Bishop testifying

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The computer gremlins are at it again :(  If yo have been trying to post a comment and found that instead of posting the cimmenbt when you hit the “submit: button you were transferred to the Cornwall Public Inquiry website, you are not alone.

I tried to post a comment for someone earlier in the day.  No luck.  Try as I might, even I am unable to find a way to post a comment oin my own website without winding up at  The Inquiry website!

There is absolutely nothing I can do to fix thus,  Sometimes I can find ways to  work around it, but, not this time :(

 

So, my web host over in Sweden has been notified.  Hopefully the  problem l will be rectified soon.

*****

The current Bishop of Ballarat, Paul Berg,  will be testifying shortly  at the Australian Royal Commission hearings in Ballart .  The live-streamed hearings begin at 10 am AEST (29 May) and 8 pm EST (28 May). Click here to access the website  (they’re a little late, but should be starting any minute now)

Will he try to circle the wagons, as did Alexandria-Cornwall’s Bishop Paul Andre Durocher at the Cornwall Public Inquiry back in 2006?  will he turn himself inside out to defend the  indefensible actions of his predecessor,as  did Durocher of Bishop Eugene Larocuqe?

We shall see…

Ballarat, I must say, reminds me a  lot of Cornwall.

Enough for now,

Sylvia

 

 

Posted in Clerical sexual predators | Leave a comment

Anyone watching?

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Has anyone been watching the Australian Royal Commission hearings in Ballarat?

An interesting turn of events…

After the first break (10 pm EST 27May), and before Ms. Furness resumed her questioning of  Gerald Ridsdale, Justice Peter McLellan spoke up: he wanted to know if Ridsdale had been talking to anyone about his testimony. Ridsdale said no, he had been told not to and he did not.

And Justice McLellan wanted to  know who Ridsdale had been speaking to on the phone, and who had visited him in jail.  He asked for names.  Ridsdale gave a few.

Then the judge referenced a meeting or interview that he had had with Ridsdale.  I think, but not 100% sure, it was 17 March?  or sometime in March?  And then questions if Ridsdale had talked to anyone after that about the evidence he would be giving?  And again, Ridsdale said nohe didn’t because he had been told not to.

Justice McLellan then reminded Ridsdale that records of visitors and phone call can be acquired.  Ridsdale said he is aware of that.

And then it was on with the hearing.

I certainly got the impression that the judge may be of the mind that Ridsdale has changed his testimony; that perhaps what Ridsdale told him privately is a far cry from what we are hearing publicly?  Was anyone else watching?  If yes, your thoughts?

As I said in my previous blog, the Ridsdale testimony has struck me as weird.  It’s hard to put a finger on, –  things are just, well, strange.

I am surprised that the judge would be speaking with a potential witness.  Perhaps it was not he but one of the lawyers working with the commission?  No matter, there seems to be concern that Ridsale has been talking to someone, and has changed at least some of his testimony.

They’re about to start up again after lunch.  I will run to catch the latest,

Enough for now,

Sylvia

Posted in Accused or charged | Tagged , | 1 Comment

…and even less about “George”

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There are two court updates which I have noted elsewhere:

(1)  Father Charles Picot

The fourth sex abuse trial of Father Charles Picot, a predatory priest with the the Diocese of Bathurst, New Brunswick, was adjourned.  The trial was scheduled to run 25-26 May 2015. Charges were laid November 2013:

26 May 2015:  “Charles Picot: cause still postponed” & original French text

There is another courtdate set, but it will NOT be the trial:

20 July 2015:  Bathurst courthouse, Bathurst, New Brunswick

This I am sure is a huge disappointment for the complainants and Picot’s many other victims, including Derek Lapointe who drove to Bathurst for the trial .  Please keep them in your prayers.

(2)  Nathan Labatt

There is a new courtdate for Nathan Labatt, former youth volunteer with Archdiocese of Regina, Saskatchewan Youth Ministry who is facing charges of sexual exploitation, invitation to sexual touching and possession of child porn:

26 May 2015:  Hayter, Labatt Appear in Court

Labatt’s nect court date is:

15 June 2015:  10 am,  Humboldt courthouse, Humboldt, Sask (805 8th Avenue)

Please keep those who filed compliants and who may have been affected negativley by this man in your prayers.

*****

Well, I don’t know what to make of what is going on in Australia with the Royal Commission hearings in Ballarat.  It’s hard trying to get a grasp on things while living in Canada.

Anyway, I did watch most of the testimony of serial molester Father Gerald Francis Ridsdale.  I’m not sure why I even kept watching.  It was the height of frustration.  The 81-year-old couldn’t remember this, and he couldn’t remember that, and he couldn’t remember the other thing.  Old age?  or….?

True, I have watched countless witnesses whose memories seemed to suddenly fail them on the witness stand.  Those who followed the Cornwall Public Inquiry known exactly what I am talking about.

But, Ridsdale was different.  He was like a zombie.  He seemed totally  devoid of emotion.  No sign of conscience.  Just, …blank.  Flat affect.

Weird.  Disturbing to watch and listen, particularly as he was led through references to some of his countless offences.  True, he did at one point – almost as an aside – make some comment about the damage he done, but even that was totally devoid of emotion.

I’m not sure what was gained by putting him on the stand.  Perhaps that will unfold in due course.  He’s scheduled to appear again today (evening of 27 May in Canada, morning of 28 May in Australia)

Cardinal George Pell

Tied into the Gerald Ridsdale testimony is Cardinal Pell, and what Pell did or did not know about Ridsdale, and what, according to testimony at the hearings, Pell is alleged to have said to David Ridsdale – a nephew and victim of the serial molester – when David Risdale disclosed to Pell, a family friend: “I want to know what it will take to keep you quiet.”

Pell has denied knowing that Ridsdale was a molester when he was moved from one parish to another in 1983.  He also denied that he ever tried to bribe David Ridsdale .

However, when David Ridsdale testified under oath at the Ballarat hearings, Pell’s lawyers opted not to cross-examine him!  This option not to cross examine seems to be some strange defence tactic  employed by all Catholic institutions under scrutiny at the hearings. The claim is they “ have no wish to make the task of those witnesses in this hearing any more difficult.”

BUT, despite a decision not to cross-examine witnesses to seek clarification and/or refute their testimony, on the heels of the David Ridsdale testimony out came a public statement from Cardinal Pell to “correct the record.”  The statement read in part:   “At no time did I attempt to bribe David Ridsdale or his family or offer any financial inducements for him to be silent.”

Victims and countless others were outraged.  Cries went out from various quarters insisting that Cardinal Pell should return to Australia and take the stand.

And then, well, then out came the news that at the end of March of this year Pell had been right in Ballarat, and that in fact Cardinal Pell had visited St. Patrick’s High School in Ballarat, his old school,   St. Patrick’s happens to be the Cardinal’s old school.  It is also apparently a school which figures prominently in the sex scandals being investigated by the commission.

