Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
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Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

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Schedule of Activity: Jan–Jun 2014


Public Hearing Webcasts here 


Announcements of Issues Papers and Submissions here

For Commentary on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Australia)

 Click Here: LewisBlayse.net

Victoria Parliament's "Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and Other Organisations"

Inquiry Report Summary
 13 Nov. 2013
To read the Committee's report click:
Exc Summary        Vol. 1        Vol. 2

NSW, Special Commission of Inquiry into matters relating to the Police investigation of certain child sexual abuse allegations in the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle


SNAP Legal Action

For all things related to the
SNAP and Center for Constitutional Rights lawsuit filed against
the Pope and four
Vatican officers
violations of
human rights 

Video: Moves to Put the Pope in Court

            Fighting for the Future                (UN filing on February 28, 2013)


If you or anyone you know has suffered abuse, call Lifeline.

TELE:     131 114

Contact Information &

Meeting Announcements 

Where To Report Your Abuse

Victims' Stories (listen and read)

Public Awareness Presentations and Radio Interviews

Information and Support

Other Australian organisations concerned with child abuse prevention.


Partial List

PM Julia Gillard's full statement on the child sex abuse royal commission (with Q n A)

[click HERE for Transcript]

OPINION: Sex abuse survivors want to be believed

By Bob OToole and Lindsay Gardiner
April 2, 2013

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Call Of Duty

ABC Australian Story          April 29, 2013

The video story about  Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox; a man who was only doing his job.

Click "Call"  for story and video

Cops and Catholicism:  the cultural connection between police and the church

Download audio

ABC Radio - Andrew West        May 8, 2013

"George Pell and Child Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church"

Adelaide Festival of Ideas Forum [audio report], October 24, 2013




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Film of the Public Memorial Service for
Lewis Blayse/Lewin Blazevich

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Royal Commission calls for submissions on redress schemes

Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, April 23, 2014.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse today released an issues paper on the effectiveness of redress schemes in relation to child sexual abuse in institutions. Royal Commission CEO Janette Dines said Issues Paper 6 inquired into what institutions and governments should do to ensure justice for survivors of child sexual abuse in Australian institutions through the provision of redress. …

Abusers say they never existed: Congregation of Christian Brothers ‘never in Australia’

The Australian, Janet Fife-Yoemans, April 23, 2014.

The child sex abuse royal commission is being urged to investigate why the Congregation of Christian Brothers has claimed it never existed in ­Australia, as it looks into shocking abuse at four of its orphanages. … Lawyers frustrated at the legal walls erected by the Christian Brothers in Australia launched the case in New York, under an old international law, arguing that it exists as an international order. A judge ruled against the case on a number of points including that they had sued the “wrong” Christian Brothers. Despite being a worldwide religious community within the Catholic Church, the Christian Brothers claims it is constituted differently in different countries and never existed in Australia as the Congregation of Christian Brothers. …

Holocaust loot appeal to Cardinal George Pell

Vatican City, inSerbia, April 22, 2014.

Vatican City – An appeal by Holocaust survivors and their heirs from former Yugoslavia and Ukraine has been sent to Cardinal-Prefect George Pell. … Since 1999 the Holocaust survivors have been requesting the scandal plagued Vatican Bank audit accounts alleged to contain Holocaust era assets looted from the Balkans and Ukraine. About 30 current and former Vatican Bank accounts have been identified as suspect including accounts controlled by the Franciscan Order and various Dioceses. The appeal also includes declassified documents from the US National Archives requested in 2000 but only produced 12 years later which establish both the British and Americans were certain the Vatican was harboring a major Nazi war criminal, Ante Pavelic, the brutal ruler of World War Two era Croatia. …

US allegation against accused brother Bernard Joseph Hartman

Maribymong and Hobsons Bay Weekly, Goya Dmytryshchak, April 22, 2014.

A Catholic brother charged with sexually abusing four children at Altona and Altona North is facing an allegation of abuse in the US, according to a US report. Bernard Joseph Hartman, 74, has entered pleas of not guilty to 14 counts of indecent assault, two counts of gross indecency with a girl under 16, and two counts of assault. … According to the US report, an alleged victim contacted church officials after media coverage of the Australian case. Reverend Ronald Lengwin, of Pittsburgh, said the allegation had been turned over to the “appropriate legal authorities”. …

Supporting abuse victims to tell their story

Whyalla News, Kayleigh Bruce, April 22, 2014.

Local service providers were recently provided with information to aid people who may wish to tell their story to the Royal Commission into the Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse. … Victim Support Service facilitated the information session in conjunction with Know More - an independent legal service offering free legal assistance to people considering making a submission. …

In defence of Cardinal Pell

Eureka Street, Frank Brennan, April 21, 2014.

I write to defend Cardinal Pell in the wake of Elizabeth Farrelly's claim in the Fairfax press that Pell, when appearing before Justice McClellan at the Royal Commission, proposed a 'priestly child abuse insurance scheme' and that 'if you wanted to maximize the damage already done to countless children, you'd be hard put to find a surer way or crueler'. … 

Prayers for ‘a way forward’

The Australian, Rosie Lewis, April 21, 2014.

… Speaking after leading a packed morning mass, Bishop Fisher, who is considered among the frontrunners to replace Cardinal George Pell as Archbishop of Sydney, said he had been praying for “a way forward” in the wake of the child sex abuse inquiry. …

The Vatican’s Shocking Easter Nest Egg

Vatican City, Go Banking Rates, Christina Lavingia, April 20, 2014.

In recent years, the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR), often referred to as the Vatican Bank, has come under scrutiny for its lack of transparency and use of funds. With a history of accusations tying the Vatican Bank to everything from money-laundering to connections with the Mafia to, most recently, the funneling of tens of millions of dollars toward legal settlements surrounding priest sex-abuse scandals, many are calling for the Vatican Bank to be more upfront about where its money comes from — and goes. … However, the 2012 “Vatileaks” affair, in which Benedict’s former butler leaked documents disclosing transfers made to the American church to cover its more than $3 billion in sex-abuse settlements, made it clear that the Vatican Bank was still struggling with corruption. …

Case Study 11, April 2014, Perth

Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

The Royal Commission will hold a public hearing in Perth from Monday 28 April 2014. The hearing will look into the experiences of a number of men who were resident at Christian Brothers’ residences in Western Australia and the responses of the Christian Brothers and relevant Western Australian State authorities to allegations of child sexual abuse at the residences. The public hearing will be held at:

Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission
111 St Georges Terrace
Perth WA 6000  

Child safety officers to be appointed across Perth under Catholic Church plan

Perth Now, April 19, 2014.

… Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe recently outlined to senior church personnel a draft policy to appoint child safeguarding officers with specialist training. Common in the UK, the officers take a key role in responding to allegations of abuse and advise parishes on child protection policies. A spokesman for Archbishop Costelloe said he was “keen to act as swiftly as possible” to strengthen the protective measures already in place. …

Behind the red shield

The West Australian, Annette Blackwell, April 18, 2014.

… What the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse laid bare over the past three weeks is a 19th century Christian charity struggling to realise it has to come into the 20th, never mind the 21st century. "They just don't get it," said Leonie Sheedy, co-founder of Care Leavers Australia Network. Sheedy and the members of her organisation have been at the Sydney hearings to support the men and women who had sad, sad childhoods in Salvation Army homes. …

After discussing the Vatican's finances, C8 cardinals move onto Curia reform

Vatican City
Vatican Insider, Andrea Tornielli, April 18, 2014.

From 28 to 30 April Francis’ eight cardinal advisors will be discussing the reform of the dicasteries. They are expected in the Vatican at the end of next week, before the ceremony for the canonization of John XXIII and John Paul II, set for Sunday 27 April. Straight after this, on Monday 28, Francis’ team of eight cardinal advisors will reopen the dossier on Curia reform and will begin examining each of the Pontifical Councils, weighing up all the various proposals for mergers and changes. …

More sexual assault claims against paedophile priest Terrence Pidoto

Herald Sun, Padraic Murphy and Shannon Deery, April 17, 2014.

Notorious paedophile priest Terrence Pidoto will be interviewed behind bars after a string of new alleged victims came forward accusing him of appalling new crimes. … Taskforce Sano was set up to investigate historical and new allegations that have emanated from the Victorian parliamentary inquiry into child sex abuse. Sen-Det David Rae told magistrate Catherine Lamble eight male victims had come forward and given statements to police. …

Victim of paedophile former priest William Dowel offers full forgiveness

The Age, Steve Butcher, April 17, 2014.

A childhood victim of an elderly pedophile former Anglican priest has faced his tormentor in a Melbourne courtroom and offered him "my complete forgiveness" for sexual abuse committed almost 40 years ago. "I want to be free of this burden," the man said of making his pardon in a victim impact statement he read to the County Court, which also spoke of not knowing "what love is". … It was not the only act of mercy bestowed on William Richard Dowel, 88, as a judge also spared him a prison cell because his age and ill-health would probably cause his death behind bars. …

Survivors of child abuse left out of Royal Commission roundtable

ABC News, Angela Lavoipierre, April 16, 2014.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is facing criticism for failing to include survivors of abuse in a roundtable on out-of-home care. … Stakeholders including government representatives, academics and care providers gathered in Sydney to discuss preventing sexual abuse where children are being cared for outside their family home or with foster families. …

 Salvos major sought mercy for abuser

The Australian, Dan Box, April 16, 2014.

… Major Peter Farthing told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse yesterday that he counselled the officer, Colin Haggar, for 18 months after he had admitted assaulting the eight-year-old. In 1992, two years after Haggar was stood down by the Salvation Army, Mr Farthing wrote to the then-commissioner, saying “he has worked very hard to rectify his problems and has made excellent progress”. “Therefore I personally believe it would be appropriate for him to be re-accepted for ­officership,” the letter said. …

Dying abuse victim celebrates giving bedside testimony to Royal Commission [with audio]

ABC News, Alyssa Allen, April 15, 2014.

Barry Wilson waited fifty years to tell his horrific story of child sexual abuse. It was years of abuse while in the care of the Christian Brothers at St Augustine's Orphanage in Highton, Geelong that saw Barry's life spiral out of control. Barry found out six weeks ago that he had liver cancer and only had a few days to live. Amazingly, he found the courage to tell his story of child sexual abuse to the Royal Commission last Tuesday. Barry died on Sunday but his brother Peter Wilson could not be more proud of him. …

No evidence to support Salvation Army officer's claim he confessed act of child sex abuse to police, royal commission told

Sydney Morning Herald, Paul Bibby, April 15, 2014.

A senior Salvation Army officer who says he went to police to confess the sexual abuse he inflicted on a young girl but was told nothing could be done, has had serious doubt cast on his claims. An investigator hired by the Salvos told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse on Monday that Lieutenant-Colonel Colin Haggar allegedly assaulted the girl three times, not once as the officer had claimed, and that there was no direct documentary evidence that the police confession ever took place. …

Paedophile priest dies before facing court amid new allegations

Herald Sun, Shannon Deery, April 15, 2014.

… Alleged victims of Wilfred Baker have been left devastated that he will not be held to account for a string of crimes against kids between 1966 and 1974. … The Herald Sun understands brothers allegedly abused by Baker were poised to give evidence against the disgraced priest. But prosecutors today filed a notice of discontinuance in the matter following his death in February. …

Salvation Army’s Major Peter Farthing tells royal commission child abusers not same as paedophiles

Daily Telegraph, Janet Fife-Yeomans, April 15, 2014.

The Salvation Army supported a self-confessed child molester to get a working with children check, it admitted today in the child sex abuse royal commission. … Major Farthing agreed that the Salvation Army had not revealed the 1989 incident when Mr Haggar applied for the check in 2002. He remains entitled to work with children until 2018. …

"Sadistic" Salvos may never be held to account

Northern Rivers Echo, Jessica Grewal, April 15, 2014.

The "sadistic" Salvation Army officers who once ruled the Riverview Boy's home may never be held accountable for their sins but the end of yesterday's royal commission hearing brought much-needed closure to the surviving victims who shed light on one of the most disturbing chapters in the region's history. … Tales of rapes, whippings and the injustice of not being believed were recounted by men of varying ages, many of whom told of how the torment had impacted their marriages and ability to care for their own children. …

Salvos didn’t ‘twig’ to abuser’s past

The Australian, Dan Box, April 15, 2014.

THE Salvation Army helped one of its officers apply to be allowed to work with children a decade after he first confessed to his superiors that he had sexually assaulted a young girl. … Giving evidence this morning, the Army’s former Secretary for Personnel, Major Peter Farthing, said a recent operational restructure meant the organisation had been unaware Mr Haggar had some responsibility for children living in crisis accommodation in Sydney. …

'Not all child abusers pedophiles'

Sky News, April 15, 2014.

People who sexually abuse children are not all paedophiles and the Salvation Army would dispute having one in their ranks, … Its former secretary for personnel, Major Peter Farthing, on Tuesday also told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse he did not launch an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse of two women because such inquiries were not 'second nature' to him. … 'Some people offend in a kind of crime of opportunity - a situational crime. …

Catholic apology: Priest, 79, admits historic child sex abuse on young girls

Perth Now, Kaitlyn Offer, April 15, 2014.

… Father Patrick Holmes, 79, appeared in Perth Magistrates Court this morning, where he admitted six charges relating to two young girls under the age of 13. Police charged Holmes over an offence in 1980, at the St Aloyius Church in Shenton Park, when he indecently assaulted a girl who was aged 10 to 12 years old when she visited the presbytery after school. He also indecently assaulted a girl aged six to seven years old in 1969 while working at the Holy Name Church in Carlisle, also allegedly in the presbytery. …

Perth priest pleads guilty to child sex offences dating back decades

ABC News, Joanna Menagh, April 15, 2014.

A Catholic priest in Perth has pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting two young girls in offences dating back decades. … The offences occurred when the girl visited the presbytery at St Aloysius Church after school. Holmes also assaulted a girl aged seven while working at the Catholic Holy Name Church in Carlisle in 1969. Holmes pleaded guilty to six indecent dealing charges. …

Organisation not coping with claims: Salvos investigator

The Australian, Dan Box, April 15, 2014.

A former policeman employed by the Salvation Army to investigate child abuse committed by its officers says the organisation is unable to cope with the number of cases being brought against it. … He was particularly critical of the church’s handling of child abuse allegations against senior officer Colin Haggar, who confessed to sexually assaulting an eight-year-old girl in regional NSW in 1990. …

 Child abuser pursuing victim over legal costs [w/ audio]

ABC – PM, Lorna Knowles, April 14, 2014.

It sounds unbelievable, but in New South Wales a convicted child abuser is pursuing his victim for almost $20,000, and the victim says he feels as powerless as when he was being assaulted. The child abuser is a former school teacher who was employed at the Blue Mountains Grammar School in the early 1970s. Even though he was convicted of molesting his former student, he now wants the victim to pay his legal bill. … Lorna Knowles has the story. …

Vatican Summoned to Report to UN Committee on Torture

United Nations, New York
Center for Constitutional Rights, April 14, 2014,

Late on Friday, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), representing the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), filed a report with the United Nations Committee Against Torture (CAT) documenting the severity of long-term harms suffered by survivors of sexual violence by Catholic clergy. The UN committee is reviewing the Vatican on its compliance with international prohibitions against torture and other cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment under the Convention Against Torture, which the Vatican ratified in 2002. This will be the second time in four months that top Catholic officials have been called before the UN to account for the Vatican’s human rights record on addressing the ongoing worldwide crisis of sexual violence and cover-ups within the Catholic Church. Vatican representatives will appear before and be questioned by the Committee on May 5 and 6, 2014. …

SNAP & CCR file 2nd UN complaint vs. Vatican

United Nations, New York
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, April 14, 2014.

Statement by Mary Caplan of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests ( 917 439 4187, mcaplan682@aol.com )

… Vatican officials signed a treaty on the rights of the child. In February, they were held responsible – via a blistering United Nations report – for breaking that treaty. We hope the UN's Committee on Torture will issue a similar report after they read the evidence and question Vatican officials in May in Geneva. … On Friday, the Pope made what some call “his strongest remarks ever” about the church's on-going clergy sex abuse and cover up crisis, in which sexual violence against the vulnerable continues to be committed and concealed. But “remarks” protect no one. Only action protects kids. And we urge Catholics to ask themselves “What specific steps – proven, practical steps, has Francis taken that have exposed even one cleric who has committed or concealed child sex crimes?” There are none. Or ask “What has he done to disgorge current cover ups or discourage future cover ups?” The answer: nothing. … it's irresponsible for Francis to continue to talk about abuse but not effectively prevent abuse. …

Kerry Haggar, the wife of a Salvation Army child sex abuser apologised to the victim

Daily Telegraph, Janet Fife-Yeomans, April 14, 2014.

… Lt Col Haggar said her husband Colin, who was also a lieutenant colonel in the Salvos until he was finally dismissed earlier this year, had told her what he had done in late 1989 when they were living in a western NSW town. …

WA priest charged with child sex offences

9 News, April 14, 2014.

A 79-year-old Perth priest has been charged with child sex offences going as far back as 1969.  Police allege the man indecently assaulted a girl who was aged 10 to 12 when he was a priest at St Aloysius Church in Shenton Park in 1980. … The man has been charged with six counts of indecent dealing with a child under 13. …

Priest on multiple child sex charges

The West Australian, April 14, 2014.

… The priest was based at a Shenton Park church in 1980 when he allegedly indecently assaulted a girl who was aged 10-12 years when she visited the presbytery after school. "It is further alleged in 1969, the same priest was working at a church in Carlisle, when he indecently assaulted a girl who was aged six to seven years of age," police said. …

Abuse inquiries linked to sex-offence spike

Cowra Community News, April 14, 2014.

