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January 25, 2005

Minister arrested, charged with child molestation

January 25, 2005 [Associated Press]

LAWRENCEVILLE, GA (AP) -- Gwinnett County police have charged a 57-year-old minister with child molestation.

Nathan Clement Ridgeway of Duluth is charged with one count of aggravated sexual battery and one count of aggravated child molestation.

The investigation involves a three-year-old family member who was at the suspect's residence.

Ridgeway is a pastor of a non-denominational church in Norcross -- Faith Life Fellowship. He also runs and works at a day care center, which operates out of that church.

Investigations say there are NO allegations of abuse involving anyone from the church or day care center.

Authorities arrested Ridgeway on Friday.

Posted by Nancy at 11:43 AM | Comments (0)

School 'mismanaged' abuse probe

A government report into allegations of sexual abuse against young boys at a Belfast boarding school is highly critical of the school's response.
January 25, 2005 [BBC News]

The report, published by the Department of Education on Tuesday, catalogued a history of mismanagement.

The abuse took place in 1992 and 1993 and was carried out by one pupil at Cabin Hill preparatory boarding school.

The report said a lack of action may have harmed both the boys abused and the young abuser.

The fee-paying preparatory school on the Newtownards Road in east Belfast closed its boarding department in October 2004.

Education Minister Barry Gardiner said: "The report does not make comfortable reading and provides all who have a duty to safeguard and promote children's welfare with much to reflect on."

The inquiry team, appointed by the Department of Education last September, found there were multiple instances of serious sexual abuse affecting at least six boys.

It found that one boy, who was acting as a dormitory prefect, carried out indecent assaults on fellow pupils until he was forced by other boys to confess to the headmaster at the time.

The boy said to have carried out the abuse was formally cautioned by the police in 2002.

However, it was the school's handling of the matter which has been criticised by the report's authors.

Response 'inadequate'

Only a very few people were told about it, in what the report team called an inadequate response.

It said that not only should the assaulted boys have been given help, but also the perpetrator, who left the school soon after the discovery of his actions.

The incidents were not made public until May 1999.

The board of governors of Campbell College, which runs the Cabin Hill preparatory school, has acknowledged the criticism of its handling of the incidents of sexual abuse.

It said it regretted the distress of pupils which had come to light as a result of this inquiry.

However, the report said that even as late as last year, a board of governors' response to press enquiries was said to be erroneous and misleading.

The three-strong team appointed last September to examine the allegations were the former Senior Chief Inspector of Education in Scotland, Douglas Osler, the former director of the NSPCC in Northern Ireland, Lynne Peyton, and the former principal of Dalriada School, Ballymena, William Calvert.

The team looked at what child protection measures were in place at the time and the extent of the abuse.

The inquiry was held in private.

Posted by Nancy at 11:34 AM | Comments (0)

Prosecutors detail abuse of young boy by defrocked priest

January 25, 2005 [Associated Press]

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. "If you tell, no one will believe you."

Prosecutors say that's what a former priest told his young victim to keep him quiet during years of sexual abuse. Opening statements began today in Massachusetts in the trial of Paul Shanley, charged with rape and indecent assault on a child.

Prosecutors say the boy didn't tell anyone -- for nearly 20 years. They say Shanley raped the boy repeatedly at his church, sometimes in the church bathroom, or in the church confessional.

They described how the priest would summon the six-year-old boy to the rectory to play cards. Then they quote Shanley as saying, "You lose, take off your clothes."

Shanley's defense maintains such charges have been concocted in order to bring a lawsuit.

If convicted of rape and other charges, Shanley -- who turns 74 years old today -- could face life in prison.

Posted by Nancy at 11:26 AM | Comments (0)

Coalition pledges mandatory abuse reports

January 25, 2005 [Sunday Times] By Amanda Banks

Australia - DOCTORS, nurses, teachers and child welfare workers will be forced to report child abuse under a Coalition plan to bring Western Australia into line with the rest of the nation on mandatory reporting.

Opposition Leader Colin Barnett yesterday unveiled details of the plan, announced by the Liberal Party in June.

The mandatory reporting plan, estimated to cost $15 million a year, is part of the Coalition's first comprehensive policy launch.

The children's policy - which contains initiatives worth $83.5 million - also includes establishing an Office for the Commissioner for Children at a cost of $5 million a year; a $1 million commitment to match local community funding to improve playgrounds; $1.5 million to set up a children's card to provide police clearance for people who work with children; stricter classifications guidelines for children's media; and $750,000 for child injury prevention.

