St Patrick’s Catholic Cathedral in New York
Attorneys general across the United States are taking a newly aggressive stance in investigating sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy, opening investigations into malfeasance and issuing subpoenas for documents.
On Thursday alone, the New York State attorney general [Barbara Underwood] issued subpoenas to all eight Catholic dioceses in the state as part of a sweeping civil investigation into whether institutions covered up allegations of sexual abuse of children, officials said. The attorney general in New Jersey announced a criminal investigation.
The new inquiries come several weeks after an explosive Pennsylvania grand jury report detailed the abuse of more than 1,000 children by hundreds of priests over decades. With Catholics clamoring for more transparency from their church, demanding that bishops release the names of accused priests, civil authorities are beginning to step up to force disclosure.
In the three weeks since the release of the Pennsylvania report, the attorneys general of Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska and New Mexico have also said they will investigate sex abuse by Catholic priests in their states and have asked local dioceses for records. Most bishops have been saying they will cooperate.
Stirred by Pain, States Take On Catholic Church (Sharon Otterman and Laurie Goodstein, New York Times)
Related: Every attorney general in the country must force the Catholic Church to tell the truth (Boston Globe, Walter V Robinson (August 30, 2018)
Pic: St Patrick’s Cathedral
[Bethany Home, Orwell Road in in Rathgar, Dublin (above), in 1934, was a Protestant-run ‘mother and child’ home and as such was excluded from the redress scheme for victims of institutionalised abuse. It closed in 1972.}
We the undersigned are writing to you to express our deep concern at the situation of the survivors of the Bethany Home, Rathgar, Dublin.
We are aware that Justice Minister Alan Shatter and Minister of State Kathleen Lynch have met with representatives of the Bethany Survivors Group. They heard testimony that included evidence of state responsibility for death, abuse and neglect of children at the home.
The fact that these survivors have to date been excluded from both the Residential Institutions Redress Scheme and the Magdalene Redress Scheme (despite initial indications, that the Bethany Home may be considered for inclusion in the latter scheme), leaves them in a state of vulnerability, uncertainty and in many cases poverty.
We call on the Taoiseach, as a matter of urgency, to ensure that justice is served to the survivors of the Bethany home and that the state affords them the peace and security that they deserve in these, their older years. We call on him to provide them with a process of non-adversarial redress and to provide assistance to them in their
attempts to access to their records.
Niall Meehan, Secretary, Bethany Survivors Group; Orla O’Connor, Director, National Women’s Council of Ireland
On behalf of;
Breffni Belles Cavan Women’s Network; Children’s Rights Alliance;Community Workers Co-operati; Domestic Violence Response; Dublin Rape Crisis Centre; European Anti Poverty Network Ireland;Headford Women’s Group; Irish Feminist Network; Irish Traveller Movement; Justice for Magdalenes; Migrant Rights Centre Ireland; National Collective of Community Based Women’s Networks; Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed National Women’s Council of Ireland; One Family; One in Four; OPEN; Pavee Point; Rape Crisis Network Ireland; Rowlagh Women’s Group; South West Kerry Women’s Association; Survive and Thrive – breast cancer support and advocacy group; Women’s Aid; Women in Media and Entertainment; Women with Disabilities in the West; Global Women’s Studies Centre, NUIG; Irish congress of Trade Unions; Irish Nurses and Midwives Association; National Union of Journalists; SIPTU; UNISON; UNITE the Union; Dr Anne Byrne School of Political Science and Sociology, NUI Galway; Professor Patricia Coughlan , School of English, University College, Cork; Anastasia Crickley, Centre for Applied Social Studies, NUI, Maynooth; Dr. Breda Gray, Gender, Culture & Society Programmes at the University of Limerick.Dr. Amanda Haynes, Lecturer in Sociology, University of Limerick; Mark Kelly, Director Irish Council for Civil Liberties; Prof Siobhán Mullally, Director, Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University College Cork;Dr. Sandra Mc Evoy Coordinator, Women’s Studies, University College Cork; Dr. Chris McInerney, Course Director, BA Public Administration/BA Politics and Public Administration, Department of Politics and Public; Administration University of Limerick; Dr. Mary Murphy Department of Sociology NUI Maynooth; Professor Ray Murphy, Professor of Law, Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway; Dr Katherine O’Donnell, Director-Women’s Studies Centre, School of Social Justice, University College Dublin;Orlagh O’Farrell, Consultant and researcher on equality and human rights;Dr. Martin J. Power, Lecturer in Sociology, Course Director: MA in Sociology, University of Limerick; Dr. Niamh Reilly, Senior Lecturer, School of Political Science and Sociology NUI Galway; Professor Neil Robinson, Department of Politics and Public Administration, University of Limerick; Ailbhe Smyth, researcher and consultant in gender equality, LGBTissues and human rights.
Previously: Prime Time Bethany Homes Special
Justice For The Survivors of Bethany Homes
(The Journey of Light memorial design)
Following the decision to reject the memorial to abuse victims at the Garden of Remembrance because it overlaps with a memorial to the struggle for Irish ‘freedom’ it would be a shame to waste a beautifully designed tribute.
How about putting it up at a church-owned property. Maynooth perhaps?
The June 2002 deal between Fianna Fail (above) and 18 religious orders, brokered by Michael Woods while serving as Minister for Education, awarded indemnity against all legal claims if…
…they paid €128m in cash and property.
Total liability was estimated at €300m even though no detailed analysis was carried out by any government department. The Government estimated there would be 2,000 claimants. In the end, there were more than 14,000.
Total liability is currently estimated at €1.2bn
The indemnity deal at a glance (irish Independent, May 22, 2009)
A few points about the Indemnity deal
It was never run past the Attorney General of the day [Michael McDowell].
It was finalised outside of a dissolved Daíl and no vote ever taken on it.
It could be repealed in the morning with few grounds for legal challenge
A bill was presented to the Daíl in 2009 to repeal the deal but got nowhere.
Less than 70% of the monies owed by the Church has been paid, example the Christian Brothers have paid 4 Million of a total 42 owed.
So if Enda was serious about being a ‘Catholic but not a Catholic Taoiseach’, he would repeal the bill in the morning and open all of the religious institutions to a liability to pay for their crimes.
(Eamon Farrell/Photocall Ireland)