A digest of links to media coverage of clergy abuse.
Click on the headline to read the full story.
July 7, 2015
Bangor Daily News
By Beth Brogan, BDN Staff
Posted July 07, 2015
PORTLAND, Maine — Opening arguments began Tuesday in the civil suit against a Freeport man sued in 2013 for defamation by a former Catholic brother from Haiti and his nonprofit organization.
Attorney Peter DeTroy described his client, 63-year-old Michael Geilenfeld, the former Catholic brother, as “a remarkable person … fueled by a dream to found a home for the cast-out, lost boys of Haiti.”
DeTroy then told the jury in U.S. District Court in Portland that Paul Kendrick, 65, of Freeport, an outspoken advocate for victims of clergy sexual abuse, waged a “campaign of vicious, unrelenting and merciless attacks” on Geilenfeld that left him and Hearts with Haiti, the North-Carolina nonprofit for which he works, unable to raise money to rebuild orphanages following a 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
David Walker, who represents Kendrick, argued that his client was raising public awareness about alleged abuse of children. He told the jury Tuesday, “This case is about one thing, and that’s the sexual abuse of children.”
Walker on Tuesday ran through a list of allegations of sexual abuse by Geilenfeld that Kendrick’s attorney said began in 1987. He said evidence would show that board members of Hearts with Haiti met repeatedly about the issue, ultimately hiring a former Federal Bureau of Investigations official to investigate Geilenfeld before declining to release their report.
Both attorneys said they would present the jury with testimony from young men who lived in the orphanages that would support their cases.
By MICHAEL MELCHIOR, MANNY WAKS \ 07/07/2015
Recently we were exposed to yet more revelations regarding how the haredi (ultra-Orthodox) community and in particular its leadership respond to allegations of child sexual abuse.
In an exposé in Yediot Aharonot it was revealed that many rabbis advise and encourage victims and survivors of child sexual abuse and their families to not report these crimes to the police. Alternatively, they believe that allegations of child sexual abuse should be addressed internally, led by the rabbi. This was the view expressed by the vast majority of the rabbis interviewed.
In trying to dissuade the victims from going to the police, excuses in defense of the perpetrators often include “he has a wife and children so why make his entire family suffer?”, “the abuse happened many years ago,” “it was a moment of weakness,” “he’s a righteous, God-fearing person,” “you’ll be bringing shame on you, your family and our community,” “you’ll ruin your marriage prospects,” and so on.
That this misguided and morally reprehensible attitude still exists on the part of rabbis is of grave concern.
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A lawyer in a Maine defamation case says his client was a hero for children in Haiti who was devastated by a Maine activist's unsubstantiated claims of sex abuse.
Both sides presented opening statements Tuesday in a civil lawsuit brought by orphanage founder Michael Geilenfeld and Raleigh, North Carolina-based Hearts with Haiti. Attorney Peter DeTroy says Paul Kendrick made reckless allegations that hurt fundraising and damaged reputations.
Kendrick's attorney told the jury he's looking forward to the alleged victims getting to tell their story in court.
CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Archdiocese of Chicago is facing two more sex abuse lawsuits, the latest in a series of allegations against former priest Daniel McCormack.
Two men claim McCormack sexually abused them while they were students at Catholic schools in Chicago.
One man said the alleged abuse started when he was about 8 years old and continued from 2002 to 2006, while he was a student at Our Lady of the Westside Catholic School. He said it happened while he attended an after-school "safe" program.
The other man said the alleged abuse started when he was about 10 years old and continued from 2003 to 2006, while he attended Saint Agatha's Catholic Church and played basketball on the parish's team.
RALEIGH, N.C. —A three-judge panel has ruled that a lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Raleigh over an allegation of child sexual abuse by a priest can move forward.
The North Carolina Court of Appeals on Tuesday rejected arguments made by lawyers representing Bishop Michael F. Burbidge and the Raleigh diocese that allowing the lawsuit to advance would violate the Constitutional separation of church and state.
The case involves allegations that the Rev. Edgar Sepulveda of Santa Teresa Mission in Beulaville engaged in sex acts with a 16-year-old boy. Sepulveda was criminally charged in 2010, but Brunswick County prosecutors later dropped the case.
Jeff Anderson & Associates
The names and assignment histories of seven priests of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (“Oblates”) who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children were released publicly for the first time on July 7, 2015. The priests all worked in Minnesota for part of their careers. Other locations at which the priests worked include Missouri, Illinois, Mississippi, Texas, Nebraska, Wisconsin, South Dakota, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Washington, D.C., North Dakota and Canada.
The release is part of a settlement reached in a civil lawsuit brought by Doe 30 against the Oblates, the Diocese of Duluth and the Diocese of New Ulm. The settlement was reached in April 2015 between Doe 30, the plaintiff, and defendant Oblates. The other defendants in the case – the Diocese of Duluth and Diocese of New Ulm - were not part of the settlement, and Doe 30’s case against them is still pending in Ramsey County District Court.
The lawsuit stems from Doe 30’s sexual abuse by Father J. Vincent Fitzgerald, an Oblate priest, in 1978 when Doe 30 was a minor.
Orville Munie Assignment Timeline
Michael Charland Assignment Timeline
James Vincent Fitzgerald Assignment Timeline
Robert Reitmeier Assignment Timeline
Emil Twardochleb Assignment Timeline
Paul Kabat Assignment Timeline
Map of Oblate Assignments in MN 7-7-15
Oblates' Statement of July 6, 2015
Oblates' list - July 6, 2015
A priest accused of sexually abusing two boys told one of them he was "preparing" him for a girlfriend, a court has heard.
The Reverend Christopher Howarth, of Rocks Park Road in Uckfield, East Sussex, is accused of 20 offences against the boys, now aged 19 and 20.
Hove Trial Centre heard the former teacher paid money to the boys for his own sexual gratification.
He denies 19 of the charges which include six counts of sexual assault.
However, he has pleaded guilty to one count of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.
Jehovah’s Witness leader Tony Morris III, above, who recently became an international laughing stock for blaming homosexuals for popularising skinny jeans, has again gone on the offensive against gays in a video that sets out to show how ‘proactive’ the cult has been in its efforts protect children from abuse.
“Tight Pants Tony” used the July 2015 episode of JW Broadcasting to address the issue of abuse, seemingly in response to the onslaught of negative publicity Watchtower has faced in recent years.
According to John Cedars, who runs the JWSurvey site, the Watchtower bigwig:
Unleashes an astonishing swipe at gay people in an apparent attempt to scapegoat homosexuals as being the main perpetrators of child abuse.
By Clayton Cummins
MT. PLEASANT, MI (WNEM) -
A priest was suspended from his ministry on Monday.
The Catholic Diocese of Saginaw announced Father Denis Heames, of Central Michigan University’s St. Mary’s University Parish, had been suspended.
Heames worked as a parochial administrator for more than two years at the parish.
Bishop Joseph Cistone placed Heames on administrative leave for “boundary violations.”
TV5 called the diocese to get clarification on the reasoning behind Heames leave, but the diocese would not comment.
Cistone released a statement on the diocese’s website that said priests deal with weaknesses like anyone else and it’s distressing that someone was harmed by a minister of the church. ...
TV5 also spoke with David Clohessy. He is part of a survivors’ network of those abused by priests.
“We’re glad Father Heames is no longer at a parish, at least temporarily, but we’re upset that the bishop is being so secretive. We think the bishop owes it to his flock to be more forthcoming about this case,” Clohessy said.
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
For immediate release: Tuesday, July 7
Statement by Barbara Blaine of Chicago, president of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (312-399-4747, bblaine@SNAPnetwork.org)
A veteran Catholic editor is disclosing his own childhood suffering at the hands of a Catholic priest. We applaud his courage, shown not just now through his revelations but also shown through his decades of diligence exposing this continuing crisis in the church.
[National Catholic Reporter]
No publication on the planet has worked longer and harder to shed light on the Catholic church’s massive and alarming cover ups of heinous crimes against children than the tenacious and independent National Catholic Reporter. And much of this diligent, painful work has been written or guided by a courageous and compassionate journalist, Tom Fox.
In the 1980s, very few reporters pursued child molesting clerics and their complicit church supervisors. Tom did.
Some journalists who did investigate and write about this scandal succumbed to church pressure. Not Tom. Other reporters who covered this burned out or gave up. Not Tom.
Some journalists often choose to re-hash court records and largely refused to hear or include survivors’ perspectives. Not Tom.
Other reporters accepted bishops’ superficial pledges of reform and moved on. Not Tom.
For decades, Tom has been tireless in his fair but firm work to uncover what legions of Catholic officials and defense lawyers and public relations professionals worked even harder to conceal.
At least 19 US bishops are accused of abuse. That’s a testimony to Tom’s persistence and effectiveness.
Over 3,000 civil abuse and cover up cases have been filed in the US. That’s a testimony to Tom’s persistence and effectiveness.
Nearly 4,000 names of accused bishops, nuns, brothers, deacons, seminarians and priests have been made public in the US. That’s a testimony to Tom’s persistence and effectiveness.
US bishops now admit 6,427 priests are accused of abuse. That’s a testimony to Tom’s persistence and effectiveness.
(Four other sources estimate the real figure is between 9,768 and 10,969.)
(These are solid figures See “Data on the Crisis” on the home page of BishopAccountability.org)
Our hearts ache for Tom and his loved ones. We hope he is deluged with support, admiration and gratitude. We hope his bravery will inspire others who are suffering in shame, confusion and self-blame to break their silence, end their isolation and get support. We hope his example will prod others to speak out about this still widespread cancer so that it can be stopped and its victims can be healed.
Vatican trial for Józef Wesołowski’s sexual abuse charges a pivotal moment for Pope Francis
By John L. Allen Jr.
Associate editor July 7, 2015
While Pope Francis is wowing vast crowds on a triumphant homecoming to Latin America this week, one of the pivotal moments of his papacy is set to begin back in Rome on Saturday with the opening of a criminal trial for former papal diplomat Józef Wesołowski on charges of sexual abuse of minors.
Ultimately, it’s the threat of criminal sanctions from Vatican tribunals that underlies new accountability measures Francis has created to face the two most chronic sources of scandal he inherited when he was elected in March 2013 – sexual abuse and financial misconduct.
The Wesołowski trial is the first major test of that criminal justice system under Francis. And it will have a great deal to say about whether this pontiff’s celebrated vow that there will be no “daddy’s boys” on his watch, meaning clerics able to remain above the law, actually has teeth.
Now 66, Wesołowski was born in Nowy Targ, Poland, in 1948, and ordained a priest by Cardinal Karol Wojtyła of Krakow, the future St. John Paul II, in 1972. Wesołowski served as a papal diplomat in a variety of nations in the late 1990s and 2000s, eventually being named the nuncio, or ambassador, to the Dominican Republic in 2008, holding the rank of archbishop for papal envoys.
Portland Press Herald
BY ERIC RUSSELL STAFF WRITER
firstname.lastname@example.org | @PPHEricRussell | 207-791-6344
The attorney for an Iowa man who has sued Paul Kendrick of Freeport for defamation said Tuesday that Kendrick launched a “campaign of vicious, merciless and unrelenting attacks” against his client based on discredited information.
Peter DeTroy, attorney for Michael Geilenfeld, told jurors in U.S. District Court during opening statements that Kendrick’s claims that Geilenfeld sexually abused boys at an orphanage in Haiti were unfounded.