Flanked by Opposition spokeswoman for children Barbara Scott, Mr Barnett said professionals would be trained to ensure they could identify child abuse.

"WA is the only state in this country that does not require mandatory reporting of abuse against children," he said. "It's not about a penalty system, it's just creating a clear statutory obligation on professionals in the area. Let's face it, this is about protecting kids."

Mr Barnett did not give details about the penalties for those who breached the statutory obligation to report suspected abuse or neglect.

The Gallop Government has previously rejected mandatory reporting after a report by the University of Western Australia found such laws throughout the world were in chaos and said there was no evidence compulsory reporting was effective in protecting children.

Posted by Nancy at 11:23 AM | Comments (0)

Opening Statements Delivered Clergy Sex Abuse Trial

Defrocked Priest Charged With Child Rape
January 25, 2005 [Associated Press]

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Opening statements were to be delivered Tuesday in the child rape case against defrocked priest Paul Shanley, one of the most notorious figures in the clergy sex abuse scandal that engulfed the Boston Archdiocese.

The case that first involved allegations related to four alleged victims has since been whittled down to a single man who claims he was raped in the 1980s by Shanley when he was a priest at St. Jean's parish in Newton.

A jury of eight men and eight women will consider the case, which is expected to last about two weeks in Middlesex Superior Court.

Shanley faces three charges of raping a child and two charges of indecent assault and battery on a child. The maximum sentence would be life in prison.

Prosecutors said they planned to call New Hampshire bishop John McCormack to the stand Tuesday as one of their first witnesses. McCormack investigated allegations of sexual misconduct as a former lieutenant to Boston's Cardinal Bernard Law and was expected to testify about Shanley's employment history with the archdiocese.

Shanley was once known as a long-haired priest in blue jeans who reached out to Boston's troubled youth in the late '60s. Now 73, he was defrocked by the Vatican last year after being charged with sexually abusing boys at the Newton parish between 1979 and 1989.

His alleged victims contend they were taken out of religious education classes and raped by Shanley in the church rectory, confessional and restroom.

The remaining accuser is 27 and says he was sexually abused by Shanley between 1983 and 1989, when he was between the ages of 6 and 11. Prosecutors said they plan to call the man's father and wife to testify.

Shanley's is one of just a handful of criminal cases that prosecutors have been able to bring to trial against priests accused of molesting young parishioners decades ago.

Most of the priests accused in hundreds of civil lawsuits avoided criminal prosecution because the alleged crimes were committed so long ago that charges were barred by the statute of limitations. But because Shanley moved out of Massachusetts, the clock stopped. He was arrested in California in May 2002.

Shanley became a lightning rod for public anger over the clergy sex abuse scandal after internal church documents were released showing church officials knew that he advocated sex between men and boys, yet they continued to transfer him from parish to parish.

His lawyer, Frank Mondano, has said he will argue that the man made up his story of abuse after the scandal erupted into the headlines several years ago. All of Shanley's alleged victims settled lawsuits with the church in April 2004. The exact monetary terms were not disclosed, but an attorney for the men has said each received more than $300,000.

Posted by Nancy at 11:19 AM | Comments (0)

Vatican Disciplines 17 Priests in N.Y.

January 24, 2005 [Associated Press]

ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. - The Roman Catholic Church has disciplined 17 priests of a New York diocese for sexual abuse allegations.

The Diocese of Rockville Centre on Long Island informed parishioners of the actions in a three-page letter listing the status of sex abuse cases against 23 priests.

Bishop William F. Murphy reported that eight priests were defrocked by the Vatican, nine were permanently suspended, three await canonical trials and two have been cleared. Proceedings against another have been deferred.

Several victims' rights groups criticized the bishop, saying the identities of the disciplined priests should be made public.

Diocese spokesman Sean Dolan said the names of those priests convicted on criminal charges have been disclosed. But releasing the names of the suspended priests could violate their privacy because they have not been proven guilty.

Posted by Nancy at 11:10 AM | Comments (0)

Crackdown on Net child abuse

January 25, 2005

AUSTRALIA has teamed up with the US, Canada and the UK to cast an international net to crack down on child abuse on the Internet.

Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty will launch the global program to fight child abuse and pornography online on Thursday.

Mr Keelty will join the director of the Australian High Tech Crime Centre, Kevin Zuccato, to unveil the virtual global task force website, a key element in the global program to stop child abuse.

