Catholic priests and sexual abuse in Timor-Leste - see English translation below
Hosi Kla'ak Semanal
Hosi Kla'ak Semanal
Rede Feto Husu Dioseze Atu Responde Violensia Seksual Husi Padre
Padre ho inisial AL halo violensia seksual ba sarani feto. Tanba sa mak tenki liu husi mediasaun no la liu prosesu justisa normal? Instituisaun Igreza no familia rezolve liu hosi mediasaun hodi fo multa osan US $ 1000 ba vitima. Tuir perspetiva Rede Feto katak problema ne'e la akontese iha Distritu Oekusi deit.
Kazu violensia sexual nebe akontese iha Oecusse fulan Outubru tinan 2005 nebe iha feto klosan ho idade 23 (rua nulu resin tolu) hetan violensia sexual husi padre ininsial AL depois ikus mai hetan oan feto ida nebe moris iha fulan Maiu tinan 2006.
Tuir informasaun no realidade ne'ebe mak kla'ak simu husi Advogadu vitima katak kazu ne'e konsege rejista ba iha tribunal Oecusse ho isi gugatan hateten AL rasik halo violensia sexual hasoru feto ne'ebé tuir mai hetan oan. Maibe AL rasik lakohi atu responsabiliza ba nia hahalok ne'ebe kontra morál.
Tuir Padre Pedro do Nascimento Noronha, nudar Padre parokia Oecusse katak los duni kazu violensia sexual halo husi amululik AL ba iha feto bin alin nain rua. Depois de kontinuasaun seidauk iha evidensia konkreta ida iha nebe bele hatudu katak Amululik ne'e maka halo sala ou feto oan nain rua ne'e maka hanesan vitima.
"Klaru tuir moral hanesan amululik ida hatudu hahalok ladiak ba sarani sira maibe hanesan feto no sarani ida mos tenki hatene an atu labele monu ba iha tensaun ida ne'e. Se'e nia hatene ema mane ne'e hanesan amululik nusa tenki husi nia an hodi monu ba sala. Ne'e duni labele hare'e sala mai husi amululik deit," tenik Padre Pedro.
Maibe tuir Inan-Aman husi vitima nain rua katak depois de akontesimentu ne'e padre ininsial AL seidauk mai hasoru familia vitima no responsabiliza ba nia oan husi moris mai to'o labarik oan ne'e halo tinan ida ho balu. "Ami hodi duni kazu ba iha tribunal liu husi NGO Lokal FFSO (Fundasaun Fatu Sinai Oekusi). Maibe atu hetan rezultadu, kleur los. Nee'e duni ikus mai iha tinan 2007 husi igreja Paroki no familia Amululik AL bolu ami ba rezolve liu husi dalan mediasaun ou justisa tradisional iha fatin igreja Parokia Oecusse. Familia husi AL multa sala osan valor $1000 mai ami familia vitima," tenik senhora Texeira hanesan Inan husi vitima.
Bolu familia rua hodi rezolve problema iha igreja parokia Oecusse mai husi inisiativa Amululik Pedro. Tanba nia mos hetan fiar husi Amu Bispo Dioseze Dili atu bele hamutuk rezolve problema ho familia rua ne'e, ne'ebé ikus mai iha konkordansia ida husi familia rua atu bele rezolve husi dalan mediasaun.
Hau hanesan inan husi Vitima lakohi ona atu koalia demais problema ida ne'e. Ami mos familia ida nebe baibain (kiak-kiik - red) no laiha kapasidade atu bele halo buat ruma, tanba ami hein kleur demais hetan rezultadu husi tribunal. Ne'e duni ami mos tuir deit saida maka Padre igreja Paroki Oecusse husu mai ami atu rezolve husi dalan mediasaun, nebe ikus Mi Padre Pedro mos promete mai familia vitima katak nia sei ajuda ami hodi levanta ba oin iha Dioseze rasik," dehan vitima nia inan ho oin ida nebe triste.
Avo husi labarik oan ne'e mos hatutan katak nia sei la hodi tan nia oan nia kazu atu ba rezolve iha dalan seluk fali. Maske ida ne'e tama iha tribunal tanba iha mediasaun ne'e sira halo ona promete ida iha padre igreja parokia Oecusse nomos familia AL sei la foti fila fali kazu sira nia oan ba oin. Sei sira kontra konkordansia ne'e hanesan inan-aman sei multa sala hodi troka osan dua kali lipat.