A spike in sex crimes may be the result of more people coming forward to report offenders, police say. Sexual assaults in New South Wales increased by 125 per cent between 1990 and 2013. … NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Nick Kaldas says he believes the Special Commission of Inquiry and royal commission, both addressing institutionalised child sex abuse, have encouraged victims to come forward. …

Salvos inquiry continues in Sydney

Brisbane Times, April 14, 2014.

A national inquiry into the Salvation Army's handling of child abuse allegations resumes in Sydney on Monday. Over the past two weeks the royal commission into child sex abuse in institutions has heard how some victims of abuse in army homes in NSW and Queensland felt they weren't believed when they approached the charitable organisation with complaints. The commission is also examining how the army dealt with officers about whom allegations were made. …

The dark world of paedophilia exposed

Sydney Morning Herald, Melinda Tankard Reist, April 13, 2014.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the recent sentencing of Daniel Morcombe’s killer along with the imprisonment last week of former television star Robert Hughes after being found guilty of nine sex offense against three underage girls, have all heightened public attention on the scourge of child sexual assault. … Predators are emboldened and more networked through thriving internet child porn rings. But there are other drivers of the trade in children’s bodies. Products in local newsagencies, milk bars and retail outlets and online, normalise and eroticise child sexual assault. …

Royal Commission rejects claims that WA abuse victims not speaking out

ABC – PM, Emily Bourke, April 11, 2014.

Officials from the child abuse Royal Commission have rejected claims that only one person from the Kimberley in WA is prepared to give oral testimony. … The Royal Commission's CEO Janette Dines spoke to Emily Bourke. …

Ire over ex-priest sex case delay

Armidale Express, Samantha-Jo Harris,  April 11, 2014.

An Armidale magistrate has sharply rebuked the defence of a former priest facing historic child sexual abuse for not filing documents to the court. … Wednesday was the 13th time his case has been before the court. …

Priest case adjourned until June

South Coast Register, April 11, 2014.

… Robert Flaherty, 70, who now lives at Wentworth Falls in the Blue Mountains, appeared in Parramatta Local Court on Wednesday before Magistrate Miszalski, facing five counts of indecent assault against children. Magistrate Miszalski adjourned the matters until June for hearing. …

Leaked complaint letter about alleged cover-up of sexual abuse shocks Melbourne’s Orthodox Jewish community

The Australian, Shannon Deery, April 10, 2014.

… Police have launched an investigation into how the confidential complaint was leaked after it was photocopied and distributed widely. … But critics of the college's handling of abuse cases say there were active attempts to cover-up the evil acts. …

Royal Commission into child sex abuse struggles to find Kimberley people to testify

ABC News, Erin Parke, April 10, 2014.

David Francis is not bitter, nor angry. He is simply sad for those who suffered abuse, and are still too scared to talk about it. … "When you start going back and talking about things, you're going to bring up your past again, so what happens is it can affect your mental stability. It's a hard thing to talk about." … The 51-year-old plans to tell his story to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse. But he is one of only a handful of people from the Kimberley who have expressed interest in doing so. ...

Pope Francis’ Hero: Cardinal Pell & The “Money First” Approach

Christian Catholicism, Jerry Slevin, April 10, 2014.

As Pope Francis continues apparently to try to fool Catholics with his “bait and switch” strategy, it is helpful to consider Cardinal Pell, Francis’ new choice to maximize the Vatican’s considerable wealth. Pell’s recently revealed and ruthless treatment of victims of Australian priests’ child abuse makes some Wall Street investment bankers’ approach to making money seem beneficent, it appears. Pell’s significance has been captured well recently by Fr. Thomas Doyle, O.P., the leading worldwide advocate for over a quarter century of justice for priest abuse survivors. …

Lawyers preparing class action against Catholic Church over paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale

ABC News, April 9, 2014.

Lawyers are preparing to launch a class action against the Catholic Church on behalf of the victims of paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale. … Lawyer Vivian Waller will represent at least 20 people in a claim against the Diocese of Ballarat. …

Clergy sex abuse victims to sue Ballarat catholic diocese

The Courier, Nick McKenzie, Richard Baker, Mark Russell April 9, 2014.

At least 20 victims of former Ballarat paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale have instructed a lawyer to prepare a class action against the Ballarat Catholic diocese. The landmark class action against the Catholic Church will be the first test of Cardinal George Pell's recent commitment to make the church less hostile to litigation from sex abuse victims. …

Former Armidale priest back in court

ABC News, Catherine Clifford, April 9, 2014.

A 60-year-old former Catholic priest, facing multiple historic child sex abuse charges, has re-appeared at Armidale Local Court. … It's alleged the accused committed the assaults against three girls and six boys at unspecified locations in Armidale, Moree, Narrabri and Inverell. …

Paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale's victims to launch class action

The Age, Nick McKenzie, Richard Baker, Mark Russell, April 9, 2014.

Victims of one of Australia's most notorious paedophile priests, Gerald Ridsdale, are preparing a landmark class action against the Catholic Church in what will be the first test of Cardinal George Pell's recent commitment to make the church less hostile to litigation from sex abuse victims. … County Court Chief Judge Michael Rozenes said Ridsdale's ''unfettered sexual deviance'' had been a blatant breach of trust. …

Christian Brothers offer funeral help to child sexual abuse victim Barry Wilson

The Age, Jane Lee, April 9, 2014.

… Mr Wilson was sexually abused when he was about eight years old at the Christian Brothers' St Augustine's Orphanage in Geelong. He gave evidence on Tuesday to the royal commission into child sexual abuse from his hospital bed in Kerang. Mr Wilson was filmed reading aloud his police statement so the evidence could be used in a police investigation into the abuse after his death. …

Judge slams church over paedophile priest secrets

Herald Sun, Padraic Murphy, April 08, 2014.

A priest who allegedly witnessed predatory pedophile Gerald Ridsdale raping a young girl 40 years ago has been slammed by a judge, but the clergyman’s identity has been withheld from the public. … But the judge refused a Herald Sun application for access to documents in which he is believed to be named. …

Libido-suppressing drug Zoladex should be on PBS to treat sex offenders, psychiatrist Danny Sullivan says

7 News, Louise Milligan, April 8, 2014.

One of Australia's leading forensic psychiatrists is pushing for a libido-suppressing drug to be listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) to treat serial sex offenders. … Dr Sullivan says the drug, clinically known as an LHRH agonist and marketed as Zoladex, has been successful in reducing recidivism rates of sex offenders overseas, particularly in the US state of Oregon. …

Catholic priest sorry for abuse: court

7 News, Melissa Iaria, April 8, 2014

A Catholic priest who sexually abused 15 schoolboys has become a sorry and shameful pariah, known wherever he goes as "the pedophile priest", a court has heard. Frank Gerard Klep, 70, abused the boys at Salesian College Rupertswood from 1973 to 1984. …

Predator priest Frank Klep has so much to give, lawyer tells court

Herald Sun, Shannon Deery, April 08, 2014.

A predator priest who abused 15 boys across two decades should not die in jail because he has “so much to give” the community, his lawyer says. Frank Klep’s crimes were so sick he was banned from working with children, stripped of his priestly duties and ultimately laicised by the Catholic Church. …

Pedophile priest's attrocities laid bare

7 News, Joel Cresswell, April 8, 2014.

To serial pedophile Gerald Francis Ridsdale, violating children was "the Lord's work". That's what he told one of his 53 victims as he assaulted the nine-year-old altar boy. … It was not until 1993 that his atrocities caught up with him, with his first jail stint. …

Notorious pedophile priest convicted again

9 News, April 8, 2014.

More than half a century after he started sexually abusing the sons and daughters of his parishioners, Australia's worst pedophile priest has learnt he is likely to die in jail. Gerald Francis Ridsdale, 79, was given an eight-year sentence after pleading guilty to 30 new charges against 14 boys and girls between 1961 and 1980, conduct described by the judge as "evil hypocrisy." …

Notorius paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale jailed for a further eight years

The Standard, Mark Russell, April 8, 2014.

… County Court Chief Judge Michael Rozenes said Ridsdale's "unfettered sexual deviance" had been a blatant breach of the trust existing between priests and parishioners. … Ridsdale's position in the church involved a high degree of trust and some degree of power and his offending had had a devastating impact on his young victims. …

Paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale sentenced to 8 years in jail for child abuse

ABC News, April 8, 2014.

Paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale has been sentenced to eight years in jail with a minimum non-parole period of five years for the abuse of 14 children. … The 80-year-old pleaded guilty to the most recent charges, which included raping and abusing children as young as four. …

The Salvation Army lied about their mistakes to two women raped by a paedophile royal commission told

NEWS.com.au, April 8, 2014.

The Salvation Army was lying about their mistakes up to five years ago to two women raped and sexually abused by a paedophile at a Sunday school, the child sex abuse royal commission has been told. The evidence emerged as the Salvos eastern territorial commander, James Condon, clashed with counsel assisting the commission in a heated exchange. …

Salvation Army helped conceal child abuser Colin Haggar, territorial commander admits

NEWS.com.au, April 8, 2014.

… Colin Haggar had sexually assaulted an eight-year-old girl but although he was dismissed from the Salvos, he was allowed to give his own reasons to both his colleagues and his congregation in the western NSW town where he had been based, the child sex abuse royal commission heard yesterday. …

Salvos boosted confessed abuser

The Australian, Dan Box, April 08, 2014.

The international general of the Salvation Army promoted a self-confessed child abuser to a senior rank within the church, despite a church commander in Sydney arguing against the appointment, the royal commission has heard. The officer, Colin Haggar, had been dismissed from the charity in 1990, after confessing to having sexually molested an eight-year-old girl in regional NSW, before being readmitted three years later. …

$10,000 after horrific abuse-inquiry

Sky News, April 7, 2014.

A man who had cigarette butts put out between his toes when he was a child in the care of The Salvation Army was given $10,000 compensation, an inquiry into child abuse has heard. … A hearing held in February heard that EF, who was seven when he was placed in the Indooroopilly Boy's Home in Queensland in 1966, was violently punished and raped by Major Victor Bennett, who was the home's manager.

Whistleblower got it wrong: Salvo boss

SBS, AAP, April 7, 2014.

Salvation Army commissioner James Condon says he opposed the promotion of an officer with a history of sex abuse. … The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has heard that Mr Haggar confessed to indecently assaulting an eight-year-old girl in 1989, and was dismissed from the Salvos, but was re-admitted in 1993 and subsequently promoted. …

Tragic tale: commission to hear bedside testimony

The Age, Jane Lee, April 7, 2014

Barry Wilson does not have long to tell his story. Six weeks ago, he was told he was dying of liver cancer. In five days, he shed about 16 kilograms. … So on Tuesday, the royal commission will send representatives to his hospital bed in the northern Victorian town Kerang to hear him testify about the sexual abuse he suffered. …  When he was about eight or nine, he was abused while in the care of the Christian Brothers at St Augustine's Orphanage in Highton, Geelong. …

Archbishop Philip Wilson feared sex inquiry

The Australian, Mark Schliebs, April 07, 2014.

The Catholic Archbishop of Adelaide warned that a government inquiry into the abuse of ­intellectually disabled children at an archdiocese school could jeopardise police attempts to convict a pedophile, a letter tendered to a royal commission has revealed. … Archbishop Wilson said that the church was prepared to “co-operate fully” if an inquiry was held but added that other parties would be concerned, according to the letter dated December 17, 2001. …

Vic pedophile priest to be sentenced

Sky News, April 7, 2014.

One of Australia's worst child sex predators, pedophile priest Gerald Francis Ridsdale, is expected to die in prison. … He has now admitted his guilt in assaulting 53 children in abuse that spanned three decades. …

Salvation Army Major put cigarettes out on boy, 7, and threw him in a pool with bricks tied to his legs

Daily Telegraph, Janet Fife-Yeomans, April 07, 2014.

A Salvation Army major put out cigarette butts between the toes of a seven-year-old boy, the child sex abuse royal commission has been told. … When the man, who was also raped by Bennett in the home in 1966 as a seven-year-old, finally told the Salvation Army what had happened, his file was marked “not proved” next to the claims of the cigarettes and the swimming pool. …

Child abuse victim raped, burned, held underwater by Salvation Army major Victor Bennett

The Australian, Dan Box, April 07, 2014.

A Salvation Army officer put out cigarettes on the body of a seven-year-old boy, who was also thrown into a swimming pool with bricks tied to his feet, the royal commission has heard. …


Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, April 6, 2014.

A public hearing will commence in Perth on 28 April 2014 into the experiences of a number of men who were resident at Christian Brothers’ residences in Western Australia. The hearing will investigate the responses of the Christian Brothers and relevant Western Australian State authorities to allegations of child sexual abuse at the residences. …

Abuse claims at four WA Christian Brothers’ school to be investigated by Royal Commission

Perth Now, Emily Moulton, April 06, 2014.

Claims of widespread child sex abuse at four Christian Brothers-run WA boarding schools will be investigated as part of a nationwide inquiry. … It will hear from dozens of former boarders who spent time as young boys at Castledare Junior Orphanage in Wilson, St Vincent’s Orphanage in Clontarf, St Mary’s Agricultural School in Tardun, and Bindoon Farm School. …

Abuse victim speaks out about Salvos

Sky News, March 6, 2014.

A survivor of child sexual abuse at the hands of Salvation Army officers says an apology from the organisation means nothing to him, while another witness has urged Australians to think twice about donating to the charity. … One man, FE, was raped repeatedly by guards at the Gill Memorial School in Goulburn in the early 1970s. He said he was offered a $60,000 ex gratia payment by the Salvos in 2006, … 'The way I saw it, it was hush money,' FE said. … Earlier, abuse survivor Allan Anderson told the commission the Salvation Army was not transparent, and eliciting accountability from the charity was an 'ongoing roundabout.' … 'Let me suggest to the public as a whole: think twice before you put your hand in your pocket and give when the Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal comes around, for you should not give so generously.'

Kathleen McCormack on exposing sex abuse in Church

Illawarra Mercury, Gemma Khaicy, April 5, 2014.

Kathleen McCormack has retired from the Wollongong Catholic welfare agency she established 35 years ago. She spoke to Gemma Khaicy about what she witnessed through her work. The Church's culture of silence muted their voices, but the pain of sexual abuse victims burned until it couldn't be contained. When CatholicCare's Kathleen McCormack heard victims' stories, she went straight to the police demanding justice. …

Catholic Church to revisit compensation caps for abuse victims

ABC News, Hamish Fitzsimmons, April 4, 2014.

The Catholic Church says it will revisit compensation arrangements under the Melbourne Response with a view to either increasing or removing the current cap of $75,000. The move comes after Cardinal George Pell last week told the parents of two victims of a paedophile priest that he would make moves to remove the cap and revisit 300 existing claims against the church. …

Pell was wrong to blame the lawyers, but they aren’t blameless

The Conversation, Vivien Holmes, April 3, 2014.

When counsel assisting the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse put it to Cardinal George Pell last week that his lawyers weren’t his moral advisors, she was implying that he shouldn’t blame his lawyers for his pursuit of a morally bankrupt legal strategy. Pell was the client. He gave the instructions. …

Salvo boss 'delayed' reporting abuser

The Australian, Annette Blackwell, April 04, 2014.

One of the Salvation Army's top leaders in Australia waited nine months before telling authorities about a known sex abuser, who was also his friend, an inquiry has been told. …

Inquiry probes Salvos' abuse claim process

Illawarra Mercury, April 03, 2014.

A man who spent 10 years in a Salvation Army-run boys home wanted the army to pay him $1 million for every year he suffered abuse. Ralph Doughty, who was in the Gill Memorial Home for Boys in Goulburn, NSW, from 1940, when he was seven, to 1950, said he calculated the amount based on cases overseas. "I will guarantee that not one judge ... would be prepared to accept a million dollars a year to [be sexually abused]," said Mr Doughty, now in his 80s. …

Salvos promoted alleged abuser

The Australian, Dan Box, April 03, 2014.

A Salvation Army officer told the parents of an eight- or nine-year-old girl that he had sexually abused their daughter, before saying he was glad to have spoken to them and could now “go out and save more souls”. … As recently as last July, Mr Haggar was working as the director of a Salvation Army centre offering accommodation for vulnerable women and children, despite the organisation receiving other abuse complaints against him. …

Victims walk out on Vic priest’s apology

Melbourne, Australian Teacher Magazine, April 3, 2014.

Victims of a pedophile priest have walked out of a Melbourne court as he stood to deliver an apology. Frank Gerard Klep, 70, has pleaded guilty to sexually abusing 15 boys while a teacher and principal at Salesian College Rupertswood from 1973 to 1984. …

Vic priest leaves behind 'human wreckage'

The Australian AAP, Joel Cresswell, April 03, 2014.

The "human wreckage" left behind by a pedophile priest took little comfort in his apology. As Frank Gerard Klep stood to face the men he abused as schoolboys more than 30 years ago, several could not stomach his pre-prepared confession. … "I abused your trust and betrayed you in the most appalling circumstances, for that I am truly sorry," Klep said. …

Fugitive Catholic priest located by The News tells his victims: ‘I abused your trust’

USA, Texas, The Dallas Morning News, Reese Dunklin, April 3, 2014.

I found Frank Klep giving candy to Samoan children in 2004, far from the criminal charges against him in Australia. Now he awaits sentencing on even more charges. (File)…But Frank Klep’s words were of little comfort, according to The Age newspaper in Australia. …

Clergyman Charged In Australia Faces “Credible” Allegations From Time At North Catholic HS

USA, Pennslvania, CBS Pittsburgh, Lynne Hayes-Freeland, April 3, 2014.

Pittsburgh (KDKA/AP) – The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh says a clergyman awaiting trial on charges he molested four students 30 years ago at a school in Australia is the subject of a “credible” allegation of abuse from when he taught at the city’s North Catholic High School. Fr. Ronald Lengwin, spokesman for the diocese, tells the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that the complaint against Marianist Brother Bernard Hartman has been turned over to authorities. …

Australian abuse suspect accused in Pittsburgh

USA, Pennsylvania, Observer-Reporter, April 3, 2014.

