Just when the dust appeared to have settled, the Catholic Church sex scandal has expanded to a new venue. This time the setting is Australia. The proportions are massive.
A Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has uncovered the widespread abuse of children by religious schools and other institutions . Most of those suspected are Catholic priests and religious brothers.
Tens of thousands of children were impacted. While the exact number of victims cannot be known, the abuse extended across generations.
The Commission’s official report reads, in part:
“It is not a case of a few rotten apples. Society’s major institutions have seriously failed. In many cases those failings have been exacerbated by a manifestly inadequate response to the abused person. The problems have been so widespread, and the nature of the abuse so heinous, that it is difficult to comprehend.”
More than 4400 victims have come forward and more than 4000 institutions been implicated. In numerous cases, the commission found those in leadership were aware of the abuse, but failed to take effective action.
Senior Counsel, Gail Furness, informed the Commission:
“Children were ignored or, worse, punished. Allegations were not investigated. Priests and religious [figures] were moved. The parishes or communities to which they were moved knew nothing of their past. Documents were not kept or they were destroyed .”
Accusations of cover-up have long been directed at Australia’s Cardinal George Pell, who earlier this year became the highest ranking Vatican official criminally charged with sexual offenses . The charges against Pell relate to his mishandling of misconduct cases against clergy while head of the Archdioceses of Melbourne and Sydney.
The Australian Catholic Church has, thus far, paid $276 million to victims .
 New York Times, World, Australia, “Australia ‘Failed’ Abused Children for Decades, Royal Commission Finds” by Jacqueline Williams, 12/14/17, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/14/world/australia/australia-sexual-abuse-children.html?partner=msft_msn.
 Al Jazeera, “ ‘Shocking’ scale of Catholic Church sex crimes revealed”, 2/6/17, http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/02/scale-catholic-church-sex-crimes-revealed-170206135244774.html.
 New York Times, World, Australia, “Australian Cardinal and Aide to Pope Is Charged with Sexual Assault” by Jacqueline Williams, 6/28/17, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/28/world/australia/cardinal-george-pell-charged-sexual-abuse.html.
 The Guardian, “Australian Catholic church has paid $276m to abuse victims so far, inquiry shows” by Australian Associated Press, 2/15/17, https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/feb/16/australian-catholic-church-has-paid-276m-to-abuse-victims-so-far-inquiry-shows.
FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: https://alawyersprayers.com