Depok case shines light on sexual abuse in Indonesian Catholic Church

first_imgA recently uncovered case of child sexual abuse at a Catholic church in Depok, West Java, has put a spotlight on sexual abuse in the wider Indonesian Catholic Church, causing adherents throughout the country to call for justice and reform.On Sunday, the Catholic Women Human Rights Activists, a group made up of 194 Indonesian Catholic women, condemned the sexual assaults allegedly carried out by 42-year-old church caretaker Syahril Parlindungan Marbun, who has been accused of molesting at least 20 altar boys between the ages of 11 and 15 since 2002.The group said one of the victim’s parents had reported the alleged assault to St. Herkulanus Church in 2014. “However, at that time, the issue was solved through mediation by the church and the suspect was not removed from his position as the altar boys’ mentor but was instead promoted to head of the mentorship subsection,” the group said in a statement on Sunday.The group called on the Diocese of Bogor and St. Herkulanus Church to establish a “safe place” maintained by a team of independent experts to manage and document the rehabilitation of victims and their families. When asked about the group’s statement, St. Herkulanus parish priest Yosef Sirilus Natet said he did not know whether a report was made in 2014.“I wasn’t in the parish during that time,” he said to The Jakarta Post. “I don’t know [what happened in 2014]. That is why I think we should let the police investigate the matter.” Yosef himself, who was appointed to the parish earlier this year, is one of the priests who received a report about Syahril from one of the victims’ parents earlier this month and coordinated with the Bogor diocese and the KWI to report the case to law enforcement authorities.Other rights’ activists have said that the Depok case is only one of many sexual abuse cases in the Church, the majority of which have gone unreported because of a lack of support from church communities.Last year, weekly magazine Warta Minggu, published by the Tomang Roman Catholic parish in West Jakarta, reported that at least 56 people had been sexually abused in Catholic churches throughout the country.“We always face huge struggles against sexual abuse issues within the Church as not everyone seems to think of the matter as a crime against humanity,” Sister Eustochia Monika Nata of the Maumere Diocese in East Nusa Tenggara said at a virtual press conference on Sunday.“What makes it harder is that our activism is often seen as an action against fellow Catholics,” she added.Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) lawmaker Diah Pitaloka, who has long fought for stronger sexual violence laws in the country, said victims of sexual harassment or assault – particularly those who were assaulted by religious leaders – were usually silenced as cases could tarnish the reputation of religious leaders and church communities.”Sexual harassment cases within religious communities are abundant in number, but only a few of them are reported. We need strong will from the community to change this condition,” Diah said, encouraging more parties to push for the passage of a sexual violence bill that sided with victims.Human rights activist Valentina Sagala echoed Diah’s statement that reported sexual assaults were only the tip of the iceberg. Many victims, she said, were reluctant to speak up because of the absence of regulations.”We need at least three things to encourage them to speak up: first, clear anti-sexual violence laws; second, reporting mechanisms for victims; and [third,] campaigns against sexual violence,” she said.The Catholic Women Human Rights Activists have urged the Indonesian Bishops’ Conference (KWI) to establish sexual abuse prevention protocols for women and children.Maria Cherry, a St. Herkulanus Church parishioner, called on the church to create strict rules to protect children from sexual abuse. “Sexual abuse in the Catholic Church has been consistently reported on worldwide. This is a real danger, and church law should address it thoroughly to protect children from sexual violence,” Maria said in a discussion on Friday. Indonesian Catholic Women (WKRI) chairwoman Justina Rostiawati, who also works with the KWI, said there had been an effort in the diocese and the church to deal with sexual abuse through open discussion. “[But] while some Catholic Orders have started to develop and implement sexual abuse prevention protocols against minors, it remains a challenge to create awareness among Catholic dioceses and parochial pastors,” she said during a virtual press conference on Sunday.Through his apostolic letter “Vos Estis Lux Mundi”, Pope Francis passed an ecclesiastical law requiring each diocese to create a system for reporting sexual abuse by June 2020.The Catholic Church in Indonesia, however, has yet to create such a system.Bogor Diocese judicial vicar Yohanes Driyanto said that setting up such a system was not easy as not many priests had mastered canon law. He added, however, that he was ready to be involved. “I’m ready to be a part of the group that will create the protocol,” he said.Gisella Tani, a member of the St. Aloysius Gonzaga Cijantung parish in East Jakarta, said that church laws against sexual abuse would assure victims that they would be well-received and protected and that their reports would be taken seriously.“It shows support and will help ease their psychological stress as a result of the incident,” she said, adding that the church should develop comprehensive sex and gender education to prevent sexual abuse.Editor’s note: This article has been updated with a statement from the St. Herkulanus parish about the 2014 report against Syahril.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Japan rescuers battle to reach thousands trapped by floods

first_imgJapan’s Meteorological Agency (JMA) said “heavy rain will likely continue at least until July 12 in a wide area” of the country, calling for “extreme vigilance” on landslide risks and flooding in low-lying areas.The JMA issued its second-highest evacuation order to more than 450,000 people. However, such orders are not compulsory and most residents are choosing not to go to shelters, possibly due to coronavirus fears.An official in Kumamoto said 55 people from the region were confirmed to have perished with four others feared dead.Two other deaths have been confirmed on Japan’s southwestern island of Kyushu and more than a dozen people are missing or unaccounted for, authorities said. ‘Hesitating to offer help’ In many areas, landslides reduced houses to rubble and floodwater rushed into homes in low-lying areas, destroying the contents and rendering them uninhabitable.Japan has deployed at least 80,000 rescue workers to save lives with the aid of another 10,000 troops.The rains also lashed central Japan, with local official Ryoichi Miyamae telling AFP that nearly 4,000 people were cut off, mainly trapped in the cities of Gero and the tourist magnet of Takayama by the overflowing Hida River.Complicating the rescue efforts has been the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed nearly 1,000 lives in Japan from more than 20,000 cases.The need to maintain social distancing has reduced capacity at shelters and many have preferred to take refuge in their vehicles for fear of becoming infected.One emergency worker said the coronavirus might be dissuading people from volunteering to help with the rescue efforts.”A special characteristic of this disaster I felt was not people hesitating to evacuate, but people hesitating to offer help,” one doctor said, according to NHK.”In past disasters, by the fourth day, we would normally see relief efforts like people preparing meals. This time, I am yet to see anything like that.”Regional authorities have asked potential volunteers from outside Kumamoto not to travel to the region, for fear of spreading the virus.Japan is in the middle of its annual rainy season and often sees damaging floods and landslides during this period that lasts several weeks. However, experts say climate change is intensifying the phenomenon because a warmer atmosphere holds more water to dump in the form of rain. Topics : After five days blocked by floodwater and landslides, troops finally managed to rescue some 40 residents in the village of Ashikita in the Kumamoto region.Kinuyo Nakamura, 68, burst into tears of relief as she finally made it to an evacuation center.”Gosh, it was scary. My house, it’s such a mess, I cannot live there anymore,” she said as she came across someone she knew at the shelter.”We have experienced flooding disasters in the past many times. But this one doesn’t compare. Rather than being afraid, I was just focused on escaping,” she told public broadcaster NHK.Nakamura choked up as she explained that one of her neighbors had fallen victim to the floods.”A truly, truly, fantastic person,” she said, covering her face to hide the tears. “That was the hardest thing.” Japanese emergency services and troops were scrambling on Thursday to reach thousands of homes cut off by devastating flooding and landslides that have killed dozens and caused widespread damage.Japan’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency said Thursday more than 3,000 households were isolated, either by rising floodwater or roads destroyed by landslides, mostly in the hardest-hit southwestern region of Kumamoto where fresh downpours were forecast.The rain front started in the southwest in the early hours of Saturday and has since cut a swathe of destruction across Japan, dumping record amounts of rain and causing swollen rivers to break their banks.last_img read more

Marsh unseats Manus

first_imgGreensburg, IN—Republican candidate Joshua Marsh became Mayor-Elect Marsh last evening when he unseated current Incumbent, Democrat Mayor Dan Manus for the City of Greensburg.  Votes for marsh were 1643 (65% of the vote) to 886 (35% of the vote).    In other races for the City of Greensburg, Republican candidate Brenda Dwenger beat incumbent Democrat Ashlee Green for the City Clerk/Treasurer position with votes at 1622 (64.4%) to 897 (35.6%).  In the City Council District 1 seat, Republican incumbent Kevin Fleetwood will continue in the next four years with 341 votes (55.9%) to Democrat candidate Ryan Maddux’s 269 votes (44.1%).last_img

Marshall may consult Lambert

first_imgAston Villa caretaker boss Scott Marshall has admitted he may consult former manager Paul Lambert ahead of his first game in charge. “He’s given me some good opportunities at Norwich and here. This is new to me. Maybe sometime in the future maybe I’ll be a better coach for it. “It’s a big job, the boss (Lambert) will tell you that. It’ll be a big challenge for somebody.” He has skipper Ron Vlaar available after a knee injury and may recall after he started the last two games on the bench. “I thought Christian looked better when he came off the bench against Hull, we had that conversation after the game and the determination is there. We’ll take it from there,” added Marshall. “We’re still a couple of days away. We’ve not really made any decisions yet. I’ve got a few ideas in my head and we’re going to pick a team to try to win the game.” Lambert was sacked on Wednesday after just two wins from 21 Barclays Premier League games left Villa third from bottom. The club are understood to favour a long-term appointment with ex-Tottenham boss Tim Sherwood the bookies’ favourite. But Marshall, who is yet to speak to chairman Randy Lerner since taking over, said he would draw on contacts for advice ahead of the fifth round tie and one could be Lambert. He said: “If I had a conversation and asked him something I’m sure he’d be a positive help. “You can only explain so much to get advice back but you try and call upon all your experiences before and try to make the best decision going forward. That’s what I’m trying to do now. “I’m pretty sure we’ll have another conversation before the game.” Marshall believes Villa need an experienced manager to help them beat the drop, effectively ruling himself out, and admitted the situation of succeeding his friend Lambert, who he also worked with at Norwich, has been tough. “I wouldn’t say comfortable. It’s not something I wanted in any shape or form, my respect for the boss is there,” he said. The first-team coach, who has temporarily replaced the sacked Lambert, is set to be in control for Sunday’s FA Cup visit of Leicester. Former Arsenal defender Marshall has never managed before and is being assisted by goalkeeping coach Andy Marshall and under-21 boss Gordon Cowans. Press Associationlast_img read more

O’Neill keen to banish bad memories

first_imgRepublic of Ireland boss Martin O’Neill is hoping to erase memories of the “debacle” of 1995 when England return to Dublin on Sunday. He said: “There will be some pretty disappointed with how the season ended, those playing at Hull obviously. That would have been a real downer for them. “There were one or two others who didn’t make the play-offs as well in the Championship – the Derby players would be particularly disappointed. “But that’s club level, that’s gone now. It’s a matter of just lifting the players, getting them prepared for this game. “It’s a big game for us, it’s a great game as well to be involved in. It gives us a really big match to be playing in before Scotland, and England are obviously on the crest of a wave. “Of course the England friendly game is a big, big game, but it’s exactly that, a friendly match. It gives us the opportunity the week before Scotland to prepare for that. Scotland, of course, is the ultimate.” Murphy’s last game was Ipswich’s 3-1 play-off semi-final, second leg defeat by East Anglian rivals Norwich on May 16, a gap of more than a fortnight, although he is happy to be knuckling down once again at the end of the long season. The 32-year-old said: “It’s all part of being a professional footballer and having the honour of playing for your country. I have a few weeks off – I took a little break and relaxed. I did a bit of training, but I’m back at it now and we’ve got a week now. “There’s obviously rivalry – it’s a friendly, but both teams are going to want to win it. They (England) are coming here and hopefully we will put on a good display and get something out of it.” It is 20 years since a section of the travelling supporters at Lansdowne Road forced the abandonment of the last game in the city between the two nations in a shameful riot after Ireland took the lead. This time around, O’Neill is hoping the far more cordial atmosphere in which a 1-1 draw at Wembley was played out in May 2013 will be repeated as the Republic attempt to hone themselves for the forthcoming Euro 2016 qualifier against Scotland at the Aviva Stadium by pitching themselves into battle with Roy Hodgson’s men. Press Association He said: “It’s 20 years ago since the last debacle – I call it a debacle because that’s exactly what it was. Hopefully life has moved on since then. “Of course it’s a big game and it obviously has historic interest. “It’s a great game for us to be involved in – and I’ve said that since it’s been announced – really great, as we have a game against Scotland the following week and, barring injury, it will be great preparation for us considering some of the players will not have played for about a month. “Fitness, whatever you think and how well they are looking after themselves, it will drop a little so that’s what this week is about, building up to that, building up to the England game and then forcing it against Scotland.” O’Neill and the bulk of his players met up in Malahide on Monday as June announced itself with howling winds and driving rain, and they will be joined over the next few days by Marc Wilson, Shane Long, Wes Hoolahan, Stephen Ward, Aiden McGeady, Jon Walters and, after LA Galaxy’s clash with the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday, skipper Robbie Keane. Defender Paul McShane was the only one of those present not to train as he continued to nurse a badly-gashed leg. McShane, of course, was a member of the Hull squad, along with David Meyler, Robbie Brady and Stephen Quinn, who suffered relegation from the Barclays Premier League on May 24, while Derby contingent Richard Keogh, Cyrus Christie and Jeff Hendrick and Ipswich duo Daryl Murphy and David McGoldrick missed out on promotion from the Sky Bet Championship. O’Neill is aware some of those wounds will still be raw, and he knows he and his coaching staff may have to lift players over the next few days. last_img read more