Religious teacher at Knoz Grammar caught out over boys underwear

Religious teacher at Knoz Grammar caught out over boys underwear

Former teacher Michael Probert yesterday said seeing house master Christopher Themistocles Fotis in the laundry had freaked him out.

‘I expected to be sacked’ admits Knox paedophile teacher

‘I thought my career was over’ … Ex Knox Grammar teacher Craig Treloar

The commission has heard that Mr Fotis, now 53, had been suspected as the man in a Knox tracksuit and a balaclava who hid under a student’s bed and sexually assaulted him. The man fled and the school never called in the police.

Mr Fotis later resigned from Knox after he was caught masturbating in his car outside the school but the headmaster, Dr Ian Paterson, still gave him a glowing reference, the commission was told.

The commission is investigating whether the elite Wahroonga school covered up 33 years of sex abuse of students by five teachers who were criminally charged and another three who were not, including Mr Fotis.

Cover-up....The prestigious Knox Grammar.

Cover-up … The prestigious Knox Grammar.

Mr Fotis was expected to give evidence yesterday but it was inexplicably postponed.

Mr Probert, a Knox old boy who returned to the school as a resident house master in 1987, said he had gone to the laundry one night in probably 1989 about 11pm to collect his laundry. The teacher’s clothing and sheets were kept on the opposite side to those of the students.

He said Mr Fotis was standing at the boys’ side near their “undies and socks” and “acted shocked and surprised” when he was spotted.

“The lights were off. I found it strange. It startled me,” Mr Probert said.

He said there was a bin in which the boys put in their bags of dirty laundry and pigeonholes into which their clean laundry was put and it appeared that Mr Fotis had “taken some of the socks and underwear out of the bags”.

“I’m not 100 per cent sure … to me it was very suspicious,” Mr Probert said.

He said Mr Fotis gave no explanation for being there.

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/religious-teacher-at-knoz-grammar-caught-out-over-boys-underwear/story-fni0cx12-1227238531856

Advertisements

No Faith Is Free From Child Abuse Scandals or Cover-Ups

No Faith Is Free From Child Abuse Scandals or Cover-Ups

What has been happening in Sydney and Melbourne is doubly shocking. First, there have been revelations over a rabbi who abused children at a yeshivah, Jewish learning seminary over many years, which was then followed by a cover-up when allegations surfaced.

Second, it is a wake-up call to Jewish communities in the UK to be vigilant about a problem from which, until now, we thought we were immune. It was all too easy to think that paedophile ministers were rife in the Church of England and the Catholics, but not really an issue for us.

Almost as disturbing as the crimes are the cover-up by others in the hierarchy, across all faiths, who certainly regard the offender with disapproval but are motivated by fear that if one person is exposed, then that will tarnish the rest of the group – be it the church, synagogue or mosque. In fact, the opposite is true: colluding with a perpetrator is what really tarnishes the group at large, while it also denies justice to the victim, which should have been the prime concern.

What causes such warped responses? Is it the naivety of hoping they could handle the problem and so there was no need to bring in outside authorities; or is it the nervousness of thinking that if one crack was exposed in the faith-group, then the entire edifice would collapse; or is it the hubris of reckoning that on balance the faith-group do more good than evil and so should be excused any failings; or is it that they felt under attack already, battling so many secular enemies, that they could not afford to show any weak spots, especially clerical failings?

There is another big question: but how to keep going despite the child abuses scandals – because actually there are plenty of vicars, priests and rabbis that do not abuse children, but are being stymied because of the suspicion that surrounds every inter-personal action.

It is good practice for classrooms or offices in religious buildings to have windows put into the doors, so that anyone passing by can check that nothing untoward is going on inside. Personally, I always leave my study door open whenever doing one to one interviews, so that there can be no suggestion of any impropriety. But I dislike the implication that being alone with someone is now potentially dangerous for them.

It is certainly been a long time, since I patted a child on the back at the Religion School, lest a gesture of encouragement or warmth be seen as ‘touching up’. But I resent having to stop, as it is giving in to a culture of fear, and letting the evil committed by child abusers poison the minds of the overwhelming majority that abhor it.

