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Getting Out : Seeking Justice

French Paedophile gang Jailed

from Albatross - Thursday, September 19, 2002
accessed 3296 times

France paedophile gang behind bars
Thursday, September 19, 2002

MELUN, France (Reuters) -- A French court has handed out sentences of between four and 15 years to 10 people accused of running the largest paedophile ring ever uncovered in France.
After 11 hours of deliberations lasting late into the night, the court convicted the nine French and one German defendants of raping and sexually abusing scores of children in the 1990s.
Chief prosecutor Yves Jannier, describing the defendants as "primates," had asked for ringleader Michel Albenque to be sentenced to 18 years in prison, and for other defendants to get more than five years.
Albenque, 49, received the stiffest sentence of 15 years. He apologised to his victims in the court in Melun, on the outskirts of Paris, saying he was ashamed of what he did.
"I ask for the forgiveness of all my victims. I regret the suffering I caused these boys. Paedophilia is an unequal battle between a child and an adult. I sullied these boys," he said, according to the daily newspaper Le Parisien.
The men -- whose professions include salesman, laboratory technician, gardener, dog handler and translator -- lured scores of children into sex sessions by offering to play cards or take them on trips to Paris or the seaside.
Albenque sought out victims by approaching parents who were unemployed or poorly paid and offering them gifts and money while pretending to be teachers interested in helping their children, according to the charges.
Police have identified at least 20 victims since receiving the first complaint about the group in 1996, authorities say.
A lawyer for one of the accused had argued the minors gave consent in what he described as "games of seduction."
At least some of the minors involved were at the time under 15, the age at which French law recognises consent to sexual relations.
A further suspect fled before the trial and was being sought by police on Thursday.

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from Latest News
Friday, December 09, 2005 - 05:56


Not sure if these are the same people...interesting though.
Abuse case thrown out in France
By Craig S. Smith The New York Times
PARIS--An appeals court Thursday overturned the conviction of six people accused of participating in a pedophilia ring in northern France five years ago, unraveling one of the most mismanaged cases in French judicial history and leaving the nation asking how the court system could have gone so awry.
"I apologize to the acquitted and their families," Justice Minister Pascal Clément said at a news conference after the verdict was announced in Paris.
He ordered a triple investigation of the police, judiciary and social services involved in the case and asked for a report by February. "I want the French people to know that I will get to the bottom of this," he said.
Paris's chief prosecutor, Yves Bot, personally asked the appeal court Wednesday to acquit the six, calling the case a "true catastrophe" and demanding an investigation into who was responsible for such a gross miscarriage of justice.
Attorneys for the defense asked for a moment of silence in memory of François Mourmand, one of those falsely accused who committed suicide in prison last year.
"We must do what is necessary to make sure this doesn't happen again," Bot said, adding that the case has created serious doubts about French justice.
But others were heartened by the appeal, saying that it showed that the courts were capable of self-criticism and self-correction.
"That's indispensable in a democracy," said Dominique Wolton, a sociologist at France's National Council for Scientific Research.
She added that the rectification of such a major failure will help "re-legitimize the justice system."
The case began in 2000 in the northern town of Outreau after a number of children told a teacher that they had been abused at the home of Thierry and Myriam Delay. Thierry Delay, who is unemployed and alcoholic, confessed to abusing his own four children, but none belonging to anyone else. Myriam Delay, however, told a more complicated tale of a pedophile ring that reached into neighboring Belgium and implicated many of her neighbors.
The charges originally ensnared 18 people and led one man to suicide before the case came to trial.
The four principal defendants were eventually convicted but not before Myriam Delay and Grenon recanted their testimony implicating the others.
"I'm sick, I'm a liar, I lied about everything," Delay told a stunned courtroom in May last year.
She pointed out several of the accused who had endured years of investigation, imprisonment and humiliation, saying they were innocent.
Despite that testimony, though, the court found six of the remaining defendants guilty and sentenced them to prison for terms of up to seven years.
During their joint appeal, which went to trial in Paris early in November, Myriam Delay and her husband again testified that the six had had no role in the affair.
"It was a moment of madness," she told the appeal court about her initial accusations, which she said were all lies. Her husband repeated her assertions, telling the court "it was only the four of us," referring to himself, his wife and their friends, Delplanque and Grenon.
The case was marred by deep doubts from the beginning, said Yves Jannier, France's attorney general, speaking to the appeals court Wednesday.
He noted that the investigative report by the police in July 2002 found "more doubts than certainties" in the accusations, but said, "no one had enough critical sense to stop the machine."
The decision reinforces the care that must be taken in cases that rely on the testimony of children, particularly amid what some sociologists and child-abuse experts call the "hysteria" that has crept across Europe following the arrest of a Belgian, Marc Dutroux, for kidnapping, raping and killing children nearly a decade ago.
(reply to this comment)
from Anthony
Thursday, September 19, 2002 - 12:11

Thanks Dan.
What I get out of this is that if this sort of abuse can be proven, most authorities will go after the offenders no matter how long ago the crimes took place. Please correct me if I'm wrong. This gives me hope that our efforts are not in vain.