Bainhira kazu AL ne'e atu rezolve iha institusaun Dioseze, Amu Pedro ne'e hatete katak ida ne'e laos nia servisu maibe ne'e Amu Bispo nia responsabilidade atu reposta nia hanesan padre bele fasilita familia rua ne'e hodi halo mediasaun." To'o agora AL no vitima seidauk hasoru malu hodi rezolve problema iha insitusaun Dioseze. Ida ne'e hau lahatene ita boot sira bele ba hasoru Amu Bispo Dioseze Dili tanba ida ne'e nia servisu no responsabilidade atu resposta," hatan Amu Pedro ho lian makas.
Ubalda Alves hanesan Direitora Rede Feto ba kla'ak hateten katak kazu violensia sexual halo husi Amululik, akontese iha Oecusse hanesan izemplo ida. Sei iha kazu balu hanesan ne'e akontese iha distritu balu mos. Sira vitima ou feto maluk seidauk iha korajen atu hatete sai ba iha publika no komunidade sobre akontesimentu tanba deit moe no ema nebe sai hanesan suspeitu maka padre. Kondisaun husi vitima ida ne'e sai hanesan difikuldade mai ami nebe servisu iha area promove feto nia direitu atu bele foti sira nia problema.
"Rede Feto mos simu kazu sobre violensia sexual nebe halo husi amululik iha distritu Baucau maibe wainhira ami buka atu hakbesik an vitima la brani atu koalia sai sobre sira nia kazu rasik. Balu to'o hadok sira-an hodi muda hela fatin iha Indonezia. Balu mos ami buka koalia no koko telefone sira sempre tauk atu koalia sai," dehan aktivista feto ne'e iha ninia servisu fatin, Rede Feto, Kolmera.
Tuir Ubalda katak husi Rede Feto senti la kontenti saida maka amululik balu halo ba feto sira. "Hahalok hanesan ne'e kontra no viola direitus humanus liu-liu ema feto ida, tuir lolos Amululik ne'e sai hanesan ezemplu ida ba sosiadade. Maibe sai fali hanesan suspeitu ida ba violensia sexual," hatutan Ubalda.
Ne'e duni Rede Feto liu husi nia membrus hanesan Fokupers, Alola Foundation nomos parseiru Pradet, JSMP no NGO sira seluk prontu atu bele fo asistensia ba iha vitima se karik hakarak fo sai nia problema.
Ubalda mos haforsa tan katak Rede Feto ho nia membrus prontu atu ajuda liu husi asistensia uma mahon hodi halo konseling, asistensia legal sekarik hakarak hodi ba prosesu tribunal nomos sei fo korajen ba nia ho ami nia forsa tomak. Kazu abuzu ou violensia sexual ida ne'e krimi laos kazu baibain nebe persiza resolve husi mediasaun ou justisa tradisional. "Persiza liu husi prosesu justisa iha tribunal, tanba liu husi tribunal nia sei hetan direitu hanesan vitima iha lei nia oin," afirma eiz membru staf Fokupers ne'e.
Ubalda realsa tan katak hanesan reprezentante organizasaun feto tomak, husu ba iha Dioseze atu bele konsidera kazu sira ne'e hanesan krimi no ameasa ema padre nia moral. Dioseze tenki iha seriu no halo afirmasuan hodi rezolve kazu hanesan ne'e. Labele husik nonok no ikus mai mout tiha iha tasi laran.
Dioseze mos keta husik vitima atu nonok deit maibe persiza atu fo korajen ba iha familia vitima hodi ba prosesa iha justisa tribunal hanesan ema sivil baibain. Kazu violensia nebe krimi laos rezolve ho maneira muda ou transfera fali amululik ba fali fatin seluk. Ida ne'e dalan ne'ebe laos atu rezolve problema. "Hau senti iha igreja rasik iha lei kanonika numeru 1395 artigu 1 no 2 tinan 1395 hateten sekarik iha padre ida involve iha kazu krimi hanesan violensia sexual, abuzu sexual ou hahalok violensia nebe halakon ema nia moris, ida ne'e kontra ukun fuan 6 no bele hetan sansaun penal nomos espulsu husi Igreja. Maibe husi ida ne'e persiza mos ba hatan iha tribunal hodi responsabiliza nia hahalok at ne'e," dehan Ubalda.