Geilenfeld, his attorney acknowledged, has been dealing with allegations of abuse dating back to the 1980s but has been exonerated numerous times.
DeTroy said Kendrick didn’t care whether the allegations were true.
“His goal was to destroy this man,” the attorney said.
Kendrick’s attorney, David Walker, countered in his opening statement that sexual abuse allegations involving Geilenfeld have swirled in Haiti and beyond for years. He said Kendrick, a longtime activist against child sexual abuse, was simply asking Haitian authorities to aggressively investigate those allegations and challenging a nonprofit group, Hearts with Haiti, which provided funds for Geilenfeld’s orphanage, to look into them as well.
Walker also told jurors that he planned to offer testimony from seven people who claim that they were sexually abused by Geilenfeld.
The trial is expected to last up to three weeks.
National Catholic Reporter
Austen Ivereigh | Jul. 7, 2015
SANTIAGO, CHILE Back home among his own in Latin America this week, Pope Francis is evangelizing from the peripheries, challenging the world from the standpoint of the disenfranchised and the marginalized.
Yet to a small diocese 500 miles south of the Chilean capital, Santiago, the pope's gestures and words ring somewhat hollow. The priests and laypeople of Osorno, a remote town not far north from Puerto Montt, remain reluctant to criticize Francis openly, preferring to believe he has been badly informed. But there is no doubting their anger and bewilderment at the way their local church has been steamrollered and their appeals ignored.
This week, three delegates of the Organization of Lay People of the diocese, which has just 23 parishes, are traveling to Santa Cruz, Bolivia, in the hope of presenting a letter to Pope Francis during the World Meeting of Popular Movements, which Francis is to address Thursday.
They have been protesting since January, when it became clear that the Vatican would press ahead with the installation of Juan Barros Madrid as Osorno's new bishop, a move as unpopular with Chile's other bishops as it was with the clergy and laypeople of the diocese.
National Catholic Reporter
Thomas C. Fox | Jul. 7, 2015
30 years later
Editor's note: This story is part of a weeklong series dedicated to looking back on 30 years of the abuse crisis in the Catholic church. Read all parts of the series.
We published our first major exposé on the abuse of minors by clergy in our June 7, 1985, issue, just days before the U.S. bishops were to gather at St. John's University in Collegeville, Minn., for their annual June meeting. Our coverage comprised a long piece out of Louisiana by Jason Berry about a young priest-pedophile in the Lafayette diocese; an equally long report on other predatory priests around the nation by Arthur Jones, our Washington bureau chief; and an editorial written by Jones that scored the bishops for their cover-ups. "Keeping the affair quiet has usually assumed greater importance than any possible effect on the victims themselves."
Berry and Jones have pursued careers in the best traditions of American journalism -- to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable -- for the common good of their communities, and often of the entire nation. They do solid journalism. I am proud to have been the editor that provided space and protection for this kind of reporting -- two parallel stories within the clergy abuse scandal: the obscene molestation by priests of pre-pubescent and pubescent children, and the enabling cover-ups by their bishops.
We saw these dual patterns from the start. It took years for us to fill out the picture -- and we had to do it pretty much on our own. Other Catholic publications wouldn't touch the story. Most were controlled by bishops who had little or no desire to say anything bad about the church. The secular dailies back then, including The New York Times, seemed unwilling to confront the Catholic church. ...
Meanwhile, I had become a polarizing figure; some Catholics, in print and elsewhere, called me "the son of Satan." Our critics were convinced NCR had set out to "tear down the church." It was a frequent cry. We'd often print their letters. We lost hundreds, if not thousands, of subscribers.
Charges against our news judgment came home when one NCR board member, Jesuit Fr. Joseph Fichter, called for my resignation. When he received no other support, he resigned from the board.
Looking back at another part of this story, I'd like to share something I have rarely told anyone outside of family and the inner ranks at NCR. I have had special empathy with sex abuse survivors because I am one of them. A Catholic priest molested me when I was 12. The priest (as he died in 1999 and so cannot defend himself, I will not name him) was a friend of the family when he invited me to join him on a three-day vacation to the Wisconsin Dells. My parents happily consented. He molested me the first night in the hotel. It was one of the most frightening nights of my life.
The Morning Sun
By Rick Mills, The Morning Sun
A nationwide support group for people abused by priests says Catholic Church officials should provide further details about a Mt. Pleasant priest suspended for improper behavior.
Parishioners need to know the nature of what the Rev. Denis M. Hearnes did and releasing the facts could also ensure that any potential crimes are investigated, said David Clohessy, director of the Missouri-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
“Saginaw’s bishop owes parishioners and the public more information about a just-suspended priest,” Clohessy said in a press release. “We hope the local Catholic hierarchy will be more honest about the allegations.”
Hearnes, priest at St. Mary’s University Parish in Mt. Pleasant, was put on administrative leave for inappropriate behavior related to his ministry, Bishop Joseph R. Cistone of the Saginaw Diocese said Monday.
William D. Lindsey
This week, National Catholic Reporter is publishing a week-long series of articles looking back at the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic church. I highly recommend this series to you. I was particularly moved by hearing Barbara Blaine's story of how she (and others) came to found the group Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests. I'm not sure I had ever heard all the details of her own painful, liberating story — certainly not in her first-person narrative.
What stands out for me in this account:
1. After she was repeatedly sexually abused by her parish priest Father Chet Warren (who violated at least 21 other girls, to Blaine's knowledge) from her early adolescence up to her graduation from high school, when she went to confession and told a priest about all of this on a senior retreat, the priest told her,
"Jesus could forgive anything," instead of, "You did nothing wrong. We have to call the police and your parents."
2. Reading an NCR article by Jason Berry in the summer of 1985 when she was working at a Catholic Worker house in Chicago, which told of Father Gilbert Gauthe's sexual abuse of altar boys, was a triggering experience for Blaine. She had a panic attack as she read the article, and then entered a state of personal crisis from which she emerged as she began to share her story of abuse by Father Warren with others.
3. Repeatedly and naively (and like me, when Belmont Abbey College ended my career as a Catholic theologian for never-explained reasons in 1993 and I turned to the bishop of Charlotte, North Carolina, for assistance and pastoral counsel), Blaine naively trusted the pastoral officials of the Catholic church to do something to assist her and other victims of childhood and adolescent sexual violation by priests. But this is what she experienced over and over again, instead:
While claiming they would, church officials refused to help me.
4. And so this led her to begin networking with, listening to, reaching out to connect with other victims of abuse, whose stories were painfully similar to her own. And SNAP was born . . . . As Blaine says, while church officials have been, for the most part, an unyielding obstacle to victims of abuse seeking justice and healing, thousands of lay Catholics who care about victims have rallied to their cause, and have assisted with supporting SNAP and other survivor groups.
The recent Berkeley tragedy which claimed the lives of six young people highlighted the central role that priests can play in providing comfort and solace for the bereaved, a bishop has told the ordination mass of a priest in Co Cork.
Bishop William Crean of Cloyne said that it was encouraging to see a positive portrayal of priests in the midst of the tragic loss of life in Berkeley after years of negative media portrayal of the clergy because of the child sex abuse scandals.
“The recent tragic deaths of the young people with the collapse of the balcony in Berkeley California led to a natural outpouring of sympathy for their families as they mourned the loss of their son or daughter in the springtime of their lives.
“Hope and aspiration gave way to the sense of huge loss and despair that such a tragedy brings to life. We remember them in our prayers as we also remember so many whose lives and dreams are being shattered by war and terror.
“I recall this tragic event and its aftermath for the presence of so many priests who at various moments were available and willing to minister to these families at a time of desolation for them and sought to bring some consolation by being with them in their hour of need.
“Given the very negative media portrayal of the priesthood because of the abuse scandals it is heartening to read a journalist - Kathy Sheridan in The Irish Times - acknowledge that positive face of priesthood.”
July 7, 2015
By Bethany Mandel
Last year I discovered that my rabbi, Barry Freundel, filmed me naked while I was in the mikveh bathroom preparing to convert (during a “practice dunk”) and while converting to Judaism. After outrage and sorrow, I felt fear. Fear for the integrity of my conversion with his name at the top of my documents.
At 2 am several days later I woke up and penned a now infamous blog post on my phone in the dark next to my sleeping husband. When he woke up I told him I would throw it up on the Times of Israel and gave him a basic gist of the contents. It was a Bill of Rights for converts and those would finish the conversion process. He is a fantastic editor, and I normally have him at least proofread what I write, but I didn’t think many would even bother to read this. By the time he got to the office it was on the front page of the Times of Israel, and to date has been shared over 15,000 times on Facebook alone. I didn’t think anything that I had to say was particularly groundbreaking. Most of my close friends knew what I went through in order to convert to Judaism, and I thought that my experience was fairly normal. I discovered afterwards that what converts go through is not well known in the wider Jewish community.
As surprised as I was for that post to go viral, I was equally surprised to hear from Rabbi Mark Dratch, Executive Vice President of the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA). The RCA were putting together a committee to evaluate protocols and best practices for RCA conversions going forward, and he asked me to be a part. By the time I spoke to him I had already regretted writing my piece for the Times of Israel, as I had previously liked to keep my status as a convert as close to the chest as possible. At this point I knew that there was no real going back; when you Googled my name, the first thing that popped up was the Times of Israel piece. When you and put “Bethany Mandel” into Google the first suggested autocomplete is “conversion.” Despite being loathe to be the poster child for conversion, I knew I had an opportunity to help make a difference, to make it better for future converts, and I accepted his offer.
[This morning the Apostolic Nunciature in Chile reported that Pope Francis appointed Santiago Silva Retamales as military bishop. This is the position formerly held by Bishop Juan Barros of Osorno.]
Esta mañana la Nunciatura Apostólica en Chile informó que el Papa Francisco nombró obispo castrense a Santiago Silva Retamales, hasta ahora obispo titular de Bela y obispo auxiliar de Valparaíso. Así pasará a ocupar el cargo que fue de Juan Barros, actual obispo de Osorno.
"La representación de la Santa Sede en nuestro país ha comunicado además que Mons. Claudio Verdugo Cavieres seguirá en el cargo de Administrador del Obispado Castrense hasta el día de la toma de posesión canónica de dicha Sede de parte del nuevo Obispo", sostiene la Iglesia mediante un comunicado.
Tim Diacono 7 July 2015
No accounts have been filed since 2011 by tele-evangelist Gordon John Manché’s ‘Nations for Christ’ with the Commissioner for NGOs raising questions on its financing model of requesting tithes from followers.
Some ardent followers of evangelical fellowship River of Love donate 10% of their salary to the group, in accordance with an ancient biblical belief.
A teacher at pastor Gordon-John Manche’s Nations for Christ Bible College – which has courted controversy in the past over alleged ‘gay conversion’ claims – told MaltaToday that the “tithe” principle features extensively in the Bible, from Abraham donating one-tenth of his war-spoils to a high priest, to its inclusion in the Law of Moses.
“Not once in the Bible does it state that the tithe has been abolished,” Marius-Richard Cilia said. “There are biblical principles about money and paying taxes, just as there are biblical principles about love. The tithe is a belief, an agreement between a person and God, and some people at River of Love abide by this principle.”
