A digest of links to media coverage of clergy abuse.
Click on the headline to read the full story.
July 5, 2015
[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.
Posted: Saturday, July 4, 2015
Al Depman, firstname.lastname@example.org
Three emotions pass through me as I read the ongoing coverage of the leadership collapse in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis: sadness, revulsion and hopefulness.
Sadness because my upbringing, education and philosophical underpinnings are all Catholic. Catholic grade school, high school and the University of Notre Dame provided 16 consecutive years of Catholic influence, leaving me with a sense that the priesthood was my calling. The church was steeped in tradition, art, history and had a global infrastructure that I found a neat complement to the United Nations. The daily Latin mass was a mysterious ritual, especially to this curious altar boy. I still have my Mass card and can by rote respond to the priest's cues.
So I decided to enter the seminary. However, at 18, I fell in love with a young lady and realized I couldn't combine marriage and priesthood. I marveled at the time how disciplined and special those called to the priesthood must be to stay single and chaste.
Shortly thereafter, this image collapsed.
Revulsion courses through me as I re-read the lawsuits my two younger brothers filed against the Diocese of Camden, NJ,, in 1994 as part of a group of 18 plaintiffs alleging they were sexually abused by priests from 1967 through 1970 and contending the church tolerated such conduct for decades and conspired to cover it up.
Re-reading the painful, graphic testimony and remembering how the parish priests ingratiated themselves with our family, sharing dinners, parties and trips fills me with pain. The priests used their holy positions as leverage to seduce my parents into completely trusting them and simultaneously sexually seducing my brothers. Their lawsuit was dismissed in 2002 because it exceeded the statute of limitations and the Superior Court judge wouldn't issue an exception.
Henrietta Cook, Timna Jacks
Police are being called to Victorian schools three times a week to investigate sex offences that are often perpetrated by children.
The revelation comes amid reports of a surge in the number children sexually abusing other children in the wider community that has been linked by treatment services to family violence and pornography.
New data from the Crime Statistics Agency data shows 170 sexual offences were committed in Victorian state, independent and Catholic school grounds last year, including 41 during school hours.
With around 80 per cent of offenders 18-years-old or under, experts say schools are struggling with the controversial issue.
Angela Sdrinis, who runs a law firm that specialises in institutional abuse, said she was receiving more reports of child-on-child sexual abuse in schools.
Australian Associated Press
Saturday 4 July 2015
The chair of the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse is worried there will not be enough time for all victims to tell their story, despite a two-year extension to the inquiry.
Justice Peter McClellan says the royal commission has already held more than 3,600 private sessions since it began in April 2013.
Informal private sessions are held in conjunction with public hearings.
The sessions allow abuse victims to speak directly with the inquiry’s commissioners.
McClellan expects 7,000 private sessions will be held by the time the royal commission is completed in December 2017.
The inquiry’s original term was extended by two years in 2014 after it warned it needed more time and money.
Vatican City - The Roman Catholic Church should not have "leaders for life" in its ranks, otherwise it would risk being like a country under dictatorship, Pope Francis said on Friday.
Francis, 78, has said before that he would be ready to resign instead of ruling for life if he felt he could not continue running the 1.2 billion-member Church for health or other reasons.
"Let's be clear. The only one who cannot be substituted in the Church is the Holy Spirit," the Argentinian-born pontiff said in an address to some 30 000 people at an inter-denominational rally of Christians in St. Peter's Square.
"There should be a time limit to positions (in the Church), which in reality are positions of service," he said in an address that was in part prepared and in part extemporaneous.
[Mons Puiggari. "In the Church there is no place for pedophiles."]
Publicado el 04/07/2015 - El arzobispo de Paraná, monseñor Juan Alberto Puiggari, aseguró que "en la Iglesia no hay lugar para pedófilos" tras el escándalo mediático generado en torno al juicio que se sigue al sacerdote Justo José Ilarraz por presunto abuso sexual y las recientes acusaciones dirigidas a otro presbítero por presunta corrupción de menores.
