Priest Jailed For Second Time For Sexually Abusing Boys

The victim described how he was made to feel like he was passed between the pair like a “toy borrowed from a friend”.

Ifor Whittaker court case

A former Church of England priest who sexually abused boys has been put behind bars for a second time.

Colin Pritchard changed his name to Ifor Whittaker after he was handed a five-year sentence at Northampton Crown Court in 2008 after admitting abusing two children in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, between 1979 to 1983.

The 73-year-old was jailed for 16 years at Hove Crown Court in February 2018 after being found guilty of abusing a third boy between 1987 and 1991 while he was the vicar of Sedlescombe in East Sussex, police said. 

He was convicted of seven offences including inciting the child, aged between 10 and 14, to commit gross indecency and buggery.

A jury also found him guilty of conspiring with fellow vicar, close friend and convicted pedophile Roy Cotton to commit acts of indecency.

The pair had already been arrested by Sussex Police in 1997 on suspicion of sexually abusing children and were released on bail.

Cotton retired in 1999 and the Crown Prosecution Service dropped the case. He died in 2006.

These details emerged in a critical independent report by Roger Meekings in 2012 which revealed how Cotton had been convicted of indecent behaviour with a child in 1954 while training for the priesthood.

He was thrown out of theological college but then readmitted and ordained in 1966 – the same year he attended with Pritchard.

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It was also in 2012 that the force began investigating this latest case, after the victim said he was sexually assaulted by Cotton when he was the vicar in the nearby Sussex village of Brede.

The victim settled a civil claim with the Diocese of Chichester over Cotton that year.

Officers only learned he was also abused by Whittaker when they revisited the investigation in 2014, the force said.

The victim told how he believed Whittaker watched while Cotton carried out his assaults because he would appear in the room immediately after.

He said he was then taken to Whittaker’s vicarage by Cotton to do gardening but was actually plied with drinks of coke laced with alcohol.

Whittaker would sexually assault him and say no-one would believe him if he spoke out.

The victim described how he was made to feel like he was passed between the pair like a “toy borrowed from a friend”.

Whittaker was arrested in 2015 and questioned again in January 2016.

A video statement given by the victim in 2014 had to be taken again in November 2016 when the recording was found to be faulty. He disclosed more details of the abuse during the second statement.

Whittaker, of Sutton, is already a registered sex offender for life.

Judge Paul Tain ordered him to serve 15 years in custody and one year on extended licence. He cannot apply for parole for 10 years.

 

Catholic Bishop Resigns Over Claims Of Celebrating Mass With A Pedophile

“To date, clerical abuse victims here have been let down, not just by the church, but also by the authorities.”

John McAreavey resignation
According to Press Association, a Catholic bishop in Northern Ireland has resigned following claims he celebrated Mass alongside a priest he knew was a pedophile.

Dr John McAreavey was Bishop of Dromore. Diocesan secretary Fr Gerald Powell said he had resigned with “immediate effect”.

Fr Malachy Finnegan has been accused of sexual abuse by 12 people.

The bishop said: “Following media reports which have disturbed and upset many people in the diocese and further afield, I have decided to resign with immediate effect.

“I shall make further comment in due course.”

The former teacher at St Colman’s College in Newry from 1967 to 1976 is also allegedly linked to a catalog of physical and emotional abuse against pupils. He died in 2002.

Amnesty International has called for a public inquiry into clerical sex abuse.

Amnesty’s Northern Ireland director Patrick Corrigan said: “To date, clerical abuse victims here have been let down, not just by the church, but also by the authorities.”

Solicitor Claire McKeegan, of KRW Law, who represents a number of Fr Finnegan’s alleged victims, said she had received calls from numerous further witnesses since a settlement by one of her clients was made public recently.

She added: “The message is clear: victims demand a public inquiry into clerical abuse in Northern Ireland without any further delay.

“The victims and survivors deserve to speak about the horrific abuse that took place and be heard in a public forum tasked with sufficient powers to get to the truth.

“This case has brought to the surface yet another pedophile priest who was never investigated or exposed by the church or the police.”

Lord Carey Criminal Case Would Amount To “Attack on Christianity”

“I believed Peter Ball’s protestations and gave too little credence to the vulnerable young men and boys behind those allegations.”

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– By Alex Williams

Mounting a criminal investigation into how Lord Carey (pictured above) handled allegations of abuse within the Church of England would equate to an “attack” on “biblically faithful Christianity,” it has been claimed.

