Church of Ireland – 60 Years of Child Abuse – Thousands of Children Institutionally Beaten, Sexually Assaulted, and Mistreated

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Original Chinese Language Article: By Xinhua News Agency

(Translated by Adrian Chan-Wyles PhD)

The Irish judiciary investigation lasted nine years before a report was finally released on the 20th of May, 2009. This report exposed the abhorrent behaviour of the powerful Irish Catholic Church in Ireland, toward children over the last 60 years, and has revealed that thousands of vulnerable children in committed into Church care, were victims of sexual abuse, beatings and other physical and mental violence, at the hands of Catholic Church priests, nuns and lat-employees. Child sexual, physical, and mental abuse has serious long-term and shocking repercussions for its victims. The Head of the Catholic Church in Ireland publically apologised today, for the church’s involvement in this historical child sexual abuse case.

The children were treated like slaves and prisoners.

From 1930s to the 1990s, more than 30,000 children were sent by the Irish Courts to Irish Catholic institutions for education and training. These children were sentenced by the Courts for stealing, truancy, or because they came from broken families.

Following a damning TV documentary in Ireland exposing the Catholic Church and its historical role in institutional sexual child abuse, the Irish Prime Minister – Bertie Ahern – announced in 1999 that he was launching an investigation into the allegations. The following year, a special commission of inquiry was established. The Commission of Inquiry lasted nine years, and accessed thousands of former students, Church officials, and Church agency employees, and recorded their testimonies for the final completion of the investigative report. The Irish High Court – on the 20th of May, 2009 – released the subsequent 2,600-page report.

Two hundred and fifty Church agencies gave evidence, and out of this disturbing testimony it was found that the ‘Sisters of Mercy’ and the ‘Christian Brothers’ were the most prolific offenders through relevant information received by the Commission. In addition, Ireland’s largest school in Dublin – the “Artane” Industrial School – was revealed to have also participated in the child sexual abuse. The report shows that young boys and girls (entrusted into Church organizational care), were subjected to systematic abuse. Boys were sexually harassed and raped routinely, whilst young girls were treated as prostitutes and often subjected to the sexual appetites of male Church employees, and even rented-out to fee-paying “clients”, where they were sexually abused. This abuse also included physical beatings and humiliation. The Report stated that the clergy chastised students all the time so that the children lived daily in abject fear – as a consequence, the Report continued – their situation was more like prisoners and slaves, than that of vulnerable children needing compassionate guidance and care.

The Irish Catholic Church concealed complaints from abused children.

Church organizations deliberately ignored complaints made by vulnerable children, and actively concealed the shocking facts of each case. The Catholic Church had a policy of protecting the child-abusers and punishing the victims for complaining. Investigators wrote in the report that when the children complained that they were being abused, the Church authorities usually ignored the complaint and took no action against the abusers.

The Report also revealed that the Irish Catholic Church had a nonchalant attitude toward the sexual abuse of children under their care – considering this abhorrent behaviour to be both ‘normal’ and ‘endemic’. Abusers, if they were ever questioned about their illegal behaviour, were dealt with through a secret form – a procedure that did nothing to fundamentally address the issue or prevent further abuse. Victims that grew up in Church institutions, later disclosed their experiences, but many high-ranking Church officials were of the opinion that their claims were exaggerated and not real. Church officials thought that the most important thing (for the Church) was to prevent the scandal, rather than help the victims of the child sexual abuse, who had suffered untold mental and physical injuries.

The Irish Government pays compensation to the victims of child sexual abuse.

As for the matter of financial compensation, the Irish government has paid the 12,000 victims around $90,000 each, but to get this payment – the victims must stop all legal action against the Irish Government and the Irish Catholic Church. Many victims have rejected this condition, and have continued to campaign to bring their abusers to court. The Report of the Commission of Inquiry recommends that the Government take further measures, including the establishment of a Monument, the providing of advisory services and education to victims, and make greater efforts to enhance the protection of children.

