“Paedophile priests advised never to admit guilt to limit payouts, Catholic church insurer says” & other related articles

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The Herald Sun

May 01, 2013 12:01AM

by: Annika Smethurst

PAEDOPHILE priests were advised never to admit guilt as a way of limiting payouts to victims, the Catholic Church’s insurer has said.

Catholic Church Insurance has paid out about $30 million to 600 Victorian victims of child abuse since 1990.

Chief executive Peter Rush told the Victorian parliamentary inquiry into child abuse that the company used to tell clients not to admit anything to victims and that minimising payouts was its primary motivation.

“In the early 1990s I am confident that that would have been the way that we would have advised our clients, quite wrongly,” Mr Rush said.

“That was the way insurers then, and some even now, run liability-type portfolios.”

Mr Rush said 5 per cent of the insurance claims had been denied, including those where the church had knowledge of an offender.

Some of those cases included offences by notorious paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale dating back top 1975 when then Ballarat Bishop Ronald Mulkearns became aware of his offences.

“In the course of our investigations we ascertained that the Bishop in the diocese of Ballarat was aware of the propensity of Ridsdale to offend,” Mr Rush said.

Deputy chairman of the inquiry, MP Frank McGuire, said the inquiry had heard allegations of heinous crimes and cover-ups.

Independent commissioners for the Melbourne Response, Peter O’Callaghan, QC, and Jeff Gleeson, SC, rejected a Victoria Police inquiry submission that said the Melbourne Response appeared to be a substitute for criminal justice and not a single complaint had been referred to police.

Mr Gleeson said both men were appalled at the suggestion they had been involved in a cover-up.

The inquiry will resume in Melbourne on Friday

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Abuse Royal Commission

Church insurer had ‘exclusion list’ of priests it wouldn’t cover

The Australian

May 01, 2013 12:00AM

by: Stuart Rintoul

CATHOLIC Church insurers have paid out $30 million to 600 victims of abuse since 1990 and have revealed the existence of an “exclusion list” of priests they would not indemnify the church against because they were known by the church to be offenders.

Catholic Church Insurance chief executive Peter Rush said the insurer refused to indemnify the church against claims involving pedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale for offences committed after 1975 after it “ascertained” that was when Ballarat Bishop Ronald Mulkearns learned of his “propensity to offend”.

He said the same “prior knowledge” test was applied to pedophile priest Michael Glennon and revealed that CCI did not cover the church in a $450,000 out-of-court settlement in 2006 with Emma Foster, who was raped when she was in primary school, along with her sister Katie, by pedophile priest Kevin O’Donnell and who took her own life in 2008.

The settlement paid to Foster, the amount of which was revealed at the inquiry for the first time, was nine times the $50,000 cap paid to victims under the church’s Melbourne Response process at the time, which is now capped at $75,000.

Outside the Victorian parliamentary inquiry into the handling of child abuse by religious and other organisations, Foster’s parents Anthony and Chrissie Foster demanded the “exclusion list” of known pedophile priests be produced to reveal the names of the priests and when their offences were known by the church.

Mr Foster also criticised the church’s Melbourne Response, which was established in 1996 to deal with abuse cases, saying it was “set up to protect the Catholic Church” and to minimise compensation paid to victims, which was “nowhere near enough”.

Melbourne Response commissioner Peter O’Callaghan QC told the inquiry Melbourne Response had dealt with 330 cases of abuse, 304 of which had been upheld. Of those, 234 were male and 70 female.

In almost three hours of evidence, he claimed he had acted in a way “akin to a royal commissioner”. He said he had found in favour of 97 per cent of complaints and denied Victoria Police assertions he had discouraged victims from taking their complaints to police. He also stated his “abhorrence” of child sexual abuse.

Appearing with fellow commissioner Jeff Gleeson SC, who described Mr O’Callaghan as “one of the most decent men I have ever met”, he said Melbourne Response was set up to provide a remedy to victims who might otherwise have none.

In his evidence yesterday, Mr Rush agreed that in the early 1990s the church’s insurers and lawyers would have “quite wrongly” advised the church to “admit nothing” in order to limit its financial liability.

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Catholic investigators deny abuse cover-up

Yahoo! News (Australia)

Updated April 30, 2013, 6:35 pm

By Patrick Caruana and Daniel Fogarty, AAP

The commissioners in charge of investigating claims of child abuse in the Catholic Church in Melbourne deny they have helped cover up crimes.

