Police Arrest Woman For Locking Up Minor In Warehouse

 

The police have arrested a woman for locking up a 17-year-old girl in a warehouse at the Isheri area of Lagos State.

The girl, who identified herself as Blessing, told Channels Television on getting to the scene, that she was locked up on Sunday morning after she decided to quit working for her as a domestic help.

Neighbours had attempted to force the gate open just before police officers arrived at the warehouse, but it was impossible.

She was, however, later rescued and taken away by the police while her boss, Mrs Mary Idowu was also arrested and taken away for further questioning.

This comes just weeks after Operatives of the Lagos State Police Command arrested a woman accused of locking her 10-year-old cousin in a dog kennel.

Read Also: Police Arrest Woman Who Locked 10-Year-Old In Dog Cage

When questioned, the suspect (Onyinye) claimed to have locked up the boy for only a few hours before bringing him out, alleging that the victim had taken a hot drink in their refrigerator which caused him to start misbehaving.

She added that the boy smashed the side mirror of her vehicle with a stone, which made her detain him in the dog kennel.

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Mr Bala Elkana, said investigations revealed that the victim had lost his parents and was brought to Lagos in 2012 from Anambra State by Onyinye’s mother along with his two siblings.

He noted that the suspect and the boy were cousins, adding that her mother was the elder sister of the victim’s father.

The Command’s spokesman said the suspect would be charged to court, stressing that the police would continue to protect the rights of children and other vulnerable members of the society from all forms of violence and abuses.

Archbishop Stands By Disgraced Pell After Losing Sex-Case Appeal

Vatican finance chief Cardinal George Pell leaves after making an appearance in court in Melbourne on May 1, 2018. Pell pleaded not guilty on May 1 after being ordered to stand trial on multiple historical sexual offence charges in Australia. WILLIAM WEST / AFP

 

A senior Australian Archbishop said Thursday he still believed disgraced Cardinal George Pell was innocent despite a court rejecting his appeal against child sex abuse convictions.

Melbourne Archbishop Peter Comensoli said while he accepted the testimony of the victim that convicted Pell, he believed his colleague was the victim of mistaken identity.

“I believe in what he said to me on many occasions — that he’s innocent,” Comensoli told 3AW radio, stressing that he accepted the witness was indeed abused but by someone else.

He did not offer any evidence to support the claim.

READ ALSO: One Dead, Several Injured In Paris Hospital Fire

Pell and his supporters look set to fight on after the former Vatican treasurer on Wednesday lost his appeal against five convictions for sexually assaulting two 13-year-old choirboys at a Melbourne cathedral in the 1990s.

University of Melbourne law professor Jeremy Gans said it was highly likely that Pell would now take his case to the country’s final court of appeal.

“He’s got absolutely nothing to lose, and his odds are long. But if he wins, it’s big for him, so why on earth wouldn’t he do it?” Gans told AFP.

Pell, 78, who once helped elect Popes, is serving a six-year sentence for the offences, which came to light after one of the victims went to police when the other died of a drug overdose in 2014.

Wednesday’s landmark decision at the Court of Appeal was a 2-1 verdict.

Two judges said they believed Pell’s surviving victim, while the dissenting judge said he found the victim’s account “contained discrepancies”.

Gans said the High Court would likely be more open to taking on the case because of the split decision, but it wasn’t guaranteed.

Stuart Webb, president of the Law Institute of Victoria, described the outcome of the appeal as “fascinating and unusual”, saying Pell’s lawyers would now be scrutinising the 300-page judgment to see whether they could take further legal steps.

Under the relevant legislation, the High Court can consider an appeal if it is of public importance, is required to resolve differences of opinion on the state of the law or is in the interests of the administration of justice.

“And that will be questionable in the circumstances because the High Court is unlikely to be willing to enter into a discussion about factual situations,” Webb said.

The Vatican has said it will not launch an investigation into its most senior convicted child molester until after the case is finalised, despite announcing a probe back in February.

