Beek, president of the temple in Waalwijk, heard a report by a man who was at the time of the abuse 14 or 15.


After the news about the abuse by Mettavihari had come out, Van Beek apologized on behalf of the temple. Later he organized at the request of the victim involved a meeting in the temple, which was attended by five people.

The temple administration has several reasons to financially support the hotline, says Van Beek. “Probably there are still many people around who have been abused by Mettavihari or other Buddhist leaders. Those people need to be helped with the trauma they have suffered.”

See also here.

British gay Muslims against Islamophobia and homophobia

This video from the USA says about itself:

Bernie Sanders & Keith Ellison Call Out GOP Islamophobia

1 October 2015

Bernie Sanders and Keith Ellison called out the homophobia of Republican presidential candidates. Donald Trump said we have a Muslim problem in this country, while Dr. Ben Carson asserted that he would not vote for a Muslim president. These are inherently bigoted statements, and we break down why Bernie and Keith are 100% right.

By Lamiat Sabin in Britain:

Gay Muslims break down barriers

Thursday 22nd October 2015

Activists urge unity between communities

GAY Muslims took to the streets of east London yesterday to launch a new campaign calling for unity between LGBT and Muslim communities.

A group of activists stood outside Whitechapel station — an area with one of Britain’s largest Muslim populations — in an attempt to “build bridges” between the two groups.

Campaigners told the Star their traumatic experiences in seeking acceptance from their families.

Others held signs stating: “Gays and Muslims unite. Love all not hate.”

Event organiser Peter Tatchell said gay Muslims had contacted him about the campaign in a bid to open up discussions with locals who may be homophobic.

He told the Star that the campaign attracted “mixed responses” but that the activists prefer to have open discussions rather than keeping them “behind closed doors.”

A Muslim man aged around 50 stopped to talk to the campaigners and it soon turned into a heated debate.

He told campaigners: “If I am a Muslim, it does not mean that I hate gay people. Many Muslims do not approve of homosexuality but we would not hate them.”


The 23-year-old physics student grew up in a ‘radical Islamist family’ in London

His Pakistan-born parents taught him that gay people are “disgusting and evil” and should be killed.

He has not spoken to his parents or his four younger siblings for around 10 months after they discovered that he was gay last year and put him through “exorcisms.”

The street campaign is “absolutely important” to him as there is Islamophobia within some LGBT communities and also homophobia among some Muslims. Racism is another negative factor.

He said: “In order for us to deal with these three weak points, we need to stand together to fight bigotry and hatred by having open discussions in a civilised manner.”

Mr Ahmed, who prays daily and fasts at Ramadan, said that he considered himself an atheist before reading works by progressive Muslims and now refers to himself as an “agnostic Muslim.”


Took part in the street campaign in memory of his fiance Naz, who killed himself two days after his strictly religious family confronted him about his sexuality.

Dr Naz Mahmood, a successful owner of three clinics, ended his life last year aged 34 after telling his mother that he was gay and planned to marry after being in a relationship for 13 years. She told him to find a “cure” for his sexuality.

Mr Mahmood-Ogston told the Star: “We want to build bridges between two groups that are considered to be diametrically opposed.

“Some people feel that you cannot be Muslim and gay. You cannot choose to be gay or not because I believe gay people are born gay.”

Homophobic preacher’s equal marriage boycott fails

This video from Texas in the USA says about itself:

Raging Homophobe Checked By Cowboy Hat Wearing Bystander

27 October 2014

“An angry man was caught on video last week attacking a fellow passenger at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, apparently because he thought the man was gay. But then, a group of bystanders, including a man in a cowboy hat, quickly took action to bring the man down, according to the video.

That was homophobia in practice. Now, about the theory of homophobia.

From daily The Independent in Britain today:

Conservative pastor tries to get Christians to boycott same-sex weddings, fails

Posted an hour ago by Evan Bartlett

A Baptist pastor in the southern states of the US is trying to get Christians to shun same-sex weddings – even of their own children – claiming that attendance justifies the “sinfulness of homosexuality”.

The problem for Rev Al Mohler, the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, is that not many people seem to be listening.

The Southern Baptist church was founded in the nineteenth century by pro-slavery Baptists who disagreed with anti-slavery Baptists in the northern states of the USA.

In a new book called We Cannot Be Silent, the right-wing pastor claims that same-sex marriages are sinful and even urges transgender people to consult their church leaders about “reverting“.

According to the Huffington Post, the controversial Mohler has even claimed in the past that the Pope holds an “un-Biblical” office and has stated that Christians shouldn’t practice yoga.

At some point, attendance will involve congratulating the couple for their union. If you can’t congratulate the couple, how can you attend?

