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Reports from Ireland to be released this week, and other news from around the world

November 29, 2011

The headlines in the United States have been dominated recently by sexual assault scandals taking place at two of America’s centers of higher learning; Syracuse University and Penn State University.  The media are to be commended for bringing renewed attention to the epidemic of childhood sexual assault that exists in our country.  While much of the focus has been on these scandals there were events overseas that made the news as well.

The Irish Times reported that this week publications will be issued concerning the sexual assault of children in six dioceses in Ireland.  The reports were created by the National Board for Safeguarding Children and include the dioceses of Raphoe, Derry, Dromore, Kilmore, Ardagh Clonmachnoise and Tuam.  The publication of these reports follows the release of the devastating Cloyne Report in July.

The bishop of Derry, Seamus Hegarty, resigned last week, his request being granted by Pope Benedict only two weeks after he officially submitted it to the Vatican.  Hegarty was the bishop of Raphoe from 1982 to 1994 prior to leading the Derry diocese.  Hegarty admits that sex assault reports have been made against 26 priests of the Derry diocese.  Sex assault reports have also been made against 20 priests in the diocese of Raphoe.  Despite the history of sexual misconduct in the diocese of Raphoe the Belfast Telegraph reports that Fr Patrick McCarvey was promoted to the position of parish priest by the current bishop of Raphoe Philip Boyce. Father McCarvey has been banned from one of Ireland’s shopping centers after undercover police officers caught him watching people as they used the restrooms. This behavior is apparently not a concern for the bishop.

In England the United Kingdom Press Association reported on the case of Leslie Carter, a former Anglican priest and school chaplain who was sentenced to three and a half years in prison for sexual assaults on children from 1956 to 1978.  Scotland Yard states that Carter is an “unrepentant pedophile” who assaulted children in the United Kingdom, in South Africa, and while he was on board a ship traveling between the two countries.  Carter was a chaplain at St. George’s grammar school in South Africa.  He befriended the family of one of the students and convinced them to allow him to take the child with him to London.  En route to London Carter sexually assaulted the child, and continued to assault him upon their arrival in England.  Carter is also reported to have assaulted boys at Quainton Hall prep school where he was employed following his return from South Africa.

In Germany it was announced that the bishops of that country would officially divest of their investments in the company Weltbild.  Weltbild is one of Germany’s largest booksellers, and a publisher of pornography.  Some of their featured selections include “Boarding School for Sluts” and “The Lawyers Whore”.  The church in Germany purchased Weltbild thirty years ago, and it is reported that they were aware of the pornographic material for at least ten years.  The bishops attempted to sell the company in 2009 when reports first surfaced about the books being manufactured at Weltbild but the bishops were not agreeable with the price they were offered.

And in Australia Anglican Archbishop John Hepworth filed a police report against three Catholic priests who he states assaulted him when he was 15 years old.  An internal church investigation cleared one of the priests, Ian Dempsey, this week.  Hepworth responded by stating “No victim in the world will be safe after this type of attack”.  An Australian Senator, Nick Xenophon, remarked that the church process was a “whitewash that was deeply flawed and lacked credibility…the Adelaide archdiocese of the Catholic Church should hang their head in shame.  How can this be credible when no evidence was heard from the person that made the allegations”.  Hepworth was informed by church officials that he would have to bear the expense of the internal investigation.

In deciding to take his charges to the police Hepworth stated “I am formally requesting the police to examine the matter.  It was never my intention to go beyond the processes of the church.  I very much regret that I’m having to do that”.

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