“As in other cases, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is awaiting the outcome of the ongoing proceedings and the conclusion of the appellate process prior to taking up the case,” spokesman Matteo Bruni said.

During Pell’s trial under a court-ordered veil of secrecy, the Vatican gradually removed him from top Church bodies with little explanation.

Pell is also facing multiple civil compensation suits, including from the father of the deceased choirboy.

AFP

Ex-UN Official Jailed For Child Abuse In Nepal

 

A former UN official has been jailed for sexually abusing children in Nepal, officials said Tuesday, following a trial underscoring the country’s growing appeal for foreign paedophiles.

Peter John Dalglish, 62, from Canada, a formerly high-profile humanitarian worker, was sentenced on Monday to two terms of nine and six years in two cases after being convicted last month.

Thakur Trital, a district court official, told AFP that Dalglish had been sentenced for nine years for abusing a 12-year-old boy and seven years jail for molesting another 14-year-old.

READ ALSO: China Asks US To ‘Immediately Cancel’ Arms Sale To Taiwan

“The judge is yet to decide whether he should serve a total of 16 years in jail or be released after nine years. In most cases of a similar nature, sentences get overlapped but it is upon the judge to decide,” Trital said.

Dalglish has also been told to pay compensation of 500,000 Nepali rupees ($4,550) to each of the victims.

Dalglish was arrested in April last year in Kavrepalanchowk district, near Kathmandu, by Nepal’s Central Bureau of Investigation.

The two boys were at the house where police detained Dalglish, investigators said.

Dalglish denied the charges, and his lawyer could not be reached for comment.

The aid worker, who in 2016 was awarded the Order of Canada — the country’s second-highest civilian honour — made his name as a humanitarian worker advocating for street children, child labourers and those affected by war.

He co-founded Street Kids International in the 1980s which merged with Save the Children.

In the last decade, Dalglish held key positions in UN agencies, including a chief for UN-Habitat in Afghanistan in 2015.

In Nepal, Dalglish was an advisor in a child programme for the International Labour Organization in the early 2000s.

Weak law enforcement has made Nepal notorious for sexual predators, with several arrests and convictions in recent years.

In 2015 a Canadian orphanage volunteer, Ernest MacIntosh, 71, was sentenced to seven years in prison for sexually abusing a disabled 15-year-old boy, while in 2010 French charity worker Jean-Jacques Haye was convicted of raping 10 children at a Kathmandu orphanage.

AFP

German Catholics Meet To Address Child Sex Abuse Scandal

Germany Map

 

Germany’s Catholic Church was due Thursday to speak about steps to address its child sex abuse scandal, which mirrors clerical paedophilia revelations worldwide.

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the head of the German Bishops’ Conference, was due to give a 1300 GMT press conference at the end of a four-day episcopal conference in the western city of Lingen.

As in Australia, Chile, France, Ireland and the United States, Germany’s Catholic Church has had to admit to abuses by predator priests and clergy and their systematic cover-up over decades.

Germany’s Church last September released a study that showed 1,670 clergymen had committed some form of sexual attack against 3,677 minors, mostly boys, between 1946 and 2014.

The authors said the figure was “the tip of the iceberg” as many Church documents had been “destroyed or manipulated”.

READ ALSO: French Investigators Receive Black Boxes From Crashed Boeing 737 MAX

The true figure of German Catholic abuse victims was estimated at 114,000 in a recent Ulm University study based on a randomised survey of the general population that was published in the Journal of Sexual Child Abuse.

Survey leader Joerg Fegert, whose study estimated similar figures for the Protestant Church, told Die Welt newspaper that he hoped the bishops’ meeting “will finally face up to the true dimensions of the sexual abuse of minors”.

Last month a Vatican meeting addressed the global issue heaping pressure on the Church, and this week Australian Cardinal George Pell, one of Pope Francis’s closest advisers, was jailed for six years for molesting two choirboys in 1996.

