Responses from 128 child abuse survivors across North America and Europe found 52 per cent were victimized by a network of abusers, overwhelmingly involving their own parents, who shared images and even their children themselves with others. In most cases — nearly 70 per cent — images were then shared with millions more strangers online.
Most survivors are haunted by the online life of the imagery. More than 70 per cent surveyed said that the imagery never ends and makes them feel vulnerable to being recognized. About 90 per cent said their abuse affected both their education and professional success, in part because they know their victimization continues online.
About 30 per cent said they had been recognized by someone who saw their images online. Of those, 64 per cent said they were “targeted” — either blackmailed or propositioned.
READ ENTIRE STORY at source: Illawarra Mercury
This story was originally published in 2012.
When the sun’s first rays creep over the horizon this morning and gently kiss, warm and illuminate the Illawarra coastline, they may be on a special mission.
First, they will touch the Pacific Ocean, and then its foaming surf and the beaches on to which it cascades.
Seconds later they will make landfall, bringing the birth of another day to all, and to two places in particular – the Bulli and Lakeside Kanahooka cemeteries. There lie at rest two special souls and, after political events this week, their headstones deserve to be bathed in sunshine.
Indeed, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if both these grave sites seem to have a particular sparkle about them today – a sort of celestial salute to good men, if you like.
Bulli is the resting place of the earthly remains of Peter Hugh Cullen, former IllawarraMercury editor and, I’m proud to say, my mate. At Kanahooka rests Father Maurie Crocker, a man of great courage who saw evil flourishing and felt it his duty to do something about it while others turned a blind eye.
Although no longer here, years ago each played his own particular role in this week’s announcement by Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard of a wide-ranging royal commission into paedophilia across the country. It has been a long time coming, but I am sure each of them would cheer its arrival with gusto.
Peter and Maurie tackled this evil abuse of children in the Illawarra, and its cover-up, when it was not fashionable in some circles to expose such matters – back in 1993. I was the Mercury’s general manager at the time, having been its editor previously with Peter as my deputy, so our relationship was close.
While some people cheered from the rooftops as these evils were revealed, others damned Peter in particular and the Mercury generally for soiling its pages with such stuff.
I well remember going to get my eyes tested one day and copping a broadside from a local medico who informed me that his wife would “not have the filthy rag in the house”.
This story began long before 1993, with unsubstantiated reports of child sexual abuse in some of the local corridors of power. It was extremely hard to pin down.
The break came when Father Crocker, a former lay teacher in New Zealand, a professional boxer and career soldier before being ordained a priest at age 42, came to the Mercury with another priest. They spoke to Peter Cullen.
Father Crocker informed Peter of statements by three young men that they had been molested over some years by a local Christian brother and a priest. Cullen assigned a journalist named Brett Martin to investigate the allegations, and another fine journalist in Lisa Carty took up the reins as things developed down the track, enveloping two former Wollongong lord mayors – one later a local state MP – a Wollongong City Council alderman and other clergy.
The number of young men with serious allegations of abuse grew to seven. They complained that their attempts to seek redress through the local church hierarchy, headed at the time by Bishop William Murray, had led to nothing. They felt they were being ignored and a blind eye turned to their complaints of widespread sexual abuse. There was talk of a local senior police officer running interference, but that was never substantiated.
The Mercury investigated this matter for four months, taking statutory declarations from each of the complainants, before publishing the first of many reports. As events unfolded:
- Parish priest Father Peter Comensoli was jailed for abusing boys.
- College principal Brother Michael Evans, transferred from Wollongong to oversee a building project on the North Coast, committed suicide the night before detectives were to interview him.
- Former Wollongong lord mayor and then MP Frank Arkell was murdered by a deranged young man 10 weeks before he was to have appeared in court on sex charges involving young males.
- Former mayor Tony Bevan also was alleged to be a paedophile, running a rival network to that cultivated by Arkell and his associates.
- Wollongong City Council alderman Brian Tobin was found dead in the Illawarra escarpment bushland. There were no suspicious circumstances.
- A church-run youth refuge was revealed as a procurement and pick-up point for child abusers.
- To cap it all, Father Crocker, ostracised by some clergy for having the courage to speak up, ended his own life.
PETER NEWELL was the Illawarra Mercury’s editor from 1976 to 1985, when he was appointed general manager and was succeeded as editor by Peter Cullen. He retired in July 2000 and today is the chairman of ClubsNSW and ClubsAustralia.
A MOTHER and daughter killed themselves in a horrific suicide pact after a warped fraudster trapped them in a staggeringly bizarre web of threats and lies.
And yesterday, the full extent of Linsey Cotton’s heartless deception was laid bare in court.
Cotton, a single mother of two from West Lothian, invented a phantom girlfriend, a bogus stem cell trial, a fictitious murdering doctor and a non-existent government cover-up.
