Archbishop Wesolowski stored over 100,000 child porn videos in his PC – Umberto Bacchi

Jozef Wesolowski

Umberto Bacchi“Jozef Wesolowski is the highest-ranking Vatican official ever to be investigated for sex abuse, and the first top papal representative to receive a defrocking sentence. He has been charged with sexually abusing minors and child porn possession and might face up to seven years in the Vatican’s tiny jail.” – Umberto Bacchi

Paedophiles and their ecclesiastical enablers.A former Vatican archbishop accused of paedophilia stored tens of thousands of child porn videos and photos on a computer in his office at the Holy See diplomatic compound in the Dominican Republic, it has emerged.

Details of Jozef Wesolowski‘s massive child porn stash have been revealed after the 66-year-old was arrested at the Vatican earlier this week.

He is the highest-ranking Vatican official ever to be investigated for sex abuse, and the first top papal representative to receive a defrocking sentence. He has been charged with sexually abusing minors and child porn possession and might face up to seven years in the Vatican’s tiny jail.

Vatican detectives analysed the PC Wesolowski used in his office in Santo Domingo, where he served as Holy See envoy from 2008 to 2012 as part of an investigation into the alleged sexual abuse of underage boys.

The probe reportedly revealed a collection of horrors. The Polish native held more than 100,000 sexually-explicit files, the Corriere della Sera newspaper reported.

Some 160 videos showing teenage boys forced to perform sexual acts on themselves and on adults and more than 86,000 pornographic photos were meticulously archived in several category-based folders, the paper said.

Investigators said that at least another 45,000 pictures were deleted, while a second stash of material was found on a laptop Wesolowski used during his trips abroad.

Santa Marta Square Vatican CityThe former clergyman was placed under house arrest in a pre-trial detention at the Vatican earlier this week. He has been detained in a small room in the basement of the Collegio dei Penitenzieri, a convent located in the same building hosting the Vatican’s court and military police in the famous Santa Marta Square.

Investigators are also probing whether there was a network of people who helped him to set up sexual encounters and if he committed other abuse during his previous posts around the world.

Before arriving in Santo Domingo, Wesolowski served as apostolic nuncio in Bolivia and Central Asia – covering Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kirghizstan and Uzbekistan – after holding less prominent roles in Southern African, Costa Rica, Japan, Switzerland, India and Denmark.

He was recalled to Rome last year, after Dominican Republic media alleged he hired “rent boys” and was subsequently banished from the clergy, after a canonical court found him guilty of sex abuse.

His trial is expected to start in January. – International Business Times, 26 September 2014

» Umberto Bacchi is a foreign correspondent at International Business Times UK. He is a law graduate with a Masters in journalism and has a passion for politics and football, especially when they blend in together. Contact him at Email: u.bacchi@ibtimes.co.uk

Bishop & Boy

Related

Sex-Abuse Victims to Pope: Stop begging for forgiveness and just stop the abuse – Barbie Latza Nadeau

Barbie Latza Nadeau“Barbara Blaine, who was raped by her parish priest as a teenager, posed a number of topics she would like to discuss with Francis, if only she were given a chance.  First, she says she would like to tell the pope, ‘Stop talking about the crisis as though it’s past tense, and stop delaying while your abuse panels discusses details. You know the right thing to do. You don’t need a report.'” –  Barbie Latza Nadeau  

Pope FrancisOn Monday, Pope Francis followed the footsteps of his predecessors Benedict XVI and John Paul II and met with a select group of men and women who had been raped, molested and lied to by their parish priests. 

Francis spent around half an hour individually with each of the victims— a man and a woman each from Ireland, Germany, and England—whose names and ages were not disclosed.  Prior to the one-on-one meetings, Francis presided over a Mass with the victims and members of the Papal Commission for the Protection of Children, led by Boston cardinal Sean O’Malley in which he apologized to the survivors for the “grave sins of clerical sexual abuse” committed against them.

“I beg your forgiveness, too, for the sins of omission on the part of Church leaders who did not respond adequately to reports of abuse made by family members, as well as by abuse victims themselves,” Francis said at the special mass according to the homily transcript released by the Holy See. “This led to even greater suffering on the part of those who were abused and it endangered other minors who were at risk.”

After the Mass and meetings, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi briefed the press, explaining that while the content of each individual meeting should be kept private in accordance with the norms of pastor to parishioner confidentiality, one can be assured “they were profoundly emotional.”  At times laughing nervously as he explained that he knew not what was said but that it was of utmost importance, Lombardi then went on to counter criticism from the clerical sex abuse victims’ groups that warned that the meet and greet was nothing more than a public relations stunt.  “This body of opinion has always demonstrated its unwillingness to understand the pope’s actions,” he told reporters.  “I’m not surprised by the reaction, but it is totally clear that it was not a public relations event. It was a profound spiritual encounter.”

