Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Thousands beaten, raped in Irish reform schools.

Now some of you may say what does this post have anything to do with Sikhi, I say nothing and everything, and it all depends how one looks at it. The news below even though very shocking is not surprising to me given that I have heard similar stories of Catholic Priests and nuns abusing their power of positions so many times. They get repeated here in America, in India, In South America and In Africa. Now I know many Indians think Catholic education is better their Hindu or sikh school education, but I think that is just a slave mentality having been under British rule and the leaders being the puppets of teh British. First question everyone needs to ask is, what is the purpose of education or sending a kid to school? The answer is simple, to gain knowledge to live happy, healthy and holy. And, yet these kids get beaten, abused, cursed and sometimes death penality from their educators/teachers who are supposed to have better knowledge, be more respecting, humble, patient and peaceful than these kids. I remember in India, catholic nuns have a bad reputation of beating kids, even more so than in regular Government schools which I attended. Yes, I was beaten many times in Government schools too and it was and still is common in India. There have even bean deaths from child beatings. These are sick individuals who committ these crimes on teh weak and innocent children and I wish I knew how they could be reformed. They have no right to call themselves, Hindu or Sikh or Christian or whatever else faith they claim while committing these crimes. Obviously, the religious teachings aren't helping them, otherwise they wouldn't be doing it. Now I am not a Christian and have read only a few paragraphs here and there in Bible, but wonder why is this happening so much in Churches than other places? Is it the priests and nuns not being able to marry or something else? Sometimes, I am thankful that Guru Nanak preached a life of a householder than a life of a wanderer and ascetic. And, by no means Sikh institutions aren't perfect either and we Punjabis majority of whome claim to be Sikhs, have our own social and cultural issues of castes, divisions, drinking, physical abuse of children in schools, women abuse, meat and other controversies to deal with. Anyways, the story is sad and sickening and hope Ireland will stand up to this and get rid of this menace some way or another. It makes me worry about all those Indians sending their kids to Catholic schools in India thinking they are getting better education than Sikh or Hindu schools in India. I do understand it is not the Christian faith or Bible teachings or Sikh faith or Sikh teachings, or any other faith for the sake of argument, but people that make the religion look bad. Waheguru bless these little souls that went thru this abuse. And, I think this timeline is only a little window in a big scale of time for abuse and starting the healing process. Yes, for a victim, even a second of abuse during childhood would seem like a lifetime and leaves scars forever.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fgw-irish-church21-2009may21,0,59963.story
Thousands beaten, raped in Irish reform schools
Associated Press 8:25 AM PDT, May 20, 2009
DUBLIN -- A fiercely debated, nine-year investigation into Ireland's Roman Catholic-run institutions says priests and nuns terrorized thousands of boys and girls in workhouse-style schools for decades -- and government inspectors failed to stop the chronic beatings, rapes and humiliation.High Court Justice Sean Ryan today unveiled the 2,600-page final report of Ireland's Commission to Inquire Into Child Abuse, which is based on testimony from thousands of former students and officials from more than 250 church-run institutions.