Pittsburgh (AP) – A clergyman awaiting trial on charges he molested four students some 30 years ago at a school in Australia is the subject of a credible allegation of abuse from when he taught at Pittsburgh’s North Catholic High School, according to a spokesman for the city’s Roman Catholic diocese. That complaint against Marianist Brother Bernard Hartman, 74, was turned over to authorities, according to the Rev. Ronald Lengwin. …

Salvation Army promoted officer who confessed to abusing eight-year-old girl

The Guardian (UK), AAP, April 2, 2014.

The Salvation Army moved and promoted an officer who confessed to abusing an eight-year-old girl, an inquiry has been told. …

Hollingworth case ‘pushed’ cleric to act

The Australian, Mark Schliebs, April 02, 2014.

The Catholic Archbishop of Adelaide wrote to police in 2002 about decade-old child sexual abuse because allegations that Peter Hollingworth mishandled a separate case were made a couple of months earlier, corruption investigators believed. In a 2002 report into why a pedophile investigation was shut down that was tendered to a royal commission, investigators from South Australia Police’s Anti-Corruption Branch included thoughts on why Archbishop Philip Wilson wrote to police about the abuse of intellectually disabled children by a school-bus driver. …

Royal commission told Salvation Army’s ‘physical and sexual abuse’ was rampant

The Australian, Janet Fife-Yeomans, April 02, 2014.

Some victims cannot bear to see the Salvation Army uniform, branding them “Gestapo.” Others refuse to enter their offices. Yesterday Allan Anderson, who was abused by the Salvos in the Bexley Boys Home along with his little brother John, urged the public to think twice before donating to them. …

Cleaning up the post-George Pell parish in Sydney

Sydney Morning Herald, Elizabeth Farrelly, April 2, 2014.

George Pell wants to insure priests against being sued for child sexual abuse. My head is still rotating on its axis. Our man in purple, our alpha priest, moral paragon. Our Vatican princeling, just days from taking up his dauphindom in Rome: he said that? He dropped this fissile solipsism on our public debate and left, smacking the dust from his hands like, we're done now, right? …

Church honours market over Gospel in abuse cases

Eureka Street, Andrew Hamilton, April 2, 2014.

Cardinal Pell was often described as the leader of the Australian Church. What he said and did was taken to represent the Australian Catholic Church. That sometimes annoyed Catholics from other states who saw their church as superior to the Sydney variety, and certainly did not recognise the Cardinal as their leader. …

Commission hearings' trail of collateral devastation

Eureka Street, Neil Ormerod, April 2, 2014.

Most of us who have worked in or near church institutions get used to a certain level of dysfunctionality: poor lines of communication, under-developed personal skills, the arbitrary use of power, the no-talk rule about controversial issues, lack of accountability and transparency, people rising above the level of their competence, and so on. In general we learn to tolerate it and work around it as best we can. At times, however, it comes together as a 'perfect storm' of dysfunctionality leading to incredibly damaging consequences for all concerned. …

Deeper dysfunction behind the Ellis case

Eureka Street, Tim Wallace, April 2, 2014.

In late 2004, two years into the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney's botched handling of a sexual abuse complaint against priest Aidan Duggan, the executive director of the Catholic Church's National Committee for Professional Standards, Julian McDonald, did something extraordinary. He inquired into whether Duggan, prior to joining the Sydney Archdiocese in 1974, had form. This would not have been within McDonald's usual ambit, but Duggan's accuser, John Ellis, had requested the NCPS review the archdiocese's handling of his case — a process stymied early on the basis the archdiocese had no record of other allegations against Duggan, deemed too senile to answer the allegations. …

Watchdog ready to target church investment funds

The Australian, Dan Box, April 02, 2014.

Churches will be barred from offering “easy access” bank-style accounts to their ­parishioners amid tough new ­restrictions proposed by the ­national regulator in a crackdown on more than $1 billion in investments held in unregulated church-run funds. …

Think before Salvos donation: abuse victim

Sydney Morning Herald, Eoin Blackwell, April 1, 2014.

A survivor of child sexual abuse at the hands of Salvation Army officers says an apology from the organisation means nothing to him, while another has urged Australians to think twice about donating to the charity. …

Bexley Boys Home child abuse victim urges people not to donate to Salvation Army

7 News, ABC, Antonette Collins, April 1, 2014.

A former resident of the Bexley Boys' Home in Sydney has urged the public not to give money to the Salvation Army because children have been damaged by child abuse under its care. …

Day Two, Case Study 10 Hearings, Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse: Salvation Army (Eastern Territory)

lewisblayse.net, April 1, 2014.

… As has been covered in the media, it was another day of shocking abuse claims against the Salvation Army, including a heartbreaking account of his experiences by the witness known as ‘FE’. …

Ballarat Catholic diocese to host abuse forum

The Courier, Fiona Henderson, April 1, 2014.

Ballarat Catholic diocese vicar-general Father Justin Driscoll firmly believes in the “Francis Effect”. Since the election of Pope Francis in March 2013, Fr Driscoll believes people are finding their “humility to listen”. So the Ballarat Diocese Foundation has joined forces with world-renowned sexual abuse expert Professor Caroline Taylor to host a community gathering on child sexual abuse. …

Catholic Church pays abuse compensation from grant interest

The Australian, Dan Box And Justine Ferrari, April 01, 2014.

Child sex abuse victims are being compensated out of interest the Catholic Church earns from investing the billions of dollars it receives in government grants for schools. …

Abandon principles and pay the price

Brisbane Times, Michael Pascoe, April 1, 2014.

Cardinal George Pell is not normally mentioned in the same breath as Julia Gillard – it's the other side of politics that has been much closer to him – but the departed Prime Minister and departing Archbishop of Sydney have something in common that should stand as a stark governance warning to every board and CEO in the nation: they've been incalculably damaged by abandoning principles. …

Child abuse inquiry removes evidence from web

The Australian, Mark Schliebs, April 01, 2014.

A royal commission has taken the extraordinary step of removing more than a thousand pieces of evidence from public view because of concerns raised by the state government. …

Review payments to abuse victims: commissioner

The Australian, Pia Akerman, April 01, 2014.

Institutions should review all payments made to children in their care that had been sexually abused, according to the head of the royal commission examining the organisations’ responses. …

Child sex abuse inquiry barely scratches the surface of complaints


Almost 150 paedophiles have been reported to police by the royal commission into child sex abuse as it investigates 13 ­institutions and more than 30 victims have come forward. …There are 168 institutions, including orphanages and residential schools, where five or more victims have spoken to the commission. It said 62 per cent of complaints involved abuse in a religious ­institution, most of them Catholic. …

2014 Families Australia Oration

Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, The Hon. Justice Peter McClellan AM, March 31, 2014.

On 10 April 1874, the New York Times carried an account of the evidence given by a nine year old girl in the Supreme Court of New York on the previous day. It was the chilling story of the mistreatment of an orphan who had been placed into the care of people by the name of Connolly. Mrs Connolly, who the child was required to call Mamma, was later convicted of her felonious assault. …

Child sexual abuse Royal Commission focuses on WA's Kimberley region

WA Today, Aleisha Orr, March 31, 2014.

… In its second visit to the Kimberley, Royal Commission staff are meeting with Aboriginal and other community organisations and service providers in Broome and Kununurra from March 31 to April 11. … "We strongly encourage all survivors who wish to share their story, particularly in a private session with a Commissioner, to register their interest with the Royal Commission," Ms Dines said. …

The Fight to Reveal Abuses by Catholic Priests [w/ video report]

USA, New York Times Retro Report, , March 30, 2014.

Cardinal Edward M. Egan, the former Roman Catholic archbishop of New York, … embodies a certain mind-set among some in the highest clerical ranks. It is an attitude that has led critics, who of late include the authors of a scathing United Nations committee report, to wonder about the depth of the church’s commitment to atone for past predations and to ensure that those sins of the fathers are visited on no one else. …

Cardinal defends Vatican abuse policy

SBS (Australia), AAP, March 30, 2014.

Italy's Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco has defended a Vatican policy exempting bishops from having to report suspected child sex abuse to the police. …

Cardinal George Pell — the man of God we know

Sunday Herald, Ruth Lamperd, March 30, 2014.

… Young George hit 6 ft 3 (1.9m) by the time he was 15. He was commanding and jovial, the centre of boarding house social life. … His liturgical accent would have been at home in the wooden panels of a courtroom. At least two of his former classmates could more easily see a black lawyer’s gown billowing about his broad shoulders, a white wig on his head, not a cross hanging by a chain around his neck. …

Law triggered after Muswellbrook priest abuse claims

Newcastle Herald, Joanne Mc Carthy and Gabriel Wingate-Pearse, March 30, 2014.

The Office of the Children’s Guardian is conducting a risk assessment of a Muswellbrook Catholic priest over historic child abuse allegations. Father John Alexander stood aside from parish ministry in November last year after the allegations triggered the need for a risk assessment under new child protection legislation. …

Church fought abuse claimants tooth and nail

Sydney Morning Herald, Catherine Armitage, March 29, 2014.

The now infamous case of the brilliant lawyer and sex abuse survivor John Ellis before the child sex abuse royal commission has laid bare for the first time not just the Sydney Catholic archdiocese's wealth but the cold, dark heart of its handling of child sex abuse complaints. …

 Melbourne Archbishop to discuss removing abuse victim payment cap

ABC – AM, Alison Caldwell, March 29, 2014.

The parents of two abuse victims say they want the Catholic Church to act urgently to remove a cap on payment to abuse victims. Anthony and Chrissie Foster say Australia's most senior Catholic, Cardinal George Pell, this week personally promised them that the $75,000 cap would be abolished. …

Cardinal George Pell and Catholic bishops have seriously overdrawn their moral credit

Canberra Times, Jack Waterford, March 29, 2014.

Cardinal George Pell, former archbishop of Sydney, has departed for Rome to take charge of Vatican finances. His last acts in Sydney involved rationalising the contradictions in his leadership style caused by the chasm between moral and spiritual leadership of his community, and legal and fiduciary management of its assets and finances. For 30 years his has been the authoritarian, cold, unfeeling, and arrogant face of the church corporate in Australia. …

A cup of tea with the cardinal: what George Pell did in the Ellis case

The Guardian (UK), David Marr, Friday 28 March 2014.

… Pell looked weary but cheerful. Less than four hours before appearing in cope and mitre under the arc lights of the cathedral, he had been in the witness box of the royal commission into institutional responses to child abuse delivering one last apology to John Ellis. Some of the time since had been spent praying at the shrine of St Mary MacKillop. …

The Religion of the Humble? Cardinal Pell and the Peril of Institutional Atheism

ABC - Religion and Ethics, Scott Stephens, March 28, 2014.

Prior to entering the conclave that would elect him as Bishop of Rome, Jorge Mario Bergoglio took the opportunity to warn his brother Cardinals against succumbing to an "evil which is so grave" - that of spiritual worldliness. This admittedly strange term was not Bergoglio's at all, but rather comes from the remarkable final meditation of Henri de Lubac's book, The Splendour of the Church. …

With such a faulty memory, how can George Pell rise so high?

The Age, Peter FitzSimons, March 28, 2014.

The Cardinal George Pell's testimony at the royal commission? I just don’t get it. Not simply the staggering lack of genuine contrition from one who has presided over an era that has seen the widespread sexual abuse of children at the hands and worse of priests whose care they were entrusted to. And not only because so much of his testimony seemed to contradict the sworn testimony of so many of his underlings. No, most amazing was his use of the ‘‘I can’t recall,’’ answer when it came time to discuss financial transactions to compensate victims as recently as 2007. What I don’t get is – all put together – how someone so totally exposed as being at best incompetent and always so very vague, can rise to the third most powerful position in the worldwide Catholic Church?

 Pell closes with a profuse apology to abuse victim Ellis

The Australian, March 28, 2014.

Cardinal George Pell has marked the end of his appearance before the royal commission into child sexual abuse with a public apology for the suffering endured by abused former altar boy John Ellis. …

Child rights advocates reject Australian cardinal’s apology over Catholic sex abuse

The Raw Story, Agence France-Presse, March 28, 2014.

Child rights advocates on Friday rejected an apology from Australia’s top Catholic cleric George Pell over sex abuse in the Church, saying it was “hypocritical” and lacked credibility. … A spokeswoman for advocacy group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), Nicky Davis, said the apologies were “completely hypocritical” and Pell showed no emotion when addressing Ellis. “His tone was completely flat, there was no emotion, no humanity there … that’s not how you apologise to someone,” she said. …

Rape victims' parents say George Pell vowed to review Church compensation payments

ABC News Lateline, Hamish Fitzsimmons, March 28, 2014.

Cardinal George Pell has told the parents of two child sex abuse victims the Church will review its compensation payments, even if it costs hundreds of millions of dollars. … The Fosters met Cardinal Pell after his appearance at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Sydney yesterday. Last night's meeting was very different to when the Fosters first met with then Archbishop Pell over a decade ago, when they emerged feeling bullied and scorned. …

Child sex abuse royal commission: Salvation Army victim says he was beaten and held in solitary confinement at Riverview Farm

7 News, Thomas Oriti, March 28, 2014.

… A man known only as JE has told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse that when he was a young boy he was forced to protect his sisters and mother who were being abused by his father. …

Salvation Army locked boy in room for days without toilet, royal commission told

Sydney Morning Herald, Paul Bibby, March 28, 2014.

A man who was locked in solitary confinement for days without a toilet at a Salvation Army boys home says the organisation's "redress scheme" effectively continued the abuse, likening the organisation's uniformed officers to "the Gestapo". …

Salvation Army officer abused girl then married mother, royal commision told

Sydney Morning Herald, Paul Bibby, March 28, 2014.

A woman who was repeatedly sexually abused by a Salvation Army officer from the age of four later watched in horror as her mother married the man, the Royal Commission has heard. … "I remember around Christmas my mother told me that she was going to marry him," the woman, now 40, told the Commission. …

Child sex abuse royal commission: Victims tell of anger at Salvation Army over sexual and physical abuse at children's homes

ABC News, Thomas Oriti, March 28, 2014.

A woman has told an inquiry she was whipped, humiliated and denied basic needs at a Salvation Army children's home in Queensland. … Cherryl Eldridge today became the first woman to tell the commission of abuse at the hands of Salvation Army officers, and also criticised the charity's treatment of abuse victims. …

Ethics of Cardinal Pell's lawyers under microscope

Illawarra Mercury, Richard Ackland, March 28, 2014.

The joy of commissions, royal or otherwise. In a place where the rules of evidence don't get in the way of finding the truth, a good commissioner or counsel assisting can really fire up the proceedings. And commissioner Peter McClellan with counsel assisting Gail Furness, at the royal commission into child sex abuse, are on fire. …

Pell to review compensation payments

Sky News, March 28, 2014.

Cardinal George Pell has promised to review compensation payments for Melbourne church abuse victims and has conceded it may cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Cardinal Pell met with Anthony and Chrissie Foster, whose two daughters were abused by a priest in Melbourne and told them a cap on payments would be eliminated. …

Abuse victims ridicule George Pell's apology

Newcastle Herald, March 28, 2014.

Cardinal George Pell’s apologies to victims of sexual abuse by priests and others within the Catholic Church have been labelled hypocritical by an advocacy group. … Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests leader Nicky Davis said both apologies were ‘‘completely hypocritical’’.

Anti-abuse groups dismiss Australia cleric apology [w/ video]

Press TV (Iran), March 28, 2014.

Child rights advocates have dismissed as “hypocritical” an apology from Australia's senior Catholic cleric George Pell over sex abuse in the Church. …

Abuse victims criticise Pell apology

SBS, AAP, March 28, 2014.

A group representing victims of sex abuse by clergy are unhappy with Cardinal George Pell's apology. … He used his farewell sermon at St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney on Thursday night to "apologise once again to the victims and their families for the terrible suffering that has been brought to bear by these crimes". … Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) leader, Nicky Davis, said both apologies were "completely hypocritical". …

Joanne Mc Carthy: Moral leadership lacking

Newcastle Herald, Joanne Mc Carthy, March 28, 2014.

Cardinal George Pell has failed as a moral leader. Abysmally and absolutely.

He failed in 2004 and 2005, when he accepted John Ellis’s allegations he was sexually abused by a priest were true, but instructed lawyers to ‘‘vigorously’’ and ‘‘strenuously’’ defend the matter in court. In Pell’s own words this week to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, from a ‘‘Christian point of view’’ the Church did not deal fairly with Ellis. …

Salvation Army boy’s home abuse victim refuses apology, inquiry hears

The Guardian, AAP, Friday 28 March 2014.

A man kept in solitary confinement in a boy's home run by the Salvation Army, in which he was made to sleep where he defecated, has vehemently refused to accept an apology for the abuse he suffered, the Royal Commission into Institutional Abuse was told on Friday. …

Salvation Army commander accused girl of lying in sex case

Daily Telegraph, Sarah Crawford, March 29, 2014.

… Envoy John Lane was sentenced to jail in 1997 for indecently dealing with the woman, known as JG, and abusing another girl, JD, from the age of four at the Fortitude Valley Salvation Army Corps in Brisbane in the 1970s. … The women told the child sex abuse royal commission that Colonel Everitt warned them not to call police or go to the media about Lane. …

Jeff Kennett warned Pell to deal with abuse

WA Today, Josh Gordon, Catherine Armitage, March 28, 2014.

Jeff Kennett has confirmed he bluntly warned Cardinal George Pell in the 1990s to resolve allegations of child sexual abuse or possibly face a royal commission. …

Former Chabad youth leader accused of sex crimes found dead

Sydney, Haaretz (Israel), March 28, 2014.