They say senior Victoria Police officers are “plainly wrong” for attacking the church’s Melbourne-based complaints system for not reporting abuse cases.

Melbourne Response independent commissioners Peter O’Callaghan QC and Jeff Gleeson SC deny they are trying to protect the church.

Mr Gleeson said both men were disgusted at being accused of being involved in a cover-up in evidence before a Victorian parliamentary inquiry.

“How offensive it is to have suggested that we would be complicit in a process that was designed to conceal it,” he told the inquiry on Tuesday.

“It’s an appalling suggestion. It’s offensive. I’ve got five children. Why would I do that?”

A Victoria Police inquiry submission said the Melbourne Response – the church’s internal protocol for dealing with abuse victims in the Melbourne archdiocese since 1996 – appeared to be a substitute for criminal justice.

Deputy Commissioner Graham Ashton has told the inquiry the church has hindered justice and not reported any of the 620 cases of abuse it has upheld internally since 1956, while the Melbourne Response has also not referred any complaints.

Mr O’Callaghan said he and Mr Gleeson had consistently encouraged victims to go to police.

“We submit that the police submission from Deputy Commissioner Ashton is in many aspects plainly wrong and seriously misconceived,” he told the inquiry on Tuesday.

“I facilitated the referral of complaints to police … In a lot of cases I rang the relevant police officer.”

Inquiry committee member Frank McGuire said the inquiry had heard allegations of heinous crimes and cover-ups and that the church’s position was intended to minimise damage to its reputation.

Mr McGuire said the perception was that the commissioners had a conflict of interest, which Mr O’Callaghan rejected.

“The fact of being paid by the appointer does not – and it is a grave allegation against me when it has been made – destroy my independence,” Mr O’Callaghan said.

“If I am covering up, if that is what I am accused of, I have found 97 per cent of complaints that have come before me established.”

He said his role was akin to that of a royal commissioner.

The inquiry heard there had been 330 complaints made to Melbourne Response since it began, 304 of which had been upheld.

Mr O’Callaghan said the number of victims was an indictment on the Catholic Church, but the Melbourne Response provided a remedy for victims which did not previously exist.

The church’s insurer has paid out about $30 million to 600 Victorian abuse victims since 1990, the inquiry heard.

Catholic Church Insurance CEO Peter Rush said the company did not make payouts for offences where the church had known about the offender, including those committed by pedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale after 1975 when then Ballarat Bishop Ronald Mulkearns became aware of his offences.

Compensation claims have been rejected in at least two cases, those of Ridsdale and former Catholic priest Michael Glennon, because the church had knowledge of the offenders.

Mr Rush said the practice in the 1970s would have been to allow abusive clergy members to continue in the ministry, but this had not occurred since the Melbourne Response and the national Towards Healing process were introduced in 1996.

Victoria Police did not comment on Tuesday’s inquiry evidence.

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Catholic insurer pays $30m to Vic victims

The Brisbane Times

AAP

The Catholic Church’s insurer has paid out about $30 million to 600 Victorian victims of child abuse, its CEO says.

Catholic Church Insurance CEO Peter Rush said the organisation did not make payouts related to offences that occurred after the date the church had knowledge of an offender.

He confirmed that his organisation did not insure offences committed by pedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale after 1975 when then Ballarat Bishop Ronald Mulkearns became aware of his offences.

Mr Rush said there were at least two confirmed cases, including Ridsdale, where they stopped paying insurance and said there would have been more.

He told the Victorian parliamentary inquiry into the handling of child abuse by religious and other organisations that compensation had been paid to 600 victims and totalled about $30 million.

Money has never been paid to a person who committed abuse, Mr Rush said.

The organisation began payouts in 1990, he said.

Mr Rush said about five per cent of the insurance claims had been denied, some because the church had prior knowledge of an offender.

He said the practice in the 1970s would have been to allow an offender to continue in their position.

But Mr Rush said this had not occurred since the introduction of Towards Healing and the Melbourne Response, the church’s national and Melbourne systems for dealing with complaints.

Catholic Church Insurance national claims manager Marita Wright said investigations of cases where insurance was refused showed that in these cases a bishop had knowledge about a clergy member who had a propensity to abuse children at a particular point in time.

1 Response to “Paedophile priests advised never to admit guilt to limit payouts, Catholic church insurer says” & other related articles

  1. Sylvia says:

    How can these people look themselves in the mirror everyday?

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