Inquiry Finds Senior Cleric Protected Paedophile Priest

Paedophile Priest

The Australians appear to be ahead of the UK in terms of Rheir royal Commission into Clerical Child Abuse. However, we have an example here of the type of verdict that the looming UK Home Office might reach.

It seems that the senior cleric had a conversation with a paedophile priest, which would have reulted in a jail sentence for the paedophile priest if it had been reported to the police. This was part of a report released by the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Father John Nestor

It seems that Father John Nestor had assaulted youngsters in Wollongong during the Nineties. A senior cleric in that diocese ensured that no writtem record was ever kept of the conversation which were an admission of criminal conduct. The senior cleric did this because he wanted to protect not only the paedophile priest but the church.

 Even though it was known that Nestor was a paedophile from the early Nineties, it took over 5 years for the Vatican to remove him from the priesthood in 2008.

Clerical Sexual Abuse

There were runours in the Nineties about camps Nestor ran where the boys swam naked in the open. Nestor talked to boys about the size of their genitalia.

Father Lucas, the General Secretary of the Australian Catholic Bishops was found guilty of “not recording or reporting Father Nestor’s inappropriate conduct”. He knew about what occurred after a major talk with Nestor in 1993.

“An outcome of Father Lucas’ practice was to ensure that there was no written record of any admissions of criminal conduct in order to protect the priest and the Church,” according to the report.

He even told Nestor that the conversation they had of his confession of his crimes would remain confidential and no record would be kept of it. Nestor reckoned it would impinge on Nestor’s right to silence to record the conversation.

Child Sex Abuse Accusations

The first accusation of child sex abuse was levelled at Nestor in 1996. He was convicted of ‘aggravted indecent assault as well as an aggravated act of indecency on an individual under 16 years of age’. However, he got acquitted the following year on appeal.

Complaints continued to be made against Nestor. This led to the church reconsidering and eventually removing Nestor as a priest. The report states that when he was removed the congregation were told that the reason was his involvement in several abuse cases against minors.

Food for Thought for Comboni Missionaries

This should give food for though for those who have been, or are in, positions of authority in the Comboni Missionaries and who were told about clrecial sexual abuse by boys at the seminary, them or later, or by the priests admitting it.

Although paedophile priests, Fathe john Pinkman and Father Domenico Valmaggia, are now dead, many of those, at senior level, who were told about it and covered it up are now in the cross sights of the Home Office Panel.

They won’t sleep so soundly in their beds.

The truth will out!

The Home Office Inquiry is in its early stages here but is taking shape.

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Comboni Missionaries and Pope Francis on Clerical Abuse

 Comboni Missionaries

By Brian Hennessy

In early 2012, Danny Sullivan was appointed as the Chairman of NCSC following the resignation of Baroness Patricia Scotland. In June 2014, he attended the Mass in Santa Marta, presided over by Pope Francis, and he listened to the Homily in which the new Pope demonstrated, in abundantly clear language, his sorrow at the failings of the Catholic Church in the pressing matter of Child Sexual Abuse.

He heard the Pope seek forgiveness of the victims of abuse for their suffering, for the failure of Church leaders to understand their torment or to believe their complaints and reports of abuse.

He stated categorically that there was no place for any cleric in the Church who had committed such “diabolical” acts.

Pope Francis, a practical diocesan Shepherd all his life, untainted by the dogmatic and defensive rituals of the Roman Curia, took responsibility in a way that none of his predecessors had done – and he set a new tone by outlining his determination to act comprehensively and speedily to rectify the issues that had, quite literally, brought the once mighty Roman Catholic Church to its knees by a loss of credibility and respectability – and the loss of the demonstrable practice of its basic virtues of love and charity that had always been its declared mission.

Sins of the Fathers

It so happened that in mid October, just a short while after that homily of Pope Francis, that an article, “Sins of the Fathers”, written by Catherine Deveney, appeared in the UK’s mainstream Daily Newspaper, The Observer.

The text recorded details of the trauma and suffering that clerical sexual abuse, perpetrated by Priests of the Comboni Missionary Order against child seminarians, had been caused to the victims during the abuse and throughout their subsequent lifetimes.

Missionari Comboniani

The article also highlighted the “response” by the spokespersons of the Comboni Missionary Order.

