Catholic Church Admits Paying Sex Abuse Hush Money

Catholic ChurchThe Australian Newspaper The Daily Telegraph is reporting that a new scandal has come to light in the Catholic Church as the organization has finally admitted to paying out $43 million in hush money to victims of sex abuse at the hands of pedophile priests. The admission came at a commission meeting in Australia yesterday, as victims flooded the meeting room with protest signs that stated “Churches must be accountable;” “You’re never too old to be arrested for child molesting” and “Suffer the little children-suffer we did while the Catholic Church turned a blind eye.”

This admission by the church marks the very first time the organization has ever publicly admitted to paying out hush money to sex abuse victims, stunning the crowd and leaving some victims crying. About a dozen people stormed out of the meeting room, reports the Telegraph, when a church council member stood up and read a quote from the bible, saying “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such of these that the kingdom of God belongs.” The quote was deemed highly inappropriate by the victims at the meeting, who questioned the judgment of someone who would use such a quote at an event pertaining to molesting children. Survivors at the meeting called the quote “a joke” and “an insult” as well as said it was “insensitive.”

Victims at the meeting said they were part of a program run by the church called “Towards Healing.” That program, they say, paid them hush money in exchange for keeping quiet about the sex abuse they had suffered.

During the meeting, a church spokesman admitted that the church had “betrayed the trust” of the victims and their families. He also said that some members of the church placed more importance on the church’s reputation than on the victims’ wellbeing. Towards Healing had been created and maintained specifically for handling child sex abuse cases. Victims were forced to sign statements of secrecy which prohibited them from discussing their cases with anyone. The so-called “confidentiality” agreements secured the Catholic Church’s reputation from further damage, say the victims, while largely ignoring the plight of those affected by the crimes.

The Towards Healing program is still up and running; and it still provides compensation to the victims. It is called a “living document” which is open to being revised. In a document published on the parliament.vic.gov website in Australia, a review of the original 1996 document states that victims classified the treatment they received from the church as being approached with “an obsession with secrecy and confidentiality” and that the proceedings were purposely “drawn out to wear down the complainants.” Victims also said they experienced “a lack of compassion.”

One victim told an independent reporter ‘It’s not Towards Healing, it actually takes you towards madness,” citing the fact that there were forced confidentiality agreements and a lack of understanding and care given to the victim.

One victim at the committee meeting in Australia said “Just as abusers control and silence their victims, the church had to silence and control people like me.” She said that the releases she signed forbade her from discussing the abuse she suffered with anyone, including her immediate family. Not only were victims forbidden to discuss the events they had suffered, they were also forbidden to say anything “disparaging” about the Catholic Church.

Allegations and reports of hush money being paid out to victims and even to priests have been around for years, but this is the first time the Catholic Church has openly admitted sex abuse hush money was paid to victims. Now, as this new scandal comes to light, it could be just the beginning of many more revelations to come.

By: Rebecca Savastio

Sources:

Courier Mail
ABC
ABC AU
Catholic.org
Parliament.vic.gov
Wa Today

13 Responses to "Catholic Church Admits Paying Sex Abuse Hush Money"

  1. The truth be known   December 17, 2013 at 6:24 am

    understanding trauma will help many understand why victims took so long to come forward. Some victims wake from their trauma much later in life, a life never lived.

    It takes a long time for victims to come forward. During the awakening, the church took advantage of these victims. The church manipulated them.

    To those who claim they would have gone to police,, fact is, if you lived the life of these victims -> you would have done as they have. Thinking you are stronger than everyone else doesn’t change reality. You would have acted as they did.

    Please don’t disgrace those harmed.

    Reply
  2. Larry Joe Churchill   December 13, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    A minor cannot sign a legally binding contract. Atleast not in USA. So the victims have a right to go to the authorities and then file a lawsuit. Right?

