Sex abuse at Chilean church school was an unending ‘perverse game’: victim

Jose Andres Murillo (L), one of the victims of sexual abuse, allegedly committed by members of the church, is seen in the exit of the Chilean apostolic nunciature after a meets with the Vatican special envoy Archbishop Charles Scicluna in Santiago, Chile, in this February 20, 2018 photo. (REUTERS)
Updated 25 February 2018
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Sex abuse at Chilean church school was an unending ‘perverse game’: victim

Viña del Mar, Chile: Sexual abuse at the hands of priests marked the childhood of Jaime Concha since the day when, at age 10, he entered a school run by the Marist Brothers religious order in Santiago.
He is now 55 years old and a doctor. After all these years, his case is one of dozens finally being investigated by the Catholic Church in Chile — a church rocked by the scale of a sex-abuse scandal that tainted the recent visit of Pope Francis.
Concha told AFP his treatment at the hands of the Marist Brothers was like “an everlasting perverse game.”
He says he has now broken decades of silence about his childhood trauma to try to come to terms with the devastation it has wreaked on his life since he first entered the order’s Alonso de Ercilla school in Santiago.
“There was a real conspiracy where everyone was linked and they were waiting for us,” said Concha, referring to the religious brothers.
“They used excuses like the scout camp, the vocational exam or the retreat to abuse us.”

Jaime remembers his first holy communion day as “sickening,” as he had to receive the communion wafer from the same priest who had abused him.
“As a child, what was I going to say about what happened to me?” asked Concha.
“I ended up not talking, being quiet because of fear, because of shame afterward.”
The abuse began in the classroom and continued in school hallways and hidden corners of the school grounds, including the Marist Brothers’ living quarters and while away camping with the Boy Scouts.
Jaime directly accused two Marist Brothers, Abel Perez and Jose Monasterio, of abusing him.
Perez was expelled from the community after being investigated for abuse by the church, and is currently being prosecuted for abuse of boys in his care. Monasterio has since died.
“Brother Abel would sit me on his legs. He would start talking to me, and all I wanted was for him to do what he had to do and do it quickly, so I did not even listen to what he was saying.”
“It was an excuse to grab me, and then the only thing I could do was almost to try to get out of my own body,” recalled Concha.

Only in August — seven years after Perez had confessed to continually abusing boys over three decades — did the Marist Brothers’ community file a complaint with the Chilean prosecutor’s office.
It accused him of sexually abusing 14 minors in two schools belonging to the order.
The order removed him from all contact with children and sent him to a community residence in Peru, local media reported.
“I listen to that official truth and I’m confronted by traumatic memories,” said Concha.
“I am the evidence that in Chile, while the Pinochet dictatorship was torturing people and systematically violating human rights, the human rights of me and my classmates at school at the same time, between 1973 and 1978, were also being violated” by the church.
He says “an avalanche” of memories came to him last September, when he finally decided to open up about his experiences to a meeting of former students.
After 45 years of being “hooked by the terror, by the anguish” that ruined his childhood, Concha said that now, by speaking up, he can save others from suffering his fate.
Supported by the Foundation for Trust — formed by four victims of influential Chilean teaching priest Fernando Karadima — Concha and other victims went to the courts to seek justice.
Karadima was accused in 2010 of abusing children, and in 2011 the Vatican ordered the then 80-year-old priest to retire to a “life of prayer and penitence.”
But civil charges against him were dropped by the courts for lack of evidence.


British PM faces Brexit showdown with pro-EU rebels

Updated 2 min 56 sec ago
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British PM faces Brexit showdown with pro-EU rebels

  • MPs will vote on amendments to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill setting out how much power lawmakers will have if the government fails to agree a departure deal before Brexit in March 2019
  • The vote, due on Wednesday afternoon or early evening, could have implications for Britain’s wider Brexit strategy, indicating where the power lies in parliament

LONDON: British Prime Minister Theresa May faces a showdown with her pro-EU MPs on Wednesday over parliament’s role in the final Brexit deal, which could influence her entire negotiation strategy.
MPs will vote on amendments to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill setting out how much power lawmakers will have if the government fails to agree a departure deal before Brexit in March 2019.
May says she expects to get an agreement with Brussels, but warned that any attempt to tie her hands could undermine the ongoing negotiations.
She averted a rebellion by pro-EU MPs in her Conservative Party on the issue of parliamentary powers last week with a promise of a compromise, but within days they had rejected her proposal as inadequate.
Instead they worked with peers to introduce their own amendment to the unelected upper House of Lords, which agreed it by a landslide on Monday.
The amendment now returns to MPs in the elected lower House of Commons, where Conservative rebels will ally with opposition parties in a bid to finally make it law.
May’s spokesman refused to say if he believes the government has the numbers to win the vote, but made clear that no more concessions would be forthcoming.
“We cannot accept the amendment on a meaningful vote agreed in the Lords,” he said, adding that it “would undermine our ability in the negotiations to get the best deal for the country.”
“We will be retabling our original amendment,” he said, adding: “We hope that all MPs will be able to support the government’s position.”
The vote, due on Wednesday afternoon or early evening, could have implications for Britain’s wider Brexit strategy, indicating where the power lies in parliament.
May commands only a slim majority in the 650-seat Commons, made possible through an alliance with Northern Ireland’s 10 Democratic Unionist Party MPs.
A victory for the pro-EU rebels would embolden them ahead of debates next month on Britain’s future trading relationship with the European Union, which they are seeking to keep as close as possible.
It would likely anger euroskeptics, who accuse the rebels of seeking to thwart Brexit.
They are also becoming increasingly frustrated with the withdrawal process under May’s leadership.
Leading Conservative rebel Dominic Grieve denied he was trying to undermine the government or stop Brexit, but warned that if parliament rejected the final Brexit deal, there would be a crisis.
“That’s what wakes me up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat,” he told Sky News television.
“The very reason I’ve prompted this amendment is to provide a mechanism to make sure that we don’t come to government collapse immediately.”
But euroskeptic Conservative MP Graham Stringer said Grieve and his supporters were only interested in “sabotaging the whole process.”
“The purpose of the latest Grieve ruse is to give parliament the power to delay or stop Brexit,” he said.
Despite agreement on Britain’s financial settlement and EU citizens’ rights, the Brexit talks are progressing slowly, and there are few hopes of a breakthrough at an EU summit later this month.
Both sides are still publicly aiming for an agreement in October, but this is looking more and more difficult.
Negotiations are currently stalled on how to avoid border checks between Northern Ireland, a part of the UK, and neighboring EU member Ireland when Britain develops its own trade and customs policies.
“Serious divergences” remain over Northern Ireland, the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier said Tuesday after a final round of talks between London and Brussels ahead of the European summit.
The British government has also yet to decide on what it wants from the future economic relationship.
It has been clear about one area, security cooperation — but many of its proposals were on Tuesday knocked back by Barnier.
He said Britain could not stay in the European Arrest Warrant, take part in meetings of policing agency Europol or access EU-only police databases.
“We need more realism about what is and what is not possible,” he said.