Pell was said to be at the school as part of “an exciting new initiative” to promote excellence at the school.  His last visit to the school was seven years ago.

Anyway, there was the news of the visit to Ballart on the eve of the commission hearings.  More outrage.

And, more surprises to come.

Yesterday the Cardinal suddenly announced that he is willing to travel to Ballart to testify.  Pell  said in the statement that he didn’t want to pre-empt the commission, adding that ” you can’t just invite yourself to give evidence.” I am sure the latter is as true in Australia as it is here in Canada, but it raises the question:  Why, if Caridnal Pell doesn’t want  to pre-empt the commission  does he seem to be pre-empting the commission?  If the commission wants him to testify I am sure its staff are more than capable of both finding and contacting him?

I really am a bit lost in all of this.   I have a no doubt that there is a method to the legal tactics and  apparent madness at play here.  I have no idea what it is.

And so, starting at 8 pm EST today (27 May 2015) 0r 10 am AEST tomorrow (28 May 2015) Father Ridsdale will be back testifying from jail, and, unless something has really changed, staring blankly at the camera, without doubt devoid of emotion, and remembering a little bit of this and not a lot of that – and even less about “George.”

La La Land.

Click here to access the Royal Commission website for live-streaming.  I will watch again :(

Enough for now,

Sylvia

PS

Articles posted:

27 May 2015:  “Paedophile priest lived with George Pell and had him as a character witness at his trial for abusing 30 boys… but the evil predator ‘can’t remember dealing’ with the man who would become a Vatican Cardinal” & related articles

26 May 2015:  “Cardinal George Pell willing to give evidence at Ballarat Royal Commission hearing” & related articles

27 May 2015:  Transcript of Father Gerald  Ridsdale testimony at Royal Commission Ballart hearings

Posted in Accused or charged, Circling the wagons, Clerical sexual predators, recycled, Scandal, Vatican | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ex-priest/ serial molester to testify from jail

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As far as I know the sex abuse trial of serial clerical molester Father Charles Picot will continue tomorrow in Bathurst, New Brunswick:

27 May 2015:  09:30 am, TRIAL, Bathurst New Brunswick courthouse (254 St. Patrick Street)

Please send along links to media coverage which should be available this evening.

As always, please keep the complainant and Picot’s many victims in your prayers.

*****

The Australian Royal Commission continues its hearings today/this evening (depending where in the world you live).  The next witness to testify is   thrice convicted serial molester  Gerald Francis Ridsdale.  Ridsdale will be testifying from the jail where he will without doubt be spending the rest of his days on this earth.

I have posted quite a slew of documents related to Ridsdale.  There are many more – I  have tried to select those which will give you a bit of an idea what has been going on since this man was ordained to the priesthood in July of 1961 and those which show the abhorrence of his crimes.  I think when you read through the sentencing reports you will wonder how “Adrian” could testify as to the ‘good character’ of this ‘priest’ at trial number one.  And, a reminder that Cardinal Pell drew outrage when it was learned that he had accompanied Ridsdale to court for one of his trials.  Further to that, Ridsdale’s nephew has testified that when he told Pell, a family friend, that Father Ridsdale had molested him Pell’s response was to ask what it would take to keep him, the victim, quiet.  And, an addendum, in 1973 Father Ridsdale the then Father Pell served in the same parish, with both living in the rectory at St. Alipius in Ballarat East.

So, bearing all of that in mind, the hearings should be interesting.

The hearings start Tuesday 26 May at 8 pm EST, which is Wednesday 27 May 10 am AEST.  Click here to access the commission website

And here is the raft of documents posted.  They can be accessed manually by clicking on “Documents” on the horizontal menu under the picture  above, then click “Church-related Documents”, then scroll down to “Australia” and on down to “Ridsdale:  Father Gerald Ridsdale”.(you may prefer to read from the bottom up ?):

08 April 2014:   Reasons for Sentence DPP v Ridsdale (references all charges, including abuse of young girls, also reference rape, digital penetration and sodomy)

11 August 2006:  Reasons for Sentence R v Gerald Francis Ridsdale (reference all charges including buggery and instance where victim was tied to pool table and sodomized with lubricated pool cue)

14 October 1994:   Sentencing remarks of the Supreme Court of Melbourne Gerald Ridsdale (reference all the crimes, including buggery)

06 June 1994:   Transcript of Interview between Catholic Church Insurance Limited and Gerald Risdale (‘latched on to boy aged 10 or 11 at Charismatic prayer group; talks of counselling sessions, time and scandal  at Servants of the Paraclete in New Mexico, and had molested after New Mexico)  (4)

06 June 1994:   Extracts of transcript of interview between Catholic Church Limited and Gerald Ridsdale (3)

06 June 1994:  Transcript of Interview between Catholic Church Insurance Limited and Gerald Risdale (reference to abuse of policeman’s son in 1975, and introducing new Rites of Reconciliation in diocese in ’75 and ’76) (2)

06 June 1994:  Australia Transcript of Interview between Catholic Church Insurance Limited and Gerald Risdale (was molested by family members, molested in England in ’59 or ’60, first complaint to Bishop after ordination was early 60s, flatly denies allegations of buggery, 06 June 1994 (1)

06 June 1994:   Extracts of transcript of interview between Catholic Church Limited and Gerald Ridsdale

06 June 1994:  Transcript of Interview between Catholic Church Insurance Limited and Gerald Risdale (reference to abuse of policeman’s son in 1975, and introducing new Rites of Reconciliation in diocese in ’75 and ’76)

07 April 1994:  Transcript of Interview between Catholic Church Insurance Limited and Bishop Mulkearns

28 April 1993:   Extracts of Transcript of Interview between Father Eugene McKinnon and Catholic Church Limited (discusses angry parents confronted priest who replaced Ridsdale and belief that Ridsdale probably molested every boy at the school)

10 April 1993:   J.E.  O’Con to Mssrs Dunhill Madden Butler re Father Ridsdale (believe he has admitted to sex abuse of eleven boys)

19 August 1989:  Father Watson ofm to Bishop Mulkearns (Re Father Ridsadle going to Servants of Paraclete, and re opening similar treatment facility in Victoria)

27 June 1989:  Father Augustine Watson ofm to Bishop Mulkearns (re seriousness of decision bishop must take “to protect community & the Church – suggests putting Ridsdale in chaplaincy, preferably  at convent of elderly nuns)

27 November 1988:   Bishop Mulkearns to Father Gerald Mulkearns9suggest not good idea to hear confessions or baptise.  No suggestion he cease his “apostolic work” with families in the area)

30 June 1988:  Bishop Mulkearns to Father Gerald Risdale revoking faculties for one year

11 April 1988:  Father Gerald Ridsdale to Bishop Mulkearns (confirms he will step down from parish work which “has proved to be a temptation and a difficulty for me.”