The German conference host, Bishop Franz-Josef Bode, called on the Church to show greater transparency, saying that “only a Church that is pure of heart… transparent, honest and without double standards, which faces up to reality, will win back trust”.

 Victims not invited 

The Catholic Church — Germany’s biggest religious community with 23 million followers — has apologised and pledged a series of steps, from owning up to past crimes to compensating victims and preventing abuses in future.

German bishops have also debated possible changes to Catholic dogma and traditions, including the training of priests to the role of women.

The bishop charged with addressing the child abuse crisis, Stephan Ackermann, said the Church was seeking to find an “unbureaucratic” way to compensate victims and to build prevention and monitoring systems.

The Church had so far received 1,900 applications for “benefits in acknowledgment of suffering”, he said Wednesday.

The main victims’ group, Eckiger Tisch, has urged the Church to bring in independent experts for a more thorough audit, to involve victims in the effort and to take speedy steps to compensate those who have suffered.

“We would gladly have presented our demands to the bishops directly and in person, but we were not invited,” said its head, Matthias Katsch.

 ‘Turn the lights on’ 

Some 300 protesters rallied outside the conference on Monday, chanting “turn the lights on” and symbolically illuminating the church facade with hand-held electric torches.

The rally, organised by the Catholic Women’s Community of Germany, handed over a petition with 30,000 signatures calling for far-reaching reforms, including giving women a greater role in the Church.

Germany’s biggest abuse clusters have included a Berlin elite Jesuit school and the world-famous Catholic choir school the Regensburger Domspatzen where more than 500 boys suffered sexual or physical abuse.

Overall, most victims were boys and more than half were 13 years old or younger, the study last year concluded.

Predator priests were often transferred to another parish, which was usually not warned about their criminal history.

Only about one in three were subject to disciplinary hearings by the Church, and most got away with minimal punishment.

Only 38 percent were prosecuted by civil courts.

AFP

Convicted Australia Cardinal Sentence To Be Broadcast Live

Cardinal George Pell (C) makes his way to the court in Melbourne on February 27, 2019. Con CHRONIS / AFP

 

Disgraced Australian Cardinal George Pell, convicted over child sex crimes, will get a second chance to clear his name this June, a court official said Wednesday, if a judge grants his appeal.

His appeal application has been listed for hearing on June 5-6, a Supreme Court of Victoria spokesman said.

The 77-year-old former Vatican number three is due to be sentenced next week, after being convicted of sexually assaulting two choirboys in Melbourne in the 1990s.

Pell has already lodged his appeal but remains in custody after withdrawing a bail request.

The Australian Cardinal become the most senior Catholic clergyman to be found guilty of child sex abuse when he was convicted in December and maintains his innocence.

He faces up to 50 years in jail.

AFP

Cardinal To Face Trial For Allegedly Covering Child Abuse

Roman Catholic Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, Archbishop of Lyon, looks on during the Conference of Bishops of France held at the Saint Bernadette hemicycle in Lourdes, southwestern France.  ERIC CABANIS / AFP

 

The highest-profile Catholic cleric to be caught up in a paedophile scandal in France is to go on trial on Monday charged with failing to report a priest who abused boy scouts in the 1980s and 90s.

Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, the archbishop of Lyon, is to stand trial along with five others from his diocese over allegations that they helped cover up abuse in one of the parishes in the area.

The 68-year-old, an arch-conservative, is one of the most prominent Catholic figures in France who faces up to three years in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros ($54,000) if convicted of failing to report the abuse.

He denies the allegations.

France’s Catholic church has been roiled in recent years by allegations against predator priests who have come to light in the wake of a global move by victims to come forward with evidence.

Clerics have been denounced in countries as far afield as Australia, Brazil, Chile, Ireland, and the United States, leading Pope Francis to promise to rid the church of the scourge that has done enormous damage to its standing.