A number of conservative Church of England figures have signed a letter which defends the former Archbishop of Canterbury against any criminal probe, calling the idea “bizarre”.

The note, which appeared in Wednesday’s Daily Telegraph, says: “The notion that a criminal case could be brought against Lord Carey is so bizarre that we can only surmise that the object of the persistent pressure that brings these public attacks is not only Lord Carey but what he represents of biblically faithful Christianity.”

“An attack on him is an attack on us all.”

The signatories – which include former Bishop of Rochester Michael Nazir-Ali and the founder of Christian Concern, Andrea Williams – said similar high-profile cases have all been dropped without prosecutions.

They also wrote: “No one has been charged with any offence in relation to the misdemeanors of Jimmy Savile.

“The cases against Lord Bramall, Leon Brittan, Edward Heath and Cliff Richard were all dropped.

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“Why is Lord Carey being targeted at this time? Certain public leaders appear to be being attacked by insinuation without due process.”

The Daily Telegraph reported on Monday that police and prosecutors were considering whether to bring a criminal investigation against the 82-year-old, following the publication of a report last June which heavily criticized him.  

The document, produced by Dame Moira Gibb, concluded Lord Carey was among several senior Anglican figures who “colluded” with former Bishop of Chichester Peter Ball (pictured above) – a convicted sex offender.

The Gibb report found that the former Archbishop did not forward to police six letters containing allegations of abuse by Peter Ball.

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It also concluded the Lord Carey did not add Peter Ball’s name to a list of clergy deemed unsuitable to be conducting church ministry.

In the wake of the Gibb report, Lord Carey said he accepted the criticisms made of him and he apologized to the victims of Peter Ball.

In a statement, he said: “I believed Peter Ball’s protestations and gave too little credence to the vulnerable young men and boys behind those allegations.”

He also resigned from his position of honorary bishop in the Diocese of Oxford at the request of current Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.

 

Priest Removed For Alleged ‘Inappropriate Contact’ With Girl

Since the announcement, Cano’s information has been scrubbed from the church’s website as parishioners were left to grapple with the news.

LOS ANGELES — The Roman Catholic Archdiocese has removed a priest from a Los Angeles church on suspicion of having inappropriate conduct with multiple female parishioners — one of whom is an underage girl.

Officer Drake Madison tells the Daily News that police are investigating a child annoyance allegation against Father Juan Cano, who served as associate pastor at Our Lady of Grace church in Encino. Cano could not be reached for comment.

The Archdiocese announced his removal at Masses over the weekend.

The Archdiocese says it has a zero tolerance policy for any type of allegation relating to sexual misconduct relating to a child.

Cano 34, who was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, started at Our Lady of Grace in July 2015 with an announcement from the archdiocese about his miraculous life.

“When I was born, I had a tumor in my head which had no cure. … My parents and grandparents prayed to God for a miracle. … As I grew in the faith at the parish via my family’s involvement in the charismatic renewal, Bible study and religious education, I felt very drawn to the Eucharist, both in and outside of mass. In addition, I had daily contact with the parish priests. … It was such things that I know fed my priestly vocation,” Cano said at the time.

“It was surprising because the father was a really good man and he treated us like anybody else. I was surprised,” parishioner Giovanni Rios told ABC 7.

Rios, who has only been attending Our Lady of Grace for five months, said he felt church officials did the right thing in removing Cano.

“They did the right thing. They have to be really responsible, especially when we’re talking about kids,” he said.

The Archdiocese told ABC 7 that it has a zero-tolerance policy for any misconduct involving a child.

Clergy abuse survivors advocate Joelle Casteix questioned why it took the archdiocese more than a week to inform members of the parish about why Cano was placed on administrative leave on Jan. 19.

“Was there a written notice in the bulletin? No. Did they put a notice in the bulletin at St. James Parish in Redondo Beach where Cano worked before he became a priest? No. In fact, unless you were sitting in church this past Sunday, you would have no idea that you may need to talk to your children, sisters, wives, cousins, or friends about the abuse of power and sexual assault,” Casteix wrote in a blog post.

“But the Archdiocese WAS busy doing something: They were busy erasing Fr. Juan Cano from their websites. They didn’t have time to post a notice that he may have abused someone you love. But they had time to erase him, just like Stalin did to his enemies.”

