A digest of links to media coverage of clergy abuse.
Click on the headline to read the full story.
June 27, 2016
BY KATHY KANE
Many people believe that the legislative battle in Pennsylvania right now is a matter of money. The belief that victims want civil suits for financial compensation and that the Church wants to protect its finances. What many do not realize is that victims/survivors often seek to bring civil suits for the truth that is revealed in the documents and records that are ordered to be disclosed. Along with the finances, the Church also wants to protect the evidence, but it makes for a more complicated sound bite.
The March 2016 Grand Jury report of clergy abuse in the Altoona Johnstown Diocese disclosed much previously unknown information. One thing I found in reading the document was a patient who was at the St John Vianney Treatment center in Sept /October 2012. The write up of this child predator priest, who actually was profiled by the FBI, was the complete opposite of my conversations with the Vianney staff in 2012 when I was making attempts to improve child safety after discovering one of their patients in a school parking lot. A C4C reader recently alerted me to the following video published in June 2013 which is an interview with Fr James Flavin who was the President of the facility at that time. This interview is pretty much verbatim to my conversations with Fr Flavin and other Vianney staff at the time. A total downplay of the fact that child predators stay at the facility. I heard instead about depressed nuns and overweight priests.
In the video Fr Flavin says pedophiles cannot be treated but instead it is a matter of containment and protection. Protection of whom exactly, the children or the predator? He also makes this startling claim about the facility ” we don’t really deal with the sexual issues, the serious sexual issues” . Well the internet, newspaper articles and GJ reports tell a different story and in the past we have highlighted some of the depraved men who have passed through those doors. What exactly is classified as serious or sexual if watching child pornography of 2 and 3 year old’s is not? Or molestation of childrens’ bodies..or child rape?
Please take some time to view the video. It will probably “disappear” from the internet soon. Take note of the conversation shortly after the 3 minute and 19 minute marks
The Morning Call
State Judiciary Committee Chairman Stewart Greeleaf, R-Montgomery, announced over the weekend that he will recuse himself from proceedings invovling House Bill 1947, the child sex abuse statute of limitations bill.
I wrote last week about the way Senate rules never result in findings of conflicts, including cases much more obvious than Greenleaf's. At that time, what we knew was that the law firm for which he is a partner had represented a Catholic entity several years ago in its attempt to have Delaware's similar statute of limitations law declared unconstitutional. A law firm that represented child sex abuse victims in Delaware accused Greenleaf of having a conflict, but the Senate parliamentarian ruled there was no problem.
I argued that the appearance of a conflict can create credibility problems, even where there's no direct financial interest involved. By then, Greenleaf already had stacked a Judiciary Committee hearing with witnesses who argued the Pennsylvania bill is unconstitutional, and his appearance of conflict made his conduct even more suspicious than it otherwise would have been.
As you'll see in his statement below, he says he discovered another child sex abuse case in which his firm was involved, and although he continued to insist he had no conflict, he decided to recuse himself.
One of the lawyers who accused Greenleaf of the conflict, Stephen Neuberger, argued in response that the process already has been tainted by Greenleaf's involvement, a reaction I've seen in several other emails since then from victims and their advocates.
The Times of Israel
BY STUART WINER June 27, 2016
A formerly ultra-Orthodox woman, who was found dead in her car on Sunday after apparently taking her own life days earlier, had written a short autobiography describing the rigors of living within the Gur Hasidic sect and the pain she felt when her daughters cut ties with her over her choice to give up religion.
Esti Weinstein, 50, was discovered at the Hakshatot Beach in the coastal city of Ashdod, bringing to an end a week of searches after she went missing. In the car with her body police discovered a short note.
“In this city I gave birth to my daughters, in this city I die because of my daughters,” Weinstein, once a member of a prominent family in Gur, wrote.
Eight years ago Weinstein, who had seven daughters, chose to leave the ultra-Orthodox fold, in which she had grown up and which had seen her married at 17.
“I understand that I am sick and needy, and I don’t want to continue to be a burden on you,” she wrote. “Don’t make much effort for the ceremony, something modest with a lot of flowers, and remember that this is what I chose as best for me, and also if you say that I am selfish, I accept and understand your lack of understanding.”
. . .While it’s been reported by the daily paper that 50 St. Louis area Catholic priests have been publicly accused of child sex crimes, they aren’t the only local Catholic clerics with this ignominious distinction. Others who face or have faced similar charges include seminarian Nicholas Pinkston, nun Judith Fisher and four brothers: John Woulfe, William Christensen, Gregory Sutton and Felix Bland. Said SNAP’s Barbara Dorris: “Hundreds of out-of-state child molesting priests, bishops and brothers have been sent here. . .
Tom Deignan @irishcentral June 27,2016
Earlier this month, Pope Francis translated his much-discussed “breath of fresh” air into action when it comes to cracking down on the sexual abuse crisis that has crippled the church in recent years. The pope changed church law so that bishops who may be looking the other way when it comes to predatory priests can more easily be removed.
As The Wall Street Journal noted, “The new document, entitled ‘Like a Living Mother,’ lays out a procedure for Vatican offices to initiate investigations of bishops suspected of negligence. While other sorts of negligence must be deemed ‘very grave’ by the Vatican to trigger removal, negligence of abuse cases need only meet the standard of ‘grave.’“
This does sound a little technical. Still, at least it can be counted as action taken towards attempting to solve a problem that has ruined so many lives.
Closer to home, however, a new front has been opened over fallout from the sex abuse scandals. Thus far, the response by American church authorities has not been encouraging.
For months, the New York Daily News has been railing against lawmakers in Albany who refused to pass reforms that would give sex abuse victims more time to identify and help prosecute individuals and institutions that failed to protect them. Currently, New York and other states have statutes of limitations which make it difficult for victims to get justice as the years go on.
Pacific News Center
Written by Janela Carrera
When a similar measure was introduced in 2010, the Archdiocese of Agana heavily opposed the measure. Today, not a single member of the archdiocese submitted testimony on Bill 326.
Guam - Emotional testimony as dozens showed up to a public hearing on a bill that proposes to lift the statute of limitations on child sex abuse claims.
Testimony provided by victims and others were overwhelmingly in support of Bill 326 and noticeably absent were representatives of the Catholic Church.
For the four victims to accuse Archbishop Anthony Apuron of sexual abuse, it was another chance for them to be heard. One by one, Roy Quintanilla, Doris Concepcion, Walter Denton and Roland Sondia’s stories were detailed once again.
All of them spoke of the need for Bill 326, noting that as victims of child sexual abuse, there should be no time limit for a victim to come forward.
Director: Skip Shea
Genre: Horror, Thriller
A man accidentally bumps into the priest who abused him when he was a child at a local coffee shop, sending him on a twisted journey through his past.
"Trinity" tells the story of Michael, a young artist who was sexually abused as a child by a local priest. When he accidentally runs into the priest at his sister's coffee shop it triggers a surreal trip through his past, with stopovers in three churches until he finally snaps back to the present moment and decides how to confront the monster that haunts him.
"Trinity" is a very personal film for Writer/Director, Skip Shea. The film is based on an event that happened in Shea's life when he ran into the priest who had abused him when he was a child and who was now working in a local bookstore. That random encounter triggered a dissociative experience, which is at the heart of the film.
You can feel every once of pain and anger in every single frame of the movie. I am not going to go into plot details here so not to ruin the film for those waiting to see it but to be honest it would not do the film any justice because it really needs to be seen. "Trinity" is a mesmerizing film, It is a dark, surreal and nightmarish journey through one man's fragile psyche. The story is so deep and it tells a story so horrific you will feel emotionally drained but the time the credits begin to roll and I mean that in a good way.
The film is also a brave one and it is an important one to tell because these kind of things happen way too often and nothing ever seems to be done about it. Shea does a terrific job telling his tale in a much different way than one might expect, I can say that I do not think it will be for everyone but Independent Cinema fans and even Art House fans should definitely love the film.
The film looks and sounds terrific and the score is both haunting and beautiful at the same time. And then there is the cast, everyone in the film does a fantastic job playing their roles including, David Graziano who plays the priest and Diana Porter who plays Michael's sister. Other notable stars are Beatrice Di Giovanni, Aurora Grabill, Erica Jean and Lynn Lowry. But the real star or the film is Sean Carmichael who is absolutely sensational as Michael. The emotion he brings to the character is bar none and I see him winning many awards with this performance.