Barbara BlaineBarbara Blaine, outreach director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests or SNAP disagrees.  Even though SNAP, now 25 years old, is the most widely recognized global support group for clerical victims with more than 18,000 members, no one from their leadership was invited to meet with Francis.

Ahead of the meeting Blaine, who was raped by her parish priest as a teenager, posed a number of topics she would like to discuss with Francis, if only she were given a chance.  First, she says she would like to tell the pope, “Stop talking about the crisis as though it’s past tense, and stop delaying while your abuse panels discusses details. You know the right thing to do. You don’t need a report.”

Catholic boysShe said she would also tell the pope to focus first on prevention, instead of forgiveness.  “Wounded adults can heal themselves but vulnerable kids can’t protect themselves,” she says, noting that abuse and sex abuse and the consistent cover up by the Vatican is still ongoing.  She also suggests that the Holy See take “tangible steps to safeguard those at risk” by doing a number of what would seem like fairly simple steps, that are acceptable responses in the secular community when it comes to battling pedophilia, sex abuse, and child rape.

SNAP’s demands include:

1. Order bishops to set up and finance a “whistleblower fund” to reward church staff whose actions lead to criminal charges or conviction of current or former abusive clerics.

2. Insist that bishops permanently post the names, photos and whereabouts of proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics (including religious order priests) on diocesan and parish websites.

3. Demand that bishops hire independent corrections staff rather than clergy to house and monitor child molesting clerics who cannot be criminally charged because of statutes of limitation in remote, secure facilities so they will be kept away from children.

4. Instruct bishops to use only licensed therapists (not priests or nuns) to deal with abuse victims.

5. Tell bishops to use only former police (not clerics) to investigate abuse cases that cannot be pursued by law enforcement.

6. Convene and fund a world-wide conference of secular lawmakers who work to reform archaic, arbitrary, and predator-friendly secular laws (like the statute of limitations) that prevent victims from exposing those who commit and conceal sex offenses through civil and criminal courts.

7. Make an urgent, strong public plea to all church employees and members, begging them to give information and suspicions about fugitive predator priests to civil authorities so the clerics may be prosecuted and kept away from children.

8. Order bishops to avoid using language that minimizes clergy abuse like “it’s just a small percentage of priests” or deflects blame like “abuse happens in other settings too” or faults accusers like “these allegations are from 25 years ago” or mollifies church-goers like “he’s not accused of molesting at this parish” or praises accused wrongdoers like “he’s a very popular priest” or guilt-trips victims  like “he has tirelessly worked to help the poor”.

9. Turn over Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith or CDF records about predatory priests to local law enforcement in the nations where the alleged crimes took place and insist that the head of each diocese and religious order do likewise with their abuse records.

10. Mandate church-based sessions to teach parishioners how to respond appropriately in abuse cases so victims, witnesses and whistleblowers won’t feel intimidated or hopeless.

11. Insist that priests immediately give their passports to their bishops when abuse accusations arise so they can’t flee overseas.

12. Demote and denounce at least a dozen complicit bishops, including Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City Missouri, the only sitting bishop who has been criminally convicted of refusing to report suspected child sex crimes.

13. Discourage current and future cover ups by clearly, publicly punishing prelates (like Cardinal Roger Mahony and others) who are concealing or have concealed child sex crimes.

14. Stop rebuffing secular officials and start letting Polish and Dominican Republic law enforcement officials arrest and prosecute Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski (a credibly accused child molesting cleric), instead of having Catholic officials investigate other Catholic officials.

Pope Francis: Aren't unsolicited kisses a form of molestation?Finally, Blaine says she would tell Francis that there is only one criteria that matters as he moves forward with his commission to protect minors: “Will this move actually protect kids by exposing and punishing clerics who commit and conceal child sex crimes?” If not, she says, “Then it doesn’t matter if it’s more or less than other officials or institutions have done or are doing. It doesn’t matter much if it gets great headlines. It doesn’t really matter if it makes adults feel better for a little bit. If it’s not preventing abuse, it’s probably meaningless or almost meaningless.” – The Daily Beast, 7 July 2014

» Barbie Latza Nadeau, author of the Angel Face, about Amanda Knox, has reported from Italy for Newsweek since 1997 and for The Daily Beast since 2009. She is a frequent contributor to CNN Traveller, Departures, Discovery, and Grazia. She appears regularly on CNN, the BBC, and NPR.

