'FORGET religion. Forget God. This is about the safety of children.'
Chrissie Foster (pictured with her husband Anthony) mother of Kate and Emma who both lost their lives as a result of repeated sexual assault at the hands of Catholic priest and convicted pedophile Kevin O’Donnell. O’Donnell sexually assaulted and raped children with the knowledge of the Catholic church from 1940 to 1995 when he was incarcerated. O’Donnell sexually assaulted hundreds, possibly thousands of children. He was never defrocked and buried with the honorific Pastor Emeritus, the equivalent of a Catholic OBE. There is not just 'a few bad apples'. There are thousands of them. Still abusing today.
We need a Royal Commission into child sex abuse into the Catholic Church and other NGOs. And we need it now. We are bigger than the money. And so should the Catholic Church be.
“THE reasons for a royal commission of inquiry into the Catholic Church in Victoria are multiple. Sex crimes against children and vulnerable adults by Catholic clergy are prevalent. There are possibly thousands of victims in this state. Victims were raped and tortured, some by more than one offender. When these brave and terrified children spoke up to get help, they were further punished by being threatened or beaten. They were silenced. These crimes continue to be deliberately concealed by the church authorities. Vast numbers of documents about these crimes and the offenders are locked away in church buildings.” The truth deserves a commission. NOT JUST AN INQUIRY.
Child sex abuse has been a problem in the Catholic Church for 2000 years despite Pope Benedicts assertion secularism and the immorality of modern society is to blame for sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests.
Reporting and dealing with child sex abuse, in the Catholic Church in particular, is and has been woefully inadequate and in fact another form of abuse for centuries. It is only in the last few decades that sex abuse has been acknowledged and discussed. The questioning of clergy, who’ve historically held an exalted position immune from criticism, is even more recent. This petition calls for a Royal Commission into sex abuse in the Catholic Church and other religious and non-government organizations. These are criminal matters and should never have been allowed to dealt with privately.
Only 3% of children will ever tell of their abuse -
'SAVI Report 2004'
A U.S. study found the average number of victims per molester is 184. And that's only for the molesters who've been arrested.
CBI study Investigation1998
“We, as society need to know what the church did to children so we can call them accountable and stop history repeating itself”, Alan Howe. (Read Howe’s explanation why we need an inquiry and why it needs to be a Royal Commission here)
Only the church knows the true number of offenders. It is time for us all to know. In the face of the overwhelming evidence reported by police and grieving families, the Catholic Church’s response has been a further offence to victims.
What do we make of Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart when asked about the 40 suicides Ballarat who fell victim to Robert Best and Gerald Ridsdale who responds that they are simply ''outside of his jurisdiction''?
The hierarchy of the Catholic Church have been and continues to be committed to protecting the offenders and the assets of the church.
We need accountability. We need a Royal Commission. Please sign and send to all you know.
We can change the lives of people who aren’t even born yet and get some justice for the thousands of victims and survivors who have been met with silence, lies, denials and threats in their attempt to find justice and comfort when dealing with the Catholic Church.
The Melbourne Archdiocese’s in house complaint resolution process the Melbourne Response established by Cardinal George Pell, is so cruel and unfair it makes many victims feel as if they’ve being abused all over again. It has been set up to purely to save money and protect the brand. At whatever cost.
Sex abuse is a crime and should be dealt with by the court and police. The Catholic Church intimidates victims into using their process which is only about saving face and saving money by telling victims court will be complicated and the charges will be strenuously denied.
Payments are meager, the independent commissioner has no real power, the payments are one off and cover all abuse claims past or future and victims come out the other end often feeling ripped off and 'processed.'
It is harrowing, grueling and heartbreaking being abused let alone admitting it and reporting it. The Church hides behind the fact people won't come forward and has make the process unfair and indimidating. These are criminal matters that should be dealt with by police.
So far, no accountability, no changes, no answers. The Catholic Church has never ONCE handed a priest pedophile over to the police. When the church occasionally does deal with these criminal matters with with their own law, Canon Law (recognized nowhere outside the Vatican) they do so selectively.
'In the past 20 years, one organisation alone ( Broken Rites victim support group) has been involved in criminal court cases resulting in the conviction of about 130 Catholic priests and brothers in Australia. Many (but not all) these Broken Rites cases are listed on the Broken Rites "black-collar crime" webpage. But these Broken Rites cases are the tip of the iceberg because so many other victims have been intimidated by the church culture into remaining silent, thus protecting the perpetrator from being prosecuted by the police sexual-offence unit. It's a very sad story and we don't think it's one that the church really have taken seriously enough and been proactive in looking for victims.'
'Every country the church has touched has seen widespread abuse coupled with church authorities refusing to work with secular law enforcement.'
Why it should be a Royal Commission?
A Royal Commission is the most powerful investigation. It has the powers to elicit evidence – witness, documents and electronic evidence – as recommended by Philip Cummins in his inquiry. If any person refuses to appear to give evidence or hand over evidence at a Royal Commission, then imprisonment can be implemented.
The inquiry announced by Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu, was immediately met with a response from the appointed leader of the parliamentary committee, Frank McGuire, that it was not enough time, not enough money and the committee had not enough experience to do the job justice. His recommendation was a Royal Commission or similar independent inquiry away from the parliamentary process.
An inquiry doesn’t specifically look at the nature, volume and cause of past abuse or the effect it has had on victims. It is unable to compel witnesses to give self-incriminating evidence, seize evidence, or issue public findings where appropriate. That is why we need a Royal Commission.
Not only has the inquiry been set up to fail, victims’ groups fear the inquiry may lead to more suicides.
Sexual abuse legal expert Angela Sdrinis agreed the Government should have opted for a commission, saying the inquiry would be “torturous” for victims.
Chrissie and Anthony Foster parents of two daughters who lost their lives due to pedophile priest Kevin O’Donnell accused of dwelling crankily on old wounds. More about the Fosters here and here. Read their story Hell On The Way To Heaven.
Watch Deliver Us From Evil the Oscar nominated documentary about the Catholic Church’s most notorious pedophile priest Frank O’Grady and the corruption in the Catholic Church that protected him.
Thank you and peace be with you x