A digest of links to media coverage of clergy abuse.
Click on the headline to read the full story.
December 9, 2013
Coffs Coast Advocate
A "SEARING and decisive moment in the history of the Australian Catholic Church" uncovered decades of child sex abuse allegations and prompted an apology to victims across the country as the royal commission returned to Sydney today.
The commission is looking at Church's response to victims of child sex abuse through its counselling program Towards Healing, which was offered across northern NSW and south-east Queensland from the mid 90s.
Monday's hearing was marked with tears, angry outbursts, disturbing revelations about a Brisbane priest who had fathered the child of one of his young victims and a controversial opening statement made by the man representing the Church, Peter Grey.
His seemingly tasteless introductory biblical scripture containing the words "let the little children come to me" prompted several witnesses to let out audible groans and walk out of the room but was followed by some long-awaited admissions on behalf of the Church and a warning to senior religious leaders to abandon the culture of secrecy.
Survivors of abuse by Catholic clergy have gathered outside the royal commission in Sydney to call for justice.
Members of Care Leavers Australia Network and SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) carried placards and handed out leaflets as witnesses entered the hearing rooms of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse on Monday.
Nicky Davis from SNAP told AAP: 'We want the truth, that some in the Church have been trying to suppress, to come out.'
The commission is starting two weeks of a public hearing into the Catholic Church's internal process for dealing with allegations of child sexual abuse by its personnel.
Towards Healing was set up in 1996 to deal with the groundswell of abuse allegations against clergy and other who worked with the church.
Sydney Morning Herald
December 9, 2013
"Let the little children come to me; do not stop them: for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs."
With this remark, the Catholic Church's barrister, Peter Gray, SC, had the hearing room at the royal commission into child sexual abuse erupting in anguish and anger.
They cried out "What an insult!", "What a joke!" and "Good Lord!" Some walked out. From outside the room sobbing and wailing could be heard.
Survivor of abuse, Les Johnson 72, from Sydney grew up in orphanages in the Newcastle and Gosford area in the 1950s among protesters outside the Royal Commission into the Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse public hearing into the response of 'Towards Healing', being held in Sydney. 9th December, 2013.
Many present were once little children, now damaged adults, thanks to their abuse at the hands of mainly brothers and priests who were supposed to be caring for them in Catholic schools and orphanages. They had come to see for themselves what Mr Gray, representing the church, described as a watershed in church and Australian history.
In the Catholic Church's first appearances at the commission, Mr Gray acknowledged children were abused, the crimes were covered up, the wrongdoers were protected and the victims were disbelieved or treated coldly.
The Royal Commission into Child Abuse has begun its final public inquiry of the year, with the spotlight on the Catholic Church's controversial Towards Healing program. Emotions are already running high, with some people in the public gallery in Sydney leaving the inquiry in tears, as the lawyer for the church quoted from the Bible in his opening remarks. The Towards Healing process was set up by the church in 1996 to handle complaints about sexual abuse by priests.
ELEANOR HALL: The Royal Commission into Child Abuse has begun its final public inquiry of the year, this one putting the spotlight on Catholic Church. And emotions are already running high: some people in the public gallery in Sydney left the inquiry in tears as the lawyer for the Church quoted from the Bible.
The focus of this inquiry is the controversial Towards Healing process which was set up by the Catholic Church in 1996 to handle complaints about sexual abuse by priests.
The World Today's Emily Bourke is at the hearings in Sydney and joins us now. Emily, so clearly it's an emotional hearing already. Can you outline of the scope of this inquiry?
EMILY BOURKE: Eleanor, this is the first chapter of the Royal Commission's examination of Towards Healing - the process, the redress, the apologies and the outcomes in four individual cases. It's worth noting that a significantly greater number of people are expected to give evidence from around the country throughout the life of the Royal Commission.
There's no published data on Towards Healing and so the Royal Commission requested details from the Church, but because of inconsistent and inaccurate databases there's still no complete data.
By Travis Andersen | GLOBE STAFF DECEMBER 09, 2013
Child welfare advocates are calling on the head of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston to back legislation that would extend the statute of limitations in Massachusetts on cases brought by victims of childhood sexual abuse.
The open letter to Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley came days after he announced a major effort by Pope Francis to explore ways the church can protect children from abuse and to care for victims. The new Vatican commission marks the Catholic Church’s first comprehensive effort to address a scandal that exploded in 2002 in Boston and become a worldwide crisis.
The bills in Massachusetts are the latest efforts by advocates to get the state Legislature to allow more time for victims of childhood sexual abuse to pursue their alleged abusers in state court. One proposal would allow abuse victims to file a lawsuit in civil court up to the age of 55. Current law generally caps the filing age at 21. A separate bill would open a one-year window for those older than 55 to file claims. In criminal cases, accusers have until age 43 to file charges. The civil and criminal rules apply to all abuse cases and are not limited to church-related incidents.
A spokesman Sunday declined to disclose the archdiocese’s position on the proposals. But when the Legislature considered a more sweeping measure last year, the archdiocese’s policy arm, the Massachusetts Catholic Conference, warned that it could open church organizations to additional liability in decades-old cases and harm their charitable efforts.
Twelve years after being silenced by the Catholic Church, Joan Isaacs can now tell the world about the sexual and emotional abuse inflicted upon her as a schoolgirl.
Ms Isaacs was applauded as she left the witness stand at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse on Monday after finally talking publicly about the abuse dealt her by Father Francis Derriman more than 40 years ago.
The church last week lifted the legally binding agreement she made in 2001 in return for a $30,000 payment, in a gesture she said was 'too little, too late.'
Ms Isaacs, 60, received a letter from Brisbane Archbishop, the Most Reverend Mark Coleridge, saying she was no longer required to observe the conditions of the settlement agreed to under the church's Towards Healing process.
A confidentiality clause required her not to speak to anyone, except for medical reasons, about her abuse and demanded that she not make 'disparaging comments' about the process and the archdiocese.
Catholic Archbishop says sorry to victims of sexual abuse at hands of those within church
PERTH'S Catholic archbishop has issued an unreserved apology to the victims of sexual abuse at the hands of those within the church.
And as the child abuse Royal Commission began its investigations into the Catholic Church, Archbishop Timothy Costelloe also revealed he was considering appointing staff to specifically to maintain the safety of children in Perth.
Today the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses into Child Sexual Abuse began public hearings into the Catholic Church's internal process for handling allegations.
In response, Archbishop Costelloe admitted the church had been responsible for "too many failures, too many betrayals, and too many damaged lives.
BY THOMAS ORITI - ABC
December 9, 2013
A lawyer representing the Catholic Church has been heckled by victims of child sexual abuse and their families on the first day of a public inquiry.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is examining the "Towards Healing" process established by the Church in 1996.
The process was used to respond to complaints of abuse involving Church personnel.
When the Royal Commission was first announced by the Federal Government, the Catholic Church established the Truth, Justice and Healing Council.
The lawyer representing the Council at the hearing, Peter Gray SC, began his opening remarks by quoting the Gospel of Mark:
By Michael Clancy
The Republic | azcentral.com
Sun Dec 8, 2013
Two cases alleging sexual abuse by clergy members in the Catholic Diocese of Phoenix are slowly working their way through Arizona courts.
One case, filed in 2010, is scheduled to go to trial in March in Yavapai County Superior Court. It was filed on behalf of a Cottonwood woman whose son allegedly was abused by a Catholic deacon, Maxwell Rollin Pelton, who worked at Immaculate Conception Parish in Cottonwood.
The other is in Maricopa County Superior Court while the diocese awaits a Vatican determination in the case against the Rev. John Spaulding, who served in several local parishes.
In the Yavapai case, Pelton was awaiting final criminal charges when he died of natural causes in police custody.
by Tim Wallace
December 9, 2013
THE VATICAN’S bank could this week be blacklisted by the international finance community after investigators found poor anti-money laundering controls in place.
The 71-year old lender is being probed by Moneyval, the Council of Europe’s watchdog which monitors standards in finance.
If the watchdog rules against the Institute for the Works of Religion, as the Vatican Bank is formally known, it will face difficulties transferring money around the world.
Such a blacklisting could prove problematic for the church which relies on the organisation to fund operations around the globe.
Previous reports from the Council of Europe have found the Vatican making strides in its anti-money laundering processes, particularly as Pope Benedict XVI extended several finance rules to cover himself.
December 8, 2013
The Guardian (UK)
theguardian.com, Sunday 8 December 2013
Victims of child abuse and their supporters walked out of a public hearing at the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse after the Catholic church's legal representative quoted the Bible in his opening address.
Over the course of an estimated two weeks, the commission will hear evidence from four victims of abuse by members of the church who sought redress through the Towards Healing process, set up by the church in 1996 to respond to complaints of abuse by members of the clergy.
On Monday morning it was revealed that the Catholic church had paid more than $43m in compensation to victims in a process which it is alleged sought to mitigate public damage to the church rather than address victims' needs.
Senior counsel assisting the commission, Gail Furness, said the highest payout since the establishment of Towards Healing was $853,000. The amount, which included legal, counselling and other costs, related to a diocesan priest, at the time appointed with the archdiocese of Sydney.
Royal Commission will spend the next two weeks examining the Catholic Church's Towards Healing protocols and how they've worked. The public examination over the next two weeks will look at the cases of four Queensland residents who were abused by Catholic clergy in Brisbane, Lismore and two Marist schools in Queensland. Catholic Church's truth justice and healing council has resolved to reform the process. The Royal Commission's public inquiry of Towards Healing will continue throughout the life of the inquiry.
TONY EASTLEY: It's been one of the Catholic Church's more controversial responses to the scourge of child sexual abuse, and now it's about to undergo a forensic examination by the Royal Commission.
For the next fortnight the Royal Commission will publicly examine how four abuse victims were treated by the Catholic Church when they lodged a complaint through the church's Towards Healing process.
Sexual abuse victims and their lawyers maintain it's a process that re-traumatises survivors and should be scrapped altogether.
Here's Emily Bourke.
EMILY BOURKE: The Royal Commission says around 40 per cent of the calls, emails and statements it's received are about the Catholic Church.
And over the next two weeks, the inquiry will publicly hear from four people who were abused by Catholic priests in Brisbane and Lismore and by Marist Brothers in two Queensland schools.
BY THOMAS ORITI
December 9, 2013
A public hearing in Sydney has been told the majority of complaints of abuse within the Catholic Church involve incidents at a school, college or orphanage.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is examining the 'Towards Healing' process, established by the church in 1996.
Four people will give evidence at the hearing relating to complaints involving the Archdiocese of Brisbane, the Diocese of Lismore and the Marist Brothers.
In her opening address, Counsel-Assisting the Commission Gail Furness SC said certain congregations stand out in the list of complaints.
"Over 60 per cent of all Towards Healing complaints detailed the incident location as a school, college or orphanage," she said.
"What an insult" was the response of some people when the Catholic Church's lawyer quoted the Gospel of Mark at the opening of a hearing into how the church dealt with abuse victims.
About six or seven people left the royal commission hearing room in Sydney as Peter Gray, senior counsel representing the Catholic Church's Truth Justice and Healing Council, made his opening statement.
"This is a searing and decisive moment in the history of the Catholic Church in Australia," Mr Gray said.
"The sacred place of children, their innocence and their trustfulness, is central to the Christian tradition and to the Catholic faith. Many will remember from their own childhoods, ageless words from the Gospel of Mark."
He went on the quote the gospel, including the lines: "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck, and he were cast into the sea."
It was then that people became upset, and the phrases "goodness me" and "what an insult" could be heard as they left the hearing room. They gathered outside, some in tears.
BY ANNETTE BLACKWELL AAP DECEMBER 09, 2013
A WOMAN who was abused as a girl by a Catholic priest had to sign a deed saying she would not make disparaging remarks about the Church authority or discuss with anyone her sexual abuse except for medical purposes.
Joan Isaacs was sexually abused by Father Francis Derriman at a convent school in Brisbane when she was 14 to 15 years of age.
Derriman was sentenced to one year in prison, suspended after four months served.
Senior counsel advising the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses into Child Sexual Abuse, Gail Furness, outlined Ms Isaacs' case on the opening day of a public hearing into the Catholic Church's internal process for handling abuse allegations.
She said Ms Isaacs was referred to Towards Healing, a set of principles and procedures set up by the church for people who have been sexually abused by clergy or other church personnel.
Vatican Bank denies any wrongdoing in relation to cash transits and closure of ‘lay’ accounts
Mon, Dec 9, 2013
Are Italian finance police about to set up a checkpoint outside the Vatican’s Porta Santa Anna gate to stop people who have visited the Vatican Bank, IOR, in order to ascertain the nature of their business?
That alarmist scenario emerged last weekend following Italian media speculation that the Holy See’s financial regulator AIF had been less than co-operative with Italian Customs in relation to movements of money at IOR in 2011 and 2012.
Furthermore, Italian daily, Corriere Della Sera yesterday reported that some 1,200 of IOR’s 19,000 accounts will shortly be closed by the bank. Corriere suggests the accounts in question, known as “lay” accounts, could account for up to €300 million.
Unruffled by reports
Sources at IOR were last night unworried by the media reports, claiming that the Vatican Bank co-operated with “all the appropriate authorities” and that the “lay” accounts had been closed because the account holders had “no ongoing affiliation with the Holy See”.
Speaking in parliament last Friday, however, junior finance minister Sesa Amici confirmed that the Customs agency was waiting for a reply from AIF to a June 19th request for a meeting. In particular, it is reportedly seeking information about almost 5,000 unregistered movements of money in and out of Italy via IOR. Inevitably, Italian finance police suspect the undeclared money may relate to tax evasion and money laundering.
Corriere della Sera
ROMA - Una lista di 1.200 destinatari. E altrettanti conti dello Ior da chiudere per un importo complessivo superiore ai 300 milioni di euro. I cosiddetti «conti laici». Milleduecento lettere uguali a quella che pubblichiamo in questa pagina. Un documento a suo modo storico anche per le annose vicende della cosiddetta banca vaticana. Nella lettera sono indicate tre date. Quella di invio: 19 settembre. Poi il 4 luglio, giorno in cui il board (o consiglio di sovrintendenza) dell’Istituto ha stabilito di limitare i rapporti di conto «alle istituzioni cattoliche, ecclesiastici, dipendenti o ex dipendenti del Vaticano titolari di conti per stipendi e pensioni nonché diplomatici accreditati presso la Santa Sede». Tutti gli altri fuori.
