Today 13th July 2011 or 7/13/2011 the Cloyne Report has been published in Ireland, this report deals with the Rape of children at the hands of the Catholic Church and the cover up of those rapes by the Church and State. The document below sets this report into the historical context of child rape in Ireland and should be read in full by anyone trully interested in the protection of children.
Sexual Crime in Ireland
Sexual crimes cover a wide range of behaviour and events. These crimes are compounded by the intense emotions involved in sexual behaviour, the distortion that can be caused to an individual’s sexual identity by sexual crimes being perpetrated upon them, by the dominant sexual culture and by moral and religious dimensions (O’Mahony.1996). Particularly in the past two decades with the advent of the proliferation of media and in particular new technologies, we are more acutely aware of the many cases of sexual crime coming before the Courts and perhaps in greater number, persons claiming to have been raped and sexually abused when they were children being held in institutions of ‘care’ that were run by the Catholic Church and under the ‘supervision’ of the Irish State, have alerted us to the cruel hurt and pain that can be inflicted on such persons. West (1983) suggests that most children outgrow the negative effects of such abuse, however, those victims giving testimony to the Redress Board that was established to give financial compensation to those victims of Religious child rapists would contradict this contention.
Sexual crime in the Irish Republic is not something that has simply appeared from nowhere in the 21st Century, indeed, from the very foundation of the Irish Free State sexual crime and in particular against children was common place. Such was the scale of sexual crime against children that the Irish Government of 1930 was pushed to establish an inquiry to examine the extent of sexual crime in the newly liberated territory. The Carrigan Report  was chaired by Mr William Carrigan a retired Senior Council, the evidence presented to Carrigan left the committee in no doubt that child sexual abuse was systematic and wide spread. Carrigan concluded that:
There was an alarming amount of sexual crime increasing yearly, a feature of which was the large number of cases of criminal interference with girls and children from 16 years downwards, including many cases of children less than 10 years.
This observation was supported by the Police Commissioner of the Day, Eoin Duffy, who said that less than 25% of cases were being reported and then less than 15% of these cases were being prosecuted due to a host of reasons. Duffy said that from his own knowledge the number of children under 13 years of age being sexually abused was “Alarming”. It is worth noting at this point that in 2010 little has changed, at Ballyshannon Circuit Court, in County Donegal on the 18th of June 2010, a Garda told the court that a now twenty-year-old women had been raped 57 times by 22 adult men when she was 13 years old, some of those men have been successfully prosecuted. Following the publication of the Cloyne Report (13th July 2011) into child rape at the hands of the Catholic Church the Garda Commissioner had the following to say about the role of the Church and State:
The Garda Commissioner, Martin Callinan, has said the publication of the Report of the Commission of Investigation into the Catholic Archdiocese of Cloyne "details another difficult and sorry chapter" into the Church's and State response to child sexual abuse.
The Commissioner said: "This report details another difficult and sorry chapter in the story of how both Church and State authorities in Ireland responded to the sexual abuse of young people in our community. It outlines omissions and failures in the way in which complaints and allegations were addressed.
"The Commission did state that it was very concerned about the approach adopted by the gardaí when dealing with complaints in three cases outlined in the report.”
The Garda Commissioner apologised to the victims at the heart of those cases.
Mr Callinan said: "It is a matter of regret to me that people did not receive the appropriate attention and action from the Garda Síochána to which they were entitled. The policies and structures now in place are very much victim-focused and designed to ensure that no one has a similar experience today.”
Emphasising again the importance of individuals reporting sexual crime to gardaí, the Garda Commissioner said: "I want to assure the community that we have invested much time, energy and resources into ensuring that both our policies and people are effective in this sensitive and challenging area. Anyone making a complaint to gardaí will be met with sensitivity and with professionalism.”
The Commissioner has asked Assistant Commissioner Derek Byrne to examine the report to see whether, in addition to action already taken, any further action can be taken against the abusers referred to in it.
It is clear from Carrigan and other sources that many police officers wanted to do what they could to prevent sexual crime and bring those responsible to justice; however, they faced many hurdles in their task including the power of the Catholic Church in communities all over Ireland. The findings of the Carrigan Report would not at that time be made public due to pressure from the Catholic Hierarchy and the acquiescent Government of the day. While De Valera made speeches about the, “Laughter of happy maidens”, children were being raped to such an extent in his own constituency that a Judge described the Assizes in De Valera’s own constituency as the “Dirty Assizes” due to the large number of child sex crimes appearing before it.
Francis Hackett who settled in Ireland in the 1920s and was a juror from 1929-37 described sitting through court proceedings that dealt in one sitting with, 20 counts of buggery, a girl who threw her new born baby from a moving train, an elderly man who sexually abused two young girls, and a young man who raped a girl who was under the age of sixteen. However, all of this information was to be confined within its own parochial parameters, the Carrigan Report would not be published as the Catholic Church did not want the inevitable bad publicity that would follow. The Catholic Church had never signed up to the democratic program and felt that they had a God sent right to do as they pleased. The Carrigan suppression is a clear indication as to how the relationship between the Catholic Church and the State worked.
However, we now know that the Catholic Church had much more to hide than the base immorality of Ireland’s newly liberated streets. Within the new order of the Irish Free State the Catholic Church had taken control of the Education system and the much hated ‘Industrial Schools’ and the Government remained as silent partners. We now know from the Ferns, Murphy and Ryan Reports into child sex abuse that the Catholic Church not only allowed but facilitated those Homophiles, Hetrophiles and Paedophiles within its ranks that raped and tortured the children in their ‘care’. This was not passive facilitation but was facilitation of a most criminal nature. Known child rapists were protected while the victims were silenced, known child rapists were sent all over the world where their crimes were unknown and they simply continued to rape children. Cardinal Sean Brady, in Ireland, has admitted in 2010 that he with other members of the Catholic Church, forced child victims of religious child rape to sign letters of secrecy about their ordeals.