A former Chabad-Lubavitch youth leader in Melbourne accused of child sex crimes has been found dead in a suspected suicide on Thursday, triggering acrimonious accusations that “community vigilantes,” “thugs” and those who conducted “trial by media” have “blood on their hands.” The body of Aron “Ezzy” Kestecher, 28, was found in his apartment on Thursday. …

Australia Chabad Sex Abuse Suspect Aron Kestecher Kills Self

Jewish Daily Forward, March 28, 2014.

Aron “Ezzy” Kestecher, a former Chabad-Lubavitch youth leader in Melbourne who was accused of child sex crimes, died in a suspected suicide. Kestecher, 28, was found dead in his apartment Thursday. He was accused of multiple allegations of child sex abuse against minors and was due to face court in June, police confirmed Friday. …

Salvation Army developed 'matrix' to calculate payouts to abuse victims, commission hears

Sydney Morning Herald, Louise Hall, March 27, 2014.

The Salvation Army took a "largely litigious approach" towards victims of horrific physical and sexual abuse, especially those who sought compensation payments, a royal commission has heard. …

Thus Spake Mungo #120 Pell and Hell


Published on Mar 27, 2014

Cardinal Pell's recent appearance in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse leads Mungo to want to draw his attention to the correlations between criminal law and the Gospel According to St Matthew.

Cardinal George Pell’s sex abuse peace offer: the Catholic Church should pay for bad priests

NEWS.com.au, March 27, 2014.

Victims of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church should be able to sue priests, or their estates if they have died, and the church should pick up the bill, Cardinal George Pell said yesterday in a major shift of attitude. He told the royal commission he would like some legal clarification on whether that could operate retrospectively, in a move that would finally open up the church’s billions for court-ordered verdicts. …

Salvos back at child abuse inquiry

SBS, AAP, March 27, 2014.

… The second public hearing by a royal commission into how the Salvation Army handled allegations of child sexual abuse opens in Sydney on Thursday. The inquiry follows one in January, which revealed extensive abuse at four homes run by the Christian organisation in NSW and Queensland. …

Cardinal George Pell regrets legal strategy used against victim John Ellis

Sydney Morning Herald, Damien Murphy, March 27, 2014.

''Do you understand now from your learning in the area of the effect and impact of child sexual abuse that the impact it had on John Ellis to have the very church he had gone back to dispute that he had ever been abused?'' The rain outside had streaked the windows with tears when Gail Furness, senior counsel assisting the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse suddenly turned the Catholic Church into a perpetrator. … Cardinal Pell: ''I regret that.'' Ms Furness: ''Only regret, Cardinal?'' …

What we did to victim was unchristian: Pell

The Australian, Dan Box, March 27, 2014.

… he former archbishop of Sydney said yesterday he regrets the way the litigation was handled and had been motivated by a desire to protect the church's trustees, who control its wealth. During his second full day in the witness box, the cardinal said he had long been concerned that the Australian church might face similar abuse claims to those that had bankrupted several dioceses in North America. …

George Pell admits deliberately discouraging victims from suing

Sydney Morning Herald, Catherine Armitage, March 26, 2014.

… Pell said his instructions to "vigorously" and "strenuously" defend claims by John Ellis that he was abused were intended to discourage claimants, so they would "think clearly" before litigating against the church. … Gail Furness, SC, counsel for the Royal Commission, asked: “Do you understand now the impact it had on John Ellis, to have the very church that he had gone back to … to dispute that he had been abused?” “I do”, Cardinal Pell responded. …

George Pell approved use of a court ‘tactic’ against abuse claims

The Australian, March 26, 2014.

Cardinal George Pell personally endorsed his lawyers’ decision to dispute in court that a child victim had been sexually abused by a priest, despite himself believing the abuse had taken place, a royal commission has heard. …

Cardinal Pell regrets cross-examination of abuse victim John Ellis [w/ audio]

ABC - The World Today, Emily Bourke, March 26, 2014.

… Cardinal George Pell conceded that it was a mistake to not enter into mediation at the start of the legal process which was so damaging for Mr Ellis, but he maintained he was not responsible for making that decision. … While Cardinal Pell endorsed the overall strategy, he says he wasn't involved in each and every legal manoeuvre. …

George Pell was set on limiting compensation, royal commission hears

Sydney Morning Herald, Catherine Armitage, March 26, 2014.

Cardinal George Pell has admitted he wanted to avoid big damages verdicts such as those made against the Catholic Church in America when he set up the Melbourne Response to deal with child sex abuse complaints with a $50,000 cap on payouts in the 1990s. … The Cardinal’s moral choices in dealing with sex abuse cases have come under sustained challenge at the Royal Commission. …

George Pell tells sex abuse royal commission case against John Ellis was unfair 'from a Christian point of view'

ABC News, Thomas Oriti, March 26, 2014.

Cardinal George Pell says that from a "Christian point of view", the Church did not deal fairly with former altar boy and sex abuse victim John Ellis. … "Any reservations I might have about particular stands of our lawyers, I would not want to suggest that they did anything improper," he told the hearing. …

Bankruptcies in abuse cases worry Pell

Sky News, March 26, 2014.

Cardinal George Pell was worried by sexual abuse case payouts that had bankrupted some US churches and wanted to prevent similar payouts in Australia, an inquiry has heard. … He denied, however, that he wanted sexual abuse victims to go through the Catholic church's internal system, Towards Healing, rather than the courts, so that the church could control the size of payouts. …

Australian Cardinal Pell Admits Limiting Compensation to Sex Abuse Victims, Afraid Church Will Go Bankrupt

International Business Times, Esther Tanquintic-Misa, March 26, 2014.

Australian Cardinal George Pell, who is set to become Vatican's keeper of finances, on Wednesday admitted limiting compensation to victims of sex abuse because of fears the Archdiocese of Sydney will go bankrupt. … Cardinal Pell also said he could not accept that the church will issue payouts to its victims more than any other institution in Australia. …

RC NSW, Newcastle Herald, "WATCH LIVE: Cardinal George Pell at Royal Commission", March 26, 2014.

Cardinal Pell makes it hard to forgive

Herald Sun, Wendy Tuohy, March 26, 2014.

Hearing and reading Cardinal George Pell’s words in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, you may wonder where his lofty role as His Eminence Catholic Archbishop of Sydney and his day-to-day vocation as a caring leader of children, adults and families intersected — if at all. …

 Cardinal Pell defends lawyers as honest, but unfair to victim [w/ audio]

ABC News, Emily Bourke, March 26, 2014.

The child abuse Royal Commission has exposed the moral failings of the Sydney Archdiocese in fighting the case brought by former altar boy and abuse victim John Ellis. The outgoing Archbishop of Sydney, George Pell, has conceded that he endorsed the overall strategy of the church's legal team, but he admitted that Mr Ellis was not treated fairly from a Christian point of view and the compensation offers to Mr Ellis were mean and grotesque. …

'It's a mystery to me': George Pell pleads ignorance over abuse case

The Guardian (UK), David Marr, March 26, 2014.

Amazing claims are fine in the pulpit. You expect to hear them any time in a cathedral. But not at a royal commission. George Pell was being asked to explain how his absolute conviction that John Ellis was abused as a boy by Father Aidan Duggan – a belief based on a five-month investigation by a church assessor – squared with the instructions he gave to contest the abuse in the New South Wales supreme court. …

Abuse case challenge 'was not denial':Pell

The West Australian, Peter Trute, March 26, 2014.

… Dr Pell, appearing before the royal commission into child sexual abuse, admitted the Catholic church did not deal fairly with victim John Ellis "from a Christian point of view", but in a legal sense it did nothing improper. He said he defended the Ellis case vigorously to discourage other complainants from going to court, revealing he was worried that payments for abuse cases in the US sent some churches bankrupt and he wanted to ensure similar situations could not occur in Australia. …

RC NSW, Sky News, "Gallery stunned by Pell evidence", March 26, 2014.

RC NSW, Sky News, "Abuse case handling unfair, says Pell", March 26, 2014.

Cardinal George Pell tells Royal Commission he never told church lawyers to deny sex abuse of altar boy John Ellis

Daily Telegraph, Janet Fife-Yeomans, March 26, 2014.

What is the difference between disputing and denying? Quite a lot, according to Cardinal George Pell today. He said that he had never told the church’s lawyers to deny that former altar boy John Ellis has been sexually abused by a priest when he sued the Sydney Archdiocese. He only accepted legal advice that they make Mr Elllis “prove” it. … Ms Furness; “You are making a distinction, are you, between disputing that something occurred and denying it?” Cardinal Pell: “Yes, very definitely.” …

Pell: Vigorous defence against Ellis was to deter other claimants

The Guardian, Helen Davidson, March 25, 2014.

The “vigorous” defence against abuse victim John Ellis was seen as an opportunity to show future claimants they should think twice before litigating against the Catholic Church, Cardinal George Pell has admitted. Ellis’s claim was an “attack” on the trustees of the Catholic Church by people who were not “entirely reasonable”, Pell told the royal commission into child sexual abuse. …

Sydney Archdiocese worth over a billion dollars [with video]

ABC News, Lucy Carter, March 26, 2014.

The Chancellor of the Sydney Archdiocese of the Catholic Church has told the Royal Commission into the institutional response to child abuse that the Archdiocese controls 1.2 billion dollars and turns a multi-million dollar profit every year. … Lucy Carter reports. …

Royal commission into child sex abuse told of incredible wealth of Sydney’s Catholic Church, but no cash for alleged victims of sex abuse [w/ video]

NEWS.com.au, March 26, 2014.

The Catholic Church’s Sydney Archdiocese controls an incredible $1.238 billion in funds — most of it tax free. … The archdiocese’s cash reserves are $321 million and the church has been making a profit of up to $43 million a year through investments since 2001. But the commission has been told that, instead of settling former altar boy John Ellis’s sexual abuse claim for the $100,000 he asked for, it offered him just $30,000 and then spent $1.5 million fighting him in court. Most claims are settled for between $50,000 and $70,000. … The funds are ultimately controlled by the archbishop, who since 2001 has been Cardinal George Pell. …

Dickens tale of the 21st century tells of the bleakest house

Sydney Morning Herald, Kieran Tapsell, March 26, 2014.

Remember Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol? Ebenezer Scrooge is a cantankerous miser who thinks Christmas is all humbug. He is visited by the ghost of his deceased business partner, and, as a result of a series of apparitions, he has a change of heart. He decides to spend the rest of his life being generous. Cardinal George Pell never thought that the claims of clergy sexual abuse victims were humbug, although a number of his colleagues in the Vatican certainly did. …

Bishop sidesteps abuse claims

The Australian, Mark Schliebs, March 26, 2014.

… During the final day of a public hearing in Adelaide on Monday, Archbishop Wilson had a long witness statement tendered to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse that outlined his involvement in dealing with such allegations. He said in the statement that he began implementing the church’s Towards Healing processes soon after being appointed Bishop of Wollongong in 1996, and was a member of a bishops’ professional standards committee. … But only four paragraphs in the 22-page statement mention … The NSW special commission of inquiry into child abuse … that identified him as one of several subjects of a police investigation into the alleged cover-up of crimes committed by serial pedophile priest Denis McAlinden. …

Confession must be subject to mandatory reporting

The Age, Bryan Keon-Cohen, Joseph Poznanski, March 26, 2014.

The absolute confidentiality of the Catholic Church's confessional puts vulnerable children at risk. … While the Catholic Church appears willing to accept the Victorian parliamentary committee's recommendations in its report Betrayal of Trust, the church hierarchy rejects the application of a mandatory reporting regime to the sacrament of Penance, that is, the Confessional. … The Victorian inquiry had broad terms of reference and dealt with religious and non-religious institutions throughout Victoria. …

Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney controls $1.2bn, royal commission hears

The Australian, Dan Box, March 25, 2014.

THE Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney controls funds with combined assets of over $1.2 billion dollars that provide the church with multi-million dollar profits every year, the royal commission has heard. … Daniel Casey, the archdiocese’s business manager, said the funds were “ultimately owned and controlled by, if you like, the archbishop of the day ... the archbishop controls these funds.” Most of the money is controlled by two funds, the commission heard, the Catholic Development Fund and the Procuration Fund, which last year held gross assets of $810 million and $426 million respectively. …

Sydney's Catholic Archdiocese has assets over $1 billion, royal commission told

Sydney Morning Herald, Catherine Armitage, March 25, 2014.

… As the commission explores the church's handling of sex abuse claims, an unprecedented glimpse of the books was provided by the archdiocese's business manager, Danny Casey, who said the funds are “ultimately controlled by – owned by, if you like – the archbishop of the day”. … Since George Pell's appointment as archbishop in 2001, the archdiocese has received 204 claims and paid out just under $8 million to victims of child sexual assault, the commission has been told. Payments to “non-school victims” were $5.4 million. This included $740,000 for “boundary issues with adults”. The commission heard the archdiocesan funds have generated annual surpluses including $43.95 million (2007), $19.6 million (2006) and $9.1 million last year. …

Church and community leaders to face jail if they fail to report sexual abuse

Sydney Morning Herald, Josh Gordon, March 25, 2014.

People in positions of responsibility in churches, schools, sporting clubs, youth clubs or the government who fail to report potential paedophiles to the police will face up to five years in prison. New laws being introduced to Parliament on Tuesday will also make it an offence, carrying a maximum three-year jail term, for a person who fails to provide relevant information to police if they know or believe a child has been sexually abused. …"This sends a clear, unambiguous message to the Victorian community: if you are aware of child sexual abuse you must speak up, you must report it to the police," Dr Napthine said. "The era of cover up and silence is over." 

Opinion: Pell's legacy will be his skill at avoiding blame

Whitsunday Times, Owen Jacques, March 25, 2014.

Under questioning by the Royal Commission into child sexual abuse, Cardinal George Pell could not avoid being defensive. He was quizzed on the rules of the church's own "Towards Healing" program, a project designed to right the wrongs perpetrated by predators within the clergy. … Left with nowhere to move by Justice Peter McClellan, the Cardinal was stuck having to either concede wrongdoing or playing ignorant. … His formal statement to the Royal Commission attempts to paint the Italy-bound clergyman as remorseful, sincere and pained with regret. In person, he undermines the lot of it. …

Cardinal George Pell disputes evidence of his closest advisers at the inquiry at the royal commission into child sex abuse [w/ video]

NEWS.com.au, March 25, 2014.

Cardinal George Pell … The former Sydney Archbishop said three senior members of the church and his private secretary were incorrect on eight occasions when they gave evidence to the child sex abuse royal commission on his involvement and knowledge of the controversial case of former altar boy John Ellis. …

Pell admits mistakes, misunderstandings, muddling in Ellis case [w/ audio]

ABC News PM, Emily Bourke, March 25, 2014.

Australia's Cardinal George Pell has expressed regret over the mistakes in the way the church handled the complaint of John Ellis. He says he endorsed the legal strategy to vigorously defend and defeat the case in court, but he didn't have carriage of the day-to-day running of the matter. He's told the Royal Commission that his deputies in the Sydney archdiocese did not keep him in the loop on the financial negotiations, and it was a mistake to reject the offer to mediate with Mr Ellis. …

Royal Commission: George Pell admits failure, wants major change

Sydney Morning Herald, Catherine Armitage, March 25, 2014.

The federal government should set up an independent body to assess what damages should be paid to child sex abuse victims and priests should be insured against being sued for sexual abuse, Cardinal George Pell has told the royal commission on child sexual abuse. …

Cardinal George Pell faces angry protesters at abuse commission

Sydney Morning Herald, Damien Murphy, March 25, 2014.

… Australia's own turbulent cardinal, George Pell, had his own difficulties separating church and state before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse on Monday. The cardinal turned himself from a man of god into a man of law. After 4½ hours, the questioning was beginning to touch on the difference between moral and legal responsibility and the 73-year-old recently decamped Archbishop of Sydney had begun to be probed about why he had not settled with John Ellis, abused by his Bass Hill parish priest for nearly 10 years. …

Child sex abuse royal commission: Cardinal George Pell says he was not involved in discussions on compensation payments [w/ video]

ABC News, March 25, 2014.

Australia's most senior Catholic cleric, Cardinal George Pell, says he was not involved in discussions about compensation for a man who was sexually abused by a priest. ... Today Cardinal Pell apologised for the abuse, and admitted to a string of mistakes in how the Church responded to Mr Ellis over many years. …

Cardinal Pell says staff to blame for offers

Newcastle Herald, March 24, 2014.

Cardinal George Pell says he knew nothing about ‘‘grotesque’’ compensation offers made by the Catholic Church to the victim of a paedophile priest and he blames staff for the aggressive handling of the case. … He said Professional Standards Office director John Davoren was ‘‘muddled’’ and the former vicar-general and chancellor of the Sydney Archdiocese, Monsignor Brian Rayner, had ‘‘continually got hold of the wrong end of the stick’’. …

Pell disputes priest abuse complaint data

9 News, March 24, 2014.

Cardinal George Pell has disputed records that show the Sydney Archdiocese has had complaints against 55 priests of child sex abuse since 2001. … "I'm aware (of that data) but according to our statistics it's inaccurate," Dr Pell said. He said he had documents that showed there had been 91 complaints but quite a number were multiple complaints about individuals. …

Pell 'sorry' over church's handling of sex abuse case [w/ video]

9 News, March 24, 2014.

Cardinal George Pell has apologised and admitted he made mistakes in dealing with the case of a former altar boy who had been abused by a Catholic priest. Cardinal Pell, however, denied he had ever told Mr Ellis he had been the victim of "legal abuse" after his case made it to the Supreme Court. …

The church comes first for Pell

7 News, Annette Blackwell, March 24, 2014.

"I am not the sort of fellow who runs around blaming people for misunderstandings," Cardinal George Pell said on Monday. That was midway through his evidence to the child sexual abuse royal commission where he blamed a "muddled" John Davoren, the director of his Professional Standards Office, for giving him inconsistent advice on John Ellis. … Cardinal Pell also dumped on the former vicar-general and chancellor of the Sydney Archdiocese, Monsignor Brian Rayner, "who continually got hold of the wrong end of the stick". …

Archbishop Wilson admits St Ann's case could have been handled better [w/ audio]

ABC – PM, Samantha Donovan, March 24, 2014.

