Chelsea Staff ‘Turned Blind Eye’ To Sexual Abuse – Report

FIFA Hands Chelsea Two Transfer Windows Ban

Young hopefuls at Premier League giants Chelsea were abused for years by a “prolific and manipulative” coach as staff at the club “turned a blind eye”, an independent report said Tuesday.

The report, led by lawyer Charles Geekie, found that the club’s former chief scout Eddie Heath, who died in 1983, was able to operate “unchallenged”, abusing boys aged between 10 and 17 in the 1970s.

Victims recalled that Heath used “sexual innuendo” in the changing room, but made sure “that his most serious sexual assaults took place in private,” it added.

Heath’s behaviour was an open secret among players and staff.

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“The boys all knew it was safety in numbers, you didn’t want to be the last in the van, you risked being groped by him or having your bum slapped. He was regarded as ‘Nightmare Eddie’,” one witness said.

Chelsea said in a statement that “Heath was a dangerous and prolific child abuser” whose conduct was “beyond reprehensible”.

“Although the club today is a very different place from the club then… we will not shy away from responsibility for what happened in the past,” it added.

Claims for compensation are being assessed by insurers for the former European champions.

‘Manipulative risk-taker’ 

Heath was sacked when England World Cup-winning hero Geoff Hurst took over the club in 1979. But the former striker, now aged 77, denied knowing about Heath’s behaviour and turned down requests to be interviewed for the report.

Geekie talked to 23 witnesses who claim that they were targeted by Heath, saying they painted a picture of an “audacious, manipulative risk-taker”.

One witness said staff and players “must have known or been suspicious of what he was doing… but turned a blind eye to it.”

One former player described how Heath would come into the urinals and watch, while another said he peered over the shower cubicle while he was inside.

Heath would lavish praise on his “favourites”, inviting them around to his house to watch football matches, offering out money and sweets and befriending their parents.

Many said they were fearful of telling the authorities and getting Heath into trouble, while others “wanted to impress him” to ensure they kept being picked.

One former player said the abuse had had a “massive impact on me and my family”.

Veteran manager Dario Gradi, who worked at Chelsea at the time, also came in for criticism, with the report finding he failed to report Heath despite receiving a complaint that he had indecently assaulted a boy in the showers.

Ex-Chelsea football star Alan Hudson said it was “common knowledge” that Heath was a paedophile.

“It was common knowledge that Eddie Heath was a ‘nonce’ (slang for paedophile),” Hudson wrote on Facebook when the allegations first surfaced.

Players from other London clubs he worked for, Leyton Orient and Charlton, also came forward about his predatory behaviour.

AFP

Cardi B’s ‘Dirty Past’ Sparks Controversy On Social Media

This January 25, 2018 file photo shows Cardi B attending the Warner Music Group’s annual Grammy celebration in association with V magazine in New York. Cardi B, who has quickly risen to become one of the most prominent women in hip-hop, has become a mother, announcing Wednesday, July 11, 2018 the birth of daughter Kulture Kiari Cephus.
KENA BETANCUR / AFP

 

Popular American rapper, singer and songwriter, Cardi B, is currently trending on Social Media following a video which resurfaced online.

In the InsaLive video, which the singer says was done three years ago, she had admitted to drugging and robbing men as a means of survival.

While she admits she isn’t proud of that ‘dirty past’ and no longer tows that path, she has been called out by critics in the wake of similar cases involving other celebrities.

“All I can do now is be a better me for myself my family and my future,” the mother of one said.

 

 

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All I can do now is be a better me for myself my family and my future.

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Many have likened her situation to that of R. Kelly and Bill Cosby who have been accused of sexual assault and some have even asked that a case be taken up against her as with the two celebrities.

“Is there any chance at all that a man could admit to drugging and robbing women and still keep his career?” a Twitter user asked as questions of equality are also being raised.

Read Also: New R. Kelly Sex Abuse Tape Discovered, Says Lawyer

Some fans, have, however, argued that while her actions were indeed criminal, she no longer tows the path and she can’t be compared to other celebrities who allegedly committed the crimes despite their status and privilege.