There as bit of reading there, but I think you can get through them enough to familiarize yourself with the magnitude and abhorrence of the scandal, and get a sense for who did or might have known what and when in conjunction with the recycling of this serial molester

(Sorry, – I’m not sure if Ridsdale is or is not still a priest. )

Enough for now,

Sylvia

 

Posted in Accused or charged, Bishops, Clerical sexual predators, recycled | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Gobbledegook

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Day One of the scheduled two-day sex abuse trial of Father Charles Picot starts tomorrow in Bathurst, New Brunswick:

26 May 2015:  09:30 am, TRIAL, Bathurst New Brunswick courthouse (254 St. Patrick Street)

This is Father Picot’s fourth sex abuse trial.  Yes, fourth.  And yes, sad to say, despite two convictions he’s still a priest in the Roman Catholic Churc!.

He is currently charged with  two counts of indecent assault, one count of gross indecency, and one count of sexual assault.  The charges were laid November 2013

I encourage those who can do so to please attend.

Please keep the complainant in your prayers.  I also ask you to remember all of Father Picot’s victims – it is a difficult time for all of them.

As always, please pass along news of what happens in court as well as links to media coverage.

*****

I will check tomorrow for the next courtdates for Brother Jean-Paul Thibault fndm and Nathan Labatt

*****

Much earlier int he day I mentioned attempting to post an interview with ex-priest Paul David Ryan.  The interview was conducted by staff from the Australian Royal Commission which is currently conducting hearings in Ballarat.

Well, it just didn’t work.  There were parts oft he converted pdf file which were just fine. but there was also a lot of text which was a jumble.  I started work to fix it up, but after about an hour of that decided I would be at it forever.  So, I have posted an external link to the document.  That works just as was well right now, and will continue to work as long at the Royal Commission website is up and running.  If and when the commission decides to remove documents or shut down its website the link will be dead.  That’s why I prefer to download and post such documents on Sylvia’ Site.

Anyway,  on to the matter of the Royal Commission and ex-priest Paul David Ryan.

First, click here to access the Broken Rites Australia website for further information on Father Paul David Ryan.  As you see, he was shuttled to and fro across the ocean,  was molesting from the time he was ordained, and was known to be a molester for many years

Now on to the interview.  This is Paul David Ryan’s explanation and excuses:

25 February 2015:  Transcript of Private Hearing of Paul David Ryan (External Link)

If you read through to the end you will see that it looks as though Ryan will be called to testify at the hearings.  If that’s the case, his testimony will, as with that of all witnesses, be live-streamed

And, here are a few documents which have been entered into evidence which relate to Paul David Ryan’s years as a predatory priest:

01 February 1977: Father Harvey to Bishop Mulkearns re Father Paul David Ryan

11 April 1978:   Father John Harvey to Bishop Mulkearns re Father Paul David Ryan (suggest only need reveal to another bishop that Ryan was under care of a therapist and a spiritual director)

19 April 1979:  Bishop Mulkearns to Father Paul David Ryan (re Fr. Ryans’s request to return to States)

17 March 1980:   Father Paul Ryan to Bishop Mulkearns (Fr. Ryan didn’t get position with ICEL, returning to Autralia – would like to teach)

01 August 1985:   Father Ryan in Dayton Ohio to Bishop Mulkearns (Fr Ryan seems to have been studying liturgy – talks of a young 16-year-old he was helping – is perhaps close to returning to Australia)

16 August 1985:  Bishop Mulkearns to Father Paul David Ryan in States (Bishop would be glad to see Father Ryan return to Ballarat)

09 August 1995: Father  Perkins Richmond Virginia  Diocese to Bishop Mulkearns re sex abuse allegations against Father Ryan dating  in Richmond Diocese dating to late 70s (Parish priest was informed.  Fr. Ryan offered money and threatened one boy to silence him)

13 November 2006:  Bishop Connors to Cardinal Levada requesting laicization for Father Paul Ryan who is currently in jail – also reference to one victim who committed suicide

19 December 2006:  Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to Bishop Conners asking for further documentation and request he ask Father Ryan to request laicization

30 January 2007:  Bishop Conners to Father Ryan asking that he request laicization – also regrets unable to meet since Conners became bishop in July ’97

12 January 2012:  Bishop Conners to Cardinal William Levada asking how to proceed to have Father Ryan laicized

*****

As I write I have had the the Royal Commission hearing in Ballart running in the background and Father Adrian McInerney has been testifying.  The listening and watching is a painful experience!

Father Adrian McInerney looks no more like a priest than my husband.  There is no clerical collar to give him away, – nothing to give anyone a hint that he just might indeed by a Roman Catholic priest.  And, he is quite happy to be called “Adrian.”  Just plain old Adrian.

It’s not as though Father McInerney is testifying as a molester and therefore fears that his collar might be a reminder that he is still a priest and an insult to all victims and Roman Catholics.  No, he’s a parish priest who at some time  was Secretary to the Ballarat Bishop. Why no collar?

Was anyone per chance watching when Father was asked to explain what “celibacy” and “chastity” are?

Pathetic.  Just totally pathetic.  I am going to dig that nonsense out of the transcripts tomorrow . I could not believe my ears.  Such gobbledegook spewing from the mouth of a priest.

But, all being well,  I shall continue to watch.  There is much to be learned – mainly reminders that defence lawyers and Canon lawyers are defence lawyers and canon lawyers from one side of the world to the other.  In fact, as a little tid bit of trivia, quite  a number of Australian clergy come right here to St. Paul’s University in Ottawa, Ontario to study Canon Law.

After watching the stammering and stuttering from one continent to another I think we can safely conclude that these priests and religious do not take the stand without being ‘well prepped’ by defence lawyers and canon lawyers.  And well prepped includes repetition of as many  ‘I don’t recall’ s as are required to try to legally save face, hides and dollars.

The commission has taken a break for lunch (11 pm EST) and will resume at or around midnight EST.

*****

Yes, I will be getting back to the Brothers of Christian Instruction and St. Mary’s International School.  There is more to report.  The last few days have been fraught with computer, software and website issues.  Gremlins everywhere.  I don;t think I’m out of the woods yet, but at least things are working right now :)

Enough for nwo,

Sylvia

Posted in Accused or charged, Bishops, Brothers of Christian Instruction, Canada, Clerical sexual predators, Scandal | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trial Tuesday

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There are two courtdates tomorrow (Monday, 25 May 2015)

(1)  Brother Jean-Paul Thibault fndm

The Catholic Brother with the Brothers of Our Lady of Mercy and former teacher at a private boarding school in the Diocese of Saint Hyacynthe, Quebec. was charged 17 March 2015 with indecent assault, sexual assault and incitement to sexual touching while in a position of authority:

25 May 2015:   Saint-Hyacinthe courthouse, 1550, rue Dessaulles, Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec

Sorry, I don’t have the start time.

Please keep the complainants in your prayers.  If you seen any reports of the outcome please send along a link.