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
Victims push for stronger child sex abuse laws
They predict: “Hastert will try to get out early”
Group says “Give us more time to expose predators”
It backs both new federal plan and state reform too
SNAP also honors one of Hastert’s victims who spoke up in court
Carrying signs and childhood photos, in the wake of Dennis Hastert’s imprisonment, abuse victims march through downtown Chicago and hold a news conference.
--praise victims and others who helped get the ex-House speaker convicted, and
--urge correctional officials to look with “heightened skepticism” on what they say is a “likely move” by Hastert to seek early release for alleged health reasons
They will also
--announce their support for two federal proposals to reform the statute of limitations, and
--urge Illinois lawmakers to also relax the state’s “predator-friendly” abuse laws.
Sunday, June 26. Meet at 12:45 pm
In Chicago, meet at 12:45 pm at the Holiday Inn Chicago Mart, 350 West Mart Center Drive and walk to the Illinois State Office Building (James R. Thomson Center), 100 W. Randolf St., Chicago by 1:15pm. (The group will march down Wacker E. to Clark S. streets)
A group of adults who were abused as kids by clergy, teachers and others and belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), which is holding its annual conference this weekend.
1) On Wednesday, Hastert reported to prison. But SNAP predicts that he will seek an early release claiming ill health. The group wants correctional officials to scrutinize any such claim vigorously.
“In our experience, predators often try to ‘game the system’ and exploit any loophole they can to get special treatment, pretending to be sick or have poor memories or otherwise be virtually helpless and non-threatening,” says Barbara Dorris of SNAP. “We strongly suspect Hastert will do this too and we want prison officials to examine any claims like this very carefully.”
“Our focus is on deterring future crimes and cover ups, not on making Hastert suffer,” explained Barbra Graber of SNAP. “When we harshly penalize adults who hurt kids or hide crimes, we prevent more adults from hurting kids and hiding crimes. This is being prudent, not punitive.”
[Santa Cruz Sentinel]
2) To prevent future cases like Hastert’s, SNAP also wants the Illinois state legislature to pass a law letting anyone who was abused at any time to file civil suits to expose those who committed and concealed the crimes.
The group says “the archaic, arbitrary, predator-friendly statute of limitations is the single greatest obstacle to stopping child sex crimes and cover ups.” It notes that several states, including Pennsylvania, are debating relaxing their statutes and several have already done so using civil “windows” (Minnesota, Hawaii, California and Delaware).
3) Nevada Senator Harry Reid has introduced legislation authorizing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to give grants to states that eliminate statutes of limitations on laws involving child sexual abuse, giving victims more time to come forward and report their abusers.
The New York Times
[When and Why We See Victims as Responsible - Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin]
By LAURA NIEMI and LIANE YOUNG JUNE 24, 2016
IF you are mugged on a midnight stroll through the park, some people will feel compassion for you, while others will admonish you for being there in the first place. If you are raped by an acquaintance after getting drunk at a party, some will be moved by your misfortune, while others will ask why you put yourself in such a situation.
What determines whether someone feels sympathy or scorn for the victim of a crime? Is it a function of political affiliation? Of gender? Of the nature of the crime?
In a recent series of studies, we found that the critical factor lies in a particular set of moral values. Our findings, published on Thursday in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, show that the more strongly you privilege loyalty, obedience and purity — as opposed to values such as care and fairness — the more likely you are to blame the victim.
These two sets of values have been the object of much scholarly attention. Psychologists have found that when it comes to morality, some people privilege promoting the care of others and preventing unfair behaviors. These are “individualizing values,” as they can apply to any individual. Other people privilege loyalty, obedience and purity. These are “binding values,” as they promote the cohesion of your particular group or clan.
Binding and individualizing values are not mutually exclusive, and people have varying degrees of both. But psychologists have discovered that the extent to which you favor one relative to the other predicts various things about you. For example, the more strongly you identify with individualizing values, the more likely you are to be politically progressive; the more strongly you identify with binding values, the more likely you are to be politically conservative.
Our animating insight was that these two clusters of values entail different conceptions of victims. Proponents of individualizing values tend to see a dyad of victim and perpetrator (a victim is hurt, a perpetrator does the hurting). Proponents of binding values, however, may see behaviors as immoral even when there is no obvious victim — for example, the “impure” act of premarital sex or the “disloyal” act of flag burning — and may even feel that doing the right thing sometimes requires hurting others (as with honor killings, to pick an extreme example). So we hypothesized that support for binding values would correlate with a greater tendency to blame victims.
We conducted several studies, involving 994 research participants. First we examined how their moral values related to their tendency to stigmatize victims versus to see victims as injured. We provided minimal descriptions of victims of various crimes — rape and molestation, stabbing and strangling — and asked the participants how much they considered the victims as “injured” or “contaminated.”
While we expected that all participants would be more likely to view sexual-crime victims than non-sexual-crime victims as contaminated (which is indeed what we found), we also found, surprisingly, that the more strongly people endorsed binding values, the more strongly they considered any victim to be contaminated — regardless of the nature of the crime.
Furthermore, the more people saw a victim as contaminated, the less they saw that victim as injured. Throughout, we controlled for other variables and found that it was moral values — binding values, in particular — and not political orientation, gender or religiosity that determined the results.
In another study, participants read descriptions of specific cases of rape and robbery and rated both the victim and the perpetrator on how “responsible” they were for the outcome, as well as how much a change in their actions could have changed things. We found that the more strongly people endorsed binding values, the more they strongly they attributed responsibility to victims and the more they saw victims’ behaviors as influencing the outcome. We found the opposite pattern for people endorsing individualizing values.
Can anything be done to change people’s perceptions of victims and perpetrators? In another study, we explored whether nudging people to focus on perpetrators versus victims could affect people’s moral judgments. We did so by placing either the perpetrator or the victim in the subject position in a majority of sentences in descriptions of sexual assault (e.g., “Lisa was forced by Dan” versus “Dan forced Lisa”). We then asked the participants to assign percentages of blame to the victim and perpetrator.
Consistent with our previous findings, the more participants endorsed binding values, the more blame they assigned to victims and the less blame they assigned to perpetrators. But we also found that focusing their attention on the perpetrator led to reduced ratings of victim blame, victim responsibility and references to victims’ actions, whereas a focus on victims led to greater victim blaming. This was surprising: You might assume that focusing on victims elicits more sympathy for them, but our results suggest that it may have the opposite effect.
Victim blaming appears to be deep-seated, rooted in core moral values, but also somewhat malleable, susceptible to subtle changes in language. For those looking to increase sympathy for victims, a practical first step may be to change how we talk: Focusing less on victims and more on perpetrators — “Why did he think he had license to rape?” rather than “Imagine what she must be going through” — may be a more effective way of serving justice.
Laura Niemi is a postdoctoral associate in psychology at Harvard. Liane Young is an associate professor of psychology at Boston College.
Darlington and Stockton Times
A NORTH Yorkshire charity is launching the world’s first global network of professionals to helping children who have suffered online sexual abuse.
The Marie Collins Foundation (MCF), based in Masham near Ripon, was set up in 2011 by chief executive Tink Palmer and works with children, young people and families to help them recover after sexual abuse involving technology. It also trains including social workers, police and teachers in supporting victims.
Now it is about to lead the world’s first global network of experts dedicated to helping child victims. The Global Protection Online Network is funded by investment from the global fund pledged at the #WePROTECT Children Online summit by former Prime Minister David Cameron in 2014.
The money will be used to provide support to child victims of technology-related violence, abuse and exploitation through the Global Protection Online Network.
It will also fund a report on international research relating to the recovery of children from online abuse and carry out a survey to map out work practices and lessons learned among professionals in 17 countries identified by UNICEF as priorities.
Pacific Daily News
Haidee V Eugenio, Pacific Daily News June 27, 2016
Individuals who recently accused Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron of sexually molesting them when they were altar boys in Agat in the 1970s testified Monday in favor of a bill lifting time limits on filing lawsuits against child molesters.