 

Below are some of the comments.

Alleged Sexual Abuse: Pope Accepts Chile Cardinal Ezzati’s Resignation

Pope Francis with some Cardinals at the Vatican in Rome, Italy. Source: AFP

 

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Chilean Cardinal Riccardo Ezzati, who had agreed to step down along with his country’s bishops over sexual abuse cases and their cover-up, the Vatican said Saturday.

Ezzati, archbishop of Santiago, is the seventh senior Chilean church official to resign over a scandal which the pope insists must be remedied.

To date, Ezzati, the Catholic Church’s highest official in Chile, has maintained his right to silence although he has promised to cooperate with the investigation into his activities — if the authorities first clear him, insisting he is innocent.

The latest move in the Vatican’s attempts to deal with abuse within the higher echelons of the Roman Catholic Church comes just days after disgraced Australian Cardinal George Pell received a jail term for sexually abusing two choirboys.

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Pell, 77, and the former Vatican number three has maintained his innocence and says he plans to appeal his conviction on five offences including oral rape and molestation of the boys in 1996-1997.

The decision over Ezzati also comes with Chilean media reporting that the nation’s court of appeal had Friday confirmed he would face trial for not denouncing sexual abuse by three priests.

It also comes after Argentine Pope Francis last Monday rejected the resignation of French cardinal Philippe Barbarin, who was handed a six-month suspended jail sentence earlier this month for failing to report sex abuse by a priest under his authority. Barbarin has appealed.

The pontiff stated last month that “no abuse must ever be covered up, as has happened in the past” as the Church struggles to restore trust in its efforts to fight child abuse given the slew of abuse cases.

In October, Francis did, reluctantly, accept the resignation of US cardinal and Washington Archbishop Donald Wuerl, accused of helping to cover up hundreds of child abuse cases in his former diocese.

And in February the pontiff defrocked former cardinal American Theodore McCarrick, 88, who a Vatican court found guilty of sexually abusing a teenager 50 years ago.

McCarrick became the first cardinal ever to be defrocked for sex abuse.

AFP

‘Simpsons’ Creators Drop Classic Episode Featuring Michael Jackson

A documentary on pedophilia accusations against Michael Jackson has left some fans grappling with the late superstar’s tarnished legacy.  Photo: LUKE FRAZZA / AFP FILES / AFP

 

The creators of “The Simpsons” have shelved one of the animated series’ classic episodes because it features Michael Jackson’s voice, the show’s executive producer told The Wall Street Journal Friday.

Simpsons producers made the unanimous decision after viewing the bombshell documentary “Leaving Neverland,” which revives pedophilia accusations against the late megastar in excruciating detail.

“It feels clearly the only choice to make,” Simpsons executive producer James L. Brooks told the WSJ.

The move appears to be the first such artistic ban in the United States since the documentary aired on US network HBO earlier this week. Several radio stations in Canada, New Zealand and Australia have stripped Jackson songs from their playlists in light of the film.

The 1991 episode in question sees Homer Simpson meet a mental hospital patient who believes he is the pop star Michael Jackson, and speaks in the star’s signature high pitch.

Entitled “Stark Raving Dad,” the segment that aired on Fox in the show’s third season triggered intense fan speculation because Jackson’s name was not in the credits.

But just last year, Simpsons’ creator Matt Groening confirmed Jackson had indeed done the voice work — but not the song bit.

“When it came time to sing the songs, he had a sound-alike singer,” Groening told Australian television.

“And he stood there and watched the guy who was so nervous, who had to sound like Michael Jackson.”

Brooks told the paper the episode had been one of his favourites — but that pulling it was necessary in light of the documentary.

“This was a treasured episode. There are a lot of great memories we have wrapped up in that one, and this certainly doesn’t allow them to remain,” Brooks said, citing “evidence of monstrous behaviour.”

Prior to his 2009 death, Jackson emphatically denied molesting children, and was acquitted of child abuse charges in 2005 after a dramatic trial.