Il riferimento al 4 luglio 2013 è al consiglio di amministrazione avvenuto tre giorni dopo la drammatica uscita di scena dallo Ior del direttore generale Paolo Cipriani e del suo vice Massimo Tulli, travolti dall’arresto di monsignor Nunzio Scarano. L’ultima data contenuta nella lettera è la dead line di chiusura dei conti fissata al 30 novembre 2013 , termine dopo il quale, scrive il presidente Ernst von Freyberg, «si applicheranno le disposizioni interne previste per il recesso da parte dell’Istituto», senza specificare quali. Lo Ior, richiesto nei giorni scorsi dal Corriere di rendere noto se l’operazione di chiusura è effettivamente avvenuta e per quale numero esatto di conti, non ha voluto commentare l’operazione .
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago via WLS
Rev. Michael W. O’Connell has agreed to step aside from St. Alphonsus Parish in Chicago, following receipt earlier this week by the Archdiocese of Chicago, of an allegation that he engaged in sexual misconduct with a minor almost 20 years ago while at his previous parish. Fr. O’Connell has agreed to take this action at the request of Cardinal George and is doing so out of pastoral concern for the safety of children.
The allegation was received by the Archdiocesan Office for Child Abuse Investigations and Review and reported to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and the Cook County State’s Attorney. In compliance with the requirements of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, the Archdiocese has also begun its investigation of this matter.
This action is not a judgment of guilt. Fr. O’Connell remains, according to church law, the pastor of St. Alphonsus Parish; however, he has agreed to reside away from the parish until the investigation is concluded.
[statement from the Chicago archdiocese]
December 8, 2013 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- The pastor of one of Chicago's oldest Roman Catholic parishes Sunday is facing an allegation of child sex abuse and is removed from his duties, the ABC7 I-Team has learned.
Fr. Michael O'Connell, the pastor of St. Alphonsus Church at 1429 W. Wellington in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood, has "voluntarily" stepped aside according to the administrator of the parish, Rev. Shawn Gould.
Pastor O'Connell "is no longer residing at the parish," Rev. Gould told the I-Team. The parish also has an elementary school, Alphonsus Academy and Center for the Arts.
In a letter to parishioners obtained by the I-Team, O'Connell was said to have "stepped away from the day-to-day administration of the parish pending an investigation of an allegation against him of sexual abuse of a minor." While there are no details of the case under investigation, Gould states that the "allegation has not arisen from an event related to St. Alphonsus Parish."
Before being assigned by the Archdiocese of Chicago to the Lakeview church on July 1, 2012, O'Connell was pastor at Our Lady of the Woods in Orland Park for 15 years.
The Archdiocese of Chicago said in a statement that "an allegation that he engaged in sexual misconduct with a minor almost 20 years ago while at his previous parish."
BY LEEANN SHELTON Staff Reporter December 8, 2013
The pastor of a Roman Catholic church in the Lake View neighborhood agreed to step aside from day-to-day responsibilities amid an allegation he had sexual contact with a child nearly 20 years ago while working at an Orland Park parish.
The Archdiocese of Chicago was notified of allegations earlier this week that Rev. Michael W. O’Connell engaged in sexual misconduct with a minor when he was the pastor of Our Lady of the Woods Parish in Orland Park, spokeswoman Susan Burritt said.
O’Connell worked at the southwest suburban parish between 1997 and 2012. He has held various posts within the archdiocese since his ordination in 1983, Burritt said.
At Cardinal Francis George’s request, O’Connell agreed to step aside from his duties at St. Alphonsus Catholic Church as church officials investigate, a statement from the archdiocese said.
Cardinal George has asked a Chicago priest to step down after allegations of sexual misconduct.
In a statement from the Archdiocese of Chicago, Rev. Michael W. O’Connell has stepped aside from St. Alphonsus Parish over allegations engaged in sexual misconduct with a minor almost 20 years ago while at his previous parish.
The allegation was received by the Archdiocesan Office for Child Abuse Investigations and Review and reported to the Dept of Children and Family Services and the Cook County State’s Attorney, according to the statement.
The investigation is ongoing.
THE Catholic Church has paid out $43 million through its Towards Healing process to victims who were sexually abused as children, it has been revealed.
The Christian Brothers were the most notorious religious order with the most complaints against them, followed by the Marist Brothers and then the De La Salle Brothers.
The highest amount paid out under the process was $850,000 which was to someone who was abused by a diocesan priest in the Archdiocese of Sydney, the royal commission into the institutionalised responses to child sex abuse has been told today.
It is the first time details of the controversial Towards Healing had been revealed.
Counsel assisting the commission, Gail Furness SC, said that as the commission puts the church's Towards Healing process under the spotlight, it had served a summons on the church to obtain data which had never before been published about how the process worked.
A disgraced superior of the most powerful of the "new movements" favored by John Paul II under the protection of the most powerful of the Secretaries of State. One of the superior's right-hand priests. The most prominent woman in the Church's higher administration and a distinguished legal mind in the most prestigious university of our age. Journalists in the most influential Catholic news agency.
Roman intrigue. Family connections. Illegal relationships. Secret liaisons. Illegitimacy. Shadows in the highest echelons of the Vatican. Silence and mutual protection up to the last moment within a Catholic elite and media too enamored with close access and exclusive information.
A lousy and poorly written novel? No, the truth.
The internal process used by the Catholic Church to compensate victims of child sexual abuse is under the microscope at a national inquiry this week.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse starts public hearings into the Church's Towards Healing process in Sydney on Monday.
It will be the fourth case study by the commission and the first of a number of public hearings which will examine the application of Towards Healing.
Towards Healing was established by the Catholic Church in 1996 and was seen as a watershed moment in the Church's approach to dealing with child sexual abuse within the institution.
It has been reviewed and reformed twice since then.
The West Australian
The Salvation Army's response to alleged child sex abuse at a number of its children's homes in Queensland and NSW will be examined in 2014.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse says the probe into the religious organisation would start on January 28.
It says the public hearing will investigate the Salvos' response to allegations of child abuse in Queensland at the Alkira Home for Boys at Indooroopilly, and the Riverview Training Farm at Riverview.
The hearing will also look at its responses to claims of abuse in NSW at Bexley Boys Home, in Bexley, and Gill Memorial Home, at Goulburn.
In a statement, the commission said the hearing would examine the Salvation Army's processes in investigating, disciplining, removing and transferring anyone "accused of, or found to have engaged in, child sexual abuse in these homes".
By Emily Bourke, staff
The Catholic Church's response to abuse complaints will be under the spotlight at the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse which gets underway today in Sydney.
The hearings will focus on the Towards Healing process, established by the church in 1996 to respond to complaints of abuse against the clergy.
Sexual abuse victims and their lawyers maintain it is a process that re-traumatises survivors and should be scrapped altogether.
Starting today, four victims are expected to give evidence relating to allegations against priests and brothers of the Archdiocese of Brisbane, the Diocese of Lismore and the Marist Brothers.
The commission's chief executive, Janette Dines, says the four people giving evidence are courageous.
Tomorrow will see the first mention of the Catholic Church at the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, more than a year after its announcement by former Prime Minister, Julia Gillard –an atheist. Times change. The new Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, is not only a Christian, he is a former Catholic Church seminarian who eventually chose politics over the priest hood, and is an old mate of Australia’s only Cardinal, George Pell (see previous posting). It is likely to be Abbott who will oversee the implementation of the recommendations of the Royal Commission, and even decide which ones will, indeed, be implemented at all.
One can only assume, and expect, that Mr. Abbott will not let his religion and friendships get in the way of doing the right thing by the enquiry. It is, given the low standing of politicians in general, in Australia and most of the western democracies, particularly notable that there is more confidence in them doing the right thing, than of members of the clergy of the different churches doing the right thing – at least of their own volition.
Politician may hold themselves up as being honest, moral and ethical but only to the standard of the average voter. Unlike the religious leaders, they do not hold themselves out as being paragons of virtue.
The revelations of clerical abuses of children have shattered the myth of the “holy” men and women in Western society, as being morally superior. However, it is the covering up of the crimes which have demonstrated that their ethical standards fall well below those of the average person. The church’s standards are down there with society’s criminals. That is what the general public finds so shocking.
What tomorrow’s hearing will begin to reveal, is that there is an even lower standard the churches get away with than even the average criminal. Society punishes the criminals, and in many cases makes them pay restitution, especially for white collar crimes and crimes committed by corporations and the like. Most jurisdictions have victim compensation schemes, paid for by the state if necessary. Not so with the churches.
New York Post
By Kyle Smith
November 21, 2013
With “Philomena,” British producer-writer-star Steve Coogan and director Stephen Frears hit double blackjack, finding a true-life tale that would enable them to simultaneously attack Catholics and Republicans.
There’s no other purpose to the movie, so if 90 minutes of organized hate brings you joy, go and buy your ticket now.
For the rest of us, the film is a witless bore about a ninny and a jerk having one of those dire, heavily staged, only-in-movies odd-couple road trips. Coogan plays Martin Sixsmith, a disgraced ex-government flack, journalist and pompous intellectual who, after getting fired, learns at a party about a human-interest story that might jump-start his career. It’s the woeful tale of Philomena Lee (Judi Dench), a woman of about 70 who, 50 years ago in Catholic Ireland, gave up for adoption a son born out of wedlock.
Frears (the director of “The Queen”) and Coogan revel in the details. When Lee, then 18, started to gain weight after a sweet evening with a boy at a carnival, she didn’t even know the term “pregnant.” She was sent off to an abbey to give birth in secrecy and shame, with the son, at age 3, given up for adoption. The film can’t quite decide whether the young mother was forced to give up her son Anthony; it makes as look as though she was, but also includes a scene in which contemporary Philomena adamantly denies coercion.
New York Post
By Kyle Smith
December 7, 2013
I’ve never been flogged in the public square, but now I have a rough idea what it’s like.
On Thursday, Harvey Weinstein, the US distributor of the Judi Dench-Steve Coogan film “Philomena,” placed a full-page, color attack ad in The New York Times that screamed my name in blood-red letters.
“The New York Times, Los Angeles Times and USA Today ALL PRAISE ‘PHILOMENA’ WITH A 92 % CERTIFIED FRESH SCORE ON Rotten Tomatoes,” read the ad. “BUT THE NEW YORK POST’S KYLE SMITH HAS A DIFFERENT OPINION. ‘ANOTHER HATEFUL ATTACK ON CATHOLICS.’ ”
The ad (now brightening the wall over my desk) went on to quote my Nov. 21 pan of the movie, then printed excerpts of a rebuttal by Philomena Lee, the Irish woman portrayed by Dench in the movie.
“Philomena” is about Lee’s quest, in the company of a former BBC journalist played by Coogan, to learn what happened to her son after she gave him up for adoption at a convent in 1952 Ireland. The movie makes this particular Irish Catholic institution look about as pleasant as Abu Ghraib.
A former Catholic bishop found by an inquiry to have moved abusing priests from parish to parish says he took action against the priests by sending them to counselling.
Father Ronald Mulkearns, who has also been accused of destroying documents, says he did not appear at the Victorian child abuse inquiry because he does not remember what happened, the Herald Sun reports.
The newspaper tracked Fr Mulkearns down in a coastal Victorian town and says he still conducts mass and lives an active lifestyle.
"To say I took no action is wrong," the 83-year-old told the paper.
"I sent them for counselling. I can't help it if they blame me for what happened.
"I didn't go (to the inquiry) because I would've been no good - I don't remember."
Manchester Evening News
Canon Mortimer Stanley, 82, has been quizzed by police over alleged sex attacks on children over a 20-year period while he was parish priest at St Vincent de Paul Church, in Norden, Rochdale
Hundreds of parishioners packed into a Catholic church rocked by historical sexual abuse allegations to hear the Bishop of Salford’s response to the shock police probe.
Canon Mortimer Stanley, 82, has been quizzed by police over alleged sex attacks on children over a 20-year period while he was parish priest at St Vincent de Paul Church, in Norden, Rochdale.
He joined the church in the early seventies and retired to his native Ireland in 2002.
Three women accuse Catholic priest of sexually abusing them
Around 500 parishioners attended 11am mass at St Vincent’s, on Caldershaw Road, today – when a statement on behalf of Bishop Terence Brain was read out.
Child protection experts from Salford Diocese’s safeguarding commission were also on hand to talk to any member of the congregation following the service.
The statement, read out by safeguarding coordinator Fr Barry O’Sullivan, said: “This investigation is still on-going and in fairness to justice the diocese has avoided prejudicing the outcome.
“However, having listened to parishioners whose parishes have been affected by such allegations in the past, as your Bishop I wanted to communicate what action the diocese will take to support you as a parish and your parish priest Fr Paul Brindle through this very difficult time. ...
Anyone with information should either call police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.
MN Progressive Project
by GRACE KELLY on DECEMBER 2, 2013
Archbishop John Nienstedt is classically saying one thing while actually acting to do the opposite. On the Catholic Archdiocese website, through the words of Jim Accurso, the Archbishop claims to want to protect children.
Sharing information about clergy who have substantiated claims of sexually abusing minors is a critical element of Archbishop Nienstedt’s commitment to strengthening archdiocesan procedures so that victims can begin to heal and to ensure the safety of minors in our care… As part of the previously stated plan to ensure a comprehensive approach to address the issue of clergy sexual misconduct, the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis today announced that it is prepared to disclose its initial list of clergy who have substantiated claims of abuse of a minor against them.
Well, that would mean that all and any evidence of sexual misconduct is immediately turned over to police, right? No, even though everyone thought that the Archbishop had the ability, indeed even the moral obligation to turn over evidence, he didn’t do it. Archbishop Nienstedt waited until the courts forced him to turn over evidence.
Archbishop Nienstedt kept up the pretense that courts had to give him “permission” to turn over evidence. Well, the courts mandated turning over evidence today. And if Archbishop Nienstedt was telling the truth, then he would have released all the data as soon as the courts gave “permission”. Did that happen today? No, only a partial list was released.The court gave until Jan 6 for turning over all evidence.
This gives all the offending priests more time to move or to prepare a defense or to just continue their previous practices for another month.
Rumours of a relationship between Elizabeth Lev, daughter of one of Francis’ top advisors and former Legion spokesman Thomas Williams – who was removed from the order after admitting he had fathered a child – have not only proven to be true but the two are planning to marry. The news raises some awkward questions for those involved, the order and the Church
VATICAN INSIDER STAFF
Thomas Williams, the most publicly prominent member of the disgraced Legion of Christ religious order who left the priesthood after admitting he fathered a child, is getting married the child's mother. The bride is none other than the daughter of former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See Mary Ann Glendon, one of Pope Francis' top advisers, The Associated Press reports.
