Wednesday, May 20, 2009

State 'colluded with religious authorities to hide child abuse'

From Times Online
May 20, 2009
Irish State 'colluded with religious authorities to hide child abuse', report says

(Peter Muhly/AFP/Getty Images)
Kevin Flannagan, centre, brother of a victim of child abuse, shouts at members of the Commission after being turned away from the press conference
David Sharrock, Ireland Correspondent
The Irish State colluded with the religious authorities to cover up child abuse that was "endemic" in Catholic-run schools and care homes for 70 years, a devastating report concluded today.
The Child Abuse Commission catalogued sexual, physical and emotional abuse inflicted on 35,000 disadvantaged, neglected and abandoned children by both religious and lay staff over the last 70 years.
The long-awaited report of the decade-long inquiry was launched today amid controversy and recrimination, when victims were barred from a Dublin venue and police were called.
Angry exchanges took place between Commission staff and victims of abuse, who complain that no abusers will be prosecuted as a result of the inquiry.
The inquiry chairman, Justice Sean Ryan, read a short statement and refused to take questions at a press conference. His predecessor, Justice Mary Laffoy, resigned in 2003 in protest at the lack of co-operation from some state bodies.
John Walsh, an abuse victim, called the report a hatchet job that left open wounds gaping.
“The little comfort we have is the knowledge that it vindicated the victims who were raped and sexually abused,” said Mr Walsh, of the leading campaign group Irish Survivors of Child Abuse (Soca).
“I’m very angry, very bitter, and feel cheated and deceived. I would have never opened my wounds if I’d known this was going to be the end result.
“It has devastated me and will devastate most victims because there is no criminal proceedings and no accountability whatsoever.”
Judge Ryan concluded that when confronted with evidence of sex abuse, religious authorities responded by transferring the sex offenders to another location, where in many instances they were free to abuse again.
The report found: "The risk (to children) was seen by the congregations in terms of the potential scandal and bad publicity should the abuse be disclosed...
"There was evidence that such men took up teaching positions sometimes within days of receiving dispensations because of serious allegations or admissions of sexual abuse. The safety of children in general was not a consideration."
Institutions run by religious orders, including industrial and reform schools, institutions for the disabled, orphanages and ordinary day schools have been examined by the Commission over the past nine years.
Sexual abuse was endemic in boys’ schools, while in girls’ schools children were subjected to predatory abuse by male employees, visitors and while on outside placements.
Abuse was rarely reported to the State authorities but on the rare occasion the Department of Education was informed, it colluded with the religious orders in the culture of silence.
The Department generally dismissed or ignored sexual abuse complaints and never brought them to the attention of the Garda.
"At best, the abusers were moved but nothing was done about the harm done to the child. At worst, the child was blamed and seen as corrupted by the sexual activity, and was punished severely," the report stated.
Children were so badly neglected, survivors spoke of scavenging for food from waste bins and animal feed.
Unsupervised bullying in boys’ schools often left smaller, weaker children without food.
Accommodation was cold, spartan and bleak while children were often left in soiled, wet work clothes after being forced to toil for long hours outdoors in farms, the report found.
While the names of alleged individual perpetrators have not been published - except for those already convicted by the court - the inquiry produced specific findings against 216 facilities.
The Sisters of Mercy and Christian Brothers, which ran the largest number of children’s institutions, were among the long list of orders investigated.
While the chairman emphasised the willingness of some religious orders to co-operate, the 3,500-page report, running to five volumes, makes for relentlessly grim reading, chronicling the shocking conditions under which the children were held, many from infancy until reaching adulthood.
One victims' group said that it hoped the report would validate the long campaign for many to have their stories believed, and would highlight "an absolutely disgraceful episode in Irish history – we should all hang our heads in shame".

1 comment:

Unknown said...

The Catholic Church is not "ignoring" the raping of children. It knows full well about it. Why do you think that they always move Priests who have been caught raping boys to another place where they can continue raping the boys, only now to a new breed of unsuspecting victims. They have never, ever prosecuted one single case, nor have exposed one single instance no matter how vile. They have never brought it to the authorities that a man was raping little boys in any of their churches, and I can guarantee you they never will. It will never happen. The Catholic Church sanctions rape and pedephile sexual abusing of boys when it occurs within the church. They don't want anybody to know. And they don't want to stop it. They will never do anything to stop it, this I guarantee. You have not heard the end of alegations of the rape of boys by Priests, not even the tip of the iceberg, in fact. There are many more than you can possible imagine. It is much more widespread than anybody thinks. It will continue, and the Catholic Church will absolutely never do anything to stop it, only encourage it, this I absolutely guarantee you. There are thousands more cases of boys that have been raped by Priests that you have never heard of, you can be absolutlely certain of this. And, if you drop off your kids at any kind of Catholic school, I guarantee you they will get raped by a Priest, eventually. Trust me, I know this for a fact.