Another day, another crop of clerical sex abuse reports

A FERVENT wish of mine is to wake up of a morning, turn on my iMac, and not have reports leap out at me about clerical sex abuse. But, so long as we have priests, kids and the Internet, I guess it’s just not gonna happen.

Today, for example, I learned that a former Brother at a Syney Catholic school, Patrician College, has become the latest member of the Catholic Church in Australia to be charged with child molestation, and the Right Reverend Peter Ball, a former bishop of Lewes and Gloucester, is being held on suspicion of abusing eight boys and men in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

An early photo of former bishop Ball

Brother Martin Harmata, of  Patrician Brothers College in Blacktown, did not appear in Wyong Court this morning after being arrested on the NSW Central Coast yesterday.

The 59-year-old allegedly molested two boys aged 12 and 13 in his care during the late 1980s.
Both children were in Harmata’s care at the time and police will allege that all incidents occurred on school grounds.

Harmata did not appear in court after being refused bail on five counts of indecent assault on a child under 16 and one count of committing an indecent act on a child under 16.

A spokeswoman for the Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta said they were not able to provide detail because it was subject to an ongoing police investigation.

Ball, and a retired priest, Vickery House, were arrested today on suspicion of sex abuse. Ball, 80, was arrested at his home near Langport, Somerset and retired Church of England priest House, 67, was arrested at his home near Haywards Heath, West Sussex.

A spokesman for Sussex Police said the allegations against the two men were being dealt with separately.

The arrests follow a police investigation which started when the Church of England passed on two reports on the safeguarding of young people in the Chichester Diocese during the 1980s and early 1990s. The diocese includes Lewes.

The former bishop, who resigned in 1993, was arrested over allegations of sexual abuse at properties in East Sussex and elsewhere.

House was arrested on suspicion of two sexual offences involving two teenage boys in East Sussex, between 1981 and 1983.

Meanwhile, the Archbishop of Sydney, George Pell, has accused the press of a “persistent campaign” against the Catholic Church in the wake of Julia Gillard’s decision to call a nationwide inquiry into institutionalised child abuse.

Is there no end to Pell’s huffing and puffing and playing the victim card? And is that an official Roman Catholic instruction manual he’s brandishing?

He said looked forward to statistics showing what percentage of abuse cases the Church was responsible for, saying it was not:

The principal culprit, What is important for the press and the public to realise is that because there is a persistent press campaign against the Catholic Church’s adequacies and inadequacies in this area, that does not necessarily represent the percentage of the problem that we offer.

In other words, that because there is a press campaign focused largely on us, it does not mean that we are largely the principal culprits. We are not interested in denying the extent of misdoing in the Catholic Church. We object to [the extent of misdoing] being exaggerated, we object to being described as the only cab on the rank.

Hat Tip: Agent Cormac, BarrieJohn (Blacktown report) and Bill Murray (Pell report)




Agent Cormac and BarrieJohn and Bill Murray

15 responses to “Another day, another crop of clerical sex abuse reports”

  1. Chris says:

    Pell is using the tirted old l9ine from the Catholic Church that it is being singled out among an array of abusers and abuse shielders. Maybe that’s because it is the only one that claims to have supreme moral authority handed down from the great cosmic fairy, and we should all be doing as it bloody well tells us.

  2. RabbitOnAStick says:

    This man pell is complete scum to say this [below] and it is utterly disgraceful. He doesn’t get the reality of what the church is supposed to be what it is supposed to stand for – all its BS – all its righteousness – holy than thou behaviour – its supposed sanctity – its morality -its leadership. Leadershit more like.

    Scum – they are scum. They cannot be anything else.
    There should not even be one NOT ONE case of a priest abusing little boys. Not ever ever, there should have been or ever be one priest doing this truly despicable thing unpseakable acts on little boys,. Destroying all that we all should be as little boys and girls .

    He seems to be saying that this is or was OK, that it is was acceptable.

    The man is an absolute bastard. He doesn’t get the reality of life that there should never have been any abuse – never.

    “We object to [the extent of misdoing] being exaggerated, we object to being described as the only cab on the rank.”

  3. Barry Duke says:

    Catholic Church. Rank. Yes indeedy!

  4. Broga says:

    Pell has an interesting take on these things. He seems to think that there is a number – which must be very high – and below this the RC Church is no worse than any or group. While taking this line the RCs also set themselves up as exemplars of moral behaviour fit to lecture the rest of us.

    I note that the God fearing, God worshipping, BBC is still inserting religion wherever it can in its various outlets. All this sanctity doesn’t seem to have done much for the behaviour of its staff.

    I wonder if the new Archbishop of Canterbury will be prepared to comment on child sexual abuse with a candour that was lacking in his predecessor? He might also want to comment on his 26 unelected, and thus undemocratic, bishops in the Lords; the disgrace of public money being chanelled into faith schools and the vile insistence on driving some people, whether believers or not, living near a church into bankruptcy to force them to pay for the church.

  5. remigius says:

    Well maybe if the Catholic church didn’t persistently rape children, and persistently cover it up, then maybe the media wouldn’t persistently bring it to our attention!

  6. barriejohn says:

    Broga: How could you possibly forget the vast army of chaplains in hospitals* and the armed forces, all cheerfully provided by the longsuffering British taxpayer? As the NSS points out,
    60,000 nursing jobs to go, but theirs are safe (well, mostly, if the following is to be believed):

    *Kiddies, come and meet Father Flaherty in the Savile Chapel at 6.30 tonight. Just wear your jimjams!!

  7. Georgina says:

    What he fails to realise is that, if a bus driver raped a young girl at the terminal, the police would arrest him and the bus company would fire him.
    Nobody would claim that he is a citizen of BusLand and therefore the girl must be a) lying, b) insane, c) in danger of having her parents burn in hell for all eternity.
    He would not be transferred to another country – and allowed to drive school buses.
    He would not have every other bus driver in the BusLand claiming that he ‘wouldn’t do a thing like that’.

  8. Bayne says:

    they have seriouly gotten this way out of proportion, they have, they have failed to interview the people that know Martin the best, thats the sad side of this i happen to know people that know him very very well and as for Pell well i dont trust him with a cold. but seriously come on the papers and the news have actually done something very wrong and un-ethical, they reliesed his name one with out a thought that it would do damage to the students of the school that he taught at. (by damage i mean lots of emotional damage from kids thats trusted him with alot )

  9. RabbitOnAStick says:


    Are you seriously suggesting the children and their parents should be kept in the dark that he ball was arrested? And the nature of that arrest.

    That logic is much like that of the rcc who continue to bleat they are the victims & cover up all this abuse.
    What if these matters are true? what if they are convicted? ham rat was charged. Thats serious enough.

    Its a serious matter to be arrested. Its not an action carried out without reasonable grounds and suspicions or evidence.

    Any allegation of sexual abuse against children has got to be treated with the utmost seriousness. For if we cannot protect them who can? certainly not these types of people they are the ones conducting these atrocious crimes.

    The police will interview people to gather evidence not to hear about what a great bloke he ham rat was. Thats ridiculous. Every neighbour interviewed on the TV after some mass killing or crime usually states “oh he was such a nice quite person. I don’t believe it”.

    Easiest place for a criminal to hide is in the open. That is where these child abuser scum are. All in the open.

  10. barriejohn says:

    Going back briefly to what I was saying the other day about the Mail (amongst others) continually proclaiming: “Mary Whitehouse was right after all”; does anyone else find it ironic that the systematic child abuse being uncovered now took place in that “golden age” of “old-fashioned family values” after which they so earnestly hanker? You know – the same era when homosexuals were sent to prison, and subjected to the most appalling “cures” for their “conditon”, and when landladies were free to display “No Blacks or Irish” signs outside their premises. Yes – things are so much worse nowadays; the coming of the Lord MUST be drawing nigh!

  11. RabbitOnAStick says:

    Child abuse has always existed. It has always been prevalent and widespread. I don’t believe it appears to be coming from that age you suggest – (at this time now) but rather perhaps because (i) many people have the courage to speak up, (ii) institutions like the church are exposed for the disgusting cover ups they are carrying out and they cannot quieten all the people all of the time [they no longer control vast swathes of information flow] (iii) the form of communication has changed in its instant nature, the constant desire for news, and its speed and reach.

    The age of consent was in Victorian times altered only because of the child prostitution scandal.

    And in Victorian times the offence of homosexuality was made a crime, for men only, because Queen Victoria and many others legislators did not believe that women carried out ‘those sorts of ‘ sexual acts on each other. It has never been a crime in Britain to be a lesbian. Only men.

  12. barriejohn says:

    The abuse which is currently hitting the headlines is mainly historic, RAOS. Of course it has always gone on, and is coming to light now because people have the courage to report it without fearing that they will either be branded liars or the instigators of it. Furthermore, there has been no “explosion” in the prevalence of homosexuality, as the clean-up campaigners avow. All sensible people know that in the past homosexuals just married and went through the charade of living a “normal” family life because that was what society expected of them. Things are immeasurably better now, and western society is far less restrictive and hypocritical.

  13. Robster says:

    George Pell, now there’s a vacuous hand puppet. Pell is often referred to in the Australian media as “Australia’s leading catlik intellectual”. He’s not an intellectual, he’s a twit. People that choose to believe and promote catholic/christian nonsense which at best is childish silliness and at worst an evil fraud cannot be considered intellectual. This man should be quietly put to sleep (by a vet) and quickly forgotten. then, turn the churches into sex education centres with attached contaceptive outlets, with a nice cafe on the side. At least then they’d provide some needed jobs.

  14. barriejohn says:

    “As always, the Catholic Church’s concerns are for the victims and a prevailing sense of justice and healing,” said Maria Ross Agosta, a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Miami. “Over these past ten years, the Archdiocese has been forthcoming and taken steps to keep children safe through training and background screenings of all its employees, volunteers, clergy and teachers.”

    Why would clergy need screening? Why would these people need “training” to ensure the safety of the children with whom they come into contact? Once again I ask – what is the benefit of religion?

  15. RabbitOnAStick says:

    Barriejohn well said.
    worth repeating.

    Why would clergy need screening? Why would these people need “training” to ensure the safety of the children with whom they come into contact?