At the child abuse Royal Commission hearings in Adelaide, the Archbishop of that Archdiocese, Philip Wilson, has admitted that the cases of intellectually disabled children abused at the St Ann's special school could have been handled better. …

Adelaide archbishop says response too slow [w/ audio]

The West Australian, Margaret Scheikowski, March 24, 2014.

… Archbishop Philip Wilson told the royal commission he would have expected his predecessor to have put in place processes in 1993 which he himself instigated after learning of the abuse in late 2001. "If the matter was known it should have been dealt with in all the formal ways that are required," he told the commission on Monday. …

George Pell removed expression of regret from letter to abuse victim John Ellis

The Australian, Dan Box, March 24, 2014

… The original draft, prepared by the church’s former director of professional standards John Davoren, suggested an expression that the church “very much regret any hurt that you have experienced”. Dr Pell told the commission he removed the reference to regret because it was “illogical”. …

Cardinal George Pell Tells Royal Commission The Vatican Regarded Child Abuse Victims As 'Enemies Of The Church' - Like Nazis

Business Insider, Simon Thomsen, March 24, 2014.

Cardinal George Pell has told the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse that the Vatican regarded anyone claiming they were abused by clergy as “enemies of the church”, whose actions were “as the Nazis had done, and the Communists”. … “The attitude of some people in the Vatican is that if some people made accusations they were made by enemies of the church to make trouble and should therefore be dealt with sceptically,” he said during testimony this morning. …

George Pell: Vatican said enemies of the church made abuse allegations

Sydney Morning Herald, Catherine Armitage, March 24, 2014.

Cardinal George Pell has told the child sex abuse Royal Commission that the attitude of some people in the Vatican was that accusations against priests “were being made exclusively or at least predominantly by enemies of the church to make trouble and therefore should be dealt with sceptically". … Pell admitted in his statement to the commission that he “explicitly endorsed the major strategies of the defence” in the litigation which left Mr Ellis a broken man. …

Abuse victims should be able to sue Church, says George Pell [w/ audio]

ABC - The World Today, March 24, 2014.

… The outgoing archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, appeared before the inquiry in Sydney to answer questions about how the archdiocese is handling the case of John Ellis. … The Church vigorously defended and defeated the claim and set a legal precedent that the Church could not be sued. …

Pell in the box stays firm

Sky News, March 24, 2014.

Outside and inside the hearing room at the royal commission where Cardinal George Pell is in the witness stand, survivors of clerical child sex abuse are listening intently. … Sometimes, such as when the cardinal makes a statement like 'my own position is that you never disbelieve a complaint...', there are sighs. Sitting directly behind the long tables where lawyers for the commission, the church and abuse victims sit, is John Ellis - the man whose saga of sexual and then 'legal abuse' by the church is the reason for the hearing. …

Child sex abuse royal commission: Cardinal George Pell gives testimony in Sydney [w/ video]

ABC News, Thomas Oriti, March 24, 2014.

Australia's most senior Catholic cleric, Cardinal George Pell, has told an inquiry into child sexual abuse he should have exercised greater oversight in the case of a victim who sued the Church. … There are conflicting accounts of what Cardinal Pell, the former archbishop of Sydney, knew about the case when Mr Ellis sued the Church. … Last week Cardinal Pell's private secretary, Dr Michael Casey, told the commission the Church's vigorous cross-examination of Mr Ellis during the litigation process was wrong.

Cardinal Pell has said sorry over the Catholic church’s handling of altar boy sexual abuse case

Daily Telegraph, Janet Fife-Yeomans, March 24, 2014

* Cardinal George Pell ‘sorry’ about the handling of the sex-abuse case of altar boy John Ellis
* Australia’s most senior Catholic says church sex-abuse victims were akin to Nazis, communists and other ‘enemies’ of the church
* Pell maintains denial he told victim Ellis church also ‘legally abused’ him over Supreme Court defence

CARDINAL George Pell has said he is sorry … But he stopped short of totally throwing up his arms and denied that he had ever told Mr Ellis that he had been the victim of “legal abuse” after his case was vigorously defended in the Supreme Court. … “I did not use the term legal abuse. I did not regard the mere defending the litigation as legal abuse.” …

Pell says sexual abuse in church 'taken out of context'

My Daily News, Owen Jacques, Mar 24, 2014,

Facing questions from a Royal Commission, Cardinal George Pell said claims about the prevalence of child sexual within the Catholic Church may have been "taken out of context". … Later in the questioning, Cardinal Pell said he understood about 4% of Catholic priests were accused of child sexual abuse in Australia.

Royal Commission: George Pell says church 'had led the way' on addressing abuse

Sydney Morning Herald, Catherine Armitage, March 24, 2014.

“I call Cardinal George Pell.’’ On those words the man they’d all been queuing to see strode into the child sexual abuse Royal Commission hearing room, the last of about 150 people to take his seat. … It was a fumbling start as the emeritus archbishop of Sydney, who next Monday takes charge of the Vatican’s finances, admitted his statement to the commission had been incomplete. … But “whatever the deficiencies, I think we were ahead of some countries”, he said. ….

George Pell greeted at royal commission by protesters

The Australian, Dan Box, March 24, 2014.

Cardinal George Pell has been met at the royal commission into child sex abuse by people demanding that he tell the truth. … As he was driven into the car park, a placard saying “tell the truth to the Royal Commission” was pressed up against the window of his car. … On the Farrar Place side of the tower, where the hearing is underway on the 17th floor, the CLAN group added extra signage to the red placards calling on the Catholic Church to own up to its “sins”. …

Explainer: What is being examined at the Royal Commission this week?

SBS, March 24, 2014.

As the Royal Commission enters its third week into a hearing about the case of former altar boy John Ellis, SBS takes a look at what's being examined and what's to come. …

Pres. Obama Must Confront Vatican Like PMs Gillard & Kenny Did

USA, Christian Catholicism, Jerry Slevin, March 23, 2014.

Occasionally, for lucky politicians, the right thing to do is also the politically smart thing to do. President Obama will have such a rare opportunity on next Thursday (3/27). Obama then has his first meeting with Pope Francis. Obama will be able to directly confront Francis for failing to hold bishops accountable for facilitating priest predators. … When the courageous Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, set up over a year ago her Royal Commission to investigate institutional child abuse, reportedly 96% of Australians supported her decision to investigate child abuse. … Gillard has just superbly confirmed her strong commitment to the “rightness” of her Royal Commission decision in her generous tribute at the Memorial Service for the prominent and remarkable Australian activist, Lewis Blayse. The tribute was read earlier this month by his impressive daughter, Aletha. She is carrying on bravely her father’s advocacy efforts, as shown in her moving reading of Gillard’s speech in the video here: [lewisblayse.net]
Julia Gillard’s bold stand followed a similar one against the Irish bishops and the Vatican by the popular Irish Prime Minister, Enda Kenny, as shown in the video here: [New York Times] …

Pope Francis Irony in Vatican Appointments to Anti-Abuse Commission

USA, Guardian Liberty Voice, Lydia Bradbury, March 23, 2014.

Pope Francis is being hailed by many as a revolutionary pontiff, bringing the ancient Roman Catholic Church into the modern era by his openness and acceptance and even his sense of humor. …  In making his initial selections for the new Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, he is assuredly making great strides in the way the church looks at cases of child sexual abuse, but his other appointments to different positions reveal a certain amount of hypocrisy in his selection process. … The choice of the formidable Marie Collins to his new anti-abuse commission is a step in the right direction for Pope Francis. It clearly shows an intention to have the voice of the abused heard at the ground level of Vatican policy. … There is no problem with the Pontiff’s appointments to this commission, but some of his other appointments raise skepticism on how effectively he’s handling this new, anti-abuse direction. the appointment of Australian Cardinal George Pell as head of Vatican finances, who was called upon to testify at the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse, is particularly ironic. …

Vatican names victim Marie Collins on child abuse commission 

ABC News Australia Plus, March 23, 2014.

Marie Collins has been an outspoken campaigner for the rights of victims. A former victim of sexual abuse by priests will sit on a new commission created to root out paedophilia in the Catholic Church, the Vatican says. …

OPINION: Victims’ lives left destroyed, and confused, by child abuse

Courier Mail, Terry Sweetman, March 22, 2014.

Maybe it’s a defence mechanism, but lots of bad-taste bloke jokes in pubs revolve around dirty old men offering boiled lollies to children. … “Does the general public realise,’’ she asked, “that for every victim willing to testify there are as many people hiding in fear that their secrets will be exposed, ashamed of the past, feeling dirty and tainted, confused about their feelings for their abuser?’’… “He explained that what he did to me was helping him go to heaven and my reward was that he would take me with him. …

Royal commission: Pell instructed lawyers to fight Ellis claim 'tooth and nail'

Sydney Morning Herald, Catherine Armitage, March 22, 2014.

The Catholic Church's insurer insisted on being "kept in the loop" in the John Ellis case after lawyers expressed concern at Cardinal George Pell's "tooth and nail" approach, according to evidence at the child sex abuse royal commission. …

Victim offered no sympathy by dean of St Mary’s Cathedral

The Australian, Dan Box, March 22, 2014.

A teenager who told the dean of Sydney’s St Mary’s Cathedral he had been sexually abused was allegedly “humiliated” by the Catholic cleric, who had “a complaint file as big as the New Testament”, church lawyers have said. No record was kept of this 1983 complaint, which came to light 20 years later while the Archdiocese of Sydney was fighting a separate child abuse case, according to documents tendered to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The church continued to defend itself in court, the commission heard, even after learning this second victim was abused by the same Sydney priest, Father Aidan Duggan. …

Trust grew for bus driver

Sky News, March 21, 2014.

A school bus driver gained greater access to students because the level of trust grew between him and the principal, the royal commission into sex abuse has heard. Former principal Claude Hamam said the driver, Brian Perkins, started volunteering around Adelaide's St Ann's Special School by helping out in the woodwork shed, doing repairs around the school and mowing the lawns. 'At the time we had an element of trust that we had for all the staff there,' he told the commission on Friday. …

Priest walks from charges

Newcastle Herald, Joanne Mc Carthy, March 21, 2014.

… Magistrate Robert Stone found inconsistencies in evidence by a man, his mother and sister about an alleged sexual assault when the man was 9, which was allegedly disclosed to Father Fenton, were so significant there were no reasonable prospects a jury would convict him. But Mr Stone, in Newcastle Local Court yesterday, found there was evidence to show the boy was sexually assaulted by Frank Tully, a salesman with the Post group of newspapers, then owned by the Newcastle Herald, at Birubi beach between 1982 and 1984. …

St Ann's ex-principal admits 'judgment error' in saying police check had been done for paedophile bus driver [w/ video]

7 News, ABC, Candice Marcus, March 21, 2014

A former Adelaide school principal has admitted wrongly telling an inquiry he had done a police check on a bus driver who later molested pupils. Reading a statement to the royal commission into child sexual abuse, Claude Hamam said he had made an "error of judgment" by telling an internal inquiry in 2001 that he had made the checks on Brian Perkins. …

Former St Ann’s school principal who hired paedophile Brian Perkins ‘made mistake’ over police check

Daily Telegraph, Sally Brooks, March 21, 2014.

… Claude Hamam has told an inquiry into the handling of sexual abuse claims at the school that he deeply regrets stating that he did do a police check, at his first interview with the Catholic Education Office in 2001. … “I admitted at a subsequent interview with Catholic Education that I had not done a police check and I was accused of lying. …

Church failed in ‘moral duty’ over abuse

The Australian, Dan Box, March 21, 2014

The Catholic Church failed in its “moral responsibility” to a victim of child sexual abuse during a court case in which it denied his mistreatment ever took place, despite having evidence to the contrary, the royal commission has heard. … The first victim, John Ellis, ultimately lost his case in 2007, in a decision the church’s lawyers described as providing “a significant protection to the Cardinal and trustees” against other similar claims brought by abuse victims. …

Former St Ann's principal admits no criminal record check done on paedophile bus driver [audio report]

ABC News The World Today, Samantha Donovan, March 21, 2014.

The former principal of St Ann's special school in Adelaide, Claude Hamam, has admitted to the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse that he didn't do a criminal record check or verify the references of Brian Perkins, a convicted paedophile who went on to abuse about 30 children at the school in the late 1980s and '90s. …

Church denies contriving to deny abuse

Sky News, March 21, 2014.

… Dr Casey, Cardinal Pell's private secretary, told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse he was shown a June 2005 email from him to the church legal team which said the church-appointed assessor did find 'on the balance of probabilities' Mr Ellis was abused by Father Aidan Duggan. However, the email went on to say that the director of the Public Standards Office, Michael Salmon, had mentioned there were reservations about Mr Ellis's evidence and that as such the church authority had discretion to reject the assessor's findings. …

Joanne Mc Carthy: Applying the Jesus test

Newcastle Herald, Joanne Mc Carthy March 21, 2014

… Before concerned friends leap to the phone to check if I’ve succumbed to the demands of the past few years, can I just say I link Pell and Christ because the best way to consider the cardinal is by applying the ‘‘What would Jesus do?’’ test. He’s the most prominent Catholic in Australia so we should be lining up his words and actions against the teachings of the first Christian. Only then can we answer the question, does Pell practise what the church preaches? … The ‘‘What would Jesus do?’’ test will come in handy next week when Pell gives much-anticipated evidence at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. …

Catholic Education Office chief’s sorrow over abuse at St Ann’s Special School

Herald Sun, Sally Brooks, March 21, 2014.

The sexual abuse of intellectually disabled students was “shocking and appalling” and the handling of the case in 1991 was “unacceptable”, says the former director of the Catholic Education Office. Allan Dooley also apologised to victims of paedophile Brian Perkins, who worked at St Ann’s Special School in Marion more than two decades ago. …

Your kids are safe at Catholic schools, diocese tells parents

Gladstone Observer, Nicky Moffat and Scott Sawyer, March 21, 2014.

… The move was in response to the damning findings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse, which unearthed decades-old horrific evidence of sexual abuse within the church's ranks. … "As the director of Catholic education in the diocese of Rockhampton, I want to assure you that my highest priority is the safety of the children in our schools," Rockhampton Diocesan director of Catholic education Leesa Jeffcoat wrote to parents. …

Diocese sends mixed messages on reporting child abuse

Gladstone Observer, Nicky Moffat, March 21, 2014.

The Diocese of Rockhampton's policies contradict themselves on child sex abuse. And they send mixed messages. They state that anyone suspecting a child is in immediate danger should call the police, but also mandate that sexual abuse be reported to the principal or designated contact, and no one else. … A policy titled Student Protection refers to protecting children from harm, including self-harm, and points to student protection processes for detail on rules for dealing with abuse. A one-page policy on sexual harassment and bullying provides no definition of either, and points to relevant legislation. …

Royal commission: Email had tried to pin blame on John Ellis

Brisbane Times, Catherine Armitage, March 21, 2014.

An email sent by the Catholic Church's solicitor to its barristers suggested sex abuse victim John Ellis, as a boy of 14 or 15, used to "force himself" on the ageing priest who was sexually abusing him. … Royal commission chairman Justice Peter McClellan put it to Mr Dalzell that he knew the church had a "legally perfect" assessment from its own assessor concluding that Mr Ellis was telling the truth and that Mr Dalzell knew the church had other evidence that tended to support Mr Ellis' case. Yet "you sat there while your counsel put in dispute whether or not Mr Ellis was telling the truth about having been abused, that is the position isn't it?" "Yes," Mr Dalzell responded. …

Pell aide says court denial was wrong

The Australian, Dan Box, March 21, 2014.

… Giving evidence yesterday to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Michael Casey said he was "a conduit" between the church's lawyers and Cardinal Pell, who rarely uses a computer or mobile phone. The cardinal's instructions had been to "vigorously defend" the claim, brought by former altar boy John Ellis, who was sexually assaulted by a Sydney priest over several years during the 1970s, Dr Casey said. …

Child sex abuse royal commission: George Pell's private secretary grilled over legal tactics in John Ellis case [w/ video and audio]

ABC News PM, Emily Bourke, March 20, 2014.

Cardinal George Pell's private secretary has told the royal commission into child sexual abuse the Catholic Church's vigorous cross-examination of a victim during litigation was wrong. … Though a church-appointed assessor concluded Mr Ellis had most likely been abused, when the case came to trial, the church decided to fight him on that. …

Family seek disclosure from Catholic Church

Newcastle Herald, Joanne McCarthy March 20, 2014.

In a nursing home bed, a former Hunter nun, who was a priest's sexual partner from the age of 15, spends her days in the silences of advanced dementia while her brother demands the truth from the Catholic Church. The priest, Father Noel Geraghty of the Catholic order Oblates of Mary Immaculate, died in 2005 without the long-term relationship being acknowledged in public by the Church, although it has confirmed it in writing to the nun's family. …

Paedophile ring investigation shutdown 'sparked police anger', inquiry told

7 News, ABC, Candice Marcus, March 20, 2014.

… The inquiry into sexual abuse of children who went to St Ann's Special School in Adelaide has heard the police investigation was closed in 1993. Detective Senior Sergeant Walter Conte said no reason was given for closing the inquiry, but he had assumed it was due to a lack of resources. … "Certainly there was room for a continued task force at that time. I think hence people were justifiably angry at the management decision to stop at that stage. …

South Australian magistrate threw out paedophile charges, Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse told

Perth Now, Sally Brooks, March 20, 2014.