(reply to this comment)
From porceleindoll
Thursday, September 19, 2002, 21:22

I believe it is possible to go after offenders years later, just look at the Catholic church scandal, some of those things happened over a decade ago.(reply to this comment
From meh
Monday, January 06, 2003, 17:46

Yeah, it took that long. It's really very sad and sickening that it was even ALLOWED to go on that long. Why? Because many catholics, while freaking over some really ridiculous things, chose to keep this under wraps. Instead of bringing a much larger society into it, they wring their hands and shake their heads because when it comes down to it... can they really denounce their priests as criminals? These are the people that TEACH them all that they believe in, and tell them HOW to believe. They translated "God's teachings" etc to them, so for the figures they look to as "sent by god" and "men of god" to be abusing their own children... can they really risk damaging this faith in their church? So it goes ignored (go find out how many catholic priests were involved).

Anyway, that was just referring to the catholic church. Sound really FAMILIAR??(reply to this comment
From Albatross
Thursday, September 19, 2002, 12:18

Yeah Anthony,
That was my reading of this French situation as well. It is interesting to note that while this Child-sex ring was listed as the largest busted in France to date, it pales in comparisson to The Family when it comes to size and organization.

Daniel(reply to this comment
From jpmagero
Thursday, September 19, 2002, 12:17

It also means going after the actual abusers, not the group as a whole, is the best way to get a result. Their involvement with the group is bound to pop-up, but if the charges got directly at the abusing individuals, then it cannot be mis-interpreted as "persecution/attack on the family". That will never work.(reply to this comment
From porceleindoll
Thursday, September 19, 2002, 21:23

I am wondering, can we start collecting a data base of legal names of those whom we know are abusers? We can start with Newheart, Robert McDonald I believe.(reply to this comment
From Albatross
Thursday, September 19, 2002, 13:09

I have found myself agreeing with quite a few of your postings. However, I am going to offer just a slightly different take on your above post. I don't think that there is anything wrong (from a moral/or even tactical standpoint) with "attacking" The Family.
That is not to say that I think massive raids and indiscriminant media attack campaigns are in anybody's best interest. However, I do believe that the root of the problem must be addressed. The root of the problem as I see it, is the Family leadership, beginning with their introduction of the Child-Abuse doctrines, and including their various attempts to shift the blame onto the abused youths, their early 90’s strategy of making the victims deny that abuses ever took place, their attempts to shift the blame onto a “few renegade members.”
Adults finding children sexually attractive are unfortunately a sad reality in any society, as are adults who cross below the legal age barrier and have sex with underage teenagers. However, I fault the Family leadership for providing the example, the doctrinal justification, the environment, and in many cases, the protection for such individuals. In my opinion, attempts to seek justice must be at least two-fold. First, they must involve going after the actual physical abusers. (Because no one who commits these crimes should be allowed to pass off individual responsibility onto an organization) Secondly, the Family leadership, and organizational hierarchy must be made to face its responsibility for essential having been running a criminal organization in that it allowed, encouraged, and provided the framework and opportunity for the abuse of children.
I think societies the world over are awakening to the atrocities of child sexual abuse that are unfortunately in our midst. I am being left with the impression that groups/organizations who have in some way facilitated, ignored, or covered-up cases of abuse are themselves being held responsible. That question for the Family is even more acute, given that amongst recognize and purportedly “legal” entities, they stand alone in having promoted and encouraged adult-child sex in their recent history. You’ll notice something in this article; I have not once touched on the question of religious. As I’ve said in the past: I am not a religious person. While I can’t find any logic in The Family’s belief, that is not my issue with them. And in terms of justice, it will never be. While I may argue and ridicule The Family’s doctrines from time to time, it is only for sport, as we all know that a “Faith” is its own logic and therefore useless to reason with.
Any “attacks” on The Family coming from me or others on the issues of education, child labor/physical abuse, or child sexual abuse, are not and will never be “persecution”, religious or otherwise. It is not nor will it ever be “persecution” to seek justice for wrongs committed against one’s person. There are several schools of thought on how to go about bring The Family to justice. I only hope that those of us who are working on it will have learned from both the successes and the failures of the past, and see our way through to a effort that holds the guilty parties (be they individuals or a group) responsible, while at the same time taking care to avoid as much as possible any sever impact on the innocent parties. Having said that, we cannot leave The Family alone because they may scream that in an attempt to hold a few guilty parties responsible we will hurt many innocents. That is simply propaganda, and like the religious persecution defense, it is on shaky ground. It may be comparable to not going after a child abusing man because if he goes to jail his other children may have no breadwinner. And on the question of hurting innocence, it always ironically amusing to me when The Family leadership refuses to address specific questions directed to them because they claim they are interested in protecting the privacy of the people involved. This from the same people who saw nothing wrong in publicly humiliating and chastising Keda, Mene, Techi, Genesis, Zack Attack, Son of Sam, The girl who wouldn’t, and countless others.
There are few of The Family’s current excuses and defenses that will not crumble when held up to a very bright light. Here’s to them finding themselves blinded by its glare very soon,

