NEWS > BUSINESS > CHURCH CHILD ABUSE INVESTIGATOR INSISTS PICTURES WERE FOR RESEARCH
CHURCH CHILD ABUSE INVESTIGATOR INSISTS PICTURES WERE FOR RESEARCH
October 31 2011
London, U.K. – There have been many controversies that have afflicted the Catholic Church in recent years but none so damning or damaging then the ongoing sexual abuse of children at the hands of priests. That particular controversy has been the Achilles Heel of the organization, threatening at every turn to sink the whole thing and reaching the highest levels of power.
Perhaps the biggest problem with that particular concern has been the lack of real effort by the church to investigate and try to arrest the problem, often protecting offenders rather than throwing them to the wolves. That response has little effect, either in preventing abuse or in bettering the perception of the church itself, and a new case is not going to help.
Christopher Jarvis, 49, was in charge of the church’s effort to investigate historical abuse claims in Britain but will now serve one year in jail for possessing pictures of abused children. Despite his insistence that the images were only meant for research and to prevent them from being seen by pedophiles, Jarvis was still convicted and will likely lose his position with the church, while in jail at least.
“You, of all people, were more aware than others of the massive theft of innocence and long-term damage exacted on the children whose images you downloaded for your own sexual gratification,” said the judge upon passing sentence. “It had a deep impact upon the church. In the eyes of the public you had a respectable position in the church.”
Jarvis also uploaded the pictures onto a social networking site, claiming that it helped him track down potential victims in need of his counsel.
Jarvis will be held in a regular prison rather than being remanded into the custody of the Catholic Church. He had apparently requested transfer to the Philippines.
“These types of things are really the worst thing that can happen to the Church. It appears that they are trying, sort of, to resolve some of these issues and get things back in track but incidents like this are not going to help one bit. There has to be a measure, a system of control, so that these types of people are able to access this material in a safe way,” said Scrape TV Religion analyst Bertram Gas. “Like anything, you need to know what it is you are looking for and dealing with but doing this type of research in your personal time, well it can cause problems. It’s also a bit of an abuse to the person himself. He really shouldn’t have to be using his personal computer for this type of work.”
It’s believed that the Catholic Church did subsidize a portion of Jarvis’ computer, though he was not compensated for his bandwidth which was eaten up by all the downloading and uploading.
“I’m sure the church has, somewhere, a massive collection of this material just waiting to be used. They should be providing that as a tool to all these researchers so they can do their job a better without this kind of risk,” continued Gas. “The church really does need to get itself in order or this type of thing is just going to continue to happen. They really do need to take this more seriously and to help their people or they are going to eventually go down the tubes.”
Jarvis has been given an open offer to return to his counselling following his release.
William Ashford, Business Correspondent