Yes, we have to be aware of abuse and guard against it, but we also have to protect values such as trust and friendship – be vigilant but also maintain a generosity of spirit – and getting that balance right is difficult for civil society, but is especially problematic for faith groups as a religious approach tries to assume the best in people.

But there is no doubt that religious whistleblowers are to be admired rather than ostracised, as so often happens. The Book of Leviticus does not use that word, but certainly backs the cause: ‘You shall not stand idly by wrong-doing…you shall speak out against those who commit evil, otherwise you share in their guilt’ (19. 16-17)

The problem is not that we lack religious guidance, but that individuals do not always follow it, and religious institutions sometimes put self-interest above their own principles. What has happened to the Jewish community in Australia is an important warning that none of us can ignore.

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/jonathan-romain/australia-rabbis-child-abuse_b_6721212.html

Royal Commission To Hold Public Hearing For Knox Grammar Child Abuse Investigation

Royal Commission To Hold Public Hearing For Knox Grammar Child Abuse Investigation

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse said on Thursday that there would be a wide ranging public hearing into how the exclusive Sydney private school had responded to inappropriate conduct by teachers towards students from 1970 to 2012.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the hearings will include the experience of sexual abuse of former students at the school, the regulatory system governing the school’s response to allegations of child sexual abuse by its employees and the response of the Uniting Church and the school to concerns about inappropriate conduct. The Royal Commission will also investigate the systems, policies and procedures in place at the school since 1970, by which sexual abuse concerns were raised and responded to.

Former students as well as the school will give evidence from Feb. 23 about how the abuse could have gone unnoticed for such a long period. One of the cases of abuse was overlooked for over 20 years. The Royal Commission will hold a public hearing before the case study into Knox Grammar. The public hearing will be held at the Yeshivah Colleges in Melbourne and in Bondi, in Sydney’s east. While the Royal Commission’s investigation is expected to end up in criminal proceedings, Knox Grammar has admitted that it never dismissed its responsibility.

Knox is located on Sydney’s Upper North Shore. Prominent actors and former prime ministers have been the alumni of the school. Some of the major former students of the school include actor Hugh Jackman, former Macquarie Bank chairman David Clarke and ethicist Simon Longstaff.

ABC News reports that four men pleaded guilty to abusing students at the school in 2009 and 2010. Adrian Nisbett was suspended in 2010 for molesting boys in 1976 and 1986. Former teacher Craig Treloar was jailed in the same year for abusing four boys aged from 11 to 13 between 1986 and 1987. It was revealed that the men found guilty of the offences had continued teaching even after the abuse.

http://au.ibtimes.com/royal-commission-hold-public-hearing-knox-grammar-child-abuse-investigation-1414755

Royal commission hears of sex abuse at elite Knox Grammar school

Royal commission hears of sex abuse at elite Knox Grammar school

KNOX Grammar School did not inform police of a single incident of child sexual abuse perpetrated by five teachers over period of 33 years, a royal commission has heard.

Council assisting the commission, David Lloyd, said in the opening of the inquiry into Knox, an elite Sydney private boy’s school associated with the Uniting Church, that the five convicted teachers had collectively abused a number of boys, and among the penalties issued was a jail term.

“There will be particular emphasis during this public hearing on the question of what information was known by the employees of Knox and members of the Knox Council about the abuse by the teachers, and when that information was known,” Mr Lloyd told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Sydney.

He outlined a litany of episodes of sexual abuse by the teachers, in graphic terms.

The abuse included teachers touching and fondling students’ genitals, discussion of oral sex, and taking photos of boys during sexual acts.

Mr Lloyd said on some occasions. teachers showed students pornographic videos, including one showing men having sex with animals.

He said there was widespread knowledge of the abuse among the boys, and some reports of them to school superiors which were kept in a black folder by a previous headmaster.

But many critical documents had gone missing, Mr Lloyd said, “without explanation”, and the inquiry would examine whether they had been destroyed deliberately, and if so, by whom.

Mr Lloyd said the inquiry would allege that one teacher convicted of sexual assault, Adrian Nisbett, was known by the then headmaster to have engaged in abuse, but kept on at the school in different roles.