The late superstar’s estate has smeared the documentary as a “posthumous character assassination,” and is suing HBO for $100 million.

Brooks told the paper the Simpsons episode would be removed from streaming services, TV stations and box sets, a process that “has started.”

“I’m against book burning of any kind. But this is our book, and we’re allowed to take out a chapter,” Brooks said.

AFP

Bombshell Film Reignites Michael Jackson Abuse Firestorm

Two men who say the late King of Pop for years sexually abused them as minors.
Timothy A. CLARY / AFP

 

For his ardent global fan base, the dream of Michael Jackson lives — his art omnipresent, his cultural influence unparalleled, his trail of alleged transgressions swept away.

But an unflinching new documentary on pedophilia accusations against the late King of Pop has shattered the glittering veneer to present in lurid detail the stories of two men who say Jackson sexually abused them for years as minors.

“Leaving Neverland,” a four-hour film by British director Dan Reed, is considered so potentially devastating that counseling was made available at its Sundance Film Festival premiere in January.

US cable network HBO will air it in two parts, starting Sunday.

The documentary centers on James Safechuck, 41, and Wade Robson, 36, who recount separate but consistent accounts of how their idol molested them as boys.

Both describe how the childlike Jackson wooed them: inviting them into his fairytale existence, gaining their families’ trust and manipulating them into keeping their sexual relations secret.

“You and I were brought together by God,” Robson said Jackson told him.

Their mothers offer their own narratives of seduction into the cult of Jackson — and the guilt that haunts them for letting their sons enter so fully into the star’s world.

Now a notable choreographer, Robson, originally from Australia, met Jackson as a five-year-old after winning a dance competition.

The megastar invited the boy to his Neverland Ranch in California, where Robson, by then seven, said the abuse began.

He describes how their sexual relationship “escalated rapidly,” with Jackson telling him: “This is us showing each other that we love each other.”

Safechuck — who said his abuse began at age 10, after he appeared in a Pepsi commercial with Jackson — tells a similar tale.

He says the superstar told him if anyone found out, their lives “would be over.”

Decades of denial

It’s not the first public airing of abuse claims against Jackson but the release marks the first major explosion of the scandal since his fatal overdose at age 50, almost ten years ago.

His estate has vehemently defended Jackson, suing HBO for $100 million over a “posthumous character assassination” it says breaches an agreement made not to disparage the icon, a condition for airing one of his concerts.

Jackson faced accusations in 1993 of sexually abusing a 13-year-old boy and settled out of court, with Robson and Safechuck saying Jackson hadn’t touched them.

In 2003 more accusations triggered a dramatic trial: that time, Safechuck kept a distance, but Robson testified for Jackson, who was acquitted.

Despite repeated questioning from the authorities and their families, neither man reversed their stories until recently, after becoming fathers themselves. Both filed their own lawsuits that were dismissed over statutes of limitations.

“You loved him in a lot of ways. And then you know Michael does these things to you that are not healthy,” Safechuck said.

“It’s really hard to have those two feelings together. I still, today, am grappling with that.”

‘Prolific pedophile’

“Leaving Neverland” comes in the wake of Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein’s downfall, and as R&B superstar R. Kelly faces a fresh legal reckoning for his own questionable history with underage girls.

For pop culture scholar Robert Thompson of Syracuse University, the release in today’s #MeToo context is key: Jackson’s trial was relatively recent, but “in so many ways, consciousnesses have been raised.”

“I could certainly see how a documentary this far out could completely change his legacy,” Thompson said.

Jackson’s sprawling homestead is back on the market for $31 million — some 70 percent less than the asking price four years ago, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Diane Dimond, a journalist who covered the Jackson saga for years and has penned a book on the subject, said she expects more men will come forward.

“He was a prolific pedophile, that did what he did right under our noses because he knew he was so adored that he could get away with it,” she said.

‘Ripples of impact’

But the fans, Dimond said, “will forever think that he was like Jesus.”