 ‘Abused as a child’ 

The scandal in Lyon first came to public attention in 2015 when a former scout went public with allegations that a local priest, Bernard Preynat, had abused him as a child 25 years ago.

The scout, Francois Devaux, who has since formed a victims’ group, also filed a complaint against Barbarin, the priest’s superior, alleging that he had known about the abuse but had covered it up.

After six months of investigation and 10 hours of interviews with Barbarin, investigators dropped the case in 2016 after concluding that the allegations against him were either too old or impossible to prove.

But a group of victims succeeded in having the probe reopened which led to Barbarin and the others, including the archbishop of Auch and the bishop of Nevers in France, being ordered to stand trial.

“We hope this time to have a ruling that will be clear and obvious for everyone,” Devaux said before the start of the trial.

His victims’ group, La Parole Liberee (Freed Speech), began with a handful of people, but soon received calls and testimony from a total of 85 people claiming to have been victims of Preynat in Lyon.

The priest was prevented from leading scout groups after he was first denounced in 1991, but was later allowed to teach to children and held positions of authority in parishes until the scandal surfaced in 2015.

A lawyer for Barbarin, Jean-Felix Luciani, said the cardinal was counting on the trial to “re-establish some facts because you don’t repair one injustice by creating another one.”

 Pope’s role 

The story of Devaux, the victim who brought the scandal to light, is to be told in a film this year called “Grace a Dieu” (“Thanks to God”) which has been made by French director Francois Ozon.

The priest at the centre of the scandal, Preynat, has acknowledged abusing boys during interviews with investigators.

He is set to go on trial this year charged with statutory rape.

Two other French religious figures have been convicted of failing to report child abuse in the past: the archbishop of Bayeux-Lisieux, Pierre Rican, in 2001, as well as the former bishop of Orleans, Andre Fort, last year.

The head of the Vatican’s powerful Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Spanish Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, has also been accused of complicity in the alleged cover-up in Lyon.

In correspondence with Barbarin about the priest, the Vatican’s number three had advised the cardinal to take “necessary disciplinary measures while avoiding public scandal” — seen as a warning to keep the abuse quiet.

The Vatican has cited his immunity from prosecution and he will not go on trial.

Barbarin has retained the support of Pope Francis who met with him at the Vatican in October 2017 shortly after he was ordered to stand trial.

“I have only one judge who is the Lord,” the cardinal said recently on a trip to the holy town of Lourdes in southern France.

AFP

Australia Apologises To Child Sex Abuse Victims

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison (C) delivers a national apology to child sex abuse victims in the House of Representatives in Parliament House in Canberra on October 22, 2018. 
Sean Davey / AFP

 

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison issued a national apology to thousands of victims of institutional sex abuse Monday, admitting the state utterly failed to stop “evil, dark crimes” committed over decades.

“This was done by Australians to Australians, enemies in our midst, enemies in our midst,” Morrison said in an emotional address to parliament, designed as a belated apology to the 15,000 known survivors of child abuse.

“As a nation, we failed them, we forsook them, and that will always be our shame,” he said, recounting abuse that a government inquiry has shown was rife in schools, churches, orphanages, sports clubs and other institutions across the country over decades.

Morrison’s voice cracked and trailed off as he recounted a history of exploitation, cover-ups and state failure. He declared a new national credo for future allegations: “We believe you.”

The state apology comes after a five-year Royal Commission that detailed harrowing child sex abuse claims involving once well-trusted institutions.

“Today, we say sorry, to the children we failed. Sorry. To the parents whose trust was betrayed and who have struggled to pick up the pieces. Sorry. To the whistleblowers, who we did not listen to. Sorry,” Morrison said.

“To the spouses, partners, wives, husbands, children, who have dealt with the consequences of the abuse, cover-ups and obstruction. Sorry. To generations past and present. Sorry.”