The Limits of Liberty, presented by RTE 1, on the 31st of May 2010, tells the heart rendering story of Peter Tyrrell, who was formerly housed in Letterfrack Industrial School, 1924-32, for no other reason than that his family was poor. Peter had committed no crime; his only crime was to come from a family that was poor. Peter had in later life written many letters of complaint to the authorities complaining about the abuse of children by the Religious Orders but his calls for justice fell on deaf ears. Peter felt that he was not believed and in 1967 feeling betrayed and isolated, Peter dosed himself with petrol on Hampstead Heath in England and took his own life. It took twelve months for his body to be identified. We now know that Peter was telling the truth, that truth has been established by a 1000 voices that echoed for so long in those places of evil. The rape and torture of children at the hands of Catholic Priests, Christian Brothers and a host of other Devils in Skirts was systematic and deliberate, these Devils were not held to account by their political bedfellows. Peter Tyrrell had fought against the Nazis in WW11 and had been a prisoner of war; he said in one of his letters that the abuse he suffered at the hands of the Catholic Church was much greater than anything he had been subjected to by the German Guards or Gestapo at his prisoner of war camp.
The area of sexual crime that has evoked most public disquiet, is that perpetrated against children, yet the Irish Republic in 2010 has no mandatory reporting of child rape or abuse. Much of the sexual crime committed against children, although not exclusively, involves seduction and entrapment. Contrary to public discourse, those persons in our community who commit acts of sexual crime against children are not a homogeneous group, this category of offender normally and conveniently referred to as paedophiles (sexual attraction to children) is made up of Homophiles (same gender sex abuse), Hetrophiles (opposite gender sex abuse), Bi-sexual paedophiles (either gender, sex abuse), Homosexual epebopiles (sexual abuse of same gender adolescents) and so forth (Casey.1999). There are two reasons that I make this point, First: so that from the very out set of this article, it is clear, that those who commit sexual crimes against children cannot be set outside mainstream society as an easily identifiable group. It may well suit the liberal agenda to castigate this group of people as being non-homosexual, non-lesbian or non-decent middle class liberal, just as it may suit the right wing hard line agenda, to suggest that this is a small deviant group outside of the conservative elite of politicians, Churchmen, Judges, Barristers, Police officers, Army officers, Solicitors, Business Executives and so forth, however, they are all that and more (Operation Amethyst, The Irish Times.2002, Phoenix.2002, Operation Magenta, Ferns, Murphy and Ryan Reports, Irishtimes.com). Secondly and neatly summed up by Brenda O’Brien:
Demonising child abusers and acting as if they were all the same does nothing to protect children (Irish Times.2002).
Within this category of criminal, the scales of sexual abuse against children go from the highest level of homicide/rape to the lower level of inappropriate touch, voyeurism and so forth. The conviction of a middle class man in Dublin’s Central Criminal Court in July 2001 for possession of child pornography depicting children being raped and tortured highlights the appetite for such depravity and cruelty. On the 27th of May 2002, the Gardai raided over one hundred premises across the Irish Republic and seized computer hardware and software containing hundreds of thousands of downloaded files depicting children being raped and tortured. Premises raided during Operation Amethyst included the homes of a Circuit Court Judge, Barrister, Solicitor, Accountant, Company Director, Social Worker and a range of other ‘professionals’ (Irish Times.2002). The majority of these middle and upper class deviants were successfully prosecuted; their punishment in the form of fines and community service. The case against the Circuit Court judge did not proceed as the search warrant used to search his house was some hours out of date.
Stewart Tendler reporting in the Irish Independent (2002) informed us that more than 1200 teachers, doctors, care workers, policemen and so forth were arrested across the UK during Operation Ore which had like Operation Amethyst been intelligence lead by the FBI. On the same day that Operation Amethyst swung into action, a Garda Sgt/Crime Prevention Officer, based in Drogheda, appeared in the Dublin District Court, facing three charges under the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act (1998) and under the Criminal Law and Sexual Offences Act. One of the charges listed related to solicitation of a female child (Irish Independent.2002). This Garda Sgt would plead guilty and be sentenced to a term of imprisonment; upon his released he reoffended and is now serving an eight year prison term. Over a three year period up to and including 2002 there were 79 Garda Officers charged with a variety of criminal offences including possession of child pornography and sexual assault (Brady, T. Irish Independent. 23/11/02). Some Gardai were also being investigated by the Morris Tribunal and Child pornography had been found at Garda Headquarters (Irish Times.19/12/02).
In December, 2002, an Irish Army Sergeant Major, who was the highest non-commissioned officer in the Irish Defence Forces pleaded guilty to several counts of sexual assault on young male soldiers. If society needed to be awakened to the endemic nature of child sexual abuse in modern society then that awakening came on the 12th day of September, 2002. On that day two Cambridgeshire police officers were arrested and charged by West Midlands Police investigating the distribution of indecent photographs of children. Detective Constable, Brian Stevens who was one of the officers arrested, had two weeks earlier read a poem ‘Lord of Comfort’ at the memorial service for two ten year old girls, Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells. The two girls had been kidnapped and murdered by a known sexual predator. Detective Stephens had been assigned to the Chapman family during the murder inquiry. A male caretaker and assistant female teacher at the girl’s school would later be charged with the murder of the two young girls. However, the list of high profile cases is endless both in the UK and the Irish Republic, in 2009, Sinn Fein President; Gerry Adams was forced to admit that he had known for decades that both his father Gerry Snr and his own brother Liam were child abusers. At the time of writing Gerry’s brother Liam is awaiting a decision of the High Court in Dublin in relation to a European Arrest Warrant that has been issued for him in relation to allegations that he raped his daughter Aine from she was a toddler to her teens.
At the lower end of the scale manipulative men and women exploit the trust placed in them to sexually abuse children, one such example, in 2001, of which there are many coming before the Irish courts, a woman (homophile) was sentenced to six months in prison after admitting that she had sexually abused her friends infant female child, while babysitting that child. In addition to sexual crimes, there is, as with most crimes, a potential legacy of emotional, psychological and social trauma that can follow from such events. There is also in sexual crime the added dimension of the abused becoming abuser. Many cases of sexual crime against children and others coming before the courts, have shown that the perpetrator of sexual crime have themselves been victims of domestic or institutional sexual criminality. However, societies answer is to deny responsibility and to throw the perpetrator in jail, where the myriad of problems being faced by that convicted person become manifest.
It should be remembered that much of the sexual crime perpetuated against children takes place within a domestic setting or certainly at the hands of someone known to the victim. It does not take hours, days, or weeks for someone to sexually abuse a child, a perpetrator will seek out any window of opportunity to quench his/her desires. A perpetrator can get enough stimulus from simply lifting a child down from a swing or walking into the bathroom when a child is being bathed, close supervision and monitoring of children and who has access to them is the best way to prevent sexual crime, you will never know who to trust so trust no one. Children need to be educated about the dangers of sexual crime this must be done in a way that leaves no ambiguity. Psychotherapist, Marie Keenan says that:
In 80-95% of all child sexual abuse cases the perpetrator is known to the victim (Irish Times.2002).