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More than 30,000 children deemed to be petty thieves, truants or from dysfunctional families -- a category that often included unmarried mothers -- were sent to Ireland's austere network of industrial schools, reformatories, orphanages and hostels from the 1930s until the last church-run facilities shut in the 1990s.The report found that molestation and rape were "endemic" in boys' facilities, chiefly run by the Christian Brothers order, and supervisors pursued policies that increased the danger. Girls supervised by orders of nuns, chiefly the Sisters of Mercy, suffered much less sexual abuse but frequent assaults and humiliation designed to make them feel worthless."In some schools a high level of ritualized beating was routine. ... Girls were struck with implements designed to maximize pain and were struck on all parts of the body," the report said. "Personal and family denigration was widespread."
Victims of the system have long demanded that the truth of their experiences be documented and made public, so that children in Ireland never endure such suffering again.But most leaders of religious orders have rejected the allegations as exaggerations and lies, and testified to the commission that any abuses were the responsibility of often long-dead individuals.Today's five-volume report sides almost completely with the former students' accounts. It concludes that church officials always shielded their orders' pedophiles from arrest amid a culture of self-serving secrecy."A climate of fear, created by pervasive, excessive and arbitrary punishment, permeated most of the institutions and all those run for boys. Children lived with the daily terror of not knowing where the next beating was coming from," the report concluded.The commission said overwhelming, consistent testimony from still-traumatized men and women, now in their 50s to 80s, had demonstrated beyond a doubt that the entire system treated children more like prison inmates and slaves than people with legal rights and human potential.The report proposed 21 ways the government could recognize past wrongs, including building a permanent memorial, providing counseling and education to victims and improving Ireland's current child protection services.But its findings will not be used for criminal prosecutions -- in part because the Christian Brothers successfully sued the commission in 2004 to keep the identities of all of its members, dead or alive, unnamed in the report. No real names, whether of victims or perpetrators, appear in the final document.Irish church leaders and religious orders all declined to comment today, citing the need to read the massive document first. The Vatican also declined to comment.The Irish government already has funded a parallel compensation system that has paid 12,000 abuse victims an average of euro65,000 ($90,000). About 2,000 claims remain outstanding.Victims receive the payouts only if they waive their rights to sue the state and the church. Hundreds have rejected that condition and taken their abusers and those church employers to court.Today's report said children had no safe way to tell authorities about the assaults they were suffering, particularly the sexual aggression from church officials and older inmates in boys' institutions."The management did not listen to or believe children when they complained of the activities of some of the men who had responsibility for their care," the commission found. "At best, the abusers were moved, but nothing was done about the harm done to the child. At worst, the child was blamed and seen as corrupted by the sexual activity, and was punished severely."The commission dismissed as implausible a central defense of the religious orders -- that, in bygone days, people did not recognize the sexual abuse of a child as a criminal offense, but rather as a sin that required repentance.In their testimony, religious orders typically cited this opinion as the principal reason why sex-predator priests and brothers were sheltered within the system and moved to new posts where they could still maintain daily contact with children.But the commission said its fact-finding -- which included unearthing decades-old church files, chiefly stored in the Vatican, on scores of unreported abuse cases from Ireland's industrial schools -- demonstrated that officials understood exactly what was at stake: their own reputations.

Children beaten, abused at Catholic-run schools in Ireland, report says
Peter Morrison / Associated Press
Kevin Flannagan, brother of Mickey Flannagan, victim of child abuse, holds a copy of the "Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse," in Dublin.
An Irish commission finds that students at more than 200 schools during the 1940s through the 1990s were molested and subjected to excessive punishment while the church covered up misdeeds.

By Henry Chu 11:39 AM PDT, May 20, 2009
Reporting from London -- Boys and girls were beaten, sexually abused and emotionally terrorized for decades in workhouse-style schools run by Ireland's Catholic Church, in which a "culture of silence" showed more concern for protecting victimizers than the children in their care, according to a long-awaited report released today in Dublin.For more than half a century, excessive and arbitrary punishment created a climate in which students at schools administered by Catholic religious orders lived "with the daily terror of not knowing where the next beating was coming from."