Ubalda esplika liu tan katak husi Rede Feto diresaun adovokasia sei hakas-an atu buka tuir problema sira hanesan ne'e to'o ikus mai bele hetan justisa. Tuir rede feto katak sarani iha Timor sei konservativa no tauk ba padre sira. Maibe rede feto sei koko oinsa atu bele esplika ba sira katak iha lei nia oin la halo diferensia ba ema se'e deit.
Bainhira padre paroki igreja Oecusse hamutuk família AL nomos vitima rezolve problema iha dalan mediasaun no la iha reprezentante husi Polisia nomos advogadu vitima nebe fasilita husi NGO FFSO, sei hamosu perguntas barak. "Hau la hatene sira rezolve husi dalan justisa tradisional ou mediasaun tanba husi vitima no padre parokia rasik la fo hatene mai ami hanesan ema nebe fo asistensia legal ba família vitima," tenik John hanesan direktur FFSO.
Wainhira jornalista kla'ak tenta atu halo konfirmasaun ba Bispo Dioseze Dili, Dom Alberto Ricardo da Silva iha ninia servisu fatin iha Câmara, Padre Apolinário Guterres nu'udar Vigário Jeral Dioseze Díli hateten katak Amu Bispo Ricardo iha semana ida no fulan hirak nia laran la iha tempu atu bele hasoru jornalista. "Hau hanesan Vigário Jeral labele responde ba kazu ida ne'e. Amu Bispo maka iha kna'ar atu bele responde. Karik durante loron hirak nia laran, Amu Bispo sei laiha tempu atu responde tanba servisu barak," tenik Padre Guterres.
Se karik, padre balun halo violensia seksual ba feto, tanba saida mak labele lori ba iha tribunal. Nasaun ne'e, justisa ba ema kiik-kiak deit? Wait and see.
Rede Feto demands Church to answer claims of sexual abuse by priests
A priest is alleged to have committed sexual abuse against a woman. This case was then handled through mediation outside the formal justice system. Through the mediation, the Church and the victim's family agreed on a payment of damage for the victim of US$1000. The Rede Feto (an umbrella organisation representing women's NGOs) believes that this type of issue is not only limited to Oecusse
In October of 2005 a 23 year old woman was sexually assaulted by a priest, known only as AL. She later gave birth to a baby girl in May of 2006.
According to the victim's lawyer, this case has been forwarded to the court of law in Oecusse where AL is accused of sexual assault, which also resulted in the victim's pregnancy. However AL has denied all responsibility for his actions.
Pedro do Nascimento Noronha, the parish priest of Oecusse, confirms that AL did commit such act against two sisters. However he also says that there is no substantial evidence to prove that AL committed these acts or that the two women are in fact the victims.
"Of course, morally, as a priest, he has shown a bad behaviour to the members of the Church. But as a woman, and a Christian, she too should be conscious that she should not fall into temptation. If she knows that the man is a priest, why did she allow herself to make this mistake? So we should not look only at the priest's mistake," Noronha says.
However, according to the victims' mother, AL has yet to meet the victim's family and assume responsibility for his daughter, who is now a year and a half. "We have taken this case to the court with the help of a local NGO called FFSO (Fundasaun Fatu Sinai Oecusse). But it has taken a long time to get any solution. Finally in 2007 the Parish Church and AL's family called us to resolve this issue through mediation or traditional justice at Oecusse church. AL's family paid a fine of US$1000 to the victim's family," Mrs. Texeira, the victim's mother says.
Calling on both families to resolve this case had been an initiative of the Oecusse Parish prist. Noronha had been assigned by the Bishop of Dili's Diocese to help mediate between the two families. Both families reached an agreement through his mediation.
"As the victim's mother I don't want to talk about this problem too much. We are just an ordinary family without the means to do much. We have waited for too long for any results from the court. So we just follow whatever the Oecusse Parish priest asks of us, to resolve this issue through mediation. Padre Pedro also promised us that he will help us bring up this issue to the Diocese," the victim's mother says with apparent sadness.