Police had difficulty successfully prosecuting paedophiles almost two decades ago, with one case thrown out by a magistrate who was himself later charged with child sex offences, an inquiry has heard. Detective Senior Sergeant Walter Conte has told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse charges were laid against a paedophile following a raid in 1993 but the matter was dropped. …

SA Catholic official apologises to victims

Courier Mail, Margaret Scheikowski, March 20, 2014.

A Senior Catholic education officer has apologised to the victims of "shocking and appalling" sexual abuse carried out by a bus driver who worked at an Adelaide special school. …

Lawyer: church instructed me to dispute John Ellis abuse report

The Guardian (UK), AAP, March 20, 2014.

A lawyer accused of evading his “ethical obligation” not to mislead during a priest abuse case has told a royal commission he was working on the instructions of the Catholic church. In a cross-examination at the child sex abuse hearing in Sydney on Thursday, commission chair Justice Peter McClellan questioned the ethical approach taken by solicitor John Dalzell. … Dalzell was a senior associate with law firm Corrs Chambers Westgarth when they were employed by the archdiocese to defend the Ellis case.

George Pell has held views on suing Catholic church 'for some time'

The Guardian (UK), AAP, March 20, 2014.

Cardinal George Pell has believed child sex abuse victims should be able to sue the Catholic church for some time, his private secretary has told a royal commission. … The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is looking at how the archdiocese of Sydney handled a complaint by John Ellis that he had been abused while an altar boy by Father Aidan Duggan at Bass Hill in Sydney’s southwest from 1974 to 1979.

OPINION: Children in care need protection of society

Newcastle Herald, Nicola Ross, March 19, 2014.

… At the very same time that the royal commission is in progress, we are hearing stories that must cast doubt on the question of whether we are really ready for change. The most recent story to emerge is related to paedophile gangs targeting children in residential state care in Victoria for sexual favours. …

Police pressured by archbishop to extradite pedophile bus driver

The Australian, Mark Schliebs and Louis Mayfield, March 20, 2014.

Police acted at the behest of Catholic Archbishop of Adelaide Philip Wilson in extraditing pedophile bus driver Brian Perkins in 2002 after earlier refusing attempts to bring him to justice in South Australia, the royal commission into child abuse heard yesterday. … Perkins - who abused and produced pornography of several intellectually disabled children from St Ann’s between 1986-91 - was extradited from Queensland in 2002, 11 years after police seized photographs of students at his home. Sergeant Ramm said senior police and the Director of Public Prosecutions knocked back his recommendation to have Perkins extradited in 1998 because it was deemed too expensive. …

Special school abuse royal commission: extraditing paedophile was deemed too expensive, inquiry hears

7 News, ABC, Candice Marcus, March 19, 2014.

Budgetary pressures prevented police from extraditing a paedophile school bus driver from Queensland to face court in Adelaide, an inquiry has heard. Bus driver Brian Perkins sexually abused up to 30 intellectually disabled students in the late 1980s and early 1990s while working at St Ann's special school. He was finally extradited to South Australia from Queensland in 2002, more than a decade after his offending was discovered. He died in prison in 2009. …

US priest to stand trial for sex attacks on four children

The Age, Adam Cooper, March 19, 2014.

… Bernard Joseph Hartman, 74, who voluntarily returned to Australia from the United States last year after Victorian authorities initiated moves to have him extradited, will stand trial on 14 charges of indecent assault, two counts of gross indecency with a girl under 16 and two of assault. After hearing more than two days of evidence in a committal hearing, magistrate Jo Metcalf on Wednesday found there was sufficient evidence for Brother Hartman to be found guilty. Brother Hartman pleaded not guilty to the charges. …

Innocence stolen by man of God: Vic victim

Melbourne, Australian Teacher Magazine, March 19, 2014.

A man allegedly abused by a Catholic Brother says he is still suffering more than 30 years after his innocence was stolen by a man of God. American Brother Bernard Joseph Hartman, 74, allegedly abused two boys and two girls at Altona where he was a teacher at St Paul’s College between 1976 and 1982. One of the victims told the Melbourne Magistrates Court the scars are still with him. …

Catholic Brother accused of child sex abuse was a sadist: court hears

ABC News, Sarah Farnsworth, March 19, 2014.

American Marianist Brother Bernard Hartman will stand trial over allegations he abused four children while a teacher at St Paul's College in Melbourne more than 30 years ago. … It is alleged Brother Hartman sexually assaulted two girls in their homes after he befriended their families. He is also alleged to have molested two students at the all boys college. …

Vic Govt urged to act faster on child abuse inquiry recommendations

ABC News, March 19, 2014.

Ballarat abuse survivors say the State Government has not moved quickly enough to implement recommendations from a Victorian parliamentary inquiry into responses to child sex abuse. … Ballarat abuse survivor Andrew Collins says some victims are becoming impatient waiting for the recommendations to be implemented, saying they want a clearer time line from the Government. … Premier Denis Napthine says the Government is acting on the report. …

Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse arrives in country Victoria [w/ video]

ABC News, Kate Stowell, March 19, 2014.

The first regional Victorian hearings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse are being held in Ballarat this week. ... Last year's Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry which produced the Betrayal of Trust report described criminal child abuse in the Ballarat Diocese in the 1970s as "systemic" and "undeniable". It is believed at least 40 suicides in the Ballarat area are linked to child abuse-related illnesses, including post traumatic stress disorder and depression. …

The Catholic Church and sex abuse

Brisbane Times, Bill O'Chee, March 19, 2014.

There is no doubt that the Royal Commission into Sexual Abuse has done much to confront the stain of child abuse. The most disturbing revelation has been how frequently the evil of abuse occurred inside institutions whose purpose was entirely contrary. The Salvation Army was one such institution, and the Catholic Church another. That doesn’t make these institutions bad, but we must understand how the abuse happened. …

South Australia’s top detective shut down investigation into paedophile bus driver Brian Perkins after his arrest in 1993, inquiry told

Daily Telegraph, Nigel Hunt, March 18, 2014.

The state’s most senior detective shut down an investigation into paedophile bus driver Brian Perkins after his arrest in 1993 that prevented further victims being identified, an inquiry has heard. The order, given by Assistant Commissioner Colin Watkins, angered the detectives involved … A visibly agitated Det Mosheev said Det Chief Insp Simons was “told to inform us to cease.’’ He said the detectives were not allowed to examine any material seized from Perkins when they arrested him, which included a large number of photographs of naked men and boys, or continue further inquiries to identify any other potential victims. …

Detective tells inquiry mistakes made in St Ann's investigation [audio report]

ABC News PM, Samantha Donovan , March 18, 2014.

A South Australia police officer has admitted to the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse that if he had checked for previous convictions or outstanding warrants for paedophile Brian Perkins he would have been arrested early in the investigation of the abuse of as many as 30 boys at the St Ann's Special School in the early 1990s. Detective Sargeant Leonid Mosheev also told the Commission it was absurd to suggest police had told the school not to tell parents of the abuse allegations. …

Detective 'horrified' to discover St Ann's special school sex abuse investigation shut down, inquiry hears

7 News, ABC, Candice Marcus, March 18, 2014.

A detective was "furious" and "horrified" that an investigation into a paedophile ring was prematurely shut down, a royal commission in Adelaide has heard. The inquiry, which is examining the sexual abuse of intellectually disabled students from St Ann's Special School more than two decades ago, today heard Assistant Police Commissioner Colin Watkins ordered the investigation cease in 1993. Detective Sergeant Leonid Mosheev was under intense questioning from Sophie David, who is counsel assisting the inquiry, throughout day two of the hearing into the case. …

Police boss tells of abuse inquiry fury

Sky News, March 18, 2014.

… Detective Sergeant Leonid Mosheev said that in September 1993 he had seized a large volume of material, including pornographic photos, from Adelaide school bus driver Brian Perkins. But not long after he was directed not to look at the exhibits or continue inquiries, which meant he could only rely on material obtained in August 1991. He said the direction came from then-assistant commissioner Colin Watkins after Operation Deny was set up in September 1993 to investigate four pedophiles, including Perkins. …

Cardinal Pell was 'giving instructions' as Catholic church fought abuse claims

The Guardian (UK), David Marr, March 18, 2014.

Claims by Cardinal George Pell that he had little to do with the conduct of the notorious Ellis case have been flatly contradicted by the church’s own lawyer in dramatic testimony on Tuesday to the royal commission into the institutional response to child abuse. …

Church was advised against costs chase

7 News, AAP, Peter Trute, March 18, 2014.

Cardinal George Pell knew the Catholic Church was pursuing an abuse victim for more than $500,000 in legal costs against the advice of its lawyers, the royal commission into child sex abuse has heard. … Paul McCann, a partner in law firm Corrs Chambers Wesgarth which acted for the archdiocese in the Ellis case, on Tuesday said he had told the church it should not pursue costs but his advice was not followed. Mr McCann said the church's insurers, Catholic Church Insurance (CCI) had "strongly taken" the position that "they had interests to underwriters that needed to be taken into account". …

Former Catholic Church official contradicts Cardinal George Pell on ex-gratia offer to victim John Ellis

7 News, ABC, Antonette Collins, March 18, 2014.

Archbishop of Sydney Cardinal George Pell was informed about an ex-gratia offer made to child abuse victim John Ellis, despite saying in a statement that he was not aware of it, a public inquiry has heard. … In a statement presented to the inquiry earlier this month, Cardinal Pell said he was not aware of ex-gratia offers made to Mr Ellis. But Monsignor Brian Rayner, who represented the Sydney Archdiocese and Archbishop Pell in Towards Healing matters in 2004, has contradicted that statement. …

Serial paedophile priest told rape victim she was 'God's little angel'

The Age, Mark Russel, March 18, 2014.

Gerald Ridsdale, one of Australia’s worst paedophile priests, told one of his victims: "It was the Lord’s work", a court has heard. Another victim said his belief that the Catholic Church hierarchy had known what Ridsdale and other priests were doing was reinforced by Cardinal George Pell’s evidence to the Victorian parliamentary inquiry into child sex abuse last year. …

Monsignor Brian Rayner reveals he ‘welled up’ when he took John Ellis to meet abuser Father Aidan Duggan in a nursing home

Daily Telegraph, Janet Fife-Yeomans, March 17, 2014,

… Cardinal Pell has told the commission in a statement that the reason the church fought legal action against a victim of child sex abuse was because he had been told the victim wanted millions - not just $100,000. However Monsignor Brian Rayner, the former chancellor of the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney, said today that he would have told the Cardinal, then an archbishop, that the victim, John Ellis, had suggested to settle for $100,000 through the church’s controversial Towards Healing protocol. …

 Catholic in Australia: Demographics, scandal underlie tectonic shifts

National Catholic Reporter, Tom Roberts, March 17, 2014.

Melbourne and Sydney, Australia: More than a hundred people turned out on a Sunday afternoon in late November to the crypt of historic St. Patrick's Church in Sydney for a presentation by a forensic psychologist on the sex abuse scandal jarring the Catholic community in Australia. During a question-and-answer session, a woman in the audience made a sarcastic reference to priests once thinking they were "ontologically different." The phrase provoked an immediate howl of laughter, as if she'd delivered a punch line of a joke. … A linchpin of that phenomenon -- a clergy standing "in persona Christi" and marked indelibly as something different from the rest of humanity -- is now as much taken for granted as a laughing point as it once was a tenet of faith. … it contained, like an exploration of Catholic DNA, a key to a striking transformation of Catholic life that appears to be occurring in regions where Catholicism once seemed a settled and unchanging reality. …

Disabled boy wanted to kill sex predator, Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse told

Daily Telegraph, Sally Brooks, March 17, 2014.

The mother of an intellectually disabled youth allegedly sexually abused by paedophile bus driver Brian Perkins two decades ago is still searching for answers from the Catholic Church, an inquiry has heard. After submitting a list of 35 questions to Archbishop Philip Wilson, Helen Gitsham told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse on Monday that she is still waiting for them to be answered. …

SA sex abuse boy took knife to molester [w/ video]

The West Australian, Andrea Nicolas, March 17, 2014.

An intellectually disabled boy became so angry at being repeatedly sexually abused by his school's bus driver that he put a knife to the man's face, an inquiry has been told. "I wanted to kill him, I wanted him to die," the now 38-year-old man told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse on Monday, at its first Adelaide sitting. …

Pell's statement to abuse inquiry disputed

Brisbane Times, Annette Blackwell, March 17, 2014.

A close associate of Cardinal George Pell has contradicted the former archbishop's assertion that he was unaware of how much money abuse victim John Ellis was seeking from the church. Monsignor Brian Rayner was chancellor and vicar-general of the archdiocese when Mr Ellis went through the internal church system of dealing with victims, Towards Healing. …

Intellectually disabled man speaks of abuse by bus driver at Royal Commission in SA [w/ audio]

ABC News The World Today, Sam Donovan , March 17, 2014

An intellectually disabled man has told the Royal Commission he was abused by a paedophile bus driver at his Catholic school in the early 1990s. The Commission is sitting in Adelaide for the first time to investigate how the Catholic Church and South Australian police handled the case of paedophile bus driver Brian Perkins, and how the victims and their families have been affected. …

Royal commission: Family fight Catholic Church after abuse by paedophile bus driver [w/ audio and video]

ABC News, Nina Tietzel, Loukas Founten, March 17, 2014

The case of a paedophile school bus driver who abused dozens of intellectually disabled boys will be the focus of this week's royal commission hearings in Adelaide. Brian Perkins already had a criminal record for sexual abuse when he began working at St Ann's Special School. He sexually abused up to 30 boys in the late 1980s and early 1990s, including Peter Mitchell's intellectually disabled son. …

George Pell knew abuse victim wanted just $100,000, monsignor tells inquiry

The Guardian (UK), AAP, March 17, 2014

Cardinal George Pell was told an abuse victim was seeking only $100,000 from the Catholic church, contrary to earlier evidence that Pell denied he knew the figure, a royal commission has heard. … Asked by counsel for the commission Gail Furness SC whether he had told Pell that Ellis and his wife Nicola had asked for $100,000 for counselling and accommodation costs related to the impact of the abuse, Rayner replied: “Yes, he would have been told that.”…

Special school abuse Royal Commission: Mother tells of son's nightmares and behavioural changes

ABC News, Candice Marcus, March 17, 2014.

The mother of an intellectually disabled boy abused by paedophile bus driver Brian Perkins has broken down on the witness stand at a royal commission hearing in Adelaide. … Perkins was not jailed until more than a decade after the abuse, and died in jail in 2009. …Many of the other parents whose children were molested by Perkins did not find out until years later, the inquiry was told. …

 Sunshine Coast home to hundreds of sex offenders, says cop

Northern Rivers Echo, Mark Furler, March 17, 2014.

A Sunshine Coast church accused of failing to take action against the man who killed Daniel Morcombe says it has removed four pedophiles from its congregation in recent years. Two of those were sent to jail. And a senior police officer, who has worked for more than 15 years in child protection and also attends the large Woombye church, said hundreds of registered sex offenders were living on the Sunshine Coast and thousands more across Queensland. …

 Priest defended despite earlier abuse

The Australian, Dan Box, March 17, 2014.

… Church documents tendered to the commission also show the priest, Aidan Duggan, worked as a chaplain in Sydney’s Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children and as “controller of a flourishing childcare centre” years after the first report of his abuse. The Archdiocese of Sydney spent years contesting Mr Ellis’s claim to have been sexually abused during the 1970s on the basis that Duggan was too infirm to be interviewed and there was no record of any other allegation against him. …

George Pell’s account of handling of abuse case contradicted

The Australian, Dan Box, March 17, 2014

A senior Catholic cleric has given a conflicting account to that of Cardinal George Pell about the church’s handling of a child sexual abuse case. …

Royal Commission: Monsignor admits swearing 'deceptive' affidavit

Sydney Morning Herald, Catherine Armitage, March 17, 2014.

A senior Catholic Church official has admitted he swore a "deceptive" and wrong affidavit for court proceedings in the John Ellis case, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to child sex abuse has heard. The Archdiocese’s Chancellor, Monsignor Brian Rayner, apologised that an affidavit he swore in the court proceedings in 2004 was "deceptive". He agreed he had information about the abuser Father Aidan Duggan's appointments to the parish of Bass Hill between 1974 and 1978. Yet he had signed an affidavit conveying the impression the church had no evidence Father Duggan was at Bass Hill during the years Mr Ellis alleged he was abusing him there except for 1975. "If the affidavit is deceptive then I regret that aspect,'' Monsignor Rayner said. He said he did not prepare it and did not read it carefully nor take the opportunity to correct it. …

Royal Commission hearings start in Adelaide [w/ audio]

ABC News AM, Samantha Donovan, March 17, 2014.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is sitting in Adelaide for the first time to investigate how the Catholic Church and South Australia Police handled the case of paedophile Brian Perkins who abused about 30 intellectually disabled children at St Ann's Special School in the early 1990s. A lawyer acting for several of the families says the Church must explain why it failed to alert most of the families to the abuse and the police must justify why it took them nearly a decade to bring Perkins to justice …

Church urges abuse victims to adopt mediation over litigation [w/ audio]

ABC News AM, Samantha Donovan, March 17, 2014.

Francis Sullivan is the chief executive of the Truth, Justice and Healing Council which is coordinating the Catholic Church's response to the Royal Commission. He spoke to AM about the about the St Ann's case. …

Sex abuse royal commission in Adelaide

Australian Teacher Magazine, March 17, 2014.

The royal commission into child sexual abuse is holding its first sitting in Adelaide to examine church and police responses to claims children were sexually abused at St Ann’s Special School. The school’s former bus driver, Brian Perkins, was arrested in 2001 on charges of sexually abusing profoundly disabled children at the school. …

Bishop Wright's call to forgive angers parishoners

Newcastle Herald, Joanne McCarthy, March 16, 2014.