In parliament, lawmakers stood for a moment of silence following the remarks, as hundreds of survivors looked on or watched in official events across the country.

Normal parliamentary business, a session of prime minister’s questions, was suspended in a bipartisan show of respect.

Outside the parliamentary chamber, relatives of victims wore tags with the names of departed daughters and sons, brothers and sisters, for whom the apology came too late.

After meeting some of the victims, Morrison told journalists “I’ve never felt such pain in one room, ever.”

A series of Australian institutions have already apologised for their failings, including Australian Catholic leaders who have lamented the church’s “shameful” history of child abuse and cover-ups.

According to the Royal Commission, seven per cent of Catholic priests in Australia were accused of abuse between 1950 and 2010, but the allegations were rarely investigated, with child victims ignored and even punished.

Some senior members of the church in Australia have been prosecuted in relation to the abuse.

Power of apology 

The Australian government has previously issued formal apologies for the mistreatment of Aboriginal Australians, for forced adoptions and homosexual convictions.

There are growing calls for an apology for the military’s treatment of gay, bisexual and transgender personnel.

For many Australians, there will still be questions about how the child sex abuse and cover-ups took place.

And for some of the victims, the government’s atonement rings hollow — a step short of removing public funding for offending institutions, or far-ranging legal reforms.

At an event attended by the leaders of both major political parties, protestors shouted demands that the government do more to punish the guilty and dig into the past of other institutions like the military.

“Today’s apology to victims of institutional child abuse highlights the power of a public apology to heal past wounds,” said Professor Noah Riseman of the Australian Catholic University.

“But in the midst of today’s acknowledgement, there was a reminder that other victims of institutional trauma remain unacknowledged.”

AFP

Catholic Church Apologises For Mass Child Abuse In Germany

Pope Francis (file)                                                                                                                 Tiziana FABI / AFP

 

Germany’s Catholic Church on Tuesday apologised to thousands of victims of sexual assault by clergy, with the institution’s top cardinal saying perpetrators must be brought to justice.

Cardinal Reinhard Marx said he was ashamed over the decades of abuse that have shattered trust, as well as how so many looked away for so long.

The dismay expressed by the head of the German Bishops’ Conference came as the institution published a damning report showing that in Germany, almost 3,700 minors — mainly boys — were assaulted between 1946 and 2014.

The report’s authors said the figure was “the tip of the iceberg”.

“Sexual abuse is a persistent problem and not a historical problem” in the Catholic Church, said Harald Dressing, a professor at the Mannheim Institute of Psychology, who coordinated the research commissioned by the Bishops’ Conference.

Pope Francis, on his way back from a visit to the Baltic states, said Tuesday “if just one priest abuses a child, it’s monstrous.”

But the way the Church views sex abuse has evolved, as it has in general society, the pontiff added.

“In past times, things were hidden. They were also hidden at home when uncles raped a niece when the father raped his children. These things were hidden because it was a great shame,” he said on board the papal plane.

“That was the way of thinking in past centuries, or in the last century,” the pope said, adding that the past should not be judged with today’s eyes.

“I have to say very clearly that sexual abuse is a crime,” said Cardinal Marx. “Those who are guilty must be punished.”

“For all the failures and for all the pain, as chairman of Germany’s Bishops Conference, I apologise. I also apologise personally.

“We are not done with confronting the incidents and consequences, it begins now,” he stressed at a press conference.

 ‘Abuse, transfers, cover-ups’ 

Victims have criticised the report for falling short of what is needed to flush out perpetrators.

They urged the Church to bring in independent experts for a thorough audit and called for victim compensation.

“The system of abuse, transfers (of offending priests) and cover-ups cannot be mapped out” by a study that had access only to available personal documents, said victims’ association, Eckiger Tisch.

“There are no names given of the responsible bishops who have perfected the system of covering up sexual attacks over decades.”

Justice Minister Katarina Barley also urged the Church to work with state prosecutors to bring every known case to justice.

