Posts Tagged Ballarat

Cardinal George Pell to stand trial on historical sex offenses / The New York Times

The church has found itself at the center of a spiraling sex abuse scandal, spanning countries and decades. (The New York Times)

“Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican’s third-highest-ranking official, must stand trial on several charges of sexual abuse, an Australian court ruled on Tuesday (May 1), promising to prolong a case that has already dragged on for months, and which many see as a moment of reckoning for a church racked by scandal.

“Belinda Wallington, a Melbourne magistrate, found there was sufficient evidence for prosecutors to bring the cardinal’s case to trial, ending a two-month pretrial hearing, in which witnesses described abuse they said took place decades ago.

“But the majority of charges against the cardinal were either withdrawn or dismissed, including several of the most serious allegations, which were said to have taken place in a playground, on an altar, on a mountaintop and during a 1970s screening of ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ in Ballarat.”

By Adam Baidawi, The New York Times — Read more …

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Australian mining town breaks its silence about grim past of sexual abuse / The New York times

The scale of the abuse in Ballarat was staggering. Gerald Ridsdale, the former chaplain of St. Alipius Primary School in Ballarat, was imprisoned for sexually abusing 65 children from the early 1960s to late 1980s. He was only one of several priests convicted of abusing children. (The New York Times)

Rob Walsh was outside Melbourne Magistrates’ Court recently awaiting a pretrial hearing for Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican’s third-highest-ranking official, when, he said, he unexpectedly walked into the cardinal himself.

“The encounter wasn’t their first. They both were raised in the same old mining town, which could be why the cardinal extended his hand, inviting Mr. Walsh to shake it. Mr. Walsh declined — a gesture that signified the lasting impact of a decades-long sexual abuse scandal that has rocked this town, Ballarat, and sent shock waves around the world.

“‘The ripple is still on the lake and it’s still occurring,’ Mr. Walsh said from his home in Ballarat, referring to the lingering effects from that scandal, in which priests preyed on children, including Mr. Walsh, during the 1960s and 1970s.

“‘It’s gone through families and generations.'”

By Jacqueline Williams, The New York times — Read more …

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Australian police complicit with Catholic Church in covering up clergy sexual abuse of minors / The Australian

The extent of Victoria Police complicity in covering-up child abuse by clergy in the scandal-plagued diocese of Ballarat has been detailed by former senior members of the force who shunned the influence of the ­so-called Catholic Mafia.

“An investigation by The Australian has confirmed extensive evidence of the force actively shielding wrongdoing and ­perverting the course of justice by forcing the transfer of a notorious clergyman rather than prosecuting him.

“The details of how the late Monsignor John Day abused hundreds of children in the 1960s and 70s but was protected by the force — and the church — are outlined in a new podcast examining the rarely-discussed fact that police worked with the church hierarchy to protect ­offenders like him.”

By Peter Hoysted and John Ferguson, The Australian — Click here to hear the podcast “Ballarat’s Children.”

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Hundreds of child sex abuse complaints made against Christian Brothers, royal commission hears / The Guardian

In Australia, 853 people have made a claim or substantiated complaint of child sexual abuse against one or more Christian Brothers, with 75% of victims under the age of 13 at the time, a royal commission has heard.

“The royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse has turned its attention to the Christian Brothers as the third round of its hearings into the diocese of Ballarat began on Monday. A religious community within the Catholic church, the Christian Brothers primarily worked in educational facilities for children.

“In all, 281 individual members of the Christian Brothers in Australia have been subject to one or more claims or substantiated complaints of child sexual abuse, the commission heard, with 45% of that abuse occurring in Tasmania or Victoria.”

By Melissa Davey, The Guardian — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Former Australian Bishop Agrees Church ‘Effectively Facilitated’ Child Sexual Abuse

The Australian Royal Commission into child sexual abuse has begun hearing testimony. The following story in the Victorian newspaper The Age reports on former Ballarat Bishop Peter Connors comments before the commission.  Click on the headline to read the entire story.

Catholic Church ‘Facilitated’ Abuse

The Catholic Church in Ballarat ‘effectively facilitated’ child sexual abuse by leaving known paedophiles in ministry and was ”unChristlike”, former Ballarat Bishop Peter Connors conceded on Monday. His predecessor, Bishop Ronald Mulkearns, made ”terrible errors” and showed ‘great naivety’ in moving paedophiles Gerald Ridsdale and Paul David Ryan from parish to parish despite knowing they were child abusers, Bishop Connors told the Victorian inquiry into how the churches handled child sexual abuse.” By Barney Zwartz, The Age

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