A worldwide child pornography blitz late last year dubbed Operation Auxin identified more than 700 suspects in Australia and led to 228 arrests and 2260 charges.

Posted by Nancy at 03:10 AM | Comments (0)

Ad campaign to promote Internet tipline aimed at sexual abuse of children

January 24, 2005 [Canadian Press] By John Ward

OTTAWA (CP) - A tipline described as Neighbourhood Watch on the Internet launched a national ad campaign Monday to enlist Canadians in the fight against on-line stalkers and child porn.

It comes two years after the federal Liberals promised a national strategy to fight sexual exploitation of children in cyberspace. Cybertip.ca has been running as a Manitoba-based pilot project for two years, but now will be promoted nationally. The site allows people to report suspicious Web sites, chat rooms and the like to a central clearinghouse. The reports are analyzed and those that look like solid leads are passed on to the appropriate police agency.

In its two years of operation, the site has received 2,000 reports which resulted in the closing of more than 400 Web sites and 10 arrests.

In one case, a mother in Kingston, Ont., found that her 14-year-old daughter had met a 35-year-old man on line. She found evidence that the man had sent child porn to the girl's computer.

She reported to Cybertip.ca and Kingston police were notified.

They determined that the man in question was in the United States and informed the FBI (news - web sites), which found he had molested other girls in the U.S. He faces four charges and 30 years in jail.

Manitoba Attorney General Gord Mackintosh, one of the driving forces behind the concept, said the Internet can be both a wonderful tool and a dangerous place.

"We all must reduce the risk," he said.

He warned that those who try to exploit kids on the Net are going to have a harder time of it now.

"I say to predators, beware, you are now going to be increasingly watched and reported," he said.

The site is financed by $3.5 million from the federal government and donations from corporations such as Bell Canada, Telus, Microsoft, Rogers, Shaw and AOL.

Federal Justice Minister Irwin Cotler said the technology has shown it can work.

"This will have a significant impact," he said. "It's about protection of the most vulnerable of the vulnerable, our children."

The site is user friendly, with pull-down menus to help users fill out their reports. It's aimed as child porn, child luring, child prostitution and sex tourism.

Lianna McDonald, executive director of Child Find Manitoba, which ran the pilot project, said Cybertip can provide vital information to the police. By acting as a central clearinghouse for reports, it can sort out the chaff, and send information to the police who have jurisdiction.

Police faced with a report may investigate, only to find that the Web site or the person involved is in another jurisdiction. Cybertip can eliminate that duplication of effort, McDonald said.

"No one agency, government or company can take this issue on alone," she said.

McDonald said the process will enlist Canadians directly in the fight against sexual exploitation of children.

"Cybertips.ca is the Neighbourhood Watch of the Internet," she said.

Posted by Nancy at 01:55 AM | Comments (0)

Judge Sets Bond For Former Fugitive Accused Of Molesting Child

Police Arrest Daniel Farinholt After Nearly 3-Year Search
January 24, 2005

LOS ANGELES -- A judge Monday set bond at $500,000 for the man accused of molesting a child and hiding from authorities for nearly three years.

Daniel Farinholt remains in Orange County Jail. He pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of child molestation and sexual abuse.

Farinholt, formerly an executive vice president of a large computer company in El Segundo, was taken into custody in Boise, where he was working for Hewlett-Packard.

Farinholt, who had reportedly been using the name Donald Dudley, was identified after being featured on the television series "America's Most Wanted." The tipster reportedly remained anonymous.

Farinholt was arrested on a $200,000 warrant stemming from a criminal case filed in March 2002, alleging three counts of child molestation and one felony count of continual sexual abuse of a girl under 13. The alleged child abuse occurred in Lake Forest, where Farinholt lived with a wife and children.

Farinholt made a preliminary court appearance on April 15 of that year and was granted a bond reduction to $100,000. He then failed to show up for a May 23, 2002, court appearance.

The following day, he made "a weak attempt" to stage his own death by abandoning his 1997 BMW at an El Segundo beach and smearing his blood on his boat, "Reel'n and Rock'n," which was about 100 yards offshore, police said. Farinholt had reportedly hoped to get investigators to believe he had either committed suicide or been the victim of a homicide, but it was too small an amount of blood to be believable, police said

Authorities had since tracked Farinholt to Texas and Colorado, among other places.

Farinholt is scheduled to return to court Feb. 4 for a pre-trial hearing.