(reply to this comment
From katrim4
Thursday, September 19, 2002, 16:38

It would be interesting if someone could look into the recent case that was brought against the Hare Krishnas by their young people. If I remember correctly a bunch of people (our ages) that had grown up in Hare Krishna "schools" were suing not only for abuse but compensation for lost childhoods. A lot of the alleged crimes also took place abroad and the children at the time weren't living with their parents. I think I saw the news clip either on 20/20 or 60 minutes. It's an ongoing case but the details sounded pretty similar to the ones that have been discussed here. Anyhow, it might be interesting to see what kind of an outcome they get. A precedence like that would probably pave the way for a court case against TF.(reply to this comment
From jpmagero
Thursday, September 19, 2002, 14:07

On a simliar track, are there any cases against the Catholic Church (as opposed to the abusing priest) that have gone public? I know the debate about their responsibity and cover-up has, has there been any settlement or verdict against the church itself? Obviously a settlement would not be publicised, but I wonder if anyone has been able to get through like that.(reply to this comment
From Albatross
Thursday, September 19, 2002, 17:35

Hi JP,
You may find this interesting. It is from for 9/19/02. If the CC with all its wealth and power can be beat, we should also be able to overcome the road blocks to justice TF may try to throw up.

Article:BOSTON — A $10 million settlement between the Boston Archdiocese and 86 victims of child-molesting priest John Geoghan won final approval Thursday, six months after the church backed out of a much costlier agreement.

A $10 million check from the archdiocese was given to the plaintiffs' attorney, Mitchell Garabedian.

The last obstacle to the settlement was removed when Superior Court Judge Constance Sweeney approved a request from a 17-year-old boy to participate in the settlement.

Sweeney addressed the victims who appeared in court, saying she wanted to acknowledge their pain and make clear that the settlement means the court recognizes that Geoghan did what they say he did.

"I hope you are able to recognize in yourselves not just the hurt that was done to you but your own resilience, your courage," she said.

An earlier settlement worth up to $30 million had been announced in May, but the archdiocese backed out of that deal soon afterward, saying it could not afford the deal because of hundreds of other lawsuits being filed.

Garabedian said the plaintiffs agreed to the lower figure because they want to try to put the abuse behind them.

"They want closure, and they understand that the church does not really care about their emotional well-being," Garabedian said. "It's time to move on and try to heal as best they can, if at all."

The archdiocese issued a statement saying Cardinal Bernard Law is grateful a settlement could be reached.

"His Eminence continues to pray for survivors of sexual abuse and he hopes that for those who have suffered the affects of such sinful and evil acts, that today's settlement will be a significant moment in their healing process," the statement said.

Several victims said they were not comforted by Law's words or the settlement itself.

Mark Keane said the settlement will not even pay for the therapy victims will need for the rest of their lives.

"I feel I need to apologize to all future victims of church sexual abuse for setting such a low settlement amount," he said. He said the victims agreed to the lower settlement because they are "tired and emotionally spent."

Nancy Greenlaw, the mother of John Brian Greenlaw, confronted archdiocese attorney Wilson Rogers Jr. with a picture of her son as Rogers left the courtroom. Her son died of a drug overdose that she blames on abuse by Geoghan.

"This is my son," she told Rogers. "He passed away last year. I want everybody to remember his face. I want everyone to know the church and its actions killed my Brian."

Rogers responded, "I'm sorry. I'm terribly sorry."

The bulk of the settlement -- $9.3 million -- will be divided among 50 people who say they were molested by Geoghan. Twenty people who say Geoghan exposed himself to them will split $540,000, and 16 parents of children who say they were abused by Geoghan will divide $160,000.

After the archdiocese withdrew from the original deal in May, Garabedian asked Sweeney to enforce the settlement. Sweeney held a five-day hearing on the request last month and was expected to issue her ruling soon. But the two sides worked out a new agreement in the meantime.

Geoghan was convicted in January of groping a 10-year-old boy in a swimming pool in the early 1990s. The now-defrocked priest was sentenced to nine to 10 years in prison.

The sex scandal engulfing the nation's Roman Catholic Church erupted when it was learned that church officials had shuffled Geoghan from parish to parish despite knowing of abuse allegations against him.