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Sexual molestation was "endemic," committed by offenders who were often transferred to other institutions rather than dismissed or turned over to authorities, said the report by Ireland's Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse.And through it all, government inspectors failed to stop what was going on, despite attempts by some individuals to bring their abusers to account in an effort to lessen the trauma that many still suffer years later.These are some of the findings of the 2,600-page report unveiled after a nine-year investigation. Drawing on the testimony of nearly 2,000 witnesses, men and women at more than 200 Catholic-run schools during the 1940s through the 1990s, the commission pieced together a damning picture of a church engaged too often in covering up misdeeds within its ranks instead of rooting out their perpetrators.
The five-volume report is a major blow for a religious institution that continues to wield enormous, albeit declining, influence on Irish society, especially on moral issues such as divorce and abortion.Even then, it wasn't tough enough for some of the victims. Many are angry that the report includes no names of alleged offenders, an omission that one of the religious orders under investigation won in court. Only pseudonyms are used, making the chances of criminal prosecution slim."We expected that these people would be named and shamed and that some of them would be convicted," John Barrett, who testified before the commission, told Irish radio station TodayFM. "At the end of the day, some of us won't sleep tonight. We're still nowhere near the truth."Barrett alleges that he was sexually abused while at a school for boys with learning disabilities, which was run by the Brothers of Charity in Ireland's County Cork.Edmund Garvey, a spokesman for the Christian Brothers, one of the religious orders whose schools came under investigation, said: "Our first response to the report is to openly and unreservedly express our heartfelt sorrow and sadness and regret to those people who were victimized . . . We are deeply sorry, deeply regretful."henry.chu@latimes.com

Timeline of Ireland's Catholic abuse scandals
Associated Press May 20, 2009
Key steps in Ireland's struggle to confront child abuse committed by Catholic officials.• June 1994: Irish Catholic priest Brendan Smyth pleads guilty in Northern Ireland to 17 counts of assaulting five girls and two boys in Belfast. His order, the Norbertines, spent decades shuttling him among Irish and American parishes and harboring him from British arrest.

· Thousands beaten, raped in Irish reform schools
• November 1994: Irish Prime Minister Albert Reynolds resigns and his government collapses amid claims his attorney general colluded with church authorities to delay the British extradition demand for Smyth.• July 1995: Former altar boy Andrew Madden becomes first in Ireland to speak publicly about abuse by a priest, says Dublin archdiocese paid him euro35,000 ($45,000) to keep quiet. Case spurs hundreds of alleged victims to pursue civil lawsuits against church authorities.• January 1996: Irish Catholic leaders tells bishops to report "without delay" all suspected sex abuse cases to police. Some bishops don't.• July 1997: After serving prison term, Smyth is extradited to Ireland and pleads guilty to 74 counts of sexually abusing 20 boys and girls between 1958 and 1993. Dies of a heart attack in prison one month into 12-year sentence.• January 1998 -- Payne is convicted in Dublin on 14 counts of sexually abusing eight boys aged 11 to 14. Serves four years in prison.• March 1999: Rev. Sean Fortune commits suicide in prison while awaiting trial on 66 charges of molesting and raping boys in Ferns diocese. One victim, Colm O'Gorman, launches support group One in Four.• April 1999: Groundbreaking documentary series "States of Fear" exposes abuse of children in church-run workhouses, reformatories and orphanages since the 1940s.• May 1999: Prime Minister Bertie Ahern issues "long overdue apology" to all those abused in church-run institutions.• May 2000: Ireland authorizes Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse under direction of High Court Justice Mary Laffoy.• April 2002: Ferns Bishop Brendan Comiskey becomes first -- and only -- Irish church figure to resign because of a failure to stop pedophile priests.• December 2002: Ireland establishes board to pay compensation to people abused in church-run institutions. Claimants must renounce their right to sue.• September 2003: Laffoy resigns, says Ireland's Education Department is blocking the probe.• April 2004: Vatican diplomat Diarmuid Martin becomes Dublin archbishop. Pledges full cooperation with police in exposing past cover-ups of abuse.• October 2005: Probe finds church, police and state authorities did too little to stop sexual abuse of hundreds of children by 21 priests in Ferns.• December 2005: Redress Board says more than 14,000 people filed claims for compensation for reported childhood abuse in church-run institutions.• December 2008: Board says it has paid nearly 12,000 abuse victims an average of euro64,230 ($84,000) each, about 2,000 claims remain.• May 20, 2009: Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse unveils 2,575-page report into thousands of child abuse cases in Catholic-run institutions beginning in the 1930s until the last institutions closed in the 1990s.

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