Maitland-Newcastle Catholic Bishop Bill Wright has stunned parishioners by urging a community to forgive a ‘‘repentant’’ priest because ‘‘there is more joy in heaven over one repentant sinner than 99 just people’’. Bishop Wright, named as a possible replacement for Cardinal George Pell in the Sydney archdiocese, reinstated Father Des Harrigan to Taree in September last year despite noting the likelihood of ‘‘concern and distress’’ among some parishioners about the priest’s conduct. …

Parting thoughts from Cardinal Pell [comment]

Sydney Morning Herald, , March 15, 2014.

Cardinal George Pell has already said that he is deeply sorry for the Catholic Church's failings in responding to the rape of children by priests.

In the corporate blue and grey surrounds of the child sex abuse royal commission's 17th floor hearing rooms in Sydney's CBD next week he may repeat his undertaking to keep striving to make things better. He may declare himself on the side of the victims. …

Persuasive power of priests

Newcastle Herald, Joanne McCarthy, March 14, 2014.

In 1989 a couple travelled to an isolated farmhouse in the southern highlands for time alone. The mood was strained. … ‘‘Was something wrong?’’ she asked. There was, he said. The relationship was over. He could not continue to carry on with ‘‘a public and a private life’’. The man was Catholic priest Father Tom Knowles. The woman was Jennifer Herrick. In 1989 he was 42 and she was 35. He was on his way to becoming Australian head of his order, the Blessed Sacrament Fathers. …

'No such thing' as Ellis defence

SBS, AAP, March 14, 2014.

The country is waiting to hear from Cardinal George Pell what he really meant when he said victims should be able to sue the church in abuse cases. Is it all incense and mirrors or has the veteran Catholic warhorse George Pell dropped the drawbridge to let thousands of abuse victims storm the legal battlements of the church? …

Catholic official released from vow to give abuse evidence

Echo Netdaily, Annette Blackwell, March 14, 2014.

… Monsignor Brian Rayner was chancellor and vicar-general in the Archdiocese of Sydney when abuse victim John Ellis sought redress for abuse suffered when he was an altar boy at Bass Hill, in Sydney between 1974 and 1979. Monsignor Rayner told counsel assisting the commission, Gail Furness SC, that he had gone to the Papal Nuncio to be released from a vow of secrecy he took when he held the chancellor’s position in Sydney. …

Senior official tells royal commission that Catholic Church has ‘lifelong responsibility’ to child sex abuse victims

Daily Telegraph, Janet Fife-Yeomans, March 14, 2014.

… Church NSW director of professional standards Michael Salmon said he never confronted church authorities about it although he knew “all of the church authority … believed he was telling the truth.” Mr Salmon also had no doubts victim John Ellis was telling the truth about being sexually abused from age 13 by the late Father Aidan Duggan. Mr Salmon confirmed at the commission that the church’s own assessor had found in favour of Mr Ellis and a private investigator contracted by the church had reported he was telling the truth. …

Catholic Education blames procedural failures for Toowoomba school sex abuse

ABC News, Fidelis Rego and Belinda Sanders, March 13, 2014.

The head of Catholic Education for the Toowoomba diocese on Queensland's Darling Downs says a failure to follow procedure was to blame for sex abuse at a local school. …

Catholic Ed boss defends child protection policies

Queensland Times, March 13, 2014.

Catholic Education director for the Toowoomba diocese John Borserio has defended the organisation's child protection policies. Mr Borserio told ABC Southern Queensland that: "We had written procedures, we had good training, but in the end the compliance to that let us down. …

Church official believed priest guilty of John Ellis abuse

The Australian, Dan Box, March 13, 2014.

A senior Catholic Church official has contradicted the account given by Cardinal George Pell’s private secretary that the church had never accepted the truth of an abuse claim brought by the child victim of a Sydney priest. …

The Francis Phenomenon, or Media Infatuation? Reflections on the Anniversary of a Pontificate

ABC - Religion and Ethics, Scott Stephens, March 13, 2014.

There are indications the so-called "Francis effect" may be more of a media-driven epiphenomenon. But what happens when the media can no longer sustain their "progressive" narrative about the pope? The papacy is, to be sure, an office particularly susceptible to projection, to a sort of idolatrous fixation that cannot help but reflect back to us our own hopes and personal agendas. …

Church abuse crisis and the law

Eureka Street, Carmel Ross, March 13, 2014.

… The finding by the High Court that Australian law as it stands does not allow an individual to sue the Catholic Church is an untenable situation if our nation believes justice for individuals is important. The law will always have its limits, but the Ellis defence implies that no single part of the organisation to which the perpetrator Fr Duggan belonged — which conferred upon him the status and duty of a priest and to which he was bound by vows to obey and serve — is able to be held accountable in law for his illegal and immoral behaviour. The complexity of the Church as an organisation often defies understanding, even by many who have spent their lives in religious vows or on the Church payroll. Canon Law provides mechanisms for separation into smaller organisations such as parishes and dioceses, and often these establish a civil legal identity by incorporating as an association or company. Yet all remain part of the Church. This legal separation of so many entities within the Church sometimes allows issues of justice and accountability to fall through the cracks. …

Commission heads to Pell's home town

The Australian, Dan Box, March 13, 2014.

The royal commission will meet privately with victims of child sexual abuse in Ballarat next week, just days before Cardinal George Pell is expected to give public evidence in Sydney. …

Priest freed of vow of secrecy

Newcastle Herald, March 13, 2014.

A senior Catholic official had to be released from a vow of secrecy before he could freely give evidence to the royal commission into child sexual abuse. Monsignor Brian Rayner was chancellor and vicar-general in the Archdiocese of Sydney when John Ellis sought redress for abuse he suffered when he was an altar boy at Bass Hill, in Sydney, between 1974 and 1979. …

A daunting task or radical opportunity? The Catholic Church’s challenges in Australia

The Conversation, Joel Hodge, March 12, 2014.

… Pell’s time as Archbishop of Melbourne and, more recently, as Archbishop of Sydney was marked by a desire to bring Christ to the world, drawing on the emphasis of John Paul II. He expanded Catholic institutions (investing in Catholic schools, universities and social services), focused on the young and vocations (for example by bringing World Youth Day to Australia and reforming the seminary), maintained a constant public presence and cultivated political links. … Whatever we make of Cardinal Pell’s legacy, the next Archbishop of Sydney will certainly have large shoes to fill and, along with the whole church, some daunting challenges. The most immediate are twofold: the sexual abuse crisis, and the declining number of regular church-goers. …

PBS Int’l sells “Secrets of the Vatican” to SBS, TVN, TVI

Real Screen, March 12, 2014.

Distributor PBS International has sold 90-minute Frontline doc Secrets of the Vatican (pictured) to Australia’s SBS, Poland’s TVN and Portugal’s TVI. The Quicksilver Media-produced doc, directed by Antony Thomas, uses undercover footage and interviews with Vatican insiders to explore the scandals of Benedict’s papacy, such as the clergy sex abuse crisis, money laundering, Vatican Bank corruption and Vatileaks — the release of documents suggesting cronyism, power struggles, and blackmail allegations within the Holy See. “Antony Thomas and [executive producer] Eamonn Mathews have created an incredible piece of investigative journalism that brings to light many details about the Vatican of which the public has been largely unaware,” said Tom Koch, VP of PBS International, in a statement. “We expect this title to be in high demand when we bring it to MIPTV.”

Francis' Argentina abuse record questioned

National Catholic Reporter, Brian Roewe, March 12, 2014.

A U.S.-based group that operates a clergy sex abuse database has accused Pope Francis of remaining silent on clergy sex abuse during his time as archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina. The group BishopAccountability.org published Wednesday morning what it has called the first comprehensive analysis of Francis' abuse track record while he was Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio. The documents span the 15 years (1998-2013) he served as the head of the Buenos Aires church, as well as his time as president of the Argentine Episcopal Conference (2005-2011) and includes information on 42 accused Argentine clerics. Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of BishiopAccountability.org, said during his first year as pope, Francis has repeatedly attacked corruption in the church's finances but has "basically ignored" the abuse scandal. … The documents' release comes just one day before the one-year anniversary of the start of Francis' pontificate. In the last week, critics have begun to raise further questions of his response to clergy sex abuse after the comments he made last week.

Rome- Crucial records posted on Pope's abuse record; SNAP responds

Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, March 12, 2014.

Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests ( 314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com ). The most important documents in years about the Catholic abuse and cover up crisis have just been disclosed and they are chilling. They reveal how clergy sex crimes have been dealt with in Argentina when Pope Francis was a high ranking – sometimes the highest ranking – Catholic official there. [BishopAccountability.org]

Commission heads to Pell's home town

The Australian, Dan Box, March 13, 2014.

The royal commission will meet privately with victims of child sexual abuse in Ballarat next week, just days before Cardinal George Pell is expected to give public evidence in Sydney. The decision means the commission will be investigating alleged abuse in the Victorian city where the former Archbishop of Sydney was born and began his career, working alongside a number of pedophile priests. … The private meetings with about 10 victims and a wider community forum follow other informal interviews in Ballarat two weeks ago.

Church would not believe victims of abuse unless priest admitted it royal commission told

The Australian, Janet Fife-Yeomans, March 13, 2014.

A Catholic Church official would not believe a man had been sexually abused for years by a priest - unless the priest admitted it, the royal commission into child sex abuse heard yesterday. As part of the church's bungled handling of the claim by former altar boy John Ellis, the then-Archbishop of Sydney George Pell was told it was Mr Ellis's word against that of the priest, but the priest had never been questioned. … "As you are aware, this is not to suggest that you are disbelieved but that it has become a matter of one person's word against another." …

Royal Commission To Hold Community Information Forum In Ballarat

Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, March 12, 2014.

MEDIA RELEASE: The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse will be holding a community information forum in Ballarat on Wednesday 19 March 2014. …

Priest accused of abuse of altar boy John Ellis ‘not questioned by church’

The Australian, Dan Box, March 12, 2014.

… The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has heard that Cardinal George Pell was repeatedly briefed on the process of dealing with the claim, brought by former altar boy John Ellis. Mr Ellis contacted the church in May 2002 to say he had been sexually abused by a Sydney priest over several years during the 1970s. By the time of the complaint, the priest in question, Aidan Duggan, had dementia and was never questioned over the allegations. …

Royal Commission: George Pell participated in 'absence' of justice' for John Ellis

Sydney Morning Herald, Catherine Armitage, March 12, 2014.

… As Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal Pell was informed of Ellis’s complaint within a month of it being made in 2002. Documents tendered to the Commission reveal that from then on the Cardinal actively participated in a bumbling and insensitive process which defied the church’s own “Towards Healing” protocol. The result was an “absence of justice” for Mr Ellis according to an internal Archdiocesan review. Cardinal Pell was then and still is a member of the Australian Catholic Bishop’s Conference which set up the Towards Healing protocol with the warning that “if we do not follow the process and procedures of this document we will have failed our own criteria.” …

EDITORIAL: Cardinal George Pell's change of heart proves Child Sexual Abuse Royal Commission's worth

Courier Mail, March 12, 2014.

The abuse case brought against the Catholic Church by former altar boy John Ellis was by any measure a travesty of justice. …

Abuse redress up by $5000 after job loss

Sky News, March 12, 2014.

An offer of $25,000 to a victim of long-term sex abuse was not enough, the man who heads the Catholic Church's response office says. Michael Salmon, the director of the Catholic Church's Professional Standards Office (PSO) for NSW and the ACT, has told a royal commission that he always thought the Archdiocese of Sydney's offer to John Ellis was not enough. …

Victim alleges ‘vindictive campaign’

The Australian, Dan Box, March 12, 2014.

Lawyers acting for Cardinal George Pell privately told his office they had won a “conclusive victory” against a victim of child sex abuse, which placed “a number of significant obstacles” ahead of others seeking to sue the Catholic Church. … They show the church’s lawyers, Corrs Chambers Westgarth, recommended “a media campaign” to “capitalise on this result” and ensure other lawyers considering action against the church were aware of the court’s findings. …

Catholic Church won't budge on litigation defence, lawyer says

The Age, Jane Lee, March 12, 2014.

The Catholic Church continues to rely on the legal argument that it is incapable of being sued in negotiations with alleged child abuse victims, a day after Cardinal George Pell acknowledged they should be able to sue the church, a lawyer says. Melbourne lawyer Dr Vivian Waller said she had acted on behalf of victims in two pre-arranged settlement discussions with lawyers for two Catholic orders on Tuesday. She said the lawyers indicated, in relation to three separate victims' abuse claims, that they may still rely on a NSW Court of Appeal decision, which is often called the Ellis defence. The court held in 2007 that the church's property trust - its only legal entity - could not be held liable for the actions of priests. …

Catholic Church head George Pell told victim John Ellis he had been through 'legal abuse', royal commission hears [w/ video]

ABC News, Joanna Woodburn, March 12, 2014.

… Mr Ellis was abused by Father Aidan Duggan in Sydney between 1974 and 1979. Giving evidence to the royal commission, Mr Ellis recalled a meeting with the former Archbishop of Sydney and Australia's most senior Catholic, Cardinal Pell, in February 2009. Mr Ellis said he was surprised that Cardinal Pell had believed Mr Ellis was seeking millions of dollars, which would need to be defended, rather than an ex-gratia payment of $100,000. …

Catholic Church litigation in Ellis case was 'runaway train' [w/ audio]

ABC - The World Today, Emily Bourke, March 11, 2014.

… The Royal Commission has now been told that the Church's lawyers may have not given the full facts of the case to George Pell and that this may have contributed to the long, vigorous and expensive legal action. Our correspondent Emily Bourke has been monitoring the hearings in Sydney and she joins us now. …

Survivor of child sex abuse says he felt 'beset' by church’s legal response

The Guardian (UK), AAP, March 11, 2014.

A survivor of child sexual abuse at the hands of a Catholic priest has told a royal commission he felt “beset” by the church’s response to his litigation. … The commission is examining the treatment of John Ellis, who unsuccessfully pursued civil litigation against the church and Sydney archbishop Cardinal Pell for the abuse he suffered at the hands of Bass Hill priest Father Aidan Duggan as an altar boy. During a meeting in February 2009 with Pell and John Usher, chancellor of the Catholic archdiocese of Sydney, Ellis said Pell used the term “legal abuse” to describe the treatment of his litigation. …

George Pell was ‘out of the loop’ on decision-making in key abuse case: inquiry

The Australian, Dan Box, March 11, 2014.

… The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has heard the former Archbishop of Sydney was given misleading information about the case, which was brought by a former Sydney altar boy, John Ellis. … During a subsequent private meeting in 2009, Cardinal Pell apologised to Mr Ellis for the way the case was handled, saying he did not know Mr Ellis had previously offered to settle for a fraction of the amount the archdiocese ultimately spent on the case. …

Church offered abuse victim a deal

Sky News, March 11, 2014.

Lawyers acting for the Catholic Church and Cardinal George Pell offered to waive $500,000 in legal costs if a survivor of child sexual abuse agreed not to appeal against a court ruling. … Mr Ellis told the commission he understood the church had accepted as fact his abuse at the hands of Father Aidan Duggan at Christ the King's Church in Bass Hill, Sydney from 1974 to 1979. But when the matter reached court, church lawyers questioned his honesty. …

George Pell says abuse victims should be able to sue Catholic Church, royal commission hears [w/ video and audio]

ABC News, Joanna Woodburn, March 11, 2014.

Cardinal George Pell believes the Catholic Church should be able to be sued in cases of child sexual abuse, a royal commission has heard. His position foreshadows a major shift in policy that could pave the way for abuse victims to sue the Church. …

Aussie- Victims blast Cardinal Pell's comments as “disingenuous”

USA, Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, March 10, 2014

Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, … In a savvy public relations move before he testifies to a government panel, Cardinal George Pell now conveniently claims he's OK with Catholic officials being sued when they ignore or conceal clergy sex crimes. He's being disingenuous. …

Royal commission: Cardinal George Pell says child abuse victims should be able to sue Catholic Church

Sydney Morning Herald, Catherine Armitage, March 10, 2014.

… The turnaround in the church's approach to litigation by victims was revealed by senior counsel assisting the royal commission into institutional child sex abuse, Gail Furness, as it heard from witness John Ellis about his treatment by the Diocese of Sydney. "In his statement to the royal commission, the Cardinal says, 'Whatever position was taken by the lawyers during the litigation, or by lawyers or individuals within the Archdiocese following the litigation, my own view is that the Church in Australia should be able to be sued in cases of this kind','' Ms Furness said. Cardinal Pell is due to give evidence in person to the commission early next week. But Cardinal Pell's views do not yet open the floodgates for victims to sue, according to legal experts. A major restructure of the church in Australia to make it a ''suable entity'' as well as legislative change in each state would be required to give Cardinal Pell's words practical effect, Patrick Parkinson, a Sydney University law professor specialising in child sex abuse issues said. ''This is not going to happen overnight,'' he said. …

Church pursued abuse victim for costs [w/ video]

Sky News, Cameron Price, March 10, 2014.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney under then-Archbishop George Pell showed no concern for the well-being of sex abuse victim John Ellis as church solicitors fought him in court, a hearing has been told. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is examining the experiences of abuse survivor John Ellis when he went through the church's internal process Towards Healing and then civil litigation. …

Lawyers acting for Church run up $1.5m bill against victim who wanted to settle for just $100,000

Daily Telegraph, Matthew Benns, March 10, 2014.

LAWYERS representing Cardinal George Pell and the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney helped run up bills of $1.5 million against a victim of sexual abuse who had originally been happy to settle for just $100,000. …

Inquiry told Pell backs right to sue

Daily Telegraph, Annette Blackwell, March 10, 2014.