The Head of the Catholic Church in Ireland – Sean Brady – after the report was released revealing the true extent of the historical sexual child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church) stated that he was “deeply sorry and ashamed.” The Christian Brothers also issued an apology and stated that it was willing to pay-out compensation to its victims.

A US agency against religious abuse stated that although the child abuse has come to light, and the Church has apologised, this was not enough to deter further abuse. Only severe punishments can prevent crimes against children.

Xinhua News Agency International Online

http://ccwb.yunnan.cn/html/2009-05/22/content_46718.htm

所辖机构内万余儿童遭性侵犯和殴打

爱尔兰教会疯狂虐童60余年

爱尔兰司法机构历时9年调查后于20日公布一份报告,爱尔兰天主教机构存在大肆虐童行为长达60余年,成千上万儿童受到性侵犯、殴打等身心摧残。儿童长期严重受虐却无人过问令人震惊。爱尔兰天主教会负责人当天公开为虐童事件道歉。

儿童境遇更像囚犯和奴隶

上世纪30年代至90年代,超过3万名儿童被送至爱尔兰天主教管理的机构接受教育和培养,他们被认定有偷窃、逃学经历或者是来自破裂的家庭。

在电视纪录片曝出教会机构存在虐童行为后,时任爱尔兰总理伯蒂·埃亨于1999年宣布对这一事件展开调查。次年,一个专门调查委员会成立。这个调查委员会历时9年,访问数千名前教会机构学生和教会官员,记录下他们的证词,最终完成调查报告。爱尔兰高等法院20日公布了这份长达2600页的报告。

在披露的250家教会机构中,慈善修女会和基督教兄弟会是问题最严重的两个机构,虐待儿童委员会所接到的一些举报资料中,针对这两个机构的举报资料和相关调查最多。另外,爱尔兰最大的学校,位于都柏林的“Artane”工业学校也被指参与了虐童。报告显示,虽然男孩和女孩不在同一个教会机构内,但他们均遭到虐待。男孩遭骚扰和强奸的现象相当普遍,而女孩则常受到男性雇员甚至是一些“嫖客”的性侵犯,并时常遭殴打和侮辱。报告认为,教会人员随意惩罚学生,以至于他们每天都生活在恐惧之中,他们的境遇更像是囚犯和奴隶

管理层对投诉隐瞒遮掩

教会机构管理层或是对孩子的抱怨置之不理,或是隐瞒案件真相、庇护犯罪嫌疑人和遮掩丑闻。调查人员在报告中写道,当孩子投诉自己受到虐待时,管理层通常不予理会。

教会高层意识到性侵犯是男性教会机构的常见问题,他们每次处理这类事件时,都通过秘密形式,根本没想从根本上解决这一问题。在教会机构里长大的受害者后来将他们的经历公开,但绝大部分教会高层认为他们的说法带有夸张成分、并不真实。在教会官员看来,最重要的是防止丑闻曝光,而不是受害者曾经受到的伤害。

政府向受害者支付赔偿款

作为补偿措施,爱尔兰政府已向1.2万名受害者平均每人支付9万美元,但接受赔偿款的人需放弃起诉政府和教会。不少受害者反对这一条件,已将施虐者告上法庭。调查委员会的报告建议政府采取进一步措施,包括设立纪念碑或纪念馆,向受害者提供咨询服务和教育,增强对儿童的保护力度。

爱尔兰天主教会负责人肖恩·布拉迪在报告公布后说,他对教会机构内发生的虐童事件“深表歉意和羞愧”。被指陷入虐童事件的天主教团体“基督教兄弟圣会”当天也发出道歉称,他们的教会人员为此感到惭愧,希望能作出补偿。

美国一家反对宗教虐待的机构说,虐童事件曝光,教会道歉,仅这些还不够,只有严厉的惩罚才能阻止针对孩子的犯罪。

据新华社国际在线

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