Australian archbishop begins home detention over sex abuse cover-up

Former Australian archbishop Philip Wilson arrives at Newcastle Local Court for a post-sentence decision where he was ordered to serve his one-year sentence at home, after he was convicted of concealing child sex abuse, in Newcastle, Australia August 14, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 14 August 2018
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Australian archbishop begins home detention over sex abuse cover-up

  • Wilson planned to appeal against his conviction for failing to disclose to police abuse by a priest
  • Wilson resigned as archbishop of Adelaide in July, two months after being convicted

MELBOURNE: A former Australian archbishop, the most senior Catholic cleric in the world convicted of concealing child sex abuse, was spared jail on Tuesday when he was ordered to serve his one-year sentence at home.
Newcastle Court Magistrate Robert Stone allowed Philip Wilson, 67, to serve his detention at home after an assessment by prison authorities due to a range of health issues, including heart disease, faced by the former archbishop.
Wilson was ordered to begin serving his detention on Tuesday in New South Wales state and would be eligible for parole in February 2019, the court said, without disclosing the address of where he would be held.
Australian Broadcasting Corp. Television showed Wilson being driven away from the court in Newcastle, about 170 km (105 miles) north of Sydney. It said he would be staying at his sister’s house.
Wilson has said he planned to appeal against his conviction for failing to disclose to police abuse by a priest, Father James Fletcher, after being told about it in 1976 by two victims.
An angry victim of Fletcher who was not involved in the case against Wilson confronted the former archbishop outside the court, pressing him to apologize and saying the appeal process would prolong the pain suffered by abuse victims.
“Where is the contrition from former Archbishop Wilson? His Grace, as somebody just said upstairs, has shown no grace,” abuse survivor Peter Gogarty said outside the court.
“This man said two weeks ago he was resigning as the Archbishop of Adelaide because of the hurt done to people like me, but I am still here and still hurting,” he said.
Wilson resigned as archbishop of Adelaide in July, two months after being convicted. He wanted to hold on to the position until he completed his appeal but came under pressure from Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, fellow clerics and abuse victims to quit.
Pope Francis named Bishop Greg O’Kelly to run the Archdiocese of Adelaide until a new archbishop has been appointed.
“Bishop O’Kelly said he was keeping Archbishop Wilson in his prayers as he formally commences this stage in his life, while also remembering the victims and survivors of abuse in the church,” the archdiocese said in a statement.
Wilson would be staying at a relative’s home, it said.
The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, the country’s top Catholic body that Wilson once led, had no immediate comment. 


Japan apologizes to those forcibly sterilized, vows redress

Updated 24 April 2019
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Japan apologizes to those forcibly sterilized, vows redress

  • An estimated 25,000 people were given unconsented sterilization while the 1948 Eugenics Protection Law was in place until 1996
  • The government had until recently maintained the sterilizations were legal at the time

TOKYO: Japan’s government apologized Wednesday to tens of thousands of victims forcibly sterilized under a now-defunct Eugenics Protection Law and promised to pay compensation.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said he was offering “sincere remorse and heartfelt apology” to the victims.
His apology comes just after the parliament enactment earlier Wednesday of legislation to provide redress measures, including $28,600 (¥3.2 million) compensation for each victim.
An estimated 25,000 people were given unconsented sterilization while the 1948 Eugenics Protection Law was in place until 1996. The law was designed to “prevent the birth of poor-quality descendants” and allowed doctors to sterilize people with disabilities. It was quietly renamed as the Maternity Protection Law in 1996, when the discriminatory condition was removed.
The redress legislation acknowledges that many people were forced to have operations to remove their reproductive organs or radiation treatment to get sterilized, causing them tremendous pain mentally and physically.
The government had until recently maintained the sterilizations were legal at the time.
The apology and the redress law follow a series of lawsuits by victims who came forward recently after breaking decades of silence. That prompted lawmakers from both ruling and opposition parties to draft a compensation package to make amends for the victims.
The plaintiffs are seeking about ¥30 million each ($268,000) in growing legal actions that are spreading around the country, saying the government’s implementation of the law violated the victims’ right to self-determination, reproductive health and equality. They say the government redress measures are too small for their suffering.
In addition to the forced sterilizations, more than 8,000 others were sterilized with consent, though likely under pressure, while nearly 60,000 women had abortions because of hereditary illnesses, according to Japan Federation of Bar Associations.
Among them were about 10,000 leprosy patients who had been confined in isolated institutions until 1996, when the leprosy prevention law was also abolished. The government has already offered compensation and an apology to them for its forced isolation policy.