Monday, October 26, 2009

Vatican Probing Child Sex Abuse Allegations Against Archbishop

Original article

The Irish Church's standing in Rome has been dealt a further damaging blow with a high-level Vatican investigation into a complaint of child sexual abuse against a Tipperary-born archbishop.

This is the first instance of an official charge of clerical child molestation being made against an archbishop of Irish nationality, and it comes as the Irish Church is preparing “for the worst” with publication of the Murphy Report on abuse in the Archdiocese of Dublin.

It was learned yesterday Richard Burke (60), Archbishop of Benin, a city in southern Nigeria, stepped aside earlier this year pending the outcome of an ecclesiastical trial by the Vatican's doctrinal watchdog body, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The Kiltegan missionary archbishop from Fethard, Co Tipperary, who is believed to be in the United States, has not commented on the allegation.

He is accused by Dolores Atwood, a 40-year-old married woman now living in Canada, of sexually abusing her when she was a minor, aged 14, and ill in a Nigerian hospital which he visited as a priest.

She also alleges that she suffered “emotional torture” during a 20-year secret affair which he conducted with her contrary to his vow of celibacy.

Last night St Patrick's Missionary Society in Kiltegan, Co Wicklow, also known as the Kiltegan Fathers, revealed it received a complaint from a woman against Archbishop Burke on December 16 last.

“We expressed the deep sorrow and regret of the Society for the suffering the complainant and her family are going through and we affirmed the Society's commitment to child protection,” a statement said.

“We assured her that the Society's Child Protection Policy and Procedures would be adhered to. The Society offered to provide counselling for the complainant.”

The statement confirmed that the Society has complied with a request from the Doctrinal Congregation to send to Rome all relevant documents relating to the allegation so that Rome can exercise full jurisdiction.

“Although a member of St Patrick's Missionary Society, Archbishop Burke ceased to be under the jurisdiction of the Society when he became a bishop and is now under the direct jurisdiction of the Holy See,” the Kiltegan Fathers said.

It was the late Pope John Paul II who consecrated him Bishop of the Nigerian diocese of Warri in March 1997, and in December 2007 Pope Benedict XVI promoted him to Archbishop of Benin City.

According to Monsignor Charles Scicluna, a senior advocate for the Congregation, Pope Benedict was informed of the charges against Archbishop Burke, who will be called to Rome for interrogation before it completes its investigations under oath of confidentiality.

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The Church Must Bow Down to Law of the Land

Original article

THE report on the Catholic hierarchy's handling of child sex abusers in the Dublin archdiocese is expected to criticise civil authorities for contributing to a culture of impunity surrounding paedophile priests.

While senior clergy will carry the blame, the report also implicates some senior gardai and health authorities for failing to follow through on complaints against paedophiles. According to informed sources, the report singles out the lax response of gardai in certain investigations and also criticises the former health boards in the Dublin area for failing to protect children from exposure to paedophile priests.

"The report will indicate that some senior gardai did not see investigating church men as their role. There was a view that the church was outside the remit of the garda," said an informed source.

Health authorities are criticised for not having the structures in place to deal with abusers outside the family. "They did not seem to know what their powers were," said the source.

The criticisms are believed to relate to cases dating back to the 1970s and 1980s, a period when both the Church and the civil authorities have in the past claimed they had yet to be enlightened about paedophilia.

The Report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse in the Dublin archdiocese is the second this year to examine the extent of child abuse perpetrated by the members of the Catholic Church. The Ryan report disclosed in brutal and graphic detail how children, most from poor and vulnerable backgrounds, were routinely beaten, sexually and psychologically abused in residential institutions.

The findings of the second report are expected to be just as shocking.

The scale of official reluctance to challenge Catholic hierarchy over its handling of paedophile priests is said by sources to be disturbing. Equally alarming is how the errant priests were shielded behind the cloak of the church as they moved from one parish to the next.

The victims of clerical abuse and the clergy itself may have to wait another fortnight to discover the extent of the report's findings. Having got the all-clear from the High Court,Justice Minister Dermot Ahern had planned to release it after a cabinet meeting last Tuesday.

The report's release was stalled again after the Director of Public Prosecution raised fresh concerns that its publication could prejudice a forthcoming trial of a priest on sex abuse charges.

In advance of its publication, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has already alluded to its findings as providing "a painful but an important reflection on society".

But when it is eventually published, the protagonists in the sordid tale of ecclesiastical cover up documented in several volumes running to 1000 pages are likely to include former senior clerics in the Dublin diocese.

Its investigation from 1975 to 2004 examines in forensic detail the progress of 46 paedophile priests, under the stewardships of the Archbishops Dermot Ryan, Kevin McNamara andCardinal Desmond Connell. Of the three, Cardinal Connell is expected to face most scrutiny. Archbishop of Dublin from 1988, he retired in 2004, with yet another apology for his scandal-prone handling of child sexual abuse cases.

Demonstrating his willingness to face up to clerical sex abuse, he trawled diocesan records over 50 years and gave the names of 17 priests to gardai, along with the names of those who had complained. He was demonstrating his willingness to deal with clerical child abusers at the time.

When in 2005, his successor, Archbishop Diarmiud Martin, embarked on his own trawl of diocesan archives, he discovered files on 102 priests and identified a figure of 390 children whom they had sexually abused. Last year, Archbishop Martin revised the figure to 160 priests who were suspected or alleged to have abused more than 400 children since 1940.

Another protagonist is expected to be Monsignor Alex Stenson, whose name has featured in several of the child abuse cases highlighted in recent years due to his role in investigating complaints against priests.

A highly regarded canon lawyer, Msgr Stenson is now a parish priest in Killester, a north Dublin suburb. For several years he was chancellor of the Dublin archdiocese working with both Dr Kevin McNamara and Cardinal Connell who succeeded him in 1988.

As chancellor, Msgr Stenson was the person to whom many parents were referred when they complained about suspect priests.

Msgr Stenson was the senior cleric who accused a nine-year-old Mervyn Rundle of lying when he claimed to have been abused by a parish priest. This was despite the fact that the diocese had already received numerous complaints against the priest.

The priest was instead sent back to his parish. It was many years later before he was convicted and Mr Rundle awarded €300,000 in an out-of-court settlement.

Those who know Msgr Stenson say that he is a meticulous record taker. It is believed that he took detailed notes of his interviews with priests under suspicion and with their accusers, including parents, children and others.

