Clerical child abuse in Argentina


This 22 February 2017 video from Italy is called “We abused deaf children, we were at least ten”, the confession of Provolo’s priest.

From Associated Press today:

Clerical sex abuse disclosures skyrocket in pope’s Argentina

By LUIS ANDRES HENAO and ALMUDENA CALATRAVA

CASEROS, Argentina (AP) — Karen Maydana says she was 9 years old when the Rev. Carlos Jose fondled her at a church pew facing the altar. It was her first confession ahead of her first Holy Communion.

She blames the trauma of that moment in 2004 for a teenage suicide attempt. And yet she never spoke about it publicly until this year. After hearing that two women who attended her school in the Argentine town of Caseros were allegedly abused by the same priest, she joined them as complainants in a case that in July led to his arrest for investigation of aggravated sexual abuse.

“Unfortunately, there are many of us. But speaking about it now also gives you strength to carry on,” Maydana, 22, said. “I have a 9-year-old niece who’s receiving her Communion this year, and this is not going to happen to her.”

The allegations are part of a growing trend: While Pope Francis struggles to make good on his “zero tolerance” pledge to fight clerical sex abuse worldwide, victims in his native Argentina are denouncing abuses in unprecedented numbers. An analysis by The Associated Press shows that the number of clerics publicly identified as alleged sexual abusers has increased dramatically in the last two years.

Experts attribute the spike to a cultural shift as victims feel more emboldened to denounce abuse, prosecutors are more inclined to investigate complaints of even decades-old abuse, the media are increasingly aggressive about reporting them and courts are willing to hand down stiff sentences.

“It’s a domino effect,” said Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of BishopAccountability.org, a U.S.-based group that compiles a clergy abuse database.

In the U.S., confidential files on hundreds of pedophile priests have been released either through civil litigation, settlements or court order. The contents have revealed that top church officials worked behind the scenes to control the sex abuse scandal and keep it from authorities as well as parishioners.

“What is really remarkable here is that the survivors in Argentina don’t have the same powerful legal tools that we see in other countries,” Barrett Doyle said. “And yet, we’re still seeing the significant increase in cases.”

The AP compiled a list of 66 priests, nuns and brothers who have been accused since 2001 of abusing dozens of people, most of them children. The figures were gathered from testimonies by victims, judicial and church documents, and local media reports corroborated in conjunction with the BishopAccountability.org database. The number of new reports remained in the single digits each year from 2000 to 2015. But since the start of last year, victims have named 21 more, most accused of decades-old abuse.

“In Argentina, the abuse crisis is just beginning,” said San Francisco Bishop Sergio Buenanueva in Cordoba province, who leads a church council on clerical abuse. “I’m sure the Argentine church is going to face increasing numbers of these disclosures.”

To deal with the expected increased caseload, he said the church is planning to create its first comprehensive database of clerical abuse. Buenanueva also recently returned from the Vatican, where he met with members of Francis’ sex abuse advisory commission to discuss prevention policies for Argentina, including training of clergy to detect potential abusers and victims.

Abuse survivors are taking action too. Maydana, and her schoolmates Mailin Gobbo, 29, and Yasmin Detez, 25, recently visited the church and adjacent school they had attended to describe to journalists what had happened, saying they hoped it would help protect children. Four other women have joined their case since they reported the priest to law enforcement.

“I don’t care about exposing myself as long as it leads other people to talk,” said Gobbo, who decided to speak publicly after the birth of her daughter.

The priest is accused of abusing Gobbo and Detez at a pool and at their school.

“He’d make me sit on his lap and ask me if I had been naughty while he kissed my neck and fondled me,” Detez said while Gobbo shed tears next to her.

Jose has told the court he is innocent and said the statute of limitations has expired in any case. He is appealing the arrest order.

Some of the accused remain in the ministry. In several cases, no canonical or judicial investigation was carried out. Some were probed and dismissed. Others, especially in recent years, have led to arrests and convictions.

A court in Entre Rios province this year sentenced a Colombian priest, the Rev. Juan Diego Escobar Gaviria, to 25 years in prison for sexually abusing four boys, one of them 10 years old. It was one of the stiffest sentences handed down to date against a pedophile priest in Argentina.

“I feel satisfied with the sentence,” said Alexis Endrizzi, 18, who was molested by Escobar when he was 12. “It sided with the victims.”

Two other priests are awaiting trial on pedophilia charges after they were accused this year in the same small province.