“Jackson somehow strikes a chord, even today, in the very soul of people,” she added.

Thompson agrees, saying there’s little chance of erasing Jackson’s artistic legacy, even if his reputation is tarnished.

“In any sense of rational history, we cannot retroactively say that no, Michael Jackson didn’t change the history of global pop — because he did change the history of global pop,” Thompson said.

“The ripples of impact that he sent out were not ripples; they were tsunamis.”

For Safechuck, whose trembling hands in the film betray his struggle for calm, it’s a statement that rings all too true.

“They say time heals all wounds,” Safechuck said. “But I don’t think time heals this one. It just gets worse.”

AFP

Spanish Victims Of Sex Abuse By Priests Speak Out

File Photo: Survivors of sexual abuse by priests and clergy stand before photos of accused religious men during a news conference with lawyer Jeff Anderson of Jeff Anderson & Associates on February 14, 2019 in New York City. Anderson, who has specialized in representing survivors of clergy abuse, announced the filing of a lawsuit naming the Catholic Conference of Major Superiors of Men for concealing from the public, parishioners, and law enforcement, the histories and identities of religious order of priests and brothers accused of sexually abusing children. Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP
SPENCER PLATT / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

 

A trickle of accusations of sexual abuse against priests in schools and seminaries is starting to erode the wall of silence in Catholic Spain, whose Church representatives are set to attend a major Vatican meeting on child protection.

“This is only the tip of the iceberg,” warned Miguel Hurtado, who recently made his case public.

“They’re not ready for the tsunami that is coming,” the 36-year-old said defiantly.

For 20 years, Hurtado stayed quiet, trying to come to terms with the abuse he suffered when he joined a boy scout troup at the Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey, which sits high up in jagged mountains northwest of Barcelona.

His alleged abuser, whom Hurtado accuses of fondling him for a year, was a charismatic monk who founded the group and died in 2008.

“I would have reported it earlier but I was a kid and I was too scared,” said Hurtado, who revealed his accusations in a Netflix documentary on abuse in Spain’s Church.

“The secret was killing me and I needed to come out with the truth, whether people believed me or not.”

Since then, nine others have come out to allege they were victims of the same monk and fresh accusations have emerged in religious schools in the Basque Country, various Catalan parishes and in a college in Barcelona.

Even the football world was affected.

On Thursday, Atletico Madrid said it had parted ways with a former monk who once trained its young players after he acknowledged having sexually abused one of his students in the 1970s.

‘Discouragement’

The heads of around 100 bishops’ conferences from every continent will convene from Thursday to Sunday for the Vatican meeting on the protection of minors.

“There is a chain-reaction… It’s easy to imagine that there is a lot hidden that has not yet come out,” says Josep Maria Tamarit, a professor in criminal law at the Catalonia Open University who is leading an investigation into the issue.

As scandals erupted in countries like the United States, Ireland or Australia, complaints in Spain were few and far between despite the Church’s loss of influence over the years, particularly with younger generations.

Hurtado believes this was down to how Spaniards deal with trauma in general.

“For example, we have dealt with the traumas of the (1936-9) civil war and the (ensuing) dictatorship via omission,” he says.

“Forgiving and forgetting as it’s part of the past. Leaving it all hidden.”

Many allegations that are proved have also either gone past the time limit in which legal proceedings can be initiated or the accused have died, says Tamarit.

“There is a lot of discouragement,” he adds.

In 2016, one of Spain’s biggest paedophile scandals erupted at schools run by the Marist Roman Catholic community in Barcelona.

Most of the 43 complaints made against 12 teachers were shelved.

Just two teachers ended up facing charges, one of whom was sentenced and the other is awaiting trial.

It’s a similar situation in Italy, another Catholic country criticised by a recent United Nations report for “the numerous cases of children having been sexually abused by religious personnel… and the low number of investigations and criminal prosecutions”.

Tamarit links this to a certain Catholic mentality which sees all sexual acts as sins and therefore “there is not much difference between any old impure act and abuse of a minor”.