Christianity is not Krishna-Neeti and the Vatican was never a Shiva temple – Koenraad Elst

Vatican City - Shiva LingamTwo photos, taken from above the subjects,  the one on the left of St Peter’s Square and Church being an aerial photo.  The contention is that because St Peter’s Square with Bernini’s curved colonnade on each side looks like the yoni base of a Shiva Lingam, Bernini must have copied a Shiva Lingam when he built the colonnade between 1656 and 1667. Bernini certainly did not know anything about Hinduism and had never seen a Shiva Lingam. He says that he built the colonnade around the obelisk in the square’s centre—placed there in 1586, many decades before he arrived—so as to embrace visitors in “the maternal arms of Mother Church.” The Mother Church was St Peter’s Basilica at the top of the square. It was completed in 1590 in the form of a Roman cross—as can be seen in the photo—and is neither the first church so constructed or the last, all classical churches being constructed in the form of a cross. So the photos above are a mischievous arbitrary comparison without rationale, created to mislead the credulous viewer into believing that Hindus had a worldwide religious empire in prehistory whose symbols and architecture Christians have plagiarized. — Editor 

Dr. Koenraad Elst“The very numerous P.N. Oak party members among the Hindus are not only an endless source of laughter for all enemies of Hinduism. They are also a useful fifth column within the crumbling fortress of Indian Paganism. For the sake of Hindu survival, it is vital that real history gets restored: not only against the secular anti-Hindu version, but also against the Hindu caricature.” – Dr Koenraad Elst

P. N. OakQuite frequently, my mailbox is hit by yet another product of the P. N. Oak-type imagination. This one refers to a web article on IndiaDivine.org [ISKCON], dated 14 June 2014, called Was the Christian Vatican Originally a Temple to Lord Shiva? allegedly by Dr Subramanian Swamy.

It claims that “Rome’s church compound is in the shape of Shiva Lingam”. It also suggests, citing as its source the “famous historian P. N. Oak”, that Vatican comes from Sanskrit vatika (“park, religious centre”), Christianity from Krishna-neeti (“Krishna’s policy”, “the way of Krishna”), and Abraham from Brahma. Conclusion is that it’s all “plagiarism by the West”.

In fact, the shape of the church [and plaza] is standard, and therefore the claim implies that most classical churches, thousands of them, are really shaped like Shiva Lingams. If your eyes are very hazy, you might indeed get the impression of a similarity. This school is quickly satisfied with a mere semblance of similarity. Thus, a 3-shaped sign in the undeciphered Indus script is declared to be ॐ sign; as is a door ornament on the Red Fort, equally deemed to have been “originally a Hindu temple”. But even if a more perceptive look were to confirm this impression of similarity, it doesn’t prove a causal relation. The likeness between vatika and Vatican is claimed to “prove that the Vatican was a Hindu (Vedic) religious centre before its incumbent was forced to accept Christianity from 1st century AD”. No, this phrase merely shows the miserably low standards of proof Jesus & Krishna: Are they the same?applied by the Hindu history-rewriters. Also, no evidence is attempted, or known from elsewhere, for the momentous replacement or forcible conversion of this Vedic pontiff.

As for the etymologies, they are false. Vaticanus Collis [or Vaticanus Mons] means “seers’ hill”, from vates meaning “seer, poet, inspired speaker”, related to the Germanic god-name Woden, meaning “fury, trance”. Christianity combines the Latin endings -(i)anus and –itas, meaning “follower of” and “the property/system/collectivity of”, with the Greek word Christos, “anointed”, as translation of the Biblical Hebrew word Mashiah, “anointed crown-prince, messiah”. Ab-raham is Hebrew and means “father of many ”, while Brahma originally means “great, growth”, related to Germanic berg, “mountain”. These Biblical words have nothing to do with their Sanskrit look-alikes.

Further, it claims that amen really comes from om/aum. Amen is Hebrew for “so be it, truly”, and has nothing to do with om/aum. For that matter, the frequent assertion in some yogic circles that Latin omnis, “all”, is also related, is equally untrue. Omnis is a phonetic adaptation from op-nis, with the root op-, “many”, related to the Latin-derived word opulence. The word amen is cognate to Arabic “amin“, which also means “certain”. A well-known Urdu word derived from it is mo’min, “one who takes as certain”, “believer”, hence “Muslim”. So according to these history-rewriters, a Muslim really is an “Om-sayer”!

ISKCONIt further claims that “all religions are one and are derived from Vedic Sanatana Dharma” and that “both Christianity and Islam originated as distortions of Vedic beliefs”. This is flatly untrue, but nonetheless Padres and Mullahs will welcome it if it helps in reconciling Hindu parents to their daughter’s elopement with a Christian or Muslim man and conversion to his religion: “Hey, Mom and Dad, don’t worry, it’s only a variation on the Vedic religion, as you yourselves always say!”

So, the very numerous P.N. Oak party members among the Hindus are not only an endless source of laughter for all enemies of Hinduism. They are also a useful fifth column within the crumbling fortress of Indian Paganism. For the sake of Hindu survival, it is vital that real history gets restored: not only against the secular anti-Hindu version, but also against the Hindu caricature.