Australia's most senior Catholic Cardinal George Pell believes victims of child sex abuse should be able to sue the church. Revealed at a hearing of the federal Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Sydney on Monday, Cardinal Pell's position represents a major policy change from the church. …

Catholic Church says abuse victims should be able to sue [w/ video]

SBS, March 10, 2014.

… "The controversy over whether the Church can be sued or not needs to be clarified once and for all," Mr Sullivan told the ABC. "And we are saying that all bishops and all religious leaders need to make available a legal entity, appropriately covered with insurance and wealth, so that individuals can bring a claim of damages against it for matters of child sex abuse." "We're being emphatic about it and we are being clear because we believe it's in the interests of the community." …

Church under George Pell accused of showing no concern for abuse victim

The Guardian (UK), AAP, March 10, 2014.

The Catholic archdiocese of Sydney under then-archbishop George Pell showed no concern for the wellbeing of sex abuse victim John Ellis as church solicitors fought him in court, a hearing has been told. …

George Pell believes abuse victims should be able to sue Catholic church

The Guardian (UK), Helen Davidson, March 10, 2014.

… The public hearing, which began in Sydney on Monday, is the second chapter of the commission’s examination of the Catholic church, this time focusing on the response by the Sydney diocese and the church’s professional standards office (NSW/ACT) to the complaint of John Ellis. … Furness outlined the case ahead, which is predicted to stretch over two weeks. Among her opening remarks, Furness read excerpts from a statement given to the royal commission by Pell, which said in hindsight the Ellis litigation had caused him some concern. …

Abuse survivor shocked by Pell response

Sky News, March 10, 2014.

A victim of sex abuse says Archbishop George Pell 'slammed a door in his face' when he tried to pursue a claim against the church. …

Catholic Church signals major shift as Royal Commission investigates 'Ellis defence' [w/ audio]

ABC – AM, Emily Bourke, March 10, 2014.

EMILY BOURKE: The Catholic Church offered John Ellis $30,000 in compensation for the abuse he suffered as a teenager, and the subsequent trauma that destroyed his marriage and his career in a prominent Sydney law firm. He rejected the offer and took his case to court, but he lost in the NSW Court of Appeal in 2007. Over the next week, the Royal Commission will hear how the Church, and Australia's most senior Catholic cleric, George Pell handled the case. …

Child sexual abuse royal commission: Cardinal George Pell to appear before second hearing into Catholic Church, Ellis defence under examination

ABC News, Justine Parker, March 10, 2014.

… The commission's eighth public hearing will examine a landmark case that established what is known as the "Ellis defence", which suggests the Church is not liable for the criminal conduct of clergy. … It will also examine the outcome of his subsequent lawsuit against the church. …

Sexual abuse victim John Ellis resumes battle with Cardinal George Pell

Sydney Morning Herald, Catherine Armitage, March 10, 2014.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse will this week host the next bout of a 12-year battle over whether the Catholic Church can be sued for damages under common law, with lawyer and victim John Ellis once again facing off against Cardinal George Pell. … The Ellis case, which went to the High Court in 2007, has been a curse for victims seeking to sue the Catholic Church because it established in case law, in effect, that the trustees that hold the assets of a church diocese cannot be sued because they are not responsible for the diocese's activities. …

Royal commission provides an opportunity to further the Pell response [comment]

Sydney Morning Herald, Bernadette Tobin, March 10, 2014.

In 1996, just three months after he was installed as archbishop of Melbourne, George Pell established …  the Melbourne Response. Some months later, the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference established a similar process, called Towards Healing. There is debate as to the relative merits of the Melbourne Response and Towards Healing. No doubt each has its strengths and weaknesses. No doubt things can always be done better. … In the coming days, Pell will appear at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The inquiry will consider the experience of John Ellis, whose sexual abuse by a priest in Sydney between 1974 and 1979 was dealt with under the Towards Healing process. Ellis sued the offending priest, as well as Pell and the trustees of the Catholic Church (its ''body corporate'') in Sydney. …

Cardinal Pell will be called this week to give evidence at royal commission into child sex abuse

Daily Telegraph, Janet Fife-Yeomans, March 10, 2014.

… The Catholic Church is notorious for hiding behind what is known as the “Ellis defence’’, a NSW Court of Appeal ruling that means the church does not exist as a legal entity that is capable of being sued. … Cardinal Pell, soon to take up his new appointment in one of the church’s most senior jobs in Rome, is being called as a witness because he was named as a defendant in the case. Victims of sexual abuse s as well as lawyers will watch the questioning of Cardinal Pell closely. The commission is investigating the response of the church to Mr Ellis’ complaint and also to the church’s response to his civil legal claim. …

Tzedek receives government funding

J-Wire, March 9, 2014.

Child sexual abuse advocacy group Tzedek is one of eleven organisations singled out by the government to receive a share of $4.9 million in funding. Tzedek is Australia’s only dedicated organisation advocating for and supporting Jewish victims and survivors of child sexual abuse. …

Questions follow priest’s evidence

Newcastle Herald, Joanne McCarthy, March 9, 2014.

Maitland-Newcastle Catholic Diocese is in damage control after calls for the removal of a priest following his evidence to the NSW Special Commission of Inquiry. … Parents who contacted the Newcastle Herald criticised Bishop Bill Wright for keeping the priest at Taree and said it was symptomatic of a Church that failed to understand the impact of priests’ behaviour on parishioners. ‘‘He may well have gone through some redemptive process of the Church but I question whether he is an appropriate role model for our children or, for that matter, us as parishioners,’’ said a parent of a Catholic primary school child. …

Claim over secret sex with priest

Newcastle Herald, Joanne McCarthy, March 7, 2014.

A woman taking ground-breaking legal action against the Catholic Church after a 14-year sexual relationship with a priest hopes it opens the doors for other women struggling after secret relationships with clergy. Jennifer Herrick, 60, was 19, sexually naive and had a severe physical disability when Father Tom Knowles, then 27, suddenly grabbed her in her parents’ home and kissed her after a church event. She was 22 when he initiated sex. …

Inquiry bells toll for Pell

SBS, AAP, March 7, 2014.

… The man who will control the Vatican's purse strings, Cardinal George Pell cut his financial teeth by bean counting when it came to compensating Australian victims of Catholic Church child sex abuse. That's the harsh hypothesis the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse will test at a public hearing opening in Sydney on Monday. It is looking at the response of the Catholic Church to the complaint of child sexual abuse made by John Ellis.

Joanne McCarthy [opinion]: A classic case of karma

Newcastle Herald, March 7, 2014.

AND so to one of my favourite Catholic stories, on the eve of another confronting royal commission public hearing into the church that will feature evidence from soon-to-leave-these-shores Cardinal George Pell. … There won’t be much smiling next week when solicitor John Ellis gives evidence to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse about how he was sexually abused by a priest when he was a school student, and the church’s response when he reported that abuse. Mr Ellis is well known to many Hunter victims of Catholic Church child sex offenders. He negotiated just settlements for most of the 64 known victims of notorious paedophile priest John Denham, despite the devastating impact of his own experiences with the church. He is a champion and a gentleman.

Former principal's job in jeopardy over abuse scandal

Queensland Times, Stuart Cumming, March 7, 2014.

Former Toowoomba Catholic school principal Terence Hayes' job is in jeopardy as his bosses await findings from the Royal Commission into sex abuse. Mr Hayes last month told the commission he had not referred information to police about teacher Gerard Vincent Byrnes, who raped and assaulted 13 children at a Toowoomba Catholic primary school. A spokesman for Catholic Education in the Archdiocese of Brisbane yesterday confirmed Hayes was on leave from his position as a Year 7 teacher at St Eugene Catholic College in Burpengary. …

Student protection officer's job in doubt over scandal

Chronicle, Chris Calcino, March 6, 2014.

The child sex abuse scandal at a Toowoomba Catholic school may have claimed another scalp. It is believed former student protection officer Catherine Long has been stood down on full pay pending the results of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Ms Long, who is still employed by the school at the centre of the 2007 scandal, made headlines when she admitted she had no idea what "grooming" was. Her ignorance came despite the fact she was the school's child protection contact. …

Royal commission into child abuse 'keen to engage with as many regional communities as possible'

ABC News, March 6, 2014.

Information sessions are being held across Western Australia for people interested in testifying at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse. The royal commission is due to hold its first Western Australian public hearings in April. … Relationships Australia, which has been funded by the Federal Government to provide support and counselling to people who give evidence, is visiting Broome, Northam and Hedland in coming weeks. Geraldton, Albany and Kalgoorlie are scheduled for later in the year. …

Father Stanislaus John Hogan pleads guilty to accessing and possessing child pornography

Herald Sun, Steve Rice, March 6, 2014.

… Father Stanislaus John Hogan, 69, who has long been associated with Saint Ignatius College at Athelstone, appeared in the Adelaide Magistrates Court today. He pleaded guilty to one count of using a carriage service to access child pornography and one aggravated count of possessing child pornography. The offences happened at Athelstone between April 2012 and August 2013. …

Jesuit priest admits to child pornography offences

ABC News, James Hancock, March 6, 2014.

… Father Stan Hogan, 69, has pleaded guilty to accessing child pornography and an aggravated count of possessing child pornography. The offences happened between April-June 2012 and last August at suburban Athelstone. Hogan was suspended from the college after his arrest last August. …

Local Catholic leaders open door for sex abuse talks

Standard, Peter Collins,  March 5, 2014.

After weathering years of negative feedback about sexual abuse cover-ups, Warrnambool’s Catholic Church parish leaders have taken a proactive approach by opening up the previously taboo topic for discussion. Tomorrow two discussion workshops will be held in St Joseph’s Church foyer to address the issue of child sex abuse within the wider community and its impact on victims. … “Disclosure is a critical moment and the response received to that disclosure is paramount and is linked to the recovery of the victim,” she says. Meanwhile, a Ballarat-based volunteer organisation, Moving Towards Justice, has invited families of victims of church-related abuse to have their loved ones remembered in the Quilt of Hope which will eventually be hung in a prominent public space. Organisers can be contacted on www.mtj.net.au

Another former Stannies priest arrested

Western Advocate, March 5, 2014.

A former priest at St Stanislaus’ College has become the 11th man charged over historic allegations of sexual abuse at Bathurst schools. Former Bathurst officer Detective Sergeant Justin Hadley, now attached to Sydney’s Northern Beaches command, arrested the 70-year-old man in Marsfield … he was interviewed before being charged with 14 counts of aggravated sexual assault relating to alleged incidents between 1975 and 1982, during the man’s time at St Stanislaus’ College. … Detectives are continuing to investigate the allegations and ask anyone with information to contact Strike Force Belle via Bathurst police station on 6332 8699 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge and Toowoomba Bishop Robert McGuckin tell parents kids are safe from sex abuse at school

The Australian, Tanya Chilcott, March 05, 2014

… Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge and Toowoomba Bishop Robert McGuckin have written to every school parent in their dioceses in an attempt to reassure them their children are protected at school. It comes two weeks after the royal commission into child abuse heard shocking evidence of the abuse of 13 girls at a Toowoomba Catholic school as ­recently as the last decade. The man who committed the crimes is now behind bars, but the commission heard allegations the school did not alert police to the abuse when it was first reported. …

Freethinker helps abuse victim gain support in lawsuit against a Catholic priest in Australia

Freethinker (UK), Barry Duke, March 4, 2014.

Last January we carried a shocking report about the reinstatement of a Catholic priest who had been put on “administrative leave” for 16 months after he was accused of abusing a young disabled woman in Australia over a period of 14 years. Father Tom Knowles, to the horror his victim, Jennifer Herrick, and others who had suffered abuse at the hands of priests, was returned to active ministry at St Francis’ Church in Melbourne. … She added: I also want to tell you, Barry – and I’m sure you will be pleased to know – that I recently have taken out civil court proceedings against Tom Knowles and the trustees and the still-living provincial leaders of his Order (who ought to have been aware of what he was doing, being responsible for him) in the Supreme Court of NSW. … the outrage over the priest’s reinstatement that the Catholic Church was forced into an embarrassing backflip. On February 24, 2013, The Age reported that the Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne had removed Knowles from one of Australia’s busiest churches.

Rabbi Glick: His solicitor speaks

J-Wire, Henry Benjamin, March 4, 2014

… From Bill Doogue: We do not name our clients normally.  … But in this case we have asked our now former client if we can speak about him and he has agreed. His name is Rabbi Avrohom Glick. He is head of religious studies at the Melbourne Yeshivah College. He is an important figure in his community internationally. … No one I met who actually knows him thought there was a skerrick of truth in the allegation. What had to occur, and did, was that the nonsense of this allegation was exposed. … It leaves me with one final question. How, in reality, does a person ever recover their reputation from this sort of outrageous attack?

Catholic Priest charged over historical child indecent assaults - Strike Force Belle

New South Wales Police Force, March 4, 2014.

Police investigating the sexual and indecent assault of children at schools in the state’s central west have arrested and charged another man. Investigators from Strike Force Belle arrested a 61-year-old man at his residence in Marsfield today (Tuesday 4 March). The priest was taken to Ryde Police Station and charged with 14 counts of aggravated indecent assault which allegedly occurred between 1975 and 1982 at a catholic secondary college in Bathurst. …

Retired priest on historical sex charges

Sky News, March 4, 2014.

A retired priest has been charged with historical sex offences after a two-year investigation into alleged sex assaults on a boy in Sydney's west. The 73-year-old was charged with three counts of aggravated indecency after he allegedly sexually assaulted the boy between 1984 and 1991 while working at a church in St Mary's. Detectives from the Manning/Great Lakes region began investigating after receiving information from a local man in 2012.

Canberra catholic priest to be tried over molestation allegations

Canberra Times, Michael Inman, March 3, 2014.

… Father Edward Evans, 84, maintained pleas of not guilty when he appeared before the ACT Magistrates Court on Monday. Defence lawyers had asked a magistrate to conduct a full committal hearing … But Chief Magistrate Lorraine Walker rejected the application, finding it would not be in the interest of justice. … Ms Walker continued Father Evans’ bail and committed him to stand trial in the higher court on seven charges, including committing acts of indecency and sexual intercourse with a child.

Still we are making welfare hells

Canberra Times, Jack Waterford, March 2, 2014.

Australians could hardly help but be shocked and appalled by recent evidence coming before the royal commission into institutional responses to child sex abuse. … Thank heavens this could not happen today! Now we know about the risks and temptations of sexual abuse. We know about duty of care. We, or our modern representatives, would never put vulnerable people at risk. Enlightened people run our churches, parliaments, bureaucracies, and institutions. We can be sure the horrible epidemics are no more. Or can we? …

'If you tell, you go to hell'

During Pope Benedict's visit to Britain  in the north of England
(16 September 2010)
Channel 4 News Nick Martin meets three clerical sex abuse victims who tell him their harrowing stories.


Welcome to SNAPAustralia.org 
( Created by and for survivors of sexual abuse by clergy )


We  invite clergy abuse victims, family members of victims, and supporters  of victims to be involved and to join SNAP.
Joining SNAP is free and completely confidential. We never sell nor share our membership list with anyone.
We are also looking for survivors to start SNAP chapters.  Chapter leaders must be able to conduct a monthly self-help support group meeting in their local area and promote the missions of SNAP.

Contact Mark Fabbro, Nicky Davis,  
Barbara Dorris, or 
Steven Spaner
for details.

Catholic Whistleblowers

Est. May 24, 2013

About Catholic Whistleblowers

List of Catholic Whistleblowers

This site is all about the TRUTH
...and there is plenty of it, so
We try very hard to always update and post items on this web site, with complete integrity.

We realize it takes a lot of courage to reach out for help, and we thank you for visiting our site. We also realize this trauma reaches family members and those who are concerned and frustrated about the sex abuse crisis within the religious community.

This web site is a place to find information about our SNAP support meetings in your local area, plus we are constantly updating news stories and information about clergy who have been publicly accused of sex abuse within the Australian dioceses.  Our goal is survivor support, public education, and protection of kids.

We also plan to post survivor video stories. Sometimes it helps to listen to these stories to better understand the trauma and life pain of  those who have been harmed by clergy and those who are related to these survivors: family and friends.

We post on this site many links to other self help groups and information to support victims. SNAP leaders' email addresses and phone numbers are posted for you when you need direct help and support, please feel free to contact any of these compassionate people who care about survivors.  SNAP leaders know that the principle wish of every survivor is healing and the desire to see that their experiences never happen to another child, young person, or vulnerable adult.

You, who are survivors of sex abuse did NOT deserve this, did NOT ask for this to happen to you, and it was NOT your fault. There is healing when you are able to speak up and get this burden off your shoulders, and free from your heart. ... give it to the universe to carry for a while.... Just maybe, your life will be much more at peace.

Our ultimate goal is to open up the secrets, stop the silence, support those who have already been harmed, and thereby protect children.

Thank you for making the decision to visit our SNAPAustralia.org web site.

(ABC 4 Corners videos)

May 27, 1996

Twice Betrayed-Part1

Twice Betrayed-Part2

Twice Betrayed-Part3

Twice Betrayed-Part4

Unholy Silence August 24, 2012

The Homies January 31, 2014

Click the story title to view video

Secrets of the Vatican

PBS Frontline Video
February 25, 2014


BBC Panorama Report

14 Septemeber 2010


The CNN Report

25 September 2010

The Oprah Show

200 Adult Men Who Were Molested Come Forward: Full Episode

January 31, 2013 Interview with Peter Isely, SNAP founding member, advocate of the 200 abused men, and clergy abuse survivor himself.

Male Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse Share Their Stories

Pedophiles and Impunity

[9 part documentary]

John Wojnowski

Haunted by his past, he has stood outside the Washington, DC Vatican embassy nearly every day for 16 years. His lonely vigil has made him a hero to victims of sexual abuse. Tell John of your appreciation, just click on John's name above.


This web site is managed and maintained by Steven Spaner, SNAP Australia Coordinator and SNAPAustralia.org webmaster.
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