Mr Lloyd told of “the Balaclava man”, as he was known by the students, who was found one morning under a boy’s bed dressed in a Knox tracksuit and balaclava, sexually abusing a student.

When a student raised the alarm, the balaclava man put a doona over his head and ran out of the boarding house, and was chased by a number of boys but not captured.

“The evidence will show that at least one of the resident masters had criminal convictions for more than one offence at the time he was employed,” Mr Lloyd said.

Counsel for Knox, Geoffrey Watson SC, apologised on behalf of the school.

“The school also acknowledges that an apology, however heartfelt, can only go so far,” Mr Watson told the Commission.

“The next two weeks will be a dark time for many people.”

Mr Watson said steps had been taken by Knox on the advice of professional advisers to protect the safety of students from such abuse.

One former Knox student described a long period of abuse he suffered at the hands of one of the convicted former teachers, Barrie Stewart, as a teenager in the 1970s.

This included many nights in which he was asked to go to Stewart’s office, when he knew he would be sexually assaulted.

“If a teacher told you to do something, you did it,” the former student identified only as ARY, said.

ARY told the Commission that while Stewart and some other teachers were known as “touchers”, those who complained were chastised.

“They were seen as weak, and were everybody’s bitch.”

A former assistant headmaster at Knox, John Rentoul, told the commission his son David, who attended the school, had been abused by Stewart, and kept it from his parents for 30 years.

After Stewart’s trial, Mr Rentoul said, David’s mental health deteriorated significantly, and he died in his 40s from an illness.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/in-depth/royal-commission-hears-of-sex-abuse-at-elite-knox-grammar-school/story-fngburq5-1227235250885

Five teachers at top school abused boys

Five teachers at top school abused boys

The royal commission into child sexual abuse will hear from Craig Treloar, who was sentenced to four and a half years in jail, with two years non-parole, in 2009 for indecent assault.

It will also hear from Damien Vance, who was convicted of one act of indecency on a boy under 16 and released on a good behaviour bond.

In his opening statement on Monday, counsel for the commission David Lloyd said five teachers at Knox in Wahroonga on Sydney’s north shore were convicted of sex offences against students.

There would be evidence of abuse by a further three teachers who were never charged, he said.

Mr Lloyd said the school, which was established in 1924 by the Presbyterian Church, had five boarding houses supervised by resident masters in the 1980s.

During that time there didn’t appear to be any formal process for employing someone who wanted to be a resident master.

‘The evidence will disclose that at least one of the resident masters employed in around 1986, a Mr Chris Fotis, had criminal convictions for more than one offence at the time he was employed,’ he said.

Mr Fotis will give evidence later in the hearing.

Mr Lloyd said one witness, Guy Lamond, who started at Knox as a six-year-old in 1980, was abused by two teachers.

One of the teachers, Barrie Stewart, was charged with indecent assault against seven students and received a suspended sentence.

The other teacher, Craig Treloar, showed Mr Lamond and other boys pornographic videos of boys performing oral sex on younger boys and older men having sex with young boys.

At one point he asked Mr Lamond to perform oral sex on him.

– See more at: http://www.skynews.com.au/news/local/sydney/2015/02/23/five-teachers-at-top-school-abused-boys.html#sthash.q4t289pf.dpuf

Child sex abuse inquiry: Abuse by Knox Grammar paedophile teacher led to student’s death, father says

Child sex abuse inquiry: Abuse by Knox Grammar paedophile teacher led to student’s death, father says

The elderly father of a former Knox Grammar student has told an inquiry into alleged sexual abuse at the school that his adult son died as a result of trauma inflicted by paedophile teacher Barrie Stewart.

Dr John Rentoul, 80, a former assistant principal at the elite boys’ school in Sydney’s north, told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse he worked with three of the five former Knox teachers who were later convicted of abusing students over a 33-year period.

Dr Rentoul said his son, David, found his abuser’s criminal trial difficult and that he was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder.

Stewart received a suspended sentence on charges including indecent and sexual assault.