Vatican City

Govt not obliged to assist Jesuit Fr Prem Kumar or any other Indian missionary abroad – B.R. Haran

B.R. Haran“Fr Alexis Prem Kumar is an employee of a Christian evangelical organisation and has gone on his own to Afghanistan. He is not a government employee and he has not gone as a government worker. The Jesuit Refugee Service and the Catholic Church alone are responsible for his safety and security, and not the State or Central Government or the Indian Consulate in Herat.” – B.R. Haran 

Alexis Prem KumarTwo weeks after the attack on the Indian consulate at Herat in Afghanistan, an Indian national, Fr. Alexis Prem Kumar, director of Jesuit Refugee Service, Afghanistan, was abducted by armed militants allegedly belonging to the Taliban. He was kidnapped while visiting a school for refugee children in Sohadat township, 34 kms from Herat city. Before moving to Afghanistan in 2011, Alexis Prem Kumar was working among Sri Lankan refugees in Shenbaganur, Kodaikanal, for about six years, as director of JRS Dindigul, which belongs to Madurai Jesuit Province. He completed his theological studies at the Theological Centre in Beschi College, Dindigul. 

The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) is an international Catholic organisation claiming to serve “Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Internally Displaced Persons”, working in the fields of education, emergency assistance, health and nutrition, income generating activities, and social services – typical claims of any evangelical organization. The JRS was founded in 1980 by Fr Pedro Arrupe, Superior General of Society of Jesus, in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, for Vietnam refugees. 

Later the JRS was officially registered as a Foundation at the Vatican State in March 2000. With a workforce of 1400 people including 78 Jesuits and 66 Religious, operating at national and regional levels in 50 countries, it claims to have benefited 600,000 individuals directly. However, the JRS has not come out with facts about the number of individuals it has brought into the order of Society of Jesus and how it benefitted by working in these 50 countries. 

The Jesuit Refugee Service clearly states that, “JRS is an apostolic work of the Society of Jesus. For more than 460 years Jesuit priests and brothers have served the Church in new and unexpected ways. Men on the move, ready to change residence, occupation, and approach – whatever is necessary to advance the Church’s mission: teaching the word of Jesus Christ and preaching his Good News – a radical service of faith in a world that respects neither faith nor the justice it entreats”. 

The JRS also involves in dialogue with other religions and cultures (interfaith dialogue). The Jesuits are notorious for their “academic research” on inter-religious understanding and meeting points, encounters of Christianity and other religions especially Hinduism, Christian Vedanta, and many other inculturation and interfaith stuff. With such a ‘mission statement’ and ‘academic research’, one can easily infer the main agenda of the JRS. Alexis Prem Kumar reportedly went to Afghanistan on a “student visa” to pursue his “doctoral research”, whatever that is! 

Mullah OmarEvangelists getting abducted by Taliban are not a new phenomenon in Afghanistan. In the summer of 2007, 23 South Korean Christian volunteers, all members of the Saemmul Church in Bundang, south of Seoul, went on a mission to Afghanistan. They were kidnapped by the Taliban, who executed two before releasing the rest after a 42-day detention. Similarly, in the summer of 2012, four aid workers of an international humanitarian organisation, Medair, were kidnapped. Like ‘education’ and ‘health’, ‘humanitarian work’ is another guise for indulging in evangelization. Medair, which claims to specialize in emergency relief work providing food aid and nutrition, is yet another Christian organisation. The said four workers were abducted while visiting a project site in the northern province of Badakhshan. 

In the summer of 2010, 10 people who were running an eye care operations for impoverished Afghans were killed by gunmen as they travelled between Nuristan and Badakhshan provinces. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying that the workers were proselytizers; all 10 belonged to International Assistance Mission, another Christian organisation. 

Meanwhile in Tamil Nadu, Fr Alexis Prem Kumar’s father Antony and brother Manoharan, who reside in Devakottai, Sivaganga district, have petitioned the Collector of Sivaganga to take immediate steps for his rescue. The Sivaganga MP PR Senthilnathan (AIADMK) has petitioned Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to seek the intervention of the Central Government to rescue Fr Alexis Prem Kumar (she has already done so). 

The External Affairs Ministry, Indian Embassy in Afghanistan and the Afghan authorities are coordinating efforts to rescue Prem Kumar. The Afghan authorities have reported that Prem Kumar is alive and that one person allegedly involved in the kidnapping has been held by the police. Search operations are going on. 

One sympathises with Prem Kumar and his family, but it is also a cause for concern that such persons are creating unnecessary hardship to the State and Central Governments and the foreign embassies. Fr Alexis Prem Kumar is an employee of a Christian evangelical organisation and has gone on his own to Afghanistan. He is not a government employee and he has not gone as a government worker. The JRS and the Catholic Church alone are responsible for his safety and security, and not the State or Central Government or the Indian Consulate for that matter. It is important to note that the JRS did not take the Indian Government’s consent to take an Indian citizen for its so-called aid work. If at all it has any official understanding with the Afghan government, it should have sent its workers from Vatican and Rome only, or taken the support of local groups in Afghanistan. 

Indian Consulate HeratWhile Government officials face huge risks in terror-infested countries like Afghanistan in the line of duty, private persons who go to such places on their own without the knowledge or consent of the Government must realise that they get into trouble because of their stupid decisions which makes the Government’s work all the more difficult. A lot of time and public money is spent unnecessarily. The Government cannot take responsibility for the security of evangelists who indulge in the business of proselytizing on behalf of the Vatican. 