That response was significant in that it was diametrically opposed to everything that Pope Francis had said.

The Comboni Missionary Order cast doubt on the veracity of the signed victim and witness’s statements of more than a dozen ex-seminarians who had been in their care.

They stated, in effect, that the small payments made to those who had lodged a legal case against the Order were not compensation, but merely a “business” arrangement.

They stated that, in contradiction of the claims by the victims that the fully documented reports, said to have been made to Priests and Superiors by the victims at the time of the abuse, were untrue.

Comboni Missionaries View of Mirfield12

One priest, to whom historic reports had been made, claimed, in a conversation face to face with one of the victims that the complaints that had been made were only about “money” – and he had emphasised that point by rubbing his thumb and forefinger together in a grubby and insulting denial.

Three other priests have refused to speak to a Victim who was trying to establish a dialogue with members of the Order.

That same Victim has been denied, by the Superior General of the Comboni Missionary Order, the request by the West Yorkshire Police for the extradition to the United Kingdom of a priest of the Order to face charges of child sexual abuse.

Danny Sullivan

A week later, in a letter to the same Observer Newspaper, Danny Sullivan, the Chair of the National Catholic Safeguarding Commission, commented on the Observer article, “Sins of the Fathers” with a caution, which, in retrospect, appears both scathing and mocking. He said that the response by members of the Comboni Missionary Order to the Child Sexual Abuse Victims, predated upon by Priests of that Order, demonstrated just how far the Clerics of the Catholic Church had yet to travel to get their act in order (my paraphrase).

Danny Sullivan does not lead an organisation opposed to the Catholic Church, nor is he seeking to trample upon everything for which the Catholic Church stands.

He heads up an organisation that works on behalf of UK Catholicism – in an organisation set up by the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales – to promote the safeguarding of children in line with the principles of the Cumberlege Commission Report “Safeguarding with Confidence” (July 2007).

That Commission was set up in response to Lord Nolan’s Report, “A Programme For Action” (2001) – and his later “Final Report” – which has been adopted worldwide as the “gold standard” for child safeguarding.

Child Sexual Abuse of Minors and Vulnerable Adults

We know where Danny Sullivan stands on matters of Child Sexual Abuse of Minors and Vulnerable Adults.

We, ‘The Mirfield 12’, stand beside Danny and his aims. Danny Sullivan also stands shoulder to shoulder with Pope Francis. Presumably, even Padre Enrique Sanchez would concede that Pope Francis is on the side of God!

Yet, we remain totally mystified as to where the Superior General of the Comboni Missionary Order, Padre Enrique Sanchez himself, stands!

There is an old maxim – “If you are not for us, then you are against us”! Presumably, by deduction, Padre Enrique Sanchez will be able to work out in his own mind with whom we think that he and his entourage stand!

Suffice it to say, that if Padre Enrique Sanchez and his confreres do not yet know right from wrong and good from bad – and are unable to discern truth from lies – then both he – and, individually, they – are in the wrong job!

Marks’ New Comboni Missionaries (Missionari Comboniani) Story

Comboni Missionaries – Mark’s New Story

These days I am certainly dealing with my life in a much more calm and settled way than  I had before.

I am not desperate to see Father Romano Nardo. Yes, Father Enrique Sanchez’s  reply annoyed me,  and upset me – it was half-expected wasn’t it?

And my world will not fall apart if I never have the opportunity to see Nardo. However, it will keep on being awkward for  the Comboni Missionaries when it is  highlighted  that they refused to let me meet with Nardo,  especially  when the possible outcome of such a meeting could have been me offering forgiveness to him.

My offer of forgiveness to Nardo is not my raison d’etre in what I am doing. It never has been.

Organisation Change

So why am I doing what I am doing. It is for change. Change within organisations, especially powerful institutions like the Catholic Church. We talk about apologies and acknowledgements but that really does not matter. It certainly does not to me now – it used to, but not now. Apologies and acknowledgements come about through dialogue, honest dialogue where truth and humility are ever present. I can not see that happening just yet.

I may have said and used certain words in the past. However, it was often said because I did not know what I really wanted to happen and consequently did not know what to say. Justice, apology, acknowledgment and listening  were often banded about. Easy words – especially if they come from the abusers or the abusers’ organisations like  the Comboni Missionaries. It can get  them off the hook. Now It is easier for me to  say what I want to say, and I will certainly say what I believe to be the truth when given  the  opportunity.