(reply to this comment
From Anthony
Thursday, September 19, 2002, 17:48

Right on, and this kind of goes with the issue of persecution. I'm sure we all realize that for the cult to scream "religious persecution" would be just as deserving of ridicule if the Catholic Church were to yell "gay bashers". There is really one main issue here, child abuse, it's myriad manifestations and forms.

Anthony(reply to this comment
From Albatross
Thursday, September 19, 2002, 14:25

With regards to the Catholic Church:
Yes there are many cases that have involved the CC being held responsible. In fact most of the cases involve the CC being sued or giving settlements to the victims. Many cases are on-going and there has been a very large amount of media attention focused on this. The CC has been forced to dig deep into their pockets, sell property, and use their insurance to cover the costs of Legal Judgments or settlements. And we must remember that all of this is not because the CC preached or openly condoned Child abuse as was the case with TF, but rather it is because they covered up, ignored, tried to quietly pay off or intimidate the victims. It stands to reason therefore, that TF will find itself in a very difficult spot when confronted with their past writings and the related stories of abuse. The Family has deluded itself into believing that it can get away with a simple, "we don't do that anymore, and we excomunicate anyone who does" defense. That "anymore" part is the issue. But they DID do it in the past. I am not sure why they think this will protect them. Perhaps it is because of their contact with a few academics who in their openmindedness have seemed to endorce the "new repentant and improved Family." However, in relying on the support of a few academics, they have failed to recognize that the mood amongst the courts, the public, and the media is quite a bit different and not at all favorable to their type of claims.
Bad for them, good for us.

Daniel(reply to this comment
From jpmagero
Thursday, September 19, 2002, 14:34

Good point, I was under the impression that the cases were against the abusers and the church simply covered for them and paid their settlements on the side. That changes thing drastically for me (in my mind).(reply to this comment
From jpmagero
Thursday, September 19, 2002, 13:31


I completely agree with your post. I meant what I said as a way to get in the door. If you start going after individuals for their actions, after enough of them go down, authorities are bound to see the connection sooner or later. Maybe some of them will testify against the leaders, give more ammo, etc.

That doesn't mean that nothing should be done to make the leaders accountable, simply that it is an enormous task will not be fought without great effort and commitment. A level I doubt many ex's might not be ready to give, seeing as many are getting on with their new lives. While I want those guilty held responsible, I wonder how much of my time I would spend going after something like this, especially since I have other very time-consuming activities.

When I mentioned the "persecution", I think by screaming "bloody-hell", they will try to get others on their side claiming any action against them as a group is an action against their religious freedom etc. What has to be clear with any action from the start, is that is has nothing to do with their religion so long as their religion has nothing to do with criminal behaviour, past, present or future.(reply to this comment
From Albatross
Thursday, September 19, 2002, 14:08

Thanks, You are right. They will scream "bloddy-hell." If the past "persecutions" taught me anything, it was that as you say, there must never be a question of the attacks being due to religious issues. Besides,I am so uninterested in religion that I could never bring myself to spend anytime thinking about The Family at all, if it were a only a religious issue. And now to the question of the time I spent on going after The Family: Funny, about the only change in lifestyle I've made so far was to get a cell phone with web-access and speaker phone so that I can get things done while I sit in Los Angeles traffic. I still work fulltime, go to school almost full time, keep up my grades and my social life. Hopefully in the not to distant future we will be able to present action against The Family for those who wish to be a part without having to put their lives on hold or neglect the many more pressing issues they must deal with.
Good luck with all your activities. I appreciate this dialogue.

(reply to this comment
From jpmagero
Thursday, September 19, 2002, 14:30

If there was anything I could do that would bring the guilty to justice, or at least identify and expose them, I would be more that glad to devote the time needed.

I am married, two kids and sole provider for my little clan. Work as a support analyst for a large bank, but I have no problem spending time on something that is worthwhile and has a real chance going somewhere.(reply to this comment
From Albatross
Thursday, September 19, 2002, 14:47

Firstly Jp,
My respect to you for having left (rather recently, if I remember correctly) and working to support your family. I have been happy to discover that there are many others like you who would be interested in a serious, level-headed, and realistic effort at justice.
As I am discovering, these efforts take time to play out, they also take thought, a cool head, and determination.
While The Family has been fought before, success has only been moderate at best, in my opinion. There are many reasons for that, usually because TF just ran away. Well, now TF has taken a stand, back in our home countries. We have found our voices. I look forward to our translating these converging factors into some substantive and realistic efforts. I think we will. I am encouraged daily by those who find our stories both compeling and deserving of action and attention.

Daniel(reply to this comment
From Anthony
Thursday, September 19, 2002, 17:11

You will not imagine my joy if and when I get the opportunity to return to France and help bring to justice the local COG cells.

Anthony(reply to this comment
From Anthony
Thursday, September 19, 2002, 17:12

Regards*(reply to this comment

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