By Shlomo Pitrikovksky
First Publish: 7/7/2015
The Nazareth District Court rejected Tuesday an appeal by a well-known rabbi from northern Israel facing sexual abuse allegations, after the Magistrates' Court decided to allow his name to be published.
Following the appeal, however, the rabbi's identity will not be revealed until Wednesday at 4:00 pm, in order to allow the rabbi's defense attorney to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.
The defense argued that the rabbi has no criminal record, and that publication of his name may cause irreversible damage.
On the other hand, the prosecution argued that the law states that a suspect's name is to be published within 48 hours of an investigation opening, and that revealing of the name is necessary to collect witnesses and further the investigation.
The judge noted in the decision that the evidence against the rabbi is heavy.
Deputy editor, WAtoday
Dozens of victims of abuse meted out by Christian Brothers at West Australian facilities have resettled their claims following a review sparked by a royal commission into child abuse in institutions.
Almost half of the 130 requests submitted by abuse victims for the Christian Brothers to re-examine their outcomes have been resettled.
The reviews were being held after the Christian Brothers gave an undertaking at the royal commission last year to re-examine "demonstrably unjust" and "unreasonably low" settlements.
Following the undertaking, 130 requests were made to review settlements connected with abuses carried out at the Christian Brothers' WA facilities at Tardun, Bindoon, Clontarf and Castledare.
Christian Brothers Oceania provincial leader Brother Peter Clinch said 64 re-examined cases were finalised and new settlements had been reached.
People with disabilities who have suffered sexual abuse as a child will have the chance to speak about their experiences at three forums in western Victoria's Wimmera this week.
Horsham, Warracknabeal and Nhill will host information sessions for people with disabilities, their friends, family members, staff working in disability organisations and whistleblowers.
The forums are part of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
The information sessions are designed to outline support and people will have the opportunity to speak about abuse they have experienced or witnessed.
Religion News Service
Rich Preheim | July 6, 2015
(RNS) From seminars to a service of lament to a statement confessing its failure to offer healing for survivors, sexual abuse was a prominent topic at the Mennonite Church USA’s biennial convention, which concluded Sunday (July 5).
Not prominently mentioned, but on many people’s minds, was the denomination’s complicity in the rampant sexual violations by one of its most distinguished members, the late theologian John Howard Yoder.
The revelations of sexual violence committed by one of the most influential shapers of Christian pacifism have left many people grappling with the incongruity.
“The impetus for these initiatives was ‘We don’t want this to happen again,'” said Hannah Heinzekehr, director of communications for the denomination.
A lifelong Mennonite who died in 1997, Yoder was one of the greatest theologians of the 20th century. Many of his books remain in print, including the classic “The Politics of Jesus,” first published in 1972 and called one of the 10 best books of the 20th century by Christianity Today.
The evidence of Cardinal Seán Brady, retired Archbishop of Armagh, to the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry in Banbridge, Co Down, cannot be taken seriously. Or else he still doesn’t get child abuse. He used the word “scandal” to describe the cover-up of Fr Brendan Smyth’s abuse. This use of language means that Cardinal Brady sees sexual abuse as a moral issue, not a crime.
His claim that the Catholic Church hierarchy did not understand paedophilia is irrelevant, and a distraction. No one needs to understand paedophilia to realise that sexual assaults on children are criminal acts. Child abuse is like domestic violence and adult rape. Such crimes are always about the abuse of power and using fear to get what you want. Child abusers do it because they can, not because they have irresistible urges.
Cardinal Brady also claimed that the hierarchy did not understand the effect of sexual abuse on children. What part of raping and buggering girls and boys did they not understand? What effect did they think these criminal acts would have on children? When adult women and men are raped, the consequences are catastrophic. How much worse must it be for children? With rape and buggery there would have been injuries. Yet Cardinal Brady asked the two boys who had been abused by Smyth whether they “liked” what was done to them. When gathering evidence during the canonical inquiry in 1975 he ought to have known that children were at risk of serious harm. Swearing witnesses to secrecy is akin to aiding and abetting these crimes and left hundreds more children at risk of rape. Let’s hope that those in the church who are now charged with safeguarding children have a better understanding of the law.
Laws dealing with sexual assaults on minors go back nearly two centuries. The Offences Against the Person Act of 1861 covered rape and sexual assaults of girls and boys. “Whosoever shall be guilty of the crime of rape . . . shall be liable to be kept in penal servitude for life” and “persons convicted of aggravated assaults on females and boys under 14 years of age may be imprisoned or fined”. The Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1935 also covered sexual abuse. “Any person who unlawfully and carnally knows any girl under the age of 15 shall be guilty of a felony and shall be liable on conviction thereof to penal servitude for life.” Buggery of boys was also covered and attracted a sentence of life imprisonment. These Acts were updated and strengthened by the Criminal Law (Rape) Amendment Act 1990. The new Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill will provide greater protection for children when it is finally enacted.
BY ROSALIO AHUMADA
A 37-year-old man who volunteered at a Turlock church agreed to a plea deal Monday afternoon that will result in a 28-year prison sentence for sexually abusing three boys.
Eduardo Arellano Sanchez pleaded no contest to committing lewd and lascivious acts with a child younger than 14 and two counts of continuous sexual abuse of a child. In exchange for his plea, prosecutors dropped six other felonies in connection with the abuse.
A preliminary hearing for the defendant was scheduled to begin Monday morning. The attorneys, however, worked through the morning to reach a plea deal.
By: Rebecca Omastiak
The names of seven priests of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate who have been accused of sexually abusing children will be released publicly Tuesday.
According to a statement issued by St. Paul law firm Jeff Anderson & Associates, PA, all seven of the priests served in Minnesota for part of their careers. Other locations at which the priests worked include Illinois, Missouri, Mississippi, Texas, Nebraska, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Washington, D.C., and Canada.
The release of names is part of a settlement reached in a civil lawsuit brought against the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, the Diocese of Duluth and the Diocese of New Ulm in April.
July 6, 2015
A FORMER priest and deputy school headmaster “preyed” on two young boys for his own sexual gratification over a seven year period, a court has heard.
Christopher Howarth appeared yesterday at Hove Trial Centre accused of 20 counts of sexual activity with the two boys, between 2004 and 2011.
The 67-year-old is accused of engaging the boys, who were pupils at the school and members of his congregation, in sexual activity in return for up to £100 a time, computer games and mobile phone contracts.
Howarth, of Rocks Park Road in Uckfield, said the boys’ allegations were motivated by “financial gain” knowing he had a second bank account containing thousands of pounds.
The former deputy headteacher at Uckfield Community Technology College said he treated the boys like “his own children” and while he could be “tactile” with them or kiss them, there was “nothing inappropriate” about their relationship.
Monday 6 July 2015
At first glance, a national redress scheme for victims of childhood sexual abuse, jointly funded by government, churches, schools and other institutions, might seem like a sensible idea. A meaningful form of redress for victims is decades overdue. Such a scheme has been recommended by the royal commission into institutional child sexual abuse and received strong support from the Catholic church’s truth, justice and healing council (TJHC).
The federal government has not agreed to such a scheme, presumably with an eye to the bottom line. The temptation will be strong for many to call on the government to accept the royal commission’s recommendation.
And yet there is something about a national scheme that sticks in the craw. Should taxpayers fund a national compensation scheme? We have funded the current royal commission, which has been a ground-breaking investment in a better society. Julia Gillard’s brilliant “captain’s call”. But should we be required to subsidise the compensation payments to victims of the Catholic church’s monumental criminal enterprise?
The Catholic church is but one of the institutions that failed to take adequate steps to prevent children from being molested and raped. The royal commission has exposed many others including the ultra-Orthodox Jewish institution, Yeshivah, the Anglican church and the Salvation Army. The case for distinguishing the Catholic church rests on at least three propositions.
First, by virtue of its size, the scale of child sexual abuse within the Catholic church is extraordinary. We will never know precise numbers; the nature of child sexual abuse ensures that some victims will never speak up and others will commit suicide without sharing their awful experience. Thousands have been abused and many more devastated.
By Jessica Shepherd | email@example.com
on July 06, 2015
MOUNT PLEASANT, MI — A priest in the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw is on administrative leave due to what the diocese is calling "boundary violations."
The Rev. Denis Heames, who serves as parochial administrator for St. Mary University Parish in Mount Pleasant, was placed on leave last week, according to a statement released by the diocese Monday, July 6.
The diocese said the alleged incident or incidents that led to Heames' leave did not involve minors and are not criminal in nature. The diocese declined to provide any additional information.
Erin Looby, a spokeswoman for the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw, said the diocese would report any indication of illegal activity to law enforcement.
According to the statement released by the diocese, Bishop Joseph Cistone spoke with parishioners Sunday, July 5, at the Mount Pleasant church.
National Law Journal
Sheri Qualters, The National Law Journal
July 6, 2015
A trial opens today in Maine federal court against a man who claimed in Internet postings and blast emails that a missionary sexually abused Haitian children and that a U.S. nonprofit enabled him.
The plaintiffs are Hearts with Haiti Inc., the Raleigh-based nonprofit, and Michael Geilenfeld, executive director of St. Joseph Family of Haiti, which provides housing, education and other services to children. Hearts with Haiti supports St. Joseph Family. They sued Freeport, Maine, resident Paul Kendrick, alleging defamation.
“The court has been convinced for quite some time that this intractable and emotional dispute can only be resolved by a trial, where the parties, represented by extremely able counsel, put the merits of their claims and defenses before a jury,” U.S. District Judge John A. Woodcock Jr. (left) wrote on July 1. He denied the plaintiffs’ motion seeking the names of all recipients of the defendant’s emails from three accounts.
The case, which dates to February 2013, claims Kendrick began a “malicious campaign of outrageous conduct” in January 2011, without having met any of the plaintiffs’ employees, staff, volunteers or other associates. The plaintiffs claim Kendrick disseminated false accusations via blogs, website postings, email and a radio interview.
The conduct caused them “severe financial harm” that lessened their ability to care for Haitian children, they alleged.
Kendrick said his accusations reflect allegations by seven men who will testify that Geilenfeld abused them as children at an orphanage in Haiti.
Bangor Daily News
By Beth Brogan, BDN Staff
Posted July 06, 2015
PORTLAND, Maine — Attorneys are scheduled to give opening arguments Tuesday in the civil trial of Paul Kendrick, a Freeport man who was sued for defamation in 2013 by a former Catholic brother from Haiti and his nonprofit organization.
Michael Geilenfeld, 63, of Port au Prince, Haiti, and Hearts with Haiti, a North Carolina-based nonprofit group that raised money for orphanages run by Geilenfeld, filed suit against Kendrick, 65, an outspoken advocate for victims of clergy sexual abuse who claimed Geilenfeld, an Iowa native, sexually abused children.
Geilenfeld and Hearts with Haiti claim false allegations by Kendrick about Geilenfeld defamed the organization and caused fundraising events in the U.S. to be canceled.
The civil complaint, filed in February 2013, was amended after Geilenfeld’s release from a Haitian jail. It now includes a request for additional damages because of Geilenfeld’s “horrific experiences in prison.”
In a pre-trial brief filed last month, Geilenfeld’s attorney, Peter DeTroy of Portland, claimed his client’s damages “far exceed[ed] $10 million.” The charity has claimed losses of more than $2 million in donations, according to court documents.
The New York Times
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
JULY 6, 2015
PORTLAND, Maine — An outspoken Roman Catholic who advocates for child sexual abuse victims has been relentless in targeting those he believes have mistreated children or covered up for abusers. A jury that was seated Monday will decide whether the combative activist went too far in a campaign against an orphanage founder in Haiti.
Hearts With Haiti, a nonprofit that raises money for the orphanage, and the U.S. citizen who founded the orphanage have accused activist Paul Kendrick of spreading falsehoods that have cost the charity more than $2 million in donations.
Kendrick said he's eager for jurors in the defamation lawsuit to hear accusers testify in federal court about what he described as "unspeakable acts" performed by Michael Geilenfeld.
The trial, which begins with opening statements on Tuesday, is expected to last about three weeks. The plaintiffs, who say testimony will support damages in excess of more than $10 million, said in a court document that Kendrick has exhibited a "maniacal refusal against all reason" to acknowledge that his accusations were false and egregious.
"The defendant sets out to wreck careers, scare, harass, and humiliate kind-hearted, good people, with his recklessly leveled charges of support for child molesters or child abuse," a lawyer wrote.
Kendrick, who lives in Freeport, Maine, said he's giving a voice to those who needed one. "I raised the allegations for those who've been trying to do so for 25 years," he said Monday.
Portland Press Herald
BY ERIC RUSSELL STAFF WRITER
firstname.lastname@example.org | @PPHEricRussell | 207-791-6344
A federal defamation trial involving an outspoken advocate for child sex abuse victims from Freeport who has accused the founder of an orphanage in Haiti of abusing boys opened this week in U.S. District Court in Portland.
Ten jurors – eight women and two men – were selected Monday to hear the case. Attorneys for Paul Kendrick, who is being sued for defamation, and plaintiff Michael Geilenfeld, will deliver opening statements on Tuesday, kicking off a trial that is expected to be both lengthy and emotionally charged.
Judge John Woodcock even cautioned both Kendrick, 65, and Geilenfeld, 63, on Monday about making any outbursts that might taint the jury in any way. The two tussled verbally at a pretrial hearing last month.
“Each of you will likely hear things about yourself that you profoundly disagree with and that strike you right to the core,” Woodcock told the two men. “I do not want to admonish you in front of the jury. It will not help your case if I do that.”
Geilenfeld filed his lawsuit in February 2013, alleging that Kendrick wrote repeatedly in emails and on a blog that Geilenfeld sexually abused boys at his orphanage in Haiti. Geilenfeld has denied the charges.
Kendrick has said he felt compelled to share what he heard from victims and their family members.
Jeff Anderson & Associates
July 6, 2015
Survivor of Childhood Sexual Abuse by Oblate Priest to Speak About Abuse Publicly for First Time
WHAT: The names and assignment histories of seven priests of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (“Oblates”) who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children will be released publicly for the first time. A survivor of sexual abuse by one of these priests will speak publicly for the first time about the abuse. The priests all served in Minnesota for part of their careers. Other locations at which the priests worked include Missouri, Illinois, Mississippi, Texas, Nebraska, Wisconsin, South Dakota, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Washington, D.C., North Dakota and Canada.
• The release is part of a settlement reached in a civil lawsuit brought by Doe 30 against the Oblates, the Diocese of Duluth and the Diocese of New Ulm. The settlement was reached in April between Doe 30, the plaintiff, and defendant Oblates. The other defendants in the case – the Diocese of Duluth and Diocese of New Ulm - were not part of the settlement, and Doe 30’s case against them is still pending in Ramsey County District Court.
• The lawsuit stems from Doe 30’s sexual abuse by Father J. Vincent Fitzgerald, an Oblate priest, in 1978 when Doe 30 was a minor.
WHEN: Tuesday, July 7, 2015 at 1:00 PM CDT
WHERE: Offices of Jeff Anderson and Associates, P.A.
366 Jackson Street, Suite 100
St. Paul, MN 55101
NOTES: Assignment histories will be available online and we will live stream the press event from our website www.andersonadvocates.com.
Contact Jeff Anderson: Office/651.227.9990 Cell/612.817.8665
Contact Mike Finnegan: Office/651.227.9990 Cell/612.205.5531
Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Judge John A.Woodcock, Jr., presiding
8:30 a.m. / Courtroom 2 / Opening Statements by Attorneys for Plaintiffs and Defendant
10:30 a.m. / Plaintiffs' first witness / According to Attorney Peter DeTroy, witnesses may include:
Bill Nathan, St. Joseph's Home for Boys, Haiti
Shelley Wiley, Hearts with Haiti
Walnas Cangas, St. Joseph's Home for Boys, Haiti
Paul Kendrick, Freeport, Maine
2:30 p.m. / Court recesses for the day
We will publish a schedule of the next day's witnesses by 6:00 pm each day.
Plaintiffs expect to present witnesses for two weeks, followed by one week for Defendant's presentation.
U.S. District Court
156 Federal Street
Portland, Maine 04101
By Jade Macmillan
The Christian Brothers has reached settlements with more victims following the Perth hearings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
The royal commission last year examined abuse allegations at Christian Brothers colleges in Bindoon, Tardun, Clontarf and Castledare between 1947 and 1968.
Victims described being sexually and emotionally abused as well as being subjected to hard labour.
Many also complained about the amount of compensation they had received.
The royal commission found the Christian Brothers leadership was aware of abuse allegations for decades but failed to act.
It also found at least one Brother who had been accused of abusing children was moved to another institution.
For many, religion has become a place to visit to escape from the troubles that life brings, as well as a place of sanctuary, or a place to give thanks and share joy. However, for others, organized religion can end up being extremely damaging to the psyche as far too many who interpret those religions use religious indoctrination and texts to abuse the teachings of any particular religion to implement their own thoughts, ideas, and ways of life.
Dr. Marlene Winell dives into this world of abuse first-hand to study it’s damaging effects. She holds her doctorate in Human Development and Family Studies and offers services that aid in recovery from religion. She writes:
“I think we can acknowledge we have a subculture now – a group of people who were once religious but have left and are reclaiming their lives. This group is special and identifiable. It’s not just exChristian; it’s exMormon, exMuslim, ex-Jehovah-Witness, ex-cult, and ex-authoritarian.”
Winell wrote an article for the British Association for Behavioural & Cognitive Psychotherapies that explains what she calls “Religious Trauma Syndrome” (RTS). Within the article she writes:
“Religious indoctrination can be hugely damaging, and making the break from an authoritarian kind of religion can definitely be traumatic. It involves a complete upheaval of a person’s construction of reality, including the self, other people, life, the future, everything. People unfamiliar with it, including therapists, have trouble appreciating the sheer terror it can create and the recovery needed.”
Rabbinical Council of America
June 29, 2015
Page 11 of 22
These following recommendations build on those initially developed as part of the establishment of the GPS Network.
At the time of the establishment of the GPS system, attention was paid primarily to the development of Batei Din that would function according to standardized halachic procedures. Primary concerns included the essential requirement of conversion candidates’ full observance of Jewish law at the time of the conversion, as well as with their expectation and commitment to continue to live as observant Jews. The emphasis in establishing this system was to maintain a high quality of the conversions in order to assure that they would be widely recognized.
The emphasis of the RCA in establishing these Batei Din was thus primarily on the halachic practices of the Batei Din and not on the experiences of the converts. It was assumed at the time that the experiences of converts, their training, their spiritual and religious development, their emotional process and comfort would be tended to by their Sponsoring Rabbis who had much experience in these areas.
The collection of data from the surveys, from input of those involved in conversion preparation as teachers and sponsoring rabbis, as well as from the collective experience of the Review Committee members, have made apparent, however, that the RCA must not limit its attention to halachic details, but to the many areas and aspects of the complexity of the total conversion experience for conversion candidates including emotional, spiritual, social issues, power dynamics, and other factors. While many converts felt satisfied with the process of conversion, a significant minority felt vulnerable, unduly stressed, and sometimes even resentful of the process. These recommendations expand the attention that must be given to the quality of the experiences of converts.
Rabbinical Council of America
Jul 5, 2015 -- NEW YORK, July 6, 2015 – The committee charged with reviewing the conversion processes of the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) for the purpose of better serving conversion candidates has completed its task and submitted a detailed report that was enthusiastically received by the organization’s membership. This followed a series of presentations by committee members at the RCA’s annual convention – held June 29-July 1, 2015 in Tarrytown, New York – that included a transparent discussion of the issues at hand, a thorough presentation of the committee’s findings and recommendations, and the deep emotion felt by those involved in the review process.
The mandate of the committee – consisting of rabbis and other community representatives – was to evaluate the entire system of conversions in order to identify best practices, understand the delivery of services from all perspectives and make recommendations for establishing a “gold standard” process that is professional, respectful and spiritually engaging. Over a nine-month period, the committee paid attention to both the issues and systems it found deficient, and those areas it found to be appropriate and effective. Its 22–page report is available to the public on the RCA’s website at www.rabbis.org.
Bethany Mandel, a member of the committee who converted to Judaism, said in her address at the RCA convention, “I am hopeful that this report will make it better for American conversion candidates going forward. Working with this incredible group of Jewish professionals and rabbis has reinstilled a lot of the faith I had in Jewish communal life at the outset of my conversion. Evelyn [Fruchter] and I were chosen with those in the RCA knowing that we weren't going to be ‘yes women,’ that we weren't going to sit back and take a passive role in this process. We came to the table with our sleeves rolled up, and we were accepted at the table as equals. I have a great deal of respect for that. I'm cautiously optimistic. The framework we've laid out here…is a great start, but it's up to many of you in this room today to make sure that the spirit of these recommendations is carried out. I hope that we are all up to the task.”
The focus of the committee was the Geirus Policies and Standards (GPS) processes and network. GPS was established in 2007 by the RCA and its affiliated Beth Din of America in an effort to standardize conversion practices and better serve conversion candidates. The network is comprised of 12 regional conversion courts administered by a national GPS office and, to date, more than 1,300 candidates have converted to Judaism through the GPS process. A review of the GPS processes had been previously commissioned, but the October 2014 arrest of Barry Freundel expanded the mandate and urgency.
By Uriel Heilman
July 6, 2015
NEW YORK (JTA) – After facing criticism for its handling of inappropriate behavior by a convert-supervising rabbi who turned out to be a mikvah-peeping voyeur, the country’s main centrist Orthodox rabbinical group has released key guidelines aimed at preventing abuses during the conversion process.
The Rabbinical Council of America is recommending that would-be converts be given a clear sense from the outset of the timeline and requirements for conversion, and that the conversion curriculum be standardized.
The review of the RCA’s Geirus Protocol and Standards (GPS) conversion process, announced last October two weeks after Rabbi Barry Freundel’s arrest, was designed to establish safeguards against rabbinic misconduct and included both women and converts.
Aside from his crimes of voyeurism, including having female conversion candidates take “practice dunks” in the mikvah ritual bath so he could record them naked on a hidden camera, Freundel had conversion candidates do free clerical work, kept prospective converts in the dark about how long their conversions could take and employed seemingly arbitrary benchmarks for judging candidates’ readiness for conversion. Converts say Freundel is not alone among conversion-sponsoring rabbis in using seemingly capricious timelines and standards for conversion, despite the RCA’s centralizing of Orthodox conversion in 2007 under its GPS system.
St. Louis Jewish Light
There’s some tantalizingly interesting material in the final report of a committee charged with reviewing the way the Rabbinical Council of America, the country’s main Orthodox rabbinical association, deals with conversion.