It is understood that these records accounted for many of the 65,000 diocesan documents that Archbishop Martin released to the commission of inquiry last year. Cardinal Connell contested the release of some of the documents, in a High Court action which he later withdrew.

Msgr Stenson, who helped to draft the Catholic Church's guidelines on dealing with child sex abuse, spoke at the launch of the document in 1996.

Elaborating on the guidelines for journalists, he said there is "no way certain paedophiles" could be re-admitted to ministry, although bishops could make an exception in "special cases" where the priest would not have access to children.

Perhaps this was the logic which led to the late Fr Noel Reynolds becoming chaplain at the National Rehabilitation hospital in Dublin in 1997, despite complaints to the Dublin archdiocese about his behaviour towards children in his previous parish of Glendalough.

Cardinal Connell never told the hospital about Fr Reynolds' past, in breach of his own church guidelines.

Only when a "formal" complaint was made to the archdiocese in 1998 was Fr Reynolds removed from ministry. He later admitted to abusing 100 children.

Despite that staggering confession, the first the hospital knew of its former chaplain's paedophile proclivities was when it was contacted by the ground-breaking Prime Time documentary in 2002.

Behind the Catholic hierarchy's public displays of sorrow and hand-wringing for the victims of clerical sex abuse is a competing loyalty to canon law.

The Dublin archdiocese even refused to assist gardai in cases where sex abuse had been admitted to them in private by priests because -- in its view -- canon law took precedence over civil law.

This ecclesiastical arrogance was displayed to greatest effect in the case of Marie Collins. As a 13-year-old in hospital in Dublin, the chaplain stood at her bedside and took inappropriate photographs of her.

Years later in 1995, when she learnt that the cleric was still a working priest, she reported him to the Dublin archdiocese. Although the priest had admitted his guilt, Cardinal Connell indicated he could not co-operate with a garda inquiry. Msgr Stenson later threatened to sue Marie Collins when he discovered she had given his correspondence to her admitting the priest's guilt to gardai.

When Marie Collins went public with her claims in 2002, Michael McDowell, then justice minister, dismissed the Catholic Church's canon law as having the same status as golf club rules.

Seven years and a commission of inquiry later, it still remains to be seen whether or not the Catholic hierarchy is truly ready to bow to the law of the land.

Archbishop Accused of Sex Assault on Teenager

Original article

An Irish archbishop is accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl in Africa before having a 20-year affair with her, it emerged today.

The Vatican is investigating a complaint made against Archbishop Richard Burke, who stepped down as Archdiocese of Benin in Nigeria earlier this year.

He is one of the most senior members of the Catholic Church to be accused of assaulting a minor.

Archbishop Richard Burke was a member of St Patrick’s Missionary Society, based in Kiltegan, Co Wicklow.

In a statement the society, also known as the Kiltegan Fathers, confirmed it received a complaint from the woman last December.

“She alleged that she was sexually abused as a child by Richard Burke,” it said.

“We expressed the deep sorrow and regret of the society for the suffering the complainant and her family are going through and we affirmed the society’s commitment to child protection.

“The society offered to provide counselling for the complainant.”

Archbishop Burke, who is from Co Tipperary, was ordained a priest 34 years ago and later worked as a missionary in Nigeria. He became an archbishop in 2008.

It is alleged he sexually assaulted the victim in April 1983, when she was a 14-year-old patient in a hospital.

The victim, a married 41-year-old mother of three who now lives in Canada, maintains she also had a relationship with the cleric for more than two decades.

Archbishop Burke withdrew from ministry while the complaint is being investigated.

The Catholic Church has been rocked by child sex abuse scandals, most recently with the Ryan Report which laid bare the physical and psychological abusive regimes operated by religious orders in church and state-run institutions.

A damning inquiry into the handling allegations in the Dublin Archdiocese is also due to be published.

The Kiltegan Fathers said although still a member, Archbishop Burke is under the direct jurisdiction of the Holy See since he was made a bishop.

“The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith requested that all relevant documents relating to the allegation be forwarded to Rome so that it can exercise its full jurisdiction in the matter,” its statement read.

“The society has done this.”

The Kiltegan Fathers said it also kept in contact with the complainant and informed her regularly of the steps taking in accordance with its policy and procedures.

“The society is committed to ensuring that justice is done and that no child is put at risk through the behaviour of our members,” it added.

Abuse Claim Against Archbishop

Original article


The Vatican is investigating an allegation of child sex abuse against an Irish-born archbishop based in Africa, his missionary order confirmed today.

Archbishop Richard Burke (60), from Clonmel, Co Tipperary, was ordained a priest for St Patrick’s Missionary Society, known as the Kiltegan Fathers, in Co Wicklow, in 1975. He was ordained a bishop in 1997, and installed as Archbishop of Benin, Nigeria, in March of last year.

In a statement, the society said it had received a complaint last December from a 40-year-old woman against Archbishop Burke.

“She alleged that she was sexually abused as a child by Richard Burke. We expressed the deep sorrow and regret of the society for the suffering the complainant and her family are going through and we affirmed the society’s commitment to child protection,’’ it added.

“We assured her that the society’s child protection policy and procedures would be adhered to. The society offered to provide counselling for the complainant.’’

The statement pointed out that although Archbishop Burke was a member of the society, he had ceased to be under its jurisdiction when he became a bishop and was now under the direct jurisdiction of the Holy See.

“However, he agreed to follow the society’s child protection procedures and voluntarily withdrew from ministry while the complaint is being investigated,’’ it added.

“The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith requested that all relevant documents relating to the allegation be forwarded to Rome so that it can exercise its full jurisdiction in the matter. The society has done this.’’

The society, said the statement, had kept in contact with the complainant, and informed her regularly of the steps being taken in accordance with policy and procedures. She had also been informed of the direct jurisdiction of the Holy See in the matter.

“The society is committed to ensuring that justice is done and that no child is put at risk through the behaviour of our members,’’ it added.

The Irish Mail on Sunday featured an interview with Dolores Atwood, who said that the abuse began when she was 14 years old and a patient in a hospital at Warri, Nigeria, in April 1983.

She alleged the archbishop continued to have a sexual relationship with her as recently as 2003.

Ms Atwood, who now lives in Nova Scotia, Canada, said she believed she was “manipulated and controlled’’ as a teenager.