Rev Mohler

Despite Mohler’s calls, Think Progress has charted the growing movement of pro-LGBT Christians in the US who are rejecting his hateful message.

The Presbyterian Church (USA), Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and United Church of Christ (UCC) all now marry those in the LGBT community and a recent study showed that the majority of most religious groups in the US support equal marriage.

Perhaps Rev. Mohler is worried that if parents attend such a wedding, all they will see is a sacred and holy commitment being made between two people and an invitation to God to be present in the couple’s relationship — as Christian as any marriage could be.

Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly gay man ordained as an Episcopal bishop, speaking to ThinkProgress

Separately, the Huffington Post quotes Stephen Arterburn, a Christian author and radio host, who said: “I have to extrapolate that Jesus would be all for attending a same-sex marriage ceremony,” based on Jesus’ example of dining with prostitutes and drunkards.

Jesus called us to love one another, not boycott our friends and family. Perhaps Rev Mohler is concerned that if he attends a same-sex wedding, the real miracles won’t be Jesus turning water into wine, but hatred into compassion.

Alex McNeil, head of pro-LGBT advocacy group More Light Presbyterians

This music video is called Leon Redbone- Big Bad Bill (Is Sweet William Now).

Talking about Louisville: according to this music video, there was once a man there called Big Bad Bill. However, he changed his behaviour for the better. So, maybe the ‘Reverend’ Big Bad Al from Louisville will one day see the error of his ways, and become Sweet Albert.

United States religious fundamentalists kill teenager

This video from the USA says about itself:

Couple Accused of Beating Son to Death in Church

14 October 2015

Bruce and Deborah Leonard have been charged with first-degree manslaughter in the death of 19-year-old Lucas Leonard. Four other members of the Word of Life Church are also charged in connection with the man’s death.

Like the far-right fundamentalist Christian ‘Passion for Truth’ church in the USA turned out to be really a ‘Passion for Fraud’ church … now a similar ‘Word of Life Christian Church’ turns out to be a ‘Word of Death church’.

From Syracuse.com in New York State in the USA:

Parents of killed New Hartford teen banned Halloween, Mickey Mouse, friends say

By Patrick Lohmann

October 14, 2015 at 7:09 AM

NEW HARTFORD — The couple accused of manslaughter in their son’s beating death — injuries suffered at a church — was always eccentric, neighbors say.

But that eccentricity took a dark turn after Tuesday’s police announcement that Deborah and Bruce Leonard were facing manslaughter charges, and that four other members of the Word of Life Christian Church were also arrested, they said.

Nearby neighbor Roberta Humble said that, at least until Monday night, she adored Deborah and that the two had been friends since the Leonard family moved in more than 25 years ago. She described watching their children grow up, including Lucas, 19, who was pronounced dead Monday after sustaining blunt-force injuries.

“I remember them when they were this high,” Humble said of the Leonard’s four kids. “They were my friends. The kids were always polite and well-mannered.”

Another 17-year-old boy was found with severe injuries at the church, according to police. And police said they removed “several” children and placed them into protective custody.

Police have not yet described the nature of the injuries to both alleged victims or identified the 17-year-old. Four other church members were arrested and charged with assault in connection with either the death or the alleged assault, police said, and more arrests are expected.

Those living near the church, which is a few miles away from the Leonard home, said they regularly heard 3 a.m. chants emanating from the home and rarely saw members outside of the building. Its gates were almost always shut. A police Special Weapons and Tactics team had to “secure the church grounds” and “make a tactical entry” into it Monday.

Humble said Tuesday evening that Bruce Leonard [pastor of the church and father of the killed teenager] was “extremely antisocial” and religious. Neighbors said Deborah and her children were deferential to Bruce Leonard, but those neighbors never saw him raise his voice. …

A neighbor of the teenage brothers says they were not allowed to do “normal” kid things.

Nicole Howard says Christopher and Lucas Leonard weren’t allowed to have sleepovers. The 31-year-old, who says grew up six houses away from the Leonards, says the family was very religious and the children were forced to read the Bible two hours each day. …

Humble said she often gave the kids videotapes of children’s programming, hand-me-downs from her grandkids. They often couldn’t watch them, she said.

“I gave them I don’t know how many boxes of kids’ tapes,” she said. “They would not let them watch Mickey Mouse. They said Mickey Mouse was queer, because he never married Minnie Mouse.”

I knew there were religious transphobes attacking Winnie the Pooh, and religious homophobes hating the Teletubbies for being supposedly pro-gay, but I did not know about homophobes hating Mickey Mouse yet.

