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Whited Sepulchers

70 more Christians accused of sex crimes in US

Catholic priest admits sexual abuse at Berlin school

Canisius (Christian) College was a crime scene, its director says

Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: A former teacher at a Catholic school in Berlin has admitted to sexually abusing pupils in the 1970s and 1980s. The school's director has strongly criticised the church for turning a blind eye and warns of new cases.

Police are investigating allegations that teachers at an elite private school in Berlin sexually abused pupils during the late 1970s and early 1980s. One suspect has admitted to his guilt in an open letter to the news magazine Spiegel.

Five former students, all male, at the Jesuit Canisius College had initially notified the institution's director, Klaus Mertes, of the abuse.

Two teachers - both Jesuit priests who no longer work at the school - had been identified by their accusers, who would have been aged 13-17 at the time, Mertes said.

One of the men accused, a former sports teacher has already admitted to the abuse according to news magazine Spiegel. According to the magazine, he had written an open letter to be published apologizing to his victims, which stated that he had abused children and teenagers for many years.

"I am sorry for what I have done to you. If you are able to forgive me for this, I ask you to do so," he wrote

The second suspect - a former religious studies teacher - reportedly denied the charges.

'Danger of new instances'

The original accusations prompted Mertes to send a letter to 500 alumni, encouraging them to write in about their own experiences at the time. Replies from ex-students continued to arrive, he said, with the number of people claiming to have been abused reaching 20 by Friday.

In the newspaper Tagesspiegel am Sonntag, Mertes said the Catholic Church had to take measures to make sure such abuse did not happen again.

"Although the now well-known abuse happened a long time ago, the danger of new instances of abuse could not be ruled out,” he said.

Mertes added that the church's attitude to homosexuality was not helpful. "The church suffers from homophobia," he said.

"Homosexuality is hidden. Clerics with this inclination are not sure that they will be accepted if they are honest about their sexuality.”

It was unsurprising that the revelations came so late, Mertes had said on Friday.

"Everyone who has dealt with sexual abuse cases knows very well that there's a lot of shame and pain involved on the part of the victims," Mertes told reporters.

"And it often takes many decades until those affected are able to get their trauma under control and are willing to speak about it openly."

He said that the scandal could not have remained undetected at the time, had a number of people in responsible positions not looked the other way.

Most of the cases would likely be difficult to prosecute because German law limits the statute of limitations on sexual abuse to 10 years after the victim has turned 18, Mertes said.

70 Irish priests accused of sex crimes in US

US victims of child abuse have unearthed a direct link to scandals in Ireland, revealing that 70 irish priests who worked in the States have been accused of paedophile crimes.

This dramatic disclosure follows the admission by the archdiocese of Boston that the list includes the late Fr Brendan Smyth, who worked briefly in Arlington two decades ago.

It had previously been thought that at that time he was on the run in the Republic from police in Belfast.

The Boston archdiocese was responding to the demands of victim-support groups, which have alleged in the wake of the Murphy Report that church leaders in Ireland sent accused priests to dioceses in other countries, including the US.

The revelations come as Irish victims of clerical child abuse have reacted furiously to the refusal of a retired Dublin auxiliary bishop to accept the finding of the Murphy Report that church authorities covered up paedophile crimes and either transferred offenders to other parishes or sent them abroad.

Bishop Dermot O'Mahony, who was censured in the report for his handling of complaints, has attempted to rally Dublin priests to his defence by openly challenging Archbishop Diarmuid Martin.

Last month, Archbishop Martin claimed that Bishop O'Mahony showed neither remorse nor apology and withdrew permission for him to administer the sacrament of confirmation.

Last night, prominent abuse victim Andrew Madden, who first outed the notorious Fr Ivan Payne, said Bishop O'Mahony should reflect on the damage done to so many children by what he did and failed to do.

Maeve Lewis, executive director of the One In Four victim-support group, said the bishop appeared to be questioning the validity of the Murphy Report's conclusion that there was a deliberate policy to cover up allegations of sexual abuse.

She added: "It is this culture of denial which facilitated the sexual abuse of children in the first place.

"If this response to the Murphy Report is widespread, then the Catholic Church will never be a safe place for children."

The US revelations came after an organisation called published a list of 70 priests from Ireland who had been accused of molesting children, either in Ireland or while they were working in the United States.

This followed a public letter to Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley, head of the Boston Archdiocese, asking him to identify any priests who have faced accusations of abuse elsewhere and who had worked in the area.

The Boston archdiocese disclosed that it had granted faculties to three priests on the list, including the late Brendan Smyth. The faculties permitted the clergymen to celebrate Mass and perform other duties.

In addition to Smyth, they include Joseph T. Maguire, a priest from the Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire, who was convicted of molesting more than a dozen boys in the state, and who died in 2005.

The archdiocese said that a review of its records shows that it was not aware of any accusations having been made against the priests when they were granted faculties, and that it found no records of accusations while the priests were there.

A spokesman said Smyth, the notorious Norbertine monk from Kilnacrott Abbey, in Co Cavan, who died in prison in 1997, was given permission to work as a priest in the archdiocese for two days in 1991.

But the Boston archdiocese has insisted that it has no record of any accusations being made against Fr Smyth while he was working for two days in St Camillus parish in Arlington.

Source Irish Independent

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