Hence it is imperative that the Government place a blanket ban on private persons going to terror-infested spots and also on dubious organizations which engage in evangelical activities in the guise of aid work. – Vijayvaani, 7 June 2014

» B.R. Haran is a senior journalist in Chennai.

UN committee condemns Vatican for priestly child rape – AP

 

Child AbuseThe U.N. Committee Against Torture concluded that Vatican officials failed to report sex abuse charges properly, had moved priests rather than discipline them, and had failed to pay adequate compensation to victims. Although the panel did not explicitly say that the Holy See had violated any of its obligations under the anti-torture treaty, which it ratified in 2002, panel members said that was implicit in the criticism.” – AP

Francis & Ban Ki-moonIn a report that could expose the Catholic Church to new legal arguments by clerical sex abuse victims, a U.N. committee on Friday found that the Vatican does exercise worldwide control over its bishops and priests and must comply with the U.N.’s anti-torture treaty.

The U.N. Committee Against Torture concluded that Vatican officials failed to report sex abuse charges properly, had moved priests rather than discipline them, and had failed to pay adequate compensation to victims. Although the panel did not explicitly say that the Holy See had violated any of its obligations under the anti-torture treaty, which it ratified in 2002, panel members said that was implicit in the criticism.

“Legal scholars will tell you that when the committee addresses a problem and makes a recommendation, it sees the state as not meeting the requirements of the convention,” the panel vice chair, Felice Gaer, told reporters. “It’s absolutely clear what we’re saying.”

But the Vatican dismissed the 10-member panel’s conclusions as “fundamentally flawed” and insisted it didn’t exercise direct control over its priests worldwide.

The report’s most immediate impact may be to empower victims pressing the Vatican to take more legal responsibility for priests who raped and molested children. The Holy See long has sought to distance itself from Vatican Protects Paedophiles!the conduct of paedophile priests and the bishops overseeing them, saying the church’s own structure isn’t the centrally organized, top-down hierarchy that the lawyers for victims have often described.

Earlier this month, the Holy See revealed to the committee that it had defrocked 848 priests and imposed lesser penalties on 2,572 others since 2004. Those figures reflected only those complaints handled directly by the Holy See, not those left in the hands of dioceses, so the total number of sanctioned priests worldwide could be much higher.

Crucially, the committee rejected the Holy See’s position that it should be legally liable for enforcing the treaty only within the tiny confines of Vatican City itself. Church leaders consistently have argued that legal responsibility for abuse lies with the bishops and the leaders of individual congregations of priests, nuns and brothers.

The committee said the Vatican, like all parties to the treaty, must ensure that the treaty isn’t violated by its representatives anywhere worldwide. It said the Vatican’s contention that it did not enforce control over church personnel outside Vatican City borders was “not consistent” with the treaty or the Vatican’s own laws.

Silvano M. TomasiThe panel said ratifying parties to the torture treaty, including the Vatican, “bear international responsibility for the acts and omissions of their officials and others acting in an official capacity or acting on behalf of the state.”

In reply Friday, the Vatican accused the panel of sloppy reasoning. It insisted the committee was wrong “to give the impression that all the priests serving around the world are indirectly, legally tied to the Vatican.”

The Vatican said it was not even indirectly responsible for enforcing the treaty’s anti-torture obligations on all the world’s 440,000 priests and the Vatican’s own laws do not imply such a level of legal control.

Asked about that Vatican statement, Gaer told reporters: “We’re not suggesting that the Holy See is responsible for the actions of every Catholic. But the officials of the Holy See do exercise control over a significant range of conduct that takes place outside the four corners of Vatican City.”

The Vatican stressed that the committee’s report had not explicitly stated whether it believes that rape and sexual abuse constitute a form of torture and therefore violate the Holy See’s treaty obligations. It said the U.N. report makes “an implicit fundamental assumption” that any sexual abuse is equivalent to torture, an assumption not supported by the treaty.

Claudio GrossmanPanel members, however, say it has been firmly established in international law that rape and sexual violence can amount to torture, on a case-by-case basis. They said the torture committee had referred to cases of rape and sexual abuse in about 50 other reviews over the past decade.

“We’re not saying that any sexual abuse is equivalent to a form of torture. We need to see the circumstances. The issue here is the responsibility of a state,” said the committee’s chairman, Claudio Grossman. “A responsibility of a state comes into play if there was no prevention or there was no investigation and punishment.”

In 2001, the Vatican required bishops and religious superiors to forward all credible cases of abuse to Rome for review. That followed findings that paedophile priests were being shuffled from diocese to diocese, rather than facing church trials or police investigations. The Vatican in 2010 told bishops and superiors they must report credible cases to police when required by local laws.

The committee’s review marked the second time this year that the Vatican has been forced to appear before a U.N. committee in Geneva and peppered with questions about its handling of abuse cases.