(2)  Nathan Labatt

The former youth volunteer with Archdiocese of Regina, Saskatchewan Youth Ministry. charged February 2015 sexual exploitation, invitation to sexual touching, and possession of child pornography has a courtdate:

25 May 2015:   10 am,  Humboldt courthouse, Humboldt, Sask (805 8th Avenue)

Will Labattt’s lawyer appear in person this time?  or will be it be another phone call?

We shall see…

Please pass on any news you happen upon regarding the outcome.

*****

Father Charles Picot, a predatory priest with the the Diocese of Bathurst, New Brunswick, is back to TRIAl on Tuesday.

Picot has been tried three times:  convicted twice and acquitted once.  He is now facing his fourth set of charges.  These charges of two counts of indecent assault, one count of gross indecency, and one count of sexual assault were laid November 2013

Those of you in the Bathrust area who have been able to attend the Picot trials in the past please do your best to be there to support the complainant .   The trial is scheduled for two days (25-26 May 2015)

09:30 am, TRIAL, Bathurst New Brunswick courthouse (254 St. Patrick Street)

Please keep the complainants and victims in your prayers.

*****

The Australian Royal Commission hearings into the Institutional response to Child  Sexual Abuse hearings got under way for the second week of  the Ballart hearings this week.

I had planned to watch some of the hearings this evening, but by the time I turned it on it had wrapped up for the day :(

I will try to sort out what is happening for Tuesday’s hearings.

Enough for now,

Sylvia

Posted in Accused or charged, Acquitted, Child porn, Clerical sexual predators, Non clerical RC sexual predators | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dancing on the head of a legal pin

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The following are excerpts from transcripts regarding the bizarre decision taken by various Roman Catholic institutions at the Ballarat hearings of the Australian Royal Commission not to cross examine victim witnesses on the stand. The decision was taken because, presumably, according to their lawyer Mr. Peter Gray, they “ have no wish to make the task of those witnesses in this hearing any more difficult.” However, in short order after testimony negatively implicated Cardinal Pell and the promised  failure/refusal to cross-examine the witnesses when there was ample opportunity to do so, Cardinal Pell released a pubic statement (also included below) to, amonsgt other things, ” correct the record particularly given the false and misleading headlines.”

It seems there is some sort of legal game,  hair-splitting,  and/or dancing on the head of a legal pin  regarding  denials of allegations and recollections of events? See what you think.

Ms Furness is one of the lawyers working for the commission of inquiry.

Mr. Gray, as you see below, is the lawyer representing the  Truth, Justice and Healing Council,  the Diocese of Ballarat,  the Christian Brothers and the Sisters of Nazareth

(Emphasis added)

____________________________

19 May 2015

MR GRAY: May it please the Commission, may I seek leave to appear for the Truth, Justice and Healing Council, for the Diocese of Ballarat, for the Christian Brothers and for
the Sisters of Nazareth. I appear with Mr Woods, instructed by Gilbert & Tobin.

*****

THE CHAIR: Does anyone have any questions of Mr [BAS]?

MR GRAY: Your Honour, I don’t have any questions for Mr [BAS]. It’s unlikely that I will have any questions for any of the survivor witnesses. But may I raise one matter
briefly because some of the counsel have raised it with me.

THE CHAIR: Should it be done when Mr [BAS] has been excused?

MR GRAY: By all, means if that is feasible.

THE CHAIR: Mr [BAS], no one else has any questions for you, but thank you for your statement, you are now formally excused. Thank you.

<THE WITNESS WITHDREW

MR GRAY: Briefly, Your Honours and Commissioner, a number of the counsel representing survivor witnesses have asked me and those assisting me whether it is likely that we would be questioning any of their clients. I hope it would be of assistance if I say, if it’s of assistance to them and the Commission, briefly what my client’s position is in
that regard, which is this:

The church parties are very conscious of the importance of these hearings and of the enormous difficulties faced by the witnesses who have come forward to give their evidence.

My clients have no wish to make the task of those witnesses in this hearing any more difficult. Their courage deserves the utmost respect.

The church parties see these hearings primarily as an opportunity to listen to the witnesses and to truly hear what they say. In general, they do not intend to question witnesses about the detail of their recollections of various events, even where, for instance, someone associated with a church party may have a different recollection of an event or conversation. In that situation, I expect that that person will in due course provide the Commission with his or her own recollection.

In those circumstances, as I say, I have no questions for Mr [BAS] and am unlikely to have questions for the other survivor witnesses.

 20 May 2015

MR GRAY: Your Honour, I have no questions for Mr Hill, but the Sisters of Nazareth who ran the St Joseph’s Home in the 1940s and 1950s have asked me to say two things at this stage, if I may.

Firstly, the sisters received Mr Hill’s statement only very recently, and he has not previously made a complaint to the Sisters.

Secondly, the Sisters wish to say to Mr Hill and to Your Honours and the Commissioner, that they support his allegations being fully investigated and that, although Mr Hill has so far chosen not to contact the Sisters, they are very willing to meet with him if he would like to. If the Commission pleases.

THE WITNESS: It’s very hard to understand, I could hardly hear him.

THE CHAIR: You couldn’t hear that?

A. No.

THE CHAIR: I’m sorry. Would you like to say it again, Mr Gray?

MR GRAY: Happy to do so, Your Honour.

THE CHAIR: I think you need to make sure that microphone is picking you up.

THE WITNESS: He had a paper in front of him.

MR GRAY: Can you hear me, Mr Hill?

A. Now I can, yes.

MR GRAY: The Sisters of Nazareth, whom I’m representing today, have asked me to say two things, and the Commission has allowed me to say it.

The first is that the Sisters received your statement to the Royal Commission only very recently and, as you know, you have not previously made a complaint to the Sisters.

However, notwithstanding that, the Sisters wish to say to you, through me today and to the Commission, that they support your allegations being fully investigated, and that, although you have chosen so far not to contact the Sisters, they are very willing to meet with you if you should like to. Those are the two things that I said. If the Commission pleases.

THE CHAIR: Yes.

THE WITNESS: Can I reply to that?

THE CHAIR: Yes, Mr Hill.

THE WITNESS: Because, when I was – I come over to my brother’s place from Western Australia as a surprise birthday party, my 70th birthday party. One of the
relatives I hadn’t met for a long time was one of my sister’s sons come down from Queensland for a birthday party.

We arranged to go out to Nazareth House to show them where their mother was brought up. It was all arranged to go in, we were going to have a cup of coffee or cup of tea or whatever. I had come over to the Victorian Parliamentary Committee Senate Inquiry, and from that we were banned from going over to Nazareth House; the sisters didn’t want to have anything to do with us.

So, I’m just replying to what you said then. If they wanted to meet me now, how come they didn’t want to meet me when I was 70?

THE CHAIR: Very well.

No doubt, Mr Hill, if you wanted to speak to Mr Gray after this hearing, he would welcome you having that discussion, but it’s a matter for you, alright?

THE WITNESS: I just wanted to say that.