Another individual, Jonathan Diaz, also addressed senators at the Guam Legislature in Hagåtña, and said a seminarian who later became a priest sexually abused him when he was 13 and 16 years old. Diaz said nobody believed him when he came forward in 1991.
“You didn’t believe me. Believe them,” Diaz told senators, while pointing to the four other accusers of Apuron seated in the public hearing room of the Legislature.
Apuron hasn’t been charged with any crime.
Arizona resident Walter G. Denton, who accused Apuron of “raping” him, flew back to Guam from the mainland on Sunday just to testify in favor of Bill 326-33.
“Give us Agat boys a chance to achieve some measure of justice and closure in our lives,” he said.
Updated: Jun 27, 2016
By Krystal Paco
"Justice shouldn't have an expiration date" - that's the sentiment echoed from supporters of Bill 326, who rallied in full force for three hours at Monday's public hearing. the proposed legislation would lift the statute of limitations for child sex abuse cases. The bill's introduction comes in the wake of accusations of rape and molestation made against Archbishop Anthony Apuron.
And alleged victims are speaking up and asking senators for more time to confront their perpetrators and bring them to court.
Joseph "Sonny" Quinata may not be alive today, but his mother, Doris Concepcion, still seeks justice on his behalf. She said, "Apuron accused me of being a liar. If you pass this bill, want to take Apuron to court. I have nothing to gain. I want Apuron to go to court so the truth can come out."
Concepcion was joined by other accusers of the archbishop - Walter Denton, Roland Sondia, and family of Roy Quintanilla, who testified on Monday in support of Bill 326. All the victims were altar boys at Mount Carmel Church in Agat when they allege they were molested or raped by Apuron. Each of the victims waited decades before coming forward and as a result, cannot seek legal action because Guam law provides only a two -year window to do so.
[The Hildesheim diocese has paid 30,000 euros to abuse victims.]
Oft vergehen Jahrzehnte, bevor Opfer sexueller Gewalt über das Erlebte sprechen. Die Täter sind dann oft schon tot und können nicht mehr zur Verantwortung gezogen werden. So etwa im Fall eines mittlerweile 70-Jährigen, der dem verstorbenen früheren Hildesheimer Bischof Heinrich Maria Janssen vorwirft, ihn Ende der 1950er-Jahre missbraucht zu haben. In Fällen wie diesen bietet die Diözese seit 2011 eine finanzielle "Anerkennung des Leids" und eine Kostenübernahme für die Therapie an. Im vergangenen Jahr sind beim Bistum Hildesheim fünf entsprechende Anträge eingegangen, darunter auch der des 70-Jährigen. Insgesamt 30.000 Euro hat es den mutmaßlichen Opfern seither ausbezahlt, 10.000 davon gingen an den Rentner. Üblich sind 5.000 Euro.
Interne Aufarbeitung: Noch keine Gutachter benannt
Die interne Aufarbeitung der Missbrauchsvorwürfe ist unterdessen noch nicht vorangeschritten. Einem Bistumssprecher zufolge sind bislang noch keine Gutachter benannt worden, die sich mit den Anschuldigungen gegen den verstorbenen Bischof Janssen und den ehemaligen Priester und verurteilten Missbrauchstäter Peter R. auseinandersetzen sollen.
[A study commissioned by Caritas shows that children with mental illness and disabilities who lived in Catholic institutions were subjected to violence, abuse and ill-treatment.]
In Einrichtungen der katholischen Kirche für Kinder mit Behinderungen oder psychischen Erkrankungen gab es bis in die 70er-Jahre hinein Gewalt, Missbrauch und Misshandlungen. Das ergab jetzt eine Untersuchung im Auftrag der Caritas.
Anne Francoise Weber: Sie wurden geschlagen, zum Essen gezwungen, zur Strafe in den dunklen Keller eingesperrt oder zu sexuellen Handlungen genötigt. Und es waren Kinder, die sich besonders schlecht wehren konnten, weil sie durch Behinderungen oder psychische Krankheiten beeinträchtigt waren. Erst langsam wird bekannt, wie viele Gewalterfahrungen Kinder bis in die 1970er-Jahre hinein in Einrichtungen der Behindertenhilfe gemacht haben.
[A total of 1,700 people have applied to the Catholic Church in Germany to be recognized as victims of sexual abuse by priests or other church employees and they are asking for financial compensation. Victims can receive up to 5,000 euros or possibly higher amout due to the circumstances.]
Berlin. Seit zwei Jahren arbeiten Forscher den sexuellen Missbrauch durch katholische Priester auf. Nicht überall erhalten sie Unterstützung.
Die Zahl wird fast täglich größer: Knapp 1700 Personen haben inzwischen bei der Katholischen Kirche in Deutschland beantragt, als Opfer sexuellen Missbrauch durch Priester oder andere Kirchenmitarbeiter anerkannt und dafür finanziell entschädigt zu werden. Dies teilte jetzt die Deutsche Bischofskonferenz (DBK) in Berlin mit. Opfer erhalten jeweils bis zu 5000 Euro, in begründeten Einzelfällen werden auch höhere Summen gezahlt.
Die Aufarbeitung des Missbrauchsskandals, der in der Kirche seit seiner Aufdeckung 2010 für Erschütterungen sorgt, kommt offenbar voran. „Wir rechnen damit, Ende 2017 belastbare und solide Daten liefern zu können“, erklärte der Mannheimer Psychiater Harald Dreßing jetzt in Berlin. Dreßing leitet das Forschungskonsortium, das im Auftrag der DBK den Missbrauch in der Kirche aufarbeiten soll. Dazu sichtet das Gremium seit Juli 2014 Tausende Personalakten von Priestern, führt Interviews mit Opfern und zieht Strafakten der Justiz zu Rate.
Der vorliegende Beitrag befasst sich mit einem Forschungsprojekt über sexuellen Missbrauch an Minderjährigen im Kontext der katholischen Kirche. Neben der Skizzierung der einzelnen Teilprojekte werden erste Ergebnisse des Teilprojekts der methodenkritischen Metaanalyse dargestellt. Die Metaanalyse gibt einen Überblick über die bisherigen empirischen Befunde zu Art und Umfang sexueller Missbrauchstaten an Minderjährigen in der katholischen Kirche und in anderen Institutionen. Hierzu wurden bisher 40 Studien über die katholische Kirche und 13 Studien über Einrichtungen, die nicht in katholischer Trägerschaft stehen, untersucht. Es werden Ergebnisse zu den Methoden der Studien sowie zu den Merkmalen von Tätern und Opfern und zu den Delikten dargestellt.
Sexueller Missbrauch Kindesmissbrauch Katholische Kirche Metaanalyse
Meta-analysis on sexual abuse of minors within the Roman Catholic Church
The article deals with a research project on sexual abuse committed against minors in the context of the Roman Catholic Church. In addition to outlining the individual partial projects, the article presents the first results of the partial project on the method critical meta-analysis. The meta-analysis gives an overview of the existing empirical evidence on the nature and extent of sexual abuse committed against minors in the Roman Catholic Church and in other institutions. A total of 40 studies about the Roman Catholic Church and 13 studies about institutions outside the realm of the Roman Catholic Church have so far been examined. Preliminary results concerning the methods of the studies as well as descriptive data on offenders, victims and offences are presented.
By Emily Bourke
Advocates for survivors of child sexual abuse are ramping up their campaign for a national redress scheme ahead of this weekend's federal election.
The establishment of a national redress scheme was a key recommendation handed down by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
The Commission stated that a national redress scheme could help compensate 60,000 child abuse victims.
But one of the peak organisations representing abuse victims has said only the Greens and Labor parties have put forward any funding commitments for such a scheme.
The Coalition has said it supports a national, consistent approach as recommended by the Royal Commission, but has not yet made any formal funding commitment.
Kansas City Star
BY MARY SANCHEZ
There was a time when the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph hid from responsibility for the child sex abuse done by some of its priests.
On Sunday, that attitude of contempt was put to rest.
Bishop James V. Johnston Jr. laid out his vision for the diocese during a Service of Lament at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
A “visible, permanent reminder” will be dedicated to the victims, a marker that will be decided upon by a remembrance committee, comprised partly of survivors of the abuse.