She said she eventually confessed the relationship to her husband because she was wracked with guilt. She wrote to the Vatican and the society reporting the allegations.

Ms Atwood said she had provided phone recordings, letters and airline tickets to Church authorities as proof of their relationship.

Clergyman Linked to Rwandan Genocide Seized in Italy

Original article

-- A Rwandan accused of "complicity" in the massacre of students at the college he headed during the country's genocide 15 years ago has been arrested in Italy, where he served as a clergyman, an international police agency said.

Officers from the Italian Carabinieri and Interpol's National Central Bureau in Rome, Italy, arrested Emmanuel Uwayezu -- who had been wanted in Rwanda, the international police organization Interpol said Wednesday in a news release.

Uwayezu, 47, is accused of genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, complicity in genocide and crimes against humanity. He is in Italian custody and is awaiting extradition to Rwanda.

According to Interpol's statement, the Rwandan arrest warrant says Uwayezu was alleged "to have acted individually and as part of a conspiracy to plan and commit genocide by instigating Hutus to kill Tutsis in the area of Gikongoro, as director of the Groupe Scolaire Marie Merci college in Kibeho."

He is accused of "participating in meetings with government and military authorities which allegedly planned the extermination of the Tutsi ethnic group" and "complicity in the massacre of some 80 students in May 1994 in the college which he headed."

Uwayezu arrived in Italy in 1997, took an alias, and was working as a vicar at the Church in Empoli commune near Florence when he was seized, Interpol said.

The man was identified after Interpol's fugitives unit received information and pictures from Rwandan authorities.

The Archdiocese of Florence issued a statement about the arrest two days ago, saying it hopes the justice system will come up with the truth about the case.

But, it said, "we stand by the fact that Don Emmanuel has always declared his estrangement to the events in question and we accompany him in prayers."

One Italian news report noted that Uwayezu is a priest of Hutu ethnicity and lived and worked as vice-parish priest in Ponzano, part of the county of Empoli.

Don Guido Engels, the head of the parish and a priest, told the ASCA news agency that "Don Emmanuel never cultivated feelings towards another ethnic group. He always wanted peace."

"The arrest of Uwayezu demonstrates the power and effectiveness of international co-operation between police worldwide in obtaining information in relation to the identification, location and apprehension of fugitives around the world," said Jean-Michel Louboutin, Interpol's executive director of police services.

This operation is a credit to law enforcement officers and agencies in Italy and Rwanda."

Two years ago, Interpol created a unit dedicated to searching for fugitives in the genocide who were wanted by Rwanda and the U.N.-sponsored International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. So far, seven people wanted by Rwanda and five wanted by the tribunal have been arrested.

Police in Uganda recently arrested and extradited a man who is among the most wanted suspects from the Rwandan genocide. Idelphonse Nizeyimana was picked up at a hotel in Rubaga, a suburb of the capital, Kampala.

The arrest, by Ugandan police, was part of an operation between the tribunal, Ugandan authorities, and Interpol. Nizeyimana was transferred Tuesday to a U.N. detention facility in Arusha, Tanzania, where the tribunal is based.

The 1994 Rwandan genocide left an estimated 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus dead over a 100-day period, the United Nations and Interpol say. Millions more were raped and disfigured, and nearly an entire generation of children lost their parents.

Archbishop Accused of Sex Assault

Original article

An Irish archbishop is accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl in Africa before having a 20-year affair with her, it has emerged.

The Vatican is investigating a complaint made against Archbishop Richard Burke, who stepped down from his post with the Archdiocese of Benin in Nigeria earlier this year.

He is one of the most senior members of the Catholic Church to be accused of assaulting a minor.

Sex Case Cripples Haiti Charity, Sponsors Worry About Children

Original article

WINDSOR, Ont. -- Dr. Andrea Steen fears she may never hear from Kenderna and Richardson again.

The Windsor physician sponsors the Haitian boy and girl through Hearts Together for Haiti, the aid organization once directed by former local priest John Duarte, who remains in jail in the Dominican Republic awaiting extradition to Canada to face multiple charges of molesting teenage boys at the mission he founded on the island's north coast.

"All I can say is I hope I was able to help them for the two years I sponsored them," Steen said Friday. "I hope they continue to carry on with their school and do the right thing. I hope it works out. But I feel sad and worried. There's no way of knowing."

Steen said the the 12-year-old boy and eight-year-old girl and their families came from the seaside village of Bas-de-Mer-Limbe, where the aid organization ran a clinic, a school and a sponsorship program for children. But, because of the devastating effects the allegations of sexual abuse have had on Hearts Together for Haiti, and a power struggle that has erupted in the communities since Duarte's abrupt departure in 2006, the Windsor-based organization has been forced to leave the village.

Duarte, 44, was arrested at a hotel near Puerto Plata, where he had been working as a waiter and scuba instructor, by Dominican authorities acting on a Canadian warrant earlier this week. He has been charged under the Criminal Code with nine counts of sexual exploitation of boys between the ages of 12 and 17.

Steen said the news of Duarte's arrest hit her family hard.

"It was pretty devastating to see those stories after having been there," said Steen, who has visited the children and their village. "I haven't stopped thinking about it the last two days.... I think of the children. She was absolutely the cutest little girl, a smile that would light up the place. I think about them and I hope whoever is left there will help them."

She recalled bringing the boy and girl clothing, a soccer ball, books, all the things the children of the village did without before Hearts Together for Haiti came along about four years ago.

Steen said she began her involvement after visiting the area on a medical tour and meeting Duarte.

"He told us all about Hearts Together for Haiti," she recalled. "He was so charismatic.... One of those people you can meet once and know you'll remember him the rest of your life."

She knew there must have been something wrong when she learned that Duarte had left the organization.

"I just knew something happened," she said. "I thought maybe a drinking problem and that he would come back and get treatment. I would never have thought it would be something like this."

She was impressed HTFH leadership took immediate action to remove Duarte.

"They went and confronted him and did their best to protect the kids. I think they've done the best they could to keep moral and ethical.... I hope people continue to support them. Their hearts are in the right place."

Marcie Spratt, a member of the board of directors for the organization and co-ordinator of the sponsorship program, said between the two communities -- Bas-de-Mer-Limbe and Labadie -- there were 267 children and their families, 42 elderly men and women and 17 young adult students on sponsorship. More than 1,100 children attended the schools.

In addition, part of the $600 a year that sponsors paid went toward a medical plan the organization had set up, with clinics staffed by Cuban doctors. Hearts Together for Haiti sent $17,000 a month to finance their operations. All of that, she said, is now in limbo.

Former Ontario Priest Awaits Extradition on Sex Charges

Original article

A former Canadian priest currently sitting in a Dominican Republic jail cell awaiting extradition to Canada on multiple sexual molestation charges was working as a scuba diving instructor at a hotel before local authorities arrested him this week.

Joao Jose Correira Duarte, a former Windsor, Ont., priest also known as John Duarte, faces nine counts of sexually exploiting 12 to 17-year-old boys in Haiti over a 10-year span. He was arrested Tuesday by Dominican immigration and counter-narcotics agents in a joint operation, local authorities said.

Duarte, 44, had been living quietly in Sousa, Puerto Plata, where he found work at a local hotel, first as a waiter and then as a scuba diving instructor where he mainly taught tourists, according to a statement from the National Directorate for Drug Control.

"John Duarte fled to this area like just another tourist who flock to their northern coast of the country to enjoy the warm beaches, but he decided to stay here and to dedicate himself to teach scuba diving," said directorate spokesman Roberto Lebron.

Duarte allegedly exchanged goods and money for sexual favours with Haitian youth aged 12 to 17 at two hotels in Petion Ville, a sector located in the south of Port-au-Prince, Dominican authorities say. He bought the youths clothes and paid for the lodging of some of his victims' families.

The charges stem from Duarte's alleged conduct with youth between 1995 and 2005 in Haiti, the Ontario Provincial Police said. He was a priest during that time, OPP said.

He was arrested under a section of the Criminal Code which allows Canadian citizens to be prosecuted for some offences committed outside of Canada.

The RCMP's national child exploitation co-ordination centre also participated in the investigation.

Duarte held many posts in the Windsor area between 1996 and 2003. He was pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Windsor and pastor-priest at Catholic Central high school from 2000 to 2003.

Duarte's involvement in Haiti dated back to the early 1990s.

Ex-Windsor Priest Faces Extradition From D.R.

Original article

A former Windsor priest arrested in the Dominican Republic and accused of sexually abusing teenage boys in Haiti will be tried in Ontario, a spokeswoman for the Ontario Provincial Police confirmed Thursday.

John Duarte, 44, is currently being held in custody in the D.R. awaiting extradition to Canada, according to Const. Shawna Coulter. He has been charged with nine counts of sexual exploitation, she said.

The charges against Duarte are related to allegations involving "a number of male youths in Haiti during the years 1995 to 2005," Coulter said.

A photo of John Duarte shows him in Haiti, where he did charity and missionary work.A photo of John Duarte shows him in Haiti, where he did charity and missionary work. (CBC)

He was arrested on Tuesday at a hotel in Sosua, D.R., a beach village on the country's northern coast, following an investigation by the OPP and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Duarte was ordained as a Catholic priest in 1996 and served at a number of parishes in the Roman Catholic Diocese of London, including Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Windsor and St. Gregory the Great in Tecumseh, according to Frank Chauvin, who knew Duarte through his own charity work in Haiti.

He left the priesthood in 2003 to move to Labadie, Haiti, where he worked for a Windsor-based charity group, Hearts Together for Haiti (HTFHaiti), which he co-founded, Chauvin said.

But in June 2006, HTFHaiti's chairman, Steve McDougall, received an email from a villager in Labadie, a northern coastal town, making "a very serious complaint" about Duarte, McDougall said.

Duarte denied the allegations but resigned from HTFHaiti almost immediately, McDougall said.

He then left Haiti and moved to Dominican Republic, Chauvin said.

"The news of the arrest of John Duarte for allegations of sexual abuse that happened in Haiti is devastating," the director of communications for the Diocese of London said in a press release.

"Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to come forward," Mark Adkinson said.

Duarte's Arrest 'Devastating' to Local Catholic Community

Original article

The OPP are making plans for officers to travel to the Dominican Republic to take custody of a former Windsor priest who is facing multiple charges here of molesting teenage boys at the mission he founded in Haiti.

Const. Shawna Coulter, media relations officer for the Essex OPP detachment, said Thursday that John Duarte, 44, of Windsor, is in custody in the Dominican Republic and extradition proceedings are under way.

Duarte is charged under the Criminal Code with nine counts of sexual exploitation of boys between the ages of 12 and 17.

Acting on an arrest warrant issued by a Windsor justice of the peace in August, Dominican authorities arrested Duarte at a hotel in Sousua, near Puerto Plata, Oct. 20.

Coulter said the arrest was made under a section of the Criminal Code which provides for a Canadian citizen to be prosecuted for certain offences committed outside of Canada that would result in criminal charges if they occurred here.

“Extradition is under way and we’re just waiting,” Coulter said.

She said no date has been set for Duarte’s return.

On Thursday, a retired Windsor police detective who ran a girl’s orphanage in Haiti, said he had concerns about Duarte when the priest was a young seminarian working in the impoverished Caribbean country in the early 1990s.

Frank Chauvin said he was asked by a Haitian colleague working with troubled youth in the capital Port-au-Prince, to look into a situation where young boys were being sexually exploited at an orphanage.

In the course of taking the boys’ statements, which he intended to hand over to Haitian police, Chauvin said he became aware the American man who was allegedly abusing the children was living in the house with a Canadian seminarian. He discovered it was Duarte.

Although Duarte’s name never came up in the boys’ statements, Chauvin said alarm bells went off.

“He was a seminarian living with a suspected pedophile,” said Chauvin. “He was spending a lot of time there. It wasn’t right to have a seminarian from London down there in a situation like that. I was concerned he’d be dragged into something.”

Chauvin said he informed the bishop’s office at the London diocese and Duarte promptly returned to Canada. The investigation of the orphanage was disrupted when Haiti experienced a coup and all government institutions collapsed.

In a statement Thursday, the diocese of London said Duarte’s arrest is devastating to the Catholic community locally as well as in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Diocese spokesman Mark Adkinson said Duarte, who was born in Portugal but moved to Canada at a young age, was ordained in 1996.

He was associate pastor at St. Michael Church in Leamington from 1996 to 1999, priest-chaplain at Cardinal Carter high school in Leamington from 1997 to 1999 and associate pastor at St. Gregory Church in St. Clair Beach, in 1999 and 2000. He was pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Windsor and pastor-priest at Catholic Central high school from 2000 to 2003.

Adkinson said that Duarte told the diocese in 2003 that he was going to leave the priesthood and Canada. “The diocese has had minimal contact with him since.”

Adkinson said the fact Duarte seemed to move around a lot in the early days of his priesthood was not necessarily an indication there were problems with his conduct.

“It’s not out of the ordinary for a newly ordained priest to have two or three assignments in the first years.”

Adkinson said the church likes to give recent graduates a broad range of experiences in various parishes.

Marcie Spratt of Hearts Together for Haiti, the Windsor-based aid organization Duarte founded, said Thursday the allegations have devastated the charity.

Spratt said the investigation into Duarte’s conduct was begun at the behest of the charity immediately after complaints against the priest surfaced in 2006.

Since then, the organization has been forced to stop operations in the villages where it had been running three schools, two health clinics and sponsorship programs for hundreds of impoverished families, she said.

“The damage has been far-reaching. This has weakened us very much. We’ve spent 21⁄2 years putting out fires instead of helping the dying, the sick and the children who need an education. We’ve been wasting time on this.”

Northern Ireland Victims Fight Back

Original article

So far the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister has failed to give any public commitment to such an investigation despite calls from a number of politicians and members of the public for a Ryan-style inquiry in Northern Ireland.

The SDLP is to lodge a motion next month calling on the Executive “to conduct an assessment of the level of abuse and to provide all appropriate support for those victims that come forward.”

With Northern Ireland omitted from the Ryan Report, victims here are still waiting for an adequate response from either the church or state.

Solicitor Joe Rice, from John J Rice Solicitors, told the Belfast Telegraph that a number of victims have now decided to take action themselves and are seeking advice on launching legal proceedings against the orders responsible and the government bodies charged with child welfare at the time.

Mr Rice said that ever since the publication of the Ryan Report his offices in Armagh, Ards and south Belfast have been inundated with victims seeking justice.

“This is something that is beginning to gather momentum. We have been instructed by clients in Northern Ireland who have been victims of abuse, both in state institutions and in care homes similar to those in the Report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (The Ryan Report) in the Republic of Ireland. We have noticed, over the past few months, in our three offices, people coming in with complaints in relation to physical abuse, neglect and sex abuse in various institutes. These complaints of abuse have not been properly investigated by the authorities in Northern Ireland. All the institutions would have been under the inspectorate of the old Stormont government at the time.

“We have started to correlate information in common with some of these cases with a view to issuing proceedings, not only against the institutions but also the government departments that would have been responsible at the time. We have also placed an advert to try and stimulate people to come forward in relation to certain institutions.

“It seems to me that those people subject to abuse in Northern Ireland have not been well served by the authorities and the government agencies set up to protect them. It is one of these things that has not been properly dealt with in Northern Ireland.”

Mr Rice would not say how many victims have come forward or name the institutes involved, but said the complaints are not restricted to institutes in the Belfast area. The SDLP’s Alex Attwood said that his party is determined to push for a full assessment into institutional abuse in Northern Ireland to be carried out as quickly as possible.

“These people were among the most vulnerable in society,” he said.

Mr Attwood added: “It may have taken nine years for the Ryan report but we would like to think there is a different culture now because of the experience of the rest of the island. We would like to think that a new future investigation would be much more concentrated so that people would get results of inquiries quicker. We need to put appropriate mechanisms in place to help these people. It is hard to assess the scale of this which is why we are calling for this assessment.”

DUP MP David Simpson said that while there have been individual cases brought against people accused of abusing children in their care in Northern Ireland there is a real need for a serious investigation into the scale of the problem of child abuse by religious orders, or other care institutions in Northern Ireland.

He added: “The Ryan Report showed the extent of the problem in the Republic of Ireland.

“I believe we need to establish the facts surrounding just what went on in Northern Ireland. Many lives have been ruined by the child abuse inflicted by those who were in a position of trust. We need to establish how many.

“This was a gross betrayal perpetrated by those were to supposed to be caring for children. It was also a shameful failure on the part of the authorities who placed them into care only to abandon them to their fate.”

I lived in fear of the next beating, the next humiliation

Clutching an old black and white photograph, Margaret McGuckin points to a sad looking young girl whose face is turned away from the camera.

“Look how sad she is. That is me. I was three-years-old and as far as I can remember I had just arrived at Nazareth House girls’ home on the Ormeau Road. I think it was 1958. It hurts when I see how sad that little girl is,” said Margaret.

Margaret, her sister and two brothers were placed in the care of the Nazareth Sisters when her parents broke up and her father struggled to raise four young children alone. Margaret was three years old and was kept in the home until the age of 11.

“My time there was just hell. There was just real coldness in there, no love was ever displayed and that is so difficult and confusing for a young child who has just been separated from her family. They wouldn’t even let me speak to my sister which might have helped. Anytime I saw her through the railings in the segregated playground, we were pulled away from each other if we tried to talk or hold hands.

“We were treated like child slaves being made to scrub the floors, windows and walls. It was like something out of a Dickens’ book. We were just little children and we were on our hands and knees scrubbing floors. I can still remember the smell of that orange wax and carbolic soap.

“My whole life there was lived in fear — fear of the next beating, the next humiliation. I was made to feel worthless, that I was a bad person and I kept those beliefs with me my whole life. I remember one day being beaten the whole way to a cupboard by one of the Sisters. When she got me there she kept beating me with a stick and telling me I was evil and a liar and the worst type of person that walked the earth. When I cried she battered me even more, telling me to stop crying. When she left me in the cupboard I cried out for someone to come and take me away so many times, but no one came to rescue me.

“No kindness was ever shown to us and anything that might have brought me some comfort was immediately taken away. I can recall my father buying me a beautiful yellow jumper with a teddy bear on it, but it was taken from me never to be seen again. It may not have seemed important to them, but to me it was a reminder that I once had a family who loved me.”

Margaret, who is now 52, said when she was 11-years-old she was inexplicably told to leave the home, maybe because her father was no longer able to pay money for her keep there.

“I wasn’t prepared for the outside world. I didn’t take to many people because I always felt so worthless and ashamed. When I went to secondary school, I remember standing at a wall in the playground seeing others sniggering at me. It must have been the way I was, I was just looking at a wall. I always felt embarrassed and ashamed, like I was dirty and unclean. That was the scene set for the rest of my life.

“What happened to me in Nazareth House affected my job positions, my friendships and relationships with a wide range of people. I always felt unloved, ugly, rejected, dirty, evil, no good. I have hated myself so much because I was led to believe that I was a monster of some sort. It has only been this year that I am finally turning my life around. For the first time ever, I feel as if I am in control.”

Margaret is now leading a campaign to have the religious orders publicly recognise and apologise for the abuse thousands of children in Northern Ireland suffered while in their care. “What happened in these places was recognised in the Republic, but not here and we want that same recognition,” she added.

“I used to walk around filled with so much anger and sadness, but there is more joy and laughter in me now. I look in the mirror now and I am smiling. I want other victims to feel the same.”

South’s shocking report has no equivalent here

The Ryan report told the nightmare story of violence and sexual abuse suffered by a generation of some of the most vulnerable children in Ireland.

It painted a chilling picture of a severely dysfunctional church and state in Ireland — a church that protected and tolerated its members’ actions, and a state, charged to inspect the children's’ homes and schools, that failed to safeguard the young victims.

It took nine years to compile the 2,600-page report, which proposed 21 ways the Irish government could recognise past wrongs, including building a permanent memorial, providing counselling to victims and improving Ireland's current child protection services.

It provided some level of closure and justice for the thousands who were sent as children to Ireland’s austere network of industrial schools, reformatories, orphanages and hostels from the 1930s until the last church-run facilities shut in the 1990s.

But in Northern Ireland no investigation has ever been launched and the problem here remains locked in the past.

Stories of abuse at homes like St Patrick’s Home in west Belfast, run by the De La Salle Brothers, Termonbacca in Londonderry and Nazareth Lodge children’s home in east Belfast, run by the Sisters of Nazareth, are becoming more and more prevalent.

There is no longer any doubt that vulnerable children were subjected to horrifying violence and abuse while in the care of church and state run homes and schools in Northern Ireland, but a full probe into the level of abuse is necessary.

The issue is not going to go away until there is formal recognition of the extent of the abuse and a public apology from the religious orders and the government institutions that failed vulnerable children for decades. The victims who suffered in silence for so many years deserve nothing less.

Read more:

And Churches Wonder Why Fewer People Attend

Original article

Many recent letters suggest Americans are turning away from God, and the civil marriage law is proof of such a move.

Statistics show Americans overwhelmingly believe in God, however, many, like me, have given up on religion.

Here in Maine, the Catholic archdiocese supports a people's veto of Question 1 and has collected two special donations to defeat it. All this, while the bishop lives in a mansion and the church closes schools and parishes.

A few states away, the Archdiocese of New York has said little about New York's support for civil marriage, as it is more interested in preventing the statues of limitations for cases involving child abuse by priests from being increased. Seems it can't afford any more pedophile lawsuits or it will go bankrupt.

Clearly, the Catholic Church is more interested in being a political action committee than a church.

Protecting its assets is more important than victims' rights or the needs of local parishioners who will go wanting for lack of schools and local churches.

I am disappointed that the archdiocese and other religious groups are supporting the current TV ads that are based on scare tactics and misinformation.

Tactics like these will only lead to more folks leaving churches. As for me, I'll seek out a new church that is affirming and not divisive.

Until then, I'll keep God in my heart, and religion out of my life and wallet.

Carl Harnegie

Child Sex Abuse Report Won't be Made Public for Several Weeks

Original article

By Dearbhail McDonald and Louise Hogan

Thursday October 22 2009

THE publication of a damning report on clerical sex abuse in the Dublin archdiocese will be delayed for at least several weeks.

Lawyers acting for Justice Minister Dermot Ahern yesterday asked High Court judge Mr Justice Paul Gilligan to consider a new issue, which had not been brought to his attention when he heard the main case regarding publication of the report earlier this month.

The new issue is believed to concern potential criminal proceedings that could yet result from a current garda investigation, amid fears that elements in the report might jeopardise a possible prosecution.

Last week, Judge Gilligan ruled that all but one chapter, and 21 other references in the report relating to a particular priest, were to be excluded from publication in case it prejudiced criminal proceedings.

The ruling paved the way for the imminent publication of the vast bulk of the report.

But yesterday's intervention by Mr Ahern, following late night discussions on Tuesday with the Attorney General, the Director of Public Prosecutions and justice officials, will further delay publication of the long-awaited report.

The new matter had not been brought to Judge Gilligan's attention when he was asked, last July, for directions on whether the report could be published. The issue was also not raised at the three most recent hearings on the report.

The Dublin Archdiocese Commission of Investigation, led by Judge Yvonne Murphy, looked at the handling by church and state authorities of a sample of 46 priests in Dublin between January 1, 1975, and April 30, 2004. Several of the cases involve men who are facing court proceedings.


The new issue will be heard next Thursday.

Meanwhile, Taoiseach Brian Cowen yesterday defended the delay in publishing the report.

Speaking in the Dail, Mr Cowen said the move was to ensure nothing prejudicial was done in respect of any prosecution that may emerge from the report.

Children's Minister Barry Andrew also defended the decision to return to the High Court.

"Clearly there is nothing insidious about it, simply ensuring that the publication is not going to jeopardise the prosecution of any individual," he said.

Barnardos chief executive Fergus Finlay said: "If there is a need for a bit more scrutiny in the High Court then let's get it done but let's get it done as quickly as we possibly can."

Mr Ahern said that his desire to have the report published was necessarily outweighed by the imperative to ensure that nothing was done which would allow perpetrators of "this terrible abuse" to walk free.

- Dearbhail McDonald and Louise Hogan

Italian Police Arrest Priest for Role in Rwanda Genocide

Original article

Just weeks after the arrest of a top accused of planning, executing and participating in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, the Italian police arrested another suspect. A priest, this time. The man is accused of ordering for the deaths of 80 students aged 12-20.
According to media reports, 47-year-old Emmanuel Mihigo Wayezu - who had been serving in a church in the Tuscan town of Empoli for the past 12 years - has denied all charges and has said he tried to save lives rather then ending them.
The arrest comes just over three weeks after the arrest of Idelphonse Nizeyimana, one of the top four planners and executors of the massacres, which started in the first week of April 1994, lasted for approximately three months and killed approximately 800.000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus.
Ethnic division
However, a group called African Rights accused Wayezu, who is an ethnic Hutu, of being involved in the massacre of 80 Tutsi students aged 12-20 at the Kibeho College of Arts, situated in the south of Rwanda. Wayezu at that time was the director of the school.
"They perished at the hands of their teachers, fellow students, the gendarmes who were supposedly protecting them and interahamwe militiamen," Africa Rights say in a report.
"They died because the director of their school, Father Emmanuel, abandoned them and laid the groundwork for the massacre. The youngsters were studying at the Groupe Scolaire Marie Merci [part of the art school] in Kibeho where he had been the headmaster for two years. They died at the nearby College of Arts because that is where Wayezu, after separating the students along ethnic lines, sent all the Tutsis."
"He planned their deaths"
According to the organisation, the role of the church man in massacre of the Tutsi students in Kibeho - which took place on May 7 - is crystal clear:
For two years prior to the massacre of 7 May 1994, Fr. Uwayezu allowed some students, in particular those displaced from the war-affected préfectures in the north, to spread ethnic hatred at the school, labelling all Tutsis as inyenzi [cockroaches in Kinyarwanda] and enemies of Rwanda. This created ethnic divisions within the student body, encouraged lack of discipline and emboldened these students, and many among the staff, to believe they could do whatever they saw fit.
Dangerous vaccuum of hatred
The report furthermore says that on 7 April, when a plane carrying president Juvénal Habyarimanawas shot from the sky, Uwayezu gathered the students together "to announce the death of the president in a manner that was calculated to enflame ethnic tensions and suspicions. At a time of fear and uncertainty, he left the students to their own devices. His failure to provide them with guidance and leadership created a dangerous vacuum filled by staff and students with an ethnic agenda in support of the genocide."
According to reserach by Africa Rights, Wayezu on April 11 arranged for about 20 gendarmes to camp near the school to look after the students’ security. Only 4 days later, these militiamen actively participated in the massacre of about 20,000 people at the Parish of Kibeho, situated nearby. "Afterwards they returned to the school. Wayezu is accused of instructing the gendarmes to shoot the refugees who were trying to escape the parish by hiding in the school. He allowed the students who were especially hostile to Tutsis to spend time with the gendarmes," the report says.
Wayezu is also accused of ignoring pleas for help from Tutsi students who said Hutu classmates had told them of a plan to massacre them, and that the gendarmes were taking a census of Tutsis within the school.
Handful of survivors
In the days to come, it is said that Wayezu has been often seen in the presence of the men who would later be key participants in the 7 May massacre. On the night of May 6, it is alleged that gendarmes escorted a small group of students out of the College and confiscated the key, making it impossible to lock the school from the inside.
A few hours later, in the morning of May 7, a large number of militiamen armed with machetes and knives entered the dining room, where the students were having breakfast. Wayezu was nowhere to be seen.
The gendarmes, who he had posted there “to safeguard the students” shot into the air instead of dispersing the attackers. The massacre started immediately. Except for a handful of survivors, most of the students at the College perished, killed by the guns and grenades of the gendarmes or the spears, axes and machetes of the militiamen. Wayezu returned to Kibeho several days after the massacre at the College
Men of God?
It is not the first time a 'man of God' has been arrested on suspicion of planning, participating in and executing the 1994 genocide. In 2001, ex-priest Athanase Seromba - who had also fled to Italy - was charged by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on the four counts: genocide or alternatively complicity in genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and crimes against humanity. Five years later, Seromba was found guilty of genocide and extermination as a crime against humanity and sentenced to a single term of fifteen years imprisonment.
On 22 December 2006, the Prosecutor filed an appeal against this judgement. Two years later, the Appeals Chamber overturned the conviction of Athanase Seromba for "aiding and abetting genocide and extermination as a crime against humanity and substituted it to convictions for committing genocide and extermination as a crime against humanity. The Appeals Chamber unanimously quashed the sentence of 15 years imprisonment and sentenced him to life in prison."

Child Abuse: ‘They Poisoned my Mind Against my Own Mother’

Original article

Raped and infected with gonorrhoea when she was just 8 years old, then shortly afterwards, seized and sentenced to eight years in a children’s institute run by sadistic nuns, Kathleen O’Malley has spent most of her life hiding from herself. But having emerged stronger from her horrific childhood she has set herself a new challenge: to find the sister who suffered with her.

The facts of Kathleen O’Malley’s life would probably not have been believed ten years ago, not before the dam finally burst on the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland.

A long-awaited report into clerical abuse in the Diocese of Dublin is expected to be published this week and bishops are bracing themselves for another round of public anger. It will be a horror story of how known paedophile priests were shunted from parish to parish by their religious seniors. The number of children who suffered as a result of the Church’s cover-up could run into thousands.

It will also be another shattering blow to the moral authority of an institution that once ruled Ireland with an iron rod, following hard on the heels of the Ryan report, an independent tribunal that concluded in May after a decade of evidence-gathering that there had been “endemic and systemic” sexual, physical and emotional abuse of hundreds of thousands of Irish children in residential institutions run by religious orders. Four years ago, when Kathleen first told her story in her memoir, Childhood Interrupted, there were plenty of cynics around who were prepared to cast doubt on the extraordinary tale of suffering inside a system that seemed akin to the worst excesses of a totalitarian regime.

But a sea-change has occurred in Ireland since the Ryan report: the anger still swirls and will gather strength again this week with the publication of another report.

The proof of Kathleen’s claims is laid out before her on a coffee table in her smart detached Hertfordshire bungalow: pages and pages of official reports whose secrecy was not easily given up by the Irish authorities.

Two legal documents are chilling. The first is the peremptory record of how Kathleen, with her her sisters, Sarah Louise and Lydia, were taken from their mother in a dawn raid on their Dublin tenement home and found guilty in the children’s court of being “destitute” and “having a parent who does not exercise proper guardianship”. The second is a transcript of the trial of Luke McCabe, a neighbour who raped Kathleen in 1950. It’s extraordinary to read the words of a child being cross-examined by Judge McCarthy in open court: “Do you know what would happen if you told lies?”

Answer: “The Lord would light me.” Looking back, reading those words on the page, Kathleen can laugh now. “I meant I’d get a beating; it was all I knew. But look here, when he asks if I’d been taught the Catechism and knew the difference between right and wrong. I said my mother had taught me. But he ignores that answer and asks if the Sisters of Mercy had taught me. Because I was born out of wedlock she and her child counted for nothing in their eyes.

“The people who took us from Mummy were paid a bounty by the religious orders because the nuns in turn received half a man’s wage per week for every child they took. It was a business. They called us destitute and uncared for, but that’s what they condemned us to — we were loved and cared for, but they took us away and, to rub salt in the wounds, Mummy was forced to pay for it. She had to pay for our upkeep at Moate, the industrial school.”

But the court transcript also reveals glimpses of a strong-willed mother determined to fight for her children. Mary O’Malley told the court that in the eight months that had passed since Kathleen had been taken from her, the nuns had “told her not to tell anybody about the dirty thing that was done to her”.

Although the judge directed the jury to acquit McCabe of the most serious charge of “unlawful carnal knowledge of a minor”, he was found guilty of assault. It was a small but important victory for the O’Malleys. “McCabe got 18 months hard labour but my sisters and I got 25 years of that between us,” Kathleen says.

The regime at Moate was unremittingly grim. “I learnt to be quiet and not draw attention, that’s how I survived. We were the O’Malleys from Dublin, dirty jackeens from the slums was how they described us.As a result, when I finally got out at the age of 16, I ended up wearing a mask and armour all my life. It was drummed into me that I was worthless. We had our own nice clothes taken away and we were put into rags and worked from dawn til dusk in the laundry. We never played, we were sterile, we were given nothing. There was a rusty tap in the yard where we were allowed out for half an hour a day.

“We got an egg a year, a sausage a year, the rest of our food was slop and bread. We were allowed one half-hour visit a year from our mother, who would make a three-hour journey to see us and they wouldn’t even give her a glass of water.

“The annual visit took place in what was called ‘the poor-man’s room’ and it was supervised, with a nun present, so nobody could say anything they really wanted to say. It was horrible; there were always tears. For my mother, any mother, to have her children taken from her . . .”

Kathleen’s eyes redden as her words tumble out. “So I buried it all.”

It has to be said that she did so with remarkable success, leaving Ireland for London as soon as she could, working first in hotels then as a governess for a wealthy French family in Paris, accompanying them on summer holidays in Venice; getting a job with Elizabeth Arden and becoming a beautician working alongside “debs”.

She invented an idyllic childhood, telling new friends about going to boarding school in the Irish countryside. Kathleen even sent Christmas cards each year to “kindly nuns” at Moate, visiting them whenever she returned home to see her mother.

“When I look back on it I cringe and wonder why my mother never said, ‘What on earth do you think you are doing? Are you completely mad?’ The worst part of the whole experience was how they actually poisoned my mind against my mother. The unforgivable part is that they told me and my sisters that my mother had given us up, that she didn’t want us. And we believed that for years.

“I only discovered in later life how hard she fought to get us back. She suffered so much. They bad-mouthed her to us, calling her a ‘streetwalker’.”

One of Kathleen’s greatest regrets is having torn up the only photograph of her with her mother, at a time in life when she really did believe all the nuns had told her. She has a photograph of Mary with her two sons, Kathleen’s half-brothers, who were key to “setting her free” and reordering her memories. “I’d locked the door on the past, I’d stuck it in a trunk, never to be opened. But eventually I felt that I had to prove I wasn’t taken away from Mummy for my own protection. And I discovered a letter about her sons and her fight to keep them.

“By this stage she was married. I think the real problem for us was that I was illegitimate and there was such a stigma attached to that in Ireland. But the letter proved that, if she was fit enough as a mother to have her two young sons, why not her three daughters?”

The Ryan report has been another landmark, not just in Kathleen’s life but in the history of the relationship between Church and State in “Holy Mother Ireland”. Barry Andrews, Ireland’s Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, said last month: “The deference that was at the core of the problem is no longer there.”

That is small consolation for Kathleen O’Malley. “I don’t know at what point the religious gained their power, but they had total power and autonomy to do as they wanted. We were brainwashed to say that we were well-looked after.”

And, looking for proof, she delves once more into the ring-binder folders, producing a letter purporting to have been written by her mother. It says: “I wish to thank the department (of education) for sending them to such a lovely school.”

“That’s my sister’s handwriting, I recognise it,” Kathleen says. “The nuns dictated a letter, which they made my sister write, just as if they were crooked police officers falsifying evidence!”

She is scornful of the progress Ireland is making towards righting these heinous wrongs. “They say they now want to put up a monument to all those who were treated badly. They had a garden party with the President of Ireland, to which around 130 victims were invited, but I wasn’t and neither were thousands of others. And that was like my evidence to the Ryan commission, which was ignored. I was never given the opportunity.”

One of the more controversial aspects of Ireland’s delve into the darkest reaches of its past has been the making of “awards” — the word compensation is avoided — to those affected through the Redress Board.

Kathleen, a magistrate in Middlesex with a solid middle-class lifestyle consisting of golf, line-dancing and strong friendships, may not have felt the need to take up that opportunity, but she is determined to get something for her sister Lydia.

“Lydia suffered the most because she was so much younger than me or Sarah Louise when we were committed to Moate. We were all split up and the system deliberately made sure you did not keep together.

“I would see Lydia from time to time and whenever I did she was rocking back and forth continuously. The day I left Moate I didn’t even give her a hug or a kiss and we had been very close before we went there.”

Eventually Lydia married a US Marine and moved to the US, but divorced him after he became violent. “She moved from one abusive relationship to another. I last saw her in 1975. The last I heard from her was 14 years ago when she was living in Washington DC, but she was vague about her circumstances. I got the impression that she was living in some kind of shelter.

“I wanted to visit but the day before I was due to fly she rang to say that she didn’t want to see me, that she wasn’t allowed visitors, that she’s put on weight and lost her teeth. She was embarrassed but she’s carrying a guilt that she doesn’t deserve. I understand because I have gone through that. I have lived in fear most of my adult life of my childhood catching up with me. I don’t have many leads on where she is now, but I will find Lydia and when I do I will present the proof of her case to the Redress Board.

“I am a very different person now to who I was even five years ago. I remember feeling physically sick when I bumped into someone I was in Moate with. That’s how we were taught to react by the nuns.

“I was ashamed of my name. I remember Sister Cecilia saying ‘I wouldn’t tell anybody who you are or where you’re from’. And they did prepare us for our roles in life as they saw them, which was scrubbing floors. But I don’t care any more. I have nothing to hide.”