And she conjured up a whole cast of characters for her charade.
Cotton, 33, used 15 phones, two laptops and two tablet computers to convince her victims she was more than a dozen different people. At various points, she played a nurse, a barrister and government officials.
Her scam netted her nearly £5000 and a hoard of expensive gifts. But she also terrorised Margaret McDonough and daughter Nicola – until they checked into a Premier Inn, took pills and slashed themselves.
Margaret, 52, died within hours of being found at the Greenock hotel
on May 10, 2013. Nicola, 23, passed away three days later.
In the run-up to the tragedy, Cotton had convinced the women they faced 20 years in prison and turned their son and brother against them. Her lawyer said she was sorry.
Cotton began her scheme a year before the double suicide by ensnaring Margaret’s son Michael, a 33-year-old RAF corporal who served at Lossiemouth in Moray.
BERLIN — At least 231 children who sang in a boys’ choir led for 30 years by the brother of former Pope Benedict XVI were abused over a period of almost four decades, a lawyer investigating reports of wrongdoing said Friday.
The lawyer, Ulrich Weber, who was commissioned by the choir to look into accusations of beatings, torture or sexual abuse, said he thought that the actual abuse was even more widespread.
At a news conference in Regensburg, Bavaria, where the choir traces its roots to the year 975, Mr. Weber estimated that from 1953 to 1992, every third member of the choir and an attached school suffered some kind of physical abuse.
He attributed the beatings and other mistreatment mostly to Johann Meier, director of a lower school attached to the choir from 1953 until his retirement in 1992. Mr. Meier died suddenly later that year, Mr. Weber said. A 1987 investigation of reported abuse did not prompt the choir’s leaders to remove Mr. Meier or take other action, the lawyer said.
Asked whether Benedict’s brother, the Rev. Georg Ratzinger, who conducted the Regensburg choir from 1964 to 1994, had known of the abuse, Mr. Weber said, “After my research, I must assume so.”
The director pleaded guilty in 1977 to one count of unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl during a photo shoot in Los Angeles. In a deal with the judge, he served more than a month in prison, but then fled the U.S. fearing the judge would have him imprisoned for much longer. The U.S. has been seeking to bring Polanski back and put him before a court.
A judge in Krakow ruled last month that Polanski’s extradition is inadmissible, arguing that the U.S. trial was not fair and that Polanski would not face a fair trial there.
The Krakow prosecutors said in a statement they agreed with the court’s reasoning.
Among the irregularities, the court and the prosecutors named violation of Polanski’s right to defense, “unethical” discussions between the judge and only one side of the case, informal instructions to the judges, intentional destruction of some of the documents in the case and loss of some others and excessive sensitivity of the judges to criticism in the media.
Quintana Roo is Mexico’s sunshine state, a booming tourists’ playground which draws record numbers of holiday-makers to its golden beaches, coral reefs, Mayan ruins and all-inclusive package deals.
But in recent weeks, the Caribbean region has been badly shaken by a string of brutal murders of women – which authorities have seemed keen to downplay.
Within the space of three weeks, seven women have been murdered, bringing the total to 18 so far this year. At least two of the victims were strangled, and several had been sexually assaulted before their bodies were dumped in public places. All the women were Mexican.
This latest surge in murders has renewed tensions between activists against gender violence, and government officials who accuse them of trying to derail tourism and economic progress.
Celina Izquierdo Sánchez, from the Quintana Roo Observatory of Social and Gender Violence, said that a “time bomb” of violence against women had exploded because state officials played down the scale of the problem. “Nothing was done due to the false belief that recognising and tackling gender violence would affect tourism,” she said. “Justice will not reduce tourism.”
Situated on the lush tropical Yucatan peninsula, Quintana Roo is the jewel in the crown of Mexico’s flourishing tourism industry. A record 10 million holidaymakers and four million cruise ship passengers visited the state in 2014, accounting for almost 30% of tourists to the country, according to the Tourism Board (Sedetur).
This year is looking even stronger, with millions of North Americans and Europeans expected in Cancun and Playa del Carmen during the winter months.
But in an attempt to protect its idyllic image, authorities have long preferred to minimize the state’s problems.
In 2005, investigative reporter Lydia Cacho exposed the involvement of high profile businessmen and politicians in a child pornography and prostitution ring operating in Cancun. She was arrested for defamation, tortured and threatened with rape in what was later revealed to be a plot to silence her.
“I’ve been systematically accused by the governor and his news outlets of being ‘an enemy of the state’ because I’ve demonstrated institutional weaknesses, high levels of impunity, corruption and violence – including gender-based violence, the increase in torture and use of the justice system as a punishment tool against political enemies,” Cacho recently wrote.
Quintana Roo still has one of the highest rates of human trafficking in Mexico, according to UN’s World Tourism Organization. The state law against trafficking remains stuck in Congress due to a party political deadlock.