Much comes from a survey of 439 Orthodox converts that provides the first-ever statistics about American Orthodox converts. Some comes from a survey of 107 rabbis who sponsor Orthodox conversions. A few other interesting nuggets are buried in the report itself.
Here are 10 I found interesting:
Of the RCA’s Orthodox converts:
78 percent are women
72 percent are ages 20-39
45 percent have Jewish ancestry
80 percent cite “spiritual-intellectual search” as their reason for converting
* About 85 percent of converts said the process of immersing naked in a mikvah ritual bath in the presence of three rabbinic witnesses was handled with sufficient modesty.
* About 57 percent said the experience was “filled with holiness and excitement that left little room for anything else,” 29 percent said it felt like a sanctified moment but a little uncomfortable, 12 percent said it was just awkward and uncomfortable and 2 percent said they resented it.
Times of Israel
A committee established by the Rabbinical Council of America to review its conversion processes has submitted its report featuring recommendations in nine areas of the process.
The review was put in place nine months ago after one of the RCA’s leading conversion rabbis, Barry Freundel, was arrested on voyeurism charges. Freundel was sentenced to 6½ years in prison for videotaping dozens of nude women at his former congregation’s ritual bath in Washington, DC.
The recommendations focused on support for conversion candidates during and after their conversions, professionalism, transparency of expectations, sensitivity to candidates, educational experiences, the responsibilities and support for rabbis and rabbinic judges, and oversight, supervision, and grievance processing.
“I am hopeful that this report will make it better for American conversion candidates going forward,” committee member Bethany Mandel said last week when presenting the report to the national convention of the RCA, the country’s main modern Orthodox rabbinic association. “The framework we’ve laid out here … is a great start, but it’s up to many of you in this room today to make sure that the spirit of these recommendations is carried out.”
Some 439 conversion participants from a pool of 835, along with 107 sponsoring rabbis in a pool of 216, responded to an anonymous survey. Five focus groups also were conducted in New York, Montreal and Washington, DC.
Bishop Joseph Cistone of the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw has announced that a Mt. Pleasant priest has been placed on administrative leave. A statement from the diocese said Rev. Denis Heames, the Parochial Administrator of St. Mary University Parish, is on leave because of "boundary violations related to his priestly ministry."
Bishop Cistone's statement said the issue was "serious enough to require appropriate assessment and treatment, " but that it "in no way involved minors." Cistone said because people's lives were affected, Father Heames "will need to address matters in a comprehensive way." He said the diocese is making arrangements to ensure the Sacramental and administrative needs of the parish.
The Morning Sun
By Rick Mills, The Morning Sun
A Mt. Pleasant-based Catholic priest has been put on administrative leave for inappropriate behavior related to his ministry, church officials said in a press release.
The Rev. Denis M. Heames, priest at St. Mary’s University Parish, has been placed on administrative leave “due to boundary violations related to his priestly ministry,” said Bishop Joseph R. Cistone of the Saginaw Diocese.
“Last weekend, it was brought to my attention that Father Heames has been involved in boundary violations related to his priestly conduct serious enough to require appropriate assessment and treatment,” Cistone told parishioners at St. Mary University Parish.
The New York Times
The first Jesuit pope and the first non-European pope in more than 1,200 years, Francis has differed significantly from his predecessors with his outspoken style and his approach to leading the church. His comments on poverty, church reform, climate change and divorce have made headlines around the world. Here is a look at some of them. ...
He Is Holding Bishops More Accountable for Sex Abuse
Francis approved the creation of a Vatican tribunal for judging bishops accused of covering up or failing to act in cases of child sexual abuse by priests, a step long demanded by victims in the more than three decades that the Roman Catholic Church has publicly dealt with the abuse scandal.
Until Francis, no pope had publicly confronted or demoted bishops accused of gross negligence.
Road to Recovery
The Attorney General of Ohio needs to begin a state’s criminal investigation of the sexual abuse of minor children by Br. Stephen Baker, T.O.R. in much the same way the Pennsylvania Attorney General is investigating sexual abuse of minor children by Br. Stephen Baker and the Third Order Regular Franciscans of Hollidaysburg, PA
Br. Stephen Baker, who committed suicide in his Pennsylvania monastery, sexually abused more than 100 minor children in several states, including Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, and courageous victim/survivors continue to come forward to report their abuse and begin their healing
A second member of the Third Order Franciscans, Fr. David Kaczmarek, T.O.R., allegedly committed suicide recently in the Hollidaysburg, PA area in the midst of the investigation by the Pennsylvania Attorney General
A press conference calling on the Ohio Attorney General to commence a criminal investigation of the sexual abuse of minor children by Br. Stephen Baker, T.O.R, in Ohio, especially at John F. Kennedy High School in Warren, Ohio, St. Mary’s Middle School in Warren, Ohio, and possibly other towns and cities in Ohio, and the actions and policies of the Third Order Religious Franciscans based in Hollidaysburg, PA, who supervised Br. Stephen Baker and other Franciscan friars
Tuesday, July 7, 2015 at 11:00 am
On the public sidewalk across from the headquarters of the Diocese of Youngstown, Ohio, 144 West Wood Street, Youngstown, Ohio 44503
Robert M. Hoatson, Ph.D., Co-founder and President of Road to Recovery, Inc., a non-profit charity that assists victims of sexual abuse and their families; Barbara Aponte of Poland, Ohio, mother of Luke Bradesku, a John F. Kennedy High School victim of Br. Stephen Baker who is deceased; and possibly two victims of Br. Stephen Baker who still live in the Warren, Ohio area.
The Attorney General of Pennsylvania is currently conducting a criminal investigation of the Third Order Regular Franciscan friars religious order based in Hollidaysburg, PA as a result of dozens of credible allegations of sexual abuse against Br. Stephen Baker, T.O.R., at Bishop Mc Cort High School in Johnstown, PA and the surrounding area. Recently, another Franciscan friar, Fr. David Kaczmarek, T.O.R., committed suicide in a facility run by the Franciscan friars in Hollidaysburg, PA. Demonstrators will call on the Attorney General of Ohio to begin a criminal investigation of the sexual abuse of minor children by Br. Stephen Baker, T.O.R., in Ohio, and of the supervisors of Br. Stephen Baker who transferred him from Michigan to Ohio despite knowing about his history of sexual abuse of children in Michigan.
Dr. Robert M. Hoatson, Road to Recovery, Inc. – Livingston, NJ 07039 – 862-368-2800
Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, Boston, MA – 617-523-6250
Central Michigan Life
By Sydney Smith
Father Denis Heames, priest at St. Mary's University Parish, has been placed on administrative leave according to a press release from the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw.
"It greatly distresses me to know that any person entrusted to our care has been harmed by the minister of our church," said Bishop Joseph Cistone.
Although the release does not disclose the details of why Heames was put on leave, Cistone points out that Heames' actions "in no way involve minors." He said the priest has been involved in "boundary violations" related to his priestly conduct. In the press release, Cistone said priests deal with weaknesses and sin as any other person.
Central Michigan Life reached out to St. Mary's, who referred them to the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw.
"We can't go into anything further," said Erin Carlson, director of communications at the diocese. "I think the bishop just wanted the parishioners to know that (the involvement of minors) didn't need to cross their minds."
Church officials contacted President George Ross. Vice President of University Communications Sherry Knight said they did this as a courtesy. She did not have any further information on what was discussed.
Hamilton and Griffin on Rightsi
Here’s a modest (and admittedly unusual) suggestion to help prevent sex crimes in churches: How about a one year moratorium on “forgiveness” talk in clergy abuse cases?
I can already hear the chorus of objections. “What? You can’t be serious! Forgiveness is wonderful and healing and Christian!”
It’s true. Forgiveness is all of this and more. (Witness the salutary effects of the forgiveness shown by loved ones of the recent South Carolina church shooting.)
But it’s also sometimes a distraction from more pressing business. It’s sometimes exploited by self-serving officials who want to “turn the page” and “move on” from still-simmering scandals.
And it’s sometimes almost force-fed to victims, church staff and church members who should actually be focusing on proven prevention steps first.
Consider just a handful of examples.
WHAT WAS SAID:
A decade ago, Dallas Bishop Charles Grahmann “asked parishioners to forgive Fr. Matthew Bagert who, four days earlier, was arrested on charges of child pornography possession.” “When one fails, we also believe in forgiveness,” Grahmann said. “I ask that you open your arms and welcome him back. That’s what Jesus would have done.”
WHAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN SAID:
“Each person in this diocese has a moral and civic duty. It’s to help police and prosecutors learn the full truth about the charges against Fr. Matthew Bagert. Don’t even think about forgiveness. Think about what you may know or suspect or have seen or heard about possible misdeeds or crimes by Fr. Bangert. And if anything at all comes to mind, call law enforcement officials immediately so that justice may be done and innocence may be protected.”
Click here for the whole story.
Posted: Monday, July 6, 2015
BY THOMAS J. BARTON THOMAS.BARTON@THMEDIA.COM
Advocates for victims of clergy sexual abuse hope a new court ruling will shed light on how the longtime head of the Catholic Archdiocese of Dubuque handled abuse claims.
A Minnesota judge on June 22 issued a ruling allowing a clergy sex-abuse and cover-up lawsuit to move forward. The ruling states lawyers can proceed with a public-nuisance claim against the St. Cloud Diocese from a victim who claims to have been sexually abused by a priest. The move allows attorneys to investigate St. Cloud Diocese records and documents regarding all priests who have been accused of misconduct over decades.
The same legal approach has been successful in four other Minnesota dioceses, forcing church officials to disclose documents that had been hidden for decades.
A similar decision in 2013 involving the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis resulted in depositions of top church officials, the public release of thousands of pages of priest files and the release of a dozen additional names of sex abusers.
Former Archbishop Jerome Hanus headed the St. Cloud Diocese from 1987 to 1994 before becoming Archbishop of Dubuque, a position he held from 1995 until 2013. During his tenure in Dubuque, the archdiocese made payments totaling $17.5 million to 73 abuse victims for major settlements in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2013.
ST. LOUIS (MO)
One News Now
[Friends of Fr. Joseph Jiang web site]
Monday, July 6, 2015 | Charlie Butts (OneNewsNow.com)
An organization that represents victims of molestation in the Catholic Church claims an accused priest's charges of libel and slander are false.
The priest, Joseph Jiang, serves the church in St. Louis under Archbishop Robert Carlson. He was accused of molesting a boy and a teenage girl, and after those charges against him were dropped, he filed a lawsuit against the accusers' parents, police and the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP).
"In two different jurisdictions, two sets of police officers and two sets of prosecutors found these reports credible and filed criminal charges against Jiang," explains David Clohessy, SNAP's executive director. "There's also a civil child sex abuse case against Jiang, and yet he feels compelled to go on the attack."
Although the charges against the priest were dropped in both cases, Clohessy notes that one prosecutor has stated she hopes to refile them.
"I think it's just disingenuous for Archbishop Robert Carlson or Father Joseph Jiang to pretend that this means he's been exonerated," the SNAP executive director laments. "In neither case when the charges were dropped did either prosecutor criticize victims, witnesses or whistleblowers or file any kind of charges of perjury or anything of the sort."
The Baltimore Sun
By Neil Jaffee
The winds of change are blowing toward justice for childhood abuse survivors.