“Glendon, a Harvard University law professor, is one of the highest-ranking women at the Vatican as president of the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences. She is also one of five people on Francis' commission to reform the scandal-marred Vatican bank. Her daughter, Elizabeth Lev, is a Rome-based art historian and columnist for the Legion-run Zenit news agency, which Williams published for over a decade while he was in the order.”
“Williams, a moral theologian, author, lecturer and U.S. television personality, admitted last year that he had fathered a child several years earlier. At the time, Williams apologized for "this grave transgression" against his vows of celibacy and said he had stayed on as a priest because he hoped to move beyond "this sin in my past" to do good work for the church. The Legion's retired superior later admitted he had learned about the child in 2005 but allowed Williams to keep teaching and preaching about morality. After taking a year off for reflection, Williams left the priesthood in May to care for his son. According to their wedding registry, he and Lev are due to marry on Saturday in the United States,” The Associated Press informs.
After initially denying she had an intimate relationship with Williams, Lev confirmed by email on Thursday that the two planned to marry, saying: "We have no intention of ever discussing our personal life in this forum."
The Vicar General presents some guidelines and discusses the progress made against the plague of paedophilia. Meanwhile, another sex abuse case has come to light in the US
VATICAN INSIDER STAFF
In a letter addressed to all members of the Legion of Christ, Fr. Sylvester Heereman talked about the progress made and explained the guide lines the Congregation has adopted to ensure transparency in cases of sex abuse committed by members of the clergy. He also described the measures taken to prevent such acts from being committed. The letter was published this evening, after Cardinal O’Malley announced the creation of a special commission for the protection of minors in the Holy See.
The dark past left behind by the Legion’s founder, Marcial Maciel Degollado remains a reminder of the trauma and suffering caused by the paedophilia plague. With this in mind, the Legion is preparing for the next General Chapter due to be held in January next year. In view of this Chapter, the new Vicar General decided to present the measures the Congregation’s leaders have taken to combat sex abuse and collaborate with the civil authorities in a spirit of complete transparency. “The central government has required that, wherever we have a presence, the appropriate steps are taken to protect the integrity of the minors entrusted to our pastoral care and to respond promptly and professionally to any accusation of sexual abuse,” Fr. Heereman writes.
The Congregation is doing all that it can to respond to the Holy See’s call for greater determination to be shown in putting an end to sex abuse crimes. This call was made during Benedict XVI’s pontificate and continues during Francis’ pontificate. Fr. Heereman explained that over the past few years the congregation has implemented some very precise plans to ensure a safe environment for children, including reviews of its structures, improved training for the congregation’s members and the adoption of a strict code of conduct. But he pointed out that “the prevention of future occurrences and the healing of victims (known and possibly unknown) are a priority. For this reason, at times it may be necessary for the superiors of the congregation to disclose the fact that an allegation has been received and, as well, the results of an investigation.”
It is puzzingly to me as a lawyer why Pope Francis has mainly addressed the priest child abuse scandal privately with groups of bishops or through others like Cardinal O’Malley. It may be that Francis is trying to distance the papacy from legal responsibilty for bishops and priests who violate child protection laws. It is too late legally, in my view, to do that with respect to bishops clearly. And only Francis can internally deal with unaccountable bishops under Church precedents at present.
Given Francis’ evident and admirable interest in victims of injustice, this been surprising to me. Francis has now begun responding publicly, but indirectly, through his Council of Cardinals to address the child abuse crisis, as Cardinal O’Malley just reported. Will this be enough to deal with the scandals most Catholics overwhelmingly think Francis must address effectively as a top priority? Let’s hope so.
Unfortunately, Francis and O’Malley have had an uneven record here, see:
The Vatican is also facing new scandals, some of which have Vatican fingerprints on them, such as in Minneapolis, involving such media attractions as a female ex-Chancellor and a priest brother of President Obama’s top aide, see:
[Minnesota Public Radio]
But fortunately Francis as pope can really make a fresh start if he wants to. Catholics will support him if he acts boldly with justice, as well as mercy. If not ?
The new abuse commission must be independent, focused and transparent; otherwise, it will just add to Catholics’ distrust. At a minimum, it must make bishops accountable and offer survivors justice and healing.
It is being called the "Savile effect". I'm not sure that anyone would have predicted, when the DJ's criminal career began to be exposed just over a year ago, that the police inquiry would have such a dramatic impact. But rape crisis centres are reporting a surge in calls, with some charities recording increases of 40 per cent. At the same time, more women are going to the police: in London alone, there has been an increase of 29 per cent in rape reports in the past 12 months.
Of course, that still means that most rapes go unreported. Ten days ago, I went with the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, to the Solace Women's Aid centre in north London. The centre helps 5,000 survivors of sexual and domestic violence each year but staff say that only 20 per cent of their clients report their experience to the police.
It is a chastening fact that, when Johnson was first elected, there was only one rape crisis centre in the country's capital city. He spent £1.4m to set up three more, but the Savile effect is so pronounced that he has had to find an extra £25,000 for the south London centre over the past year.
04 December 2013 14:16 by Christa Pongratz-Lippitt
The controversial Swiss theologian Hans Küng has welcomed the structural reforms advocated by Pope Francis in Evangelii Gaudium and said they will meet with wide approval “far beyond the Catholic Church”.
In a long article entitled “Church Reform at all Levels”, the fierce critic of Francis’ predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, expressed serious concern as to whether the Pope “is still in control of his Guardian of the Faith” – the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller.
That Müller, as a loyal supporter of Benedict XVI’s collected works, was made CDF prefect surprised people less than the fact that Pope Francis confirmed him in office “quite so soon”, Küng wrote.
Recalling Müller’s conservative stance on Communion for remarried divorcees, Küng said that the present situation in the Church was contradictory. “The Pope wants to practise mercy, the prefect appeals to God’s holiness and justice.” Whenever Pope Francis pushes forward on reform, Müller immediately puts on the brakes, Küng pointed out. Pope Francis has actual people in mind, while Müller concentrated solely on traditional Catholic doctrine, Küng said.
By: Daniel Baird Published on Sat Dec 07 2013
Last February, while living in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, a remote and nominally Muslim former Soviet Central Asian Republic, I remarked, on the occasion of Pope Benedict XVI’s unprecedented resignation, that there was nothing the Catholic church could do to repair itself in the wake of the sexual abuse scandal. The church, it seemed to me, had lost anything like the kind of moral high ground it needs to stand on, and the Vatican was on its way to becoming like the British monarchy: a decorative but ultimately powerless and irrelevant relic.
That was before I knew the church was about to elect the Jesuit Bishop of Buenos Aires, whom some called the “Bishop of the slums,” as the first non-European to ascend the throne of Peter.
From the moment of his election in March, the reign of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, has been unusual. He is the first pope in more than a millennium not to take on the name of one of his predecessors, allying himself instead with the radical St. Francis of Assisi, a saint known for his intense identification with the suffering, the despised, the dispossessed and the destitute. Pope Francis clearly intended upon being a pontiff concerned more with the poor and the vulnerable than with Church doctrine and canon law.
ALEKS DEVIC HERALD SUN
DECEMBER 08, 2013
EXCLUSIVE: A FORMER bishop whose ill-health helped him avoid the sex-abuse inquiry is living independently and even holding mass at a picturesque coastal retreat.
Father Ronald Mulkearns moved priests, whom he knew had sexually abused boys, on to other parishes and ordered they have counselling rather than remove them from duties and report them to police.
In evidence, even Cardinal George Pell claimed Father Mulkearns had destroyed documents relating to child sexual abuse while serving as a Bishop of Ballarat.
Three decades of secrets from his tenure in Ballarat remain sealed because a doctor ruled he was unfit to give evidence to the parliamentary inquiry, stating a stroke had affected his memory and that he lacked focus.
But the Herald Sun tracked down Father Mulkearns, who still conducts mass, and found a coherent, active man.
Article by: JEAN HOPFENSPERGER, TONY KENNEDY and RICHARD MERYHEW , Star Tribune staff writers Updated: December 8, 2013
Minnesota’s Catholic dioceses under pressure to make public the names of additional accused clerics.
The naming Thursday of 32 priests accused of child sex abuse in the St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese will not end the pressure on the Catholic Church in Minnesota.
More than twice that number who served in other dioceses across the state and have been similarly accused have yet to be publicly named. And victims’ advocates charge that the archdiocese’s list was incomplete.
“Victims are already asking, ‘Why isn’t the cleric who hurt me on the newly disclosed list?’ ” said David Clohessy, national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).
Thursday’s disclosure was an unprecedented step that had been tenaciously resisted by the archdiocese for years. It took place only after a judge presiding over an abuse case ordered that the list be made public. For some victims and church members, the moment was cathartic, but more wrenching disclosures are coming.
Another list is expected to go public this week, when the Diocese of Winona said it will unseal at least 13 names of accused priests, under the same Ramsey County Court order that required the Twin Cities archdiocese to act.
Sunday, December 8, 2013
Much of the world has fallen in love with the new Pope Francis, who’s asked his priests and bishops to stop obsessing over sex and start obsessing over injustice, income inequality and the plight of the poor. To long-suffering American Catholics, Francis’ humble, holy example has been welcome and totally astounding.
But the romance was anything but hot when it came to Thursday’s announcement of a new Vatican commission on the sexual abuse crisis. Our own Cardinal Sean O’Malley, reportedly close to the pope, is the only American among the eight cardinals advising Francis. But O’Malley had barely finished his Rome press conference on the plan’s particulars when it was trashed as half-baked by organizations representing victims of sexual abuse and by some of those same long-suffering Catholics whose skepticism is well-earned.
“What I am hearing is probably much ado about nothing,” said Stephen Sheehan, a devout local Catholic who’s worked with numerous survivors of abuse.
Toothless. Window dressing. A publicity exercise with suspicious timing: The announcement came just a couple of days after a United Nations panel asked the Vatican for details on the sexual abuse crisis, and the Vatican refused.
• There are no survivors included on this commission. Prime “experts” are victims themselves, not priests and bishops “who’ve been the abusers, enablers, and deniers of clergy sexual abuse for centuries,” says Road to Recovery Inc., a nonprofit charity that assists victims of church sexual abuse.
• There is no mention of holding bishops accountable — a particular complaint of local co-founders of BishopAccountability.org, a disturbing website detailing continuing misconduct by church higher-ups. For example, two years ago a Kansas City grand jury criminally indicted, for the first time ever, a sitting bishop, Robert Finn, for failing to report child pornography found on the computer of a local priest. Instead of reporting this to police, as the law and the U.S. bishops now require, Finn merely relocated the priest, just as Cardinal Law did here for decades. The priest, now serving 50 years, continued to take lewd pictures of children. Finn was convicted and sentenced to two years of probation for doing nothing to stop him — a full 10 years after the church vowed to end this mess. Worse, he has refused to resign.
Unfortunately, O’Malley was not asked Thursday about Finn. He was asked whether the commission would look for ways to hold bishops accountable. “I don’t know,” he said. He also said the commission would advise on pastoral, not judicial or criminal functions, which seems to mean: Guys like Finn can stay.
December 7, 2013
By Garreth Mac Namee and David Raleigh
A retired priest living in Ireland has been quizzed by cops after three women claimed he sexually abused them as children in the UK.
Canon Mortimer Stanley, 82, is being investigated by British police over alleged attacks on children over a 20-year period.
The cleric retired to sleepy Ballybunion, Co Kerry, in 2002 where he has been living for more than a decade.
His home on Doon Road in the town is 250 yards away from St Joseph’s secondary school where more than 200 children attend.
First in a three-part series
By Elizabeth Hardin-Burrola
[View the Burns file in searchable, easily downloaded form.]
GALLUP — When the Rev. James M. Burns died in 2010, he left a disastrous legacy in the Diocese of Gallup.
Burns, a convicted sex offender, left untold numbers of Catholic families still struggling to recover from the sexual abuse he perpetrated on their children. In addition, Burns helped push the Gallup Diocese into its current bankruptcy because of the numerous legal claims related to his decades of sexual abuse.
Now Burns has an additional legacy: His priest personnel file has been publicly posted on several Internet websites. Although the file has huge chunks of information missing — many pages are completely redacted — the 564 page file is brimming with evidence of Burns’ crimes and the sometimes frantic attempts by Gallup chancery officials to cope with abuse allegations.
Burns’ file was publicly released in October as part of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ 2007 settlement with hundreds of clergy sex abuse survivors. A decade ago the Gallup Diocese and the Los Angeles Archdiocese were named in a civil lawsuit by an Arizona man who said Burns sexually abused him as a teen in the 1980s, on trips to Los Angeles and in his hometown of Winslow, Ariz. The man also filed a police report with the Winslow Police Department, which resulted in prosecution by the Navajo County Attorney and a criminal conviction and brief prison stint for Burns.
. . .
Burns’ file opens with a crime story: a two-page account of the priest’s alleged sexual assault of a 19-year-old Arizona man in 1974. Written April 3, 2002, as a memo by Gallup priest Larry O’Keefe to the late Bishop Donald E. Pelotte, O’Keefe relates the alleged victim’s story.
The Care Leavers Australia Network (CLAN) represents hundreds of people who were in State and Church Children’s Homes. Its submission to the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, for the up-coming Catholic Church’s “Towards Healing” redress scheme is one of the most critical.
It states that “CLAN feels the Towards Healing process is completely inadequate and unacceptable. At this stage, it is CLAN’s recommendation that the Towards Healing scheme be abolished and that funds be directed to a national reparations and compensation scheme facilitated by a body completely independent of any church, charity or government.”
Its submission gives the lie to much of the claims stated in the “Towards Healing” document. For example, “when an initial complaint or allegation is made to the Professional Standards Office, it is not always referred to the Towards Healing process. In some cases, Care Leavers have been referred straight to the religious order where nothing more than a discussion happens.”
Another criticism, stated in other submissions, concerns the style of the process, evidenced in the statement that “those Care Leavers who are referred to the Towards Healing process have commented that they find the whole thing confusing, overwhelming, and that the initial stages are rushed.”
There is one aspect, common to all compensation schemes that most people would not be aware of, and which should be taken up with the government, as a matter of urgency. The Australian health-care system, Medicare, is funded by the federal government. The Health and Other Services Act 1996 enables Medicare to “recover” 10% of compensation payments over $5,000 from the victim to cover its costs for counseling etc.
As CLAN states, “Either this Act needs to be abolished or Medicare should seek to recover expenses from the organisation paying the compensation, in addition to what they have already paid the Care Leaver.”