From CBS News in the USA:

NEW HARTFORD, N.Y. — Brutal beatings that left one teenager dead and his brother seriously injured Monday at a New York church were part of what members considered a “counseling session,” according to police.

New Hartford Police Chief Michael Inserra said Wednesday that both Lucas and Christopher Leonard were subjected to hours of physical punishment at the Word of Life Church “in hopes that each would confess to prior sins and ask for forgiveness.”

Inserra says investigators are still looking into what the supposed sins were. …

The six church members were arraigned Tuesday and sent to Oneida County Jail. At the arraignment, it was revealed that both teens suffered injuries to their abdomens, genitals, backs and thighs.

More on the ‘Reverend’ Bruce Leonard and his church:

Exclusive: Inside the New Hartford church where brothers were savaged: here.

Police: Son killed at New Hartford church by parents beating genitals, torso: here.

Parents fatally whipped teen who wanted to quit church, New York court hears. Deacon testifies at hearing for parents of Lucas and Christopher Leonard. Boys attacked at ‘spiritual counseling session’ at New Hartford church: here.

Dutch clerical sexual abuse survivors get compensation

Sculpture in Maastricht church, photo: ANP

This photo shows a sculpture about clerical sexual abuse in the Basilica of Our Lady, in Maastricht city in the Netherlands.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Damages for 250 unrecognized abuse victims of the Roman Catholic Church

Today, 00:12

The Roman Catholic Church recognizes a group of about 250 victims of sexual abuse whose complaints were rejected earlier. They will be given compensation.

These are people whose complaints originally were not upheld as there was no supporting evidence for their statements. Their complaints
were quite credible, but other victims of the suspects had not reported the abuse. Therefore there was insufficient evidence.

Compensation scheme

In June it was announced that there would be a compensation scheme for the group. 150 of them have meanwhile through revision, mediation or a settlement received compensation.

The remaining group of 100 victims will now receive compensation, which is between 1,000 and 17,500 euros. That will cost the church nearly a million.

The church has paid some 16 million euros to the victims. More than 1800 complaints had been submitted by January 1, 2015. Nearly 400 complaints still have to be dealt with.

English priest charged with making 3,100 child porn images

This video series says about itself:

Abuse of Trust

31 July 2009

Documentary about Catholic Clerical Child Abuse in Ireland. This documentary focuses on the Dublin Diocese and has interviews from survivors who describe their horrendous experiences of sexual abuse as children, Andrew Madden and Marie Collins. This also interviews the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Catholic priest Paul Clarke charged with making 3,100 indecent images of children

Police said there was no evidence of local children being involved

Lizzie Dearden

Thursday 8 October 2015 13:15 BST

A 71-year-old Roman Catholic priest has been charged with making 3,100 indecent images of children.

Father Paul Clarke, of Redclyffe Road in Urmston, but formerly of Rye in East Sussex, is due to appear at Brighton Magistrates Court today.

He has been charged with possessing an indecent image of a child, possessing prohibited images, and making a total of 3,100 indecent images of children.

Police searched his former residence at the presbytery of St Anthony of Padua church in Rye on 13 November last year, seizing computers and other alleged evidence.

The Rye News reported that Father Clarke resigned “suddenly” in February, having been at the church since 2009.

British bishop convicted for child abuse

This video from Britain says about itself:

Church Inquiry Into Bishop Peter Ball Abuse Cover Up

The Church of England has announced an independent inquiry into allegations of a cover up of sexual abuse in the church, looking at whether the behaviour of a former Bishop of Gloucester, Peter Ball, was overlooked because of his connections within the church and the establishment.

Originally broadcast on the BBC on October 5th, 2015.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Years in prison for Anglican bishop because of abuse

Today, 16:53

A former bishop of the Anglican Church in Britain has been sentenced to 32 months in prison for abuse of boys and young men. The 83-year-old Peter Ball has admitted that he abused eighteen victims in the 1970s, 80s and 90s.

The judge said the bishop abused his position. His victims have stated that he was sadistic and mentally abused them as well. One of the victims committed suicide.


In 1993 already a 16-year-old victim went to the police. During the investigation that followed, Ball was supported by parliamentarians, ministers and a member of the royal family, reports The Guardian. Ball eventually got only a warning and he resigned.

In 2012 the police started a new investigation. Ball first tried to evade persecution by saying that his health was too ill to stand trial. The judge did not agree with that. Last month the former bishop admitted the abuse.

Prince Charles denies using influence to protect bishop from sex crimes prosecution. Unnamed member of the Royal Family sent a letter of support for Peter Ball as prosecutors considered putting him on trial: here.

The inertia plaguing historic child sexual abuse investigations of Establishment figures does not bode well for any final resolution, writes Steven Walker: here.