“This meant it wasn’t made visible and there was no awareness of its importance and seriousness.”

Silence ‘has to stop’

In Spain though, the recent scandals have pushed the Spanish Church into action.

In October, it announced the creation of a commission to rework its protocol on abuse after being accused of covering up cases by the El Pais daily.

“There has been a kind of silence and the Church has taken part in this silence, which was also a part of society,” says Norbert Miracle, spokesman for the bishops’ conference in Catalonia and neighbouring Valencia and Andorra.

“But that has to stop.”

The justice ministry has also asked prosecutors and religious authorities for a report on all cases of abuse.

In December, it unveiled a new draft bill for child protection that wants the time frame within which legal proceedings can be initiated to start when the victim turns 30 rather than 18 as is the case now, giving victims more time to make their complaints.

But Infancia Robada (Stolen Childhood), the first such victims association created in January, is asking for this time frame to start when the victim turns 50.

“In most recent cases, this time frame wouldn’t have been of any use,” says founder Juan Cuatrecasas.

Pope Admits Priests, Bishops Sexually Abused Nuns

Pope Francis attends the Festival of Families at Croke Park Stadium in Dublin on August 25, 2018, during his visit to Ireland.
Tiziana FABI / AFP

 

Pope Francis admitted Tuesday that priests and bishops in the Catholic Church had sexually abused nuns.

“There are some priests and also bishops who have done it,” the pontiff said in response to a journalist’s question on the abuse of nuns, speaking on the return flight from his trip to the United Arab Emirates.

The papal admission followed a rare outcry last week from the Vatican’s women’s magazine over the sexual abuse of nuns by priests and religious sisters feeling forced to have abortions or raise children not recognised by their fathers.

The issue hit the headlines last year after a nun accused an Indian bishop of repeatedly raping her in a case that triggered rare dissent within the country’s Catholic Church.

Francis said the problem could be found “anywhere” but was prevalent in “some new congregations and in some regions”.

“I think it’s still going on, because it’s not something that just goes away like that. On the contrary,” he added.

He said the Church has “suspended several clerics” and the Vatican has been “working (on the issue) for a long time”.

“I don’t want to hear it said that the Church has not got this problem, because it has.

“Must we do more? Yes! Do we want to? Yes!” he said.

The February issue of “Women Church World”, a supplement distributed with the Vatican’s Osservatore Romano newspaper, warned that nuns have been silent over abuse for decades for fear of retaliation.

It said the Vatican received reports of priests abusing nuns in Africa in the 1990s.

“If the Church continues to close its eyes to the scandal — made even worse by the fact that abuse of women brings about procreation and is therefore at the origin of forced abortions and children who aren’t recognised by priests — the oppression of women in the Church will never change,” editor Lucetta Scaraffia wrote.

IDPs: Womens Rights Group Calls For Prosecution Of Govt Officials Accused Of Sexual Abuses

 

The Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA) has called for urgent investigations and prosecution of all government officials accused of committing sexual abuses against women in Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camps in the northeast.

The Senior Program Coordinator, Mrs Anisah Ari, made the call for the prosecution on Friday at a meeting with survivors of sexual abuses in Abuja.

According to her, most female victims of sexual abuses in the IDP camps are forced into sex by camp attendants including some security officials who request for sex in exchange for food.

 

She said, “Those who have been sent out to protect these women and girls in the IDP camps are actually the perpetrators of sexual and gender-based violence, engaging these women in survival sex, where they give sex in demand for food”.

The Federal Government had enacted the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act, 2015 to punish offenders.

However, the women rights group believes that the with the increase of displaced persons especially in the northeast, various kinds of abuses have been on the rise.

According to the group, if not checked, it would result in health complications for many of the victims which in turn makes them live in isolation as a result of shame and stigma.

‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ Director Blasts New Sex Abuse Allegations

In this file photo director Bryan Singer poses on arrival for the premiere of X-Men Apocalypse in central London on May 9, 2016. “Bohemian Rhapsody” director Bryan Singer on Thursday, January 24, 2019 dismissed an article detailing fresh sexual misconduct allegations — some involving teenage boys — as a “homophobic smear piece.”
Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP

 

“Bohemian Rhapsody” director Bryan Singer on Thursday dismissed a bombshell article detailing fresh sexual misconduct allegations – some involving teenage boys – as a “homophobic smear piece.”

The Atlantic on Wednesday published accounts from four new accusers – including two who said Singer had sex with them when they were underage – in an article that also chronicled years of similar allegations.

But 53-year-old Singer, who is behind such hits as the “X-Men” movies and “Superman Returns,” said the article was timed to capitalize on the success of “Bohemian Rhapsody” – which is nominated for five Oscars, including best picture.

“It is no surprise that, with Bohemian Rhapsody being an award-winning hit, this homophobic smear piece has been conveniently timed to take advantage of its success,” Singer said in a statement sent to AFP by his attorney Thursday.

“The last time I posted about this subject, Esquire magazine was preparing to publish an article written by a homophobic journalist who has a bizarre obsession with me dating back to 1997,” he added, without identifying the reporter.

“After careful fact-checking and, in consideration of the lack of credible sources, Esquire chose not to publish this piece of vendetta journalism.

“That didn’t stop this writer from selling it to The Atlantic,” he said.

‘Predatory’

The article’s authors, Esquire journalists Alex French and Maximillian Potter, said they spent a year investigating lawsuits and allegations against Singer and interviewed more than 50 sources.

One interviewee claimed Singer had sex with him in 1997, when he was 17. Another alleged he also had a sexual encounter with Singer that year, when he was 15.

Both men said Singer knew they were under 18, the age of consent in California.

“The portrait of Singer that emerges is of a troubled man who surrounded himself with vulnerable teenage boys, many of them estranged from their families,” the article said. “Their accounts suggest that Singer didn’t act alone; he was aided by friends and associates who brought him young men.

“And he was abetted, in a less direct way, by an industry in which a record of producing hits confers immense power.”

French and Potter explained on Twitter that the article ran in The Atlantic because it was rejected by executives at Hearst, which owns Esquire, for unknown reasons.

Sexual misconduct rumours have swirled around Singer for years. He has been the subject of multiple lawsuits related to sexual abuse of teenage boys — several of which were dropped or settled out of court.

His name has been conspicuously absent from the awards circuit this season, and he was not mentioned at this month’s Golden Globes when “Bohemian Rhapsody” earned two awards for best drama and best actor.

Singer was fired by 20th Century Fox in December 2017, shortly before filming for “Bohemian Rhapsody” wrapped up, for failing to show up to work. He claims he was let go because 20th Century Fox refused to allow him to take time to take care of an ill parent.

‘Unspeakable harms’

The fresh allegations against him come as the latest chapter in Hollywood’s reckoning over sexual assault and harassment that has already seen television icon Bill Cosby jailed and movie mogul Harvey Weinstein indicted.

The Atlantic article prompted the LGBTQ advocacy organization GLAAD on Thursday to pull “Bohemian Rhapsody” from consideration at its annual Media Awards.

Nominations for the award are to be announced at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah on Friday.

“This week’s story in The Atlantic documenting unspeakable harms endured by young men and teenage boys brought to light a reality that cannot be ignored or even tacitly rewarded,” GLAAD said in a statement.

Sony Music Drops R. Kelly Over Alleged Sexual Abuse

R Kelly arrives for the 2013 American Music Awards at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles, California.  Frederic J. BROWN / AFP

 

Sony Music has called it quits with embattled singer R. Kelly, ending his contract with subsidiary RCA after a documentary aired accusing him of repeated cases of sexual abuse, media reports said Friday.

While Variety and Billboard reported the breakup, Sony Music did not immediately confirm it when contacted by AFP.

One woman who sued R. Kelly, accusing him of sexual battery, knowingly infecting her with a sexually transmitted disease and false imprisonment, also says he has threatened her.

