World News Snapshots

From The Survivor Activist, the newsletter of Survivor Connections, Inc.

The Survivor Activist newsletter
SC's Survivor Proclamations
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Worldwide problem demands a worldwide solution
Proposal: a global DNA registry of convicted sex offenders
(See France below.)

BUENOS AIRES. (07/1997). Rapists freed if they marry the victim. Argentinean law currently provides that a rapist can be freed if he marries his victim, no matter what the child’s age. This is similar to a law in effect in Peru, which legislators are there seeking to change, as reported in this newsletter, issue number 14. In a July 1997 Argentinean case, a 50-year-old stepfather offered to marry the eleven-year-old girl he had raped and impregnated.
MELBOURNE. (09/1997). Survivors march for awareness. Survivors of childhood sexual and emotional abuse marched with their supporters to present their proposals to the Australian parliament. Organized by Robyn Cowley Biar, founder of Survivors Australia, the marchers demanded by petition a sex offender registry and equally tough penalties for rapers of children as for those who rape adults.
MELBOURNE. (10/1997). Repeat offender, school principal / priest trainee gets off (again) with suspended sentence. Gregory Vincent Coffey, age 48, had twice before been released by magistrates in 1994 after being accused of similar sexual crimes. And in 1972 he had also received a suspended sentence for the molestation of a boy at an Adelaide school where Coffey was then a Salesian Brother. His 1997 sentence is for two-and-a-half years, suspended.
BRISBANE. (09/1997). Repeat offender Father Leo Daniel Wright pleads guilty. Wright, age 59, will serve an additional 18 months for his 1971 to 1976 crimes, which were added to his sentence of three years for his 1968 to 1970 crimes. Father Wright told the court that he had confided his sexual crimes to one bishop in 1972 and another in 1993, but that each time they had simply transferred him to a new assignment.
ROCKHAMPTON. (09/1997). Priest to stand trial for abuse of orphans. Father Reginald Basil Durham, age 81, will go to criminal court charged with sexually assaulting girls and boys at the Neerkol Orphanage for the past thirty years. There are at least seven victims. Rockhamptton District Court is to hear the case.
SYDNEY. (09/1997). Priest pleads guilty to abusing eight. Father Peter Harold Pritchard, age 53, is a former Catholic priest and former Newman High School principal. Judge Kenneth Taylor heard the priest’s guilty plea in Downing Centre District Court. A character witness for the defendant described him as a “generous and quiet man.” Father Pritchard’s order, the Society of St. Gerard of Majella, was disbanded in 1994.
SASKATCHEWAN. (05/1997). Prime minister’s son re-arrested. Michel Chretien, age 28, has been arrested for violating a court order issued after his release from a halfway house where he had been serving a three-year sentence for sexual assault. He had been ordered to stay away from a woman and her seven-year-old son.
Czech Republic
PRAGUE. (11/1997). Police make arrests in child porn/abuse ring. Five people have been arrested - three French, one American, and one Briton in what officials describe as an international pedophile ring. The victims were videotaped and the child-porn films sold abroad.
SANTIAGO. (08/1997). German-born cult leader still at large. Paul Schaefer, age 76, is accused by police of sexual assaults on five boys that occurred at a colony he founded called Colonia Dignidad - Dignity Colony. He is also accused of sexual assaults on children at an orphanage and a boarding school that he founded in Bonn. Although repeated police raids on the colony have failed to produce him, Schaefer is supposedly hidden there.
LONDON. (07/1997). Worker at children’s home dies of AIDS during investigation. Despite warnings that the man had sexually abused children in the past, a social worker was somehow allowed to continue caring for hundreds of children. Seven victims have so far come forward to accuse now-deceased Mark Trotter, who reportedly sexually abused them at Trowbridge House in east London between 1981 and 1993.
LONDON. (09/1997). Jesuit priest sentenced for sexual assaults on four boys. Father James Chaning-Pearce, age 57, received a five year sentence for sexual assaults on boys ages 12 to 16. A former public school teacher, Rev. Chaning-Pearce had been accused of similar crimes 10 years earlier in a letter which provoked his 1995 firing. He had also taught at Stonyhurst Roman Catholic College in Lancashire. Judge Reginald Lockett ordered that the priest be placed on the national sex offender register.
PARIS. (05/1997). Teacher arrested for 30 years of raping children. From 1966 until May of 1997, Jacky Kaisersmertz was active in the community in sports and as a gym teacher. Now, at age 59, he has been arrested for sexual assaults on dozens of children during that same time period. The case came to light when a policeman committed suicide, leaving a note that disclosed him having been raped by the teacher at ages 8 and 12.
PARIS. (09/1997). DNA database of sex offenders established. A central repository of genetic material obtained from convicted sex offenders was approved by the National Assembly. It would be maintained to facilitate tracking and identification of offenders.
BONN. (05/1997). New rape law redefines criminal acts. Passed by the German Parliament in May, the new law on rape criminalizes rape within marriage, same-sex rape, rape without physical violence, and redefines the term to include acts besides those involving penetration.
NEW DELHI. (07/1997). Child protection law in the works. Thousands of children are abused in the child prostitution industry in India. A newly proposed law would provide heavy sentences for their perpetrators and would allow prosecution either in India or in the home country of the offender.
JAKARTA. (05/1997). Women’s affairs minister calls for death penalty. Mien Sugandhi told a rally that the maximum sentence in Indonesia for rape is currently 12 years. She also opined that in rape cases only women should be allowed as police, prosecutors, and judges.
TEHRAN. (08/1997). Trial held for serial child rapist. Ahmad Taqiabadi was tried for murder, for kidnapping of 12 children, and rape of six of six of them, as well as production of pornography. In another well-publicized case, a taxi driver, Gholamreza Khoshrou Kouran Kordieh, age 28, was found guilty and sentenced to death for the kidnapping, murders and rapes of nine girls.