In one of the most shocking cases, prosecutors say at least 20 children at the Provolo Institute for deaf and mute children in Mendoza province were abused. Some of the victims say they were molested by an Italian priest, the Rev. Nicola Corradi, who also had been accused by some of the dozens of abuse victims at the Provolo’s school in Italy but never faced justice there. Corradi, now elderly, was formally charged by Argentine prosecutors in November and is under house arrest awaiting trial in Argentina. Corradi’s attorney declined to comment on his client’s plea or any other detail of the case.

Advocates of priestly abuse victims question how Francis could have been unaware of the allegations against Corradi since he was publicly named by the Italian victims starting in 2009 and most recently in 2014.

One of the cases that has festered for years is that of the Rev. Hector Ricardo Gimenez, who had been detained after several abuse complaints in 1985 and 1996, but was freed by the courts.

In 2013, Julieta Anazco led other women in publicly confronting Gimenez as he celebrated Mass at a hospital chapel, accusing him of abusing her and many others as children decades before.

“He’d jump into the shower with the excuse of washing us,” said Anazco, who went on to become president of the Survivors’ Network of Ecclesiastical Abuse.

The Archbishopric of La Plata Archbishop said in a statement to the AP that the church had found Gimenez guilty of previous abuses and that he had been banned from ministerial duties, a common church sanction for elderly priests accused of abuse.

It also said that Archbishop Hector Aguer had met with Anazco in 2015, heard her complaints and “shared the cruelty of these crimes and the importance that no one guilty of them remains unpunished.”

Anazco’s criminal complaint initially was dismissed, but was later reopened and remains pending, according to her attorney.

The AP tried to reach Gimenez, who is in his eighties, at the nursing home where he now lives in the city of La Plata but he declined to comment.

No official numbers on clerical abuse have been published by Argentina’s church, government or its judicial system, and the issue is still something of a taboo.

But Pope Francis tried to break the stigma by phoning Rufino Varela after he revealed that he had been abused as a child by a priest at a school that Argentine President Mauricio Macri also attended. Other students at the school told the AP that they suffered abuse by the same priest, who has since died.

Francis has pledged “zero tolerance” for abuse, but he has also said he never had to confront the issue as archbishop of Buenos Aires, where he served from 1998 to 2013. Recently, he has acknowledged that the church was “late” in recognizing the scale of abuse and the damage it wreaked on victims, and said the practice of cover-up and moving pedophiles around was to blame.

Many Argentine victims of abuse say they feel abandoned by the church.

“You realize the complicity, the cover-up of the church hierarchy that goes all the way up to the Vatican,” Anazco said.

Associated Press writers Nicole Winfield at the Vatican and Paul Byrne and Victor Caivano in Buenos Aires contributed to this report.

The war against Pope Francis. His modesty and humility have made him a popular figure around the world. But inside the church, his reforms have infuriated conservatives and sparked a revolt. By Andrew Brown.

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British clerical, other child abuse


This video from Britain says about itself:

‘They would whack you with a crucifix‘ – BBC Stories

15 September 2017

Theresa Tolmie-McGrane says she was abused from the age of six at a Catholic-run orphanage in Lanark in the 1960s and 1970s.

She describes more than a decade of physical, sexual and mental abuse at Smyllum Park Orphanage. A BBC investigation has uncovered new evidence that more than 400 children who died at Smyllum are now thought to be buried in a mass grave in a nearby cemetery.

Produced by Judy Fladmark, filmed by Emily France and edited by Joshua Hollis.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Woman reveals decade of horror at hands of nuns

Saturday 16th September 2017

A WOMAN who allegedly suffered a decade of brutal abuse at an orphanage run by nuns has described her ordeal.

Theresa Tolmie-McGrane told the BBC of her mistreatment in the 1970s at Smyllum Park Orphanage in Lanark, which is being examined by the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry.

A priest started to sexually abuse her when she was eight, two years after she arrived there.

Ms Tolmie-McGrane, who now works as a psychologist in Norway, said: “Every child was beaten, punished, locked in a dark room, made to eat their own vomit, and I would say that most of us had our mouths rinsed out with carbolic soap.”

On one occasion, she said, a nun walked in to find the priest abusing her.

The woman said: “She got really angry at me. She yanked me by the left arm so hard and flung me across the room and called me a whore and told me to get out of there.

“I think in some ways it was worse than just sexual abuse because I was punished with the broken arm for doing something a priest had forced me to do.”

A spokesman for the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul, the Catholic society that ran the orphanage, said: “We would urge anyone who believes they have been a victim to contact the police, who will then work with our safeguarding team.