The inquiry has been told that of the five Knox teachers convicted of offences against boys as young as six at the school only one, Craig Treloar, received a jail sentence – four and a half years.

“The news that Stewart received a suspended two-year sentence, rather than a custodial sentence, was devastating to David, to us, and as I understand to other victims and their families,” Dr Rentoul said.

“I absolutely believe that the extreme guilt, stress and shame David suffered as a result of the abuse directly led to his health issues.

“It is very clear to me that the sexual abuse suffered by David at Knox impacted him for the rest of his life and resulted in his premature death.”

I believe the school was more interested in protecting the reputation of Knox than ensuring the safety and welfare of its students.

Dr John Rentoul, father of abuse victim

David Rentoul died in 2012, at age 44, after a serious lung infection.

“As a former headmaster myself, it seems extraordinary and reprehensible that these men continued to teach at Knox and abuse students,” Dr Rentoul told the inquiry.

“I believe the school was more interested in protecting the reputation of Knox than ensuring the safety and welfare of its students.”

In his opening statement to the commission, counsel assisting David Lloyd said the inquiry would hear evidence that several former students approached police in 2009 and said they were sexually abused at the school, located at Wahroonga on Sydney’s upper north shore.

“The abuse was perpetrated by these teachers between approximately 1970 and the year 2003 – a 33-year period,” Mr Lloyd said.

“It is anticipated that the evidence will show that during that period the school did not notify the police of any incident of child sexual abuse.”

Boys forced to perform oral sex, watch porn

Earlier, the commission heard from a former student of the Uniting Church-run school who said he was repeatedly assaulted by a teacher in the late 1970s.

The man known as A-R-Y said he was too scared to come forward at the time because the independent boys’ school had a culture of “blaming the victim”.

A-R-Y told the Sydney hearing a teacher openly groped students – and that must have been obvious to other teachers and then-principal Ian Paterson, who was the school’s headmaster from 1969 to 1998.

“I can not believe that Paterson and other long-term staff had no idea that sexual abuse was happening at Knox,” he said.

“But the culture of the school meant that any teacher who suspected inappropriate conduct would never speak up.

“Everyone was expected to keep up the reputation of Knox.”

The inquiry has heard abuse by former teachers and boarding house masters included boys as young as six being fondled, masturbated, forced to perform oral sex and watch pornographic videos.

One child was also photographed and filmed in an explicit video inside a teacher’s office, the inquiry heard.

Headmaster retained teacher targeting young boys

Mr Lloyd said Dr Paterson was given a report around 1986 by teacher and former police officer Stuart Pearson revealing serious allegations about Adrian Nisbett, who was later convicted of sexual assault.

The hearing will focus on their response to that knowledge and whether there was or is a culture at Knox which does not treat the issue of child abuse seriously.

Counsel assisting David Lloyd

The report found that Mr Nisbett was targeting young boys who were good at sport and recommended that he be removed from the boarding house.

“That report has gone missing, without explanation,” Mr Lloyd said.

“This hearing will examine how and why these and other critical documents have gone missing, whether they were deliberately destroyed in order to eliminate evidence which might adversely affect the school, and who from the school might have been involved.”

Nisbett was removed from the boarding house, but stayed on as an assistant to the headmaster until 1999.

“What information was known by employees of Knox and members of the Knox council about the abuse by the teachers?” Mr Lloyd asked.

“The hearing will focus on their response to that knowledge and whether there was or is a culture at Knox which does not treat the issue of child abuse seriously.”

The files of a number of students and parents who complained about abuse also disappeared, the commission heard.

Knox apologises for failing to protect students

Counsel for Knox Grammar Geoffrey Watson SC earlier delivered an apology on behalf of the school for failing to protect its students from sexual abuse by teachers, members of what one student described as a paedophile ring.

“The school humbly and sincerely apologises for its failure,” Mr Watson told the inquiry.

The school owed a primary responsibility to those students and to those parents to keep them safe from this sort of thing.

Geoffrey Watson SC, acting for Knox Grammar

“It apologises to all of those students who are damaged by these events.

“It apologises to the parents of those students and to the other members of their families.”

Mr Watson said the school welcomed the royal commission and that “it’s important the truth emerges”.