Kardinal Reinhard Marx und der Bostoner Kardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley sind die treibenden Kräfte hinter der Einrichtung einer Kommission zum Schutz von Kindern vor sexuellem Missbrauch. Kirchliche Fachleute fordern schon länger eine bessere kirchenrechtlche Handhabe, um die Leitlinien der jeweiligen Bischofskonferenz durchsetzen zu können.
Vatikanstadt - Der Münchner Kardinal Reinhard Marx ist nach Aussage des Jesuiten Hans Zollner eine treibende Kraft hinter der päpstlichen Entscheidung zur Einrichtung einer Kommission zum Schutz von Kindern vor sexuellem Missbrauch gewesen. Mit dem Bostoner Kardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley sei er "der größte Unterstützer der Idee im Kreis der acht Kardinäle" gewesen, sagte der Psychologie-Professor und Vize-Rektor der päpstlichen Universität Gregoriana.
O'Malley hatte die Einrichtung eines solchen Gremiums am Donnerstag zum Abschluss der Beratungen des Kardinalsrates für eine Kurienreform im Vatikan angekündigt. Details hierzu werde Papst Franziskus demnächst bekanntgeben.
Der mittlerweile dienstfrei gestellte Pater soll einen heute 22-Jährigen vergewaltigt haben. Das Urteil ist nicht rechtskräftig.
07.12.2013 | 09:56 | (DiePresse.com)
Vier Jahre Freiheitsstrafe für einen Pfarrer wegen sexueller Vergehen an einem Schützling: So lautete Freitag spät abends das nicht rechtskräftige Urteil eines Schöffensenates am Landesgericht Wiener Neustadt. Demnach soll der mittlerweile dienstfrei gestellte Pater einen heute 22-Jährigen in den vergangenen Jahren vergewaltigt und auch durch K.o.-Tropfen sexuell gefügig gemacht haben.
Die Verteidiger Michael Dohr und Amir Ahmed meldeten umgehend Berufung und Nichtigkeitsbeschwerde an. Bis zuletzt hatte der Pfarrer mit einem Freispruch gerechnet, "weil ich unschuldig bin", wie er einige Stunden vor dem Schuldspruch noch zu Journalisten sagte. In der Urteilsbegründung hieß es jedoch unter anderem, dass der Geistliche das Vertrauen des jungen Mannes ausgenützt habe.
[includes a complete list]
Born: July 12, 1933
Parishes: St. Leo the Great, St. Paul; St. Boniface, St. Bonifacius; St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Paul Park; Immaculate Conception, Columbia Heights; Risen Savior, Apple Valley. Also Diocese of Winona.
Status: Removed from ministry 1985
Put on restrictions after accused of abusing two teenagers in the 1970s
John T. Brown
Born: July 2, 1920
Parishes: St. Timothy, Maple Lake: Sacred Heart, Robbinsdale; St. John, St. Paul; St. Joseph, Hopkins: St. Mary, Le Center; St. Mary, Waverly: St. Anthony of Padua, Minneapolis; Immaculate Conception, Marysburg; Sacred Heart, Faribault; St. Peter Claver, St. Paul; Annunciation, Hazelwood;
Status: Removed from ministry 2002
Sued in 2013 for sex abuse. Pending.
Born 1908, died 2004
Parishes: St. Augustine, St. Cloud; St. Bernard, St. Paul; St. Joseph, St. Joseph. Also St. John’s Abbey.
Accused of abusing as many as four minors in the 1970s. Sued three times, two settled. Lived under restrictions at St. John’s Abbey until his death.
Gilbert J. DeSutter
Born: April 28, 1928
Parishes: St. Mark, St. Paul; St. Mary, St. Paul; Annunciation, Minneapolis; St. Peter, Richfield: Immaculate Conception, Faribault; St. William, Fridley; St. Michael, Prior Lake. Also St. John Vianney Seminary, St. Paul.
Status: Removed from ministry 2003
Residence: Mesa, Ariz.
Settled two lawsuits filed in 1999.
It would be a miracle if it worked - a pastoral-cum-compensation scheme run by, for want of a better word, the accused.
The process certainly isn't working as intended, which is one reason the Catholic Church's Towards Healing scheme for abuse victims will be under the microscope at a national inquiry for two weeks starting on Monday.
The introduction of Towards Healing in 1996 was a watershed moment in the Catholic Church's approach to dealing with child sexual abuse within the institution.
In a frank submission to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the church admits that for a decade it struggled to frame a response to the emerging revelations.
Its 207-page assessment and defence of Towards Healing can be found on the royal commission's webpage.
Sydney Morning Herald
December 8, 2013
As Catholics around Australia are warned to prepare themselves for shock and shame from now until Christmas, one of Sydney's biggest congregations may be better prepared than most.
It is understood hearings starting in Sydney on Monday into the church's controversial Towards Healing protocol for dealing with victims will explore some of the most harrowing stories yet before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
A group of parishioners at St Mary Magdalene church in Rose Bay have been meeting since the commission was announced a year ago to share what parish priest Monsignor Tony Doherty describes as their confusion, horror and disgust.
''The trust people put in priests, Catholic schools and parishes is deeply bruised. Lots of people say that their churches are empty,'' said Monsignor Doherty, who estimates 700 to 800 people attend his Sunday Mass and who marked 50 years as a priest in August.
About a year ago, when the NSW government inquiry into the Catholic Church in the Hunter and the royal commission were announced, he realised he could no longer think of child sex abuse in the church as a few isolated cases. He felt ''profound shame'' that something so ''absolutely heinous'' could have happened.
FAMAGUSTA GAZETTE • Saturday, 07 December, 2013
A MONEYVAL report on the effectiveness of the measures implemented by the Republic of Cyprus in its banking sector is expected to be released next week....
MONEYVAL will also be releasing its reports on the Vatican and the Holy See, as well as the UK and Israel. — (KYPE)
Broken Rites is pleased that Australia's national Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is investigating the Catholic Church's so-called "Towards Healing" process, which claims to "help" the church's abuse-victims. Broken Rites has been researching "Towards Healing" since 1996, and this article sums up some of our main findings so far. This Broken Rites article demonstrates how "Towards Healing" is really a business strategy, designed to protect the church's assets and its corporate image.
The Royal Commission's hearings about "Towards Healing" are scheduled to begin on Monday 9 December 2013 and will continue for two weeks.
The Catholic Church in Australia operates its "Towards Healing" scheme to receive (and respond to) complaints from the church's sex-abuse victims. Broken Rites found that Towards Healing was designed in conjunction with the church's lawyers, its accountants and its insurance company. The name "Towards Healing" is the kind of brand-name that could be inspired by any public-relations consultant or advertising firm.
In some cases, Towards Healing might give help a victim to "heal" but this help is incidental to the primary object - the church's business strategy.
The Towards Healing scheme is conducted in association with the Catholic Church's own insurance company, Catholic Church Insurances Limited (CCI). CCI has stated that this company "carries the burden of salary and support staff" for Towards Healing and, furthermore, that CCI will "provide practical support" for any future fine-tuning of the Towards Healing system
Waseca County News
By CHRISTEN FURLONG firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted on December 6, 2013
The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis on Thursday published a list of 34 priests who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing minors.
Ten of the 34 priests on the list were stationed in the region at some point in their careers. Only one man, Timothy McCarthy, served in the Waseca area — McCarthy acted as an administrator at St. Andrew in Elysian from 1977-1982.
Fr. Michael Ince, pastor at St. Andrew and Holy Trinity in Waterville, commented on the public's reaction to the list, indicating that he thought its disclosure could lead to potentially negative feedback against the state's Archdiocese.
"Well, I can't say much from the churches' perspective," Ince said. "But it's getting to be quite a witch hunt. I think we have to look at the fact that the [Archdiocese] has bent over backward and these people are still howling. The more we do, the more they yell at us."
Telegram & Gazette
[Text of the bishop's letter]
By Bronislaus B. Kush TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
WORCESTER — Bishop Robert J. McManus has issued directives to local pastors aimed at making parish finances more "transparent" and ensuring the proper use of contributions to the church.
The action comes in the wake of the alleged embezzlement earlier this year of $230,000 by a Northboro priest, who reportedly used the money to feed a gambling habit.
In a letter dated Nov. 22 that was released by the chancery this week, Bishop McManus told his pastors that the issue of "financial transparency" is a major concern in the church and that there cases, both locally and nationally, in which contributed funds have been misappropriated.
"We have a shared duty as pastors and as diocesan administrators to demonstrate responsible stewardship of the resources entrusted to us in carrying out the mission of the Catholic Church," wrote the bishop. "I am confident that none of us takes that responsibility lightly."
He said that a series of checks and balances must be in place to demonstrate that donations are being used to accomplish agreed-upon goals or to show whether contributions are able to sustain a parish's budget.
WASHINGTON. Der ultrakonservative katholische Orden Legionäre Christi hat nach eigenen Angaben neun seiner Priester des sexuellen Missbrauchs von Minderjährigen für schuldig befunden.
Wie der derzeitige Generaldirektor der Legionäre Christi, Pater Sylvester Heereman, am Freitag mitteilte, gehören dazu auch der 2008 verstorbene Ordensgründer Marcial Maciel sowie Pater William Izquierdo.
Pater William Izquierdo, ein ehemaliger Lehrer an einer Einrichtung des Ordens im US-Bundesstaat Connecticut soll zwischen 1982 und 1994 demnach einen seiner Obhut unterstellten Novizen missbraucht haben.
Ciudad de México. De manera pública, los Legionarios de Cristo admitieron que 35 de sus sacerdotes fueron acusados de cometer abusos sexuales contra menores desde 1941 a la fecha, y nueve de ellos fueron hallados culpables.
En una carta enviada a todos los integrantes de la congregación mexicana, el vicario Sylvester Heereman, expuso un exhaustivo diagnóstico sobre los casos de abusos en el instituto religioso.
Entre los acusados están dos altos cargos de la Legión y Marcial Maciel, el fundador de los Legionarios, alejado del ministerio público por Benedicto XVI y quien falleció en 2008, fueron acusados de "comportamientos sexuales inapropiados" con adultos bajo su autoridad.
[Summary: Prosecutor Jorge Contreras has laid criminal charges against priest Luis Alejandro Bazalar Garcia for allegedly attempting to kidnap, indecent seduction and causing serious injury to a former seminarian.]
El fiscal ayacuchano Jorge Abad Contreras formalizó denuncia penal contra el sacerdote Luis Alejandro Bazalar García por los presuntos delitos de violación de domicilio, secuestro en grado de tentativa, lesiones graves, seducción y contra el pudor en agravio del ex seminarista de las iniciales M.S.A.R., de 17 años. El caso está en el sexto juzgado penal de Huamanga a cargo de la jueza Roxana Molina, quien tiene 15 días para pronunciarse.
De acuerdo el expediente Nro. 2485-2013, Bazalar García conoció al menor agraviado en julio del 2012, cuando acudía a la iglesia Catedral y él cumplía labor de sacerdote.
El sacerdote llegó a dormir en el domicilio de la madre del menor, Sheyla Roca Roca Gonzales, donde con engaños de comprarle ropas y llevarle al extranjero para estudiar, mantenía relaciones con el menor aprovechando que la madre trabajaba fuera de la ciudad.
National Catholic Reporter
Joshua J. McElwee | Dec. 6, 2013
ROME Pope Francis told a group of Dutch bishops this week that the Vatican must continue reforms undertaken by the Catholic church in the 1960s and ‘70s, according to one of the participants in the meeting.
Bishop Jan Hendricks, who attended the meeting Monday, later recounted that the pope said implementation of the 1962-65 Second Vatican Council is only half complete.
“We have been implementing the council only half-way,” Hendriks recalled from the pope’s words. “Half of the work has still to be done.”
Hendriks, the auxiliary bishop of the Haarlem-Amsterdam diocese, was one of 13 Dutch bishops to take part in the meeting with the pope. They are in Rome for their ad limina, a formal visit bishops around the world are required to make to report to the pope on their individual dioceses.
07 DECEMBER 2013
FORMER attorney general Peter Sutherland was called in to advise the Vatican on how to reform its financial affairs, it has emerged.
Mr Sutherland, who is chairman of Goldman Sachs International, addressed the Council of Cardinals – the most senior advisors to the Pope – during the summer on how the Vatican should deal with the financial scandals that were embracing St Peters.
Mr Sutherland, who is believed to act as an unpaid sounding board for the Vatican on financial matters, told the cardinals that the Holy See had to change its ways and embrace openness, especially in its business dealings. "Transparency is important and necessary," he is reported as saying.
Mr Sutherland has long been one of the most influential Irish people on the planet when it comes to business and politics.
Le Center Leader
By JESSICA BIES email@example.com
Posted on December 6, 2013
The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis on Thursday published a list of 34 priests who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing minors.
Several of those included on the list once served in the Minnesota River Valley and in the Diocese of New Ulm, which contains the Church of St. Peter.
One of the men on the list, John Brown, served as an associate priest/administrator at St. Mary from 1958-1960.
Fr. Chris Shorner, who currently serves as pastor at St. Mary in Le Center, saw the list Thursday and shared his initial reaction.
“I’m saddened of course," Shorner said. "It’s a time to pray for the victims and a time to pray for those who might be inclined towards perpetrating such acts, because we want a society, a church, where everyone is healthy and safe and secure.”
Hastings Star Gazette
By Chad Richardson on Dec 5, 2013
Four former priests who served in Hastings were among those named by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis as having credible claims of sexual abuse of a minor against them.
Their names were released on Thursday. The four are among 32 who were named. The 32 people named have had civil and/or criminal lawsuits brought against them.
The four are:
• Francis Hoefgen, who was the associate priest at St. Boniface in Hastings from 1985 to 1992.
He was permanently removed from ministry in 2002 and is living in Columbia Heights.
• Thomas Stitts, who served as an associate priest at Guardian Angels from 1966 to 1970.
He died in 1985.
• Clarence Vavra, who served as associate priest at Guardian Angels from 1971 to 1972.
He was removed from the ministry in 2003 and is living in New Prague.
• Patrick Ryan, who was the pastor at Guardian Angels from 1943 to 1965. He died in 1965.
Detectives are investigating reports of historic sexual abuse.
The investigation relates to the indecent assault and sexual abuse of three women during their time as schoolgirls at St Vincent's Primary School in Norden, Rochdale.
Police are investigating complaints from three women, now aged 41, 35 and 21, but who were aged between 8 and 10, when the offences happened between 1980 and 2000.