Monseñor Puiggari sentenció que en la Iglesia local "no hay lugar para pedófilos" y "lo que más se quiere es defender la verdad".
El prelado explicó por qué la jueza Paola Firpo lo visitó en la curia local. La magistrada quería confirmar si una carta escrita a máquina en 1993, acompañada de su firma y dirigida al cura Ilarraz, era verdaderamente suya. "La jueza vino, me mostró la carta y le confirmé que sí. Y gracias a Dios, esa carta de comienzos de marzo de aquel año coincide con lo que venimos diciendo desde la Iglesia", dijo el arzobispo, que por esos años estaba a cargo del seminario local.
[The Bishop of Parana acknowledged a letter he sent to Ilarraz in March 1993.]
Una comitiva encabezada por la titular del Juzgado de Transición N° 2, Paola Firpo, concurrió en la tarde de ayer a la sede del Arzobispado de Paraná para cumplir con una nueva medida probatoria en el marco de la causa que enfrenta el cura Justo José Ilarraz por presuntos abusos sexuales contra pupilos que cursaban sus estudios en el Seminario Arquidiocesano, donde el exprefecto de disciplina tenía un importante rol dentro de la comunidad educativa.
La visita al corazón de la curia paranaense tuvo como objetivo que el arzobispo Juan Alberto Puiggari -prefecto mayor del Seminario cuando ocurrieron los hechos- reconozca una carta que le envió a Ilarraz el 17 de marzo de 1993.
El prelado atendió a la magistrada en un despacho lindero a la librería San Francisco Javier: allí se le exhibió la correspondencia, de color amarillento, la cual denotaba el paso del tiempo. Si bien Puiggari no recordaba la carta ni su contenido, reconoció que estaba firmada de su puño y letra.
[A priest from the diocese of Aachen was convicted in February for sexual abuse and given six years imprisonment. The abuse was uncovered only because courageous parents raised the alarm from the German community in Johannesburg, South Africa. To date, they are waiting for an apology from the German Bishops' Conference.]
Ein Pfarrer aus dem Bistum Aachen ist im Februar wegen sexuellen Missbrauchs zu sechs Jahren Haft verurteilt worden. Aufgedeckt werden konnten die Taten nur, weil couragierte Eltern aus der deutschen Gemeinde im südafrikanischen Johannesburg Alarm geschlagen hatten. Sie beschuldigten den Pfarrer, sich mit Jungen ins Bett gelegt zu haben. Bis heute warten sie auf eine Entschuldigung der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz
»Wir haben verstanden.« Dieses Signal sendeten die katholischen Bischöfe aus, als sie im Laufe des Jahres 2010 mit zahlreichen Missbrauchsfällen durch katholische Geistliche konfrontiert waren. Keine Toleranz mehr gegenüber Tätern, keine Vertuschung von Missbrauchsfällen und Hilfen für Überlebende sexueller Gewalt wurden versprochen. Aber wenn es um die Anerkenntnis von Schuld und Verantwortung in konkreten Fällen geht, tun sich die katholischen Hierarchen nach wie vor schwer – und das selbst in der Zentrale der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz.
Salem, OR – A bill that would refer the issue of eliminating the statute of limitations for rape to the 2016 general election ballot was introduced in the Oregon Senate Thursday by Senator Tim Knopp (R-Bend) and Representative Jodi Hack (R-Salem).
Senate Bill 973 would allow for prosecution of first degree sex crimes to be commenced at any time instead of being restricted by the statute of limitations. Proponents of the measure believe this would give sexual abuse victims a greater opportunity for justice since many sexual abuse victims go years before telling others what happened.
The bill comes after an earlier piece of legislation was passed this legislative session extending the statute of limitations for first degree sex crimes from six to twelve years. Although the bill, HB 2317 A, received unanimous support from both legislative houses, many legislators still believe the bill did not go far enough.
“While extending the statute of limitations for sexual abuse crimes to twelve years is better than what we currently have, the original hope for [HB 2317] was a 20 year statute of limitations,” said Knopp. “I decided to introduce SB 973 now because I believe victims of rape and sexual abuse deserve every opportunity for justice.”
