The Hollie Greig Story – Why Are Alarm Bells Ringing in Scotland?

ImageThe story of Hollie Greig is fairly well known in Scotland but, for those who may not be familiar with it, we include a brief summary below.  The information has been provided by those campaigning for “justice for Hollie” and  is published here in good faith for the purpose of enabling discussion. If anything is inaccurate or untrue, we expect that to be exposed in the course of the debate. What we do not expect is that anyone should be named, against whom allegations have been made. The discussion must be underpinned by the principle, “Innocent until proven guilty” – please and thank you… 

Catholic Truth is not part of the campaign for “justice for Hollie”.  We don’t DO “justice” campaigns.  Indeed, we’ve often been asked to publish a thread on the issues but having read some claims that the whole think is a hoax, we’ve resisted all requests to date. However, the circumstances surrounding the arrest and imprisonment of Robert Green, one of those campaigning for Hollie, sent alarm bells ringing.

After all, if all stops are (rightly) to be pulled out to rid the Catholic Church of any and all child abuse, then the same standards must surely be applied to other institutions (whether the BBC or political and legal institutions) when similar allegations are levelled at members of those professions.   

So, tell us what you think: should there be a thorough police enquiry into the Hollie Greig abuse allegations?

 Summary:

1. Hollie Greig made serious allegations of child sex abuse to Aberdeen Police in 2000 and named 22 alleged abusers and 7 alleged victims (in addition to herself). The alleged abusers include social workers, a judge, a senior police forensics officer (since deceased) and two Head Teachers.

 2. Until now the Aberdeen Police have refused to interview more than at most 2 of the 22 named suspects and none of the 7 victims named by Hollie.

3. This refusal to properly and thoroughly investigate Hollie Greig’s allegations is despite the fact that 2 medical doctors and 2 clinical psychologists have examined her and their findings have supported her allegations that she was sexually abused.

Furthermore, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority examined Hollie’s allegations, accepted that she had been abused and awarded her £13,500 in compensation for this.

4. All that Robert Green has been campaigning for is for the Aberdeen Police to properly and thoroughly investigate Hollie Greig’s allegations – that is their job and their duty, especially given the sheer gravity of Hollie’s allegations.

Sad sign of our times that if Hollie had alleged to police that these people had engaged in “Homophobic” activity the police would have thoroughly investigated it like a shot but to them alleged child sex abuse is perceived as not important.  

5. For his campaigning Robert Green has been arrested by the Aberdeen Police at least 3 times so far. Arrested and investigated by the very same police force he’s trying to get to properly and thoroughly investigate Hollie Greig’s allegations of child sex abuse. 

6. Robert Green is definitely innocent but even if you thought he somehow deserved to be arrested that does not alter the fact that he has a human right to have the defence Barristers he needs to defend himself and to have the Legal Aid he urgently needs to hire them.

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Anthony Bennett, critic of the Hollie Greig campaign has already been totally and very publicly discredited. For example, see below:

Madeleine McCann campaigner Tony Bennett guilty of publishing …

Retired lawyer faces jail for ‘harassing’ Kate and Gerry McCann …

Madeleine McCann contempt case: retired solicitor found guilty | UK …

 On 9 September 2003 the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal found him “guilty of conduct unbefitting a solicitor On 15 October 2009 he voluntarily removed himself from the Roll.

 And what qualifications and authority does Bennett have as an officially discredited ex-solicitor who had to leave his profession after disciplinary proceedings, to then appoint himself police, judge and jury in the Hollie Greig case and acquit all the alleged abusers named by Hollie even though they have never ever been properly investigated by the police?

All Robert Green is urging is for the police to do their job which is to properly and thoroughly investigate allegations of criminal activity, especially of serious criminal activity such as Holiie Greig’s allegations of child sex abuseEND…

Scots Bishops May Face Prosecution…

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CHURCH officials have warned that Catholic dioceses and bishops who ignored complaints over alleged sexual abuse by priests will be reported to police for prosecution.

Complaints of clerical sexual abuse stretching back almost 70 years are the subject of a review by the Catholic Church in Scotland, which insists any serious complaint since 1947 must be passed on to the police even if both alleged victim and priest are dead.

Tina Campbell, national safeguarding co-ordinator for the Scottish Catholic Church, said that for the first time the eight dioceses will be made accountable for their handling of clerical sexual abuse and that allegations ignored by previous bishops will be reported by her office to Police Scotland.