The offences did not occur within the school but at an adjacent presbytery.
As part of the investigation an 82-year-old man has been interviewed under caution in relation to these matters.
Detective Constable Christian Chivers, from Greater Manchester Police's Public Protection Investigation Unit, said: "I want to reassure local residents, and more importantly parents of children currently at St Vincent's, that these are historical incidents.
A former victim of clerical sexual abuse said the recent disclosure of a list of priests credibly accused of sexual abuse is not enough.
December 7, 2013
By Steve Browne , Marshall Independent
MARSHALL - The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis on Thursday released the names of 30 ordained ministers of the Catholic Church who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor and four whom the diocese said had accusations not substantiated against them.
The disclosure came in response to a court order after a case was filed by the St. Paul legal firm of Jeff Anderson and Associates.
Childhood sexual abuse survivor Bob Schwiderski said it's a good start but still not enough.
"It's been good for Minnesota," Schwiderski said, "the fact that society has seen so much abut childhood abuse, it can do nothing but help us move forward."
stees in 1962, Marks was transferred to St. Clotilde in Green Valley and to St. Dionysius in Tyler.
SANTEE, Calif. - The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego is under fire after the name of a retired priest surfaced on a list of priests accused of sexual abuse against children.
Abuse survivors want to know why Paul Palmitessa's name wasn't released on earlier lists and why he was allowed to work in San Diego County as a priest -- even as the national abuse scandal was playing out.
"My heart drops. My stomach turns," said Paul Livingston, who heads the San Diego chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
That was Livingston's reaction after learning Palmitessa's name emerged in a court-ordered release of 34 credible cases of child sex abuse accusations in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
"My question is how many more names do we have coming up?" said Livingston.
Albert Lea Tribune
By Albert Lea Tribune and Associated Press
MINNEAPOLIS — The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis on Thursday disclosed the names of 34 priests who have been accused of sexually abusing minors, following months of criticism that church leaders mishandled such allegations.
The list includes a former priest who served a stint at St. Theodore Catholic Church in Albert Lea in the 1960s who faces a civil lawsuit in Ramsey County over allegations of sexual abuse.
Thomas Adamson, now 80, served in the Albert Lea parish in 1967 and 1968, at which time he was also chaplain of Lea College, an institution of higher learning on the west side of Albert Lea that shut down in 1973. He was removed from the ministry in 1985 and lives in Rochester.
Manchester Evening News
A Catholic priest is being investigated over alleged sexual abuse of children over a 20 year period.
Canon Mortimer Stanley, 82, who retired in 2002 from St Vincent de Paul RC Church in Norden, Rochdale , has been interviewed by police under caution.
Three women have claimed they were indecently assaulted and sexually abused while pupils at nearby St Vincent’s Primary School.
The women were aged under 11 when its is alleged the offences happened between 1980 and 2000.
It is claimed the abuse was committed in a presbytery next to the school.
Canon Stanley, who joined the church as parish priest in 1972, retired to his native Ireland in 2002.
An Irish priest is being investigated by British police over alleged sexual abuse of children over a 20 year period.
Canon Mortimer Stanley, 82, who retired to Ballybunion, Co Kerry, in 2002 was recently interviewed by Manchester cops in Ireland under caution.
It comes after three women have claimed they were indecently assaulted by him when he was parish priest at St Vincent de Paul RC Church in Norden, Rochdale, Greater Manchester.
The women were aged under 11 when its is alleged the offences happened between 1980 and 2000 while they were pupils at nearby St Vincent's Primary School.
It is claimed the abuse was committed in a presbytery next to the school.
Canon Stanley, who joined the church as parish priest in 1972, retired to his native Ireland in 2002.
December 6, 2013
An 82-year-old parish priest has been questioned under caution over alleged child sex abuse that spanned two decades in Greater Manchester.
The alleged indecent assault and sexual abuse occurred in the presbytery next door to St Vincent's RC Primary School in Norden, Rochdale, police said.
Investigations began after three women complained to police.
The women were pupils at the school between 1980 and 2000 and police have appealed for more information.
The parish priest, who has not been formally arrested, was serving at St Vincent de Paul RC Church at the time of the alleged offences.
By Emily Gurnon
Richard Jeub called what happened at Our Lady of Grace church in Edina "stupid stuff done when I was young."
Jeub was among 34 priests the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis deemed "credibly accused" of sexually abusing children, according to a list released by the church Thursday.
Ten of the priests have since died. Another is believed dead. One, Curtis Wehmeyer, is in prison for sexually abusing two boys.
All the priests are out of the ministry, the archdiocese said.
The Pioneer Press tried to contact each living priest on the list. Of those for whom phone numbers were found, three were reached.
Jeub, 73, was one. Another was Dennis Kampa of Virginia, Minn., who said he never understood the charge against him. The third priest, 93-year-old John Thomas Brown, was hard of hearing and unable to understand a reporter.
By Mitchell Byars, Camera Staff Writer
The arraignment hearing for a youth pastor accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a teenage church member over several years has been continued until February.
Jason Allen Roberson, 35, is facing sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust and invasion of privacy.
Roberson appeared for his scheduled arraignment today before Boulder District Judge Thomas Mulvahill, but prosecutor Adrian Van Nice and Roberson's attorney David Miller indicated the two sides needed more time to discuss any possible plea agreement.
Mulvahill continued the hearing to Feb. 7.
By Melissa Greene
UPSHUR COUNTY, TX (KLTV) -
The wife of a Gilmer former pastor serving six life sentences in prison for the sexual assault of a child was sentenced today for failing to prevent the abuse.
Rosie Evans Fluellen of Gilmer pled guilty in Upshur County Court this morning this morning to a charge of criminal responsibility to aggravated assault of a child, according to Prosecutor Natalie Miller.
Fluellen's husband, Hugo Fluellen, was sentenced in October to six consecutive life sentences after a jury found him guilty of sexually assaulting a child for more than a decade.
Evidence presented in Hugo Fluellen's trial showed he began molesting his victim when she was in second grade. Witnesses testified Fluellen would often molest his victim on the way home from church after she had attended Sunday School and sang in the choir.
Headlines from the Catholic World
Rome, Italy, Dec 5, 2013 / 05:31 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The acting general director of the Legion of Christ has shared the steps the order has taken to prevent sexual abuse and to respond to its allegations, focusing on the gravity of abuse and its victims' suffering.
“When we confront the reality of sexual abuse, it is helpful to keep certain complementary values in mind: compassion and solidarity with the victims, the responsibility to protect people who are under our pastoral care, the right of the accused to a due process, the promotion and defense of justice, and – keeping in mind that sexual abuse is a behavior that will never be tolerated – mercy and support of our brothers who are guilty of this crime,” wrote Fr. Sylvester Heereman in a Dec. 5 letter.
“Finally, we should see this from the point of view of Christ, who is capable of making all things new. The last word belongs, not to evil, but to him.”
The letter was sent to all members of the Legion of Christ shortly before its general chapter, which will establish a new constitution and elect new leadership.
Fr. Heerman outlined what the Legion has done to deal with sex abuse, as well as “the principles that guide the actions of the Legion in the prevention of sexual abuse and in responding to allegations made against any of our brothers.”
Legion of Christ
ROME (Dec. 5) – The Legion of Christ is committed to openly and aggressively addressing allegations of sexual abuse.
This was the primary message in a letter sent today by Fr. Sylvester Heereman LC, the Legion’s acting general director, to all members of the congregation. He said that the Legion has created an environment that will not tolerate abuse and that in the event of an allegation the response will be thorough. And anyone found guilty will face legal and ecclesial consequences.
The letter includes a report on the Legion’s handling of past and current abuse cases, whether by the Legion’s founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel, or other members of the congregation. This is the most thorough report the Legion has issued on its past abuse cases.
“When we confront the reality of sexual abuse, it is helpful to keep certain complementary values in mind: compassion and solidarity with the victims, the responsibility to protect people who are under our pastoral care, the right of the accused to a due process, the promotion and defense of justice, and – keeping in mind that sexual abuse is a behavior that will never be tolerated – mercy and support of our brothers who are guilty of this crime,” Fr. Heereman said.
Principles that guide the actions of Legion authorities in responding to allegations
Fr. Heereman outlined the principles that guide the Legion in addressing abuse:
1. Each of the congregation’s territories is responsible for the prevention and handling of abuse in its area of jurisdiction, strictly aligned with civil and ecclesial authorities.
2. Each territory will implement a code of conduct, carefully select those who enter the order and provide proper training.
3. Each territory will have clear procedures in place for dealing with allegations, respecting the needs of the victim and the accused.
4. Our highest priority will be for the welfare of the victim and prevention of future crimes.
5. The person accused shall have the presumption of innocence until proven guilty – but we will not compromise.
6. If a Legionary still in formation is found to have engaged in abuse, he will not go forward to ordination – in addition to the legal penalties. If a priest is found guilty, civil and ecclesial penalties will apply. If not laicized, he will be excluded from any access to minors and, where appropriate, excluded from all public ministry.
BY AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
POSTED ON 12/07/2013
VATICAN CITY – The Legion of Christ, a Catholic congregation, said on Friday, December 6, it had found 9 of its priests guilty of sexual abuse of minors including its disgraced founder and one who assaulted a novice in the United States.
The Legion's reputation was already clouded by earlier revelations about Marcial Maciel, who set up the group in Mexico in 1941 and was accused of abusing 8 young seminarians as well as fathering a child.
Father Sylvester Heereman, the group's acting general director, said the investigations had shown up a "painful and horrifying reality" and emphasized his commitment to tackling abuse in the conservative group.
It said two of the priests had been defrocked and 7 had "sanctions imposed on their life and ministry."
Legion officials were unable to say whether any of these cases were being investigated by civil authorities, although some date back decades and the crimes may have expired under statutes of limitations.
A total of 35 priests were accused in the investigation, which was conducted under Canon Law.
Pew Research Center
BY MICHAEL LIPKA
Pope Francis is creating a new commission to advise the Vatican on how to deal with the ongoing clergy sex abuse scandal, which continues to make headlines in the U.S.
Effects from the scandal continue to ripple across the U.S. Catholic landscape. On Thursday, the same day Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley announced the commission’s formation, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis released a list of more than 30 priests it says have been credibly accused of sexually abusing minors.
The Vatican’s announcement comes after some recent criticism of the pope for not moving more forcefully to confront the problem.
Most Catholics in the U.S. say the sex abuse scandal is one priority they want Francis to address. After the new pope was elected in March, 70% of U.S. Catholics said that addressing the abuse scandal should be “a top priority” for him – more than any other potential priority listed in a Pew Research survey.
By: Scott Theisen
Advocates for victims of sexual abuse by clergy members say they will continue to push for more information about priests who have been accused of molesting children.
A day after the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis published a list of 34 priests who have been credibly accused of abuse, victims' advocates say the list is incomplete. They say there are known abusers who aren't on the list, and some of the priests' assignment histories leave out some stops.
Meanwhile, additional victims have come forward - and more lawsuits are expected. The new victims include some who are wondering why their abuser isn't listed.
The archdiocese has said Thursday's disclosures aren't final.
by John Aravosis
Conservative anti-gay Catholics are upset with writer, advice columnist, and gay rights advocate Dan Savage for disparaging pedophile priests the other day on the Bill Maher show.
Dan referred to the child rapists as “kiddie f—ing priests,” which caused Catholic League head Bill Donohue to demand that Maher’s show be canceled.
Because, you know, who in their right mind would criticize grown men who rape 5 year olds?
Maher was asking Dan about a Catholic bishop in Hawaii who claimed, absurdly, that children of gay parents will end up killing themselves.
Honolulu bishop Larry Silva wrote in a letter that “children will be the greatest casualties [if same-sex marriage were legalized in Hawaii - and it was, the marriages began this morning at midnight Hawaii time, 5am Eastern], in that they will be deprived of being raised in a loving home by a mother and a father who loves them and whose love cooperated with God’s plan in creating them.”
FRIDAY DECEMBER 6, 2013, 4:33 PM
BY JEFF FRANKEL
A former New Jersey priest convicted in the early 1980s of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old boy is facing additional charges in Missouri.
Gerry Howard, who legally changed his name from Carmine Sita after that incident, is requesting a trial in front of only a judge, according to a Nov. 25 report in connectmidmissouri.com.
He was arrested at his Broad Street apartment in Bloomfield in 2010 and extradited to Missouri, according to Missouri court records. Prosecutors in Cooper County charged Howard with eight felony counts, including sodomy and kidnapping. The accused sexual abuse happened between 1984 and 1987, according to the report.
David Clohessy, national director of the Survivors Network of Abusive Priests, told Bloomfield Life the organization is "grateful that Howard has been locked up and kept away from kids."
"Very few victims have the strength and opportunity to seek justice," said Clohessy, who group is not directly involved with the case.
The third week of the trial of Roman Catholic priest Eric Dejaeger wrapped up today with testimony from Father Robert Lechat, who worked with Dejaeger decades ago in Igloolik.
Dejaeger, 66, faces dozens of charges related to sexual abuse against children.
The incidents are alleged to have occurred between 1978 and 1982 in Igloolik.
Father Robert Lechat is now 93 and living in Ottawa, but he lived and worked in Igloolik off and on between 1972 and 1986.
In court this morning, Lechat said he was surprised when he learned Dejaeger was convicted of sex-related crimes against children in Baker Lake.
That was in the 1990s and Dejaeger subsequently was sentenced to five years in prison.
Lechat said there were always a lot of children at the mission in Igloolik. Religion courses were held after school and he said the children would go home afterwards.
Lechat said there were strict rules at the Catholic Church and kids were not allowed upstairs, but the doors of the church were never locked.
During his testimony, Lechat referred often to a journal he kept at the time. It documented the comings and goings of many people.
Lechat said he was often away from the church for meetings and parish visits. He said he left Dejaeger in the community so he could get know the people there better.
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
A lowly US county judge did more yesterday to protect kids than the most powerful prelate on the planet. Yesterday, Judge John Van de North forced the Catholic archbishop of St. Paul/Minneapolis to disclose the names, whereabouts, statues and work histories of about 30 credibly accused child molesting clerics.
[Minnesota Public Radio]
Yesterday, as he’s done for eight months, Pope Francis refused to disclose a single predator's name. Nor, as best we can tell, did a single one of the planets 5,000 Catholic bishops disclose a single predator’s name.
The pontiff is at least consistent: In 15 years as head of Argentina’s largest archdiocese, he also did not disclose a single predator’s name. (In fairness to the pope, however, none of his predecessors as pope or as archbishop - ever revealed a single predator’s name.)