Women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred told reporters on Monday that her client Faith Rodgers, 20, faced “efforts to intimidate and retaliate” from Kelly after she filed the lawsuit now pending in New York’s Supreme Court.

And just after Rodgers testified in the documentary “Surviving R. Kelly” that aired this month, her lawyers say Kelly and his team created a Facebook page — which the social media giant removed within hours — seeking to discredit accusers including Rodgers, posting “private” photos of her.

But the singer of “I Believe I Can Fly” fame — who recently announced a new album — has seen his reputation more and more seriously hard hit.

Calls for a boycott gathered pace in some measure thanks to the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements and via the #MuteRKelly hashtag on Twitter.

Spotify announced in May it would drop the singer from its curated “playlists.”

The last straw was the broadcast in early January of “Surviving R. Kelly,” a documentary in which several women accused the singer and producer, 52, of having sex with girls under the age of 16, and of having surrounded themselves with women whom he made sex slaves.

AFP

700 Catholic Clergy Accused Of Sexual abuse In Illinois

 

About 700 clergymen in Illinois have been accused of child sexual assault, a far greater number than the Catholic Church had previously disclosed, the Midwestern US state’s top prosecutor revealed Wednesday.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said the Church’s revelations that 185 clergy members were credibly accused of sexual abuse fell short of the number her office has uncovered.

The preliminary results of an investigation that began in August found more than 500 additional priests and clergy members with sexual abuse allegations in the Midwestern state’s six dioceses — a total of at least 685 accused.

In a scathing statement, the attorney general’s office criticized the Church’s handling of the abuse allegations, saying investigations were lacking, and in many cases, law enforcement and child welfare authorities were not notified.

“The preliminary stages of this investigation have already demonstrated that the Catholic Church cannot police itself,” Madigan said.

She added that the Church had failed to provide “a complete and accurate accounting of all sexually inappropriate behavior involving priests in Illinois.”

The Illinois investigation was prompted by a sweeping grand jury report in August that revealed credible allegations against more than 300 suspected predator priests and identified over 1,000 victims of child sex abuse covered up for decades by the Catholic Church in the state of Pennsylvania.

In October, federal authorities for the first time opened an investigation into clergy abuse. Dioceses in the state reported receiving federal grand jury subpoenas to produce documents.

– Shocking and expected –
The Archdiocese of Chicago, the largest of the Illinois dioceses, countered Madigan’s report by insisting that all abuse claims are investigated and reported to authorities.

“Since 2006, we have published the names of diocesan priests with substantiated allegations of abuse, and in 2014 we released more than 20,000 documents from these priests’ files,” the archiocese said in a statement.

But Madigan’s office said allegations of abuse have often not been adequately investigated if they are scrutinized at all. Among the reasons for the lack of action were that the accused was deceased or had already resigned.

READ ALSO: Church Will ‘Never Again’ Ignore Abuse Accusations – Pope

“This report is both shocking and exactly what we expected,” Zach Hiner, executive director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), told AFP.

“We’ve known for a long time that church officials have been ignoring and minimizing allegations of abuse and this report is just yet another proof point that it is a systemic issue, not a highly localized one.”

– Mounting pressure –
Since the state investigation opened, the dioceses have added another 45 clergy members to their official lists of those credibly accused of committing child sexual abuse, according to Madigan’s office.

The attorney general anticipated additional names will be disclosed as her investigation continues.

“Allegations of sexual abuse of minors, even if they stem from conduct that occurred many years ago, cannot be treated as internal personnel matters,” Madigan said.

The Catholic Church has been hit by a series of child abuse scandals in recent years, with widespread allegations of coverups. And public pressure has been mounting on its institutions.

This month, authorities of the Jesuit order overseeing at least 40 US states released the names of more than 240 members who have been credibly accused of abuse — including dozens of priests with multiple allegations.

Jesuits are the largest male religious order in the Catholic Church, with some 16,000 members worldwide who do not fall directly under the Church’s hierarchy.

They operate 30 colleges and 81 schools in the United States and Canada.