In every town, town land, village and city in Ireland families have their secrets; however, those secrets are the very water in which the child abuser swims. The abuser will use family loyalties and close friendships to conceal their crimes, however, this is a mistake, people who have knowledge of child abuse must report it and there should be legislation to prosecute them if they don’t report it. John Muncie, in Rethinking Social Policy (2000), reminds us that domestic violence in all its forms has only recently been taken seriously when he says:
In a similar vein it has taken some twenty years of feminist enquiry to have it acknowledged that violence, danger and risk lie not just on the streets or in the corridors of power, but in the sanctity of the home (p.220).
While I would agree with Muncie that domestic violence remained hidden for many generations, my own observations would suggest that some of these ‘feminist’ groups within what has become a ‘victims industry’ in Ireland are now occupying that oppressive place of denial once championed by the Catholic Church and its political bedfellows. These groups ‘deny’ domestic violence against men by women, and they excuse the sexual abuse of children by women as some hang over from an abusive nightmare. Women are equally as able to murder and rape as are men, the fact that women do not appear in the dock as often as men is no reason to excuse their criminality. Professor Paul O’Mahony in his book Criminal Chaos (1996), points to inequality as being at the heart of much sexual crime when he states:
The whole problem is greatly complicated by the significant role played in sexual offences by unequal power relations in society between men and women and between adults and children, and by the highly conflicted, often ambiguous and psychologically fraught nature of ‘normal, consensual’ sexual relations (p.207).
O’Mahony is in my opinion correct, unequal power relations are significant in sexual criminality. However, traditionally such unequal power relations were seen to be that of powerful men over helpless women, cases now coming before the courts show us that unequal relations between women and children can be every bit as damming and criminal. Indeed we have seen cases of women sexually assaulting both men and women coming before the courts, however, it remains much of a taboo for men to report sexual abuse at the hands of a woman. Equally, social workers in most cases are much more likely to look upon women sexually abusing children as a medical difficulty to be addressed by counselling, than being purely criminal to be addressed by the courts.
While there is no doubt that sexual crime is in part related to unequal relations between male/female, adults and children, the question of sexual crime and particularly such sexual crime against children is much more complex, in that it involves a host of social, psychological, moral and religious influences (Casey.1999 and O’Mahony.1996). Psychotherapist, Marie Keenan states that:
The lethal cocktail is a person living with a feeling of powerlessness in a position of power (Irish Times.2002).
While largely ignored by the tabloid press, in more and more cases coming before the Irish Courts the role played by women in sexual criminality is slowly being exposed. The role of women in sexual criminality whether by way of perpetrator, facilitator or both remains an area of research largely untouched. Yet the central role played by women in sexual criminality has been known for decades. The problem is of course that the Feminazi want the focus to remain on male deviants and this of course allows the truth about tens of thousands of self-confessed female child abusers to be buried in the dusty shelves of the fourteen area Health Boards in the Irish Republic. This concealment by stealth ensures that children are put at risk of sexual molestation at the hands of women each and every day in Ireland.
The conviction in England in the 1960s of Ian Brady and Myra Hindley for a series of gruesome sex/homicide crimes against children was a wakeup call that was largely ignored as those perpetrators and their crimes were sentenced to death by the lethal injection of time. History continued and continues to repeat itself, time and time again, the Yorkshire Ripper and his wife Rose West committed heinous crimes, David and Catherine Birnie in Perth were the West’s mirror image. Yet in every epoch women have been portrayed as the helpless followers of the male demon, when it is quite clear that these women were able and willing to participate in murder and rape at will. These cases are at the higher end of the scale and are used here for that purpose; however, each and every day in Ireland men and women in equal number commit acts of sexual criminality, mainly against children. Recent incest cases coming before the Irish Courts show what men and women can do in equal measure. Homophiles, hetrophiles and so forth pervade every area of society, yet many people in positions of power and authority deliberately and intentionally try to mislead the public.
While there must be public awareness of the crime of sexual abuse against children and sexual crime in general, we must not allow that awareness to become a witch hunt, whether against the Church, the State, any group or individual in our modern day democracy. Whether, that Witch hunt be driven by the Feminazi, the chatting liberals of the middle classes, the right wing moral philosophers, weak politicians or the lurid and voyeuristic banner headlines of the tabloids, headlines that facilitate the deep recesses of denial in our country. While De Valera made speeches about the “laughter of happy maidens” the courts in his own constituency were packed with cases of child rape. While former Minister for Justice, John O’Donoghue, talked about there being nowhere in Ireland for abusers of children to hide, he was signing off on a One-Billion-Euro deal that would ensure that thousands of religious child rapists would never face the courts. He denied money for rehabilitative care of persons convicted of sexual crime, yet could spend vast fortunes of tax payers’ money on providing himself with five star luxuries.
Carol Sarler, a rape victim, supports Watter’s view of the negative impact of extreme feminism on the sexual crime debate when she says:
We must first neutralise the venom and the influence of the sisterhood, who cannot bear to see a man in jail without also seeing the key thrown away (Observer.2000).
What is clear is that the general management of perpetrators must be such as to strive for best practice in child protection and community safety. This view was summed up concisely by Professor Harry Ferguson when he said:
The issue needs to move from one of revulsion to remedies (Irish Times.2002).
The great problem with this rational approach to remedies is that we live in a country that has no mandatory reporting of child rape/abuse, we live in a country where the files of tens of thousands of known child abusers remain on the shelves of the Health Boards without ever being passed to the Gardai, we live in a country that has produced the Ferns Report, Murphy Report and Ryan reports, all of which have identified thousands of child abusers and these abusers continue to live in the community without any restriction. Tens of thousands of known sex offenders can without legal restriction work with children and have unsupervised access to children. The only known sex offenders who are barred from working with children are those who appear on the sex offenders register, this accounts for 1100 sex offenders in 2010, this accounts for a small percentage of persons who are known to have engaged in sexual criminality including child rape.