She said: “They are having to report if they have actioned or not. If they say, ‘we found something in the file but we haven’t reported it to the police’, they will be questioned about that.

“If there is an allegation and it has not been reported to police it must now be ­reported.”

The Catholic Church in Scotland is undergoing a two-tiered examination of its handling of clerical sex abuse. The McLellan Commission, led by the Very Reverend Dr Andrew McLellan, a former moderator of the Church of Scotland, is examining the Catholic Church’s current safety provisions and is expected to report early next year.

A second study of historical cases from 1947 to 2007 is now under way with each diocese expected to provide detailed information on: complaints of sexual abuse reported to the police and their outcome; complaints not reported, the reason why and proof that they have now been reported; and, finally, updates on “problem priests” who are not accused of criminal behaviour but have formed inappropriate relationships etc and details of their treatment and support.

The historical review is also being carried out by all religious organisations, including orders of nuns and monks such as at Fort Augustus, now the subject of a police investigation over allegations of rape and sexual abuse of boys.

A source close to the Church said: “There could well be further police investigations as a result of the historical review.”

Once collated by the national safeguarding co-ordinator, the statistics will be analysed by Professor Eddie McKenzie at Strathclyde University before publication. However, the information will be anonymised and the names of abuser priests withheld.

Asked if the Catholic Church was funding professional counselling for the victims of abuser priests, Campbell said she did not know.

She said: “I would say they probably are but I wouldn’t necessarily know. It would be very much dependent on each diocese and what is happening. I wouldn’t be able to say with great certainty of this case or that case.”

Last week, Father Thomas Mullen, a priest in the archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh, was dismissed by the Vatican over child abuse allegations, despite the Crown deciding not to prosecute due to the time that had elapsed since the alleged offences.

However Alan Draper, a former deputy director of social work, who has advised the Church on abuse issues, was critical of the delays. He said: “It is an indictment it has taken so long. It is still not sufficiently independent, being left to the very people likely to have been involved in the past cover-ups.

“The greater indictment is the failure to support victims and the fact Tina Campbell has no knowledge of what has been done, if anything.

“The bishops should hang their heads in shame.”  Source

Comment

Do you agree that historic cases of possible neglect by bishops to deal with allegations of sexual abuse against priests should be prosecuted, or does this latest move smack of revenge? 

And is there any link between the bishops’ neglect to proclaim the Catholic Faith and discipline dissenters, and their (alleged) neglect in sexual abuse cases?   I think there is – what do you think?

“Whistleblowing” Scots Priest Dismissed

A Scottish Catholic priest, who has fought for 17 years to force the hierarchy to act against a fellow priest who abused him, has been dismissed from the diocese of Galloway while recovering from cancer and issued with a formal warning for talking to the Observer.

Father Patrick Lawson, who spoke out in the Observer in July using the pseudonym “Father Michael”, was sent a decree of removal by Bishop John Cunningham last Wednesday, forcing him to hand over the keys of his parish house within two days. The bishop had consistently refused to accept Father Lawson’s pleas, on the advice of doctors, to drop one of his two parishes – St Paul’s, Hurlford – while convalescing.

The case is a potentially explosive development in an increasingly tense relationship between the Scottish hierarchy and the laity over abuse and cover-up. There is now a standoff in Father Lawson’s other parish – St Sophia’s, Galston – with many parishioners telling the Observer that they will walk out of masses this weekend in protest, cancel their church subscriptions, and refuse to return unless the priest is reinstated.

Parishioner Manuela Kevan says around 200 people have signed a petition backing the popular, hardworking priest. “We know what this is really about.”  Read more

Obviously, we have no way of knowing whether what is reported in the Observer article is accurate or not. We have to take it at face value, in the absence of any other reliable information.  However, it could be one of those “there’s more to this than meets the eye” situations.  Suffice to say that Catholic Truth has had cause to contact Fr Lawson in the past, so we are keeping an open mind on this at the moment and will merely add an observation that it’s interesting to see what it takes to have a priest dismissed. Annoying the bishops?  It’s certainly not writing heresy in the  Catholic papers week in and week out, and similar related dissent, that’s for sure!

Having said all of that, we reported some years ago that the Church in Galloway was in meltdown.  But is it any different from the Church in the rest of Scotland? Frankly, I doubt it. What about you?