Cardinal Marx acknowledged that a thorough reckoning of the problem was “absolutely necessary” but underlined that the process was colossal and would require time.

“We can’t just publish names. A complete rehabilitation also includes dialogue. Maybe a truth commission,” he said, promising action.

Predator priests 

According to the study, 1,670 clergymen in Germany committed some form of sexual attack against 3,677 minors, mostly boys, between 1946 and 2014, intimidating their victims into keeping quiet.

More than half of the victims were 13 years old or younger, the study concluded, after examining 38,000 documents from the 27 German dioceses.

The survey’s researchers warned that the true scale of the abuse was far greater, as many documents had been “destroyed or manipulated”.

Predator priests were often transferred to another parish, which was not warned about their criminal history.

Only about one in three were subject to disciplinary hearings by the Church and almost got away with minimal punishment. Only 38 per cent were prosecuted by civil courts.

 Systemic abuse 

The research is the latest in a series of reports on sexual crimes and cover-ups spanning decades that has shaken the Catholic Church.

Pope Francis has himself been accused of ignoring abuse allegations against prominent US cardinal Theodore McCarrick for five years. The pontiff has so far refused to respond to the claims.

The pope also declined to answer a question about the latest report in Germany.

He has previously announced a Vatican meeting of national Church leaders on the protection of minors, for February 2019.

Joerg Schuh of the Berlin-based Tauwetter centre for victims of sexual abuse told AFP TV that “the Catholic Church has a global problem” and called on the pope to make it “his number one topic”.

Major abuse cases in Germany have included a Berlin elite Jesuit school and the world-famous Catholic choir school the Regensburger Domspatzen where more than 500 boys suffered sexual or physical abuse.

AFP

German Catholic Church Apologises For Child Sex Abuse

Archbishop of Munich and Chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference and Trier Bishop, Cardinal Reinhard Marx (L) and commissioner for sexual abuse issues Stephan Ackermann give a press conference to present the results of the study on “Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests, Deacons and Male Religious” (MHG study) on September 25, 2018 in Fulda, western Germany. Daniel ROLAND / AFP

 

Germany’s Catholic Church on Tuesday apologized to victims of sexual assault by clergy, with the institution’s top cardinal saying perpetrators must be brought to justice.

Cardinal Reinhard Marx said he was ashamed over the decades of abuse that have shattered trust, the crimes carried out by officials of the Church, as well as how so many have looked away for so long.

The dismay expressed by the head of the German Bishops’ Conference came as the institution published a damning report showing that in Germany, almost 3,700 minors — mostly boys — were assaulted between 1946 and 2014.

The report’s authors said however that the figure was “the tip of the iceberg” and that the real extent of the problem was far greater.

“I have to say very clearly that sexual abuse is a crime. Those who are guilty must be punished,” said Cardinal Marx.

“For all the failures and for all the pain, as chairman of Germany’s Bishops Conference, I apologize. I also apologize on a personal basis.

“We are not done with confronting the incidents and consequences, it begins now,” he stressed at a press conference.

Abuse, transfers, cover-ups

Victims have criticised the report for falling short of what is needed to flush out perpetrators.

They urged the Church to bring in independent experts for a thorough audit, adding that victims should be offered compensation.

“The system of abuse, transfers (of offending priests) and cover-ups cannot be mapped out” by a study that had access only to available personal documents, said the victims’ association, Eckiger Tisch.

“We are not given names of perpetrators. There are no names given of the responsible bishops who have perfected the system of covering up sexual attacks over decades.”

Justice Minister Katarina Barley also urged the Church to “take responsibility for decades of concealment, cover-ups, and denials” and to work with state prosecutors to bring every known case to justice.

The independent commissioner for child sex abuse issues, Johannes-Wilhelm Roerig, recommended state authorities step in to clear up the crimes and ensure victims get access to Church files and compensation.