“There’s no excuse,” he said.

“The school owed a primary responsibility to those students and to those parents to keep them safe from this sort of thing.”

Several witnesses were expected to tell the commission that when they were still in primary school, the teachers would grope them in the playground.

Some of the teachers in question would socialise with each other in the boarding house, but also invite boys to their rooms, and even to homes they had away from the school.

Evidence would be presented about three other former teachers of the school who have not faced criminal proceedings.

Students made complaints, the commission heard, but senior administrators at the school who knew of the abuse did nothing.

Former prime ministers and prominent actors, including Hugh Jackman, attended the school, as did veteran broadcaster John Laws, former editor of the satirical Oz magazine Richard Neville, ethicist Simon Longstaff and former Macquarie Bank chairman David Clarke.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-23/royal-commission-into-child-sex-abuse-examines-knox-grammar/6218660

New bishop arrives at a difficult time

New bishop arrives at a difficult time

//

GIPPSLAND’S new Catholic bishop will assume his role at what is a tough time for the church in the region.

More than 1200 Catholics will flock to celebrate the ordination of Bishop-elect Pat O’Regan on Thursday, who looks forward to getting back to basics with his Christian message.

“I’d like to make the Christian message believable and credible, because we’ve taken a few body blows recently,” Fr O’Regan said.

“Because some bad things have happened, I’d like to get back to the basics of Christianity and that’s the love of God, love of neighbour.

“It’s not just about being in a holy huddle in a church; it’s being a part of the world.”

Fr O’Regan has arrived in the region at a time when allegations of sexual abuse against students at St Patrick’s Catholic College in the 1970s and 1980s now Catholic College Sale are being investigated by police.

Fr O’Regan said the church was praying for those affected and would co-operate with all inquiries.

“It’s a terrible thing when this happens because it’s people involved and they get hurt and it shouldn’t have happened in the first place,” Fr O’Regan said.

“It really redoubles our efforts to make sure these things never happen again.”

Addressing the issue of ongoing discussions with the Independent Education Union about Catholic school teachers’ rights to be homosexual, live with partners out of wedlock and have children out of wedlock, Fr O’Regan said while it was not a requirement for teachers to be Catholic, they must abide by the ethos of schools and their Catholic morals.

“I’ve been around long enough to realise we all make mistakes and it’s not always easy, but when people sign up for a job in a Catholic organisation it’s no secret that they need to live by the ethos,” Fr O’Regan said.

“I think that all of us try to have what they call a seamless garment, what that means is there’s consistency in our life, we just don’t have compartments people hate hypocrites.

“What I see this as is a call to consistency, and if you can’t abide by that and have that consistency, then maybe the job’s not for you.”

More than 1000 people have booked to attend the ordination of Fr Pat O’Regan as the ninth Catholic Bishop of Sale.

Fr O’Regan’s ordination and his installation will take place at Bishop Phelan Stadium at Catholic College Sale, and those attending the two-hour ceremony are being asked to be seated no later than 10.30pm.

Catholic media spokesman Colin Coomber said while the ordination Mass would not start until 11am, the official welcome and procession of more than 100 priests and clergy would begin at least 20 minutes earlier than that.

Bishop-elect O’Regan will process in with 30 bishops and archbishops from around Australia at the start of the Mass.

Principal consecrator will be Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference president Archbishop of Melbourne Denis Hart, assisted by the eighth Bishop of Sale, now Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn Christopher Prowse, and former Sale priest, now Bishop of Bathurst Michael McKenna.

Those attending will be invited to Sale Memorial Hall for lunch and refreshments afterwards.

http://www.gippslandtimes.com.au/story/2900636/new-bishop-arrives-at-a-difficult-time/

Knox Grammar had ‘cover-up’ culture

Knox Grammar had ‘cover-up’ culture

The autocratic style of a headmaster nicknamed “Snake” by boarders at Knox Grammar School made it possible for teachers to take advantage of and prey on students, an inquiry has heard.

A man using the pseudonym ARY said the governance style of Ian Paterson, headmaster at Knox for 30 years, made students fearful of reporting sex abuse by teachers.