Since the announcement, Cano’s information has been scrubbed from the church’s website as parishioners were left to grapple with the news.


Information from: (Los Angeles) Daily News, http://www.dailynews.com

Church Worship Leader Jordan Baird Sentenced to ONLY 8 Months for Sexual Abuse of Minor

Prosecutors said Baird is a “deceiver, a manipulator and a sexual predator” who groomed the girl for abuse, sent her sexually-suggestive messages and groped her multiple times at the Life Church between January and September 2015.

Approximately one month after he was convicted and jurors recommended he spend five months in prison for five counts of taking indecent liberties with a minor, Jordan Baird, a Christian pop singer and the son of Senior Pastors David and Jo Ann Baird of The Life Church in Virginia, was sentenced to eight months in jail.

Jordan’s legal troubles started July 7, 2016, when detectives from the Special Victims Unit of the Prince William County Police Department in Virginia responded to investigate inappropriate contact, which was reported to have occurred at Life Church in Manassas in 2015. The youth leader was convicted of five felony sex crimes with a minor in connection with an inappropriate relationship with a 16-year-old member of the congregation. The jury failed to reach a verdict on the charge of using electronic means to commit a sex crime with a minor Baird was facing. It is not yet clear if prosecutors will re-try that charge.

 

 

Jurors recommended Baird serve one month in jail for each conviction — five months total. Baird was accused of having an inappropriate relationship with the teenage girl who looked up to him as a mentor and considered him family, according to court testimony.

Prosecutors said Baird is a “deceiver, a manipulator and a sexual predator” who groomed the girl for abuse, sent her sexually-suggestive messages and groped her multiple times at the Life Church between January and September 2015. The teen testified during the trial she refused Baird’s unwanted sexual advances and told him what he was doing was wrong on more than one occasion.

Baird’s defense attorney, Todd Sanders, said his client crossed an emotional line when he sent the girl inappropriate messages. But the attorney said no touching took place and maintained his client’s actions did not violate any laws.

Sanders questioned the girl’s recollection of the alleged abuse and why she waited nearly a year to tell anyone about it. The defense attorney said the teen’s early accounts of what happened left out certain details and suggested people around her may have influenced her recovered memories.

Sanders suggested the anxiety the girl felt was caused by her fear that a young man she had feelings for would find out about the messages Baird sent her.

“She had everything to lose and nothing to gain,” the attorney said. “This church was everything to her. Jordan was a leader to her. He was like a big brother.” 

When asked why she didn’t immediately report the alleged abuse, the girl said she was “torn” about what to do because she didn’t want to lose her friends, her church family and all the volunteer opportunities the Life Church provided her. She said she worried the church would take Baird’s side because he is the son of the head pastor and told the girl he would take the secret “to the grave.”

“I remember feeling so stuck and no matter what, no one would believe me,” the teen testified. “I thought once I came forward I would lose everything.”

 

When she did come forward, the girl said her friends defended the church and turned on her. Jeremiyah Mullens, a former Life Church congregant, said other members called the girl “slurs” and “took the position that she was wrong in the situation.”

In June 2016, the teen said she told her mother Baird sent inappropriate messages to her after feelings of guilt and anxiety became so severe she couldn’t get out of bed that day. But the girl said she didn’t tell her mother the full story at that time because she knew it would mean her life would be turned upside down. 

“For so long, I tried to suppress everything and forget everything that happened,” she said. “But it all started to come back to me.”

When police came to interview the teen a couple of weeks later, she told them Baird inappropriately touched her but did not fully disclose every detail at that point either.

Renae Smith, the teen’s counselor, testified she diagnosed the girl with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The counselor said it’s common for those with PTSD to “disassociate” during abuse as a coping mechanism, which can later lead to gaps in memory.

But when a person with PTSD does start to remember their trauma, Smith said, they have vivid flashbacks to that moment and what took place becomes very clear to them. Smith said PTSD can delay memories but does not alter them. The doctor testified she has no reason to believe the teen is lying about the abuse.

“What I witnessed was a deep, spontaneous emotion,” Smith said. “You can tell when someone is genuine.”

 When the girl’s mother was asked why she didn’t immediately report the allegations to police, she said she didn’t know the full extent of what happened and her main concern was taking care of her daughter, who suffered a severe panic attack.

“I think I was in shock,” the girl’s mother said. “I wasn’t sure what to do. I’ve never been in a situation like this before.”