The baby's grandmother adds that she will not try to find other ways of finding a solution to her daughter's case. The victim and her family promised the Oecusse Parish priest and AL's family that they will not proceed with this case any further although the case has been handed to the court. If they reneged on their promise, as parents of the victim, they will be fined with twice the amount they received from AL's family.
When they tried to bring the AL's case to the Diocese, Noronha said that it was no longer his responsibility but it was the Bishop's responsibility to deal with this issue. As a priest he was only asked to mediate between the two families. The victim's and AL's families have not yet met to resolve this problem at the Diocese. "I don't know about this issue and you can see the Bishop of Diocese because this is his responsibility to answer," Noronha retorts angrily.
The director of Rede Feto, Ubalda Alves, told Kla'ak that cases of sexual violence involving the priests do not occur only in Oecusse. There are other cases which take place in other districts as well. The victims, or the women involved, don't yet have enough courage to come out publicly and denounce these incidences because of shame and because the suspect is a priest. This type of attitude makes it difficult for those who work in the area of promotion of women's rights to raise these issues.
"Rede Feto has also received cases of sexual violence involving the priests in the district of Baucau but when we approached them, the victims become too afraid to speak out about their ordeals. Some went as far as moving out and moved to Indonesia. We also tried to contact some of them by phone but they are always afraid to speak out," Ubalda Alves said through an interview at Rede Feto office in Colmera.
Alves says that Rede Feto feels saddened by what the priests have committed against the women. "These types of actions violate human rights, in particular the rights of a woman. The priests should be a role model for the society. But they have become suspects of sexual violence," Alves added.
The Rede Feto, through its member organisations like Fokupers, Alola Foundation, and its partners, Pradet, JSMP and other NGOs are ready to assist the victims who want to bring up their problems.
Ubalda has also stressed that Rede Feto and its members are ready to help the victims with the provision of safe houses and counselling; legal assistance, should the victims wish to take up their cases to the courts; and providing the victims with moral support. Sexual abuse is a crime. It's not an ordinary case which should be resolved through traditional justice. "It should be handled through the court because only through the court can the victim's rights be upheld before the law," the former Fokupers activist said.
Alves stressed further that the representatives of all women's organisations have asked the Diocese to look into these cases as crimes. These cases are a threat to the priests' moral integrity. The Diocese should have firm conviction to confront these cases. They should not be silenced and swiped under the carpet.
The Diocese should not encourage the victims to be silent but it must encourage the victims and their families to take up these cases in the court of law like any ordinary citizen. Criminal cases should not be resolved by transferring the priests to other locations. This is not the way to solve these problems. "I think the Church's Canon law number 1395, Article 1 and 2, year 1395, says that if a priest is involved in a criminal case such as sexual violence, sexual abuse or other acts of violence which result in the death of another person, he has violated the 6th Commandment and he can receive suspension as well expulsion from the Church. Nevertheless we should also answer before the court of law to account for our actions," Alves says.
Alves further explains that Rede Feto's department of advocacy is determined to continue following these cases until some justice is achieved. According to Rede Feto, some members of Timor's Catholic church are still very conservative and are fearful of the priests. But Rede Feto will find ways to educate them that before the law everyone is equal.
The way that the Oecusse Parish priest, together with the families of AL and the victim, undertook this mediation without the presence of the Police and the legal councillors representing the victim through the assistance of the NGO FFSO, will raise many questions. "I don't know if they are going to resolve this issue through traditional justice or mediation because the victim's and the Parish priest's sides have not informed us" John, the director of FFSO, the group which facilitated legal assistance to the victim's family, says.
When Kla'ak tried to contact the Bishop of Dili, Mgr. Ricardo da Silva, at his office at the Câmara, for comments, Padre Apolinário Guterres, the Vicar General said that the Bishop is not, and will not be, available to speak to any journalist for the next weeks or months. "As the Vicar General I cannot comment on this issue. Only the Bishop can comment on this issue. It seems like the Bishop will not have any time to respond because he has lots of work," Guterres says.
If some priests have committed sexual assault against a women, why can't this case be brought before the court of law? Is justice only for the ordinary people in this country? Wait and see.