Dublin. (07&11/1997). Father Brendan Smyth dies in prison. Having finished serving his sentence in Northern Ireland, Father Smyth, former member of the Norbertine Order, was sent to the south to face addition charges of child molestation. In July 1997, he pleaded guilty in Dublin Circuit Criminal to 74 charges of indecent assaults on 20 children that he had committed in the Republic of Ireland during a 36 year crime spree. In Northern Ireland he had served already four years. On August 22, 1997, while serving his new 12-year-term, Smyth died of natural causes in Kildare County in the prison exercise yard.
MILAN. (11/1997). Chinese children sold for sex through Italy. A couple has been charged with posing as the parents of a twelve-year-old girl that they were bringing through Italy as a way station to her sale as a child prostitute. Prosecutors believe there is a ring of sex-trafficking in Italy, using the same modus operandi for Chinese children. Indictments against three Italians and three Japanese participants are anticipated.
AMORI. (07/1997). US Navy man sentenced to 3 years. Chief petty officer Raymond Cunningham, age 39 was given a three year sentence in Japan for an attempted rape in March. He also told prosecutors that he had previously attempted to rape another woman, back in January. He attributed the cause to job stress.
MEXICO CITY. (10/1997). Rapes often unpunished, unreported. Yessica Diaz reported the crime, but was given only further humiliation. She had been raped by police and now was forced to show her genitals and to personally face the attackers several times. Finally, she committed suicide. Revictimization of this type is apparently not uncommon in Mexico. Estimates are that 85% of rapes go unreported, and those that are reported go unpunished over 95% of the time.
WINDHOEK. (06/1997). Caregiver at special needs school charged with raping 8 students. Mathusal Matundu, age 25, is described as a hostel father at a school for deaf and children in Khomasdal. Police have arrested him for sexual assaults on six boys and two girls at the Institute for Special Education school. The oldest victim was twelve.
New Zealand
NEW PLYMOUTH. (07/1997). Dentist extradited to New York. Facing pedophilia and pornography charges, orthodontist Kenneth D’Cunha, age 40, has been released to New York authorities. He is one of a group of five to be charged, which included a Boy Scout leader and a school teacher.
ISLAMABAD. (08/1997). Tribal gang rape charged. A couple from different Pakistani tribes found that their love affair sparked hate attacks by one group against the other. Members of the Qureshi tribe state that they were gang raped by members of the Sudhans in retaliation for the relationship.
MANILA. (9/1997). New rape law includes spouses. Both men and women can now sue for rape in the Philippines under a new law just signed by President Fidel Ramos. The definition of rape now also encompasses marital rape as well as oral and anal penetration. Rape of a minor can result in the death penalty. The police are empowered to file suit on behalf of a victim.
WARSAW. (11/1997). Official charged with assaults on children. A former army officer and government official is charged with sexual abuse of young boys and is under investigation concerning links to organized child prostitution. Identified only as Zbigniew L., age 45, the man also had child pornography seized from his apartment in northeast Poland.
BUCHAREST. (08/1997). British clergyman arrested for sex tourism. John Michael Taylor, age 34 of Essex County, northeast of London, faces up to 7 years in prison for having sex with a 14 year old child while visiting Romania. Taylor is a self-described Protestant clergyman. Romanian police are cracking down on sex tourism.
BARCELONA. (07/1997). Child porn seized from 8 locations. Spanish police believed the cache was to be distributed abroad and think they have unearthed a major child prostitution and porn network that may have been acting in coordination with child porn distributors in France. The twelve arrested suspects have not been identified. One couple reportedly prostituted their 10-year-old son on weekends.
ZURICH. (05/1997). Swiss man accused of sexual assaults in Sri Lanka. Viktor Baumann, age 54, has been deported by Sri Lankan officials after investigation of him for child sexual molestations. Trial in Switzerland is expected towards the end of 1997. The maximum sentence in Switzerland is 7 years.
NAIROBI. (07/1997). Call for female dress code to curtail rape. Politicians, church leaders, and advocates all have proposals - from widely varying perspectives - to reduce the incidence of rape in Tanzania. Reports of rapes have greatly increased in recent years. Some suggest that convicted rapists be sentenced to life imprisonment or castrated. Others place some responsibility on the victims. Provoking an outcry by activists, one politician called for a law that would outlaw women wearing short dresses. This mirrored an opinion expressed two years earlier by the retired head of the Catholic Church in Kenya, Cardinal Maurice Otunga, who had stated that “immoral” dress by women in that country had been one main cause of an increase in rapes there.
DERIK. (09/1997). Woman awarded damages in rape by Turkish police. The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, found Turkish police guilty of beating and raping a woman that they suspected was linked to a separatist group. The crimes occurred in the town of Derik in 1993. Sukran Aydin was awarded damages, plus legal costs and expenses.
KAMPALA. (07/1997). Renowned soccer player released from custody. Majidu Musisi, age 29, has been released by Ugandan police after his alleged 16-year-old female victim refused to testify against him. He had been held for five days after his July 4 arrest.

HARARE. (05/1997). Reported sexual assaults increase. reported rapes have increased by 30% in Zimbabwe since 1993. Of those reported, 50% are of children under the age of 16.
HARARE. (07/1997). Ex-president to stand trial for rape of 8 men. Canaan Banana, president of Zimbabwe from 1980 through 1987, minister of the Methodist Church, and former chancellor of the University of Zimbabwe will stand criminal trial on charges of raping 8 men.