Sunday, November 14, 2010

Royal commission
It's time for a royal commission into clergy child sex abuse Alan Howe From: Herald Sun November 15, 2010 12:00AM Increase Text SizeDecrease Text SizePrintEmail Share
Add to DiggAdd to del.icio.usAdd to FacebookAdd to KwoffAdd to MyspaceAdd to NewsvineWhat are these?RAPE is said to be the most under-reported of all crimes with just 26 per cent of women who believe they have been raped contacting police.
The low rate of convictions is obviously a disincentive, not to mention the humiliation of the police and court procedures.

While I don't doubt those statistics, I suspect paedophilia is the most under-reported of crimes.

Since I wrote last week about the Catholic Church's poor handling of its criminal clergy - the black-hearted, white-collared rapists who attacked kids to whom they had unfettered access for decades - I've been contacted by many men, and a few women, who have told me they, too, were victims.

Some of them - including an old friend whose case was news to me after all these years - have kept burdensome secrets for decades.

You can only imagine their torment, which in a few cases they had not revealed even to their wives, and certainly not their children.

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Archbishop Denis Hart responded to my column in Wednesday's Herald Sun in which he referred to his pastoral letter this year in which he "emphasised that sexual abuse in any form, and any attempt to conceal it, is a grave evil and totally unacceptable".

The archbishop should not need to publish a note like that for his flock, but such has been the level of abuse - and cover-ups - over so many years, he felt he had to.

Last week I wrote about the bisexual rapist priest, Father Kevin O'Donnell, and his attacks on many children, but particularly the daughters of Chrissie and Anthony Foster, one of whom committed suicide, another of whom is now severely brain-damaged.

Archbishop Hart wrote that he "would like to repeat the sincere and unreserved apology I first offered the Foster family in July 2008".

That was news to the Fosters; they claim never to have received a personal, verbal or written apology from the archbishop or his predecessor.

One man who wrote to me last week believed he was one of O'Donnell's first victims and is angry the church protected its priest.

"As an eight-year-old boy and a student at St Joseph's school in Chelsea, I was one of O'Donnell's victims," the former altar boy wrote of the events he said took place in 1946.

"It is believed I was his first victim, but I know there were others before me, one being an older boy. This boy told his parents O'Donnell had been touching him. The parents reported the allegations to the nuns at the school. The response to their complaint was the boy being banished as an altar boy. Shortly after O'Donnell was moved to Seymour."

O'Donnell was assaulting little Catholic kids back when the legendary Daniel Mannix was archbishop, and Mannix took up the reins almost a century ago.

It's time we had a royal commission into this.

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