A new team will assess best practices for reporting and dealing with suspected abuse. The diocese already has a set of strict protocols, but they will be measured for effectiveness and reassessed for any changes necessary to improve.
By Liam Migdail-Smith
The way Catholic leaders respond to allegations of sexual abuse of children by clergy or lay people has changed since the mid-2000s, local church leaders say.
And they said, the culture and process victims faced when confronting church leaders about the abuse in the past is not the same as today.
In the Philadelphia Archdiocese, which includes the Pottstown area, all reports of abuse are now immediately forwarded to law enforcement, spokesman Kenneth A. Gavin said.
At the same time, the victim is put in touch with a services coordinator who can help line up church funding for therapy, medication and related transportation and child care costs, he said.
And after the legal investigation is complete, the church conducts its own, separate canon-law review, he said.
By John S. Del Rosario Jr. | Posted on Jun 27 2016
The grassroots movement in the Archdiocese of Agana seeking removal of Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron has blown up into a towering inferno. It deals with four victims alleging the archbishop sexually molested them years ago. Troubling!
Initially, I dismissed it as a war of accusations and denials. The narrative shifted as more former altar boys came forward with accusations. It came right in the midst of the resignation of board members—a group under the archdiocese—responsible for investigating reported priestly pedophilia. Wasn’t this issue a national scandal in recent past?
I asked for additional information from my cousin, David J. Sablan, vice president of the Concerned Catholics of Guam, Inc., just to secure a clear history of the entire nine yards and to do justice to the issue.
Appalling the calculated agenda by Apuron who allegedly corralled money and property belonging to the Archdiocese of Agana to the Neocatechumenal Way organization headed by people from without the island. It begins to show why Apuron allegedly wanted control of the seminary property in Yona (worth about $75 million) where he thought he could silently impose command, control, and disposition without notice and consent of the faithful.
The New Times
By: STEVEN MUVUNYI
PUBLISHED: June 27, 2016
Genocide survivors and relatives of victims have expressed dismay at a decision by Catholic Church to celebrate silver jubilee in honour of two priests convicted for their role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Emmanuel Rukundo and Joseph Ndagijimana are among six priests whose ordination and jubilee ceremony is slated to take place on July 16 at Kabgayi Diocese.
Emmanuel Rukundo was convicted and handed a 25-year sentence by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in 2009, while Joseph Ndagijimana was convicted and handed life sentence by Gacaca in the same year.
Ndagijimana is serving his sentence in Mpanga Prison in Ruhango District.
Speaking to The New Times yesterday, Prof. Jean-Pierre Dusingizemungu, the president of Ibuka, an umbrella of Genocide survivors associations, strongly condemned the celebration of the jubilee and called it a form of negation as well as provocation.
June 26, 2016
By J.M. Lawrence GLOBE CORRESPONDENT JUNE 27, 2016
In a New Bedford courtroom, Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Robert L. Steadman weighed the unfathomable crimes of pedophile former priest James R. Porter against claims that the Catholic Church hierarchy had enabled Porter’s sexual abuse of dozens of children in the 1960s.
The depths of the church sex abuse scandal had yet to be exposed on that December day in 1993 as Judge Steadman heard 22 of Porter’s victims describe shattered childhoods, suicide attempts, and lost faith. Prosecutors asked the judge to sentence Porter to serve 36 to 50 years in prison. The defense argued Porter was a repentant sex offender who needed treatment, not jail.
“The defendant stands before me today as an effigy, representing all the other named and unnamed child abusers,” Judge Steadman said, according to a New York Times account. “Yet justice requires that James Porter, the symbol, be cast aside and that James Porter, the man, be judged.”
Porter had shown “complete disregard of the physical, spiritual, and psychological impact” of his crimes, said the judge, who ordered Porter to serve 18 to 20 years for sexually assaulting 28 boys and girls.
Judge Steadman, who spent 17 years on the Superior Court bench and was named chief justice in 1988, died June 14 in the Pat Roche Hospice Home in Hingham from complications of a recent fall. He was 90 and lived in Hanover.
Pacific Daily News
Jojo Santo Tomas, email@example.com June 27, 2016
In an announcement released Sunday afternoon, Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai stated that all relevant documentation has been sent to those who will render a final decision.
Hon, appointed by Pope Francis as apostolic administrator for the Archdiocese of Agana on June 6, arrived in Guam in early June to oversee church operations.
His arrival comes in the wake of allegations of sexual misconduct against Archbishop Anthony Apuron made by former altar boys who served in Agat almost 40 years ago.
Apuron remains Guam’s archbishop and has not been charged with any crime.
In the June 26 announcement, Hon collectively names accusers Walter Denton, Doris Concepcion, Roy Quintanilla and Roland Sondia, who made his accusations a week after Hon arrived. Hon also offered his personal prayers for all parties involved.
“… all of the relevant documentation received by the Church related to these allegations has been duly sent to the Holy See, which has final authority in cases related to Bishops,” said Hon in the statement. “I would further like to assure everyone that I have recognized the issues raised by all those concerned and, being deeply moved by the way they expressed themselves, am earnestly praying for them, without prejudice to both the alleged victims and the accused and ask for the prayers and support of the entire Church community.”
CHICAGO (CBS) — While many in Chicago joined the annual Pride Parade on the North Side on Sunday, others marched downtown to call on lawmakers to eliminate all statutes of limitations on child sex crimes.
Members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests rallied outside the Thompson Center, many holding up signs reading “protect our children, not their predators.”
“To stop sexual violence of children, it’s time to hold sexual perpetrators accountable,” SNAP President Barbara Blaine said.
The way to do that, Blaine said, is for lawmakers across the country to change child sex abuse laws to “step up, and reform the statutes of limitation once and for all.”
“All statutes of limitation for child sex crimes should be eliminated,” she said.
Pacific Daily News
June 26, 2016
Justice requires broadening the reach of Bill 326-33 to provide relief not only to those who have suffered at the hands of child sexual abusers, but others, to include not only the abusers but also their enablers, aiders or abettors, those acting in concert with them and their religious institutions or corporations sole.
The three C’s are referenced here: condonation, cover-up and conspiracy. Recent history tells us that the three C’s were all too prevalent in the worldwide Catholic church. The institutional hierarchy of the church condoned, covered up and conspired to prevent victims of child sexual abuse from attaining justice.
When allegations of these heinous acts first surfaced on our island, my inclination was that whoever may have committed those acts should be made to pay but that the institution, i.e. the archdiocese or corporation sole, need not be held liable in order that justice be available to victims whose claims had been barred by the running of the statute of limitations. If the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse were eliminated prospectively and reopened retroactively, the hierarchy and processes of the church would be sufficient to “clean up” the church so that child sexual abuse would become no more than a bad memory, I thought.
I was wrong. Very wrong.
Scandal now saturates the church — scandal so egregious that the pope has sent an apostolic administrator, Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai, to take over the archdiocese in the stead of Anthony Apuron, who still retains the naked title of archbishop. Hon came here with tremendous potential to do good. Hon came on personal appointment of the pope to clean up the mess that befalls our church.
Pacific Daily News
Bill Pesch June 26, 2016
Justice denied. That just about sums up the possibility in Guam of pursuing traditional legal remedies against persons in position of trust who committed sexual crimes against minors years ago. This is the unfortunate reality facing the men who are accusing Archbishop Anthony Apuron of molesting them decades ago.
Why is the prospect of legal justice so dim? There are two main reasons. The first is an expired statute of limitations and the second is the lack of a “deep pocket.” Let’s look at both of these factors in some detail.
Those who molest minors face the possibility of both criminal and civil charges. The criminal charges can land the accused in jail, while a civil case can cost the suspect money. However, under the law, both criminal and civil actions must be filed within a specific period of time. This is known as the statute of limitations. With only a few exceptions, if you fail to file an action within the stated time, you forever lose the opportunity to pursue the matter.
The reason for statutes of limitation is based on common sense. With time, a case goes stale — witnesses forget or die, memories fade and evidence is lost or tainted. There is also the fact that victims, suspects and witnesses need to move on with their lives.
Scott Cross, who was hailed as a hero for speaking out about the sexual abuse he suffered as as teenager at the hands of former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, was lauded for his courage during an award ceremony Sunday in downtown Chicago honoring survivors of abuse.