Father Nardo Romano

I have moved on considerably – for the better – especially in the last year.

I feel that there has been a line drawn under the abuse that Nardo perpetrated on me. Call it closure, call it moving on or call it  peace with myself; it does not matter –  but it is there and it is within me.

The moving on and drawing a line underneath the  Comboni Missionaries behaviour and how their actions has affected aspects of my life is harder. However, I can deal with most of those feelings as well.

I am undertaking activities and interest that i would have been unable to do two years ago. I am not preoccupied for most of the day with the Comboni Missionaries.

 

Abuse at Mirfield

The above are all activities i would be unable to undertake if i had not come to terms with the abuse at Mirfield.

There are many good days now – and a couple of bad days. I have a good psychotherapist that I can relate to. He has helped enormously. And yes, we have talked about forgiveness and meeting with Nardo.

The Mirfield 12 have had an enormous positive effect on me: not being alone when fighting for change; the strength that comes from being part of a group; the humour  at times between  us  and the concern we have for each other.

We  are a  unique group. There is no other like us in the world. I  believe  we can make things happen,  and make change a reality for many children who have suffered or are suffering abuse within institutions and organisations .

Click on Mark’s Story to read about his abuse at the  hands of the Comboni Missionaries.

Mark
seriously serious

Comboni Missionaries who were Told about the Sexual Abuse

Comboni Missionaries (Missionari Comboniani)

Many of the priest who were at Mirfield during the abuse scandals of the Sixties and early Seventies were not child abusers. However, some of them were actively involved in the cover-up. Others, still, were not child sexual abusers and were not involved in the cover-up but knew what was happening and failed to report it to the police.

Others, still, simply didn’t know about it at all.

Most of the boys abused didn’t tell anyone about it at the time – even their best friends. There are incidents, now, of best friends only learning that they were abused around the same time at Mirfield by the same Comboni Missionary priests.

However, some boys did report the sexual abuse to various members of the Comboni Missionaries.

So, why would individual Comboni Missionaries cover-up the sexual abuse of boys as young as 11 by predatory priests? Self-preservation of the Order and of their fellow priests would be good answers to this question.

Vow of Obedience

The Vow they took of Obedience is the Ordination Vow most strictly adhered to by Comboni Missionaries and other Orders. It is absolute.

It has been drilled into them from an early age, as it was with we seminarians, that the Laws of God outranked the Laws of Man, that God ia a higher authority and that, therefore, his laws should be obeyed before the Laws of Man.

Somehow, that has got twisted into following the Laws and Dictates of the Order above the Laws of Man. As far as I know they haven’t yet made the Superior General  of the Comboni Missionaries, and other orders, infalible.

However, they may as well be as Comboni Missionaries and other Orders follow their dictats ‘religiously’ (sic).

Let’s not call it abuse. Let’s call it statutory rape of a minor – as that is what it is in many cases. Many Comboni Missionaries have connived to cover-up multiple statutory rapes of young boys as young as 11 by serial rapists.

When the Abuse was Reported and to Whom

Mick Palmer and Ben Berrell

In 1965 or 1966, Ben Berrell, one the Junior Boys, told a friend that Fr Pinkman had abused him. Somehow, and Ben doesn’t remember how, the information came to the attention of Mick Palmer, who was in the Seniors then.

Mick came to talk to Ben and said that they should report it. As luck would have it, the head of the Comboni Missionaries in the UK, Father Bresciani, the Father Provincial, was due to pay a visit to St Peter Claver College seminary in Mifield. They bided their time.

When Father Bresciani came there, Mick Palmer went to see him to tell him of the abuse by Father John Pinkman. When he came back he told Ben Berrell to go and see him now.

Ben went – but it was a complete waste of time. According to Ben, Father Bresciani said nothing at all. He just sat there and stared and said nothing. So Ben, got up and went. “That was a waste of time, wasn’t it” said Mick to Ben when he went back to him. “Yes it was ” said Ben. They were shocked that their stories of abuse were so coldly rejected. It made them very cynical about the church and the Comboni Missionaries afterwards.