THE CHAIR: I understand. The offer is there for you to meet if you wish to meet, but that’s a matter for you, alright. Otherwise, thank you for your evidence, you are now formally excused.
(2)
After Mr. Green testimony re Pell etc

THE CHAIR: Does anyone else have any questions? Mr Gray, I should tell you that I would anticipate we’ll be asked to make findings about some of the matters that Mr Green has included in his statement. It’s a matter for you and those instructing you, but I should put you on notice that that’s a real possibility.

MR GRAY: Yes, Your Honour.

I thank you, Your Honour.

My clients have taken the position that I advised yesterday, in the knowledge of the way the Royal Commission —

THE CHAIR: Well, I understand that, but I want to make clear to you that, although we normally don’t make findings as to whether or not someone was abused, in relation to the
allegation that Mr Green makes in relation to Cardinal Pell, which of course goes to the church’s response to allegations, it’s in a wholly different category.

MR GRAY: Yes.

THE CHAIR: And I just think it’s necessary that you understand and those instructing you understand that I anticipate that we’ll be asked to make findings about what he has to say.

MR GRAY: Yes.

THE CHAIR: All I need to say beyond that is, do you still not wish to ask him any questions?

MR GRAY: I don’t wish to ask him any questions. As Your Honour knows and the Commission knows, the Cardinal has not been asked to put on a statement in this matter; he undoubtedly will do so if he’s asked to.

THE CHAIR: Mr Gray, you can anticipate that he will be asked to.

MR GRAY: Yes, we do anticipate that, Your Honour, and when that happens he will certainly do so.

THE CHAIR: Yes, but that doesn’t take away from the point that I seek to make to you: now is the chance that you have to ask Mr Green questions if it is to be put to him that
his recollection is not correct.

MR GRAY: Your Honour, we will not be putting to Mr Green that he is not to be believed, which is the matter discussed or covered in the practice guideline.

Cardinal Pell, as Mr Green has already noted in his statement, has a different recollection; Mr Green has acknowledged that, and that no doubt will be what the Cardinal says.

THE CHAIR: The position is clear.

MR GRAY: Yes, Your Honour.

THE CHAIR: It’s a matter for you and those instructing you.

*****

THE CHAIR: Does anyone else have any questions?

Mr Gray, I need to say the same to you about the allegations in relation to Cardinal Pell as I said to you before lunch. Do you understand?

MR GRAY: Yes, Your Honour. I thank you for that reminder. Our position, as I said, is that I explained yesterday that the stance my clients were taking to this hearing would be that in general we would not question witnesses whose task is difficult enough as it is.

In the case of the telephone conversation about which Mr Ridsdale has given evidence, the Commission is aware that the Cardinal has publicly and repeatedly said that his
recollection of that conversation is quite different. If and when the Commission asks the Cardinal to provide a statement, which we assume will happen, I expect that he will say the same thing.

THE CHAIR: Two things about that: yes, we will ask, but as you appreciate, you could have the Cardinal make a statement yourselves. That’s a matter for you, but he will be asked. But there should be no misunderstanding, merely because of the stance which the church has otherwise taken, when it comes to issues of the church’s response or individuals from the church’s response to abuse, they are factual matters that we must investigate and determine.

MR GRAY: We understand that, Your Honour, and we will approach it in the way that I have mentioned.

THE CHAIR: Thank you. Yes.

*****

THE CHAIR: …Does anyone else have any questions of Ms Watson?

I just need to say the same thing, Mr Gray, in relation to Bishop Connors and Bishop Bird.

MR GRAY: Yes, Your Honour, and, as I’ve said, the approach that my clients have taken is an approach that applies to all witnesses, including those yesterday.

THE CHAIR: It’s a matter for your client, but I need to say this to you each time lest there be any misunderstanding in relation to what the Commission may do by way of making findings.

MR GRAY: Yes. I’m just observing, Your Honour, that the same issue did arise a number of times yesterday before Your Honour raised it with me today, and the same approach applies; that is, that my clients have taken the view that they do not wish to add to the distress of the witnesses in this hearing, where it’s difficult enough, and where necessary, as in some places it plainly is, the people in question, whether it be Bishop Connors or anyone else, will make their response known.

My clients, Your Honour, as the Commission will be aware, have had these statements from the witnesses only since about late last week.

THE CHAIR: Mr Gray, you’ve had them for time enough to have sought instructions, but those instructing you should understand that it’s not a consideration of relevance to any finding we might make that the church has adopted the stance which it has.

MR GRAY: No, no, I understand that.

THE CHAIR: It’s not relevant to the findings which we may be asked to make or indeed make.

MR GRAY: I understand that, Your Honour, but the only observation I would make is that my clients trust in good faith and without any doubt that the Commission would not
make findings against anyone, whether it be a church person or anyone else, without giving that person the opportunity to be heard.

THE CHAIR: That’s precisely why I’m raising this with you now.

MR GRAY: No, I’m talking about a statement from the person.

THE CHAIR: No, a statement is one thing, but if you want to challenge, or those who instruct you want to challenge what a witness says on a particular issue, that is another
thing.

MR GRAY: It is, Your Honour, I’m sorry to be taking the time. The practice guideline requires us to challenge someone where it is to be submitted that that person is not to be believed or has been deliberately untruthful. I do not expect to be making any such submission in relation to any of the witnesses who have given evidence.

THE CHAIR: The consequence which will flow from that, in the most likely event, is the witness will be believed and that will found a finding.

MR GRAY: Well, I don’t want to traverse that, Your Honour, but there will be other evidence, one expects, which no doubt the Commission will consider but I don’t seek to say any more about it.

THE CHAIR: Well, Mr Gray, I’m sure you understand what I’m saying.

MR GRAY: Yes, Your Honour.

THE CHAIR: I’m sure those instructing you do. There must be no misunderstanding about this, these are significant and serious questions as to the way your client has responded to the allegations. That’s what it comes down to and they are issues which we will have to determine having regard to the evidence before us.

But, if the proposition from your client is that all of these witnesses should be believed, you can appreciate that it’s likely that it might be said in relation to evidence that you might bring, by others, it might be submitted that they shouldn’t be believed.

Now, that’s a matter for you and your clients.

MR GRAY: The submission that I have anticipated,Your Honour, is not that they should be believed if their evidence is different from something that one of my – that
somebody from one of my clients ultimately says. What I’m observing at the moment is that I do not have instructions at the moment and don’t expect to have them to challenge
any of these witnesses on the basis that they are being deliberately untruthful.

THE CHAIR: Well, I’ve said enough, I think, Mr Gray.

MR GRAY: Yes, Your Honour.

*****

MS FURNESS: Your Honour, there’s just one additional matter. My friend, Mr Gray, was referring to the practice guidelines and the one in particular he was referring to was 67, and I’ll read it:

Except as set out below, the Royal Commission will not apply the rule in Browne v Dunn. If the Royal Commission is to be invited to disbelief a witness, the material grounds upon which it is said that the evidence should be disbelieved should be put to the witness so that the witness may have an opportunity to offer an
explanation.