Childhood sexual abuse survivors who seek legal redress against their perpetrators share a common goal: a fair chance to establish the truth of what was done to them as children. No more, no less. But given the unfairness of our justice system's disposition of survivor cases, that goal is elusive and too often unattainable. However, in the past several weeks, there have been developments that could advance incrementally the goal of survivors to obtain justice against their abusers.
First, prosecutors in Minnesota recently filed unprecedented criminal charges against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, as a corporation, accusing church leadership of failing to protect children from a known abusive priest. The criminal charges and accompanying civil petition allege that the archdiocese's repeated mishandling of complaints against the priest was part of an institutional pattern of permitting predatory priests to continue working in the church and having access to children. The criminal charges consist of six misdemeanors, each carrying a maximum fine of $3,000. In other recent cases involving archdioceses, an individual church leader, rather than the entire archdiocese as an institution, was charged with failing to properly supervise abusive priests.
The investigation of the Minnesota archdiocese corroborated evidence arising from numerous civil cases against the archdiocese and priests filed by survivors after the state legislature enacted a law that opened a three-year window for filing lawsuits involving childhood sexual abuse claims that were previously barred by the statute of limitations. This led to official reports of sexual misconduct by priests and produced record evidence against the priests and the church leadership, culminating in the charges against the archdiocese. Only days after the criminal charges were filed, two of the archdiocese's bishops resigned their posts. (A bill that would have increased the window to file suit in Maryland from seven years to 20 years after the victim turns 18 failed in the legislature this year.)
Palm Beach Post
A voodoo priest from Sunrise has been arrested after he used his position to have sex with multiple women, and assaulted an underage girl, by telling them that he would cure their cursed and “bad spirits” by being cleansed, police say.
According to NBC Miami, Brogenet Cinor was arrested on June 19 after police said that he was having sex with multiple women by claiming he would help “cleanse” them. He was also charged with sexual battery of a child under 12, according to police.
NBC Miami reports that “the incident happened between 2009 and 2010 but was not reported until last September.”
According to the arrest report, Cinor had the young girl brought to meet him in a man-made structure in his backyard, where he had sex with the girl. Cinor afterwards took out his wallet and gave her money, the report said.
Roman Catholic Diocese of Saginaw
SAGINAW — The Most Rev. Joseph R. Cistone, Bishop of Saginaw, announced this weekend that the Rev. Denis M. Heames, Parochial Administrator of St. Mary University Parish, Mt. Pleasant, has been placed on administrative leave due to boundary violations related to his priestly ministry.
“Last weekend, it was brought to my attention that Father Heames has been involved in boundary violations related to his priestly conduct, serious enough to require appropriate assessment and treatment,” Bishop Cistone shared with parishioners at St. Mary University Parish last night. “It is important to assure you that these actions in no way involved minors. Nonetheless, peoples’ lives have been affected and Father Heames will need to address these matters in a comprehensive way. Consequently, this past week, I placed Father Heames on an administrative leave of absence.”
At this point in time, the diocese cannot address Father Heames’ future ministry. In the meantime, the diocese is making arrangements to ensure the Sacramental and administrative needs of the parish.
“Even as priests, we still deal with weaknesses and sin as any other person,” Bishop Cistone said. “It greatly distresses me to know that any person entrusted to our care has been harmed by a minister of our Church. The good news is that meaningful help and the grace of God are available to all of us.
Midland Daily News
Mon Jul 6, 2015
The Rev. Denis M. Heames, parochial administrator of St. Mary University Parish, Mount Pleasant, has been placed on administrative leave due to boundary violations related to his priestly ministry, Bishop Joseph R. Cistone, of the Saginaw Diocese, announced this weekend. The information was part of a press release released early Monday afternoon.
“Last weekend, it was brought to my attention that Father Heames has been involved in boundary violations related to his priestly conduct, serious enough to require appropriate assessment and treatment,” Cistone shared Sunday night with parishioners at St. Mary University Parish. “It is important to assure you that these actions in no way involved minors. Nonetheless, peoples’ lives have been affected and Father Heames will need to address these matters in a comprehensive way. Consequently, this past week, I placed Father Heames on an administrative leave of absence.”
As of now, the diocese will not address Heames’ future ministry. The diocese is making arrangements to ensure the needs of the parish are met, according to the press release.
“I ask that you keep in your prayers Father Heames and those who have been harmed in any way by his conduct,” Cistone stated in the release. “Pray for St. Mary University Parish that it will remain a place in which the love and mercy of Christ is proclaimed and lived. And, I humbly ask that you pray for me to have the wisdom and grace to be a good shepherd at this time as God would wish.”
National Secular Society
Posted: Mon, 06 Jul 2015 by Keith Porteous Wood
Following the failed attempt to obstruct the historic child abuse inquiry in Scotland, Keith Porteous Wood exposes the continuing reluctance of the Catholic Church to face up to and pay for its crimes.
Two orders of nuns have sought and failed to frustrate the appointment of the chair of the Scottish child abuse inquiry. Maybe they hoped no one would notice their shocking record of heinous abuse and ponder on their motives. As could be expected from the Scottish Catholic hierarchy's brazen and disgraceful record on denial and covering up abuse, it conspicuously did not distance itself from the appointment challenge.
A clue emerged when the Scottish Government appointed Susan O'Brien QC to lead its public inquiry into historical child abuse, which will have powers to force witnesses to give evidence and has committed itself to ensuring that abusers "face the full force of the law".
For some reason, two orders of nuns, the Congregation of the Poor Sisters of Nazareth and the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent De Paul, challenged Ms O'Brien's appointment, alleging fears of "apparent bias" on the flimsiest of grounds. The QC had acted for her clients only at a very late stage in a case brought against the Poor Sisters of Nazareth to argue a point of law. For these reasons, a judge dismissed the nuns' challenge and Ms O'Brien will continue to lead the inquiry.
Nuns certainly have their uses, whether or not they are doing the bidding of the Church hierarchy. They managed to convince the Irish Government to indemnify them from what would have been a €1.2bn compensation debt over child abuse for a mere 10% of that sum, costing Irish taxpayers over €1bn that they should never have had to pay.
As the Irish Independent put it: "Two nuns held a pair of deuces while the most experienced minister in the Government folded a full-house in a winner-takes-all game of poker with the Catholic Church."
And it is likely that little of even the paltry proportion promised was actually paid despite what was later revealed as the massive wealth of the religious orders.
Monday 6 July 2015
The Labour MP who helped expose the late Liberal MP Cyril Smith as a paedophile is to step back from campaigning against child sexual abuse to seek help for depression.
Simon Danczuk, who has been the MP for Rochdale since 2010, said victims’ accounts of their experiences of sexual abuse had left him unable to sleep and experiencing flashbacks.
“What I’ve experienced is nothing compared to what the victims themselves have experienced, so I feel a bit guilty that I get upset about some of this stuff,” Danczuk told BBC Radio 4’s the World at One on Monday.
“I would say I’ve been suffering from depression to the point where I’ve decided to seek help for that,” he said.
From John Wayne Gacy to Dennis Hastert, the lawyers explore notorious sexual abuse cases and accusations of sexual abuse.
A PRIEST and deputy headmaster at a community college “preyed” on two young boys for his “own sexual gratification” over a seven year period, a court has heard.
Christopher Howarth has appeared today before Hove Trial Centre accused of 20 counts of sexual activity with two boys between 2004 and 2011.
The 67-year-old is accused of engaging the teenage boys in sexual activity in return for up to £100 a time, computer games and mobile phone contracts.
Prosecutor Henrietta Paget said Mr Howarth had carried out “long-standing and entrenched sexual abuse” of the two boys.
The court heard that abuse was carried out in Mr Howarth’s study at his home in Rocks Park Road in Uckfield, in his school office, at a caravan Mr Howarth owned, in the car and on one occasion at the child’s home.
By Annette Blackwell
July 6, 2015
More Catholic clergy convicted of child sex abuse will be called to give evidence as a royal commission tries to find out why more allegations are made against that church than any other institution.
There was criticism of the commission after the appearance at a hearing in Ballarat of Gerald Ridsdale, the defrocked Catholic priest who is in jail for multiple child sex offences spanning 20 years.
After the May hearing Jesuit priest and human rights lawyer Frank Brennan asked what possessed judge Peter McClellan to put Ridsdale in the witness box, "where he provided absolutely no credible, probative evidence, simply further traumatising his victims".
At the weekend Justice McClellan said the commission gave considerable thought to the decision.
TESSA AKERMAN THE AUSTRALIAN JULY 07, 2015
The sex abuse royal commission will call more perpetrators to give evidence when it resumes the Ballarat public hearings later this year to further understand why the abuse occurred and how the institutions responded.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse heard evidence from serial abuser and former priest Gerald Ridsdale at Ballarat in May this year.
Commission chairman Peter McClellan said the evidence of perpetrators was of considerable significance in the commission’s work.
“They have a capacity to tell us of the relationship between themselves and more senior members of their institutions, including the bishop or archbishop if they come from a religious institution,” he said.
“They can tell us if others knew of their offending conduct and help us to understand how the church responded or failed to respond to that conduct.”
[Abuse accusation against prior of Lluc.]
Vor wenigen Tagen hat ein ehemaliger Zögling des ehrwürdigen Klosters von Lluc am Fuße der Tramuntana im Norden der Insel eine Anzeige wegen des sexuellen Missbrauchs gegen den Prior erstattet. Der heute 35-jährige Mann fand mit zehn Jahren Aufnahme im, über die Grenzen Spaniens hinaus bekannten Knabenchor »Los Blauets«, der Glaubenskongregation des Heiligen Herzens Jesu. Wie aus einem Schreiben an das Bistum Mallorca hervorgeht, wurde er ab seinem 13. Lebensjahr mehrfach sexuell missbraucht. Da er im schuleigenen Internat untergebracht war, konnte sich der Junge nicht gegen die Übergriffe durch den Priester wehren. Auch forderte der Anwalt die Kirchenoberen von Mallorca auf, den abtrünnigen Seelsorger so schnell wie möglich vom Dienst zu suspendieren. Auch eine Strafanzeige sei erfolgt.
National Catholic Reporter
Barbara Blaine | Jul. 6, 2015
30 years later
Editor's note: This story is part of a weeklong series dedicated to looking back on 30 years of the abuse crisis in the Catholic church. Read all parts of the series.
A single issue of NCR changed the course of my life and eventually led to my starting an international movement of survivors of clergy abuse. I am extremely grateful to NCR!
In the summer of 1985, I was a Catholic Worker at a house of hospitality in Chicago filled with about 30 mentally ill men and women. Many more crossed the threshold of the dining room at mealtimes. There were not many quiet moments, but when a quiet afternoon did present itself, I used it to read through a stack of old newspapers and magazines, and I came across the June 7, 1985, issue of NCR.
I was shocked to see an article by Jason Berry about a priest sexually abusing altar boys. As I read, my breathing became heavy. Before reaching the end of the article, I became sick and ran to the bathroom. I learned later that experience is called an anxiety attack.
The article also triggered nightmares, flashbacks, moments of terror, and uncontrollable tears and anger. I was confused and my normal routine disrupted. It was a personal crisis I felt ill-equipped to handle.
National Catholic Reporter
NCR Staff | Jul. 6, 2015 NCR Today
30 years later
1962: Fr. Gerald Fitzgerald, founder of the Paraclete Center to aid troubled priests in Jimenez Springs, N.M., meets with Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani, head of the Holy Office in Rome, to warn him that there is no cure for pedophile priests.