It is not known what Fr Besciani did with this information. It is not known if he spoke to the Fr Rector at the time or to his superior, the Superior General in Italy. Whomsoever, he told (if he did) it didn’t matter. No action was taken – and the sexual abuse (let’s call it statutory rape) of young boys as young as 11 continued.

Click on Ben’s Abuse Story

Frank McGinnis

According to Frank “I reported Pinkman abuse to both Hicks & Wade during confession in school year 65-66 ( I can’t narrow it down further than that). I repeated the same to Fulvi in early 66. I informed Fraser as he expelled me on last day of term in July 67  about abuse by both Pinkman & Valmaggia.

“It was in confession I told Fulvi. He was sympathetic where the other two were cold. Hicks delivered a spiel about my mind not being up to seminarian standard for suggesting anything untoward was afoot with Pinkman.

“Wade just squirmed and simply gave me a few Hail-Marys. He didn’t want to know.

“Fulvi promised nothing but encouraged me to continue my (already started) defiance of Pinkman’s instructions to visit his room. I had a bit of faith in him that he would intervene & that remained so until my departure in 67.

“Fraser did his nut, called me a liar and kicked me out of his office”.

Note:-

Father John Fraser recently told Jim Kirby in a phone call that he didn’t know about Father John Pinkman till many years later.

Click on Frank’s Abuse Story

Note 2:-

Whilst Father Hicks, Father Fulvi and Father Wade were told about the abuse in confession and the secrecy of the Convession Box meant that they could not repeat, or take action, on what they had heard in the Confession Box, for something as serious as this they could have asked Frank if he would like to come and see them outside of the Confession Box to repeat what he had told them there.

Their failure to do this in the 1965/66 school year meant that Father John Pinkman could safely continue his abuse till he went in 1967/68 and Father Valmaggia could continue to abuse young boys as young as 11 till the abuse was reported to Father Robert Hicks in 1969.

Their failure to ask Frank to come and see them and repeat what he said in the Confessional Box meant that many, many young lads’ lives were ruined.

Anthony Smith

Anthony Smith went to see Father Rector, Father Giacomo Ambrogio, in around November 1966, with another boy whose name he forgets, to tell him of his abuse by Father John Pinkman.

Said Anthony, “Basically I told him Pinkman had been getting me alone and touching me up and rubbing himself sexually against me and kissing me. The Rector didn’t say anything at all and certainly didn’t act on it. I knew nothing would happen and I didn’t go to see him again”.

Pinkman continued to abuse boys at St Peter Claver College seminary until late 1967.

Click on Anthony’s Abuse Story

Father Enrico Fulvi – by Jim Kirby and Anthony Summers

In early 1967 some of the Senior Boys (mainly those in 4th year), got together and decided that they didn’t want what happened to them at Father John Pinkman’s hands, in the Juniors, to happen to the current set of Junior boys. Pinkman was a monster who was a serial preyer on young boys as young as 11 (see Abuse Stories). His victims were legion.

It may have been triggered by knowledge of an incident affecting a current junior Boy.

They decided that they would put a stop to it and report it to their current Spiritual Director, Fr Luciano Fulvi, the go-to guy for the boys in matters of the soul. This was a very brave thing to do. Rather than all go (which might have been better as it happens). They decided that two of the senior boys would go to Father Fulvi to report Fr Pinkman. They drew straws and the two guys who drew the shortest straws were Jim Kirby and Anthony Summers.

They went to see Fr Fulvi and told him all about the abuse that happened at the hands of Father Pinkman. They thought that he would take action. They were astonished at what he said to them.

He told them that they must never tell anyone what they had just told him. Indeed they were told never even to speak toeach other about it. He told them that they didn’t know if Father Pinkman had used the sacrament of Confession to absolve himself of his sins.

One doesn’t know if Fr Fulvi ever passed that information on to his superiors, i.e. Fr Rector, Father John Fraser, or told the rest of the priests there.

All we know was that Anthony Summers, one of the boys who reported it, was summarily called into Fr Fraser’s Office at the end of term prior to the Easter holidays and expelled from St Peter Claver College. After being there for 4 years, his vocation was suddenly over.

Father Fulvi was tragically hacked to death many years later in the Missions in Africa, by a group of five boys, incuding his own 18-year-old cook and houseboy. They are now serving long sentences for murder.