The case of Catholic Nun, Sr Nora Wall and her co-accused Pablo Mc Cabe, who were wrongfully convicted by the Irish Courts, with the crime of child rape, is used by Kevin Myers, to highlight the caution that must accompany public disquiet:
Had it not been discovered that at least one of the witnesses against Sr Nora Wall and Pablo Mc Cabe had previously made unsubstantiated rape charges, might not Nora and Pablo be in indefinite solitary confinement the objects of universal obloquy throughout the land. How, in the moral frenzy which is sweeping the country is anyone able to distinguish the genuine complaint from the bogus one after such a passage of time? Have other Nora Walls vanished unnoticed into our prisons? How many more still to come? And for how much longer will tabloid headlines demonise human beings into caricatures of witchdom, the easier, no doubt, to burn them at the stake? (Irish Times.2001).
An equally contemporary case of injustice, of which there are many, was highlighted by RTE 1, in their current affairs programme, True Lives (2002). It was shown in this program, that Fr Shay Cullen, who works with the street children of the Philippines many of whom are prostituted by ruthless child sex traffickers for the international child sex tourist industry, became the victim of a malicious child rape allegation in 2001, the penalty for which is death in the Philippines. Fr Cullen was eventually acquitted in Court, as it became clear that the child at the centre of the allegation had been forced to make such an allegation against Fr Cullen by those with an interest in keeping the child sex industry free from the International gaze that Fr Cullen’s work had brought. For some men/women convicted and sentenced for the sexual abuse of children and sexual crime in general, they have had to spend decades in prison, before being cleared by new advances in DNA evidence. One such person Charles Fain, was released in the US, 24th August, 2001, after serving 19 years of a life sentence, on Death Row, for a sexual crime against a child, that new DNA evidence, proves he did not commit (Evening Herald.2001). Fain is only one of many such innocent people who have walked free after many years pleading their innocence; How many died innocent men/women, we will never know. In a modern day democracy one minute in jail for an innocent person, never mind 19 years, is a crime against humanity that cannot be tolerated.
As Ireland remains in denial of the endemic nature of sexual criminality, miscarriages of justice will continue to happen, as those accused remain ‘guilty’ until proven ‘innocent’. However, at the centre of all the debate about sexual crime, must be the victims alleged or real and how best to develop a fair and just way of dealing with their complaints, without inflicting further hurt and pain. Whether that is further hurt and pain inflicted by an overzealous social worker, psychologist, Doctor or Police Officer, to prove a crime and so on. Children have time and again been used by jilted lovers and bitter ex-wives to make allegations of sexual crime against former partners, false allegations of sexual criminality have been made in land and property disputes, the list is endless. Perpetrators alleged or real have been forced into suicide or denial, having already been held high in public odium in his/her community. Here again the Feminazi fall silent about injustice, here again the Feminazi do nothing for the cause of the real victims of sexual crime.
Donald West (1983) offers some light for those who have been victims of childhood sexual abuse when he suggests:
That even where there is initial manifest disturbance, the children out grow, these reactions and make a satisfactory adjustment (p.7).
Victims alleged or real and perpetrators alleged or real and the way the Courts system treats them, remains a serious bone of contention and contradiction within our criminal justice system. As highlighted by a report commissioned by the Rape Crisis Centre (RCC) (Irish Times.2002), the majority of sexual crimes go unreported for a variety of reasons. One reason alleged is that the courts have no empathy with such victims. While I do not suggest that any serious commentator on child sexual abuse or sexual crime in general, take this report by the RCC, as reflecting a ‘real’ or ‘precise’ picture of the true extent of sexual crime. Not least because of its PVC window methodology. For example, the report used 1000 cold calls as its central sample, of alleged or actual victims of sexual crime. The report, even with its flawed methodology is a useful barometer, and I labour it no more than that, of the possible extent of the problem to be faced in the area of sexual crime in the Irish Republic (see, also Conference Report.1993).
Again it is essential that we remember that many thousands of people are now making a salary out of what has become known as the ‘victims industry’, one can hardly turn a corner but some new ‘made up’ group is being funded by tax payers money. Some solicitors are openly placing advertisements in the lurid tabloids, inviting people to come forward and make an unchallenged claim from the Redress Board. Some so called journalists are making fortunes by simply having court transcripts printed in paperback. For many the ‘victims industry’ is putting bread on the table and for this reason, open, honest and reasoned debate on the subject of sexual crime is a long way off.
Victims and perpetrators alleged or real, feel the criminal justice system is not dealing with them in a fair and reasonable manner. In 2002, the Chairperson of the RCC Ms Breda Allen said:
The Court system is adversarial, switches the onus from the alleged perpetrator to the victim (Irish Times.2002).
I think it is fair to say that these comments by the Chairperson of the RCC show a lack of understanding of our court system. The burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt must remain with the State, and as the examples in this paper have shown, juries are not always a good detector of false allegations and lies, when presented with the drama and emotion of such cases, and particularly if they are high profile. Rarely are women charged with making false allegations of rape or sexual assault against men, and never have the Feminazi called for such prosecutions, yet men who are subject to such false allegations and their families have to live with the stigma for the rest of their lives. On the 17th of June, 2002, at Cork Circuit Court, one such woman was returned for trail for making three different false allegations of rape, against three different men, at three different times. This woman admitted during Garda interviews that she had never even meet one of the men, whom she alleged raped her (Irish Independent.2002).  False allegations are now common practice for a whole range of reasons, yet our criminal justice system remains unwilling to prosecute the perjurers, family courts are notorious places for false allegations to be made, these in camera secret proceedings throw the door wide open to false allegation and perjury.
In 1994 the Supreme Court made a decision that went some way to helping alleviate the court room trauma of a trial for the victim and to a lesser consideration the perpetrator, by allowing a trial judge to give Defendants a discount off their sentence ‘if they plead guilty’ and save the victim the distress of giving evidence and keeping free a trial slot for another case. However, this discount for a plea bargain leaves the defendant who is pleading not guilty at a disadvantage, of they are found guilty. Sr Nora Wall being a case in point, where she was sentenced to life for a crime she did not commit, had she pleaded guilty she would have received about 7-10 years. It is a bizarre situation for those who maintain their innocence but who may be falsely convicted. It can also be argued that the plea bargain, simply allows actual perpetrators to deny/minimise their crimes in the public domain, by pleading guilty to sample charges and serving only a short sentence. It is often the case that a guilty plea in a rape/homicide case will see the rape charge dropped as part of the deal, this creates its own long term problems.