1964: Fitzgerald meets with the new pope, Paul VI, to repeat his warnings.
1985: In May, Dominican Fr. Thomas Doyle, Fr. Michael Peterson and Ray Mouton present a 92-page document to a committee of the U.S. bishops' conference, warning them to handle pending cases well, defend victims, and be honest with the public.
In June, NCR publishes its first exposé and editorial on sex abuse crisis. The story is based on Jason Berry's reporting of the case of Fr. Gilbert Gauthe of Lafayette, La., who ultimately served 10 years of a 20-year sentence for molesting children.
1988: Barbara Blaine in Chicago starts the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).
1992: U.S. bishops approve guidelines for handling sex abuse cases, but the guidelines are voluntary and not universally applied. They are later viewed as a failure.
Monday, 06 July 2015 08:00
Written By Tali Folkins
Up to six lawyers may be appearing before the Law Society Tribunal in the near future as the regulator investigates 33 complaints related to settlements of Indian residential schools claims.
The information comes as the case against one lawyer got underway last week, but the numbers are down from a previous report that the Law Society of Upper Canada was investigating up to 10 lawyers.
“Prior to 2013, the law society received very few complaints relating to the Indian residential schools settlement process,” law society chief executive officer Robert Lapper noted last November in a report to Convocation.
“Since that time, however, we have been receiving more complaints by Indian residential school survivors against their lawyers. There are currently 50 complaints about 10 lawyers from Indian residential school survivors in the intake and investigation process.”
One such lawyer now facing a disciplinary process is Douglas Keshen. The law society’s notice of application accuses Keshen of a number of acts of professional misconduct, including failing to pay 17 Indian residential school clients their full settlements within a reasonable period of time after receiving them; transferring approximately $45,000 of the settlement funds for 17 clients from his trust account to his general account “without any legal entitlement to the monies;” transferring to himself three sums ranging from $6,500 to $7,520.05 from the settlement funds of three clients; and transferring about $119,300 from one client’s settlement funds to that person’s power of attorney “when it was apparent that all of the monies transferred were not for the benefit” of that client.
Researching Reform: Child abuse inquiry - will the recent guidance on the destruction of documents be enough to preserve valuable evidence?
When Home Secretary Theresa May announced the statutory inquiry into child sexual abuse, she also requested a moratorium on the destruction of materials relating to child protection matters. In line with that request, Chair for the Inquiry Justice Goddard issued guidance on the disposal of materials relating to child protection concerns. But in the wake of documents on child sexual abuse at Gordonstoun School in Scotland, which have now mysteriously gone missing, what impact will this guidance have and can it protect any remaining documents in existence which shed light on child abuse in England and Wales?
On 23 June 2015, the Inquiry sent out further instructions on what may or may not be destroyed by Government and other agencies whose remits involve the detection, investigation and, or, prevention of child abuse. The guidance was contained within letters which were sent to the Cabinet Secretary, as well as all religious leaders, the NHS, the Police Force and Local Authority CEOs. The letters set out the kinds of documents which must be kept pending requests from the Inquiry itself.
As the Inquiry’s terms of reference are so broad and the panel are not quite sure what they’re looking for just yet, the guidance itself is not confined to a small cross section of materials but attempts to capture types of documentation instead, with the hope of acting much like a large dragnet, catching as much detail as it can.
By: Megan Hickey
After a loophole in Indiana’s rape law let a confessed rapist walk free, one Indiana woman pushed for a change that will affect the lives of future sexual abuse victims for years to come.
The victim, Jenny Wendt Ewing, shared her difficult story with NewsCenter16 in the hopes of educating future Hoosier victims about the laws in their home state.
Ewing’s story goes back to April of 2005 when she was a nursing student at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis.
The then 26-year-old Ewing went on two dates with a man named Bart Bareither who was formerly her physiology lab professor.
The couple saw live music on the first date and toured a winery on the second.
By: Megan Hickey
Last year, a 39-year-old Indiana man confessed to raping an Indianapolis nursing student back in 2005. But nine years after the incident, the victim, Jenny Wendt Ewing, couldn’t press charges thanks to Indiana's 5-year statute of limitations.
“I feel he was asking for help,” Ewing told NewsCenter16. “I'm not angry with him. I'm angry with the system.”
When lawmakers heard Ewing's story, they pushed to pass legislation this spring that would close that loophole.
The changes in that amendment, now known as “Jenny’s Law,” goes into effect this month.
“Her story made it clear that there are different things that are going on that may increase the need for more time in order to prosecute cases,” explained Aimee Herring, Lead Deputy Prosecutor, Special Victims Unit of the St. Joseph Co. Prosecutors Office.
Challenging Indiana's Rape Law - Part 1: When a rapist goes free
Challenging Indiana's Rape Law - Part 3: "Jenny's Law" and Michiana victims
By: Megan Hickey
Changes to Indiana's rape law passed this spring closed some serious loopholes when it comes to the state's statute of limitations.
One of those technicalities allowed an Indiana woman's confessed rapist to walk free in 2014.
Still, some victims argue that the law doesn't go far enough.
At least 20 states and several territories have no statute of limitations when it comes to reporting and prosecuting rape and sexual assault cases.
Indiana victims have just 5 years -- unless new evidence is brought forward or a confession is made, thanks to recent legislation.
Some victims argue that putting a limit on prosecution does more to protect Indiana's rapists than the victims themselves.
Bangor Daily News
By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff
Posted July 05, 2015
PORTLAND, Maine — A civil trial set to begin Monday could justify claims that a former Catholic brother in Haiti sexually abused orphans for years or prove that a zealous advocate for victims of clergy sexual abuse has been defaming Michael Geilenfeld so vehemently that he was wrongfully imprisoned for 237 days.
Geilenfeld, 63, of Port au Prince, Haiti, and Hearts with Haiti, a North Carolina-based nonprofit that raised money for the orphanages he ran, sued Paul Kendrick, 65, of Freeport in February 2013 in U.S. District Court. The plaintiffs claimed Kendrick’s false allegations that Geilenfeld, an Iowa native, sexually abused children has defamed the organization and caused fundraising events to be canceled.
The civil complaint was amended after Geilenfeld’s release from a Haitian jail to include a request for additional damages because of his “horrific experiences in prison.” In a pre-trial brief filed last month, Geilenfeld’s attorney, Peter DeTroy of Portland, claimed his client’s damages “far exceed[ed] $10 million.” The charity has claimed losses of more than $2 million in donations, according to court documents.
Kendrick in April was sanctioned by U.S. District Judge John Woodcock for publicly sharing documents that had been gathered during the discovery process. The Freeport man has claimed that beginning in 2011 he spoke out through emails and on a colleague’s blog out of concern for the children in the Haitian orphanages after meeting with alleged victims in the United States.
VICTIMS of institutionalised child sexual abuse are so haunted by their past, going into aged care homes is not an option, Commissioner Helen Milroy says.
Ms Milroy says the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has highlighted the risk of people taking their own lives if they needed to go into an aged care facility, particularly those who were in large orphanages as children.
“A lot of people have said with us they will not go back into care, they cannot go back into care and they do not see that as an option for them,” Ms Milroy told a conference in Perth on Monday.
National Catholic Reporter
Caitlin Hendel | Jul. 6, 2015 NCR Today
Editor Dennis Coday is in Buffalo, N.Y., for the Catholic Press Association's annual conference. In his absence, I agreed to write this column, always willing to take advantage of a good opportunity to promote what we do here at NCR.
Dennis and his team made it especially easy for me this week.
Let's start with Pope Francis' historic encyclical, released June 18, "Laudato Si', Care for our common home." What you're seeing here in this edition of National Catholic Reporter represents a culmination of months' worth of work, preparing for the much-anticipated letter, followed by dozens of news stories and analytical pieces that began with the unofficial leak of an Italian draft of the document on Monday, June 15. ...
And, unlike what you'll find with many other publications, NCR hopes to continue the conversation on the encyclical, on climate change and its effect on the poor, and on the role of the church and of Catholics around the world in heeding Francis' call "for changes of lifestyle, production and consumption, in order to combat this warming or at least the human causes which produce or aggravate it."
Speaking of enduring (sadly so) conversations, it's been 30 years since National Catholic Reporter ran Jason Berry's monumental story of Gilbert Gauthe, a Louisiana priest whose years of sexual abuse of boys -- and the lack of interest among supervisory clergy in dealing with him -- led to a $4 million-plus settlement with the victims' families.
"These are serious and damaging matters that have victimized the young and innocent," NCR said in an essay that opened its multipage package in the June 7, 1985, issue. "But a related and broader scandal seemingly rests with local bishops and a national episcopal leadership that has, as yet, no set policy on how to respond to those cases."
July 5, 2015
By Conall Ó Fátharta
Irish Examiner Reporter
A woman who was in Cork’s Bessborough Mother and Baby Home in 1975 has described the nuns who ran the institution as “evil monsters”.
She was made sign adoption forms to give up her child despite being under the legal age of consent.
The woman, who still lives in Cork and asks not to be identified, is still in possession of a calendar given to her on entering the institution, where she marked off the months she stayed.
She sent a letter to this newspaper following an Irish Examiner two-day special investigation into Mother and Baby Homes.
Simply signed ‘M’, the woman said her experience in Bessborough in 1975 “had a lasting effect on my life” and, only in recent months, she had found “the courage to seek counselling to try and rid myself of some of the guilt I have felt for the past 40 years”.
She described the fear she had entering Bessborough as a pregnant teenager: “When I arrived in Bessborough in February 1975, I was 16-years-old with no idea of what was ahead of me.
Monday July 6, 2015
9:00 a.m. / Jury Selection / Magistrate Judge John H. Rich III
12:00 p.m. / Opening Statements / Plaintiffs' First Witness / Judge John A. Woodcock, Jr.
We will publish a schedule of the next day's witnesses by 4:00 pm each day.
Plaintiffs expect to present witnesses for two weeks, followed by one week for Defendant's presentation.
U.S. District Court
156 Federal Street
Portland, Maine 04101
[Fathers and nuns from Italian religious embezzling funds on a large scale and their hospitals almost driven into bankruptcy. Entangled is also a Cardinal.]
Patres und Nonnen aus italienischen Orden haben im großen Stil Mittel veruntreut und ihre Krankenhäuser fast in den Ruin getrieben. Verwickelt ist auch ein Kardinal: Warum hat er dem Papst 30 Millionen Euro verheimlicht?
27.06.2015 | 18:57 | Paul Kreiner aus Rom (Die Presse)
Es braucht schon einen speziellen geistlichen Humor, um eine Klinik für Hautkrankheiten nach der Unbefleckten Jungfrau Maria zu benennen. Söhne der Immacolata nennt sich auch der Orden, der die fachlich hoch renommierten IDI-Spitäler in Rom seit mehr als einem Jahrhundert betreibt. Doch unbefleckt stehen die Brüder von heute nicht da. Ganz im Gegenteil: Die Oberen sind mit der Kasse durchgebrannt. Der Chef, Pater Franco Decaminada, hat sich ein Luxuslandhaus in der Toskana gekauft. Dazu kamen etliche nicht ganz billige Autos, Bargeldabhebungen von 82 Mio. Euro und verschwiegene Konten in Panama, in Liechtenstein und der Isle of Man.