Meanwhile serial abuser, Fr John Pinkman, remained on at the seminary at Mirfield in his position of Head of the Junior Boys. The fox remained in charge of the chicken coop.

Click on Jim’s Abuse Story

Martin Millar

Here is Martin’s Tale.

“In 1969, a friend of mine, Eamon Crowe, ran up to me and said that Fr Robert Hicks (or Bob Hicks as he was called) wanted to see me in his room. I went to see him in his room which was just above the main entrance. Father Hicks asked me to tell him what had happened about Father Valmaggia. I told him that Fr Domenico Valmaggia had touched my balls and asked me to cough, when I had flu, in the dormitory.

“I saw the vein in Fr Hicks’ forehead pulsing away in fury and he said something along the lines of “that man interfering with my boys”. I tried to make light of the situation saying “It was a long time ago and it was nothing”. That only seemed to make Fr Hicks even more angry. He talked about “That evil man” like an Old Testament Prophet. The matter of Father Valmaggia interfering with boys at the seminary meant more to him than it did to me because he wanted to take action and called other witnesses.

“Father Hicks ended our meeting saying that he wouldn’t stand for this, telling me that everything was fine and I could go.

“I believe Father Valmaggia was slung out of the seminary that very night, although as we at the seminary know, the Comboni Missionaries look after their own. It was known the next morning that Father Valmaggia was gone. I think the boys who cleaned the Fathers’ rooms had seen Father Valmaggia’s room empty and the prefects in charge of cleaning had probably been told by Father Hicks that Father Valmaggia had gone.

“However, we all knew that Father Valmaggia had gone without any notice and he simply disappeared and nothing was ever said about him again and I never heard anything further of him.

Jim Kirby

Said Jim, “I also, on my own, told Wade about Valmaggia. I didn’t go into description with Wade as he really didn’t want the embarrassment of it hearing it but he understood. He told me to avoid going to Valmaggia. That was almost impossible”.

Jim continued to be abused by Father Domenico Valmaggia.

Brian Hennessy

Brian reported the abuse to Father Troy and a Cardinal.

Further details are awaited.

Click on Brian’s Abuse Story

Joe Colby

Joe Colby reported the abuse to Father Enrico Fulvi, Father Anthony Wade and Father Eric Grace.

Further details are awaited

Mick Palmer

As well as reporting it to the Father Provincial, Father Bresicani, Mick Palmer also reported the abuse to Father John Fraser. Further details are awaited.

Martin Millar

As well as reporting the abuse to Father Robert Hicks, Martin Millar also reported it to Father John Fraser. Further details are awaited.

Eamon Crowe

Eamon Crowe reported the abuse to Father Robert Hicks in 1969.

Abuse Reporting to Comboni Missionaries

The full Reportage List as to who reported the abuse and to whom is as follows:-

V – Valmaggia

P – Pinkman

N – Nardo

>> V2/Hennessy>5 reports>3 family>1Troy>1 Cardinal
>> V3/Kirby> 1 report> 1 Wade
>> P1/Colby> 3 reports> 1 Fulvi> 1Wade> 1 Grace
>> P6/Kirby> 4 reports> 1 Fulvi> 1 Summers> 1 Bickers> 1 Barnes
>> V6/G McLaughlin> 1 report> 1 M McLaughlin
>> V7/Palmer> 5 reports> 1 Bresciani> 1 Mother> 1 Fraser> 1 Burns> 1 O’Neill
>> P7/Palmer> 3 reports> 1 Bresciani> 1 Mother> 1 Fraser
>> P8/Berrell> 2 reports> 1 Bresciani> 1 Father
>> V8/O’Neill> 2 reports> 1 Bresciani> 1 M Palmer
>> V9/Millar> 2 reports> 1 Fraser> 1 Hicks
>> V10/Skullen> 1 report> 1 Mother
>> V11/Millar> 1 report> 1 Hicks
>> V12/Crowe> 2 reports> 1 Hicks> 1 Mother
>> V13/Crowe> 2 reports> 1 Hicks> 1 Mother
>> N1/M McLaughlin> 2 reports> 1 Brother> 1 Mulroy

>>N2/Derek Farrell >1 report

>>N3/Father General>1 Report

>>N4/Verona Bishops x 2> 2 reports