Jesuits release list of 89 US priests accused of sex abuse

Jesuit authorities for 20 US states on Monday released the names of 89 priests with credible allegations of child sexual abuse dating as far back as 1950.

The disclosures by the Jesuit provinces of Maryland and USA Midwest are the latest chapter in the ongoing sexual abuse scandal roiling the Catholic Church and come after 153 Jesuits were publicly identified by two other provinces earlier this month.

Maryland released 24 names with allegations dating back to 1950 and USA Midwest released 65 names dating back to 1955. Many of the individuals are deceased, and some were previously publicly known to be accused of sexual assault.

“On behalf of the Midwest Jesuits, I apologize to victim-survivors and their families for the harm and suffering you have endured. Many of you have suffered in silence for decades,” Brian Paulson, head of the USA Midwest province, said in an open letter.

Jesuits are the largest male religious order in the Catholic Church, with some 16,000 members worldwide. They operate 30 colleges and 81 schools in the United States and Canada.

The names made public Monday included dozens of priests with multiple allegations of abuse who served in educational institutions.

– Decades of abuse, errors dating to 1930s –
The priest with the most recent allegations was Donald McGuire, who died in federal prison in 2017 while serving a 25-year sentence. His was among the names that had been previously publicized.

Numerous men have accused McGuire of molesting them when they were boys. The first allegations dated to the 1950s, when he worked at a Jesuit private high school in Chicago, and went as late as 2005.

“Most of the Jesuits on our list entered religious life from the 1930’s through the early 1960’s. In retrospect, our evaluation of candidates, as well as the training, formation, and supervision of Jesuits, was not adequate,” Paulson said.

He added that the organization had learned from its mistakes, and has improved training for Jesuits and was holding them accountable if abuse allegations are made.

The latest revelations came as religious orders are starting to face similar scrutiny to the rest of the Catholic Church and are embarking on efforts at transparency.

– Lists ‘incomplete’ –
Earlier this month, provinces overseeing Jesuits in more than 20 western, southern and central US states released lists of 153 members accused of child sexual abuse.

The Maryland province’s leader, who is known as the provincial, said Monday’s release was meant to provide transparency and accountability, and that an external audit of the organization’s files would be conducted “to ensure that our previous reviews were both accurate and complete.”

“We are deeply sorry for the harm we have caused to victims and their families,” the provincial, Robert Hussey, said in an open letter published on the organization’s website.

“We view the disclosure today of our shameful history as part of our commitment now to preventing abuse.”

A victim’s advocacy group welcomed the disclosures but noted that they came only after sustained public pressure, including from prosecutors.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) criticized the Jesuit order for keeping accused priests’ names secret for decades and called for an independent investigation by law enforcement.

“Too often, lists are released that are incomplete or carefully curated by church officials, and so by inviting an independent investigation, Jesuit officials can demonstrate to parishioners and the public their commitment to transparency and healing,” SNAP said in a statement.

“Such an investigation would be the only way to determine who knew what, when they knew it, and what they chose to do with that information.”

The Catholic Church has been hit by a series of child abuse scandals in recent years, with widespread allegations of cover-ups.

In August, a devastating US report on child sex abuse claimed more than 300 “predator” priests abused more than 1,000 minors over seven decades in the state of Pennsylvania.

Chilean Clergy Abuse Cases Triple To 119 – Prosecutors

This photograph taken on August 26, 2018, shows the spire of a twelfth-century Roman Catholic church in the village of La Celle Guenand, central France, which has been selected to receive funding for restoration from France’s National Patrimony Lottery. GUILLAUME SOUVANT / AFP

 

The number of sexual abuse cases involving Catholic clergy in Chile has soared to 119, the public prosecutor’s office said Friday.

A total of 167 bishops, priests and lay members of the church are now under investigation for sexual crimes committed since 1960.

“The number of investigations into sexual crimes committed by members of the Catholic Church has reached 119 cases,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

Prosecutors initially indicated that 38 cases had been opened in the first weeks of their probe, which began in July.