Phil Saviano, whose abuse at the hands of a Catholic priest was an integral part of the Oscar-winning film “Spotlight,” handed Cross a plaque before several hundred people who’d gathered for an annual conference hosted by Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests at a downtown hotel.
“The movie ‘Spotlight’ was a very powerful movie for me as I struggled talking to my wife about this,” Cross told the audience after accepting the award.
Cross first opened up publicly about being abused at the age of 17 by Hastert, who was his wrestling coach at the time at Yorkville High School, while speaking in court at Hastert’s sentencing in late April.
“There were several reasons I thought about telling my story in a very open format that scared the hell out of me,” he said, according to a video of his remarks provided to the Sun-Times.
“As I was getting close to my decision to come forward, my wife had been encouraging me to go see the movie ‘Spotlight,'” he said.
“I just sat there by myself watching that movie, and it was a very powerful, powerful decision to come forward on top of Coach Hastert making some phone calls to my brother about a letter of support,” Cross said in reference to the audacious move by Hastert to seek a letter of support from Cross’s brother, former Republican ally and House Minority Leader Tom Cross.
Kansas City Star
BY MATT CAMPBELL
Betrayal, regret, healing and forgiveness were key words at a special Service of Lament on Sunday at Kansas City’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception for victims and survivors of sexual abuse within the church.
Bishop James V. Johnston Jr. went straight to the point in his homily before a full congregation that included most if not all priests from the nearly 100 parishes in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.
“I am here to confess, apologize and repent for the sins of those who held a sacred trust in the church and who betrayed that trust,” Johnston declared, saying he was speaking “for the priests and bishops and anyone in the service of the church whose actions or inactions harmed the lives of children entrusted to their care.”
This diocese, like many others, has been rocked by accounts of sexual abuse of children. It has settled multimillion-dollar legal cases involving scores of victims and their families. Former Bishop Robert Finn was charged with a criminal offense for failing to report suspected child sexual abuse. He lost his bishopric.
Guam Daily Post
John O'Connor | Post News Staff
More than two weeks have passed since the arrival of Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai, apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Agana, but protests have continued in front of the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral Basilica in Hagåtña despite Archbishop Anthony Apuron having been removed from local church matters amid sexual abuse allegations against him.
For months, the Concerned Catholics of Guam have protested at the cathedral, demanding that Apuron resign from his position as archbishop. But yesterday morning, that message had changed, and more than a dozen protestors holding signs stated plainly in red letters that they are now calling for Apuron's laicization from the church. Laicization, or defrocking, is the removal of a bishop, deacon or priest from his status as a member of the clergy.
Jose Martinez, a member of CCOG, said the credibility of the church and confidence in its leadership has been damaged by Apuron's actions.
"The allegations are serious enough that he should have stepped down a long time ago," Martinez said. "It's getting to the point where it's almost a mockery to be hidden so far away and not address any of the situations going in the church."
Apuron's last official communication to the people of Guam was a video message sent from Rome in which he stated that the pope had granted his request for an apostolic administrator, sede plena, meaning Hon would be in charge of pastoral duties while Apuron remained archbishop of the archdiocese.
By Kathleen E. Carey, Delaware County Daily Times
As a bill that extends the time childhood sexual abuse victims could file a suit against organizations that harbored their abusers sits in the state Senate Judiciary Committee, victim advocates, including former Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham, say the entirety of the bill should be law.
Describing herself as the first prosecutor in the United States to “name names” in a priest-related childhood sexual abuse case, Abraham was Philadelphia’s lead prosecutor when the 2005 grand jury was convened against the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Their findings, combined with another grand jury in 2011, found more than 60 priests in the diocese with evidence of abusing dozens of victims. Many of them had ties to Delaware County.
The bill, passed in the House by a 180-15 vote in April, removes the criminal statue of limitations for childhood sexual abuse cases; increases the statute of limitations from 30 years to 50 years for the filing of civil lawsuits for plaintiffs; and removes immunity for organizations found to be grossly negligent.
“I am very concerned because they are going to strip it of the retroactivity,” Abraham said of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “It’s not unconstitutional to have it back to 30 now. What’s the difference? Somebody has to tell me that.”
As state lawmakers debate a plan to make it easier for victims of childhood sexual abuse to seek justice, abuse survivors are coming forward to tell their stories.
When Mark Berkery was a boy, he was raped by a family friend, and afterward his parents knew he’d need good counseling to heal.
So they introduced him to the man they trusted most to help, the Rev. Stanley Gana, a priest at Ascension of Our Lord Church in Kensington.
The Berkerys were Catholic and lived in that north Philadelphia neighborhood, and Gana convinced them he could help the boy more than a private counselor.
Gana’s archdiocese bio included “youth counseling” among his talents and interests.
ELAINE MCARDLE | 6/24/2016
With an emphasis on power dynamics and the critical need for scrupulous honesty and truth, the Rev. Gail Seavey on Tuesday night took on the painful topic of clergy sexual misconduct and exhorted her fellow Unitarian Universalist ministers to stop keeping secrets so that UU congregations and the faith can thrive and grow in a healthy manner.
“I have seen smart people, good people, fail to understand the impact of sexual misconduct, how pervasive and systemic it is, not just among us but throughout our culture,” said Seavey, speaking at the 196th Ministerial Conference at Berry Street, known as the Berry Street lecture. “For years the system at the UUA and in many of our congregations has been to protect the privileged instead of the vulnerable.”
In her talk, “If Our Secrets Define Us,” Seavey gave an historical context of clergy sexual misconduct in UU congregations, including the reluctance of UU ministers to criticize their colleagues. Some who did, she noted, were censured. Estimating that one-third to one-half of UU congregations in the U.S. have been affected by clergy sexual misconduct within recent memory, Seavey described the psychological trauma to individuals and the severe damage to congregational health, and noted the problem isn’t limited to male ministers. Facing the issue head-on rather than concealing it is not only the moral thing to do, but also results in healthier congregations and a healthier denomination, Seavey said.
“Keeping secrets about the times we fall short of our ideals stops us from developing an ever more nuanced power analysis with others who have also suffered from intersecting cultural secrets,” said Seavey, senior minister at First UU Church of Nashville, Tennessee, a congregation that suffered from ministerial misconduct before she arrived there. Since then, First Nashville became a denominational leader in addressing the problem through the creation of UU Safety Net, which seeks to effect changes in policies and procedures around clergy sexual abuse in Unitarian Universalism.
June 26, 2016
THE Catholic Church will meet with members of the Bendigo community on Monday night to answer questions about the church’s history of child sexual abuse.
The chief executive officer of the church’s Truth Justice and Healing Council, Francis Sullivan, will hold a “Spirituality in the Pub” event at the Queens Arms Hotel in Quarry Hill.
The sessions will help form the Catholic Church’s response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
Mr Sullivan said hearing the concerns of parishioners and the wider community was an important step in the healing process.
“It is always encouraging to come to community meetings such as this one and hear how ordinary people on the streets and in the pews are responding to the Royal Commission and to the changes being made in the church,” he said.
BY THE EDITORIAL BOARD / PUBLISHED: JUNE 25, 2016
Pennsylvania’s Catholic bishops recently appealed to their congregations to help defeat a bill that enhances the ability of sexual abuse victims to sue. But the church’s credibility issue that gave rise to the legislation in the first place likely will be difficult to overcome.
The reforms to criminal and civil child sex crime laws are aimed at all private institutions that deal with children, rather than just the Catholic Church alone. But the legislation clearly is inspired by a blistering report by the state attorney general’s office relative to an investigation of child sexual abuse by priests and its cover-up in the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese.
The bill, which easily has passed the House, would eliminate the criminal statute of limitations regarding sex crimes against children. It also would raise 20 years, from 30 to 50, the age by which victims must file civil litigation.
Church leaders contend that provision unfairly would expose the institution to far greater liability and ignores reforms that they have implemented.
But four Catholic state representatives who support the bill — Patrick Harkins and Ryan Bizzaro of Erie, Mark Rozzi of Berks County and Madeline Dean of Montgomery County — countered that the church helped create the liability and the need to increase the statutory deadline to file suit.
Editor's note: This story contains explicit content.