Elizabeth Stanko, in Rethinking Social Policy (2000), says that:
Moreover, research shows that when an incident comes to the attention of the criminal justice system, the State’s interest in punishing violent offenders if affected by people’s assessment of the violence they experience (p.250).
Another bone of contention in the area of sexual crime coming before the courts is whether or not the continued psychological and emotional fall out from acts of sexual crime should be taken into consideration, when sentence is passed on a convicted person. The Victim Impact Report which is prepared for the court in cases of sexual crime and non-sexual crime enters a contradiction into our criminal justice system, which has since the foundation of the State, held that it is the crime committed and not its consequences for which an offender must be punished. In theory and on occasion, in practice, a person committing a sexual assault at the lower end of the scale can receive a more severe sentence than a perpetrator of rape, if the rape victim recovers better due to personal traits. There have been many cases where harsh sentences were handed down due to the fact that the victim had attempted to take their own life due to the alleged abuse; however, many of these children had been prescribed unlicensed mind-altering drugs such as Serotax. Serotax is banned in all other countries due to its side effects including suicide and personality disorder, yet the majority of our judges would have no idea what these victims were feed as their Health Board files are rarely available to the Court.
Experts continue to argue as to whether the Victim Impact Reports relate solely to the alleged or actual abuse, and not other environmental considerations (Bradshaw.1999). As I have pointed out here and which will come as a surprise to many reading, unlicensed mind-altering drugs are continuing to be feed to childhood victims of abuse, yet the negative side effects of these drugs, including self-harm and false memories have been known about for many years. Victim Impact Reports are normally ‘packed’ including matters that have been proven manifestly untrue in court, when one witnesses these Reports being distributed to the lurid tabloids by persons more interested in headlines than community safety one understands why this ‘packing’ occurs. Judge Paul Carney, one of the most seasoned Judges dealing with sexual criminality has regularly criticised the abuse of the Victim Impact Statement, by certain people appearing before his court.
Sentencing in the Irish Courts remains discretionary, with the caveat of the (1993) Criminal Justice Act, which allows for the DPP to seek a Review of a sentence, if ‘they’ believe that such a sentence is unduly lenient. However, there is a sense within the Criminal Justice System that the 1993 Act, is being applied in a way that is invidiously discriminatory, in that certain cases that are high profile are appealed by the State, while more serious cases with lesser sentences are not appealed. In November, 2000, Michael Feeney, a former Headmaster, was convicted of sexually molesting dozens of children, one of Feeney’s victims told the Circuit Court in Monaghan that those pupils not abused were the exception. Feeney had engaged in serious sexual assault and bondage with the children. Feeney was sentenced to three years and the DPP did not appeal. At the same court Vincent Mc Kenna was convicted of the sexual assault of one child, and was sentenced to three years, and the DPP did appeal. The difference between the two cases was that the DPP v Mc Kenna case was high profile and the DPP simply went with the baying mob.
In 2001, the Central Criminal Court, where serious cases of sexual crime are heard, imposed lesser sentences in half the sex cases heard there, than lesser cases heard in the Circuit Courts. For example, in the Central Criminal Court, twenty-seven persons convicted of serious sexual assault were sentenced to two years or over, but less than five (Irish Times.2002). There are times however when ‘exceptional’ circumstances are addressed by way of exceptional sentences in cases of child sexual crime. In a case coming before the Central Criminal Court in October, 2002, a 42 year old male (Homophile) was given a life sentence for the rape and sexual abuse of a number of male children. In this ‘exceptional’ case the perpetrator had videotaped some of his crimes against the children (Irish Independent.2002). Yet two months later in the Circuit Criminal Court, a 47 year old soccer manager with previous convictions for Homophile activity, received three years for a series of Homophile assaults on young boys in his ‘care’ (Irish Independent.2002).
Almost every offence has its special characteristics and so deserves to be treated as a unique event. The continued calls by some groups within the ‘victims industry’ for mandatory sentencing, have themselves done more harm than good in their blinkered approach to sexual crime. This myriad of groups now competing for tens of millions of tax payer’s money each year will do whatever it takes to grab the headlines as the various trenches of funding become available from Government departments. Make no mistake, this is an industry that many of its well salaried and expense account CEOs will not be letting go any time soon. Paul O’Mahony (1996) raises the issue of mandatory sentencing, when he says:
Despite emotive calls for a uniform rigidly harsh response to sex offences, everything that has been learned about sex offending in recent years indicates that it is essential to maintain the tradition of judicial discretion in this area (p.125).
Some judges have taken the time to try and understand the complexities of sexual criminality, however, it is clear from the comments of a number f judges that they have very little idea about the complexities of sexual crime in general. For example, in a case coming before the Central Criminal Court (18th February, 2002), High Court Judge, Mr Philip O’Sullivan, asked for new guidelines to clarify the distinction between therapeutic and medical examination, of alleged rape and sexual assault victims. While my observation is in no way a criticism of Judge O’Sullivan’s request, it is an incredible indictment on the Criminal Justice system that after thousands of such cases coming before the courts many judges remains in limbo when it comes to the complexities of sexual criminality. Mr Justice O’Sullivan was speaking on the 14th day of the trail of a man charged with 79 counts of sexual assault against his niece. Mr Justice O’Sullivan, directed the jury to find the man not guilty on 78 of the charges, after Manchester Police Surgeon, Dr Steven Robinson, told the court that, “modern medical practice” had not been applied in this case. The fact is of course that modern medical practice has not been applied in many such cases, yet the Prosecution, Judges, Juries and Defence teams accept such evidence as bone fide.
I was given access to a number of Books of Evidence, by a number of persons accused of sexual crime, in many of the ‘Medical Reports’, contained in those Books of Evidence, was a ‘medical finding’ referred to as anal dilation. In each of the medical reports examined in these Books of Evidence this ‘finding’ was stated as being consistent with the sex abuse alleged, yet in many of the victims statements no allegation of anal abuse was ever mentioned. Anal dilation is determined by a doctor inserting one of his/her digits inside the anus of an alleged victim, having placed the digit inside an alleged victim the Doctor guesstimates whether there is dilation of the anus or not. There is no scientific measure. In contrast to the conclusions of consistency in these medical reports, the Cleveland Report concluded:
We are satisfied from the evidence that the consensus is that the sign of anal dilation is abnormal and suspicious and requires further investigation. It is not in itself evidence of anal abuse (Kahan.1998.p.68).
However, the word consistent in a medical report is normally enough for non-medical/expert professional law officers in the office of the DPP to pursue charges against an accused person. The burden of proof in such cases has been reduced to the standard of proof in a civil action, all of which flies in the face of International standards in relation to a person’s right to a fair trial. It is clear from the media reporting of such cases that the prosecution labour the fact that the accused person cannot offer any reasonable explanation as to why such a complaint was made. An accused person in such cases now remains guilty until proven innocent. Again proving that in the absence of universal knowledge of these matters, miscarriages of justice will prevail.
The confusion surrounding sexual criminality and particularly such cases coming before the courts is best explained by case law. A High Court Order directing that a former soldier should not be prosecuted for allegedly sexually abusing an eleven year old boy in 1981 was appealed to the Supreme Court by the DPP. The Supreme Court in upholding the order ruled:
That there was a real risk of an unfair trial, due to the passage of time (Irish Independent.2002).
Yet it is clear that people have been prosecuted where the passage of time was much greater and the risks much higher. A number of key points were tested before the Court of Criminal Appeal, in Mc Kenna vs The DPP. Mc Kenna argued that if documents relating to counselling sessions with an alleged victim of sexual abuse were not delivered to the Trial Court until the first day of an accused person’s trial (this is now the position in such cases due to a Supreme Court ruling. Irish Times.2001) that the accused person should have a right to an adjournment to have those documents examined by an expert. A second point related to a warning to the jury where various discredited concepts were at issue, for example, Robust Repression, False Memory Syndrome and so forth. It was clear from the notes in this case that the complainant had for several months told both a GP and Health Board staff that she had no memory of any incidents of sexual abuse, however, after she was prescribed unlicensed mind-altering drugs she recovered memories of the accused forcing her to pull his foreskin back and forward on an almost daily basis until he ejaculated, even though it would be proven at trial that the accused had been circumcised as a baby and could not for medical reasons ever be masturbated. The complainant also made 76 allegations of sexual assault against the accused, even though everyone agreed that the accused was actually living in England during that entire period. The alleged victim was able to recall her statement to Gardai with 100% word accuracy to the Court even though she had made the statement two years prior to the trial, this according to experts is consistent with the use of mind altering drugs and dubious counselling practices, practices that have been banned in the UK for many years.
In the DPP vs McKenna extensive Health Board files were only delivered to the defence on the first day of trial. The trial judge refused an adjournment so that the defence could have the files examined by an expert. In the aftermath of Mc Kenna’s trial and conviction, the Health Board notes, transcript of the trial and all other documents relating to the trial were examined by Dr Mohan MRC Psychiatrist, Diploma in Forensic Psychiatry, Consultant Forensic Psychiatry, who is presently Senior Consultant with the Department of Justice. Dr Mohan said of the documents relating to the DPP vs Mc Kenna’s trial:
It is clear that the jury had insufficient information upon which to make a balanced decision (25th September.2001).
On both points, in the face of overwhelming evidence, the Court of Criminal Appeal ruled against the Appellant (Irish Times.2002), this ruling highlighting the cavalier attitude of some judges to the complexities of sexual crime, particularly in high profile cases. It is this cavalier attitude by some members of the judiciary that is seeing more innocent people imprisoned, particularly as those in power in Ireland remain in denial of their complicit role in sexual criminality. Elizabeth Stanko (2000) addresses the broader social environment in which crime takes place when she says:
Individuals’ own resources, cultural histories and knowledge, together with their social, institutional and personal reserves, assist in the assistance to and affect the impact of threats and violence. This is true for both offender and victim (who may be one and the same person)…..my argument is that victims meet violence within a complex web of personal, situational and social situations (p.249).
In relation to the area of sexual criminality and sexual crime involving children in particular, Psychotherapist, Ms Marie Keenan, criticised:
The crude medical and legal discourses which used classifications that ignored the social context in which abuse took place, as well as the different types of offenders, and how so many were amenable to treatment (Irish Times.2002).
Some so called ‘victims’ groups appear to have stepped outside their remit, particularly those groups who have coached ‘victims’ in a uniformity of language, as they present the remnants of their troubled lives to the courts. It is clear that clichés such as, “It is a life sentence” or “I have been robbed of my childhood”, have become the standard comments of those ‘victims’ alleged or real coming before the courts and who’s press releases are being handed to the lurid tabloids. We have had on numerous occasions the bizarre situation where Victim Impact Statements are sitting in the offices of tabloid editors before the judge of the sentencing court has ever seen them, the editor’s copy being ‘embargoed’ until sentence has been set down. This self-profiling applies only to those cases where the ‘victim’ has waived their anonymity and in some instances goes on to claim almost pop star status having been adopted for a day or two by the lurid tabloids. Paid interviews, scholarships, cash donations from the public, publishing deals, can all be part of the ‘victims’ portfolio. It is this theatre and its performance on the stage of the tabloid press, which undermines the cause of the real victims of sexual crime, particularly the young and the vulnerable.
As the public ask the question: Why? If a young person has been subjected to such abuse, would they want to go on the pages of the tabloid press? A tabloid press that facilitates and normalises sexual crime by their sexual exploitation of men, women and children, serious questions remain to be answered about the true motivation of senior executives within Victim Support (The Phoenix.2002) and the ‘victims’ industry in general. Even during this time of recession, hundreds of millions of tax payer’s money is being poured into an industry that remains without audit or supervision, we the tax payer can’t even ask the questions that would allow us to establish if we are getting anything in return for our money, other than keeping a great many self-profilers and woolly jumpers in nice offices with inflated salaries and endless expense accounts. Even as some sections of the media rightly scrutinize the salaries and expenses of politicians, bankers and senior civil servants, the ‘victims’ industry remains untouched by such scrutiny. When ‘victims’ groups say they have had a surge in people seeking help, we have no empirical/objective evidence to support those claims as we are quickly told that ‘Confidentiality’ blocks us from passing the salaried gate keepers to such information.
What then of the many thousands of persons, including Health Board staff (Irish Times.2002), confirmed by the Health Boards as having committed sexual crimes including multiple rapes/victims and who’s details have not been passed onto the Gardai. There is no legislation in 2010, nor is there any proposal for legislation to address the greater number of persons confirmed as having committed sexual crimes against children (96%). This is not to accept in some blind manner the result of Health Board investigations or their conclusions in relation to sexual crimes against children, however, thousands of people who have admitted their crimes to Health Board staff and who have not been prosecuted, remain without obligation in the community. One is only too acutely aware of high profile cases of false diagnosis such as that by Dr Moira Woods, the former Director of the Sexual Assault Unit, at the Rotunda Hospital, who was found guilty by the Irish Medical Council, of wrongly accusing five families of sexually abusing their children, this finding was not appealed by Dr Woods (Sunday Independent.2002).
Dr Woods was not the exception, GPs and many medical practitioners remain a law onto themselves, GPs who have admitted having sexual relations with and children to some of their patients, who have admitted feeding unlicensed mind-altering drugs to their patients continue to practice without restriction in the Irish Republic. Many concepts and procedures banned in child sex abuse cases in the UK, continue to be utilised in the Irish Republic, indeed many ‘medical’ practitioners operating in the Republic would not be allowed to work in the UK. The Royal College of Psychiatrists in London has been scathing of the concepts of repression and memory recovery techniques  used in child sex abuse cases, yet people are convicted in the Irish Courts on an almost daily basis, on evidence that has been derived from such practices, due to a lack of knowledge right across the Criminal Justice System.
Professor Paul O’Mahony (1996) tells us that in the period 1987-1991:
The Health Boards in the Irish Republic dealt with and confirmed 2,474 cases of child sexual abuse, of these cases 180 were prosecuted (p.220).
Even at this embryonic stage of the complaint process it is clear that there is a wide margin for abuse of the discretional process, by the Health Boards, other agencies and individuals, especially but not exclusively in provincial towns, as so graphically highlighted by the Ferns Report. The Ferns report showed that child rapists within the Catholic Church were protected by their superiors and this concealment was assisted and facilitated by many within the high echelons of civil society. The Ferns Report is not extraordinary, today in 2010 small elites are determining who will and who will not be prosecuted. If we take the case of provincial towns where these elites live in the same private housing estates, play golf in the local golf club, holiday in the same destinations, car pool their children each day and so forth, it is clear that many known abusers continue to be protected. The case of the Wexford publican who admitted to Health Board staff that he had systematically raped five children including his young sister, and he was able to remain at large for many years, including training the local under-age GAA teams, as he done a deal with Health Board staff. He was able to pay for himself and his five victims to go to the Granada Institute and it would only be years later that his sister decided that this concealment was not right that he was prosecuted.
If it is accepted that under reporting of sexual crime is as high as two thirds as highlighted by the report commissioned by the RCC (2002), then we can reasonably estimate that there were 7,422 active cases of child sexual abuse in the Irish Republic in the period 1987-1991. In 2002, The Department of Health and Children in their annual report confirmed that there had been 2,104 confirmed cases of child sexual abuse, involving 1,991 children, in the year 2000. That trend has continued and in 2010 the figures for 2009 show an overall increase in these figures. Again if we account for non-reporting there is a year on year average of 6,000 children being raped and sexually abused, with at least another 10,000 children being subjected to other types of abuse. However, we are now in the midst, like it or not, of a child and domestic abuse epidemic, the conditions are now ripe for such abuses, the vast increase in alcohol/drug consumption in the home, unemployment, depression and a general feeling of social decay have opened the way for unrestricted abuse. The HSE cannot even protect the children in their own ‘care’, what chance has a child five stories up in a concrete jungle, or a child in the leafy lanes of suburbia.
Mr Brian Lenihan TD when Minister for State for Health and Children did in a parliamentary reply to Mr Joe Costello TD, in 2002, confirm that there had been a total of 8,269 cases of child abuse including sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse and neglect referred to the Health Boards in the year 2000. This total involved 7,739 children. A graphic example of the Government’s failure to protect children in its ‘care’, was highlighted by the Honourable Mr Justice Peter Kelly, of the High Court in Dublin, when he said of the State Institutions of ‘care’ for children in Dublin:
Animals are treated better than the children in this care facility (Irish Independent.2001).
Unfortunately the case of the thirteen year old boy that had caused Mr Justice Kelly to make these initial comments about the said institutions, would be followed by tragedy three weeks later, when Mr Justice Kelly had to accept that the young boy that he had sent to this institution of ‘care’ had been systematically sexually abused while resident there (Irish Independent.2001). In another contemporary case of a young person in the case of the South Eastern Health Board, the Health Board confirmed the child’s allegations of sexual abuse while in their ‘care’ by a member of staff, however, the DPP decided not to prosecute. This type of environment of social decay is the very waters in which the Homophile, Hetrophile and so forth swim. What better place to be than a place where children are drugged with unlicensed mind altering drugs, where one day to the next is a blare for the child, children coming into State ‘care’ because they have already been sexually abused are perfect targets, who is going to believe them, a jury certainly won’t convict on their evidence. What is the word of a dysfunctional child against that of a middle class ‘professional’?
A Report by the Irish Social Services Inspectorate, which carried out an investigation into the ‘care’ centre at the centre of these allegations, makes horrifying reading. One of the report findings was that staff had not even been subjected to minimal clearance procedures with the Garda Siochana (Irish Times.2002). However, Garda vetting is limited to actual convictions, as the HSE makes cut backs and tries to make savings, more and more cheap labour will be sourced to carry out a whole range of tasks within the child care/health care sector. Make no bones about it, the majority of this cheap labour, are foreign nationals, who cannot be vetted. As tens of thousands of people poured into Ireland over recent years, many left behind criminal pasts in their countries of origin. The police in many of these countries of origin have no computerised records of criminal convictions, our prisons are filled to the brim with foreign nationals who have come to Ireland and simply continued to rape and plunder at will, some of these people worked in ‘care’ homes and so forth and of course they would have got Garda clearance.
While it is clear from the Murphy, Ryan and Ferns Reports that many thousands of children have been raped and sexually molested over many decades while in the ‘care’ of the State, by those in whose ‘care’ they were placed, children continue to be put at risk by the State. A Report by CARI, a voluntary group working with children said:
Child sexual abuse victims are being left at risk due to a lack of supervision on access visits to children in ‘care’ of the State. The service is seriously inadequate and sexual abuse victims are not being given the support they need. Supervision in facilities which are supposed to acre for child victims is nowhere near adequate (TV3.2001).
In Irish prisons where people have been convicted of heinous crimes against children, those convicted persons are regularly given access to children on visits without any HSE or qualified Child Protection supervision. In a report by the INTO (Irish Times.2002) it was stated that, there one thousand teachers who have no formal training, working in primary schools in the Irish Republic. There are a further eight hundred substitute teachers with even fewer qualifications working in the same primary schools, this was at a time when twenty qualified teachers were suspended on full pay awaiting the outcome of sex abuse allegations against them (Sunday Independent.2002) and many more teachers have been convicted of such crimes. In Ireland in 2010 one can be a Creche worker, youth worker, care worker and so on without having to undergo anything other than minimal clearance with the Gardai, if even that.
While the Sex Offenders Bill 2001, introduced a sex offenders register, and put an ‘onus’ on a convicted person to declare their conviction for sexual crime ‘if’ applying for work with children, it is clear that such legislation is piece meal and ill-considered. Experts state that such registers have no impact on sexual crime (Irish Times.2003). In fact it has been argued and demonstrated that such registers are simply used by the State to abuse the Human and Civil Rights of that minority of persons already convicted and punished. The legislation does nothing to address the many tens of thousands of persons who have been confirmed by Health Boards as having raped and sexually abused children but have not been prosecuted 96% (Irish Times.2002). The register does not include those hundreds of people who paid for and down loaded images of child rape, all of whom continue to be a serious threat to children.
As a caveat to these figures by the Health Boards, concerning children, the annual crimes figures compiled by the Gardai and relating to the years 2000/01, showed that sexual offences reported to the Gardai, were up by 83% in 2001, compared to 2000. The figures for reported sexual crime in 2000, 1,070 compared to 1,956 for 2001. Tom O’Malley (1996) points out that, there is a very considerable attrition of cases between reporting and going to trial and conviction. In O’Malley’s research he found that in the years 1988-91 inclusive, 344 cases of rape were known to the Gardai, proceedings were taken in only 159 cases and, at the end of 1993, there were only 70 offenders in prison convicted of rape. In 2008 there were 1,407 Sexual Offences recorded by An Garda Siochana, by October 2009, court proceedings had commenced for 158 of these offences. There were 29 convictions while a further 106 cases were still pending (CSO.2010). So it would appear that very little has changed in terms of the numbers of persons being subjected to sexual violence, these CSO figures do not include cases of child sex abuse confirmed by the HSE, unreported cases and so forth.
It is an incredible indictment on successive Governments that there is a prosecution lottery, not only in that there is no mandatory reporting of child rape and sexual abuse, but that HSE staff arbitrarily decide which cases of alleged or confirmed cases of sexual crime against children that they will refer to An Garda Siochana. And then the DPP will decide which cases to prosecute, even in cases where the perpetrator has admitted wrong doing the DPP has not prosecuted. All of which makes a nonsense of the Irish Constitution’s guarantee ‘to treat all citizens equal before the law’. This discretionary aspect of the reporting process makes a mockery of our criminal justice system. In 2000, the North Eastern Health Board (NEHB) dealt with 1277 cases of child abuse, including rape and sexual abuse, 47% of cases were in Monaghan/Cavan. The NEHB reported less than 5% of these cases to the Gardai (NEHB.2001). Yet under child protection protocol guidelines the Health Board and Gardai are obliged to formally report child protection concerns to each other. However, as is typical of child protection in the Irish Republic this protocol is not mandatory. Cavan/Monaghan has a registered electorate of approximately 90,000 persons, if we project the figures for Cavan/Monaghan in 2000, over a ten year period, we would conclude that a possible 6,380 cases of child abuse will have been reported, with a possible 12,760 going unreported in Cavan/Monaghan. It is perhaps the full extent of child abuse that keeps the subject from serious scrutiny.
While the Fianna Fail Party (senior Coalition Government partners 1997-2010) made Mandatory reporting of child rape an election promise in 1997, there is no legislation in operation for the mandatory reporting of child rape in 2010 and there will be no such legislation in the life time of the present Government. Child Rape is not new in Ireland it has been known about since the Carrigan Report in 1930, however, the Catholic Church among other interested parties does not want Mandatory reporting of child rape on the statute books and for that reason it will not be on the statute books, this will be a great relief to those thousands of persons in society who continue to rape children and depend on the concealment of their crimes to quench their lust. Non Mandatory reporting of child rape is to the sexual deviant, what the safe house is to the terrorist.
Prior to the introduction of the 1997 Criminal Justice Act there existed in common law the crime of ‘misprision of felony’. Misprision of Felony simply meant that if a person had knowledge of a serious crime having been committed by another person but had concealed or failed to report such crime to the Gardai they could be prosecuted. However, knowing that many within the Hierarchy of the Catholic Church and Civil Society could fall upon this sword, if the dark secrets within the Church were fully exposed, Fianna Fail upon taking power in 1997 quickly removed it from the statue books. The 1997 Criminal Justice Act created two new offences but neither had the scope of misprision of felony, this was the intention of the legislator, now Bishops and Cardinals could even openly admit that they had forced children to sign letters of secrecy about their rapes at the hands of the Catholic Church and these Bishops and Cardinals would not face prosecution for their crimes against God and man.
Under section 7(2) of the 1997 Act, an offence occurs where a person knows that someone else has committed an arrestable offence (punishable by five years or more), and does without reasonable excuse any act with intent to impede the apprehension or prosecution of that other person. This new offence under the 1997 Act requires the doing of a positive act with the intent to impede prosecution, so a mere failure to report a crime, including child rape, is not sufficient for prosecution. The other offence created under the 1997 Act, section 8, which replaces a different common law offence of ‘compounding a felony’. It applies only where a person knows that an arrestable offence has been committed but agrees for some consideration (i.e. money) not to disclose that information. Again section 8 would require more than the act of failing to report the rape of a child in order to be prosecuted. It is also worth noting that Section 15, of the 1997 Criminal Justice Act, applies the abolition of the misprision of felony retrospectively, should there be any doubt why this law was removed from the statute books. How many times have Ministers said that laws could not be applied retrospectively in other matters, yet it would appear that it could be done to help Bishops, Cardinals and other criminals in our society?
Such is the moral bankruptcy of the relationship between the Catholic Church and their political bedfellows that we have legislation that puts a mandatory obligation on banks to report suspicious monetary transactions but we have no mandatory reporting of child rape. In 1990 the Law Reform Commission argued that failure to report child
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