There’s an additional subparagraph of that guideline, and that is:

The Royal Commission expects that, where it is contended that deliberately false evidence has been given, or that there has been a mistake on the part of the witness on a significant issue, the grounds of such contention will be put.

I raise that, Your Honour, in order that my friend understands that 67(b) of the guideline may well be applicable to the matters Your Honour has raised earlier.

THE CHAIR: Yes, well, the position I think is now crystal clear, or it should be. Very well, 10 o’clock in the morning.

20 May Cardinal Pell issues statement

Like everyone who has been following the Royal Commission’s hearings in Ballarat this week, I have been horrified once again by survivors’ accounts of the abuse they have suffered. Also the terrible impact it has had on their lives and families and the Catholic community of Ballarat. The suicide of so many victims is an enormous tragedy. The crimes committed against them by priests and brothers are profoundly evil and completely repugnant to me.

A number of claims have been made concerning my own response during these years. Many of the issues have already been addressed by me in the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry in 2013, and my submission to that inquiry, and a transcript of my evidence, are available on the Victorian Parliament’s website. I stand by the statements I made to the Victorian Parliament.

I also note that under its terms of reference the Royal Commission can access all material from previous inquiries, including the Victorian Inquiry, which dealt with these matters extensively.

The Commission stated today that it will request a statement from me.

Over the last 24 hours I have been accused of being complicit in the moving of a known paedophile, of ignoring a victim’s complaint, and of bribery. These matters again require an immediate response and it is important to correct the record particularly given the false and misleading headlines.

Firstly, while out of the greatest respect for Mr Green, as I have stated previously, I have no recollection of a conversation with Mr Green in 1974, more than 40 years ago. Having recently read his statement to the Commission I still cannot remember Mr. Green or the conversation. To the best of my belief, this conversation did not happen. I stand by my previous statements.

Secondly, I never moved Ridsdale out of Mortlake Parish. I never moved him anywhere. I would never have condoned or participated in a decision to transfer Ridsdale in the knowledge that he had abused children, and I did not do so. I was a member of the College of Consultors for Ballarat from 1977 until I left Ballarat in 1984. Membership of the Consultors gave me no authority over Gerald Ridsdale or any other priest in Ballarat.

My recollection is that Bishop Mulkearns did not raise any paedophilia allegations against Ridsdale at the Consultors meetings I attended, or at any time before or after such meetings.

Contrary to some media reports, minutes of the meetings of the Consultors are not “secret” and were produced to the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry which did not raise them in the hearings or in their final report. Indeed, I addressed these meetings in my submission to the Victorian Inquiry.

Finally, I was and remain extremely sympathetic to David Ridsdale who because of his uncle suffered horrible abuse. I continue to regret the misunderstanding between us. At no time did I attempt to bribe David Ridsdale or his family or offer any financial inducements for him to be silent. At the time of our discussion the police were already aware of allegations against Gerald Ridsdale and were investigating. Then, and now, I supported these police investigations. I have previously made a sworn denial of these allegations and I reiterate that denial.

I am committed to complete cooperation with the Royal Commission. I will address in full all matters it wishes to raise in any statement requested from me before I make any further comment.

I have the deepest sympathy for the victims of abuse, their families and the community of Ballarat for what they have suffered. Once again, I will answer allegations and criticisms of my behaviour openly and honestly.

 21 May 2015

  THE CHAIR: Yes, Ms Furness.

MS FURNESS: Your Honour, a letter was received overnight from those acting on behalf of various church parties, and the letter is relevant to the matters that Your Honour raised yesterday with Mr Gray and the interpretation particularly of paragraph 67 of the practice guidelines.

In order for this matter to be addressed, I seek to tender that letter. Copies are being handed up to the bench

EXHIBIT #28-19 LETTER FROM PARTIES ACTING ON BEHALF OF VARIOUS CHURCH PARTIES

MS FURNESS: Thank you, Your Honour.

MS FURNESS: Thank you, Your Honour.

THE CHAIR: You don’t want to say anything further in relation to the letter?

MS FURNESS: Your Honour, as I indicated yesterday, my submission is that s.67(b) can be and, in my submission, should be interpreted differently from that set out by those representing the church parties yesterday, and that matter is raised in the second page about halfway down of this letter.

It’s suggested in this letter that, in the circumstances of the Royal Commission taking a different view, contact was made overnight with some of the people concerned, including Cardinal Pell. What’s attached to the letter is a statement from Cardinal Pell where, among other matters, in respect of Mr Green he says the conversation that Mr Green gave evidence of yesterday did not happen. In respect of the evidence Mr Ridsdale gave yesterday, he says:

I have previously made a sworn denial of these allegations and I reiterate that denial.

Now, no other material has been provided in the context that the church parties referred to some of the people, including Cardinal Pell, so my submission can only be in respect of Cardinal Pell. In my submission, that statement which has been provided to the Royal Commission is one of denial rather than difference of recollection and, in my submission, the contents of that statement would call into play paragraph 67(a). So, the issue of whether or not paragraph (b) of 67 should be read in a particular way becomes somewhat redundant.

THE CHAIR: Mr Gray, do you want to say anything about this letter?

MR GRAY: No, Your Honour, the letter speaks for itself and that is our position on my instructions.

THE CHAIR: I just need to say a couple of things. Firstly, the letter has, it would seem to us, within it a misunderstanding.

As Ms Furness has just indicated, the position as we apprehend it may be is that there will be direct conflict between witnesses as to whether or not a particular event occurred or a particular statement was made, either because there’s been a mistake, or because one or other may not be telling the truth and should be disbelieved; then both limbs of clause 67 will operate.

Maybe that hadn’t been appreciated, but it should be clearly understood.

Secondly, the letter raises the question of the process that’s been followed by the Commission in previous case studies. Nothing which we have done in order to
progress the case studies, the public hearings, in an orderly way diminishes or cuts across the right of any party to seek to have evidence tendered or a witness called.

It’s not alone a matter for the Commission to seek out evidence or seek out witnesses. If a party wishes evidence to be tendered or a witness called, then that is their right, and that right is exercised by asking Counsel Assisting to make appropriate arrangements for that to happen.

However, in the ordinary course, in order for the orderly running of the Commission’s business, it has been our approach in the past, and will continue to be, that we will seek out witnesses and seek from them statements so that, as I say, we may proceed in an orderly fashion.

The fact that prospective witnesses in this Case Study have not yet been asked for a statement is a reflection of two things: firstly, as with any Royal Commission process, we are engaged in an investigation. This is not a process akin to a conventional trial and all
the evidence is necessarily collected before the case begins; this is an investigation.

As you know, and everyone knows, this Case Study is proceeding by way of two separated public hearings. No one should assume that that’s been done for other than a
deliberate purpose, and I stress again, this is an investigation; that’s what a Royal Commission does.