“We would like to offer sincere and heartfelt apology to anyone who suffered any form of abuse while at our facilities.”

The bodies of at least 400 orphans were buried in a mass grave at the town’s St Mary’s Cemetery, a BBC and Sunday Post investigation has found. …

More than 10,000 children passed through the orphanage between its opening in 1864 and closure in 1981.

This video from England says about itself:

Catholic priests’ victim: ‘The abuse was so common it became normal’

3 February 2016

Leslie Turner, a retired primary head teacher, was paid £17,000 in compensation by the Irish Christian Brothers, after claiming two priests from the Catholic Order sexually abused him at school in Sunderland in the 1960s.

The church has not accepted liability for the alleged abuse. Turner, now 66, has waived his anonymity in a film for the Guardian to allege he was molested from the age of 12 by two Irish Christian Brother teachers at St Aidan’s Roman Catholic Grammar School in Sunderland between 1961 and 1967. Both priests are long dead, but he sued after being diagnosed with delayed onset post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of what he said he suffered.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Abused kids denied cash for ‘consenting’

Saturday 16th September 2017

Children as young as 12 may still go without compensation

SEXUALLY abused children as young as 12 could still be denied compensation on the grounds they had “consented” under revised official guidelines revealed yesterday that were condemned by a Labour MP as “despicable.”

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) launched a review into its guidelines earlier this year amid concerns that victims of child grooming gangs were being refused payments, even when perpetrators had been imprisoned.

Although it is illegal to have sex with anyone under 16, CICA does not give payments to all victims.

Justice Secretary David Lidington told MPs last week that CICA’s internal guidelines would be changed so that victims of child grooming gangs could no longer be disqualified.

But the revised guidelines state that children can still be denied compensation on the basis that “consent ‘in fact’ is different from consent ‘in law’.”

The draft is reported to state: “The scheme recognises that there may be situations where a person aged under 16 has ‘in fact’ consented to sexual activity.

“Where the sexual activity is truly of the applicant’s free will no crime of violence will have occurred.”

It goes on to say that some children under the age of 12 could be deemed to have given consent.

“Where the child was 12 or under when the incident happened, we will presume that the child did not consent in fact unless the evidence to the contrary is very clear,” it states.

Rotherham MP Sarah Champion said the revised version was “despicable” and urged Mr Lidington to intervene.

“It’s basically saying that the state doesn’t believe you, that you’re likely to be a liar on this and that is entirely the wrong message to send out,” she blasted.

It was reported last week that Sammy Woodhouse, a victim of the Rotherham grooming gang scandal, had initially been denied compensation by the government body because it claimed she had consented.

Ms Woodhouse, whose evidence in court helped convict her attacker, described the revised guidelines as “absolutely disgusting.”

In response to the backlash, CICA said it was engaging with victim support groups and charities to ensure the revised guidance was “as robust as it possibly can be.”

“We want to be sure that we never get these decisions wrong. That’s why we are reviewing our staff guidance to make sure that we identify every instance where grooming could be a factor,” a spokesman said.

402 dead Scottish Catholic orphanage children discovered


This video from Britain says about itself:

11 September 2017

Bodies of hundreds of orphan children who died at a home run by Catholic nuns ‘are found buried in a mass unmarked grave’.

Up to 400 children who died at a Scottish orphanage are believed to have been dumped in a mass grave, research has revealed.

The Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul ran the Smyllum Park orphanage in Lanark from 1864 until it closed in 1981.

The nuns previously acknowledged that children had been buried in 158 compartments in the town’s St Mary’s Cemetery.

After the babies’ mass grave discovery at a Roman Catholic children’s home in Ireland

From the Daily Record in Scotland:

Bodies of 402 children discovered to be buried in mass grave near Scottish orphanage run by nuns

The nuns who ran the Smyllum Park orphanage in Lanarkshire previously acknowledged that 158 children were buried there

By John Jeffay

18:49, 10 SEP 2017

About 400 children died at a ­Scottish orphanage run by nuns and were buried in an unmarked grave, research has revealed.

The Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul, who ran the Smyllum Park orphanage in Lanarkshire, had previously acknowledged that 158 ­children were buried there.

But research, including a trawl of more than 15,000 official records, has revealed 402 babies, toddlers and ­children died there between 1864 and when it closed in 1981.

Children who died after being sent to live at the orphanage were buried in an unmarked mass grave a mile away at St Mary’s Cemetery in Lanark.