The teen’s father testified his family wanted to bring the allegations to light within the church first because they “believed the church would do the right thing.”

The parents said they asked the church to bring in a third-party to investigate what took place. But the church selected Steve Dawson, a close friend of the Bairds’ who was once a co-pastor at the church, the parents said.

“That was not a third party, obviously,” the girl’s father said.

Dawson testified he does not have a background in law enforcement or conducting investigations. He said Baird admitted sending inappropriate messages to the girl, but nothing else. While Gross questioned Dawson on the witness stand, he suggested Dawson left out key details he learned during his internal investigation when he was interviewed by police and refused to hand his notes over to law-enforcement officials.

The teen’s father said he recorded a meeting with Dawson in which he told the pastor Baird touched his daughter. On the stand, Dawson said he didn’t “recall” the father saying this. 

Gross also suggested through his questioning that the Life Church’s law firm instructed and advised Dawson through his investigation. 

The prosecutor pointed out Baird disclosed more information to Dawson than he did to police.

Gross attempted to introduce the testimonies of three other women who say Baird used his power in the church and his notoriety as a Christian pop singer to manipulate them into having inappropriate relationships and performing sex acts in the church. One of the girls was underage at the time of the alleged misconduct, the prosecutor said. But the judge wouldn’t allow the women’s testimonies because he said the information would be highly prejudicial in the criminal trial, citing case law.

Cardinal Bernard Law, who was the Archbishop of Boston when unpunished sexual misconduct within the Catholic Church surfaced, has died in Rome

the victims of sexual abuse were outraged because it gave Law a second career and a golden parachute that allowed him to stay close to the center of power in Rome and serve as a member or adviser in several influential Vatican departments.

Reported by Phillip Pullella~ Reuters

Cardinal Bernard Law, the former Archbishop of Boston, who died on Wednesday, resigned in disgrace after covering up years of sexual abuse of children by priests and whose name became a byword for scandal in the Catholic Church. 

The Vatican announced his death just before dawn on 20 December 2017.

via FTP

The telegram of condolences Pope Francis sent to the dean of the College of Cardinals was unusually short and bland compared to those for other cardinals before.

Francis said he was praying that the merciful God would “welcome him in eternal peace.” The pope did not mention that Law had been Archbishop of Boston and a brief Vatican biography made no mention of the circumstances of his resignation 15 years ago.

Law was Archbishop of Boston, one of the most prestigious and wealthy American archdioceses, for 18 years when Pope John Paul reluctantly accepted his resignation on Dec. 13, 2002, after a tumultuous year in church history.

Bernard Law

A succession of devastating news stories by Boston Globe reporters showed how priests who sexually abused children had been moved from parish to parish for years under Law’s tenure without parishioners or law authorities being informed.

“No words can convey the pain these survivors and their loved ones suffered,” SNAP, a victims’ group, said.

“Survivors of child sexual assault in Boston, who were first betrayed by Law’s cover-up of sex crimes and then doubly betrayed by his subsequent promotion to Rome, were those most hurt,” SNAP said in a statement.

Law’s resignation sent shockwaves through the American church and had a trickle down effect around the world as the cover-up techniques used in Boston were discovered to have been used in country after country.

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The story of how the Globe team brought the scandal to light in a city where few wanted to cross the politically powerful church was told in the 2015 film “Spotlight,” which won the Oscar for Best Picture.

The situation in Boston turned out to be the tip of an iceberg of abuse and its cover-up, where churchmen preferred protecting the reputation of the institution rather than the innocence of children.

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Thousands of cases came to light around the world as investigations encouraged long-silent victims to go public, shattering the church’s reputation in places such as Ireland, and forcing it to pay some $2 billion in compensation.

 

“As Archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Law served at a time when the church failed seriously in its responsibilities to provide pastoral care for her people, and with tragic outcomes failed to care for the children of our parish communities. I deeply regret that reality and its consequences,” Law’s successor in Boston, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, said in a statement.

Six months after his resignation, the Massachusetts attorney general’s office announced that Law and others would not face criminal charges.

After a period in a monastery in the United States, Law moved to Rome.

 In 2004 Pope John Paul appointed him to be archpriest of the Rome Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, one of the four major basilica’s of Christendom, whose gold leaf ceiling is said to be made from the first batch of the precious metal Columbus brought back from the Americas. He is likely to be buried there.