Thirdly, Mr Gray, I need to confirm, if it’s not already plain, that just because the church parties have chosen to conduct their case in any of our Case Study hearings in a particular way and not ask witnesses questions is not a matter that we will have regard to when making any findings that we believe is appropriate to make when we complete our reports. It’s a matter for you and those instructing you as to the course that you take, but
the practice directions and what I have indicated yesterday and confirm again this morning, I hope makes plain that, merely because the church chooses to conduct its case in a particular way, that does not bind the Commission in any way at all in relation to the approach it will take to the findings which it might make.

MR GRAY: Thank you, Your Honour. We’ve done our best to put forward our appreciation of the position as it presently stands in the letter, and I have heard what Your Honour has said.

THE CHAIR: What I’m saying plainly is, the letter does not reflect the process by which the Commission will pursue its task and it would seem that there’s been some
misunderstandings that are reflected in the letter, and I trust those misunderstandings have now been swept away.

MR GRAY: Could I just ask one question, Your Honour, in case there’s another misunderstanding on my part: is the Commission indicating that findings would be made before the second set of hearings?

THE CHAIR: No, of course not. It’s one investigation, one Case Study proceeding by way of two sets or two periods of public hearings.

I stress again, as I stressed yesterday, that no one will be denied procedural fairness, but that doesn’t mean that the investigative process won’t take the course which the Commission has decided it should take. All we will do is make sure that at the end of the day, and before we make any findings, everyone has been afforded procedural fairness

MR GRAY: Thank you, Your Honour.

THE CHAIR: Yes, Ms Furness.

MS FURNESS: Your Honour, might I just raise one additional matter in relation to the letter which is now exhibit 28-19.

There is reference to the fact that the church parties were provided with witness statements after witnesses associated with the church parties had already provided
their statements, with one exception. The word “after” is underlined and I can only take that as being somewhat of a criticism of the process followed.

As Counsel Assisting, can I indicate that the way in which material is served on the parties depends upon the stage at which any investigation has reached, and there is
no set practice that will be unwaveringly followed in respect to the service of material.

THE CHAIR: Thank you for that. It just leads me to repeat the observation that this is an investigation and the process by which that investigation is undertaken is a matter for the Commissioners.

At the end of the day, the necessity and the obligation of the Commissioners, is to afford parties procedural fairness, but that does not mean that in the course of the investigation any particular pattern or internal procedure will be followed. What it means though is that, at the end of the day and before we make findings, procedural fairness and an opportunity to respond and make submissions is afforded to any party. Yes.

Posted in Accused or charged, Bishops | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Really bizarre!

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The following have been posted as updates on the Australian Royal Commission’s current hearings in Ballarat:

21 May 2015:  “‘Pell a bully’: David Ridsdale” & related articles

20 May 2015:  Full text of statement from Cardinal George Pell (20 May 2015)

Yes, I did mange to watch parts of the hearing last night, but must admit that at  times nodded off , not at all because of the nature of the testimony, but just because it was getting a little too late for me :(  However, before the first witness took the stand  I was intrigued by an exchange between a Mr. Peter Gray,  the lawyer representing witnesses from the Catholic Church at the inquiry,  and the Commissioner.  I had difficulty catching the thread of the conversation because of initial problems with the live streaming, so was keen today to see what it was all about.  It turns out that it related to a decision taken Gray and whomever assists, advises and/or instructs him or whatever,  NOT to cross-examine witnesses.  And, of course, on  the heels of that bizarre and, in light of the circumstances from my perspective,  illogical decision, along came the  damning testimony of  David Ridsdale (““I want to know what it will take to keep you quiet.”) which evoked NO cross examination but, in the mere twinkle of an eye did evoke the above statement by Cardinal George Pell !

This really is bizarre!  So, I’m going through the transcripts to sort out exactly what was said over the past few days regarding Gray NOT cross-examining witnesses, particularly knowing as he and Cardinal Pell did that at least two witnesses at the Ballarat hearings would give testimony which would definitely  put the Cardinal in a less than favourable light.

Enough for now,

Sylvia

Posted in Accused or charged, Vatican | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Commission live streamed

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The Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse IS conducting hearings – they are about to start any minute now.  The hearings are scheduled to commence at 10 am AEST 21 May 2015, which is 8 pm EST 20 May 2015.  This is what is referred to as Case Study 28.  It is being conducted in Ballarat.

Click here to access the commission website.

I don’t know who the witnesses are who are scheduled to testify – still trying to find out.

If you have never had occasion to attend an inquiry this is a good opportunity to find out how inquiries operate.  I plan to watch for at least a while.  I doubt that I will last into the wee hours of the morning, but I will catch some.

They seem to be running a few minutes late..

Oh, here we go…

Enough for now,

Sylvia

Posted in Clerical sexual predators | 2 Comments

“1,400 investigated in child sex abuse inquiry, including politicians” & related article

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Officer leading Operation Hydrant inquiry says out of 1,433 alleged offenders 76 were politicians, 43 were from music industry and 135 were from TV, film or radio

The Guardian  (UK)

Wednesday 20 May 2015 12.42 BST
Last modified on Wednesday 20 May 2015 16.56 BST

Sandra Laville

Clockwise from top left: Fred Talbot, Gary Glitter, Jimmy Savile, Rolf Harris, Stuart Hall, Max Clifford
Clockwise from top left: Fred Talbot, Gary Glitter, Jimmy Savile, Rolf Harris, Stuart Hall, Max Clifford
Clockwise from top left: Fred Talbot, Gary Glitter, Jimmy Savile, Rolf Harris, Stuart Hall, Max Clifford Photograph: Various/PA/Getty/Wireimage/AFP/Reuters

Police across the country are investigating more than 1,400 men – including 261 high-profile individuals – over allegations of child abuse in the past, a senior officer running the national operation has revealed.

The scale of alleged child abuse across society – both recent and non-recent – was stark, said Ch Const Simon Bailey, who runs Operation Hydrant, the national coordinating team overseeing the various inquiries.

Figures from police forces in England and Wales published on Wednesday reveal that 1,433 men have been identified in reports of alleged abuse by victims, since the operation was set up in 2014.

Of these 216 are dead, 76 are politicians, both national and local figures, 43 are from the music industry, 135 from TV, film or radio and seven from the world of sport. The cases include recent high-profile convictions, including Rolf Harris, Gary Glitter and Max Clifford.

Hundreds of institutions have been identified by victims of non-recent abuse as places where their abuse took place. These include 154 schools, 75 children’s homes, 40 religious institutions, 14 medical establishments, 11 community groups, nine prisons or young offender institutions, nine sports venues and 28 other places including military establishments.

Bailey warned that the number of victims could run into the hundreds of thousands, and called for much more support for survivors of child abuse. He said he believed that the enormous increase in reports of all types of child sexual abuse – which have risen by 71% since 2012 to 116,000 reports this year – was not just down to more victims coming forward.

Instead, Bailey warned that the internet was creating the opportunity for more abuse to take place, and said live-streaming of child abuse on mobile phones was the next challenge facing law enforcers.