Posted by Nancy at 01:50 AM | Comments (0)

Shanley trial underscores complexities

The priest has had many accusers, but now only one whose case is in court - complicating a high-profile drama.
January 24, 2005

BOSTON – Opening statements in the trial of Paul Shanley are set to begin Monday - advancing an epic in which a popular long-haired priest of the 1960s has become one of the biggest pariahs in today's clergy sexual-abuse scandal.

Defrocked by the Vatican last year, Mr. Shanley is one of few clergy accused of molestation to actually face prosecution. He is charged with child rape and indecent assault and battery while a priest at a nearby Newton parish in the 1980s. If convicted, he could face life in prison.

Yet despite his notoriety among victims' advocates - child-abuse accusations date back to at least 1967 - a conviction is far from certain. Though four men originally accused him of molestation, prosecutors dropped two of them from the case in July, and a third was dropped last week after failing to appear for scheduled meetings. Now, the trial is based on the allegations of a lone accuser.

That could weaken the case against Shanley, say experts. It also underscores the challenges and complexities surrounding the prosecution of child abuse, especially when trials take place decades after the alleged crimes. At worst, say some, the way this case has played out - especially if Shanley is acquitted - could deter future victims from stepping forward.

"[The sole accuser] is all alone. That's got to feel rough," says Gary Schoener, a clinical psychologist in Minneapolis and an expert on the clergy sex-abuse scandal. "I guarantee if he knew he'd be alone in the beginning ... he wouldn't be here. There's got to be some anger and resentment connected to that."

To victims' advocates, Shanley is infamous for his cunning and malice. They say he preyed on young victims repeatedly. And according to church documents released after the scandal broke in 2002, he was transferred from parish to parish over several decades.

"Shanley is both a symbol, and a real threat," says David Clohessy, the executive director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP).

Accusations and hurdles in court

To begin with, the case in the Middlesex Superior Court in Cambridge, Mass., revolved around the allegations of four men who had taken religious education classes at St. Jean the Evangelist Parish in Newton. They claimed that Shanley raped them in the rectory, the confessional, and the restroom from 1979 to 1989, according to the district attorney's office.

The last accuser to remain in the case and testify - known in court as Male No. 3 - alleges that Shanley raped and assaulted him from the time he was 6 years old until he was 11.

Most of the clergy who have faced civil suits from accusers have eluded prosecution - because the statutes of limitations have often run out. Shanley's case is an exception: Because he left Massachusetts with its 15-year statute of limitations in 1990, the "clock stopped." He was arrested in San Diego in 2002. He later pleaded not guilty and was held on bail.

Those seeking accountability in the Catholic Church abuse scandal face other hurdles beyond statutes of limitations. Testimony in such cases has often been based on recovered memory - an intensifying sense of past trauma, dawning on a victim years after supposed abuse - which can be controversial in court for juries and defense attorneys alike.

In the current case, Male No. 3, now in his 20s, says he recalled the abuse after the scandal broke in the Archdiocese of Boston three years ago.

"I have a great difficulty accepting recovered memory," says Joseph Oteri, a Boston-area defense attorney who is not involved in the case. "A lot of [memory] is stories people hear over the years. They hear stories and pretty soon think it happened to them."

Schoener says that juries, too, are often sympathetic to offenders in old cases "to the degree that anything is fuzzy."

The case's fallout for other victims

Many of Shanley's accusers have received financial settlements from the Boston Catholic Archdiocese. Some experts say an acquittal in the criminal case could prompt more victims to come forward, angering them enough to make their cases public, even if they had previously decided not to do so.

But Clohessy says the reverse is also true: If a conviction isn't a sure thing for a priest considered by many to be one of the worst villains, they may ask, how will lesser-known figures be held accountable?

"Whenever a dangerous predator escapes prosecution it makes already very pessimistic and hopeless victims feel worse," says Clohessy. "But that's even more true in a case like Shanley's where there are multiple accusers, and most importantly, a clear, lengthy, incriminating set of written records proving that church leaders knew he was dangerous."

For David Finkelhor, director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire, Shanley's behavior should have sent warning signals to the church.

"He's emblematic of the fact that the church did not take the actions it should have taken," says Dr. Finkelhor. Shanley was known for blurring the boundaries between adults and children and has been accused of publicly advocating sex between men and boys. "Maybe that means the failure to pick up on what was going on was more egregious."

Posted by Nancy at 12:16 AM | Comments (0)