The state “has a duty of care for all children, including those who are in the care of the Church”, he told the Sueddeutsche newspaper.

Predator priests

According to the study, 1,670 clergymen in Germany committed some form of sexual attack against 3,677 minors, mostly boys, between 1946 and 2014, intimidating their victims into keeping quiet.

More than half of the victims were 13 years old or younger, the study concluded, after examining 38,000 documents from the 27 German dioceses.

Researchers from three universities who carried out the survey warned that the true scale of the abuse was far greater, as many documents had been “destroyed or manipulated”.

Predator priests were often transferred to another parish, which was not warned about their criminal history.

Only about one in three were subject to disciplinary hearings by the Church, and almost got away with minimal punishment. Only 38 percent were prosecuted by civil courts.

Systemic abuse

The research is the latest in a series of reports on sexual crimes and cover-ups worldwide spanning decades that has shaken the Catholic Church.

Pope Francis has found himself embroiled after conservative US Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano claimed the pontiff had himself ignored abuse allegations against prominent US cardinal Theodore McCarrick for five years.

Francis has so far refused to respond to the allegations.

He has however announced a Vatican meeting of national Church leaders on the protection of minors, for February 2019.

Joerg Schuh of the Berlin-based Tauwetter center for victims of sexual abuse told AFP TV that “the Catholic Church has a global problem”.

“I would like the Pope to make it his number one topic, and for his Church to really work on it,” he said.

Major abuse cases in Germany have included a Berlin elite Jesuit school and the world-famous Catholic choir school the Regensburger Domspatzen where more than 500 boys suffered sexual or physical abuse.

 

AFP

UK Warns Tech Giants Over Online Child Abuse Content

Photo: LOIC VENANCE / AFP

 

Britain warned Monday that internet giants could face new laws if they fail to tackle online child abuse content, with up to 80,000 people in the country deemed to pose a threat.

“The threat has evolved quicker than industry’s response and industry has not kept up. I am not just asking for change, I am demanding it,” British interior minister Sajid Javid said in a speech in London.

“I’ve been impressed by the progress the likes of Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and Apple have made on counter-terrorism.

“Now I want to see the same level of commitment from these companies and others for child sexual exploitation,” the Home Secretary added.

Javid wants the industry to block child-abuse material immediately upon detection, help shut down live-streamed offending, and better police online platforms.

“How far we legislate will be informed by the action and attitude that industry takes,” he warned.

The minister revealed that official National Crime Agency figures estimate up to 80,000 people in Britain posed some kind of sexual threat to children online.

Google recently announced the roll out of “cutting-edge” artificial intelligence to help review content, while Microsoft said it “works closely with others in industry, government and civil society to help combat its spread online.”

Facebook responded by saying the exploitation of children online was “a real challenge and one we take very seriously.”

“It’s why Facebook works closely with child protection experts, the police and other technology companies to block and remove exploitative photos and videos, as well as to prevent grooming online,” added a spokesperson for the Silicon Valley giant.

Pope Condemns ‘Atrocities’ Of US Clerical Child Abuse

Pope Francis                                                                                                               VINCENZO PINTO / AFP

 

Pope Francis condemned Monday the “atrocities” revealed by a far-reaching US report into clerical child sex abuse in the state of Pennsylvania issued last week.

“In recent days, a report was made public which detailed the experiences of at least a thousand survivors… the abuse of power and of conscience at the hands of priests,” the pope said in a letter made public by the Vatican.

“Even though it can be said that most of these cases belong to the past, nonetheless as time goes on we have come to know the pain of many of the victims,” he said.

“We have realised that these wounds never disappear and that they require us forcefully to condemn these atrocities and join forces in uprooting this culture of death,” he added.

A devastating US grand jury report published on Tuesday decried a systematic cover-up by the Catholic Church.

The grand jury said that more than 1,000 child victims were identifiable, but that the actual number was “in the thousands”.