Bailey said the number of reports of abuse, both by adults of historical abuse, and by children today, was increasing on a daily basis, and the figures released on Wednesday were just a snapshot of the challenge faced by the police and society as a whole.

He supported calls for much more funding for victims of child abuse. “The government has allocated millions of pounds to provide additional support, but I am not sure that is going to be enough. We are talking about hundreds of thousands of victims,” he said.

Of the 116,000 reports of child sexual abuse this year, 52,446 are allegations of sexual abuse in the past, some involving cases going back decades. This amounts to a 166% increase in reports of non-recent abuse, said Bailey.

Detectives on Operation Hydrant are coordinating the many investigations into non-recent abuse involving both high-profile individuals and institutions, from a hub in Sheffield.

A team from Operation Hydrant is liaising with Justice Goddard to support the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse.

Each of the 1,433 suspects has been put into a major crime database, which is cross referenced to ensure that no inquires are being duplicated and to identify suspects whose offending crossed borders. So far 30 individuals have been identified in one or more of the investigations.

Bailey said the figures were stark. “This year I am anticipating an estimated 116,000 reports of child sexual abuse will be received, that is a 71% increase since 2012, so it gives you some idea of the scale of this.

“What we are seeing is an absolutely unprecedented increase in the number of reports that are coming forward. That has brought about a step-change in the way the police service has had to deal with this. We are rising to and meeting the challenge, this is what Operation Hydrant is about.”

Bailey said the Hydrant team was working to create a database which would try to ensure that the failures of the past – as identified in the Jimmy Savile case – would not be repeated.

During the investigation of the late Radio 1 DJ it emerged that intelligence and information, including reports of abuse, were buried in the system – in some cases to prevent leaks – which meant when individual police forces with their own allegations checked the national police computer database his name did not come up.

“One of our primary objectives is to make sure where we get intelligence and where we get evidence of abuse it is being coordinated so we don’t make those mistakes. That particular case showed mistakes were made and he was able to go on and continue further abusing. The whole idea is that we don’t make those mistakes again,” he said.

Bailey said everyone from teachers, GPs, parents and wider society had a duty to look out for signs of abuse. He said: “We face a massive challenge in terms of resources, time and expertise to balance offering routes of justice for those who suffered in the past while safeguarding and protecting children in a vulnerable position today.”

Sheila Taylor, from the national working group on child sexual exploitation, said a massive public health campaign was needed to address the scale of child abuse within society.

John Brown from the NSPCC said the failure to support victims amount to a public health problem. “That is the issue. We are not helping children and adult victims to recover and there are huge costs to society, there are economic considerations and individual psychiatric costs.”

Tom Watson, the Labour MP whose claims made in the Commons that there was a paedophile network linked to parliament triggered a Scotland Yard investigation, said: “The sheer number of allegations just shows why there should be a dedicated national police response to child abuse inquiries. Intelligence gathering and data sharing will be far easier were there to be a dedicated team comprising of specialists from around the country.

“We are only just beginning to understand how as a country, over many generations, we managed to turn a blind eye to Britain’s child abuse scandal. The survivors deserve justice and future generations require greater protection.”

Gabrielle Shaw, chief executive of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood (Napac), said: “The scale and scope of sexual abuse of children committed in the past can often seem overwhelming. What these figures from the National Police Chiefs’ Council do is to provide some degree of measure of the issue.

“And what a measure it is; prolific offenders from all spheres of society, thinking they were untouchable, abusing children and the most vulnerable in settings where they should have been safest , including schools, care facilities and religious institutions.”

______________________________

1,400 child abuse suspects identified

BBC News

20 May 2015

More than 1,400 suspects, including politicians and celebrities, have been investigated by police probing historical child sex abuse allegations.

The figures were revealed by Operation Hydrant, set up by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC).

It explores links between child sex abuse by “prominent public persons”.

Of the 1,433 suspects identified, 216 are now dead and 261 are classified as people of public prominence, with 135 coming from TV, film or radio.

Of the remainder:

  • A further 76 suspects are politicians, 43 are from the music industry and seven come from the world of sport.
  • A total of 666 claims relate to institutions, with 357 separate institutions identified.
  • Of these, 154 are schools, 75 are children’s homes, and 40 are religious institutions.
  • They also include 14 medical establishments, 11 community institutions, nine prisons, nine sports venues and 28 other institutions, including military groups and guest houses.

Another 17 institutions are classified as unknown.

The figures are taken from police forces in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

They relate to reports of abuse, or investigations of abuse, which police forces were dealing with in the summer of 2014.

‘Unprecedented increase’

Norfolk Police Chief Constable Simon Bailey, the NPCC’s lead on child protection, said the referrals were increasing “on an almost daily basis” with the numbers released being a “snapshot in time”.

“We are seeing an unprecedented increase in the number of reports that are coming forward.

“That has brought about a step change in the way the service has had to deal with it.”

He also said police were projected to receive about 116,000 reports of historical child sex abuse by the end of 2015 – an increase of 71% from 2012.

He added: “There is no doubt [Jimmy] Savile has had an effect on us. We are dealing with more and more allegations.”

Ex-DJ Jimmy Savile was revealed after his death to be one of the UK’s most prolific sexual predators.

And Mr Bailey said while there was no figure for the number of victims, it was likely to run into the thousands.

“These figures raise the question, is more abuse being perpetrated?” he said.

“I don’t have the evidence at this moment in time to prove this one way or another.”

Operation Hydrant does not conduct any investigations itself, but gathers information from other inquiries.

There are a number of ongoing investigations into historical sex crimes, including Operation Pallial, which is looking at claims of abuse in care homes in north Wales and an inquiry into Knowl View school in Rochdale, where the late MP Sir Cyril Smith is said to have preyed on boys.

Operation Yewtree has already seen Rolf Harris and former public relations guru Max Clifford jailed for sex crimes.

Mr Bailey said police forces were now moving resources from other departments to focus on past sex crimes.

“More and more officers are being deployed into our vulnerability teams because of this surge in demand. And it’s right they should do that.”

‘Astonishing’ figures

Liz Dux, a lawyer with legal firm Slater and Gordon, which represents 800 child sexual abuse victims, told the BBC the Savile revelations meant people had given victims confidence.

“The hope is the police have enough manpower to do [the investigation] justice, and to give it the importance it deserves.

“What we’ve seen is, not only in relation to celebrities, or well-known politicians, people have generally come forward and said ‘I was abused by a family member, or I was abused in these circumstances, and I now feel able to address it and I now want to see my offender brought to justice’.”

Jon Brown, head of the NSPCC’s programme to tackle sexual abuse, described the figures as “astonishing” and said they showed abuse “permeates all parts of society”.

He added: “We are seeing a seismic shift in people’s willingness and preparedness to come forward now and talk about things that have happened sometimes many, many years or decades ago.

“What we’re beginning to see is a much more realistic picture now of the scale of the problem, and we now need to be looking at ways in which that can most effectively be dealt with.”

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