The U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child concluded in February that the Vatican systematically placed its own interests over those of victims by enabling priests to rape and molest tens of thousands of children through a code of silence. – India Today,  23 May 2014

Bishop & Boy

 

Church On Trial: UN compares Vatican child sex abuse with torture – John Heilprin

 Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, Holy See representative to the UN

John  Heilprin Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See (Vatican) to the Office of the United Nations in Geneva, delivers his statement during the UN torture committee hearing on the Vatican, at the headquarters of the office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in the Palais Wilson, in Geneva, Switzerland, Monday, May 5, 2014. The UN Committee Against Torture hears the Holy See for the first time to consider whether the Church’s handling of child sexual abuse complaints has violated its obligations against subjecting minors to torture and to hear the Vatican on its efforts to stamp out child sex abuse by priests. – John Heilprin

Crucified Boy: The silence in the Indian Church over child sex abuse is deafening!A U.N. committee compared the Vatican’s handling of the global priest sex abuse scandal with torture Monday, raising the possibility that its failure to investigate clergy and their superiors could have broader legal implications.

But the Vatican’s top envoy in Geneva, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, claimed that the Holy See was getting its house in order after a decade-long effort to deal with a global priest sex abuse scandal.

“There has been, in several documentable areas, stabilization and even a decline of cases in pedophilia,” he told a committee of experts in charge of the U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which the Vatican ratified in 2002.

At the Holy See’s first appearance before the committee, experts mainly peppered the Vatican with tough questions to be answered Tuesday. For instance, they asked why the report on its implementation of the treaty was almost a decade late, and why the Vatican believes its responsibility for protecting against torture only applies within tiny Vatican City, a nation of less than 1,000 inhabitants.

“I wonder if you could tell us how you insure that the criminal prohibition against torture in Vatican City covers all individuals for whom the Holy See has jurisdiction,” asked committee member Felice Gaer.

Experts said a finding by the committee that the systematic abuse amounted to torture could have drastic legal implications for the church as it continues to battle civil litigation around the world resulting from the decades-long scandal that saw tens of thousands of children raped and molested by priests.

Pope John Paul IIKatherine Gallagher, a human rights attorney for the New York-based nonprofit legal group, the Center for Constitutional Rights, said such a finding could open the floodgates to abuse lawsuits dating back decades because there are no statutes of limitations on torture cases. Gallagher, whose group represents Vatican sex scandal victims, said rape can legally constitute a form of torture because of the elements of intimidation, coercion, and exploitation of power.

Pope kissing boy: Look at the boy's expression! “The torture committee’s questions really were about sexual violence and rape, and they made it clear that these acts fall within the definition of torture and the Vatican’s obligations under the torture convention,” she said after the hearing.

“A recognition by the torture committee that this is one of the most significant crimes could really open up a new level of prosecutions and accountability,” she added.

Pope Francis: Aren't unsolicited kisses a form of molestation?Pope Francis has said he takes personal responsibility for the “evil” of clergy sex abuse, and has sought forgiveness from victims. He has insisted that the church must be even bolder in its efforts to protect children.

On Saturday, members of the Pope’s sexual abuse advisory board said they will develop “clear and effective” protocols to hold bishops and other church authorities accountable if they fail to report suspected abuse or protect children from pedophile priests.

Francis announced the creation of the commission last December and named its members in March after coming under initial criticism for  having ignored the sex abuse issue.

The U.N. committee, which is composed of independent experts, will issue its final observations and recommendations May 23.

In January, a U.N. committee that monitors a key treaty on children’s rights accused the Holy See of systematically placing its own interests over those of victims. That committee rejected the Vatican’s argument that it had limited geographical responsibility. – SFGate, 5 May 2014

» Associated Press writer Nicole Winfield in Rome contributed to this report.

Christian priests and their prey!

Ranjit Sinha, the Vatican, and the crooked AgustaWestland helicopter deal – Chitra Subramaniam

Ranjit Sinha

Chitra Subramaniam“The crux of the matter is that Indian taxpayers were fooled [in the AgustaWestland helicopter deal], India was cheated, Italian courts have produced evidence that bribes were paid, Switzerland has extradited one of the middlemen, and we are being led to believe that India is working furiously to find the guilty. The contract has been cancelled but we have failed to retrieve a bank guaranty and have been forced into arbitration by AgustaWestland.” – Chitra Subramaniam

Vatican City in RomeLate afternoon on Friday, April 18, 2014, a piece of information was circulated in New Delhi stating that Ranjit Sinha, Director, Central Bureau of Information had met the Indian envoy to Italy, Basant Kumar Gupta. The meeting, sources told the media, was arranged on the sidelines of a conference organized by the London Metropolitan Police on human trafficking.

Sources told journalists the meeting took stock of the state of play of the AgustaWestland case in Italian courts. The two men reportedly discussed India’s judicial request the Letter Rogatory (LR) in Italy and Sinha discussed ways and means to fast-track the agency’s probe into the deal.

We found acronyms, religious projects and a call by India’s caged-parrot – as Singh famously called himself recently – to set up a Global March of Religious Priests against Human Trafficking. We also found out that the CBI had proposed itself as a nodal agency to channelize funds to NGOs in India. We are left wondering what bishops and cardinals know about helicopters.

The News Minute has been following this story closely. We were keen to find out of Sinha had been to Milan where Guido Haschke, one of the middlemen in the 560 million Euro VVIP helicopter deal, was seeking to turn approver (plea bargaining). That deal with the Italian prosecution was to be approved by a Judge in the Tribunal of Busto Arsizio, a village in northern Italy near Milan on April 11, 2014. If that happened, it would be the first sentencing in the chopper scam where 50 million Euros have been paid as bribes.

CBI HQ New DelhiThe CBI was not available to comment

Unable to get any answers for the plea-bargaining deal, we conducted our own investigation and this is what we found. The conference on human trafficking was organized not by the London Police but by the Vatican. Titled “Church and Law Enforcement in Partnership,” the conference held on 9-10 April 2014, had four aims: Prevention, Pastoral Care, Reintegration and Developing an International Network of Bishop’ Conferences and Law Enforcement agencies.

TNM also found out that preparation for this meeting was underway for several weeks. On March 11, 2014, the head of London’s Metropolitan Police, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe was confirmed as participating in the meeting which was chaired by Cardinal Vincent Nichols. Read all about these meetings and Sinha’s address in the links below.

During his speech, India’s top sleuth said many NGO on the ground were not connected and starved of funds that needed to be better channelized. “The CBI can be a nodal agency with the help of known experts in India and this agency can be the facilitating body for channelization of funds, if required.” How can the CBI channelise funds? Did Ranjit Sinha get any clearance before saying this?

Ranjit Sinha also spoke about the need to protect vulnerable communities. Sinha held forth on the distinction between human trafficking and illegal immigration stating that both have certain common currents. “Whereas in trafficking the person does not give informed consent, in illegal migration, the person’s consent is distinct. However an illegal migrant can be eventually trafficked,” he said pointing to examples from Kerala.

“The recent series of cases of trafficking from Kerala by the CBI is a clear example of human trafficking taking place in façade of illegal migration,” Singh said. According to him a lakh and ten thousand children are reported to be missing out of which 40,000 remain untraced.

Sinha said an important initiative in preventing trafficking in the source area and in containing demand is involvement of religious priests. An Inter Religion Priest Forum (IRPF) was set up in several States in India like Bihar, Jharkhand. “These forums had religion priests from different communities and religions in India.… IRPF has made tremendous impact in preventing and combating human trafficking,” said Sinha adding that this good practice could be replicated elsewhere in the world.

Given the international nature of the problem, Sinha said IRPF and AHTU could be institutionalized more robustly. “Congregation of religious priests from different communities and religions can be organized across the globe…. It could generate a “Global March of Religious Priests against Human Trafficking.”

Pope Francis "the Humble" grooming a little boy?Pope Francis addressed the 20-odd participants. “Human trafficking is an open wound on the body of contemporary society, a scourge upon the body of Christ. It is a crime against humanity,” he said.

The conference – second of its kind – is the brainchild of the Bishop’ Conference of England and Wales in collaboration with the UK Police Force and was hosted by the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. Nigerian Cardinal John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, the Archbishop of Abuja has been battling human trafficking for decades together with missionaries, religious and lay activists whom he called “foot soldiers” in service of the Gospel.

India’s top sleuth is free to attend any meetings around the world. Why did the caged-parrot tell India he went to a meeting on human trafficking organized by the London Metropolitan Police and the AgustaWestland LR discussion was business as usual during such a crucial week in the prosecution’s diary? 

What else is India’s top sleuth hiding? – The News Minute, 21 April 2014

AgustaWestland Helicopter

AgustaWestland: Is CBI Director Ranjit Sinha Hiding Information? – Chitra Subramaniam

This is an example of how what you don’t say becomes more important than what you say. Here’s why.

Ranjit Sinha, the Director of India’s premier investigating agency the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) went to Rome last week to attend a conference organized by the London Metropolitan Police, we were told. (See related story above).

Since he was there, he dropped in to meet the Indian envoy, like that only. For the record, we learnt that he discussed ways and means to speed up India’s judicial request, the Letter Rogatory (LR) with Italy about the AgustaWestland bribes-for-helicopters deal.

The caged-parrot, as India’s top sleuth described himself recently, “pressed” for early and urgent action. Together with India’s Ambassador to Italy Basant Kumar Gupta, he discussed “ways and means for better coordination with Italian authorities to secure crucial information sought by the agency in its request,” sources told the media over this weekend.