The Worthy Adversary
Posted by Joelle Casteix on July 5, 2015
One of my closest friends once told me, “When you really think about it, bullying is just low-level sexual abuse.” That thought stuck with me.
What also stuck with me is how prevention of bullying is similar to the prevention of child sexual abuse. It requires good communication, strong self-esteem, and engaged parents who understand the depth of the problem.
The West Australian
July 6, 2015
Children as young as four and their parents will be educated about sex abuse and prevention in what is believed to be a world-first under a major program being launched by the Perth Archdiocese of the Catholic Church.
Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe said the Safeguarding Project would have at least two trained “safeguarding” officers in all 105 Perth parishes to run programs for families and be a point of contact for people with concerns.
Police Sen. Sgt Andrea Musulin, who is co-ordinating the project and training the volunteers, clergy and other church personnel, said it was crucial children were taught and empowered to protect themselves and to speak up.
“If a child has no age appropriate and developmentally appropriate knowledge of sex ... then they have no knowledge to draw from with which to resist and thereby prevent an offence,” she said.
July 5, 2015
Minnesota has experienced a horrific parade of violence against children in recent years. Just last week, we learned of the death of Sophia O’Neill, age 2, of Minneapolis, stomped to death allegedly by her mother’s boyfriend, age 17.
The disappearance of Barway Collins, of Crystal in March captivated the state until his body was found and his father was charged with his murder.
The murder of Pope County’s Eric Dean, age 4, after 15 reports to the county of possible abuse went unaddressed, caused the Legislature to act.
And coming out in a trickle have been years of pedophile attacks by Roman Catholic priests, of which 179 in Minnesota alone have been accused.
It is easy to become angry at the accused and the convicted, to send them to prison and pretend that we have accomplished something. However, we have a major public health issue confronting us, and are nowhere close to solving it. The reported crimes are just the tip of the iceberg. ...
n the wake of Eric Dean’s death, Gov. Mark Dayton formed a task force to review the state’s child protection efforts. It returned with 93 recommendations.
The Legislature responded by enacting several changes:
• Law enforcement must now review every report of alleged child abuse, even if the report was received initially by social services.
• A provision that kept child protection teams from looking at previously screened out reports was repealed.
• The priority for action was changed from keeping a family together to putting the safety of the child foremost.
• An additional $52 million was appropriated, most of which will go directly to hire more child protection workers. Currently, the caselo
The New York Times
Pope Francis’ Visit to Latin America Will Test His Ability to Keep Catholics in the Fold
By WILLIAM NEUMAN
JULY 4, 2015
QUITO, Ecuador — Pope Francis has turned heads with bold stands on climate change and income inequality. He helped broker a historic thaw between the United States and Cuba. He has shaken up the stodgy brand of the Roman Catholic Church.
But for all his forays into international diplomacy and deftness at image-making, his trip to South America, which begins Sunday, will test his skills in what could be a much more difficult task: putting parishioners in pews and keeping them there.
When Francis was named pope in March 2013, becoming the first pontiff from Latin America, he was hailed by many as the kind of figure long needed by the Catholic Church to appeal to its vast base in poorer countries. ...
The church has also been hurt by revelations of sexual abuse of children by priests. Francis has spoken out strongly on the topic, and he recently approved the creation of a tribunal to judge bishops accused of covering up or ignoring cases of sexual abuse. But in Chile, he has been fiercely criticized for naming as bishop a priest who was closely associated with a cleric at the center of a notorious sexual abuse scandal.
Although the countries that Francis will visit share in these regional trends, they have generally seen a more limited shift away from the Catholic Church, according to the Pew survey.
By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 1 July 2015
Former Catholic priest John Joseph Farrell appeared in Sydney's Central Local Court on 30 June 2015, charged with 26 sexual offences which were allegedly committed against five boys between 1981 and 1984 in northern New South Wales. According to court documents, some of these 26 offences allegedly occurred while Father Farrell was based at the Moree parish (within the Armidale Catholic diocese); and some allegedly occurred when Father Farrell visited a parish at Tweed Heads (in the Lismore diocese) on the NSW north coast. This court case is confined to these five children (and these 26 charges) and it does not include any charges which Farrell might face regarding any other children.
Father John Joseph Farrell worked as a Catholic priest in the 1980s and the early 1990s. He later lived at a private address in the town of Armidale until late 2012. More recently, he has been living in the Harden area (between Young and Yass) in southern NSW.
In late June 2015 John Joseph Farrell was arrested at Harden by a Sydney-based specialist team of detectives from the Sex Crime Squad of the NSW Police. Police charged him with the 26 alleged offences, with no police bail. On June 25, he was taken in custody to a local court (at Wagga in southern NSW) to enable these 26 charges to be officially filed. Farrell entered the courtroom with two Corrective Services officers. Two specialist detectives were present in court.
In the June 25 hearing, Farrell's lawyer applied for a media-suppression order which would prevent Farrell's name from being published. He said that Farrell could be placed in danger if his identity were made public. He said the type of charges laid against Farrell generated vilification and outrage in the community.
By a Broken Rites researcher (article updated 2 July 2015)
Many years ago, Broken Rites began researching "Brother Gabriel Mount", who had worked in Catholic children's homes conducted by the St John of God Brothers in New South Wales and Victoria. We discovered that he eventually became a priest ("Father Roger Mount"), working in Papua New Guinea. In October 2014 he was brought back to Australia, where Victorian police charged him with multiple child-sex offences allegedly committed within Victoria. He is in custody in Victoria, where a magistrate has committed Mount to face a trial (due to begin on 3 July 2015). New South Wales police, also, are investigating Father Mount concerning incidents that are alleged to have occurred in NSW.
Broken Rites research ascertained that, early in his church career (in the 1960s and 1970s), Roger Mount was listed in the annual editions of the Australian Catholic Directory as Brother "Gabriel" Mount, a member of a Catholic religious order called the St John of God Brothers. (When men joined this religious order, they normally adopted an ancient "saintly" name - hence Brother "Gabriel".)
Later, Brother "Gabriel" Mount transferred to Papua New Guinea, where he left the St John of God order and became a diocesan priest. He reverted to his birth name, becoming Father Roger Mount, and was attached to the Diocese of Port Moresby. He reached a senior rank in this diocese. His most recent parish, Sogeri, is on the southern end of PNG's famous Kokoda Track.
By Steven Moore
Paedophile priest Fr Brendan Smyth paid off one of his child sex abuse victims with cash he made from selling mass cards, we can reveal.
The Sunday World has learned that the notorious paedo cleric made a $20,000 money transfer to a victim he had abused in Langdon, North Dakota.
The money was paid to a 12-year-old boy who had been raped by Smyth during his time in the United States – where he was sent by the Catholic Church following abuse allegations in Ireland.
And Smyth, who abused hundreds of children over a 40-year period, is believed to have used cash he ‘earned’ from a lucrative mass card operation he ran.
Evil Smyth fooled parishioners into buying his specially signed cards – which would cost five punts at the time – by claiming the money was going to missions.
“It’s more evidence of just how low Brendan Smyth could stoop,” said a source.
RTE could be facing further legal bills from the Mission to Prey programme that has already clocked up an estimated bill of €2m in costs, fees and fines for the state broadcaster.
The broadcaster settled a legal action last week taken by former Archbishop of Benin, Richard Burke, who claimed he was defamed in the Prime Time documentary at a cost of €338,000.
While RTE did not pay him damages, the Sunday Independent has learnt that the broadcaster has agreed to pay €275,000 towards Richard Burke's legal fees, plus €53,000 in VAT. RTE had said it made a "contribution" to his costs, but Mr Burke's lawyer said his client had "no exposure" to costs.
It was the second settlement arising from the Prime Time Mission to Prey programme, broadcast in 2011. Fr Kevin Reynolds had already received a confidential settlement - rumoured to be more than €1m between damages and legal fees - when he sued over false accusations that he raped a Kenyan teenager and fathered her child.
A third cleric, Bishop Philip Sulumeti, from Kenya, also instigated legal action against the broadcaster, claiming that he too was defamed in the programme. Robert Dore, the solicitor who acted for Fr Kevin Reynolds and for the former Archbishop Burke, is also representing Bishop Sulumeti.
Bishop Sulumeti has claimed that his inclusion in the Mission to Prey programme damaged his good name and his reputation. He was depicted as defending Fr Reynolds, whom RTE had wrongly accused of rape.
July 4, 2015
"It's not about you - it's about your father." These words introduced me to a nightmare that would change my life. I was 45 years old and what developed after that sentence was a product of someone else's past that would frame so much of my future.
It was October 1999, and I was senior pastor of Hillsong Church, which my wife Bobbie and I had started from scratch in 1983 in a humble warehouse in northwest Sydney. From that beginning it had grown to a weekly attendance of thousands, and that year we'd been asked to take over the Sydney Christian Life Centre that my parents had founded in 1977 after we emigrated from New Zealand. I was also national president of Assemblies of God, the Pentecostal church umbrella organisation overseeing more than 1100 churches.
On that spring day the general manager of Hillsong, George Aghajanian, with whom I've worked for many years, sat across from me in our weekly meeting. We moved through the agenda quickly; I thought we might wrap up early, so I could get in a quick jog. But then George looked at me and said, "There's just one more thing, Brian." He hesitated, and I sensed he had something important to tell me; the look in his eyes suggested it was not going to be good news.
"It's not about you," he said. "It's about your father." My heart pounded, and it felt as if all the blood drained from my face. George told me of a phone call to our office: the caller said he'd recently been ministering at a local church where a lady confided in him a secret she'd carried for years: "Frank Houston sexually abused my son."
By MARTIN BECKFORD FOR THE MAIL ON SUNDAY
PUBLISHED: 4 July 2015
The scandal-hit inquiry into child abuse has already cost taxpayers more than £1.2 million – before it has questioned a single witness.
In the year since it was set up by David Cameron to examine claims of VIP paedophile rings and Establishment cover-ups, the inquiry has been mired in controversy.
The first two chairmen were forced to quit and an expert panel was scrapped amid infighting. There have been no public hearings, only a handful of meetings have been held with victims, and officials have only just got around to warning Whitehall not to destroy incriminating evidence.
But as Justice Lowell Goddard, the New Zealand judge drafted in to get a grip on the troubled investigation, prepares to officially launch its work with a public statement this week, The Mail on Sunday can reveal the staggering costs incurred in its first nine months – equivalent to almost £5,000 a day.
Among the costs is the £177,000 paid to a human-rights barrister who has effectively been running the inquiry behind the scenes.
Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said last night: ‘These are quite large figures for an inquiry launched a year ago which has not yet taken any formal evidence. The committee will monitor developments and progress and has every confidence in Judge Goddard’s ability to progress matters.
The Sunday Times
Published: 5 July 2015
RTE’S Mission to Prey programme has now cost the state-owned broadcaster more than €1.5m in libel damages, legal costs, and penalties.
The bill does not include payments to the station’s own lawyers, witness expenses, or costs incurred by four separate inquiries resulting from the programme broadcast in 2011.
Last Thursday, the broadcaster settled a second High Court defamation case arising from the Prime Time Investigates programme at a cost of €338,000, including VAT.
The libel suit was taken by Richard Burke, a former Catholic archbishop from Co Tipperary, who claimed he was wrongly depicted as a child sex abuser in the programme.