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Raphoe Report described as a “whitewash” to hide the carnage of sexual assault

December 5, 2011

The New York Times reported last week on the results of six investigative audits conducted in Ireland by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church.  The National Board is sponsored by the church in Ireland, and was charged with investigating the dioceses of Raphoe, Tuam, Derry, Dromore, Kilmore, and Ardagh and Clonmacnois.

The results of this investigation revealed that the children of these six dioceses were not spared the systemic sexual assault that we now know was inflicted on the rest of the nation’s youngsters.  The audits found that since 1975 there have been 85 priests accused of 164 sexual assaults in these dioceses.  Only 8 of these sexual predators were ever convicted of a crime.  The audit found that church officials did not report many of these crimes to the civil authorities, and thereby allowed the offenders continued access to children.

The report examining sexual assault in the diocese of Raphoe found that bishops exhibited “significant errors of judgment”.  The report also found that in the case of church officials “judgments were clouded” and “more attention should have been given to ensuring that preventative actions were taken when concerns came to light”.  The language that church officials continue to use when describing the rape of innocent children and the failure to stop that rape is remarkable.

Judgments were not “clouded”, rather these were deliberate decisions that were undertaken by those with power and authority in the church.  These decisions were made with care and consideration; the well being of the offender and the reputation of the church were regarded as more important than the child who had no power, no authority, and no voice.

Martin Ridge, the detective who investigated the case of pedophile priest Eugene Greene, called the report a “whitewash”.  Greene was convicted on 41 charges of raping and assaulting boys from 1962 to 1985.  Ridge, who authored the book Breaking the Silence, stated that “It’s basically a whitewash isn’t it, after all the carnage that happened here”.  Ridge has called for a full state investigation into the diocese of Raphoe stating that the recently published report was an “insult” to the victims and their families.

Ridge added that in regard to rapist Eugene Greene “it is inconceivable to think that the most notorious serial predator could plunder away around many parishes and that none of his colleagues knew about it or his bosses didn’t know about it…I find it incredible”.

The Irish Independent also reported on the growing pressure for Cardinal Sean Brady, the primate of Ireland, to publicly apologize for his role in the case of one of Ireland’s most prolific child rapists, Fr. Brendan Smyth.  Smyth was convicted of sexually assaulting countless numbers of children over a 40 year reign of terror.  Smyth was a member of the Norbertine order and was transferred repeatedly between parishes, dioceses, and countries.  In 1997 Smyth was convicted on 91 counts of sexually assaulting children.  Smyth died in prison after serving only one month of his 12 year sentence.

In 1975 two teenagers came forward to report that they were sexually assaulted by Smyth.  Cardinal Brady, a canon lawyer at the time, interviewed the teenagers and made them each sign a secrecy oath vowing them to remain silent about the assault.  One of those sworn to secrecy was Brendan Boland.  Boland has called on Brady to publicly, not privately, apologize to the community for his role in allowing Smyth to continue to assault children.  Boland said he was “devastated” to learn that after he reported his abuse to Brady, and swore an oath to secrecy, Smyth went on to assault children for 20 more years.  Boland stated “The guilt that I felt for all the children after me who had been abused, I felt I didn’t do enough then”.

Brendan Boland and his father, after reporting Smyth’s assault, had been told that Smyth would never be allowed to harm children again.

Cardinal Brady should not only publicly apologize for forcing two children to sign a secrecy oath; he should immediately submit his resignation to the Pope.

One Comment
  1. mike ference permalink

    When it comes to a whitewash, no one does it better than the dirty cops and corrupt politicians of Pennsylvania.


    Contact: Mike Ference

    Telephone: 412-233-5491


    The Last Call

    Pittsburgh, PA – December 5, 2011 — “Dirty cops don’t like to investigate other dirty cops or corrupt politicians,” says Mike Ference. The concerned father has tried to get law enforcement officers and public officials to reopen the attempted murder case involving his son that took place exactly 22 years ago.

    “Only one person, in a position to help, was willing to step forward, Senator Jane Orie. Years ago she sent letters to then PA Attorney General Tom Corbett, District Attorney Stephen Zappala, Jr. and then US Attorney, Beth Buchanan,” Ference recalled. “Senator Orie is not even in my district, I could never even vote for her, yet, she was the only person who tried to help.”

    Ference is relentless. He received information concerning two police officers heavily involved in the investigation of the attempted murder of his son alleging that these officers may have been sexual predators. In light of what has taken place at Penn State University, Syracuse University, the Citadel, and the Philadelphia Archdiocese, Ference wants to err on the side of caution and will be as transparent about these claims as possible. “There could be dozens of victims still afraid to confront two former police officers and the power behind their alleged corruption, or these claims could be baseless, and those spreading rumors need to be stopped,” Ference adds.

    On December 5, 1989, Adam Ference was shot in the back of the head, the gun held only inches away, when the shooter pulled the trigger. The shooter would then place the gun to his head and fire one more time, he probably died instantly. Ference’s son miraculously survived.

    Weeks after the shooting, then Clairton Public Safety Director William Scully, a seasoned police officer with almost 2 decades of experience would sit down with Ference and his wife and provide the details of how a Mon Valley attempted murder and suicide case had gone wild.

    Scully would claim the case was deliberately botched by former McKeesport Police Chief Thomas Brletic and Mayor Lou Washowich. Scully claimed the Pittsburgh Diocese put pressure on both McKeesport officials to close the case as soon as possible. He also claimed the shooter was sexually abused by a former Catholic Priest, John Wellinger. He would provide Ference with notes and names and explained to Ference that the only way to get to the bottom of the attempted murder of his son was to investigate the case himself.

    Scully also provided Ference with notes indicating Wellinger had fed drugs and alcohol to a West Mifflin teenager who needed to be taken to the emergency room of Presbyterian University Hospital, now University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). “I spoke to the alleged victim and he confirmed that Scully had most of the facts correct,” Ference points out.

    Ference says he received a call from a woman trying to locate Scully. She alleged that Scully was her natural father. She went on to allege that Scully impregnated her teenage mother when he was a police officer for Clairton, years before he was appointed to his Public Safety Director position and years before the distressed city of Clairton councilors would go out of their way to approve a pension for Scully, even if it meant bending the rules to accomplish the task.

    Ference admits he doesn’t know if the allegations about Scully are true or not, but hopefully there’s a government agency that can look into the allegations and sort through the facts. Current McKeesport Police Chief Bryan Washowich told Ference years ago that a grand jury investigation was needed for this case. “And that, Ference says, “was after Chief Washowich had conferred with Brletic.”

    As far as the other allegations about a former McKeesport Police Chief impregnating a teenage girl and soliciting teenage girls while he was in uniform, that story will have to wait for another day, says Ference.

    Ference asks for help in going to the right people to have his investigation reviewed. “I’ve tried for 22 years, and all it seems to have done is cause a tremendous amount of grief for Senator Jane Orie and her family.”


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