The harrowing stories are each unique. They're set in different neighborhoods. They revolve around different characters. They outline different circumstances.
But a common thread binds them together.
Each begins with a child whose youth and innocence, they say, was ripped away by a man they trusted above all others and who wielded incredible power over their lives. And each ends with an adult, who decades later, is still grappling with the pain.
As Pennsylvania and neighboring states consider whether to partially reopen a window for people sexually abused as children to seek legal justice, more abuse survivors are stepping out of the shadows to tell their stories.
They seek to remind politicians that the wounds and scars left by abuse are very much part of the present.
June 26, 2016
From The Most Reverend John M. LeVoir - Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of New Ulm, Minn.
On behalf of the Diocese of New Ulm, I want to thank the victims and survivors of sexual abuse by priests who shared their heartbreaking stories with The Journal over the past few weeks.
I hope through courageously sharing their experiences, they are helped in their healing journey. I hope in hearing their stories, awareness is raised about the scourge of sexual abuse.
I offer a sincere apology to victims and survivors of past abuse and a solemn pledge to continue to do everything I can to prevent abuse of children and young people in the future.
The Church, in partnership with parents, parish and Catholic school leadership, is working to foster a safe environment for children and young people within Church ministry and throughout our broader community.
All priests and others who work or volunteer with children in Catholic parishes or schools undergo a background check and adhere to a strict Code of Conduct. Over the past decade, thousands of local people, including all priests, have participated in abuse awareness education. Thousands of local children have received age-appropriate personal safety lessons.
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Agana
I would like to reassure the faithful and all people of good will that Church has taken into serious consideration the allegations made against Archbishop Anthony Apuron, OFM Cap., in recent months by Mr. Walter Denton, Mrs. Doris Concepcion, Mr. Roy Quintanilla, and Mr. Paul Lizama Sondia, and that all of the relevant documentation received by the Church related to these allegations has been duly sent to the Holy See, which has final authority in cases related to Bishops. I would further like to assure everyone that I have recognized the issues raised by all those concerned and, being deeply moved by the way they expressed themselves, am earnestly praying for them, without prejudice to both the alleged victims and the accused and ask for the prayers and support of the entire Church community.
Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai, SDB
Archdiocese of Agaña
Updated: Jun 25, 2016
By Sabrina Salas Matanane
Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai issued a statement Sunday afternoon to reassure the island community that sexual abuse allegations against Archbishop Anthony Apuron are under investigation by the Vatican. In recent weeks several former altar boys alleged Apuron sexually molested them when he was a priest at Mt. Carmel Church in Agat.
Amid the allegations, Archbishop Hon was appointed the Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Agana by Pope Francis. Apuron was relieved of his pastoral duties but he retains his title as Archbishop.
Here is the statement released by Archbishop Hon:
"I would like to reassure the faithful and all people of good will that Church has taken into serious consideration the allegations made against Archbishop Anthony Apuron, OFM Cap., in recent months by Mr. Walter Denton, Mrs. Doris Concepcion, Mr. Roy Quintanilla, and Mr. Paul Lizama Sondia, and that all of the relevant documentation received by the Church related to these allegations has been duly sent to the Holy See, which has final authority in cases related to Bishops. I would further like to assure everyone that I have recognized the issues raised by all those concerned and, being deeply moved by the way they expressed themselves, am earnestly praying for them, without prejudice to both the alleged victims and the accused and ask for the prayers and support of the entire Church community."
As state lawmakers debate a plan to make it easier for victims of childhood sexual abuse to seek justice, abuse survivors are coming forward to tell their stories.
After years of suffering in silence, Craig Gribbin mustered the courage to ask for an apology.
It was early 2002. He was about 50 and finally ready to take the last step in confronting the sexual abuse he said he suffered as a teen at the hands of a priest and teacher at Roman Catholic High School in Philadelphia.
Through years of self-reflection, Gribbin had started to come to peace with what happened to him. He’d become a born-again Christian, was ordained as a nondenominational minister and began helping couples through marriage counseling.
By ministering to others, he began the painful process of confronting the demons in his own past. And by the late 1990s, Gribbin knew he had a final step to take before putting his abuse behind him: Confronting the people on whose watch it happened.
June 25, 2016
As state lawmakers debate a plan to make it easier for victims of childhood sexual abuse to seek justice, abuse survivors are coming forward to tell their stories.
The day is seared into Thomas Humma’s memory.
It was the moment, he said, that he finally broke free of the priest who snaked into a central role in his life only to sexually molest him.
Though Humma hasn’t told his story publicly until now, parts of it have been recounted in media reports, at press conferences, even during state legislative sessions.
His story is intertwined with that of his childhood friend Mark Rozzi, who’s since become a state lawmaker representing part of Berks County and an advocate for abuse victims.
Their alleged abuser, Edward R. Graff, died in 2002 while awaiting trial in Texas on charges he abused a 15-year-old boy there.
Humma, who grew up in Reading and now lives on the West Coast, figures Graff pushed his luck the day he took both boys together into the rectory at Holy Guardian Angels in Muhlenberg Township. At the time, Humma was 12, and Rozzi was 13.
by Jonathan Lai, STAFF WRITER
The chairman of the Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee said Saturday he will recuse himself from all matters regarding a contested bill that would expand the ability of child sex-abuse victims to sue individuals and private institutions decades later.
State Sen. Stewart J. Greenleaf (R., Montgomery) said he had recently learned of his law firm's involvement advising a Catholic clergyman serving as a witness in child sex-abuse suits. Neither that nor his firm's previous representation of a Catholic religious order sued by an abuse victim represent conflicts of interest, Greenleaf said, but he will no longer participate in proceedings regarding the measure to reassure the public.
"Perception and appearance in ethical matters are important - especially public perception of what legislators do in Harrisburg," Greenleaf said in a statement Saturday. "In order to project a positive perception, I voluntarily will no longer participate in any further proceedings regarding H.B. 1947, nor will I vote on the bill."
Greenleaf had not taken a public position on the bill. As head of the Judiciary Committee, he led a hearing earlier this month on the constitutionality of the legislation to extend the statute of limitations for child sex-abuse victims.
The News Hub
William H Bowen
This summer over eight million Jehovah’s Witnesses will attend their conventions to be informed this just might be the last meeting they will attend. You see, they have a version of the zombie apocalypse called the “Great Tribulation” in which members are taught the police and local authorities are going to be taken over by Satan to attack JW men, rape JW women, and kill JW children. Members are told to prepare a go-bag with survival materials so they on a moments notice can flee to bunkers till God delivers them. This message is somewhat consistent as it is the same one that has been told for over one hundred years. Each year members believe this is the very last time they will have a summer convention and they go home in a form of mental hysteria to discard material possessions and simplify their lives so they can sell more books for one of the wealthiest per capita tax deductible publishing corporations in the world.
The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society produces over one billion pieces of literature each year and by declaring they are a religion can use slave labor to sell their books and pay not one dime in taxes. They go one step further by each year giving all members a piece of paper to write down the exact amount of donations they are willing to provide each month to keep God’s work moving forward. Each congregation is required to send in a specified donation each month or they will be disbanded.
[Scandal in the Church of Santa Fe: A bishop is denounced for harboring a priest accused of pedophilia.]
Los padres de la víctima de tres años apuntaron al jefe de la diócesis de Reconquista, Ángel José Macín, y a la asesora legal del obispado por encubrimiento
SEGUIRJosé E. Bordón
PARA LA NACION
SÁBADO 25 DE JUNIO DE 2016
SANTA FE.- Escándalo en la iglesia de Reconquista, el norte de esta provincia. El sacerdote Néstor Monzón, de 47 años, acusado del delito de "abuso sexual gravemente ultrajante" en perjuicio de una nena de 3 años, que visitaba la Parroquia "María Madre de Dios", en el barrio Hospital de esa ciudad, vecina a la vivienda de sus abuelos, fue liberado tras 60 días de prisión preventiva domiciliaria. Los padres de la víctima denunciaron penalmente por encubrimiento al obispo de la diócesis, Ángel José Macín.
La causa, además, involucra a la asesora legal del obispado, Gabriela Contepomi, a quien los defensores de la familia de la menor denunciaron porque en una escucha telefónica que se incorporó al expediente, la profesional dialoga con el cura Monzón y le señala que por orden del obispo Macín debe "borrar" todos los mensajes enviados o recibidos en su teléfono móvil. El diario Reconquista Hoy publicó el audio entre la abogada y el cura en su portal.