ARY boarded at the school from Year 7 in 1974 and was there for four years. He was indecently assaulted by science teacher Roger James when he was 14.

James was convicted and given a suspended sentence.

ARY and other former students told the sex abuse royal commission on Monday there was a culture of cover-up at the prestigious Wahroonga school.

Witnesses also accused the school of engendering a culture of homophobia with one saying he felt the school tried to force him out because he was gay.

ARY said James was a popular teacher, who was considered eccentric, smoked cigars in his office and the playground and was known to have alcohol in his office.

He befriended ARY and stayed with his family, assaulting him during one stay.

ARY said he could not tell his parents who were paying for his expensive education.

He also feared a backlash at school.

“In the boarding school if you were accused of a homosexual act you would never live it down,” he said.

ARY said because of the Knox experience he was severely and incurably homophobic, even though he knew it was illogical.

He said Dr Paterson’s “autocratic style of governance” contributed to the “Knox culture which conditioned students to be fearful of reporting conduct of reporting inappropriate conduct, and to be accepting of such behaviour by teachers.”

It also allowed “teachers to take advantage of, and prey upon, students,” he said.

It was widely known by students that James, music teacher Barrie Stewart and Adrian Nesbitt – three of five teachers who pleaded guilty to indecent acts – were “overly hands-on with boys,” he said.

“I cannot believe that Paterson and other long term staff had no idea that sexual abuse was happening at Knox.”

But the culture stopped teachers from speaking up.

“Everyone was expected to keep up the reputation of Knox,” he said.

Former assistant headmaster John Rentoul became upset as he told how his son David revealed he was molested by Stewart in the late 1970s.

“I believe the school was more interested in protecting the reputation of Knox than ensuring the safety and welfare of its students,” said Dr Rentoul.

A former student using the pseudonym ATQ said when he told another teacher that Knox was a “paedophile ring” he was told, “you can’t say that”.

ATQ was 16 when he was groomed and abused by a housemaster.

The commission heard that despite several internal inquiries there was no evidence Dr Paterson contacted the police.

Dr Paterson, headmaster at Knox from 1969 to 1998 will give evidence, probably next week.

Geoffrey Watson SC, representing Knox Grammar School, said the school humbly and sincerely apologised for its failings.

“It apologises to all of those students who were damaged by these events. It apologises to the parents of those students and the other members of their families,” he said.

The hearing continues on Tuesday.

https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/26402022/abuse-files-missing-from-knox-school/

Why do religious clerics get away with sexual abuse?

Why do religious clerics get away with sexual abuse?

For years we’ve made fun of the Catholic priests fondling with young ones. Their ghastly and heinous acts of insensitivity disgust our spirits and we all abhor such practices. I once stopped by and spoke to John Wojnowski, himself a victim, on Massachusetts Avenue, Washington DC, who has been protesting for years, trying to bring the world’s attention to the abusive ways of the clergy.

He told me his appalling story of how a priest abused him during his childhood and how difficult it was for him to get over the traumatic event, something that scarred him psychologically for his entire life.

Fast forward to now, the year 2015, we have a 75-year-old Muslim cleric, Mohammad Abdullah Saleem, running the Institute of Islamic Education (IIE) in the small mid-Western town of Elgin, just outside of Chicago. He was arrested on February 17 on charges of felony and criminal sexual abuse but was let go on a $250,000 bail. Saleem obviously denies the charges.

Saleem, Indian by origin, belongs to a generation of immigrants who came to the US back in the 70s and 80s and settled here based on their religious skills. He established the IIE in 1989 and that was actually the time he started to hobnob with young females at the institute, students as well as employees. What one learns from those who are aware of such incidents is that the cleric got away scot-free because the community came to his rescue and mediated a settlement whenever he behaved erratically.

Saleem is a habitual offender. So far, along with the 23-year-old girl who came out of the shadows and reported her abuse by the mullah, there are at least three more women who claim to have been sexually molested by him. It is expected that more people will come forward.