Why India’s top sleuth didn’t go to Milan (three hours by train from Rome) is not known. Neither is it known if he did. Milan is close to Burso Arsizio, a village in northern Italy where Italian prosecutors and courts are fairly close to knowing all about who paid what to whom, when and why in the 560 million Euro Indian contract for VVIP helicopters. The prosecutors have already said that AugustaWestland paid 50 million Euros in bribes. On the basis of their evidence, Switzerland has extradited one of the middlemen Guido Haschke who has decided to enter into plea bargaining.

A decision on his request by the judge was expected on April 11 – the same week that Ranjit Singh was in Rome. Was he present when the decision was announced? What is the decision? Was the statement about attending a police conference in Rome a cagey reference to presence in Italy at the right time in the right place or wrong place? Is India to conclude that delay in the LR means the CBI was not present and/or is not party to what Haschke is doing or saying? Questions and more questions, beginning with – why?

Giuseppe OrsiIf the Italian judge has ratified Haschke’s request, it will be the first sentencing in the scandal which has hit Italy’s state-owned defence group Finmeccanica and its helicopter unit AgustaWestland and rattled New Delhi for a year. For the information he is willing to share, Haschke would be sentenced to serve a year and 10 months under house arrest or perform community service. The News Minute has not been able to reach Haschke, who has never publicly admitted to any guilt, for comment. He is a Swiss-resident Italian and U.S. national.

Among other officials and countries working on this case in Europe, TNM has been in touch with the official Indian representation in Rome and Milan over the past few months. The standard response is that all interaction with journalists on this is through the Raksha Mantrayala (Defence Ministry).

S. P. TyagiIt may be recalled that the former Chief of the Indian Air Force (IAF) S. P. Tyagi and some 12 others have been named in an FIR registered by the CBI in April 2013 probing the bribes. It includes the Tyagi cousins — Sanjeev, alias Julie, Rajeev, alias Docsa, and Sandeep and European middlemen Carlo Gerosa, Christian Michel and Guido Haschke. Giuseppe Orsi and Bruno Spagnolini, the top executives of Italian firm Finmeccanica and its United Kingdom-based subsidiary AgustaWestland are also facing trial in Italy for alleged corruption in the supply of 12 VVIP helicopters to India.

During the hearings Italian prosecutors produced a handwritten note by Orsi where he instructs his lawyers to speak to the then Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti to talk to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The note was found in Orsi’s prison cell. Italian prosecutors have also found other notes which can be called bribery budget with names etc – numbers and initials that cannot appear on any business plan. It is fairly common for bribe givers and takers to work on parallel notes of this nature.

The crux of the matter is that Indian taxpayers were fooled, India was cheated, Italian courts have produced evidence that bribes were paid, Switzerland has extradited one of the middlemen, and we are being led to believe that India is working furiously to find the guilty. The contract has been cancelled but we have failed to retrieve a bank guaranty and have been forced into arbitration by AgustaWestland.

Was Sinha in the Vatican, Milan and Busto Arsizio? What is going on? – The News Minute, 21 April 2014

UK Home Secretary Theresa May & UK Cardinal Vincent Nichols at Vatican Conference in Rome

Vatican asked India for a religious undertaking: India refused says CBI Director – The News Minute

The Vatican had asked India to sign an undertaking that they could work with missionaries and other religious groups and NGOs in India to combat human trafficking. “We are a secular country and we turned down this request,” Ranjit Sinha, Director CBI told The News Minute today. “This was also conveyed to the Vatican through appropriate channels including the MEA,” India’s top sleuth said.

The News Minute which this morning broke the story about the Vatican-sponsored meeting of law enforcement agencies from some 20 countries had also learnt that such an undertaking was sought from the Government of India at the April 8-10 meeting at the Vatican. While it was not a pre-condition to participating in the meeting, pressure was exercised on India to concede. Other countries present at the by-invitation-only conference signed on to the deal.

Vincent Nichols & Boy  ChoristerSinha also told The News Minute that inputs for the meeting were provided by the Interpol and the office of the London Metropolitan Police as it was their initiative. However, Vatican Radio and news sources accessed by TNM clearly state that the initiative was the brainchild of the Bishop’s Conference of England and Wales.

Sinha was unclear about the exact roles and responsibilities of Vatican, London Met Police and Interpol, but this document dated March 11, 2014 clearly states the meeting was organized by the Vatican. Read: Head of London’s Met police at Vatican trafficking conference.

If Vatican’s request had been acceded to, religious groups from Europe and UK would have access to over 220 districts to conduct what the documents say includes “vulnerability mapping.” (emphasis added)

On the AgustaWestland case in which Haschke, the critical middleman wants to turn approver; the hearings were slated in Busto Arsizio in Northern Italy on April 11. When asked about this, Sinha said “everything was going on well.” Pressed to elaborate, he said the Indian ambassador to Rome was in the complete know of things. – The News Minute, 21 April 2014

» Chitra Subramaniam Duella is a journalist and one of India’s best known media personalities. She is famous for her investigation of the Bofors-India Howitzer deal (Bofors Scandal) which is widely believed to have contributed to the electoral defeat of former prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1989.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,142 other followers