Rights Under Attack
. . . about Chaos,
Reason, and Hope
Irish Reform Schools: Thousands Beaten, Raped
(SHAWN POGATCHNIK, Huffington Post, May 20, 2009)
A fiercely debated, long-delayed investigation into Ireland's Roman Catholic-run institutions says priests and nuns terrorized thousands of boys and girls in workhouse-style schools for decades _ and government inspectors failed to stop the chronic beatings, rapes and humiliation. . . . Nine years in the making, Wednesday's 2,600-page report sides almost completely with the horrific reports of abuse from former students sent to more than 250 church-run, mostly residential institutions. But victims' leaders said it didn't go far enough _ particularly because none of their abusers were identified by name. . . . The report concluded that church officials always shielded their orders' pedophiles from arrest to protect their own reputations and, according to documents uncovered in the Vatican, knew that many pedophiles were serial attackers. . . . The investigators said overwhelming, consistent testimony from still-traumatized men and women, now in their 50s to 80s, had demonstrated beyond a doubt that the entire system treated children more like prison inmates and slaves than people with legal rights and human potential. . . . "A climate of fear, created by pervasive, excessive and arbitrary punishment, permeated most of the institutions and all those run for boys. Children lived with the daily terror of not knowing where the next beating was coming from," the final report of Ireland's Commission to Inquire Into Child Abuse concluded. . . . More than 30,000 children deemed to be petty thieves, truants or from dysfunctional families _ a category that often included unmarried mothers _ were sent 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. . . . The report, unveiled by High Court Justice Sean Ryan, found that molestation and rape were "endemic" in boys' facilities, chiefly run by the Christian Brothers, and supervisors pursued policies that increased the danger. Girls supervised by orders of nuns, chiefly the Sisters of Mercy, suffered much less sexual abuse but frequent assaults and humiliation designed to make them feel worthless. . . . "In some schools a high level of ritualized beating was routine. ... Girls were struck with implements designed to maximize pain and were struck on all parts of the body," the report said. "Personal and family denigration was widespread." . . . [COMMENT by Lorenzo: Yet, my family wonders why I can no longer support an evil institution like this.] . . . Irish church leaders and religious orders all declined to comment Wednesday, citing the need to read the massive document first. The Vatican also declined to comment. . . . But the commission said its fact-finding _ which included unearthing decades-old church files, chiefly stored in the Vatican, on scores of unreported abuse cases from Ireland's industrial schools _ demonstrated that officials understood exactly what was at stake: their own reputations. . . . It cited numerous examples where school managers told police about child abusers who were not church officials _ but never did when one of their own had committed the crime. . . . "Contrary to the congregations' claims that the recidivist nature of sexual offending was not understood, it is clear from the documented cases that they were aware of the propensity for abusers to re-abuse," it said.
posted by Lorenzo 2:34 PM