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In relative terms it was an immense fall from grace. Such posts are symbolic and ceremonial. But the victims of sexual abuse were outraged because it gave Law a second career and a golden parachute that allowed him to stay close to the center of power in Rome and serve as a member or adviser in several influential Vatican departments.

He also maintained the rank of cardinal and participated in the conclave that elected Pope Benedict in 2005.  Before he became ill, Law was a regular on the diplomatic circuit, attending receptions, including many in the gardens of the US Embassy to the Vatican.

While Law was an awkward presence at US receptions for a few years after his resignation, at Italian events he was treated with the same effusive obsequiousness bestowed on all cardinals – something Law appeared to enjoy.

 He always declined to talk about events in Boston. “I’m retired from that,” he told a reporter at one reception.
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 Photo credit: The Boston Globe via Getty Images 

Cardinal O’Malley, Law’s successor, heads a Vatican commission advising Pope Francis on how to root out sexual abuse in the Church.

But the credibility of the commission, which was formed in 2014, has been hurt by the resignation of two high-level lay members who have accused the Vatican of dragging its feet.

 The terms of most members expired recently and it is not clear what Pope Francis will do with it.

Last September, Francis, addressing the commission, said the Catholic Church had moved too slowly to confront abuse.

“When consciousness arrives late, the means to resolve the problems also arrive late. I am aware of this difficulty but it is reality and I say it plainly: We arrived late. The old practice of moving people around and not confronting the problem made consciences fall asleep,” the pope said.

Law was born on Nov. 4, 1931, in Torreon, Mexico, the son of a US Army official and a musician. He graduated from Harvard University and was ordained a priest in 1961.

His first assignment was in Mississippi, where he received death threats for championing civil rights. As bishop of Springfield–Cape Girardeau in Missouri, he opened a home for battered women and a center to help Vietnamese boat people.

Sexual Scandals in the Roman Catholic Church

The priest, Jozef Wesolowski, was charged with paying boys to perform sexual acts, of downloading and buying pedophile material. He died before a verdict was reached.

VATICAN CITY — A Vatican diplomat working in Washington has been recalled to the Holy See after the U.S. State Department said the priest may have violated child pornography laws, the Vatican said on Friday.

Prosecutors in the Vatican have opened an investigation into the case, which represents a fresh blow to the Roman Catholic Church as it struggles to overcome repeated sex abuse scandals among its clergy.

The State Department notified the Holy See in August “of a possible violation of laws relating to child pornography images by a member of the diplomatic corps of the Holy See to ensure full implementation of its reforms and policies designed to protect minors and provide justice regarding allegations” the spokesman said.

A State Department spokesman said the United States had requested that the man’s diplomatic immunity be waived to open the way for possible prosecution, but the Vatican refused.

The priest, who was not named, has returned to Vatican City and is awaiting the outcome of the Holy See investigation, which could lead to a trial in the tiny city state.

The U.S.-based Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests said possession of child pornography was not a victimless crime because the children involved were being abused.

“(Pope Francis) must bring the diplomat back to the United States in order to adhere to his promises of complying with investigations by civil authorities in cases of child sexual abuse,” SNAP managing director Barbara Dorris said.

Pope Francis has declared zero tolerance over abuse scandals that have beset the Church for decades, but has appeared to struggle to overcome resistance within the Vatican hierarchy.

The State Department spokesman said the pope had promised to “act decisively with regard to cases of sexual abuse” and punish those found guilty of wrongdoing.

“The United States encourages the Holy See to ensure full implementation of its reforms and policies designed to protect minors and provide justice regarding allegations,” the spokesman said.

Two years ago the Vatican put the former papal ambassador to the Dominican Republic on trial for child sex offences, a case that was seen as showing the pope’s determination to clean up the Church.

The priest, Jozef Wesolowski, was charged with paying boys to perform sexual acts, of downloading and buying pedophile material. He died before a verdict was reached.

He was the first high-ranking Catholic official to stand trial in the Vatican on such sex charges and the case was closely watched by victims of priestly abuse, who have accused the Vatican of repeatedly hushing up previous scandals.

Just last month, in the foreword to a new book written by a Swiss man who was raped by a priest when he was 8 years old, Pope Francis said sexual abuse of children by priests was a “monstrosity” and pledged to take action against perpetrators.

[Reporting by Crispian Balmer; Additional reporting by Steve Scherer in Rome and David Alexander in Washington; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg]