Black Collar CrimesClergy Crimes

March –
June 1999


  • Canada
  • Greece
  • Ireland
  • Philippines
  • South Africa
  • Thailand
  • United Kingdom
  • Vatican



    REGINA, Saskatchewan — A guilty plea by a retired priest will spare his now-adult victims from testifying at a gross indecency trial. Fr. Kenneth Greer, 65, was charged with 5 counts for incidents involving 5 boys aged 12 to 15 between 1968 and 1974. Greer, retired, remained free on bail.
    Leader-Post, 4/20

    QUEBEC CITY — Quebec police said they had raided the commune of a Catholic sect and were still looking for four its leaders, who are alleged to have sexually assaulted children.

    A spokesman for the provincial police force said they had conducted a six-year investigation of the leader of the Apostles of Infinite Love and had charged him with sexually assaulting minors.

    "The leader, Jean Gregoire of Trinity, whose real name is Jean-Gaston Tremblay, faces 20 accusations of gross indecency, sexual assaults, indecent assault on a male minor and assault," he said.

    Tremblay's followers are said to believe he is the real pope. Tremblay, 70, is one of four people being sought on a Canada-wide warrant on charges related to incidents that took place between 1966 and 1985.

    Fifteen victims, now living in Canada and in the United States, are involved, police said. The minors only knew one another through names and nicknames that were not even theirs, making it a very difficult investigation.

    Another man, Fr. Jean, or Reynald Huot, 59, faces 23 similar accusations, including sodomy. Two women, Sr. Helene, or Ruth-Ann Guzal, 47 and Sr. Lise, or Lise Garand, 57, have also been accused of assault.

    The sect is not well known but its Web site said it was founded in 1962 in Canada. It said it wanted "to keep intact the doctrinal and dogmatic teachings, forever and ever, by the Saints and the Doctors of the Roman Catholic Church." It said the commune was producing its own electricity and running its own garage and printing house. It added it was growing its own vegetables and fruits, breeding animals and making clothing.

    Quebec police said about 130 officers were involved in the early-morning search at the commune. The prov-ince's Youth Protection Agency took charge of 14 children, ages four to 15, found at the commune. No arrests were made during the raid.
    Reuters, 4/14

    VANCOUVER, British Columbia — A judge will decide whether 90 male victims from Mt. Cashel can obtain financial compensation by forcing the liquidation of two schools in Vancouver also run by the Christian Brothers. The schools together are valued at about $38 million (Canadian) — roughtly the amount of compensation the Newfoundland men seek. Several of the 8 brothers convicted for offenses at Mount Cashel also served in the western schools.
    Sun, 4/6



    ATHENS — Police arrested an Orthodox priest, his father and a farmer on suspicion of maintaining a marijuana plantation, authorities said. The three were allegedly cultivating 154 marijuana plants which had grown up to a size of 4 feet in a field near the village of Agnanti, north of Athens, police said. Authorities uprooted and confiscated the plants. Fr. Constantinos Nikolaou, 28, and the other men told police they were growing the plants for personal use, and did not intend to sell the marijuana. The three are to appear before a prosecutor to be formally charged.
    AP 6/8



    WATERFORD — A nun has been found guilty of raping a 10-year-old child in her care. Nora Wall, 51, pinned the girl by the ankles while a homeless man raped her in a children's home here run by the Sisters of Mercy.

    Wall, the first nun to be found guilty of rape in Ireland, was in charge of the home and guardian of the girl at the time of the attack, in about 1988.

    The Sisters of Mercy said that they were "devastated by the revolting crimes" carried out against the girl, now 21. The victim was sent by the social services to St Michael's care centre in Cappoquin, Co Waterford, at age 6 following allegations that she had been sexually abused by her father.

    The center cared for about 30 children and was designed to mimic family life, breaking with the Irish tradition of placing children in large industrial schools where physical and sexual abuse were rampant. Wall, who took the name of Sr. Dominic in 1966, was appointed director in 1978. She had undertaken several courses on childcare and was highly praised in references as "a professional".

    But the victim's testimony portrayed her otherwise. Dublin's Central Criminal Court was told how the nun befriended the victim, got into her bed and started kissing and fondling the girl. Wall also took the girl to her room, decorated with religious relics, and abused her in her double bed.

    When the victim was ten, Wall brought Paul McCabe, described in court as "a smelly vagabond", into the girl's bedroom. The nun sat at the bottom of the bed and held the girl's ankles while McCabe molested and raped her.

    Wall, who denied rape and sexual assault, was convicted by a jury of eight men and four women. She was acquitted of a second charge of rape. McCabe, a schizophrenic, was also convicted of raping and sexually abusing the child. He became friendly with Wall when he returned to St Michael's to find out about his mother who had left him there as a child.

    Five years ago, the Sisters of Mercy were such a respected part of Irish society that their founder was depicted on the country's £5 notes.

    But recently there have been a series of child abuse scandals. Hundreds of former residents at Goldenbridge, a home run by the Sisters in Dublin, are suing them for abuse. Two years ago the Sisters paid out £20,000 to a couple whose 11-month-old baby died shortly after arriving at the home in 1955. She had burns and a hole "the size of a silver dollar" on her legs.

    Wall is the first nun, but the 35th member of the Irish Roman Catholic clergy, to be convicted of child sex abuse. Other cases are outstanding. In one, Gardai (national police) have received 230 complaints against 75 priests who worked in Artane, a Christian Brothers School in Dublin that was home for about six years to Paul McCabe, Wall's co-accused.
    London Times, 6/12

    DUBLIN - The Irish government made an unprecedented apology to people who were childhood victims of sexual and physical abuse while being cared for in state-funded institutions run by the Catholic church in the past.

    In a televised press conference, Prime Minister Bertie Ahern said he wanted to make a sincere and long overdue apology to victims of abuse for the country's "collective failure to intervene, to detect their pain, to come to their rescue".

    A special commission is being set up as a "sympathetic and experienced" forum where victims can tell their stories. The government's apology comes as series of television documentaries dealing with abuse in 59 church-run but state-funded industrial and reform schools has shocked the country.

    The screening of the programs has led to a flood of calls to counselling helplines from traumatized victims. The government will now set its own counselling service.

    The last of the institutions closed in the 1970s and several Catholic orders involved in running them have already issued apologies to victims. Elderly priests and monks have been jailed and several major police investigations are ongoing — some of them involving allegations about abuse dating back as far as the 1940s.

    A large number of compensation claims against religious orders are also pending in the courts. The government plans to change the current law which requires that personal injury claims must be lodged within three years. The TV documentaries have uncovered previously unpublished reports from government inspectors which found that in some institutions children were starved and only half their body weight.

    In one case the school's dairy herd had a better diet than the pupils.

    The schools had over 1,000 children a year referred to them by the courts - some for minor misdemeanors like truancy - and the state paid per head of children held. The more children it had, the more cash the religious order got from the state.

    The series producer Mary Rafferty said that for the greater part of the century the Irish system held more children than all similar institutions in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland put together.

    About 100 of an estimated 30,000 people still alive who passed through the system gave horrifying accounts of the sexual and physical abuse they suffered.

    The regime of beatings and ill-treatment were described in graphic detail by a number of the country's leading actors, entertainers and writers who were former inmates.
    AFP 5/11



    MANILA — A nun was sentenced to three to 5 years in jail for beating an 11-year-old student at a Catholic school, court officials said. Sr. Margarita Yamyamin had pleaded guilty to beating a student last July. She showed little emotion as the sentence was read. The court found that the nun kicked the boy several times in the leg and pounded his head against a chair to punish him for being unruly.

    The child, who suffered bruises and contusions, told his parents, who complained to police. Yamyamin was convicted of child abuse and cruelty and could have been given a longer jail term had she not pleaded guilty and surrendered after the incident. Yamyamin, a first-time offender, would may instead apply for probation rather than appeal.
    AP 3/9



    JOHANNESBURG — Allan Boesak, a former preacher who campaigned for democracy with fiery anit-apartheid sermons in the 1980s, has been found guilty of 3 counts of theft and one of fraud involving foreign aid donations to apartheid's child victims totalling $210,000.
    Cleveland Plain Dealer, 3/19



    BANGKOK — More than 5,000 Buddhist monks defrocked a colleague in absentia for allegedly breaking rules by owning land and distorting the teachings of Buddha.

    The defrocking ceremony, which took place at a temple in a northern suburb, was aimed at Phra Dhammachayo, abbot of the nearby Wat Dhammakaya temple, The Nation newspaper reported.

    A week before, the Supreme Patriarch, the country's highest Buddhist monk, issued a letter saying any monk guilty of the violations Dhammachayo had committed must be defrocked. The abbot owns lands and companies, which should be owned instead by the temple. He also has claimed to have performed miracles.

    The temple has also been criticized for allegedly preying on the poor by encouraging them to donate as much money as possible so the monks can build what they say will be the world's largest pagoda.

    The abbot turned over his lands around the country to the temple. Reports said he owned enough plots to make him one of the wealthiest landlords in Thailand. But the monks who held the mock defrocking said it was too late and insisted that the abbot must be expelled.

    They have criticized the government's department of religious affairs for not carrying out the Supreme Patriarch's instruction to defrock the monk.
    AP 5/10



    BLACKBURN, England — Three Jesuit priests were charged with indecent assault on former pupils at a leading Catholic school, police reported. The charges brought to 8 the number of former staff accused of assaults on boys during the 1970s and 80s at Stonyhurst College and its elementary school, St. Mary's Hall, both in the northern county of Lancashire. One schoolmaster, Rory O'Brien, 56, was arrested last year and is now due to face trial on charges of indecency involving two former pupils.

    Police said Frs. Joseph Dooley, 79, Clifford Taunton, 82, and George Earle, 73, must face charges. They were connected to the schools at the time of the alleged offenses. 5 other men, including an 87-year-old priest, have already been charged with indecency offenses there.
    AP 6/24, BBC 4/21

    ABERDEEN, Scotland — Marie Docherty, known as Sr. Alphonso, appeared in a Sheriff's Court charged with cruelty against 23 girls at children's homes in Scotland by the Poor Sisters of Nazareth between 1962 and 1980. She denied the allegations, which include beating girls with hairbrushes, toys and cutlery.
    NCR 4/16
    MANCHESTER, England — Roman Catholic Archbishop John Ward, 70, of Cardiff, Wales, will not be prosecuted in connections with allegations he committed sexual assault on a seven-year-old girl nearly 30 years ago. Ward is a former papal advisor and the highest ranking RC cleric in Wales.

    In Dec., his former press spokesman Fr. John Lloyd, 58, was jailed for 8 years for 11 indecent assaults, one rape and a serious sexual offence. The court heard that Lloyd had sexually abused two teenage altar boys and a woman in her 20s during a 10-year period and had raped a girl of 16 he befriended at a church youth club.

    The 4 complainants came forward as a result of publicity surrounding his earlier trial last Feb. when he was convicted of abusing a girl of 13 within hours of baptizing her. He was acquitted of seven counts of indecently assaulting children and four of rape while a parish priest between 1970 and 1988. The jury was unable to reach verdicts on a further 9 counts of indecent assault.
    NCR 4/9, CNS, 2/6, Total Wales, 1/29



    VATICAN CITY — During the Irish Bishops' ad limina visit to Rome, an appearance required every five years before the Pope and the Roman Curia, John Paul II expressed his closeness to victims of sexual abuse committed by priests and religious, and reaffirmed the importance of celibacy.

    The pope said, "I have been close to you in suffering and prayer, commending to the 'God of all comfort' those who have been victims of sexual abuse on the part of clerics or religious."

    He added: "We must also pray that those who have been guilty of this wrong will recognize the evil nature of their actions and seek forgiveness." "These scandals, and a sociological rather than theological concept of the Church, sometimes lead to calls for a change in the discipline of celibacy," he admitted. But to revise the rule for these reasons would be an error, stated the pontiff.
    ZENIT 6/27

    VATICAN CITY — Pope John Paul II expressed his regrets over the arrest of a bishop in Rwanda on genocide charges.In his first public mention of the case that has strained the Vatican's relations with Rwanda, the pope said the arrest of Bp. Augustin Misago, 56, caused him "pain and sorrow." The Vatican had already described the arrest of Misago as an extremely serious act wounding not only the church in Rwanda but the entire Roman Catholic Church.

    The bishop had been seeking refuge at the residence of the pope's envoy in Kigali where he was arrested. Misago was ordered to remain in the Kigali Central Prison for two months, until an investigation is completed into his alleged participation in the 1994 genocide of more than 500,000 minority Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus. The government suspects many of Rwanda's clergy supported the massacres. Groups of genocide survivors have demanded a public apology from the Catholic clergy for the killings in churches and missionary-run schools, where thousands of Tutsis were hacked and burned to death by Hutu soldiers and militiamen, often with the alleged complicity of the priests.

    Misago's arrest on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity provoked protests from the Vatican and Rwanda's eight other bishops, who led services to pray for Misago. The news agency of the Vatican's missionary service claimed the arrest was part of government strategy to "reduce the influence of the church in society and block the work of reconciliation." Rwanda has insisted its actions are against genocide suspects and not the Catholic Church as an institution.

    The Rwandan government has expressed its outrage over Vatican criticism. Rwandan radio quoted an official as saying "if the Catholic Church believes Misago was acting on its behalf, then it should answer for his charges of genocide in the court of law."

    Tutsi genocide survivors say Misago refused them shelter from Hutu death squads who murdered hundreds of thousands of people in Gikongoro, 60 miles southwest of Kigali, where Misago headed the diocese.
    AP 4/14, 15, 18, 21

    For more on clergy involvement in the Rwandan genocide, see Hearts of Darkness.



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