The Morning Call
Politicians seek political cover while gutting child sex abuse law
I wanted to begin this column with a great rant about politicians from an old "Monty Python" episode.
It's presented in the guise of an apology for some previous content and scrolls down the screen as a very-proper narrator reads it and "Pomp and Circumstance" plays.
I didn't have space for the whole thing — you can find it on YouTube — but here's an excerpt:
"We would like to apologize for the way in which politicians are represented in this programme. It was never our intention to imply that politicians are weak-kneed, political time-servers who are concerned more with their personal vendettas and private power struggles than the problems of government … nor to imply that they are squabbling little toadies without an ounce of concern for the vital social problems of today …"
I won't endorse some of the specific language in the rant — I wouldn't call anyone "crabby ulcerous little self-seeking vermin" — but the general sentiments fit my disgust with the state Senate Judiciary Committee, which has been hard at work fashioning an appropriate excuse for gutting a bill that would reform statutes of limitations for child sex abuse survivors. I'd have added something about subservience to powerful special interests.
June 25, 2016
An international spotlight is shining starkly on Australia this weekend as representatives from the United Nations, Germany, Switzerland, Poland, Chile, the UK, the US and Australia are gathering in Chicago for a three-day conference on sexual assault and the Catholic Church.
As the Australian speaker at this conference I am, inter alia, highlighting the fact that Australia continues to be the only country in the common law world in which there is no legal entity for the Catholic Church (and some other religious organisations) that can be sued by victims for the historical sex crimes of its clergy. This burdensome barrier to justice holds firm, despite the royal commission making a sound and easily implemented recommendation that, unless a proper defendant with sufficient assets to meet its liability is nominated by the church authority, then the property trust (the only legal entity that does exist) can be sued.
This recommendation, the implementation of which is the responsibility of our state and territory governments, was made by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in its report on redress and civil litigation, published in September 2015. Critically, and unlike a recommendation of the earlier Victorian parliamentary inquiry into the handling of child abuse, the royal commission's recommendation has both prospective and retrospective effects, meaning it would apply not only to future victims, but also to existing victims.
Pacific Daily News
Haidee V Eugenio, Pacific Daily News June 25, 2016
The archbishop Pope Francis sent to temporarily administer the Archdiocese of Agana has started laying the groundwork for the reorganization of the Catholic church in Guam.
But the Concerned Catholics of Guam said the two more urgent tasks should have been: reaching out to those who have said they are victims of sex abuse by Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron; and the permanent removal not only of Apuron but also three other individuals.
Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai announced the formation of four ad hoc committees that could lead to a reorganization of the embattled Catholic church in Guam.
Hon also named the Rev. Patrick Castro as the new contact person “for those coming forward with allegations of having been sexually abused by a member of the clergy of the Archdiocese of Agana.”
Monsignor Brigido “Bibi” Arroyo, who also got special assignment from Hon as spokesperson for the archdiocese, said on Friday the formation of the four committees are part of the task of promoting unity, and that the church is listening to the people.
Hamilton and Griffin on Rights
Professor Marci A. Hamilton
Jun 25, 2016
Here is what the rumor mill says some Pennsylvania Senators are considering, with a guide to help you understand it....
When it comes to behind-the-scenes chicanery against child sex abuse victims, no one holds a candle to the insurance and Catholic Conference lobbyists and bishops. They have pulled out all the stops against victims’ access to justice, especially when states have considered windows or revival bills that permit survivors with expired statutes of limitations (“SOLs”) to go foreard despite the SOL. One or more have pulled some stunners in various states, with the result that they shut victims out of court and preserved the secrets of predators and the institutions engaged in self-protection.
As I discuss in Justice Denied: What America Must Do to Protect Its Children, in Colorado, Bishop Chaput put to work a public relations strategy to mislead Catholics in the pews into thinking a window is “anti-Catholic” and succeeded even though that is false. In Ohio, the night before a window would have passed in the House, the bishops persuaded members to strip out the window portion of the bill and replace it with a useless and unconstitutional “civil registry,” which has done zero for survivors.
In every state to consider revival legislation, the bishops have also trotted out lawyers with little knowledge of constitutional law to argue that a window or revival legislation is “unconstitutional.” Then when the bill passed, they challenged its constitutionality and lost in court—in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, and Massachusetts.
In the latest Pennsylvania chapter, the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Stewart Greenleaf, put together no less than 5 people to testify that it is supposedly unconstitutional to revive an expired SOL in Pennsylvania. To quote survivor Michelle Gonsmann in her published letter to the Altoona Mirror: “Greenleaf lined up a parade of attorneys, most of whom had no true constitutional expertise but were deeply involved in the Catholic church or Catholic universities. These experts were clearly biased toward the Catholic church.”
The responsibility of the diocesan bishop remains"
Entgegen der Behauptung des Bistums Trier, dass Bistum habe erst jetzt (2016) von den Vorwürfen aus dem Jahr 2006 erfahren, konnte inzwischen belegt werden, dass das Bistum Trier bereits 2006 von der Staatsanwaltschaft informiert wurde. In der bischöflichen Personalkommission, in der die Meldung der Staatsanwaltschaft 2006 bekannt gegeben wurde, saßen sowohl der damalige Trierer Bischof Reinhard Marx als auch der heutige Bischof Ackermann. Damals fand auch ein Gespräch mit dem ehemaligen Freisener Pfarrer statt. Dieser versicherte dem Bistum gegenüber schriftlich, dass die Vorwürfe ihm gegenüber nicht zutreffend seien. Hätte das Bistum Trier den Verdacht gegen den ehemaligen Priester als unbegründet angesehen, hätte das Bistum Trier laut Leitlinien allerdings "die notwendigen Schritte unternehmen müssen, den 'guten Ruf der Person' wiederherzustellen"
BERLIN, 23.06.2016 // In einer heute in Berlin vorgestellten Studie setzt sich der Fachverband Caritas Behindertenhilfe und Psychiatrie (CBP) mit der Situation auseinander, dass Kinder und Jugendliche mit Behinderung in den Anfangsjahren der Bundesrepublik in katholischen Einrichtungen Gewalt, Missbrauch und Leid erfahren haben.
Die Studie "Heimkinderzeit. Eine Studie zur Situation von Kindern und Jugendlichen in Einrichtungen der katholischen Behindertenhilfe in Westdeutschland (1949 - 1975) wurde im Auftrag des CBP vom Institut für Angewandte Forschung, Entwicklung und Weiterbildung (IAF) in Freiburg durchgeführt. Mitfinanziert und mitgetragen wird sie von der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz (DBK), dem Deutschen Caritasverband (DCV), der Deutschen Ordensobernkonferenz (DOK) und der Veronika-Stiftung.
[Study: Violence in Catholic disabled homes was common.]
Das Leben von behinderten Kindern und Jugendlichen in katholischen Heimen zwischen 1949 und 1975 war geprägt von Isolation, Unterordnung und Gewalt. Zu diesem Ergebnis kommt eine erste umfassende Studie zu dem Thema.
"Weinen war nicht erlaubt. Und wenn doch, gab's auch dafür Schläge", erinnert sich die Bewohnerin eines katholischen Behindertenheims. Und ein anderer berichtet: "Da wurden wir in einen dunklen Raum gesperrt (...) das war für mich das Schlimmste, was es gab."
The Times of Israel
JUNE 24, 2016
Michael J. Salamon
In the last few days, following the ruling by a Beit Din in Israel, a ruling that received support from a number of prominent rabbis in Israel and the United States who represent all shades of Orthodoxy, several highly personal articles have appeared. These intimate articles describe the pain inflicted upon them by a Rabbi Meir Pogrow who was supposed to be their educator, mentor, and spiritual advisor but was in effect their abuser. The Beit Din ruling was clear: “It is forbidden,” the Beit Din wrote, for him to have any contact with women and women were warned to have no contact with him; women should not even go to his Torah website and were instructed to avoid any contact with a woman who was and seems to still be his booking agent.