A Dundalk man abused by paedophile priest Brendan Smyth says the former cardinal's latest apology to victims is 'weak and feeble' and barriers are still being put up against victims by the Catholic Church.
Brendan Boland, from Marian Park, was a victim of Ireland's most notorious child abuser but bravely spoke out about what happened to him in the early 1970s. However, the then Father Sean Brady was one of the clerics involved in swearing Mr Boland, and another teen, to silence when the victims gave evidence to an investigative panel of priests at the Friary in 1975. Smyth continued to abuse children until he was jailed in 1994.
On Thursday last, the former All-Ireland primate Sean Brady told the North's Historical Abuse Inquiry that 'there was a shroud of secrecy and confidentiality with a view not to destroying the good name of the church' and Smyth had committed 'unspeakable' crimes.
The Cardinal said: 'The scandal that somebody who was ordained to serve people should so abuse the trust for their own pleasure was appalling and it was. To offset that, the scandal was kept a secret - very, very secret. Everybody involved would be bound to secrecy too'.
By Jean Hopfensperger Star Tribune JULY 3, 2015
Archbishop Bernard Hebda, interim leader of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, will meet worshippers and celebrate his first mass at the St. Paul Cathedral on July 12.
Hebda, a veteran cleric currently serving in New Jersey, was appointed by the Vatican to oversee the archdiocese following the resignation of former Archbishop John Nienstedt last month.
Hebda will arrive in the Twin Cities next week, and celebrate a “welcome mass” at the 10 a.m. cathedral service, according to the archdiocese. The mass celebrant typically greets parishioners after the service.
His schedule earlier in the week is not available.
Hebda is currently the coadjutor archbishop of the Archdiocese of Newark, N.J., and is slated to succeed Newark Archbishop John J. Myers next year. He will oversee the Twin Cities archdiocese until a permanent archbishop is selected by the Vatican, dividing his time between Minnesota and New Jersey.
Well now. I recently chanced on a Huffington Post story that came out in mid May but which was so gripping, it thought that it deserves comment even six weeks later. Consider this a kind of a GetReligion "file of guilt" post.
If the headline: "Buried in Baltimore: The Mysterious Murder of a Nun Who Knew Too Much" doesn’t get you reading the nearly 7,500-word story, nothing can.
Yes, it’s about clergy sex abuse and no, we shouldn’t ever be tired of reading about these stories. Because in this case, a nun found out about the abuse and paid for it with her life. Start here:
On a frigid day in November 1969, Father Joseph Maskell, the chaplain of Archbishop Keough High School in Baltimore, called a student into his office and suggested they go for a drive. When the final bell rang at 2:40 p.m., Jean Hargadon Wehner, a 16-year-old junior at the all-girls Catholic school, followed the priest to the parking lot and climbed into the passenger seat of his light blue Buick Roadmaster.
It was not unusual for Maskell to give students rides home or take them to doctor's appointments during the school day. The burly, charismatic priest, then 30 years old, had been the chief spiritual and psychological counselor at Keough for two years and was well-known in the community...This time, though, Maskell didn't bring Wehner home. He navigated his car past the Catholic hospital and industrial buildings that surrounded Keough’s campus and drove toward the outskirts of the city. Eventually, he stopped at a garbage dump, far from any homes or businesses. Maskell stepped out of the car, and the blonde, freckled teenager followed him across a vast expanse of dirt toward a dark green dumpster.
It was then that she saw the body crumpled on the ground.
The body was that of a nun who had found out that Maskell was raping and abusing teenaged girls at the school.
A Mother in Isrel
July 2, 2015 by Hannah Katsman
Last week, Yehuda Shohat and Ariela Sternbuch published a story in Yediot Aharonot about the advice that rabbis give regarding sexual molestation and abuse. Sternbuch called up 27 rabbis and community leaders with a story of how she or her child was sexually abused. In only a few of the cases did the rabbi suggest reporting to the police.