    Reply
    • Ahsikor   December 14, 2013 at 4:01 am

      That would be true had this been in the U.S. This article is about specifically Australia

      Reply
  3. gudbrand   December 13, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    Prison time in max security for these child raping pigs…time to sue the church…it has far too much money anyways

    Reply
  4. mom   December 11, 2013 at 8:26 am

    This article is speaking of a DUTCH Catholic church, NOT every Catholic church, let’s make that VERY, VERY CLEAR! What this Dutch priest did was wrong, and the holy father needs to take action and strip him of his collar and have him return to the lay population. This is WRONG in every sense! I’m a Catholic and this is despicable what this parish has done. @Maria-READ the article again. This happened YEARS ago. Deceased parents can’t be held accountable. The problem here is that this is going to make the attackers of the faith come out in droves. God is still protecting His church, but people have free will to make their own choices, and every one of these pedophiles will be held accountable before God for their wrong doing. I don’t agree with what has happened, but the Catholic church is STILL God’s church and will be until the end of time.

    Reply
    • Robert Karaffa   December 11, 2013 at 3:59 pm

      “the Catholic church is STILL God’s church and will be until the end of time.”

      eh, which gawd is that, dear lady? Zeus? Thor? Oh, wait, I get it. It’s Yahweh. Yeah, that’s him. The one who drowns babies and fetuses, the one who murders first-born children, the one who….well, how to put this delicately…commands his followers to wipe out whole villages, kill every man, woman, babe and suckling…but keep the young virgin girls for yourselves to do with as you desire. Yeah, *that* gawd…

      Reply
      • Sabrina Sabine   December 13, 2013 at 2:02 pm

        But don’t you see? The Catholic Church is THE CHOSEN church… The one and only. ..Just like the Baptist Church. ….or the Buddhists….. or wait. I thought the Jews were gods chosen people. ..i am so confused…EVERYONE’S religion is the only right one. … What to do what to do. ..

        Reply
  5. Ray Yeates   December 10, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    Your missing something here Maria…it is the victims stating they were forced to hush…the victims are not children any longer. They are the adult victim speaking here. This did not come to revelation til years later . Many of the parents you are referijg to are no longer even living. Read it again and you will understand what I meant. The parents of these victims aren’t taking money to hush the truth. The victims are the recepitants . I don’t mean to offend you but I realize the significance of the victims being victimized once again by the action of the these religious teachers who indeed failed to practice what they preach.

    Reply
  6. James   December 10, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    Maria, the victims were in Church-run homes and orphanages. What parents do you speak of? Read. The. Article. And stop blindly defending an organization that doesn’t deserve your trust.

    “Just as bad if not worse than the priests that hurt them in the first place?” Even if these poor girls had parents, I would absolutely not put them in the same category as a child molester.

    Reply
  7. Maria Klein   December 10, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    You’re kidding right. They had the choice to go to the authorities and didn’t. No one held a gun to their heads forcing them to take the money and sign the contracts. In the end it is a parents responsibility to seek justice for their child. Instead they sold their kids out for money. They are just as bad if not worse than the priests that hurt them in the first place.

    Reply
  8. Ray Yeates   December 10, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    Where the do you think it is Maria Klien. Embedded within the trust they gave to the predators that secured that trust from the parents who truly believed they could trust them. Your question leads me to believe you are one of those who really relish the complacent space here on this planet you take up.

    Reply
  9. Maria Klein   December 10, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    Where is the accountability for the parents?

    Reply
    • The truth be known   December 17, 2013 at 6:29 am

      accountability? The child was threatened and left to cope alone. In some cases the diocese would come down on the child telling them they would cause harm to their parents if they told. The child was alone, and now had to protect everyone. the child knew first hand these people would hurt. Quite a big responsibility on the child.

      be thankful the victims at least were able to finally come forward.

      (Beware: I’ve noticed that some clergy use a handle as ‘mom’, ‘catholic mom’,.. to manipulate you into their deceptive point of view.)

      Reply

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