The report is thought to be the most comprehensive to date into abuse in the US church since The Boston Globe first exposed paedophile priests in Massachusetts in 2002.

Calling for “solidarity” with the victims and a fight against “spiritual corruption”, Pope Francis said, “no effort to beg pardon and to seek to repair the harm done will ever be sufficient”.

“With shame and repentance, we acknowledge as an ecclesial community that we were not where we should have been, that we did not act in a timely manner, realising the magnitude and the gravity of the damage done to so many lives,” he said.

AFP

Pope Francis Accepts Resignation Of Archbishop Over Child Abuse

Pope Francis speaks during his weekly general audience in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican on May 2, 2018. VINCENZO PINTO / AFP

 

An Australian archbishop convicted of concealing abuse by a notorious paedophile priest in the 1970s said Monday that he hoped his stepping down would be a “catalyst to heal pain and distress” after his resignation was accepted by Pope Francis.

The Vatican announced on Monday the departure of Philip Wilson, sentenced to a year in detention earlier this month after, in May, becoming one of the highest-ranking church officials to be convicted on the charge.

Wilson was found guilty in an Australian court of failing to report allegations against paedophile priest Jim Fletcher.

He submitted his resignation, which he says was not requested by the Vatican, on July 20, a day after Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called on Francis to sack the 67-year-old.

In a statement released by the Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide on Monday, Wilson said:

“I made this decision because I have become increasingly worried at the growing level of hurt that my recent conviction has caused within the community.

“I had hoped to defer this decision until after the appeal process (against the conviction) had been completed. However, there is just too much pain and distress being caused by my maintaining the office of Archbishop of Adelaide, especially to the victims of Fletcher.”

Turnbull welcomed the resignation in a statement to Fairfax Media on Monday, adding that “there is no more important responsibility for community and church leaders than the protection of children”.

 ‘No remorse’ 

Wilson had long denied the charges and initially resisted calls to resign pending an appeal against his conviction.

His legal team made four attempts to have the case thrown out, arguing that their client suffered from Alzheimer’s and should, therefore, avoid trial.

But a magistrate in Australia found Wilson guilty of concealing a serious indictable offence of another person, concluding that his primary motive was to protect the church.

He said when sentencing him that Wilson had shown “no remorse or contrition”.

The court has adjourned the matter until August 14 to assess whether Wilson can serve his sentence under home detention.

Wilson’s conviction comes amid a host of accusations that the Catholic Church ignored and covered up child abuse in Australia, charges that have also plagued other countries.

Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican’s third highest ranking official, faces prosecution in Australia for historical child sexual offences.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

A national inquiry into the issue was ordered in 2012 to investigate widespread allegations of institutional paedophilia in Australia.

Over five years of investigations, the royal commission spoke to thousands of victims and heard claims of abuse involving churches, orphanages, sporting clubs, youth groups and schools.

 Scandals 

Wilson’s departure comes just two days after the pope accepted the resignation of US cardinal Theodore McCarrick, 88, accused of sexually abusing a teenager while working as a priest in New York in the early 1970s.

McCarrick is just the second cardinal ever to lose his status. He remains a priest pending the Vatican investigative process.

Last month Francis accepted the resignation of five Chilean bishops amid accusations of abuse and related cover-ups.

Abuse within the Chilean Catholic Church has proved to be a thorny issue for the pope.

He vowed to “restore justice” after admitting the Church failed “to listen and react” to abuse allegations in the country spanning decades.

Currently 158 members of the country’s Catholic Church are being investigated for carrying out or concealing incidents of sexual abuse of both children and adults that go as far back as 1960.

Last week the Archbishop of Santiago, Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, was summoned by Chilean prosecutors to respond on August 21 to accusations of covering up systematic sexual abuse of minors by Chilean priests, 14 of whom were defrocked in May.

Less than two week prior prominent priest Oscar Munoz was arrested over allegations of sexual abuse and rape of at least seven children.

AFP