Yesterday, Pope Francis did, however, announce he'll appoint a new church panel to look at abuse.
So yesterday, the earth’s most powerful religious figure promised to study clergy child sex crimes.
And yesterday, a lowly US judge actually prevented clergy child sex crimes.
William D. Lindsey
The Vatican announced yesterday that Pope Francis has set up a papal commission to advise him about dealing with the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic church. As Elisabetta Povoledo, Alan Cowell, and Rick Gladstone report for New York Times, this is the first concrete step Pope Francis has taken to address the abuse crisis, and the announcement comes two days after a United Nations panel resoundingly criticized the Catholic church for its mishandling of abuse cases.
For National Catholic Reporter, Joshua McElwee notes that the U.N. panel specifically objected to the Vatican's refusal to provide the panel with information about how the church deals with abuse cases. McElwee also indicates that in making the announcement about the new papal advisory commission, Cardinal Sean O'Malley stated that the panel will stress the need for pastoral engagement of those abused by priests as minors.
Responses to the announcement from survivors of abuse and groups supporting abuse survivors:
For Bishop Accountability, Anne Barrett Doyle writes,
BishopAccountability.org cautiously welcomes Cardinal O'Malley's announcement in Rome today that the Vatican will form an advisory commission on the sex abuse of minors in the Church. It's good that the Vatican will be giving this terrible problem focused attention. But we are concerned that the commission will be toothless and off-target. Cardinal O'Malley's list of its possible "lines of action" has two crucial omissions. There is no indication that the commission will study either the Vatican's culpability or the crucial need to discipline bishops, religious superiors and other church supervisors who enable child rape and molestation.
For Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, Barbara Blaine states that though Francis has been a breath of fresh air to many people, he remains a breath of stale air to wounded victims, vulnerable children, and betrayed Catholics--and:
What’s needed is the ending of talk and the beginning of action. What helps kids is action, not information, especially when the Catholic hierarchy already has massive amounts of information on who in its ranks has committed and who is concealing heinous sexual violence across the globe.
For National Survivor Advocates Coalition, Kris Ward asks some blunt questions about image and substance:
Why announce a commission without details, membership, timetable if getting out the news that yet another public relations attempt isn’t the crux of the activity?
Headline puffery or solid rock honest to God reform through responsibility? It’s up to the Vatican.
The Kansas City Star
BY TONY RIZZO
The Kansas City Star
A former Catholic monk whose alleged sexual abuse of students led to lawsuits filed against a northwest Missouri abbey has died.
Funeral services for Bede Parry are scheduled for Tuesday in Las Vegas, according to the Episcopal Diocese of Nevada.
Parry died Nov. 27, according to a post on his lawyer’s Facebook page.
He was choir director at the Conception Abbey in the 1980s, and two lawsuits were filed against the abbey in 2011 by men who said they were molested by Parry as teens.
Both suits against the abbey are pending in Nodaway County, Mo.
The submission from the New South Wales Ombudsman to the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse is somewhat disappointing. It says more positive things about the Catholic Church’s “Towards Healing” process (to deal with allegations of abuse), than negative things. Where it is negative, it is only mildly so.
This is shown in the following passage from the submission: “We are also of the view that the very strong emphasis in the document on responding to abuse via formal complaints could potentially divert attention from the need for the Catholic Church to also take proactive steps in identifying, and responding to, abuse. In this regard, the Church should seek to promote a culture where not only victims and their representatives are encouraged to raise concerns about abuse, but also that Church leaders – and the broader Church community – understand the importance of vigilance in relation to this issue.”
It continues with the sideline focus of using the process to improve systems when it says that “nowhere in the somewhat detailed description of the complaint processes does the policy emphasise the importance of utilizing the complaints system…to proactively identify where risks of possible abuse may exist.”
All of this may be important to an Ombudsman, but it is not what the hearings about “Towards Healing” are meant to cover. It is its failure, for current victims, which is of most concern to most people – a point the Ombudsman’s submission fails to address adequately.
One of the most serious faults of “Towards Healing” pertains to its use of the advantages, under the existing law, for civil litigation (see previous postings e.g. “Ellis Defence”). Here, the submission is very weak in its apparent criticisms. It states that “we believe that the Catholic Church would benefit from clearly articulated policy relating to how they will conduct themselves in relation to civil claims.”
The third week of testimony wraps up today in the trial of Roman Catholic priest Eric Dejaeger.
The 66-year-old faces dozens of charges related to sexual abuse against children.
The incidents are alleged to have occurred between 1978 and 1982 in Igloolik.
So far the court has heard disturbing testimony about alleged sexual acts involving young girls, boys and even dogs.
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
Church officials “outed” him yesterday
A judge ordered that his name be released
Cleric is “credibly accused” of child sex abuse
Victims want San Diego bishop to do outreach
As recently as last year, alleged abuser was still on the job
A Catholic priest who was revealed as a “credibly accused” child molester yesterday now lives in the San Diego area.
He is Fr. Paul Palmitessa.
A support group for clergy sex abuse victims wants San Diego Catholic bishop Cirilo Flores to “aggressively reach out to anyone who this priest may have hurt while he’s been in California.”
Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, are asking Bishop Flores to personally visit each parish where predator priest worked and beg victims, witnesses and witnesses to call police.
“When a case of a child abuse is reported, often this is not only the instance of abuse ” said David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP’s director. “We need to make sure that anyone else who has been hurt by Palmitessa will feel encouraged to report what they have suspected, witnessed, or experienced to prevent future abuse, and begin to heal .”
“It’s always tempting to stay silent if you’ve been hurt or betrayed,” said Joelle Casteix of Orange County CA, SNAP’s western regional director. “That silence is what predators count on. And that temptation must be overcome if future clergy sex crimes and misdeeds are to be prevented.”
The Worthy Adversary
Posted by Joelle Casteix on December 6, 2013
Everybody has a crush on Pope Francis. He drives a car! He eats with the priests! He cold calls Catholics who write him letters!
But wait, there’s more! He used to be a bouncer at a bar! He reportedly sneaks out at night to feed the poor! He speaks out against those nasty capitalists (whose donated money is the principal funding source for Vatican City, BTW).
Wow, with all of this action, he would have to take decisive action on the clergy abuse crisis, the first and foremost problem in his own nest, right? Eh, not so much.
Instead, he formed a committee! (Insert sad trombone here) Not only that, but he refused to answer the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child’s questions about child sexual sexual abuse. Apparently, Francis only takes action when solving OTHER people’s problems.
C’mon Francis! You blew it. This was low-hanging fruit! You could have been on the fast track to sainthood. All you need to do are a few simple things:
You can start by the easy, symbolic actions. First, you strip Roger Mahony of any titles, power or significance. After that, you fire Kansas City Bishop Robert Finn (I mean, really, he’s CONVICTED of child endangerment).
This is easy stuff. Send them both to the villages of Western Alaska, where they can live in abject poverty and devote the rest of their lives to the victims of Jesuit priests there.
[Press conference video via Jeff Anderson & Associates]
By Beth Hawkins
If church leaders had taken action in the wake of Father Thomas Adamson’s first admission that he sexually abused a young boy, Jim Keenan would likely never have met him, much less ended up one of the priest’s dozens of victims.
“There is no reason our paths would have to cross in a ministerial way,” a tearful Keenan said Thursday at a press conference held hours after the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis was compelled to release a list of priests “credibly accused” of abusing minors.
According to court filings, Adamson’s first documented transgression took place in 1964. Keenan was born in 1967. Before Keenan was molested at the age of 13, the priest had confessed to perhaps dozens of inappropriate sexual encounters with boys.
Adamson’s is the very first name on the alphabetized list, which Keenan and his attorneys, Jeff Anderson and Mike Finnegan, have been seeking for a decade. Five years ago, the Savage man turned down a financial settlement, saying he wouldn’t accept any agreement that did not include the list’s release.
“It’s the right step, but it’s a tiny step,” Keenan said. “They have to follow the rules like you and I.”
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
For immediate release: Friday, Dec. 6, 2013
David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests ( 314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com )
What next in the Twin Cities Catholic abuse and cover up scandal? Here are some predictions and hopes.
We predict that more victims across Minnesota will:
--step forward asking “Why isn’t the cleric who hurt me on the newly-disclosed list?” and
--push for more disclosure and other prevention steps as part of their civil settlements.
We predict that more judges – across Minnesota and the country – will be willing, for the safety of children, force other bishops to disclose names of other predators. (This is the first time a court has ordered a bishop to make predators’ names public.)
We hope that law enforcement officials will use their “bully pulpits” to prod victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to contact secular officials, not church officials, with information or suspicions about clergy sex crimes, especially by the seven or eight credibly accused clerics who were “outed” yesterday.
We predict that Archbishop John Nienstedt will:
--continue to write about this disclosure as if it were a voluntary move on his part, instead of making it clear that he was forced to do this, and
--continue distancing himself from his predator priests. (Most of the clerics listed yesterday are still priests. But Nienstedt listed them with no titles, as if to suggest that they no longer are.)
We hope, but do not expect, that Nienstedt will:
--explain why he kept the names of six or seven credibly accused child molesting clerics for years and years,
--turn over every scrap of information he has about all current and former Twin Cities predator priests, nuns, seminarians, brothers and lay employees to law enforcement immediately,
--personally visit each parish where predator priests worked – starting with the seven or eight new names – and beg victims, witnesses and witnesses to call police, and
--give all Twin Cities child molesting clerics an ultimatum: “Move to a remote, secure treatment facility in 30 days or we’ll cut off your salary, health care and other benefits.”
A Diocese de Santarém iniciou um «processo canónico de averiguações a propósito de suspeitas» sobre o pároco das paróquias de Golegã, Azinhaga e Pombalinho, segundo um comunicado divulgado pelo vigário geral da diocese na Internet.
«É a preocupação pelo bem de todas as pessoas que preside a este processo», afirma o padre Aníbal Manuel Vieira, adiantando que «estão a ser cumpridas todas as normas canónicas que dizem respeito a estes casos».
Contactado pela Lusa, o vigário geral apenas adiantou que o processo ao padre das paróquias de Golegã, Azinhaga e Pombalinho «faz parte dos procedimentos normais quando há rumores», não tendo havido qualquer queixa formal junto da diocese.
Now that Pope Francis has set up a commission to study priestly sexual abuse, Bill Donohue urges reporters to get their facts straight:
Myth: Children have been the main victims of priestly sexual abuse.
Fact: Since more than 95 percent of all the victims of priestly sexual abuse, as reported by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, are not prepubescent, that means that adolescents have been the primary victims.
Myth: Pedophile priests have been the problem.
Fact: Homosexual priests have been the problem. Proof: 81 percent of the victims have been male, and more than 95 percent have been postpubescent. When males have sex with postpubescent males, it is called homosexuality.
Myth: The problem is on-going.
Fact: The homosexual scandal took place mostly between the mid-1960s and the mid-1980s. In the last ten years, the average number of credible accusations made against 40,000 priests is in the single digits.
Kansas City Star
BY NICOLE WINFIELD
The Associated Press
VATICAN CITY — In a story Dec. 5 about the wedding of a former Legion of Christ priest, The Associated Press reported erroneously that the Legion said less than 4 percent of Legion priests had been abused. Less than 4 percent have been accused of sexual abuse, according to the Legion.
A corrected version of the story is below:
Disgraced priest to wed pope adviser's daughter
Legion priest who resigned after fathering child to marry daughter of top Vatican adviser
By NICOLE WINFIELD
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Thomas Williams, the onetime public face of the disgraced Legion of Christ religious order who left the priesthood after admitting he fathered a child, is getting married this weekend to the child's mother, The Associated Press has learned. The bride is the daughter of former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See Mary Ann Glendon, one of Pope Francis' top advisers.
Glendon, a Harvard University law professor, is one of the highest-ranking women at the Vatican as president of the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences. She is also one of five people on Francis' commission to reform the scandal-marred Vatican bank. Her daughter, Elizabeth Lev, is a Rome-based art historian and columnist for the Legion-run Zenit news agency, which Williams published for over a decade while he was in the order.
Williams, a moral theologian, author, lecturer and U.S. television personality, admitted last year that he had fathered a child several years earlier.
The Raw Story
By Agence France-Presse
Friday, December 6, 2013
The Legion of Christ, an influential Catholic congregation already at the centre of an abuse scandal involving its founder, on Friday said one of its priests had sexually abused a novice in the United States.
“William Izquierdo, former instructor of novices at the Legion’s novitiate in Cheshire, Connecticut from 1982 to 1994 sexually abused a novice under his care,” the community said in a statement on its website.
The conservative community did not say whether Izquierdo would be punished but pointed out he is now 85 and in “an advanced state of dementia” and in any case has not exercised his ministry since 2008.
Izquierdo will be moved “to an assisted living facility where he will receive proper treatment,” it said.
National Catholic Reporter
Nicole Sotelo | Dec. 6, 2013 Young Voices
Author's note: This week, the Vatican refused to provide information to the U.N. regarding sexual abuse by church officials despite its ratification of the 1990 Convention of the Rights of the Child. On Thursday, as this column was going to be published, the Vatican announced it would begin its own commission to address sexual abuse. Similar commissions have been set up by bishops' conferences in various countries but currently, no mechanisms are in place to discipline bishops who refuse to cooperate with their own policies or continue to cover up sexual abuse cases.
It's a love story, really. Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation, "The Joy of the Gospel," that the Vatican released last week reads like a love letter meant to add spark again to a church relationship that has been sorely wounded.
The document addresses some of the reasons why Catholics have turned away from the church. It shares ideas for how the church can reform itself in order to support a renewed relationship of joy and mission. It reads like a personal invitation to a marriage encounter weekend after a relationship has been through tough times. Pope Francis asks us to remember the good and rekindle the flames of faith.
I'm signed up. My bags are packed. I'm ready to write my own love letter in return. This is what I have wanted for our relationship, too!
However, if you read between the lines of the document, you'll remember what caused perhaps the greatest collective rupture in the church relationship for U.S. Catholics of the last decade: the sexual abuse of children and its cover-up by church officials.
Earlier this year, a Pew Research Center survey found that 70 percent of Catholics in the United States said addressing the sexual abuse crisis should be a top priority for the new pope, topping the list of issues Catholics believed the Vatican should address.
Sydney Morning Herald
December 7, 2013
The Pope's decision to set up a council of experts and lay people to advise him how to stop the scourge of child sex abuse is based on Australia's approach, leading Catholics say.
Cardinal George Pell "had a big influence on this, because the announcements from Rome certainly seem to replicate the approach we have taken here", believes Francis Sullivan, head of the Truth, Justice and Healing Council, established last year to lead the Australian Catholic church's response to the child sex abuse Royal Commission.
Pope Francis took up the suggestion from his council of eight cardinals which includes George Pell, the Archbishop of Sydney. After they met in Rome this week, US Cardinal Sean O'Malley, Archbishop of Boston, said at a Vatican media conference the new committee would look at how better to protect children in the church including screening checks for would-be priests, codes of professional conduct and co-operatiing with civil authorities to report crimes. The committee would work on pastoral aid for victims, their families and affected communities, including "mental health help", Cardinal O'Malley said.
Mr Sullivan said the idea "echoed" the Truth, Justice and Healing Council's use of experts who "give strong independent advice to place victims first and make it clear that the church can't approach clerical sex abuse from a protective-defensive stance".
"As a Catholic, it is shaming to hear that this went on," said Melbourne military analyst Paul Sheehan, 36, a volunteer for Catholic Voices Australia. He said nothing could bring "true justice" to sex abuse victims who "still need as much help as we can give them" but "this is a step forward at the highest level".
Minnesota Public Radio
Archdiocese's list shows it kept secret seven priests credibly accused of sexually abusing children
The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis acknowledged Thursday that it had kept secret for decades the names of at least seven Catholic priests it considers credibly accused of sexually abusing children.
Archbishop John Nienstedt revealed the names on a list of 34 priests posted to an archdiocese website. The names are from a list the archdiocese created in 2009 of priests accused of child sexual abuse. However, Nienstedt now says four of the priests should not have been included.
Three-fourths of the priests on the list are already known to the public through lawsuits and media reports. The 34 priests served in nearly half of the archdiocese’s parishes.
"These disclosures being made now, and the changes in our disclosure practices generally, are part of a comprehensive and cohesive set of actions we have been taking here in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis this fall to address the issues associated with clergy sexual misconduct," Nienstedt said in a statement.
The disclosure came three days after an unexpected ruling by Ramsey County Judge John Van de North in a case filed by a victim of clergy sexual abuse. Van de North ordered the archdiocese to release the names of 33 priests included on a 2009 list, as well as the names of other priests accused since then.
Minnesota Public Radio
By Sasha Aslanian, Madeleine Baran, Molly Bloom, Mike Cronin, Meg Martin, Eric Ringham, Tom Scheck and Laura Yuen, Minnesota Public Radio
Dec. 5, 2013
The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has released the names of 30 priests it believes sexually abused children between 1950 and 2013.
• Related: Archdiocese's list shows it kept secret seven priests credibly accused of sexually abusing children
The archdiocese also released the names of four other priests who had been included on an earlier list, but church officials now say those four should not have been included. A Ramsey County judge ordered the archdiocese Monday to release a list of 33 priests that had been sealed since 2009.
Seven of the priests named were not previously known to the public as accused abusers. Five of those seven are still living. About one-third of the priests on the list are dead.
The accused priests have served at nearly half — 92, in total — of the 188 parishes in the archdiocese, according to an email sent to priests by vicar general Rev. Charles Lachowitzer, the archbishop's top deputy.
The disclosure comes three days after Ramsey County Judge John Van de North ordered the archdiocese to release the names of all the priests on a sealed list of clergy with credible allegations of child sexual abuse against them. The 33 names had been disclosed to attorneys in a 2009 clergy sexual abuse lawsuit, but a judge ordered they remain private.
The number of names on the original list — 33 in total — originated in 2004 when the Rev. Kevin McDonough, then second in command at the archdiocese, told researchers at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice that 33 priests in the archdiocese were "known to have credible allegations of the abuse of minors." The John Jay group had been commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to study clergy sexual abuse in the United States.
BY HANNAH SPRAY, THE STARPHOENIX DECEMBER 6, 2013
Paul Leroux remains unrepentant for molesting eight boys he was supposed to be caring for and protecting, and that makes it very hard to forgive him, says one of his victims.
"He has lived in denial.
Forgiveness for me is something that has to be reciprocal. And if he's not willing to do that, I cannot give him that, because he still denies what he's done, so I cannot in any way give him that," the 59-year-old man said outside Battleford Court of Queen's Bench on Thursday. His name cannot be published due a publication ban on the victims' identities.
Leroux, 73, was convicted last month of the string of crimes at the Beauval Indian Residential School in the 1960s, but on Thursday during sentencing arguments he still maintained his innocence, saying he intended to appeal.
Nevertheless, he said the sentence for fondling and raping the teenage boys should be three years, noting he already received a 10-year sentence in 1998 for similar crimes in Inuvik in the late 1960s and 1970s.
One of Paul Leroux's sex abuse victims says he won't ever forgive the former residential school supervisor.
The man, who was a student at the Beauval Indian Residential School in northern Saskatchewan during the 1960s, was one of several students Leroux was found guilty of sexually abusing.
At Leroux's sentencing hearing Thursday in Battleford, the man said he can't forgive Leroux, now 73, because he still denies what he's done.
The Crown argued for an 11-year-sentence, but Leroux, who acted as his own lawyer, said that was too harsh for crimes that happened so long ago.
Last month, a judge convicted Leroux on 10 of 17 charges involving boys at the school -- eight counts of indecent assault and two counts of gross indecency
Posted: Dec 05, 2013
A former residential school worker in northern Saskatchewan was in court for his sentencing hearing today after being found guilty last month of indecently assaulting young boys nearly five decades ago.
Paul Leroux, 73, a former dormitory supervisor at the Beauval Residential School in the 1950s and 60s, is guilty on 10 counts of indecent assault.
The sentencing hearing was held this morning at the Battleford courthouse, which was packed with victims, family and media.
There were 17 charges altogether, including indecent assault and gross indecency. The allegations included sexual touching, oral and anal sex, and bringing boys to his room where they were given alcohol and shown pornography.
The Crown is asking for an 11 year sentence. The charges added up as consecutive sentences would equal 25.5 years, but Prosecutor Mitch Piche said a number of factors need to be considered, including how much time has passed, that Leroux was back in society and is a low risk to re-offend.
Coming right after the Vatican rebuffed UN inquiries about clergy sex abuse, the Pope [is] Setting Up Commission on Clerical Child Abuse.
There's a lot about this in the Catholic press ... at NCR, Vatican announces new papal advisory commission on sex abuse ... at US Catholic, Pope Francis launches commission to tackle sex abuse ... at dotCommonweal, Pope Francis to create commission on protection of minors. From David Gibson's post at US Catholic ...
[...] O’Malley acknowledged that Catholics were most keen to hear how and whether the pope and the new commission would tackle the question of disciplining bishops who have shielded abusive priests .... Several current cases in the U.S. have rekindled anger over the abuse crisis: last year in Missouri, Bishop Robert Finn was convicted in court of failing to report an abusive priest to authorities, and in Minnesota it was recently revealed that Archbishop John Nienstedt did not report priests suspected of abuse to authorities. Archbishop John Myers of Newark, N.J., has faced similar criticism for his handling of abusers. All three men are outspoken conservatives, and all three remain in office [not to mention Mahony] ....
I think Francis has good intentions but I don't hope for much from this new commission ... it won't address the accountability of church leaders for covering up abuse, and also it doesn't appear that the actual causes of clergy sex abuse will even be addressed.
Notes to Ponder
The Vatican has announced formation of a commission to protect young people from Catholic priests. To be fair; not all priests, just those with a fondness for “choir boys”. Spokesman, Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston broke the news today; reportably a recommendation coming out of the Council of Cardinals meeting in Rome this week. Pope Francis, acting on the advise of his advisory council, gave the green light to “draft guidelines for prevention of abuse, developing training programs, advising on co-operation with law enforcement officials, and promoting care of victims of abuse”.
The as yet to be appointed commission members will be experts on sexual abuse and prevention. Up until now, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith have been handling discipline for naughty priests. Cardinal O’Malley didn’t know if the commission would have authority over Bishops who cover up allegations of abuse by priests. The announcement comes on the heals of the church refusing a United Nations request to provide information on how it dealt with abusive clergy.
Call me cynical but something smells fishy. I’ve pondered Pope Francis long and hard – my conclusion being, he might be a man willing to make some changes. On the surface this announcement reads like a step in the right direction. Peel back a few layers and I’m still astounded. The very fact that a commission needs to be formed in order to “educate” and “counsel” clergy leaves me speechless.
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has today announced the first public hearing for 2014.
The hearing, which will commence on 28 January, will inquire into the responses of The Salvation Army (Eastern Territory) to child sexual abuse within its children’s homes at:
* Alkira Salvation Army Home for Boys, Indooroopilly, QLD
* Riverview Training Farm (also known as Endeavour Training Farm), Riverview, QLD
* Bexley Boys’ Home, Bexley, NSW
* Gill Memorial Home, Goulburn, NSW
The hearing will also examine The Salvation Army’s processes in investigating, disciplining, removing and/or transferring anyone accused of, or found to have engaged in, child sexual abuse in these homes.
Royal Commission CEO Janette Dines is urging anyone who suffered sexual abuse as a child within these homes to contact the Royal Commission.
“We are in the process of gathering information relevant to this matter and would like to hear from as many people as possible.
“People’s experiences will help to inform the Royal Commission as to how The Salvation Army responded to allegations of child sexual abuse.
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
The ‘roadmap’ and Issues Paper 5 are both available on the Royal Commission website at www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse today released a paper outlining its approach to examining the scope of justice for victims, ‘Justice for Victims: Addressing or Alleviating the Impact of Child Sexual Abuse in Institutions’.
The Royal Commission’s examination of the scope of justice for victims will cover:
• civil litigation and redress/compensation schemes
• the criminal justice system
• past inquiries, the regulatory system and advocacy bodies
Along with this paper, the Royal Commission has also released Issues Paper 5 on Civil Litigation and is inviting members of the public to contribute ideas and expertise on the best ways to ensure justice for victims through redress.
Royal Commission CEO Janette Dines said civil litigation is one of the ways in which victims may bring a claim for damages against the institution where they were abused.
“Through our private sessions, we have already heard from many people about the impact of the sexual abuse they suffered as children, and their difficult experiences throughout the civil litigation process.
“Our Terms of Reference require us to inquire into what institutions and governments should do to address or alleviate the impact of child sexual abuse, particularly through the provision of redress.
“We invite interested individuals, government and non-government organisations to tell us their views on the effectiveness of civil litigation as a mechanism for providing redress or compensation.
By a Broken Rites researcher (updated 6 December 2013)
Australia's national Royal Commission on child-abuse is holding two weeks of public hearings (in Sydney, beginning on 9 December 2013) to investigate how the Catholic Church's "Towards Healing" system has handled (or mis-handled) the church's sex-abuse victims. The December hearings will focus on the experiences of several victims who came through that system.
"Towards Healing" is the church's own damage-control system (devised by the church's lawyers and public relations consultants), under which the church is allowed to "investigate" itself.
"Towards Healing" is financed by the church's in-house insurance company, Catholic Church Insurances Limited. Many victims have contacted the Royal Commission, complaining that the purpose of "Towards Healing" is primarily to help the church (and to protect its assets), rather than to help the victims. These victims say that, after going through "Towards Healing", they feel re-victimised.
Posted on December 6, 2013 by Sylvia
No court today in the Father Eric Dejaeger sex abuse trial in Iqaluit, Nunavut. There was a possibility of something in the afternoon regarding having a video entered into evidence as testimony of a deceased victim/complainant who died of cancer. We arrived at the courtroom – nothing today.
Tomorrow Father Robert Lechat omi will testify. According to an Oblate directory Father Lechat, a 93-year-old French-born Oblate priest, served in Igloolik from 1972-1986, and was back for one year in 1988. Father Lechat served in Igloolik while Father Dejaeger was there. Most witnesses testifying to date recall Father Lechat as a priest who was at the Igloolik mission while Father Dejaeger was there.
My friend and I fly out tomorrow afternoon – will be able to catch the morning court session and then head for the airport when court recesses for lunch.
With no court, today turned into a day of sight-seeing and picture taking. We were squired around town and beyond. Such a breath-takingly beautiful part of this beautiful country. I took lots of pictures – will share a few after I get home.
Met wonderful people who have been so very gracious, hospitable and kind. It’s been a wonderful whirl which started last Friday evening . Silver linings. So very many silver linings.
The formal submission by Judy Courtin (see previous posting), a Monash University researcher, to the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, is based on interviews with many victims, lawyers and victims’ relatives and support persons. It is both interesting and informative, and represents one of the few studies anywhere on the theme of “Sexual Assaults and the Catholic Church: Are Victims Finding Justice?” (That is her doctoral thesis’ title).
Her submission complements and supports the general thrust of that of John and Nicola Ellis (see previous posting), on the “Towards Healing” process of the Catholic Church for dealing with allegations of abuse throughout Australia, except for Melbourne which has its own protocol, termed the “Melbourne Response”, which was established by Cardinal George Pell (of Domus Australia fame – see previous posting).
Details of the interviews contained in Ms. Courtin’s submission are not given here, but are available from her submission at http://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/14-Judy-Courtin1.pdf (Only the general findings will be discussed here.)
One may as well get across early on just how she views the “Towards Healing” process by giving a few quotes from the submission. “It’s not ‘Towards Healing’; it actually takes you towards madness.” “The Towards Healing process needs to be dismantled.” “Towards Healing has failed.”
“The Towards Healing process is flawed. It is a Kangaroo court giving it the ‘opportunity to mislead and lie’. It is a sham and a con and an incredibly unsatisfactory process. It is difficult, inappropriate and insensitive. It is deficient, condescending, depersonalizing, demeaning and obscene.”
By the conclusion of the up-coming hearings, many people will surely share this perspective.
video report by Iris Perez
On Thursday, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis revealed that 7 of the men church leaders believe have been credibly accused of child sex abuse spent at least a year leading congregations in Faribault, Minn.
Attorney Jeff Anderson's office reports at least 15 victims are connected to the following men:
- Dennis Kampa
- Lee Krautkremer
- Gilbert DeSutter
- John Brown
- Richard Jeub
- Patrick Ryan
- Albert Longley
All of the priests led churches in Faribault for between a year and a decade between the years of 1922 and 2000, but some stayed even longer. Anderson believes that's because the church had a habit of purposely moving accused clergy to serve in the quiet, rural city, away from victims who had reported them.
"Sometimes they would place known offenders in rural parishes, where they're less likely to be known to the victims that reported the crimes," Anderson said.