I’ve been trying to reach out to the Muslims of Elgin, those who knew Saleem, to get a comment. However, it appears that the community has decided to stay tight-lipped about the issue. I did, however, get one individual to talk about the nefarious activities of the mullah. I was informed that Saleem believed in the concept of concubines and would often ‘light up’ at the sight of young women. It seemed that he had a monstrous, never-ending appetite, ready to pounce on the prey, at a moment’s notice. His body language said it all. My informant attended a few of the mullah’s sermons and often found him acting ‘awkwardly’.

Saleem, because of his repeated wrongdoing, has found it rather difficult to maintain a dignified stature within the community. Yet, until the night he was arrested, he continued to remain not only the head of IIE but also a revered personality enjoying the trust of tons of followers. According to some, Saleem is like the “Billy Graham of the South Asian community”.

At a time when Islam and Muslims stand in a dire need of some good news and pleasantness, the Mullah Saleem episode has not only come as a shock to the believers of the faith but also as an embarrassing PR exercise, a total image disaster that potentially pales the recently reported raunchy exploits of Bill Cosby with all the beautiful women in the world.

The advances in medical science have enabled folks to express their inner desires and self in a more effective manner and ‘sex up’ their lives even in their twilight years. Saleem, it seems, is no exception to the rule. Maybe he should have moved to a culture that allows polygamy? But then, given his lust for checking out different women, would multiple wives have satisfied his thirst for carnal needs or would he still be loafing around in pursuit of other women?

Granted we all have feelings and emotions and at times find it hard to control our expression of self. Yet, one must never let go of that unique ‘microchip’ that God Almighty has blessed us with and that distinguishes us humans from animals. That distinctive personality trait is called self-control that the mullah in question, being a religious luminary, should have exercised whenever he found himself giving in to the devilish desires. I guess those who propagate, sermonise and take upon themselves the task of reforming and refining humanity are more prone to trip into the ditch of immorality and corrupt ways. In Saleem’s case, it turned out to be fiddling and fondling with young women. Undoubtedly, his institute, his office and his constituents, the community that trusted him, deserved better.

I’m not sure about other parts of the world, but a good number of Muslim parents in North America send their kids on Sundays to Islamic schools like the IIE. This helps them become and stay aware of their religious value and realities. After Saleem’s arrest, one is sure that parents everywhere, if not withdraw their kids, will keep a critical eye and scrutinise the school environment before venturing to start an academic relationship.

There have been many times that I have extended offered to shake hands with South Asian women only to find myself feeling embarrassed a second later that they’ve been instructed by their religious leaders – the mullahs – that shaking hands with a man is against the precepts of religion. The mullahs, in many parts of the world, force woman to don hijabs. In the meantime, this cleric, Saleem, in our backyard, is forcing young women to undress and sit on his lap. What kind of example is he setting for future faithfuls? What type of signal is he sending out to those who are already sceptical about Islam?

Muslims should wake up and smell the coffee. Very often I feel that they give way too much respect to mosque imams or the heads of madrassahs or, to use a dandy term, the ‘rectors’ of Islamic institutes. They tend to turn Islam into a cult and hence these mullahs become the cult leaders. Whatever the ‘maulvi sahib’ teaches the kids or the women of the household is the word of law. No one questions the rationale of the logic presented and no one ever dares question the integrity of the instruction process followed in the religious schools.

While the mullahs mess around with young women, accept donations, live in palatial dwellings, they contaminate the minds of the youth who end up in the darks confines of the ISISs and al Qaedas of the world. The Islamic world needs to revisit the goal behind the role of the mullahs in their spiritual lives.

Perhaps don’t use these guys as a medium to reach God?

Perhaps just try to connect to the Supreme Being without the crutches of the maulvi sahib?

How about getting rid of the Skype mullah?

Let’s try to swim out of the shallowness and question what one is told instead of trusting blindly. It’s just like breaking the code and giving ourselves a chance to survive the dreadful onslaught.

After his arrest and subsequent bail, Saleem has been asked to stay away from anyone under the age of 18. I suggest he should stay away from humanity entirely. It is highly shameful that even at the ripe old age of 75, this cleric couldn’t exercise control over his mind and body. But he is not the first Muslim cleric to fool around or behave abruptly and would certainly not be the last one to do so.