Headstones mark the graves of the nuns and staff members buried nearby but no stone or memorial has ever recorded the names of the dead ­children.

Former first minister Jack ­McConnell, who apologised to victims of care home abuse on behalf of the then Scottish Executive in 2004, said: “It is ­heartbreaking to discover so many children may have been buried in these unmarked graves.

“After so many years of silence, we must now know the truth of what happened here.”

The order of nuns who ran Smyllum, where orphans and children of desperate Catholic families were placed, previously claimed they had records of 120 children who died there and were buried in 158 lairs at a ­cemetery.

On average, one child died every three months there, with many believed to be buried in unmarked graves at St Mary’s Cemetery.

Former residents of the orphanage have accused the nuns and staff who ran the home of beating and neglecting some of the children.

Their allegations formed part of the campaign that inspired the ongoing Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry.

The charity who ran Smyllum gave evidence to the inquiry earlier this year in which they claimed that abuse ­allegations were a “mystery” with “no evidence” of mistreatment.

The care given at Smyllum will be scrutinised during the second phase of the inquiry starting in November. ­Relatives of children who died at the orphanage are also calling for an ­investigation at St Mary’s using ground-penetrating radar to establish how many bodies are buried there.

The probe, carried out by the BBC Radio’s File on Four programme and the Sunday Post, involved scrutiny of death certificates.

In 2003, burial records given to campaigners by Smyllum bosses suggested 120 children had been buried at St Mary’s but relatives believed the figure was too low.

Research by Janet Bishop of the ­Association of ­Scottish Genealogists and Researchers in Archives, found 402 certificates listing Smyllum as the place of death or normal residence.

No details are recorded apart from their names, date of birth and when they died. Causes of death included accidents and diseases of the time such as tuberculosis, flu and scarlet fever. Some died of malnutrition.

Janet Docherty, the widow of former resident Frank, said: “He always feared there were more kids buried there and this is proof of that. He would have been content that it has come out now.”

Will Australian clerical child abuse cover-ups be prosecuted?


This video says about itself:

Australia Church Abuse: Catholic church struggles with child abuse

6 February 2017

Seven percent of priests in Australia’s Catholic Church were accused of sexually abusing children between 1950-2010. Journalist Karen Middleton brings more details.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Australia: Charges for priests who don’t report child abuse?

Tuesday 15th August 2017

PRIESTS who fail to tell police about suspected child sexual abuse, even if discovered during religious confession, should face criminal charges, Australia’s most powerful investigative authority recommended yesterday.

The royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse recommended national legislation to make it a criminal offence for people to fail to report child sexual abuse in an institutional setting.

Clergy who find out about sexual abuse during a religious confession would not be exempt from the law.

“The right to practise one’s religious beliefs must accommodate civil society’s obligation to provide for the safety of all and, in particular, children’s safety from sexual abuse,” the commission declared.

“Institutions directed to caring for and providing services for children, including religious institutions, must provide an environment where children are safe from sexual abuse.

“Reporting information relevant to child sexual abuse to the police is critical to ensuring the safety of children.”

Guam Catholic archbishops’ child sex abuse scandal


This video says about itself:

Sexual Abuse Allegations in Guam Devestate Catholics

3 October 2016

Allegations that the island’s archbishop molested altar boys decades ago have divided churchgoers in Guam, and put the governor in a difficult spot. Catholicism is sewn deeply into the Spanish-influenced culture of this small island, where families consider close relationships with priests a blessing.

Governor Eddie Calvo signed a bill into law last month, eliminating the two-year statute of limitations for suing over sexual abuse on the island. The signing of the bill opened the church up to millions in liability on the island. Archbishop Anthony Apuron has vigorously denied allegations saying he molested at least five altar boys in the 1960s and 70s. Churchgoers are torn between supporting the church, with some like Andrew Camacho, who is vice president of Concerned Catholics of Guam, saying the church needs to take responsibility, even if it means financial ruin.

REPORT UNCOVERS NEARLY 100 SEX ABUSE LAWSUITS AGAINST THE CATHOLIC LEADERSHIP IN GUAM Two archbishops of Agana, as well as multiple priests, bishops, teachers and even Boy Scouts leaders on the Western Pacific island are allegedly implicated in the scandal. [HuffPost]

This video says about itself:

Concerned Catholics of Guam challenging payments to accused priest

4 August 2016

The Concerned Catholics of Guam group is questioning why a priest accused of child sex abuse is still getting paid by the Archdiocese of Agana. As a matter of fact, the CCOG has been questioning the alleged actions of this priest since January 2015.