One of the rabbis featured in the Yediot article, Ratzon Arussi, is the chief rabbi of the town of Kiryat Ono. He has a doctorate in law, and teaches on the Jewish legal system at Bar Ilan University. He heads a beit din, or religious court, for resolving monetary disputes.
Below is my translation of the conversation between the reporter and Rabbi Arussi. I translated it from the original recording. A Hebrew transcript of the conversation appears in the Yediot article.
July 3, 2015
The Guardian (UK)
Stephanie Kirchgaessner in Rome, Laurence Blair in Asunción, and Uki Goñi in Buenos Aires
Friday 3 July 2015
Pope Francis is expected to be confronted by a host of thorny issues when he touches down in Quito, Ecuador on Sunday to begin a seven-day tour of South America, including a contentious case involving a 10-year-old rape victim in Paraguay who has been refused access to an abortion.
The pope is sure to be asked by the Holy See’s traveling press corp to weigh in on the case – which has been condemned by human rights experts - as well as other issues that he has not spoken publicly about, such as the supreme court decision this month that legalised gay marriage across the
The popular Argentinean pontiff will be greeted like a rock star during his tour of Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay. The trip is being seen as a triumphal homecoming of sorts for the pope, who is making his first return to the region since his visit to Brazil in 2013. That trip, in which Francis visited poverty-stricken favelas, was originally planned for his predecessor, Pope Benedict. ...
In Paraguay, Francis will face a wholly different political climate. Relations between Francis’s Vatican and the local church in Paraguay were complicated after Francis sacked a local bishop in 2014 who was accused of covering up for sexual abuse of one of his priests. At the time, the departure of Bishop Rogelio Livieres Plano was blamed on “serious pastoral reasons” – and not a sex abuse cover-up – and the bishop claimed that his dismissal was a case of “ideological persecution” because of his opposition to liberation theology, a leftist Catholic theology that emphasises care and activism on behalf of the poor.
The other big question in Paraguay is how Francis will respond to a controversy surrounding the 10-year-old rape victim, who was denied an abortion after allegedly being raped by her step-father and despite the pleas of her mother for a medical intervention. The case has enraged pro-choice activists in Paraguay and abroad, and sparked a national debate about child abuse and the handling of underage pregnancies. Although some UN experts have declared the girl’s life to be in danger because of the pregnancy, few expect the Catholic country’s laws to change.
The independent inquiry into historical child sexual abuse in England and Wales will be formally opened next Thursday, it has been announced.
Inquiry chairwoman Lowell Goddard will give an opening statement which will set out its guiding principles.
Justice Goddard will outline how the inquiry will be run, timescales, how evidence will be taken and areas of public life that will be examined.
The inquiry was set up by the home secretary in March.
Justice Goddard took up her post the following month. Her appointment followed the resignation of two chairwomen amid concerns over their links with the establishment.
Legal Broadcast Network
A man who alleges he was abused by the late Jesuit priest Father Donald O’Shaughnessy has settled his sexual abuse claim. The Chicago-Detroit Province of the Society of Jesus has paid $950,000 to settle the case. The victim had attended the Loyola Academy in Wilmette. Chicago trial lawyer Eugene Hollander represented the plaintiff. He also represented another victim of Father O’Shaughnessy’s abuse in a case discussed in this earlier LBN report. Hollander explains the latest claim in this report.
Father O’Shaughnessy was a Jesuit priest for over seventy years. He served in Chicago and several other places around the country. Hollander explains that the matter in question was a civil claim that was settled by the Society of Jesus. Hollander maintains that the Society knew or should have known of Father O’Shaughnessy’s sexual predilections before the time of the sexual abuse. While the Society has settled the claim, there is no admission of liability as part of the settlement agreement.
As to changes in Society policy, Hollander says he is not aware of any particular changes that may have been made. The Society has not objected to having Father O’Shaugnessy’s name listed on bishopaccountability.org. The site lists priests who have been accused of sexual molestation. [Note: the name was not listed on the site as of July 3, 2015.]
Hollander says that his client is relieved to have this chapter of his life closed. He wants to move on with his life.
Author: Jenise Fernandez, Reporter, email@example.com
Amanda Batchelor, Senior Digital Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org
SUNRISE, Fla. -
Police fear that there may be more victims of a voodoo priest from Sunrise who is accused of raping an underage girl and manipulating and threatening several other women with whom he had sexual relationships.
Police said the rape, which involved an 11-year-old girl, happened about five years ago.
According to authorities, Brogenet Cinor, 48, took the girl to a tiki hut-like structure in his back yard and raped her. At the time, the victim's mother confronted Cinor, but he said it was part of a cleansing and threatened to put a curse on her and her family if she spoke up, police said.
Years later, the family finally stepped forward and told police what happened.
San Antonio Express-News
WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) — A Waterbury priest who once ran the St. Francis Home for Children in New Haven has been suspended on accusations he sexually abused a minor at the school.
The New Haven Register reports (http://bit.ly/1IyuWPj ) that the Archdiocese of Hartford says in a statement it learned that the Rev. Jeremiah N. Murasso was accused of sexual abuse of a minor and that he had been placed on administrative leave until the allegation is resolved.
The state Judicial Branch website reports no criminal charges.
Since 2012, Murasso had been pastor of two Waterbury parishes, Blessed Sacrament and the Shrine of St. Anne.
Author: Troy Blevins, Online Editor, Producer
SUNRISE, Fla. -
A man claiming to be a "voodoo priest" accused of having sex with an underage girl has been arrested, Sunrise police said.
Brogenet Cinor, 48, faces a charge of sexual battery on a child under the age of 12.
The victim went to the Sunrise Police Department with her parents Sept. 25 to provide details of an incident that happened when she was in middle school between 2009 and 2010, police said.
The victim and a person believed to be the girl's mother met with Cinor, a "voodoo priest," at his home, police said. The girl's mother stayed in the front of the home while the girl was brought to a man-made structure in the backyard, described as being like a tiki hut made out of wood, according to the police report.
The girl told police that once she was inside the structure, Cinor asked her to pull her pants down. Police said Cinor then pulled his pants down, exposing his genitalia, and sat on a chair.
A former Catholic brother subjected a young boy to numerous sexual assaults at a Victorian boys home more than 40 years ago, a court has heard.
Roger Mount went on trial in the County Court of Victoria on Friday, charged with 13 counts of indecent assault and buggery on the boy between 1968 and 1972.
All incidents are alleged to have occurred at former St John of God managed boys home, Churinga, in Greensborough, and a holiday home owned by the brotherhood in Mount Eliza.
Mount pleaded not guilty to all counts before the jury.
In his opening statement, prosecutor Gary Hevey said Mount had subjected his victim to four years of abuse, which started when the boy was aged 10.
[For the first time abuse in German institutions will be examined by a state commission. The commission should start in January 2016.]
Neue „Unabhängige Aufarbeitungskommission Kindesmissbrauch“ (UAK): Deutscher Bundestag stimmt Aufarbeitungskommission zu.
Erstmals wird Missbrauch in Institutionen und in der Familie durch eine staatliche Kommission untersucht. Damit setzt Deutschland auch international bei der Aufarbeitung neue Akzente.
Kommission soll im Januar 2016 starten.
Rörig: „Wir müssen verstehen lernen, welches unerträgliche Ausmaß Missbrauch in unserer Gesellschaft hat und was wir dagegen tun können!“
Der Deutsche Bundestag hat heute abschließend über die Sicherstellung einer unabhängigen Aufarbeitung in Deutschland debattiert und einen Antrag der Regierungsfraktionen mit Zustimmung von Bündnis 90/Die Grünen angenommen. Die „Unabhängige Aufarbeitungskommission Kindesmissbrauch“ (UAK) soll beim Unabhängigen Beauftragten für Fragen des sexuellen Kindesmissbrauchs, Johannes-Wilhelm Rörig, angesiedelt werden, im Januar 2016 ihre Arbeit aufnehmen und zunächst bis zum Ende der Amtszeit des Beauftragten, bis März 2019, tätig sein. Eine gesetzliche Grundlage wird es für die Kommission nicht geben. Auch die Finanzierung ist noch nicht abschließend geklärt. Die Einrichtung einer Kommission war seit Jahren eine zentrale Forderung von Betroffenen, weiteren Expertinnen und Experten und dem Beauftragten.
July 2, 2015
By Shelby Sebens
PORTLAND, Ore. (Reuters) - An Oregon Catholic priest has been placed on leave by the Archdiocese of Portland as police investigate who placed a hidden camera, carefully disguised as an electrical outlet, in a church bathroom, the archdiocese said on Thursday.
The camera was discovered in late April near a toilet in the men’s bathroom of the St. Francis Catholic Church in Sherwood by a church member who took it immediately to Father Ysrael Bien, a police statement said.
But Bien didn’t report the camera to police until May 20 when he reported it stolen, Sherwood police spokesman Ty Hanlon said. Police are investigating how the camera wound up in the bathroom.
Bien has not been charged with a crime or named as a suspect. But the Archdiocese of Portland placed him on administrative leave last week in response to his failure to immediately report the hidden camera to police.
By Kaitlyn Naples
By Jill Konopka
WATERBURY, CT (WFSB) -
A Catholic priest currently working in Waterbury is out on administrative leave after an allegation surfaced involving the sexual abuse of a minor.
The claim comes more than 20 years later and from the priest’s time in New Haven at a facility that no longer exists.
Father Dr. Jeremiah Murasso of the Blessed Sacrament Church and the Shrine of St. Anne was serving mass up until a few weeks ago.
According to the Archdiocese of Hartford, Murasso is accused of sexually abusing a minor more than 20 years ago in New Haven.
However, many people said they don’t believe the allegations.
“From the person I know, I don't think it could be true,” said Pasquale Musco, who is a parishioner.
"He does have full support of the church, and a lot of people in this city."
The parties had announced a settlement. As court 25 emptied out, Dolores Atwood stood with her devoted husband’s arm around her, looking confused and distressed, and began to weep.
RTÉ’s head of news, Kevin Bakhurst; managing editor of current affairs, television, David Nally; and the broadcaster’s solicitor, Patricia Harrington, formed a sympathetic circle around her, attempting to make some kind of sense for her of what had just happened.
Outside, Robert Dore, solicitor for Richard Burke, Archbishop Emeritus of Benin – as he is still known, though out of ministry – leaned against the court railing overlooking Chancery Park, waiting for members of the Burke party to emerge, as word spread that the settlement hadn’t yielded a cent in damages for his client.
Burke had claimed that he was branded a paedophile on RTÉ’s Mission to Prey programme. The case hinged on whether his sexual relationship with Atwood had begun when she was 14 as she claimed, or 20, as he claimed.
DOLORES ATWOOD, THE woman at the centre of former archbishop Richard Burke’s defamation action against RTÉ has said that she is “very happy” with the judgement.
Earlier the case was settled, although RTÉ confirmed that they had paid no damages in the settlement.
Burke had taken the case alleging he had been defamed by a Prime Time Investigates programme entitled Mission to Prey.
The 2011 programme wrongly branded him a paedophile, Burke claimed.
“I am very happy and I like the judgement,” Atwood said outside court.
I’m happy that I was able to come from Canada to Ireland to testify, and I am very pleased RTÉ was able to believe me and stand by me in all this. I’m really glad the truth finally came out. I am very, very happy.
When asked whether or not she can now put the case behind her Atwood said it will “take time”.
It will take time, because of the way he described me, what he said about me that was not true. That was sad, you know, but I am happy the truth finally is out there.
The court heard evidence from Atwood, who claimed she had been abused by Burke in her native Nigeria when she was 13 or 14. Burke claimed they had consensual sex when she was 20.
News in English
The Catholic diocese in Oslo is appealing a claim from the county administrator that it repay NOK 40 million in state and municipal financial support after allegedly inflating its membership roster. The county administrator (Fylkesmannen i Oslo go Akershus) claims the church violated regulations to obtain more support than it was due.
Religious organizations in Norway can apply for and receive money based on their membership. The Catholic Church received a total of NOK 105.4 million in 2014 after having registered 65,500 new members between 2010 and 2014. Of that, fully 56,500 members were registered using methods that are a matter of dispute.
The diocese in Oslo was raided last February and both Biship Bernt Eidsvig and the diocese’s finance director were charged with fraud amounting to as much as NOK 50 million. The church is charged with scanning telephone catalogues for Polish and Spanish names, tracking down their resident registration numbers in Norway and then logging them as members of the church without their knowledge.
Newspaper Dagbladet reported Monday that the county administrator now also claims, after reviewing church accounts, that the church must return NOK 40,581,723. The diocese is contesting the order.
Norway is claiming 4.6 million euros ($5.1 million) compensation from the Catholic church for
The diocese, its bishop and the financial officer are suspected of fraudulently registering thousands of people on its membership lists between 2010 and 2014, which enabled it to obtain 50 million kroner (more than $6.0 million or 5.8 million euros) in state subsidies.
Norway’s church denies engaging in fraud but has admitted its past methods were “unsatisfactory.”
In Norway, a predominantly Protestant country, the state provides subsidies to organised religions, the size of which is determined by the number of members.
The Dagbladet daily, which first broke the story, said the diocese had received a letter from the administration on Monday calling for the 40.6 million kroner overpayment to be refunded.
A spokeswoman for the diocese, Lisa Wade, confirmed the contents of the letter. She told AFP that the church would not be paying the sum and would take the matter up with the culture ministry.
"We have a very different understanding of the law,” she said. “It’s complex. It’s not like it’s a clear-cut case.”
By Conor Gaffey 7/2/15
The Catholic Church in Norway stands accused of defrauding the state of €5.7m by inflating membership numbers and could see its leading bishop face a six-year prison sentence.
Between 2010 and 2014, the Catholic Church in Norway is accused of bumping up membership numbers by as much as 65,000 in order to receive greater state subsidies, an Oslo police spokesperson told Newsweek.
Norwegian police have charged Bernt Ivar Eidsvig, the bishop of Oslo, along with the financial manager of Oslo diocese and the diocese itself, with gross economic fraud of up to 50m Norwegian krone (€5.7m).
The local Oslo government body which distributes state funds to religious institutions is also claiming back the alleged over-payment and this week rejected an explanatory report which the church put forward in March.
The allegations were originally reported by Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet last year.
By Andrew V. Pestano Follow @AVPLive9
July 1, 2015
OSLO, Norway, July 1 (UPI) -- The Catholic Church is appealing a claim from government officials in Oslo, Norway that the church pay $5.1 million in compensation for participating in fraudulent practices.
The Oslo diocese, its bishop and its financial officer are accused of fraudulently registering thousands of people on its membership lists as to receive greater subsidies from the government.
Norway, predominantly Protestant, permits religious organizations to apply for and receive federal subsidies based on their membership amounts.
The Olso diocese registered about 65,500 new members between 2010 and 2014 and more than 56,500 people of that total were registered under disputed methods, according to Olso government officials. The diocese received more than $6 million in national subsidies during that time.
The church is accused of using telephone catalogs to look for Polish or Spanish names and then tracking down their resident registration numbers in Norway before registering them as members of the church without their consent.
Frequent readers of this blog will note that I have commented before on the practice of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis of grossly exaggerating the number of Catholics in its territory. I have pointed out that doing so renders all efforts at strategic planning questionable, if not ridiculous, and can also cause us to have to pay larger than necessary subsidies to affiliated organizations such as the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Elsewhere, this practice is having even more serious consequences. As the UPI reported yesterday, the Catholic Diocese of Oslo, Norway, its bishop, and its CFO are accused of defrauding the Norwegian government of more than $5 million. The government, which subsidizes religious organizations based on the number of members, claims that the Diocese used fraudulent methods to register more than 65,000 new members during the period from 2010 to 2014.
Thankfully, the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis does not receive this kind of federal assistance. Parishes with schools, on the other hand, do participate in USDA School Nutrition Programs such as the Free-and-Reduced Lunch Program. Can you imagine if, on top of all of our other troubles, it was determined that an Archdiocesan parish (with its corporate board of Archbishop, Vicar General, Pastor, and two lay trustees) was found to have been defrauding this government program by deliberately inflating its number of enrolled students who qualify for this benefits?
New Haven Register
Priest who has served in New Haven, East Haven suspended over sex abuse claim at Waterbury school
By Ed Stannard, New Haven Register
A Waterbury priest who has served in New Haven and East Haven and once ran the St. Francis Home for Children has been suspended as a result of accusations that he sexually abused a minor at the school.
The Rev. Jeremiah N. Murasso has been pastor of two Waterbury parishes, Blessed Sacrament and the Shrine of St. Anne, since 2012.
He was director of the St. Francis Home, also known as Highland Heights, from 1992 to 1995. He also served at St. Joseph Church in New Haven from 1982 to 1985 and at St. Vincent de Paul Church in East Haven from 1985 to 1989.
“The Archdiocese of Hartford has learned that an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor has been made against the Rev. Jeremiah N. Murasso,” said the statement by the archdiocese. It said he had been placed “on administrative leave until this allegation is resolved.”
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
by David Clohessy
Two notorious serial predator priests have been back in the news recently. Both assaulted dozens of kids. Both were shielded, for decades, by complicit colleagues and supervisors. Their horrific crimes, though they took place years ago, should not go unnoticed.
1.One of Iowa’s most notorious child molesting clerics, Fr. James M. Janssen, has passed away. He reportedly abusing many boys, often along with other pedophile priests Fr. Francis Bass, Fr. Theodore Anthony Geerts, and Fr. James W. Murphy, and of pimping his victims to Bass, Murphy and Fr. William Wiebler.
Janssen allegedly used sacrilege and petty crime to groom his victims, and sometimes took them out of state to abuse them. Janssen's "stable of boys" ranged in ages from 5 to 18. He continued to abuse at least one into his twenties, and he kept in touch with several into their adulthood, according to multiple sources (see BishopAccountability.org)
Davenport Catholic officials were “warned about Janssen in 1948 before his first assignment, and he admitted abusing kids to a bishop in 1958. Yet he worked as a priest for 42 years in 14 parishes and was pastor at four of them for a total of 23 years. He was on the Priests' Personnel Board for 13 years and was a Boy Scout chaplain for a decade.
Despite repeated pledges to be “open and transparent” about clergy sex crimes, Janssen’s long-time colleagues and supervisors in the Davenport Catholic diocese apparently have told no one in the public or the parishes that he’s gone. We suspect they didn’t tell police or prosecutors either. Sadly, none of the dozens of current or former Davenport diocesan employees saw fit to spread the news either.
2. A priest who “abused hundreds of children over decades” should have never been ordained, a Northern Ireland government panel was told last month, is also deceased.
Fr. Brendan Smyth died in prison after being convicted of indecently assaulting 74 children in the Republic of Ireland and 43 others in Northern Ireland. He also worked in North Dakota and Rhode Island where at least three abuse and cover up lawsuits (in 2010 and 2008) have been filed in Rhode Island because of Fr. Smyth’s crimes. He also worked in North Dakota.
In 2007, Providence Catholic officials admitted that they had received eight abuse reports about Smyth. (East Greenwich Pendulum, October 25, 2007)
We call on Rhode Island Bishop Thomas Tobin, Bismarck Bishop David Kagan, Fargo Bishop John Folda of Fargo and every single diocesan or parish employee in the two states to show some courage, break their silence, act with compassion and use every possible means to reach out to and help others who were sexually violated by Smyth or Janssen (or by Janssen’s complicit clerical colleagues). It’s not enough for a church official to say “We’re sorry for these crimes.” Church officials must use their vast resources – parish websites, pulpit announcements, new releases and church bulletins – to seek out and console those who have been suffering for decades because of this predator.
And let me address this question: “Why does it matter whether church officials disclose the death of a predator priest?”