While all those listed have been permanently removed from ministry or no longer serve, the list shows allegations against Longley and six others have been kept secret for decades. In fact, allegations against Ryan and Longley were revealed for the first time Thursday.
"My name is Finnegan. Once it got misspelled with an S -- Sinnigan. That's so true; we all sin," Father Kevin Finnegan told Fox 9 News.
National Survivor Advocates Coalition
In today’s world, headlines can masquerade as substance.
Because of the general goodwill Pope Francis has created for the Vatican worldwide, NSAC raises an alarm bell today that the headlines about a sexual abuse commission not be welcomed without examination.
NSAC asks how independent will the Vatican’s commission on sexual abuse be?
If the proof’s in the pudding and the pudding is not made by a truly balanced commission designed to go where the truth is, find it, expose it and deal with it, the result will only be a soggy, tart, and unsatisfying whitewash. More’s the pity, the sin and the crime if that is the outcome.
A bedrock question here is: who will be on the commission, how balanced will the representation be, what’s the timetable, and what’s the endgame: report or action?
By balanced, NSAC means real representation from those who know this problem: the survivors themselves, critics of the why the crisis has been covered up and handled with public relations, the whistleblowers, professionals in law enforcement, psychology, sociology, mental health and finance – for indeed the survivors regardless of how the Church has portrayed it have been on the short end of the financial stick given the depth and breath of this lifelong problem for survivors and their families.
National Catholic Reporter
Brian Roewe | Dec. 5, 2013
1:56 p.m., CST: This post has been updated with comments from BishopAccountability.org President Terrance McKiernan.
Following through on a vow made a month ago, the St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese released Thursday the names of 30 former priests with substantiated claims of sexual abuse of minors.
The priests named relate primarily to reported incidents that occurred between the mid-1950s and 1980s. All but one of those with substantiated claims were listed in a 2004 report by the archdiocese as part of a nationwide survey of credibly accused clergy.
The 30th priest is Curtis Wehmeyer, currently serving five years in prison, whose name appeared among others in news reports by Minnesota Public Radio -- based on documents and information supplied by former archdiocesan canon lawyer Jennifer Haselberger -- detailing negligence and lack of adherence to abuse-related archdiocesan policies.
All 30 have been removed from ministry. Two have been laicized, and one was dismissed from his order and dispensed from vows. ...
Six of the 30 names became public for the first time, according to Terrance McKiernan, president of BishopAccountability.org. They are Frs. Alfred Longley (deceased), Timothy McCarthy, Paul Palmitessa, Joseph Pinkosh, Richard Skluzacek (deceased) and Raymond Walter.
Saying the release of names will allow for further investigation and greater protection of children in the case of those priests accused still living, McKiernan expressed gratitude to Nienstedt for posting the list, but also for the work of victims in achieving the end.
"They have found a way of transforming the numbers ... into names. And of course names have stories, and names unfortunately have victims. And it’s a really, really crucial achievement," he told NCR.
El Nuevo Herald
VATICANO -- El papa Francisco respondió a las acusaciones de que ha pasado por alto las quejas por los abusos sexuales por parte de sacerdotes y creó una comisión de expertos que asesore al Vaticano para proteger a los niños de los sacerdotes pedófilos y ayudar a las víctimas.
Sin embargo, se desconoce si los integrantes de la comisión asumirán uno de los problemas medulares detrás del escándalo de abuso sexual en la Iglesia Católica: la rendición de cuentas de los obispos que protegieron a sacerdotes pedófilos.
El cardenal Sean O’Malley, arzobispo de Boston, anunció el jueves la creación del panel al término de la reunión de Francisco con los ocho cardenales que lo asesoran sobre el gobierno de la Iglesia y la reforma de la burocracia vaticana.
The Bishop of Dover and Bishop of Basingstoke are in Jersey today to get a better understanding of complaint procedures.
Both are on a pastoral visit organised by the Bishop of Winchester. The Bishops will stay at Government House and meet with local church leaders and island authorities from both Deaneries.
They plan to ease tensions within the church following months of disruption among church-goers.
Later today (Fri), the Jersey's recently 'exonerated' Dean, will meet with the Bishops of Dover and Basingstoke.
The two Bishops are in Jersey to get a better understanding of the complaint procedures.
The trip was initiated by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Today they will meet with Jersey's Chief Minister, Ian Gorst.
Both are on a pastoral visit organised by the Bishop of Winchester. The Bishops are staying at the Government House.
Their plan is to ease tensions within the church following months of disruption among church-goers.
The visit follows the suspension of Jersey's Dean earlier this year, for failing to properly handle an allegation of abuse.
The Bishops' visit was first outlined in a statement by the Bishop of Winchester on 22 November, in which he also said he would not be taking disciplinary action against any member of the clergy in Jersey. He also said he would not be publishing the Steel report.
By Michael Gordon
Posted: Thursday, Dec. 05, 2013
A Mecklenburg County judge Thursday dismissed the claims of a former Charlotte official of the United House of Prayer who accused the top leaders of the congregation of wrecking his marriage.
In his lawsuit, the Rev. Ronald Belton described a church atmosphere of rigged national elections, political infighting and millions of dollars raised by House of Prayer congregations that is sent to post office boxes in Charlotte, long a center of activities for the Washington, D.C., based church.
Whether a jury hears any of those accusations is now in question. Superior Court Judge Robert Ervin threw out Belton’s remaining claims against the House of Prayer’s presiding Bishop C.M. Bailey and its former first lady, Deloris Beal “St. Lady” Madison.
Church attorney Robert Dortch argued that Belton and his attorney failed to prove that a North Carolina court could hear the case against Bailey because he lives in Maryland and doesn’t own property in Charlotte or the state.
By Michael Gordon
Posted: Wednesday, Dec. 04, 2013
A lawsuit in court Thursday casts unflattering light onto what it describes as the political infighting and private financial dealings of a secretive church with deep spiritual and economic ties to Charlotte.
The United House of Prayer for All People is known nationwide for the exuberant worship style of its congregations, along with its shout bands, mass baptisms with fire hoses, and the stone lions guarding the front doors of its sanctuaries.
But the lawsuit by Ronald Belton, a longtime House of Prayer evangelist who lives in Charlotte, focuses on what his attorney describes as the “absolute power” of the church’s top leaders, namely the presiding bishop and the widow of the former one.
Believers hold their leaders as intermediaries with God.
By Lee Filas
A former monk accused of trying to lure teenage girls into his car in Antioch pleaded guilty to a single count of child abduction in Lake County court Thursday.
Thomas Chmura, 57, who had been associated with the St. Benedict's Abbey in Benet Lake, Wis., will spend 24 months on probation. He also has been ordered to undergo sex offender treatment, and must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, Lake County Assistant State's Attorney Victor O'Block said following the plea deal.
Chmura was also sentenced to a six-month periodic imprisonment in Lake County. However, that was delayed by Lake County Judge James Booras and could be dropped if Chmura meets all the requirements of his probation.
Booras also allowed Chmura to move to Jefferson County, MO, where he will receive treatment at the Vianney Renewal Center, O'Block said.
By Susan Berger
Special to the Tribune
2:41 p.m. CST, December 5, 2013
A monk accused of trying to lure girls into his car pled guilty today to child abduction, officials said.
Thomas Chmura, a Benedictine monk who lived at an a abbey in Benet Lake, Wis., was given two years probation and must register as a sex offender and receive counseling as part of the plea, according to the Lake County State’s Attorney’s office.
Chmura was arrested last April after authorities said he pulled up alongside a 14-year-old girl who was on foot in Antioch, told her she was beautiful and asked her to let him drive her home.
San Francisco Chronicle
WAUKEGAN, Ill. (AP) — A Wisconsin monk has pleaded guilty to a child abduction count after being accused of trying to abduct four girls in Illinois earlier this year.
Thomas Chmura (shah-MOO'-rah) agreed to a negotiated plea deal on Thursday in Lake County court. Chmura is a former monk at the St. Benedict's Abbey in Benet Lake, Wis.
The 57-year-old was sentenced to two years of probation. He also must undergo sex offender treatment and register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. The judge has allowed Chmura to move to Jefferson County in Missouri where he can receive treatment.
Sun-Times Media Wire
December 5, 2013 (WAUKEGAN, Ill.) -- A judge accepted a plea deal Thursday in the case of a former Benedictine monk accused of child abduction attempts earlier this year in the north suburbs, sentencing him to probation and periodic jail time.
Thomas Chmura, 57, was charged with four counts of child abduction and could have faced up to three years in prison after authorities alleged he offered rides to a number of girls ages 11 to 14 in April in the Antioch area.
On Thursday, he pleaded guilty to one count of child abduction and was sentenced to six months of periodic imprisonment, plus 24 months of felony probation, the News-Sun is reporting. He must register as a sex offender for life and undergo sex offender treatment.
Chmura never actually abducted any of the victims he tried to lure into his car, but under state statute, his behavior qualified for the abduction charge, according to assistant Lake County State's Attorney Victor O'Block.
By Claudio Lavanga, NBC News Correspondent
VATICAN CITY – The Vatican is to set up a special committee to improve measures to protect children against sexual abuse within the Church, the archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley, said on Thursday.
"Up until now there has been so much focus on the judicial parts of this but the pastoral part is very, very important. The Holy Father is concerned about that," O'Malley told reporters, referring to Pope Francis.
The commission of experts would "study these issues and bring concrete recommendations" for the Pope and the Vatican, he said.
"Continuing decisively along the lines undertaken by Pope Benedict XVI, and accepting a proposal presented by the Council of Cardinals, the Holy Father has decided to establish a specific Commission for the protection of minors, with the aim of advising Pope Francis on the Holy See’s commitment to the protection of children and in pastoral care for victims of abuse,” O’Malley said in a statement.
BY MORGAN LEE , CHRISTIAN POST REPORTER
December 5, 2013
Boulder police have accused a Colorado senior pastor of covering up information about a youth pastor who allegedly sexually assaulted a female church attendee starting when she was 15.
Walt Roberson was out of the country when police first announced charges for four members of Vinelife Church's pastoral and elder teams. Jason Allen Roberson, 35, Vinelife Church's youth pastor and the son of Walt, was arrested in September on charges that he sexually abused a former church member and emplyoyee who was underage when the abuse began.
Walt is due on court on Dec. 9 and the church's executive pastor Robert Phillip "Bob" Young must report later this month, according to The Daily Camera. Church elder Warren Lloyd Williams is set to appear on Jan. 6 while pastors Luke Humbrecht and Edward Bennell have no court dates set yet.
The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has disclosed the names of 34 priests who have been accused of sexually abusing minors.The names of the priests were made public Thursday following months of criticism that church leaders mishandled allegations of abuse. Archbishop John Nienstedt says he hopes the move will restore trust.
The archdiocese says it has substantiated claims against 30 priests on the list. The remaining four have claims against them that could not be substantiated, but the archdiocese released them after a court order.
The information includes the clerics' names, parishes where they served, and other details. It does not include details of the allegations.
Of the 34 names, three of them, Father Cosmas Dahlheimer, Francis Hoefgen, and Brennan Maiers, have had ties with the St. Cloud Diocese.
Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley unveils Vatican effort to prevent abuse
By Lisa Wangsness | GLOBE STAFF DECEMBER 06, 2013
Almost 12 years after the clergy sexual abuse crisis exploded in Boston, Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley announced Thursday the creation of a Vatican commission on protecting children from abuse, marking the Catholic Church’s first comprehensive effort to address the crisis globally.
O’Malley, speaking in Rome after a meeting of the eight-cardinal council that advises Pope Francis on church governance reform, said the new commission would advise the pope about the protection of children and the pastoral care of victims of abuse.
The new panel represents Pope Francis’s first substantive attempt to confront the central issue facing the church in recent years. Its establishment also came days after the church refused a UN committee’s request for detailed information about sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy and religious orders.
Some church observers praised the new commission, calling it long overdue.
“It reflects that Pope Francis is determined to get to the root causes of the clergy sexual abuse scandal and to prevent it from ever happening again,” said Thomas Groome, a theologian and chairman of the department of religious education and pastoral ministry at Boston College. ...
Critics were skeptical that the panel would be effective. Terence McKiernan — president of Bishop Accountability, a watchdog on clergy abuse and an online archive of the crisis — said that the commission’s to-do list is too long. But he also said the panel lacks a clear mandate to figure out how the church could hold bishops accountable if they mishandle abuse complaints.
Bishops in Philadelphia and Kansas City failed to enforce US church laws for handling abuse cases in recent years. The Kansas City bishop was convicted in secular court for failing to report suspected child abuse, but he remains in office.
Asked at Thursday’s press conference whether the commission would deal with bishop accountability, O’Malley said that was something that the church needs to address, but he said he was not sure whether the commission or a Vatican department would take it on.
By Michael Longaecker on Dec 5, 2013
The identities of 33 Catholic priests accused of sexually abusing minors – including one who was briefly involved with a Woodbury-area church – were released Thursday, prompting a promise of more openness in disclosure from the leader of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
Among the priests accused of sexually abusing minors is Timothy McCarthy, a 67-year-old who was removed from the ministry in 1991. According to the list issued Thursday, McCarthy spent part of 1984 as an associate priest at Guardian Angels Catholic Church in Oakdale – what was formerly Lake Elmo, prior to annexation.
Denny Farrell, church administrator at Guardian Angels, said he and current priest Rodger Bauman were notified Wednesday that a former pastor from the church would be on the list. After learning McCarthy’s name on Thursday, Farrell said he went in search of information about the priest since he was at Guardian Angels less than a year.
“We didn’t know much about him,” Farrell said, adding that a cursory check with older parishioners turned up no answers. “That’s how interim he was.”
McCarthy served a few months in between two permanent Guardian Angels priests, Farrell said.
Statement by Terence McKiernan
December 5, 2013
We welcome the release of this highly significant list – the first church list to be released by order of the court.
We’re grateful to Jim Keenan (John Doe 73C) and John Doe 1, and to their attorney Jeffrey Anderson, who saw that their cases could help make children safe, and could help other survivors to heal. Their visionary work has transformed the cold numbers of a 2004 press release into the human story of abuse in St. Paul and Minneapolis – and soon Winona as well. Names can do what numbers never can.
We’re also grateful to Archbishop Nienstedt for his belated conversion to the cause of transparency. He clearly chose wisely in posting the entire list, including the so-called unsubstantiated claims (not a correct term for two or three of the four). As Cardinal Keeler wrote when he released the Baltimore list more than a decade ago, “Telling the truth cannot be wrong.”