CATHOLIC SEX ABUSE SCANDAL
“Los Angeles Cardinal Hid Abuse, Files Show.” By Ian Lovett. New York Times. January 21, 2013. The retired archbishop of Los Angeles, Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, and other high-ranking clergymen in the archdiocese worked quietly to keep evidence of child molesting away from law enforcement officials and shield abusive priests from criminal prosecution more than a decade before the scandal became public, according to confidential church records. The documents, filed in court as part of lawsuit against the archdiocese and posted online by The Los Angeles Times on Monday, offer the clearest glimpse yet of how the archdiocese dealt with abusive priests in the decades before the scandal broke, including Cardinal Mahony’s personal involvement in covering up their crimes. Rather than defrocking priests and contacting the police, the archdiocese sent priests who had molested children to out-of-state treatment facilities, in large part because therapists in California were legally obligated to report any evidence of child abuse to the police, the files make clear. Cardinal Mahony said he came to understand that impact only two decades later, when he met with almost 100 victims of sexual abuse by priests under his charge. He now keeps an index card for each one of those victims, praying for each one every day, he said in the statement. In a phone interview, J. Michael Hennigan, a lawyer for the archdiocese, said that the documents represented the “beginnings of the awakening of the archdiocese of these kinds of problems,” and that the lessons learned in the intervening decades helped shape the current policy, under which all accusations of abuse are reported to the police and all adults who supervise children are fingerprinted and subjected to background checks.
“Files show how LA church leaders controlled damage.” San Francisco Chronicle/Associated Press. January 21, 2013.
“L.A. church leaders sought to hide sex abuse cases from authorities; Documents from the late 1980s show that Archbishop Roger M. Mahony and another archdiocese official discussed strategies to keep police from discovering that children were being sexually abused by priests.” Los Angeles Times. January 21, 2013.
“L.A. Prosecutor to Review New Church Files on Priests.” Wall Street Journal. January 22, 2013.
“New Sexual Abuse Files Cast Shadow on Legacy of Los Angeles Cardinal.” New York Times. January 22, 2013.
“LA Church Files Show How Cardinal Roger Mahony Shielded Pedophile Priest, Failed Child Victims.” Huffington Post. January 22, 2013.
“Church sex abuse files unlikely to lead to charges, experts say; Statute of limitations is the main stumbling block to prosecuting Cardinal Roger M. Mahony and aides in the sex abuse files from the 1980s released this week, experts say.” Los Angeles Times. January 22, 2013.
“Mahony’s efforts to hide abuse are deplorable but unsurprising; The calculated moves to shield molesters in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles may not be legally actionable, but when it comes to a moral judgment, the jury is already in.” By Steve Lopez. Los Angeles Times. January 22, 2013.
“Cardinal Mahoney Hid Child Sex Abuse Cases.” Morning Edition/National Public Radio. January 25, 2013.
“Mishandling of abuse cases threatens Mahony’s legacy with Latinos Revelations about how the retired L.A. archbishop dealt with two pedophile priests threaten to tarnish his legacy of fighting for immigrants, an effort he described as his calling.” Los Angeles Times. January 26, 2013.
“Friar accused of abuse in 2 states kills himself; Baker died from a self-inflicted knife wound; 11 men alleged Baker sexually abused them in high school. At least 3 other men from another school also alleged abuse.” USA Today. January 26, 2013. A Franciscan friar accused of sexually abusing students at Catholic high schools in Ohio and Pennsylvania killed himself at a western Pennsylvania monastery, police said Saturday. Brother Stephen Baker, 62, was found dead of a self-inflicted knife wound at the St. Bernardine Monastery in Hollidaysburg on Saturday morning, Police Chief Roger White said. He declined to say whether a note was found. Baker was named in legal settlements last week involving 11 men who alleged that he sexually abused them at a Catholic high school in northeast Ohio three decades ago. The undisclosed financial settlements announced Jan. 16 involved his contact with students at John F. Kennedy High School in Warren, Ohio from 1986-90. The Youngstown diocese previously said it was unaware of the allegations until nearly 20 years after the alleged abuse. After the settlements were announced, the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese in central Pennsylvania said it received complaints in 2011 of possible abuse by Baker at Bishop McCort High School in Johnstown, about 60 miles east of Pittsburgh. Bishop McCort High School hired an attorney to investigate after several former students alleged they were molested by Baker in the 1990s. Attorney Susan Williams said three former students had talked to her in detail about the alleged abuse. Baker taught and coached at John F. Kennedy High School in the late 1980′s and early 1990′s and was at Bishop McCort from 1992-2000. Bishop Mark Bartchak of the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese said in a statement that he was saddened by the news of Baker’s death, but declined further comment citing pending legal action involving the diocese.
“Child sex abuse link to celibacy.” By Barney Zwartz. Sydney Morning Herald. January 24, 2013. Many Catholic priests take a flexible approach to celibacy, tolerated by church leaders, and some believe sex with children or men does not count, a former Melbourne priest said on Wednesday. ”An enormous number of priests struggle with celibacy,” Philip O’Donnell told the state inquiry into how the churches handle child sex abuse. ”There’s a tolerance for imperfection in celibacy, and that may have led to a lessening of outrage at sex with children.” He said he had no training about celibacy in the seminary and that many priests were ill-equipped. ”Chosen celibacy is a gift, but mandatory celibacy is for many priests a millstone,” he said. Mr O’Donnell declined to speculate on what percentage of Catholic priests, who must vow to be celibate, were sexually active, but another Melbourne priest has separately suggested it is about half. Asked by committee member Andrea Coote whether priests believed only sex with women counted as real sex (breaking celibacy vows), and that homosexual and child sex did not, Mr O’Donnell said: ”Sometimes.”
“Cautious Welcome for ‘Robin Hood’ Tax.” By A. D. McKenzie. Interpress Service. January 24, 2013. Non-governmental organisations across Europe welcomed the move by 11 European Union countries Tuesday to move forward with the introduction of a financial transaction tax (FTT), but they urged national governments to ensure that a part of the revenues would be allocated to development. Calling the tax a ‘golden anniversary’ present, because it came on the 50th anniversary of French-German friendship, a coalition of more than 70 NGOs appealed to French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel to spread a “public message of solidarity outside their borders” to guarantee that the FTT would be used particularly in the fight against poverty and HIV-AIDS, and to combat climate change. “We are happy to see that the process is moving ahead but we’re very worried that the issue of allocating part of the money to development is not going to be taken up,” said Friederike Röder, a spokesperson for anti-poverty group ONE, which was co-founded by rock musician Bono. “What can happen is that the countries will be so pleased to see additional revenues coming in that they might use the funds for their general national budgets and not be willing to earmark any for development,” she told IPS. So far, Hollande is the only head of state who has said the FTT will go partly for development. France and Germany spearheaded adoption of this “major milestone” for EU tax guidelines, as the European Union’s taxation commissioner Algirdas Semeta put it on Tuesday. The decision came after a meeting of the EU’s 27 finance ministers in Brussels, but France had long been pressing for the move. The measure will go now go before the European Parliament as a formality, to approve the European Commission’s proposal that transactions in shares and bonds be taxed at 0.1 percent, and trades in derivatives at 0.01 percent. Overall, by implementing a levy of this percentage on financial transactions, France could gain up to 12 billion euros a year, according to the International Monetary Fund. At the European level, about 50 billion euros could be raised annually, the IMF says.
“NRI initiative raises millions for educating India’s children.” By Madhavi Rajadhyaksha. Times of India. January 25, 2013. A group of Indian-Americans in New York attended an unusual black-tie dinner gala one November evening last year. Over a video link they chatted with students of a Pune slum school. This was one of many fundraisers hosted by voluntary organization Pratham USA. Its mission: Mobilize Indians in the US to get involved in its work. The dinner was a success. More than 400, mostly those of Indian origin, pledged support to Pratham USA. On a single night, they donated $1.4million to educate tiny tots in India’s impoverished pockets. Pratham USA is an overseas arm of Pratham (India), working to ensure that “every child is in school and learning well”. It’s created a circle of giving where NRIs chip in with funds and expertise to strengthen the parent body’s educational initiatives. One of the best-known names in education, NGO Pratham has been working with the government in 21 states to improve pre-school education, provide additional learning support to in-school and out-of-school children, mainstream school dropouts, provide vocational training and computer literacy to those from vulnerable backgrounds. It touches the lives of over 2 million students annually. What started out as an informal network with a few hands in 2000 has now grown into a formal initiative involving 10,000 people across 14 US cities. They collectively generate over $11mn annually towards Pratham’s work.
“U.S. Quits Working Group At Core of Russian ‘Reset’.” By Gregory L. White. Wall Street Journal. January 25, 2013. The U.S. pulled out of a joint working group on civil society with Russia that had been a key element of the Obama Administration’s “reset” policy with Moscow, protesting what it called the Kremlin’s deepening crackdown on critics. Russian Interior Ministry officers detain gay-rights activists on Friday. The move, though mainly symbolic, is the latest sign of a deepening chill in relations between Moscow and Washington that has taken hold since Vladimir Putin returned to the presidency last year. While both sides insist publicly they want to continue cooperation, officials and analysts say Washington is likely to turn its focus away from an increasingly prickly and uncooperative Moscow. Tensions have built steadily over the past year or so, particularly since Mr. Putin blamed Washington for supporting anti-Kremlin protests that started in December 2011 and became the largest public challenge in his 12-year rule. Moscow’s unwillingness to step up pressure on Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad also has frustrated the U.S. Since Mr. Putin won re-election in March, his Kremlin has steadily squeezed opponents, pushing through new restrictions on protests, bringing criminal charges against rivals and imposing strict new rules on foreign-funded nongovernmental organizations. The Kremlin pushed out the U.S. Agency for International Development in the fall, saying it was trying to influence Russian domestic politics. U.S. officials say the group was simply helping support civil society. Some U.S. officials had expected the crackdown would slow after the election as the Kremlin sought to woo its onetime opponents. But the steps have intensified, particularly after President Barack Obama signed a law imposing visa and financial sanctions against Russian officials alleged to have been involved in human-rights violations. The law, named for Sergei Magnitsky, a whistleblower who died in a Moscow jail in 2009, triggered a fierce response from the Kremlin. Moscow went beyond initial threats to impose similar sanctions on U.S. officials and passed a law further limiting U.S.-backed nongovernmental groups and banning adoption of Russian children by Americans.
“Spain’s Strapped Towns Look To Churches For Cash.” By Lauren Frayer. All Things Considered/National Public Radio. January 25, 2013. The Catholic Church is Spain’s largest and richest landowner, though its nonprofit status means it is exempt from paying most taxes. But amid the current economic crisis, that may be changing. One college town just outside Madrid is leading an effort by some Spanish municipalities to serve the church an up-to-date property tax bill. Alcala de Henares is re-evaluating the status of hundreds of church holdings that have been exempt from paying property tax for hundreds of years. The Catholic Church owns more than just places of worship. It also owns apartments and retail buildings. “We’re studying whether any church properties that have long been listed as charities are actually being used for commercial activities. If that’s the case, they’ll have to start paying tax,” said city councilman Anselmo Avendano. Last summer, Avendano passed a motion to re-evaluate church holdings by square footage. So, if one out of 30 rooms in a convent is selling sweets, it’ll have to pay tax on that one room. That’s how the system is supposed to work already, but it’s not always enforced. The church may be Spain’s biggest landowner, but it’s also the biggest charity here — at a time when public welfare programs are being cut and unemployment tops 26 percent.
“Charities afraid to challenge public policy amid retribution fears; Government must uphold voluntary sector independence or risk silencing most vulnerable members of society, warns inquiry.” By Patrick Butler. Guardian. January 21, 2013. Campaigning charities are increasingly fearful of speaking out on behalf of vulnerable people because of the widespread use of gagging clauses in contracts and attacks by ministers on voluntary organisations’ freedom of expression, an independent inquiry has found. Although the coalition government has promised a bigger role for charities in providing public services as part of its “big society” project, it has become increasingly contemptuous of those provider organisations which also speak out against injustice and inequality, the inquiry says. Its chairman, Sir Roger Singleton, a former chief executive of the children’s charity Barnardo’s, said the government must take action to uphold voluntary sector independence: “Without this we may see the voice of the vulnerable and marginalised being silenced, democracy being eroded and society. impoverished.” Charities told the inquiry they felt increasingly unable to challenge policy or speak out on minority issues at national or local level because they feared losing contracts or influence. Many were self-censoring because they feared retribution from funders. “Overall, we suspect there is an increasing unwillingness to speak truth unto power,” the report says. Charities most likely to be affected were smaller organisations working with “unpopular” disadvantaged groups including former offenders, people with mental health needs, drug addicts, homeless people, asylum seekers, and victims of crime. These charities are most dependent on state funding and because they are disproportionately based in deprived areas, are most likely to be affected by public funding cuts.
“Should you register as a charitable incorporated organisation? New legal structures mean that charities can register as CIOs. Anita Pati looks at the sector’s response to the new regulation.” By Anita Pati. Guardian. January 22, 2013. Charitable Incorporated Organisations (CIOs) finally arrived in time for Christmas. But it seems many charities have already left the party with dampened enthusiasm. Introduced in the Charities Act 2006 and mooted for more than a decade previously, some charities were finally able to apply from December 2012. The CIO, set out in the Charities Act 2011, will allow charities to become incorporated charities, and so able to enter into contracts in their own right. Their trustees or members will have limited or no liability and the organisation will need only to register once with the Charity Commission rather than also going to Companies House,, the aim of which is to reduce any administrative burdens. CIOs will also not be subject to company law. But the wait has irritated many. Barney Mynott, spokesman for the National Association for Voluntary and Community Action (Navca), says, “the delays in implementing the CIO were unacceptable. They caused confusion, frustration and additional work for charities wanting to start up as a CIO or wishing to convert”.
“Why collaboration is important for charities; Keeping a clear focus on the best outcome for beneficiaries and understanding pricing issues is the key to success.” Guardian. 1-23-13. There are pressures for organisations in every sector – including those in the voluntary sector – to team up with others to achieve common goals. In our experience at Impetus, small and medium-sized charities and social enterprises are often the ones coming up with the most innovative solutions to social problems. Whether two or more small charities collaborate to help them reach more people, or a large organisation collaborates with a small one because it recognises the special value the smaller organisation brings to clients, it is the partnership that allows them to make the greatest impact. Collaboration can be a relatively quick, though not always easy, way of bringing impactful solutions to more people. But collaboration isn’t always the answer. Messages such as “let’s all work together” and “the sum is greater than the parts” are often heard, but what is difficult to decide is when collaboration is right for your organisation. We believe collaboration is the right step when it can lead to significant growth for an organisation in terms of people helped, or income, and when it deepens the positive impact an organisation makes on its clients. In a new report we have produced with New Philanthropy Capital (NPC), called Collaboration for Impact, we examine what makes a good collaboration. The aim is to make it easier for organisations to spot the right opportunities and to clear the most common obstacles on the path to collaborative success.
Our research determined the key factors for a successful collaboration.
“Voluntary sector independence ‘under direct challenge’; Ex-Barnado’s chief executive says contracting and government procedures putting independence at risk.” By Roger Singleton. Guardian. January 22, 2013. The right of some voluntary organisations to campaign and criticise the government is under direct challenge, at a time when that independent voice is vital. It’s not just that engagement and trust in mainstream politics has declined and the political debate has narrowed. It’s also that the poorest in society are feeling the hardest effects, as real incomes fall and public services are cut, and charities often know from first-hand experience what the problems are and what should be done about it. So it was worrying to hear Save the Children being attacked last year by conservative commenters for its campaign to tackle child poverty in the UK. Even more so to see advice from the department of communities and local government to local authorities to stop funding what it calls ‘fake charities’ that ‘lobby and call for more state regulation and more state funding.’ That advice referenced publications that implied that it was wrong to fund charities like Alcohol Concern to help with public health campaigns or for charities like Relate and Oxfam to receive public money and give their views to Government about policy at the same time. Voices are being directly silenced in the work programme through so-called ‘gagging clauses’ that prevent voluntary sector contractors from doing anything to ‘damage the reputation’ of the department for work and pensions, or giving out their own data publicly – data that might highlight problems for specific groups. Is it right in a democracy to prevent whistleblowing about things that might be wrong with public services or public policy?
“Impact measurement is essential to winning public service contracts; A new approach by public-service commissioners shows that organisations demonstrating value are more likely to win contracts.” By Saba Salman. Guardian. January 24, 2013. Public-service commissioners employed by local authorities are often accused of being risk averse, opting for the cheapest deal and bypassing small providers in favour of the usual service delivery suspects. In Camden, north London, a few years ago, commissioners worked with the New Economics Foundation to, in the council’s own words, “develop outcome-based procurement that will support sustainable communities, and demonstrate the added community value from third sector service provision”. The Camden example, showcased on the NCVO website as good practice, aimed for an outcome based commissioning model which asked providers, among other things, how the services identified users’ strengths and how they supported clients in finding ways to help or support others. If your organisation relied on using traditional output-based evidence to measure success, what hope would you have of bidding for a Camden contract – and what hope would the council have in weighing up your services under its new approach?
“Treasury aims to widen payroll-giving schemes; Of £9.3bn donated to good causes in 2011-12, £118m was via payroll giving.” By Hilary Osborne. Guardian. January 23, 2013. Companies such as JustGiving and Virgin Money may be allowed to run workplace-giving schemes in an attempt to shake up the market and encourage more people to make regular charitable donations from their earnings. The schemes allow employees to make donations from pay before tax, meaning that higher-rate taxpayers who give £10 to charity see their monthly income reduced by £6. They are popular with charities, who receive a regular income, and allow 40% taxpayers to maximise donations without having to claim gift aid. However, just 2% of UK firms offer schemes and only 735,000 people, 3% of the workforce, are signed up. Of £9.3bn donated to good causes in 2011-12, £118m was via payroll giving. The only organisations allowed to run schemes for businesses are charities. Of 12 active payroll-giving agencies the largest, the Charities Aid Foundation, has 80% of the market. Charges for businesses are typically 4% of the money donated, which some firms pay themselves and others take out of employees’ contributions. The Treasury is consulting on opening the market to other organisations, which it said could drive down costs and raise awareness. It also wants workers leaving jobs where they are signed to receive “exit packs” including forms they can take to their new employer in order to continue their payments. Among those that could get involved are JustGiving, an online fundraising firm. It charges charities £15 a month plus a fee of between 2% and 5% on every donation after gift aid, while donors pay card transaction fees of 1.3%. It reported profits of £1.4m in 2011. Virgin Money Giving, which runs a rival non-profit-making operation, charges charities 2% on donations plus a one-off set-up fee, while donors face a fee of 1.45% on card payments.
“A look at charity pensions; How changes to the law introduced in October are affecting pensions for charity professionals.” By Claudia Cahalane. Guardian. January 25, 2013. Last October, Chester Voluntary Action (CVS) organised an event for its members to help them learn more about new legal requirements to automatically enrol staff into a pension scheme. The law, introduced in October, is being staggered. Large employers, for example those with more than 120,000 staff, had to enrol workers in a qualifying pension scheme from last October. But those with less than thirty staff will not have to start auto-enrolling employees until 2017 or 2018. Out of CVS’s 400 members, only 8 turned up to its pension event. There is a sense that because many charities are several years off their staging date, they aren’t yet factoring pensions into their budgets. Almost 70% of charities have less than 50 staff and won’t have a start date before 2015, but that doesn’t mean they can “put their feet up,” says Jane Tully, head of policy and public affairs, at Charity Finance Group. “Planning now can help smooth the costs, so that there isn’t a sudden shock to the finances at any point,” she adds. The Pensions Regulator says it can take larger employers up to 18 months to prepare for a scheme and is encouraging charities to determine their start date as soon as possible so they can at least work out when to start preparations. Tully comments: “Bigger charities are now working on organising a scheme or adjusting their existing pension scheme to comply with the new law, often using external resource.”
“1,000 postgraduates a year ‘too poor’ to take up Oxford place; University’s ‘wealth test’ said to discourage up to 15% of successful candidates as legal and political row grows.” By Daniel Boffey. Guardian/Observer. January 26, 2013. About 1,000 students a year turn down a postgraduate place won at Oxford on academic merit because of the financial demands of study there, university figures suggest. This amounts to 15% of the 7,500 students offered a place, according to the admissions office. The figure has emerged after the outcry last week over the case of Damien Shannon, 26, who is suing St Hugh’s College for “selecting by wealth”. Oxford demands that students who meet its academic targets for study must also prove that they have liquid assets to cover fees, which can reach £41,000, plus £12,900 in living costs. Students cannot factor in future earnings from evening or weekend work under a policy formalised across the university in 2010. There is also only one university means-tested scholarship to allow poorer students the chance of a postgraduate education. St Hugh’s denies that it discriminates against those from lower-income backgrounds or that it has contravened Shannon’s “human right” to an education by demanding that he show he had access to £21,000 for fees and living costs for his economic and social history course. St Hugh’s claims in its defence that the so-called financial guarantee is enforced to ensure students will be able to complete their courses without suffering financial difficulty and anxiety. Last week parliament debated Shannon’s legal case, which has received the backing of former Labour cabinet minister Hazel Blears, MP for Salford, where Shannon lives. She said the university’s demands were “unfair and shortsighted” because they blocked talented students from poor backgrounds. She said the amount of money the university demanded students have access to bore no relation to the real costs of study. She added: “I know that work has been done over the last few years to try to widen access to undergraduate degrees, but postgraduate qualifications are becoming increasingly expected if people are to [gain] access to some of our professions. That is why I am so exercised about this situation.”