The implication was clear in their ruling that this woman solicited for him and in the Beit Din’s words “functions as his agent for sin, and in this way they have knowingly (ensnared and) lowered girls into the lowest spiritual depths”.
Pogrow, often referred to as a brilliant and charismatic Torah, scholar taught at Yeshiva University High Schools in Los Angeles, Michlahlah seminary in Jerusalem, and at the Kollel of Aish HaTorah in Jerusalem and Austin, Texas. He first appeared on my radar about eight years ago when Riva (not her real name) a woman in her early twenties came to therapy following some time at the seminary in Israel. She was anxious, depressed, and afraid that she could never get married or ever trust men. She described a relationship with a rabbi at the seminary who was challenging but also extremely demanding. She complained, “He got into my head somehow and it messed me up.” As we worked through Riva’s anguish and concerns, she described how a man of prominence used his position and his intellect to groom her, manipulate her, and ultimately have her do his bidding. With time, she told me his name.
San Diego Reader
By Dorian Hargrove, June 24, 2016
A San Diego Superior Court judge has ordered the Church of Jehovah's Witnesses, also known as the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, to pay $4000 a day for every day that it fails to produce documents requested in a civil lawsuit brought by former parishioner, Osbaldo Padron, who claims a church elder sexually abused him when he was seven years old.
In a June 23 ruling, expected to be made final today, judge Richard Strauss admonished the church for willfully ignoring a court order to produce all documents associated with a 1997 Body of Elders letter that church leaders sent to parishes around the world in a quest to learn about sexual abuse of children by church leaders.
Over the course of the past year, the Watchtower Society and its lawyers have fought hard to keep the letter confidential, claiming that turning over the documents would infringe on the privacy of those mentioned in the letter that were not associated with the case.
June 24, 2016
Published on June 24, 2016
Philadelphia forensic psychiatrist Robert Toborowsky Friday refuted claims that some of a Christian Brother’s actions at Mount Cashel in the 1950s amounted to sexual sadism.
“No? countered Will Hiscock, a lawyer for four John Does in the Mount Cashel civil trial. “What was it? Was he loving?”
“It wasn’t loving and it wasn’t sadistic,” replied Toborowsky, a expert witness for the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corp. of St. John’s, which disputes claims it should be held liable for the sexual and physical abuse perpetrated by certain Christian Brothers at the orphanage during the era late 1940s to early 1960s.
“How was it not sadistic?” demanded Hiscock.
“What happened was not sexual sadism,” Toborowsky replied.
Los Alamos Daily Post
By CAROL A. CLARK
Los Alamos Daily Post
Police arrested former Los Alamos Pastor Paul Cunningham last Friday evening on San Ildefonso Road and charged him with two counts of sexual exploitation of children.
According to court documents obtained by the Los Alamos Daily Post, investigators executed a search warrant at Cunningham's home, at 4732 Brisa Del Bosque, and found more than 400 explicit images of children and nine pornographic videos on computers belonging to Cunningham.
Twenty-two of the images had been shared through several social media sites.
Cunningham, 54, was caught after authorities received information in February from a detective working in the Westminster Police Department in Colorado. He was investigating a case in his jurisdiction related to child pornography and in the process found that an IP address belonging to Cunningham was suspected of sending child pornography related material to a subject in Colorado.
The detective provided a zip drive of the material to Los Alamos Sheriff Marco Lucero and Deputy Sheriff John Horne who turned it over to Los Alamos police. Police launched an investigation, which led to the former pastor's arrest.
Los Angeles Times
The state Senate approved a measure on Wednesday that would end the statute of limitations for rape and several other sex crimes in California.
The measure by Sen. Connie Leyva (D-Chino) would allow the indefinite criminal prosecution of rape, sodomy, lewd or lascivious acts, continuous sexual abuse of a child, oral copulation and sexual penetration.
Currently, prosecution of rape must take place within 10 years, unless DNA evidence is discovered afterward.
“SB 813 will help to prevent rapists and sexual predators from evading legal consequences in California simply because the statute of limitations has expired,” Leyva said. “Regardless of when a rape or sexual assault is reported, survivors must have an opportunity to pursue justice in a court of law for the unthinkable crimes committed against them.
The Gaurdian (UK)
Harriet Sherwood Religion correspondent
Friday 24 June 2016
Catholic priests in Montreal will be banned from being alone with children to provide a “safety net” against allegations of abuse.
Archbishop Christian Lepine has issued a decree to implement the policy, which also covers lay workers and volunteers.
According to the decree, the move was to “ensure the safety and integrity of the people to whom we bring the Gospel message and offer our pastoral care”. But, it added, it was also “to preserve the integrity, security and good reputation of God’s people”.
In an accompanying letter, Lepine said: “Recent events brought to light the horrific reality of abuse of minors and vulnerable people by members of the church. These intolerable situations have shocked and shaken the Universal Church as well as the entire population.”
KANSAS CITY (MO)
Kansas City Star
BY MARY SANCHEZ
Nearly incomprehensible suffering preceded where the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph will humbly place itself on Sunday.
The diocese seeks reconciliation.
The new bishop, installed last fall, will make a public apology for decades of sexual abuse committed by diocesan priests.
Bishop James V. Johnston Jr. will lead a Service of Lament at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Johnston has asked every priest in the diocese to attend. He has requested that they bring purple vestments, a sign of penance.
The Morning Call
California man demonstrates importance of court access for child sex abuse victims
I got an email this morning from a San Diego man who wanted people in Pennsylvania to know how his state's statute of limitations reform bill helped him and that the tactics being used to fight a statute bill here are similar to those he has seen elsewhere.
California legislators in 2002 voted to open a one-year window for all child sex abuse victims to file suits, even if they were blocked by the statute of limitations. Paul Livingston and his brother -- abused as small children by the same Catholic school custodian -- were among the victims who filed suit, and the court settlement with the Los Angeles Archdiocese helped Paul finally get help with the aftermath of his abuse.
This reinforces one of the most important points in these efforts to give more victims access to the civil courts. When they're blocked by statutes of limitations, the cost of treating their problems -- and the social cost of leaving the damage untreated -- must be borne by the victims and by society at large. The people responsible are left unscathed.
These bills -- including House Bill 1947 in Pennsylvania, now being considered by the state Senate after overwhelmingly passing in the House -- have the potential to change that.
Saunders says he hopes to lead a 'victims and survivors’ consultative panel' to assist the commission
British campaigner Peter Saunders has insisted he is still part of the Vatican’s commission on protecting children from abuse.
In a letter published in today’s Catholic Herald, Saunders says that, although he was encouraged to resign after his strong criticisms of the speed of Vatican reforms, he is only on a “leave of absence”.
He says he hopes to lead a “victims and survivors’ consultative panel” to assist the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. This was suggested by the commission president, Cardinal Seán O’Malley, who had consulted the “C8” group of cardinals.
Saunders, the founder of NAPAC (National Association for People Abused in Childhood), had been an outspoken member of the Vatican commission until February, when he went on leave after questioning Pope Francis’s commitment to reform.
Martin Moylan Jun 24, 2016
Minnesota Catholic Church leaders in St. Cloud, Crookston, New Ulm and Winona are weighing what to do as their dioceses face the financial fallout from hundreds of sex abuse claims between them.
The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Diocese of Duluth sought bankruptcy court protection after being overwhelmed by clergy sex abuse claims. Soon, some of the state's smaller dioceses will be forced to choose.
Experts are divided on the path they might take.
"It's unlikely that they're going to bankruptcy, based on national trends," said Charles Zech, director of the Center for Church Management at Villanova University.
"Every diocese in the country virtually has had some abuse cases. And only 13 have felt the need to go to bankruptcy," he said. "So, the odds are, it probably won't happen."
Published on June 24, 2016
It was a fiery exchange at the Mount Cashel civil trial this morning when a Philadelphia psychiatrist was challenged for not giving more weight to the impact of childhood sexual abuse on the lives of two men.
The men are among four John Does who say the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corp. should be held liable for physical and sexual abuse by certain members of the lay order Christian Brothers.
The church contends it did not run the orphanage.
The heat came mostly from the Does' lawyer Will Hiscock who asked Robert Toborowsky, an expert called by church lawyers, if the fact one man's low sex drive and single status of 60 years was a red flag.