In my years as an active journalist in Asia, I got to know an incredible number of religious clerics maintaining extramarital links and ties and yet preaching piety and spirituality to their followers. Naturally one’s initial reaction is that of shock and awe but then it should never be forgotten – such people are master manipulators who play with the weaknesses and vulnerabilities of their followers without ever revealing, reflecting on or being critical of their own vices.

We are all God’s creation. We are ‘Ashraf-ul-Makhluqat’ (The best of creations). Why not cut the mullahs out of our mainstream lives? Why not think with our hearts and souls and not depend on people like Mohammad Saleem for our spiritual needs? Be the masters of our own destinies and reach out to God and indulge in a conversion with the Higher Power on our own without anyone’s help. Trust me, it is all very doable.

In the meantime, while the Pope keeps seeking forgiveness for the acts of these imbeciles in a Church, I don’t expect anyone will apologise on behalf of Saleem. He would, however, do a huge favour to humanity if he lets his head control the matters of his heart, and not the other way around.

Whether it is a mosque, a church, a temple, a synagogue or a religious school, people view these places as sacred. To take advantage of their trust in this abhorrent manner is disgusting. There was a time when these religious institutions were sanctuaries for the faithful and the faithless – a place for prayer, safety and self-reflection. It would be very sad to see them reduced to another dark alley in which people would have to exercise utmost vigilance.

http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/26339/why-do-religious-clerics-get-away-with-sexual-abuse/

Teachers at one of Australia’s most prestigious schools ‘forced students to watch sickening paedophile porn films’.

Teachers at one of Australia’s most prestigious schools ‘forced students to watch sickening paedophile porn films’.

Claims that a teacher at one of Australia’s most prestigious schools forced students to watch paedophile pornography, have surfaced at a royal commission into child sex abuse.

Two teachers, who were convicted of sexually assaulting boys at the prestigious Knox Grammar School in Sydney, have been called to give evidence at the national hearing.

And there would be evidence of abuse by a further three teachers who were never charged, it was revealed.

There are claims that a teacher at one of Australia's most prestigious schools showed students paedophile pornography. The allegations have surfaced at a royal commission into child sex abuse

There are claims that a teacher at one of Australia’s most prestigious schools showed students paedophile pornography. The allegations have surfaced at a royal commission into child sex abuse

The royal commission into child sexual abuse will hear from Craig Treloar, who was sentenced to four and a half years in jail, with two years non-parole, in 2009 for indecent assault.

It will also hear from Damien Vance, who was convicted of one act of indecency on a boy under 16 and released on a good behaviour bond.

In his opening statement on Monday, counsel for the commission David Lloyd said five teachers at Knox in Wahroonga on Sydney’s north shore were convicted of sex offences against students.

Mr Lloyd said the school, which was established in 1924 by the Presbyterian Church, had five boarding houses supervised by resident masters in the 1980s.

During that time there didn’t appear to be any formal process for employing someone who wanted to be a resident master.

In his opening statement on Monday, counsel for the commission David Lloyd said five teachers at Knox in Wahroonga on Sydney's north shore were convicted of sex offences against students

In his opening statement on Monday, counsel for the commission David Lloyd said five teachers at Knox in Wahroonga on Sydney’s north shore were convicted of sex offences against students

‘The evidence will disclose that at least one of the resident masters employed in around 1986, a Mr Chris Fotis, had criminal convictions for more than one offence at the time he was employed,’ he said.

Mr Fotis will give evidence later in the hearing.

Mr Lloyd said one witness, Guy Lamond, who started at Knox as a six-year-old in 1980, was abused by two teachers.

One of the teachers, Barrie Stewart, was charged with indecent assault against seven students and received a suspended sentence.

The other teacher, Craig Treloar, showed Mr Lamond and other boys pornographic videos of boys performing oral sex on younger boys and older men having sex with young boys.

At one point he asked Mr Lamond to perform oral sex on him.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2964666/Teachers-one-Australia-s-prestigious-schools-forced-students-watch-sickening-paedophile-porn-films.html#ixzz3SaSnbHx1
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook