Abuse Tracker
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BishopAccountability.org – Documenting the Abuse Crisis

July 30, 2015

Jehovah's Witnesses inquiry resumes

AUSTRALIA
SBS

Source: AAP
31 JUL 2015

A royal commission will continue to hear from senior officials of the Jehovah's Witness Church when it resumes its investigation into child sex abuse allegations.

In the witness stand on day four of the hearing will be church officials who interviewed a respected member of the Mareeba congregation in Queensland, who was accused by his daughter of abusing her and her three sisters.

The man, known by the pseudonym BCH, was stood down by the church but later reinstated. He was eventually jailed in 2004 after his second eldest daughter went to police.

Evidence to date at the commission has been that church elders did not think his crimes were proven under their laws when an internal judicial inquiry was held even though BCH admitted molesting his daughters. He was stood down for adultery.

New abuse claims hit Scotch College

AUSTRALIA
The Age

July 31, 2015

Steve Lillebuen

One of Australia's top private schools has been hit with further legal action over alleged sexual abuse.

Melbourne's Scotch College, which has already settled five historical abuse cases, is now facing two more claims of sexual abuse on school grounds and expects even more to be filed in the coming months.

The new abuse claims, which involve allegations dating back at least 20 years, come after the school reached out to survivors of childhood abuse in May and encouraged them to come

In a letter to the school community, principal Tom Batty said the school's handling of historical abuse remained an ongoing process that will continue to act in the best interests of abuse survivors.

"Scotch has received two further legal claims and expects further legal claims to be presented and dealt with," he wrote in the letter on Thursday night.

Judge Chides Lawyers on Twin Cities Archdiocese Bankruptcy Fees

MINNESOTA
Wall Street Journal

By TOM CORRIGAN

A Minneapolis bankruptcy judge criticized legal fees and other expenses that have accrued over the course of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’s bankruptcy case.

Though he ultimately approved the bill, Judge Robert Kressel of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Minneapolis said Thursday he was “stunned” and “frankly a little angry” over the legal fees and other expenses, which court papers show were approaching $1.8 million as of May 31. That includes the archdiocese’s professionals and those hired by a victims group, whose fees the archdiocese is obligated to cover.

“Airlines were reorganized for a fraction of this,” he said.

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January and has since been working to reach a settlement with alleged clergy sexual abuse victims, its parishes and its insurance carriers.

Lawyers working on the case have to share the same limited pool of funds that the archdiocese’s creditors—primarily, the abuse victims—are counting on for compensation.

Charlie Rogers, a lawyer with Briggs and Morgan who represents the archdiocese, said the firm’s average billing for the case was $300 an hour, which he said is standard for the area.

Jehovah’s Witnesses cover up child sex abuse and oust a victim

OKLAHOMA
Reveal News - The Center for Investigative Reporting

By Trey Bundy / July 30, 2015

McALESTER, Okla. – In the summer of 2012, the elders in Debbie McDaniel’s congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses expelled her for having a sexual relationship with a woman. They announced her punishment to the congregation and notified the organization’s headquarters in New York. The consequences were clear: She would be shunned by the Witnesses – including her mother, father, sister and brother – and lose her chance at eternal life.

Jehovah’s Witnesses call their version of excommunication disfellowshipping, a punishment by shunning to rid the faithful of bad associations with those who break the laws of God. Once they’re expelled, the disfellowshipped cannot have any contact with Witnesses, even polite acknowledgment on the street, until they have proved their repentance and willingness to return obediently to the organization. In some cases, they’re shunned for the rest of their lives.

The disfellowshipping in 2012 was the second time that McDaniel, now 46, had been shunned by the Witnesses in her small hometown of McAlester in southeastern Oklahoma. When she was 18, elders responded to rumors that she had become sexually active by summoning her to confess the details of her sexual history. The meeting was a spiritual tribunal presided over by three elders with the power to expel sinners they deem unrepentant.

“They ask very, very personal, embarrassing questions,” McDaniel said. “Not just did you have sex with this person, but did you have an orgasm? Did you enjoy it? Where did he touch you? Where did you touch him?”

In the months leading up to that 1987 hearing, McDaniel said, the congregation’s top elder, Ronald Lawrence, had staked out her apartment and questioned her about rumors that she was promiscuous.

Rabbi found not guilty of sexual abuse

NEW YORK
News 12

NEW CITY - A well-known rabbi from Rockland has been found not guilty of sexual abuse.

Rabbi Moshe Taubenfeld, 55, had been accused of molesting a young boy who needed counseling after the 9/11 attacks. Taubenfeld's accuser says he was abused from ages 8 through 13.

Rockland County Court Judge Rolff Thorsen announced the verdict after a non-jury trial.

Taubenfeld did not take the witness stand in his own defense.

Judge finds New Square rabbi not guilty in sex abuse case

NEW YORK
The Journal News

A Rockland judge on Thursday found New Square rabbi Moshe Taubenfeld not guilty of allegations he sexually abused a boy over a five-year period.

Taubenfeld, 55, also known as Mendel Zarkowsky, was charged with second-degree course of sexual conduct against a child, a felony.

As he left the courtroom, his supporters started singing and dancing until court officers told them to be more composed. They said they planned to host a big celebration in New Square.

His lawyer, Gerard Damiani, said "Mr. Taubenfeld is very happy it is over with. He always denied he ever abused (the boy) or anyone."

He said Taubenfeld had taught over 200 students over the course of his career and not one of them has ever suggested he did anything inappropriate.

Abuse whistleblowers seek Vatican inquiry of Newark Archbishop Myers

NEW JERSEY
National Catholic Reporter

Brian Roewe | Jul. 30, 2015

NEWARK, N.J.
In a test of Pope Francis’ pledge that bishops will be held accountable, an advocacy group for survivors of clergy sexual abuse has formally petitioned the Vatican to investigate Newark, N.J., Archbishop John Myers for possible abuse of his episcopal office.

If found complicit, the group is requesting that Myers be removed from his post and blocked from his controversial retirement home.

The Catholic Whistleblowers sent their case Tuesday to Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, apostolic nuncio to the U.S., with instructions to forward it to the Congregation of Bishops in Rome. The group alleges that since his appointment in 1987 as coadjutor to the Peoria, Ill., diocese, Myers has mishandled abuse allegations — including former Newark priest Michael Fugee — and has shown a pattern of harsh treatment toward victims and their advocates.

“Myers did everything to protect priests, and virtually nothing to protect the innocent, the kids, the victims,” said Robert Hoatson, a member of Catholic Whistleblowers and former priest of the Newark archdiocese whose 2003 co-founding of Road to Recovery put him at odds with Myers.

Group Says Newark Archbishop Mishandled Sex Abuse Cases

NEW JERSEY
Patch

By ERIC.KIEFER (Patch Staff)
July 30, 2015

A Livingston-based advocacy group is calling for a Vatican investigation into the oversight practices of Newark Archbishop John Myers.

Catholic Whistleblowers – a group of priests and nuns who advocate for victims of sexual abuse – is alleging that Myers has been “persistently hostile” toward people who come forward with abuse allegations, the Associated Press reported.

In addition, the group is alleging that Myers has left guilty priests in parishes in the Newark archdiocese and in Peoria, Illinois, where he previously served as bishop.

Myers has refuted the group’s accusations.

“Myers’ spokesman says the archbishop has aggressively confronted abusers and has removed 19 priests from church work in the Newark archdiocese alone,” the AP reported.

The group’s steering committee include West Orange resident Robert M. Hoatson, a former Catholic school teacher who led a whistleblowing campaign against the Archdiocese of Newark in 2013.

Focus on abuse prosecutions: victims group

AUSTRALIA
SBS

Broken Rites is not expecting much out of the highly-anticipated appearance of Cardinal George Pell and a former bishop at the child abuse inquiry.

Source: AAP

The greatest impact of the child abuse royal commission will be in prosecuting more offenders, an advocate for victims of pedophile priests says.

Cardinal George Pell and a bishop who knew about clergy sexually abusing children in Victoria's Ballarat diocese will front the commission's public hearing later this year.

It is what victims wanted but advocacy group Broken Rites founder Chris Wilding is sceptical Cardinal Pell will shed any further light on widespread abuse over decades in the Victorian diocese.

She also doubts former Ballarat bishop Ronald Mulkearns will reveal the full extent of what he knew, despite the commission hearing that he presided over pedophile priests being moved between parishes.

"I had great hopes for the royal commission that we would at last get some shred of truth," she told AAP.

"But I just don't see it happening."

Judge Denies Deadline Extension for Priest Abuse Victims

MINNESOTA
KSTP

By: Dave Aeikens and Tom Durian

A federal judge has denied a request to extend a deadline that allows people to file abuse claims against the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis until Aug. 3.

The victims' lawyers wanted the deadline moved to May 2016 to match state law, which says parishes can still be sued until May. Attorney Rob Kugler said the notices sent by parishes about the deadline were "lukewarm and clouded."

The judge ruled that notice was "extensive and sufficient."

Lawyers for the parish committees said the request for a delay is "an attempt to have more time to persuade people to file claims."

The case is tied to the archdiocese's bankruptcy claim. Therefore the proceedings will follow federal bankruptcy law. More than 230 cases of priest abuse have been filed against the archdiocese and its 187 parishes.

Judge Rules, For Now, Neither Katy Perry Nor Nuns Can Lay Claim To Los Feliz Convent

CALIFORNIA
CBS Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A judge has announced that the Los Feliz convent that Katy Perry claims she bought from the Los Angeles Catholic Archdiocese may not belong to the pop superstar.

A ruling in court Thursday found that neither the singer nor restaurant magnate Dana Hollister can lay claim to the multimillion-dollar property until the matter is investigated further.

The judge said he’ll evaluate whether Perry’s deal with the archdiocese holds firm, saying that his initial findings deem it “clearly invalid.”

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles has been in talks with pop superstar Katy Perry, who has agreed to pay the archdiocese $10 million in cash and alternative property for House of Prayer valued at $4.5 million.

Judge won't extend deadline for archdiocese bankruptcy claims

MINNESOTA
Minnesota Public Radio

Madeleine Baran, Martin Moylan Jul 30, 2015

A federal judge on Thursday rejected abuse victims' request to extend a deadline for bankruptcy court claims against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. The deadline remains Monday.

The creditors committee in the archdiocese bankruptcy case, composed entirely of clergy sex abuse victims, had wanted Judge Robert Kressel to push the deadline back to May 2016, contending that the archdiocese had provided inadequate notice of the Aug. 3 deadline and that victims might need more time to file.

The panel also argued that pushing back the deadline would expedite a settlement and provide more insurance money for abuse victims.

Former Shawnee youth pastor jailed on sex crimes complaint

OKLAHOMA
Shawnee News-Star

A former Shawnee youth pastor was booked into the Pottawatomie County jail Wednesday on complaints involving sex crimes.

Jail records at the Pottawatomie County Public Safety Center show Brian Burchfield, 42, is being held on complaints of soliciting sexual conduct with a minor by use of technology and violation of computer crimes act.

Formal charges have not been filed.

His online Linked in page shows he is a young adult pastor at Quail Springs Baptist Church and he was previously a pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Shawnee.

Update: Former Shawnee youth pastor jailed

OKLAHOMA
Shawnee News-Star

By Kim Morava

Posted Jul. 30, 2015

A former Shawnee youth pastor was arrested and booked into jail Wednesday on complaints involving sex crimes.

Jail records at the Pottawatomie County Public Safety Center show Brian K. Burchfield, 42, is being held on complaints of soliciting sexual conduct with a minor by use of technology and violation of computer crimes act.

Formal charges have not been filed.

Burchfield’s online LinkedIn page shows he is a young adult pastor at Quail Springs Baptist Church in Edmond and that he was previously a youth pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Shawnee.

He was reported to be with Immanuel Baptist Church from June 2006 to April 2014.

The Shawnee church posted a statement on its website late Wednesday night.

“We are very saddened to hear of the allegations regarding Brian Burchfield, a former minister at our church,” it reads.

Former Shawnee youth pastor accused of sex crimes arraigned Thursday

OKLAHOMA
KFOR

JULY 30, 2015, BY ABBY BROYLES

SHAWNEE, Okla. — A former youth pastor was arraigned in Pottawatomie County on Thursday morning after being accused of sex crimes.

Authorities say Brian Burchfield is accused of soliciting and engaging in sexual communications with four teenage boys, which is a violation of the Oklahoma Computer Crimes Act.

Police say Burchfield was the boys’ youth pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Shawnee.

Court documents show the senior pastor and associate pastor at Immanuel Baptist met with police and told them about the alleged inappropriate conversations between Burchfield and the teens.

Former OKC Youth Pastor Arrested On Suspicion Of Sex Crimes

OKLAHOMA
9 News

BY RACHEL CALDERON, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY - A man who spent his career ministering to young people now sits behind bars, accused of sex crimes.

At the time authorities arrested Brian Burchfield, 42, he was the Young Adult Pastor at Quail Springs Baptist Church. Samantha Decker, Director of Communications at Quail Springs Baptist Church told News 9, “Brian has been relieved of his duties at our church."

The married, father of four was brought into the Shawnee Police department on Wednesday and was questioned by officers. He was booked into the Pottawatomie County jail around 3 p.m.. He is accused of soliciting sexual conduct with a minor by use of technology and for violating the Computer Crimes Act.

According to Burchfield’s LinkedIn account he served as a pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Shawnee and ministered there for almost eight years, before becoming Young Adult Pastor for Quail Springs Baptist Church in 2014.

Twin Cities archdiocese wins bid to move up clergy abuse claims to Aug. 3

MINNESOTA
Star Tribune

By Jean Hopfensperger Star Tribune JULY 30, 2015

Victims of clergy sex abuse in the St. Paul and Minneapolis archdiocese must file their claims by Aug. 3, U.S. bankruptcy judge Robert Kressel reaffirmed Thursday.

The Aug. 3 deadline was challenged in federal bankruptcy court in Minneapolis Thursday by victims’ attorneys, who asked the court to honor a May 2016 deadline, the same filing cutoff for all other abuse victims in Minnesota.

But Judge Robert Kressel reaffirmed his April decision, designed to expedite the archdiocese’s reorganization plan.

The victims’ committee had argued that the rights of victims to be notified of the changed date, and their ability to seek compensation, were harmed by the Aug. 3 date. They said the archdiocese hadn’t fully complied with orders to publicize the filing date and that the early deadline would not speed up financial reorganization.

The archdiocese insisted it had meet the court’s publicity plan, and that a later deadline would increase “professional fees” and impair its ability to raise funds from the faithful.

Vercelli, agli arresti domiciliari il prete pedofilo che adescava ragazzini all'oratorio

ITALIA
Repubblica

[Don Massimo Iuculano has been suspended by the bishop after being accused of abusing three boys.

di FLORIANA RULLO

E' ai domiciliari in una comunità religiosa don Massimo Iuculano, il sacerdote vercellese accusato di aver abusato di tre ragazzi che frequentavano la scuola dell'oratorio in cui era parroco. ''Siamo soddisfatti - spiega il legale del parroco Carlo Blengino -. La decisione è stata presa oggi dopo l'istanza da noi presentata. Sono cadute tutte le ragioni per cui dovesse stare in carcere''.

A raccontare degli abusi sono stati gli stessi ragazzi, quattordicenni e diciassettenni che frequentavano l'istituto Don Bosco di Vercelli. Proprio in quell'istituto, dedicato al sacerdote che aveva a cuore i ragazzi, il prete abusava di loro e della loro adolescenza.

Gigantischer Cast macht Jagd auf die katholische Kirche - Erster Trailer zu "Spotlight"

MASSACHUSETTS
Moviebreak

Seit seinem großen Erfolg mit der Hauptrolle in "Birdman" ist Michael Keaton wieder gefragt in Hollywood. Mit "Spotlight" kommt nun, mal abgesehen von den "Minions", in denen er Walter Nelson seine Stimme verlieh, der erste Film seit "Birdman" mit Keaton in einer der Hauptrollen in die Kinos. Neben ihm werden eine Reihe bekannter Gesichter auf der Leinwand zu sehen sein, denn der Cast lässt nicht zu wünschen übrig: Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, Liev Schreiber, Stanley Tucci, John Slattery, Billy Crudup und Brian d´Arcy James. Regie führte Tom McCarthy ("Ein Sommer in New York - The Visitor", "Win Win"), der hauptsächlich als Schauspieler bekannt ist, aber in letzter Zeit auch auf dem Regiestuhl sein Talent beweisen konnte.

Zeugen Jehovas vertuschten über Jahrzehnte sexuellen Missbrauch

AUSTRALIEN
Sueddeutsche

Missbrauchsskandal bei den Zeugen Jehovas

Die Zeugen Jehovas in Australien haben offenbar Kindesmissbrauch von mehr als 1000 Tätern jahrzehntelang vertuscht.

Die Fälle liegen weit zurück, sie haben sich teilweise in den Fünfzigerjahren ereignet. Allerdings gab es darüber Aufzeichungen und protokollierte Zeugenaussagen. Zur Rechenschaft gezogen wurden die Täter dennoch nicht.

Sexueller Missbrauch: Papst entlässt Pfarrer

DEUTSCHLAND
Frankfurter Neue Presse

Von Johannes Laubach

Es sind abstoßende Taten, die einem Pfarrer zur Last gelegt werden, der auch im Bistum Limburg tätig war. Der Papst hat jetzt darauf reagiert. Das hat diese Zeitung erfahren.

Rom/Würzburg/Limburg.
Papst Franziskus hat nach Informationen dieser Zeitung den Priester Wolfdieter W. aus der Diözese Würzburg wegen sexuellen Missbrauchs Minderjähriger mit sofortiger Wirkung alle Rechte und Pflichten entzogen, die mit dem Klerikerstand verbunden sind. Damit ist der 75-Jährige, der zeitweise auch im Bistum Limburg und im Erzbistum Bamberg tätig war, aus dem Klerikerstand entlassen.

Aus Klerikerstand entlassen

DEUTSCHLAND
Bistum Wuerzburg

[Pope Francis has laicized 75-year-old Wolf Dieter W., a priest accused of sexual abuse of minors.]

Papst Franziskus entzieht 75-Jährigem alle Rechte und Pflichten eines Priesters

Rom/Würzburg/Limburg (POW) Papst Franziskus hat einem Ruhestandspriester der Diözese Würzburg wegen sexuellen Missbrauchs Minderjähriger mit sofortiger Wirkung alle Rechte und Pflichten entzogen, die mit dem Klerikerstand verbunden sind. Damit ist der 75-jährige Wolfdieter W., der zeitweise auch im Bistum Limburg und im Erzbistum Bamberg tätig war, aus dem Klerikerstand entlassen. Das Schreiben vom 26. Juni 2015 ist vom Präfekten der römischen Kongregation für die Glaubenslehre, Gerhard Kardinal Müller, unterzeichnet. Es wurde Bischof Dr. Friedhelm Hofmann über die Apostolische Nuntiatur in Berlin zugestellt. Bischof Hofmann, Generalvikar Thomas Keßler und Offizial Dr. Stefan Rambacher teilten dem Priester die Entscheidung am Donnerstag, 30. Juli 2015, im Bischöflichen Ordinariat Würzburg mit. Gegen den Ausschluss aus dem Klerikerstand kann der Betroffene keine Rechtsmittel einlegen.

The rise and fall of the Catholic blogosphere

UNITED KINGDOM
Catholic Herald

by Damian Thompson
posted Thursday, 30 Jul 2015

During the reign of Benedict XVI, blogging became a mighty instrument in the hands of conservative Catholics. But the medium soon revealed a darker side

A fortnight ago, Pope Francis appointed Fr Robert Barron, rector of Mundelein seminary in Chicago, to be a new auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The news was greeted with little explosions of delight from conservative-leaning Catholics all over Twitter, including many from Britain. Why?

It wasn’t just because Fr Barron, 55, is himself rather conservative theologically, though he’d prefer to think of himself as simply orthodox. That wouldn’t be big news: plenty of conservative priests get made bishops, even under this supposedly “liberal” Pope (though not so often in England and Wales).

No: Twitter and the blogosphere were excited because Fr Barron is famous. He runs “Word on Fire Ministries”, which sounds to a Brit like an outfit run by an orange-haired US televangelist or one of those pop-up Nigerian “prosperity gospel” churches. He hosts Word on Fire with Father Barron, a half-hour show that airs nationally on WGN America, making him the first Catholic priest to have his own regular television programme on a national commercial channel since Fulton Sheen in the 1950s.

Word on Fire also makes programmes and DVDs for EWTN, the Catholic television network founded by Mother Angelica, and Fr Barron has a weekly radio programme called – you guessed it – Word on Fire. He pops up on NBC and Fox News as a Catholic commentator and writes lots of articles for Catholic publications, including this one. So he’s a media priest, and one who can call on expert advice: his brother John is a former editor-in-chief of the Chicago Sun-Times. (Incidentally, Fr Robert Sirico, distinguished founder of the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty, also has a brother in the media: Tony Sirico, the mobster-turned-actor who played Paulie “Walnuts” Gualtieri in The Sopranos.)

55 priests defrocked for sex abuse since 2001

UNITED KINGDOM
Belfast Telegraph

More than 50 priests in England and Wales have been defrocked for clerical sex abuse since 2001, new figures show.

There have been 55 laicisations since 2001 - meaning they have been evicted from the clergy - after new rules were put in place to protect children and vulnerable adults in the Catholic Church.

But the Church, which has been rocked by a series of historic abuse scandals, received many more complaints of sexual misconduct against the clergy.

And officials said there were a number of cases involving child abuse images where the victims could not be identified, meaning the number of overall victims may be much higher.

There was an increase in the number of perpetrators subject to "covenants of care", essentially withdrawing them from ministering and severely restricting what they could do in the Church, from 384 at the end of 2013 to 462 at the end of 2014.

Church safeguarding body announces partnership with abuse survivors

UNITED KINGDOM
The Tablet

30 July 2015 by Joanna Moorhead

A panel of survivors of clerical abuse is to be set up to help put the voice of the victims at the heart of the work of the National Catholic Safeguarding Commission (NCSC).

The creation of the new panel was described this week by the commission’s acting chairman Christopher Pearson as an important new development. “It will significantly inform and influence the work of the NCSC and help improve the Church’s pastoral support for those hurt by abuse,” he said.

The panel will have an independently-appointed chairperson and those hurt by abuse will make up the majority of the membership.

“It will be a real partnership between the commission and survivors,” he added.

In its annual report published this week, the NCSC said the membership of the panel would include individuals with direct personal experience of abuse by Catholic clergy or Religious, as well as a parent of an abused child.

Judge to decide whether to extend archdiocese claims deadline

MINNESOTA
Minnesota Public Radio

Martin Moylan Jul 30, 2015

Time is running out for sex abuse victims and others to file claims against the bankrupt Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. But that could change.

The claims deadline is Monday. But a federal judge will hear arguments Thursday morning for and against pushing the claims deadline back to May of 2016.

The creditors committee in the case — composed entirely of sex abuse victims — contends that the archdiocese has provided inadequate notice of the Aug. 3 deadline. It wants to give victims more time to file.

The committee also contends that pushing back the deadline would actually expedite a settlement and provide more insurance money for abuse victims.

Robert Kugler, attorney for the creditors' committee, said insurers don't want to settle claims against the archdiocese only to get hit with another round of potentially costly claims against the parishes for abuse suffered perhaps decades ago.

Orthodox priest fined, placed on probation ...

OHIO
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Orthodox priest fined, placed on probation in Ohio after misdemeanor sex offense conviction

July 30, 2015

By Peter Smith / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

An Orthodox Christian priest living in Pittsburgh has been fined and placed on probation for his conviction on a misdemeanor sexual offense in Ohio, and he has been removed as pastor of a Youngstown parish.

James F. Callozzo, 73, of Brookline Boulevard was found guilty Tuesday of sexual imposition, a third-degree misdemeanor, in Mahoning County Area Court in Boardman, Ohio. He was charged after an 18-year-old man told police that Father Callozzo followed him into a restaurant bathroom in Boardman, made sexually explicit comments and grabbed his private parts.

The court fined Father Callozzo $150, charged additional administrative costs and placed him on 12 months’ probation, according to a court clerk.

Father Callozzo has been permanently removed as pastor of Nativity of Christ Orthodox Church in Youngstown, according to Archpriest Roman Star, dean of the Central States for the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA, part of the Russian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate), to which the parish belongs.

Where's 'Father Manuel'? Police hunting fugitive priest, teacher accused of raping N.J. teen

NEW JERSEY
NJ.com

By Mark Mueller | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
on July 30, 2015

Twelve years ago, amid allegations he raped a 15-year-old boy in the rectory of a Plainfield church, the Rev. Manuel Gallo Espinoza vanished.

The Archdiocese of Newark, where Gallo Espinoza had served as a visiting priest, said he apparently fled to his native Ecuador after church officials informed him of the claim and suspended him from ministry.

Authorities never interviewed him. Within months, the investigation went dark.

Now, with the filing of a lawsuit by his alleged victim and an examination by NJ Advance Media, federal and county authorities have expressed renewed interest in finding and questioning the 51-year-old priest.

The NJ Advance Media investigation — drawing on law enforcement documents, public records and interviews — found that Gallo Espinoza obtained a visa to return to the United States in 2005. Three years later, unbeknownst to authorities in New Jersey, the man accused of raping a teenage boy took a job as a high school teacher in Prince George's County, Md., the inquiry found.

Gallo Espinoza abruptly left the post in February of last year, a spokesman for the district confirmed. The spokesman, Max Pugh, said he could not disclose the reason for the departure because it was a personnel matter. Pugh said he was unaware of any allegation of sexual misconduct involving the former teacher.

Coming To Terms With Child Sex Abuse: I Was "The Sinful Woman"

UNITED STATES
The Garden of Roses: Stories of Abuse and Healing

Virginia Jones

Many people assume that the sinful woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears while he was dining in the house of Simon, the Pharisee, was a prostitute. The story is told in the Gospel of Luke (7:38-50).

Simon observed Jesus’ interactions with the woman and said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who and what kind of woman this is.”

Jesus heard Simon and rebuked him.

If the sinful woman was a prostitute, then her sin of sex outside of marriage made her unclean and unfit to touch a man, especially a priestly man. But was the sinful woman just a prostitute?

50 priests in England and Wales defrocked over sex abuse since 2001

UNITED KINGDOM
Irish Examiner

Thursday, July 30, 2015

More than 50 priests in England and Wales have been defrocked for clerical sex abuse since 2001, new figures show.

There have been 55 laicisations since 2001 – meaning they have been evicted from the clergy – after new rules were put in place to protect children and vulnerable adults in the Catholic Church.

But the Church, which has been rocked by a series of historic abuse scandals, received many more complaints of sexual misconduct against the clergy.

And officials said there were a number of cases involving child abuse images where the victims could not be identified, meaning the number of overall victims may be much higher.

There was an increase in the number of perpetrators subject to “covenants of care”, essentially withdrawing them from ministering and severely restricting what they could do in the Church, from 384 at the end of 2013 to 462 at the end of 2014.

There were 79 allegations of abuse against children during the last year. These allegations involved 97 different forms of abuse against 118 victims, abused by 83 suspects.

Will Vatican officials face term limits?

VATICAN CITY
Headlines from the Catholic World

Vatican City, Jul 30, 2015 / 01:02 am (CNA).- A fixed term mandate for Vatican officials serving in the Roman Curia was among recent proposals for the Vatican's ongoing reform process, and will likely be discussed at the Sept. 14-16 meeting of the Council of Cardinals.

It's still unclear whether the fixed term mandate refers to all Vatican officials – that is, those who hold an office of the Roman Curia – or if it would just apply to the clergy.

According to the prominent Italian journalist Marco Tosatti, “the idea is to give a term – a five year term, to be eventually renewed for another five year term – to the mandate of the Curia officials, which are the priests who make up the bulk of the jobs in the various Congregations and Pontifical Councils.”

So if a priest is called to serve in the Roman Curia, he would return to his home parish after five years. On the other hand, there are many lay Vatican officials: would the fixed term mandate apply to them as well?

Second stage of public hearing into Catholic Church authorities in Ballarat

AUSTRALIA
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

30 July, 2015

The second stage of Case Study 28 will be held from 23 November 2015 in Melbourne.

The first stage of the public hearing was held in Ballarat in May 2015. Because of the logistical issues relating to the anticipated level of interest in the community, the next stage of the hearing will held in the ceremonial court in the County Court complex in Melbourne.

The Royal Commission will provide a webcast of proceedings in the Trench room at the Ballarat Town Hall, Sturt Street, Ballarat, and the proceedings will be live streamed on the Royal Commission website www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au.

The scope and purpose of Case Study 28 remains unchanged and can be viewed on the Royal Commission’s website. Parties who have not sought leave to appear but wish to apply for leave at the resumed hearing will be able to do so at a later date.

The Royal Commission anticipates that Cardinal Pell and Bishop Mulkearns will give evidence at this hearing. The witness list will be published on the website closer to the hearing.

People with questions are encouraged to contact the Royal Commission on
1800 099 340 or email contact@childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au.

Child abuse royal commission summons George Pell, Ronald Mulkearns

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

TESSA AKERMAN THE AUSTRALIAN JULY 30, 2015

Bishop Ronald Mulkearns will be summoned to give evidence to the child sex Royal Commission in November.

In a press release issued this afternoon the Royal Commission stated it anticipated Cardinal George Pell and Bishop Ronald Mulkearns would give evidence at the public hearing which will take place in Melbourne and not Ballarat due to logistic issues.

The Royal Commission previously heard evidence that the former Bishop of Ballarat knew of paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale’s offending in the diocese and moved Ridsdale from parish to parish when complaints were made.

Bishop Mulkearns served as the bishop of Ballarat between 1971-97.

After having a stroke in 1998, Bishop Mulkearns avoided the Victorian parliamentary inquiry into child sex abuse in institutions, citing ill health.

Last week however Geelong Magistrate John Lesser ordered him to give evidence in the committal hearing of another Ballarat priest charged with historical sex offences, Robert Claffey.

Pell and bishop before abuse inquiry

AUSTRALIA
9 News

Victims' advocates are sceptical a former Victorian bishop will reveal the full extent of what the church knew about pedophile priests when he and Cardinal George Pell appear before the child abuse royal commission.

Cardinal Pell has already agreed to return from Rome to give evidence to the inquiry into widespread abuse in the Ballarat diocese.

The commission has now said then-Ballarat Bishop Ronald Mulkearns, who knew Australia's worst pedophile priest Gerald Francis Ridsdale and others were sexually abusing children, will also give evidence at a public hearing later this year.

Victims' advocacy group Broken Rites has previously said Bishop Mulkearns has a lot to answer for after he moved Ridsdale and other priests between parishes during his time as bishop of Ballarat from 1971 to 1997.

Former Ballarat Bishop Ronald Mulkearns to appear at royal commission in Melbourne

AUSTRALIA
The Age

July 30, 2015

Jane Lee
Legal affairs, industrial relations and science correspondent

A former bishop described as "pivotal" to the failure to prevent decades of widespread child sexual abuse at Catholic schools in Ballarat will appear before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The commission confirmed in a statement on Thursday that former Bishop Ronald Mulkearns was expected to appear at the second hearing, which will be held in Melbourne starting on November 23. Cardinal George Pell will also give evidence at the hearing, which will focus on authorities' role in child sexual abuse.

Ronald Mulkearns, the Bishop of Ballarat between 1971 and 1997, presided over many decisions to move disgraced serial paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale to numerous parishes despite knowing of allegations of child sexual abuse against him, the royal commission heard earlier this year.

Father Adrian McInerney, who was Bishop Mulkearns' secretary for five years during this period, described him as the "pivotal person" responsible for addressing child abuse. "In retrospect, he needed to remove people completely from ministry," he told the commission in May. Ten of Ridsdale's victims are suing Bishop Mulkearns in the Supreme Court, arguing that he failed to act on abuse claims.

Trailer debuts for 'Spotlight' film on Boston Globe sex abuse investigation

MASSACHUSETTS
National Catholic Reporter

Brian Roewe | Jul. 29, 2015

The first trailer released Wednesday for the film "Spotlight," which follows the Boston Globe's investigation into clergy sexual abuse in the Boston archdiocese in the early 2000s.

The investigation began in 2001 and published its first stories in January 2002. The reports ultimately led to the resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law in December of that year.

In addition, it also spurred a national review of the church's policy regarding sexual abuse by clergy, and at their June 2002 meeting, the bishops approved the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People," or Dallas Charter, and formed the National Review Board to report on dioceses' implementation of the charter and to study the sex abuse issue in the Catholic church. The investigation won the newspaper the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

The drama from Open Roads Films is directed and co-written by Tom McCarthy and features several notable actors and actresses: Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, Mark Ruffalo, Stanely Tucci and John Slattery.

Trailer debuts for 'Spotlight' film on Boston Globe sex abuse investigation

MASSACHUSETTS
National Catholic Reporter

[with video]

Brian Roewe | Jul. 29, 2015

The first trailer released Wednesday for the film "Spotlight," which follows the Boston Globe's investigation into clergy sexual abuse in the Boston archdiocese in the early 2000s.

The investigation began in 2001 and published its first stories in January 2002. The reports ultimately led to the resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law in December of that year.

In addition, it also spurred a national review of the church's policy regarding sexual abuse by clergy, and at their June 2002 meeting, the bishops approved the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People," or Dallas Charter, and formed the National Review Board to report on dioceses' implementation of the charter and to study the sex abuse issue in the Catholic church. The investigation won the newspaper the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

The drama from Open Roads Films is directed and co-written by Tom McCarthy and features several notable actors and actresses: Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, Mark Ruffalo, Stanely Tucci and John Slattery.

WA branch of Acts Christian Church to close after local leader David Volmer linked to paedophile ring

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By Lucy Martin

The South African-based Acts Christian Church is closing its only Australian branch after revelations the leader was involved in a paedophile ring.

Pastor David Volmer is one of eight West Australian men accused of sexual crimes against a 13-year-old girl over a period of two years.

The 41-year-old has pleaded guilty to 12 offences including drugging and raping the girl.

Originally from South Africa, Volmer moved to Australia and set up a branch of the Acts Christian Church in Perth's northern suburbs in 2013.

Church leader Reverend Peter de Fin, whose grandfather founded the church, said he was shocked by the charges.

"This is the first time we've had to deal with such a case," he said.

Trailer released for ‘Spotlight,’ film chronicling Boston Globe’s sex abuse investigation

BOSTON (MA)
Crux

By Michael O'Loughlin
National reporter July 29, 2015

The first trailer for “Spotlight,” the film starring Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, and Rachel McAdams chronicling The Boston Globe’s investigation of child sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic priests, was released Wednesday.

Reporting by the Globe’s Spotlight team eventually led to the resignation of the once-powerful Cardinal Bernard Law, former archbishop of Boston. The newspaper won a Pulitzer Prize in 2003 for its coverage.

A decade earlier, when the paper reported on abuse allegations against the Rev. James R. Porter — accused of molesting up to 100 children in the 1960s — Law famously condemned the paper.

“St. Paul spoke of the immeasurable power at work in those who believe. . . . We call down God’s power on our business leaders, and political leaders and community leaders. By all means we call down God’s power on the media, particularly the Globe,” Law said in 1992.

National Catholic Safeguarding Commission (NCSC) Press Release

UNITED KINGDOM
National Catholic Safeguarding Commission

30th July 2015

1 The National Catholic Safeguarding Commission has today published its annual report.

Highlights:

The working party on pastoral support for survivors is proposing a model of support for victims and survivors, based on the Hallam Project which could be implemented gradually across all Dioceses and Religious Communities. NCSC is in discussions The Commission has approved the setting up of a Survivors Advisory Panel which will help inform the work of the NCSC and the safeguarding policies and practices within the Catholic Church in England and Wales.

Over 95% of Catholic parishes in England and Wales have at least one safeguarding representative.

This is the 11th year we have collected and published safeguarding data.

The NCSC is overseeing the introduction of a national electronic recording system of data.

Acting Chair of the National Catholic Safeguarding Commission, Chris Pearson: “This report highlights in full the work of the Commission and this announcement is just a snapshot of some of that work and findings over the last year. We are moving towards a much more consistent and sensitive approach in response to the victims and survivors of abuse.”

A copy of the annual report can be downloaded from: www.catholicsafeguarding.org.uk

2 The Commission has today launched its E-learning programme.

We have worked with EduCare to develop a bespoke e-learning package available to all members of the Catholic Community in England and Wales.

The launch of the E-learning programme is part of the Church’s ongoing commitment to safeguarding. We want every member of the Catholic Community in England and Wales to have the opportunity to access safeguarding learning with a view to raising awareness, increasing understanding and promoting best practice. The Catholic Church in England and Wales is possibly the first Church in the UK, to offer safeguarding e-learning to every parishioner free of charge.

-EndsNational

Catholic Safeguarding Commission

The National Catholic Safeguarding Commission (NCSC) is an independent body working within the framework of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. It is mandated by the Conference of Bishops and Conference of Religious Congregations and has accountability across Dioceses and Religious Congregations to ensure that standards are met and policies are implemented.

Established in 2008 the NCSC sets the strategic direction of the Church’s safeguarding policy for children and vulnerable adults. It also monitors and audits the compliance of the Church with safeguarding procedures. The NCSC has sixteen members who bring together a wide range of knowledge, skill and expertise in safeguarding matters, and in state and canon law. For further details see www.catholicsafeguarding.org.uk

For further information or to arrange an interview contact:

Email rose.anderson@catholicsafeguarding.org.uk
Phone: 07530 972830

More than 50 priests defrocked for abuse since 2001

UNITED KINGDOM
Premier

Thu 30 Jul 2015
By Antony Bushfield

The Catholic Church has said it defrocked 55 priests for clerical sex abuse since 2001.

In new figures released today the Church said they had been removed from the priesthood after new rules were put in place to protect children and vulnerable adults.

The Church said in addition it has received many more complaints about sexual misconduct by members of the clergy.

Officials said there had been a number of cases involving child abuse images where the victims could not be found, meaning the actual number of victims was hard to know.

The number of "covenants of care" orders, withdrawing people from ministering and severely restricting what they could do in the Church, increased from 384 at the end of 2013 to 462 at the end of 2014.

Ex-pastor sentenced

PENNSYLVANIA
Wayne Independent

By K.O. Kearney
kkearney@wayneindependent.com

Posted Jul. 29, 2015

HONESDALE – A former pastor was sentenced Monday to 27 months to 15 years in state prison on sex abuse charges.

Norman Theodore Faux, 55, of Lake Ariel, also was ordered to pay up to $5,000 in counseling fees for the victim.

The defendant, who had served as a United Methodist pastor, previously pleaded guilty to having sexual intercourse on several occasions with a male juvenile.

The assaults started when the boy was 9 years old and lasted until he was 19, according to court paperwork.

The lead prosecutor, Wayne County First Assistant District Attorney said in a statement Faux “perverted his role as a father and as a clergyman” and he belongs in state prison.

Seminary abuse lawsuits filed involve clergy who abused children in Onamia

MINNESOTA
Grand Forks Herald

ONAMIA, Minn. -- As deadlines near, civil lawsuits were filed Tuesday by two men who were sexually abused as minors by clergy at Crosier Seminary in Onamia near the southern shores of Mille Lacs Lake.

Doe 51 and Doe 56, the names given to the victims in a press release, were molested by multiple priests and brothers of the Canons Regular of the Order of the Holy Cross ("Crosier") religious order, according to the lawsuit.

Several of the clergy named in the complaints also interacted with and sexually abused children throughout Minnesota, including at parishes and schools in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, and the Diocese of St. Cloud, said the lawsuit.

Doe 51 was sexually abused from approximately 1979-81 by Father Gerald Funcheon, Brother Gabriel Guerrero and Brother Roman Fleischhacker, when Doe 51 was approximately 15-17 years old, said the lawsuit. Doe 56 was sexually abused in approximately 1979-80 by Funcheon, Brother Wendell Mohs and Father Roger Vaughn, when Doe 56 was approximately 14-15 years old, according to the lawsuit.

Former Catholic Bishop Ronald Mulkearns called to front abuse Royal Commission

AUSTRALIA
Herald Sun

SHANNON DEERY HERALD SUN JULY 30, 2015

THE ex-Catholic bishop of Ballarat who oversaw decades of child sexual abuse will be forced to testify at the child abuse Royal Commission despite his ill health.

In a much-anticipated announcement the Royal Commission announced today Fr Ronald Mulkearns would give evidence at hearings set to return to Ballarat from November 23.

His appearance could unlock decades of secrets from the former bishop who has remained tight-lipped about his handling of child sexual abuse complaints.

Critics say he turned a blind eye to sexual abuse complaints, shuffling priests around the large diocese, but not reporting any of them to police.

A string of priests under his charge have since been jailed for heinous crimes against children.

Among them, Gerald Ridsdale, one of Victoria’s most notorious paedophiles who has admitted molesting hundreds of children.

George Pell to appear at abuse commission

AUSTRALIA
Sky News

Cardinal George Pell, and a bishop who was aware Australia's worst pedophile priest had abused boys when he moved him between parishes, will tell a royal commission what they knew about widespread abuse in the Ballarat diocese.

Cardinal Pell has already agreed to return from the Vatican to give evidence during the second stage of a public hearing into clergy abuse in the Victorian regional centre, which will be held in Melbourne from November 23.

The royal commission has now said then-Ballarat Bishop Ronald Mulkearns, who knew Gerald Francis Ridsdale was sexually abusing children, will also give evidence.

'The royal commission anticipates that Cardinal Pell and Bishop Mulkearns will give evidence at this hearing,' it said in a statement on Thursday.

Child abuse advocates had hoped Bishop Mulkearns would appear before the royal commission, after he did not give evidence to a previous Victorian inquiry owing to ill health.

- See more at: http://www.skynews.com.au/news/national/2015/07/30/george-pell-to-appear-at-abuse-commission.html#sthash.VNvSymlV.dpuf

July 29, 2015

Defense reviewing evidence in former Los Banos priest’s child porn case

CALIFORNIA
Los Banos Enterprise

BY COREY PRIDE
cpride@losbanosenterprise
July 29, 2015

A former Los Banos Catholic priest who has been charged with possession of child pornography appeared in court Wednesday.

The Rev. Robert Gamel entered the courtroom on crutches, nursing a left foot injury he suffered while hiking, according to his attorney Roger Litman. Gamel appeared in Merced Superior Court in Los Banos for a pre-preliminary hearing on a felony count of possession of matter depicting sexual conduct of a person under the age of 18.

If convicted, Gamel faces up to three years in jail or prison. He has pleaded not guilty.

Litman told Judge Harry Jacobs the prosecution is still in the process of providing discovery evidence and he needs more time before going forward with the case.

“We will need time to review those items, which to my understanding is at least four DVDs and some other evidence we’ve asked to view,” Litman said. “I have a plan as far as how to proceed, accomplish review of the items, and what needs to be done to prepare for the next appearance in this matter.”

York man guilty of sexually touching child at church summer camp

MAINE
Seacoast Online

By Deborah McDermott
dmcdermott@seacoastonline.colm

Posted Jul. 28, 2015

YORK — A York Harbor man has been found guilty in York County Superior Court in connection with a sexual touching incident at a First Parish Church summer camp last year.

Jason Paciulli, 38, Route 103, York Harbor, was sentenced on July 17 to 364 days in jail on condition he have no contact with the victim, receive counseling and is never employed in a setting that caters to minors.

According to police, the minor victim told her mother that she had been touched inappropriately by a staff maintenance worker at the church while attending the summer camp in July 2014. She said she had been kissed and touched on her chest while in the basement area of the church, police said.

Advocates seek Vatican inquiry of Newark archbishop

NEW JERSEY
The Record

BY JEFF GREEN
STAFF WRITER | THE RECORD

In what might be the first formal complaint to a new Vatican tribunal, an advocacy group for clergy sexual abuse victims on Wednesday called for an investigation of Newark Archbishop John J. Myers and his handling of child molestation cases spanning three decades.

Eight members of Catholic Whistleblowers, a national group of church reformists, said they would be filing an 80-page document detailing Myers’ actions in various cases in Newark and at his former diocese in Peoria, Illinois. On Wednesday, they hand-delivered a copy of their grievances to Myers’ spokesman at the Newark chancery and said they would send another to the Vatican’s top U.S. diplomat in the coming days.

The group is aiming to get the attention of a tribunal set up by Pope Francis in June to hold bishops accountable for covering up or failing to take action against sexually abusive priests.

It was unknown on Wednesday whether the tribunal, housed in the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, had received any other cases for its review, but the activists said they believed their complaint was among the first, if not the first, to be presented publicly.

Catholic schools must refuse to fire LGBT employees

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

Jamie L. Manson | Jul. 29, 2015

It's beginning to feel like every week brings a new story about the firing of an LGBT employee from a Catholic institution.

The most recent well-publicized termination happened earlier this month at Waldron Mercy Academy in Philadelphia. The school declined to renew the contract of Margie Winters, the school's director of religious studies, when it came to light that she is in a same-sex marriage.

Winters, who has been with the school for eight years, says her administrators were well aware that she was married to a woman. It wasn't until two parents complained to the Philadelphia archdiocese that she was terminated.

In the wake of Winters' firing, many commentators have suggested that bishops and Catholic institutions need to show greater mercy and compassion in dealing with its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees.

Advocates Seek Vatican Inquiry of Newark, NJ, Archbishop

NEW JERSEY
ABC News

NEW YORK — Jul 29, 2015
By RACHEL ZOLL AP Religion Writer
Associated Press

Priests, nuns and canon lawyers who advocate for molestation victims urged Pope Francis on Wednesday to use the new Vatican tribunal he formed on negligent bishops to investigate the archbishop of Newark, New Jersey, who has long been accused of sheltering abusive priests.

The plea comes as Francis prepares for his first visit to the U.S. in September, a trip which will take place against the backdrop of the broad unfinished business of the molestation scandal. The crisis erupted in 2002 with the case of one pedophile priest in the Archdiocese of Boston before spreading nationwide, then engulfing the Roman Catholic Church.

The advocates, who call themselves the Catholic Whistleblowers, said they will present evidence to the Vatican that Archbishop John Myers has been persistently hostile toward people who come forward with abuse allegations, and had left guilty clerics in parishes in the Newark archdiocese and in his previous post as bishop of Peoria, Illinois. Myers has repeatedly defended his record, noting that he has removed many guilty priests, but he has been dogged by revelations about cases bungled on his watch in both states.

"When Pope Francis last month announced the new tribunal, instantly — within 24 hours — we were saying, 'Myers has to be one,'" said the Rev. James Connell, a canon lawyer and retired priest from Milwaukee, who is part of the whistleblower group. "It's a place to start."

Three American dioceses — Gallup, New Mexico, Milwaukee and St. Paul and Minneapolis — are in bankruptcy court trying to limit settlements with victims and preserve church assets; the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis is being prosecuted on charges of failing to protect children from a now-convicted priest, and the Diocese of Honolulu is facing a raft of new claims after Hawaii lawmakers temporarily abolished time limits on lawsuits over child sex abuse.

IN--Victims push Indiana archbishop to act on abuse

INDIANA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Wednesday, July 29

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, davidgclohessy@gmail.com, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)

A Catholic employee has been arrested for alleged child sex abuse and Indianapolis’ archbishop must do more to help law enforcement prosecute him.

[Fox 59]

Oscar Vasquez-Guzman, religious education director at St. Anthony Catholic Church, was charged Tuesday with molesting two boys as recently as two weeks ago.

Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin claims he’s “cooperating” with law enforcement and has notified St. Anthony parishioners of the charges. That’s not enough. He and his staff should use their vast resources – parish bulletins, church websites and pulpit announcements to seek out anyone else who saw, suspected, suffered or hid Vasquez-Guzman’s crimes.

Vasquez-Guzman may have assaulted kids at several parishes or non-Catholic kids. So Tobin should hold a news conference begging victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to call police and prosecutors.

Tobin also claims he’s “cooperating” with law enforcement. Again, that’s not enough. Catholic officials make this claim all the time. In reality, it usually means that they’re doing the absolute bare minimum. Answering questions from the police is common decency. Catholic officials must do more. Given the on-going culture of secrecy within the church, they must actively work to find others with information or suspicions

Germany--Victims applaud move against Bishop of Bling

GERMANY
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Wednesday, July 29

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, davidgclohessy@gmail.com, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)

A German diocese will file a €3.9m claim for damages in a Vatican court against the so-called “Bishop of Bling.” We applaud this move. We hope a similar case can and will be filed in secular court too. It’s progress any time anyone takes steps that might help deter callous, selfish acts by Catholic bishops who act like kings.

[The Tablet]

Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst once headed the Diocese of Limburg. He resigned in 2013 after having spent more than €31m on redecorating his home. But he now works for the Vatican, which is an outrage. When will Catholic officials stop coddling and promoting their irresponsible colleagues?

We believe church “courts” are usually biased, secretive and ineffective. (They are usually more about damage control than real justice.) Still, we hope Limburg diocesan officials succeed in Rome and go further in their push to make Tebartz-van Elst responsible for his extravagant selfishness.

OR--Rare child sex case filed in Portland vs. Quakers

OREGON
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Wednesday, July 29

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, davidgclohessy@gmail.com, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)

A rare child sex abuse and cover up lawsuit has been filed against Oregon Quaker officials who apparently put an admitted child molester back on the job last year and hid his crimes. We hope law enforcement will investigate and charge church staff for their reckless, callous, secretive and selfish actions.

[The Newberg Graphic]

A former Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends youth superintendent, Bruce Bishop, is being sued for allegedly repeatedly abusing a boy between 11 and 16 years old. According to one news source, last year, Quaker officials confronted Bishop with abuse accusations, he “confirmed” them, was quietly suspended, but was later forgiven by his church colleagues and returned to ministry. If true, this is horrifying.

“Forgiveness” doesn’t sanction recklessness. We can forgive a drunk driver but shouldn’t give him school bus keys. We can forgive someone who commits violence but shouldn’t give him a gun. We can forgive someone who abuses kids but shouldn’t give him any role, much less a paid position around youngsters, in a church.

We’ve seen few lawsuits like this against Quakers. Often, in smaller, less rigid and authoritarian churches like this, it’s even harder for victims to come forward, seek justice and expose church officials who commit or conceal child sex crimes. We applaud this brave man for speaking up and hope his courage will inspire others abused in Quaker congregations to take action to protect others.

Archbishop Confronted ...

MINNESOTA
Lavender Magazine

Archbishop Confronted: Gay Man in 35-Year Relationship Clarifies Archbishop Nienstedt’s Restaurant Comment to the Star Tribune

By John Townsend

October 18, 2012

Last year the Archdiocese distributed 400,000 antigay DVDs* made by the Knights of Columbus meant to stir antigay marriage sentiments.

In the Oct. 6, 2012, Star Tribune Q&A with John Clayton Nienstedt, Archbishop for the Minneapolis-St. Paul Archdiocese, one question asked for clarification about a recollection by Rev. Michael Becker of St. Paul’s St. John Vianney Seminary that occurred at St. Paul’s Lexington Restaurant. The questioner said, “a man came into the restaurant and threw one of the church’s DVDs at you” to set context for a response.

Gregg Larson has come forth to challenge Rev. Becker’s account. He was at the restaurant with his partner of 35 years on Friday evening Dec. 3, 2010. He was the man who confronted Archbishop Nienstedt. Larson: “First off, I didn’t come into the restaurant. My partner and I were there before they arrived. Also, I did not throw the DVD at him [contrary to Rev. Becker’s account to the Star Tribune]. I would never have done that. In fact, nobody in the restaurant even was aware of the conversation that we had with them. It’s less than accurate to characterize what happened that way. It also says that the Archbishop remained composed. He didn’t really remain composed. And in the Archbishop’s answer he didn’t refute any of that. He simply said, ‘I try to reply to emotional outbursts with reason, calm, and patience.’ Well, there was no emotional outburst. And nobody in the restaurant was aware of the conversation.”

Synchronistically, Larson had a copy of the DVD sent to his elderly mother at her nursing home in his car which he was intending to return to the Archdiocese. What follows is what Larson says actually happened starting when he saw Nienstedt waiting alone near the coat check to sit down. Larson: “First I went up to him and asked, ‘Are you John Nienstedt?’ And he said, ‘Yes.’ And I introduced myself. Then I said my mother got this piece of junk mail and I wanted to return it. And I said it was the [antigay marriage] DVD that you had sent out.” Larson then told Nienstedt that he had heard he is gay and that “if that was true then he was a hypocrite and I went back and sat down.”

Former Saint Ignatius College priest...

AUSTRALIA
Perth Now

Former Saint Ignatius College priest Stanislaus John Hogan has sentence for child porn offences suspended on appeal

A PRIEST at a prestigious Adelaide private school who downloaded more than 1500 images of child pornography will walk from jail after his sentence was suspended on appeal.

Father Stanislaus John Hogan was sentenced in March this year to two years and six months’ jail, with a non-parole period of 10 months, after pleading guilty to one count of using a carriage service to access child pornography and one aggravated count of possessing child pornography.

The District Court had heard that police seized 1555 images and videos as part of an illicit children pornography collection, which also included magazines and books of children aged between three and 16 years.

Advocates seek Vatican investigation of Newark, NJ, archbishop, as pope readies 1st US visit

NEW JERSEY
Daily Journal

By The Associated Press
July 29, 2015

NEW YORK — Advocates for victims of clergy sex abuse want a Vatican investigation of the archbishop of Newark, New Jersey.

A group of Roman Catholic priests, nuns and canon lawyers who call themselves the Catholic Whistleblowers say an investigation is needed because Archbishop John Myers has been hostile to victims and has failed to stop predators from molesting children in Newark and in his previous diocese of Peoria, Illinois.

The group wants an inquiry through the new tribunal Pope Francis formed to discipline bishops who don't protect young people.

Myers' spokesman says the archbishop has aggressively confronted abusers and has removed 19 priests from church work in the Newark archdiocese alone.

Court to hear historic sex abuse allegations against Mirfield priests

UNITED KINGDOM
Huddersfield Examiner

BY NEIL ATKINSON

Abuse victim Peter Murray seeks damages after alleged campaign of abuse by seminary teacher

Evidence of historic sexual abuse at a Kirklees religious school will be considered in court for the first time later this year.

Numerous allegations of horrific abuse by priests and teachers working for the Verona Fathers at St Peter Claver College, Mirfield, have been made in recent years.

However, despite £120,000 in compensation payouts, the cases have not reached court and there has been no apology or finding of guilt.

But a case will finally be tried in November, after former pupil Peter Murray, 57, launched his bid for a substantial damages payout.

A case of secrecy and self-silencing

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter - Global Sisters Report

by Jeannine Gramick Jul. 29, 2015

April 16 was a momentous day for U.S. women religious, and indeed for all Catholics. The Vatican and other Catholics on both sides of the Atlantic breathed a collective sigh of relief when the doctrinal assessment of the U.S. Leadership Conference of Women Religious by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the congregation’s mandate for implementation came to a conclusion.

In a May 15 statement, the LCWR officers said that the process was conducted in a spirit of prayer and openness, but it was “time-consuming,” “difficult” and “had its costs.” The officers were “deeply saddened that the report caused scandal and pain,” and said they “felt publicly humiliated” by false accusations.

I surely sympathize with all the heartache, frustration and anger these leaders must have felt in the years of dealing with the assessment and the mandate because I was engaged in a Vatican investigation of my ministry to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from the mid-1980s to 1999. It was a time of great anxiety and distress for me, but I remember the caution that former LCWR officers urged me to keep in mind: “Do not confuse the personal with the structural.”

So while I feel deep sympathy for the personal toll suffered by these leaders, I also feel deeply troubled by the structural implications of the settlement. I believe the two main pillars of the church’s bureaucracy have been maintained. There is still secrecy and there is still self-silencing.

The LCWR officers spoke honestly and directly with the Vatican representatives, but they did not share these conversations with the media. I believe the matters they discussed affected the whole church, so what was spoken should not have been treated as confidential matter between two parties. Through the media, we in the Catholic community can become informed and learn how to deal with conflict in an adult and Christian way.

LCWR missed a golden opportunity to help move the church hierarchy toward transparency, which is increasingly being called for in civil and ecclesial arenas. Transparency is a means of accountability to the faith community. Instead, LCWR and the doctrinal congregation followed the old model of a closed and secret system — a process that the Vatican has used for centuries to rule and intimidate.

What was said, and who said it, during the three years of discussing the mandate? What was said about the charge of radical feminism or the charge of questioning the hierarchy’s position on women’s ordination and homosexuality? What was said about the charge of silence on the issues of abortion and euthanasia or the charge that some of LCWR’s public statements challenge positions taken by the bishops? How did LCWR handle the congregation’s claim that dissent from the doctrine of the church is not justified as an exercise of the prophetic office because prophecy cannot be directed at the magisterium?

Former Ballarat bishop Ronald Mulkearns breaks silence on sex abuse

AUSTRALIA
The Age

July 29, 2015

Alicia Thomas

Former Ballarat bishop Ronald Mulkearns has finally broken his silence about clergy sex abuse within the Catholic Church, telling a court he remembers a priest "misbehaving" in a sexual way.

Bishop Mulkearns was forced to give evidence against former priest Robert Claffey who has pleaded not guilty to a string of sexual assault charges.

Appearing in Geelong Magistrates Court on Wednesday, Bishop Mulkearns, now retired, underwent a compulsory examination revealing evidence about child sexual abuse for the first time in almost two decades.

"I remember he (Claffey) had been misbehaving ... in a sexual way", Bishop Mulkearns told the court.
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"But I only would have recalled Wendouree in connection with that. I don't remember details".

Claffey is charged with one count of buggery, 14 counts of indecent assault and one count of committing an indecent act on a child under the age of 16.

Gerald Funcheon … sued again

UNITED STATES
The Worthy Adversary

Posted by Joelle Casteix on July 29, 2015

A number of years ago, a family reached out to me asking for help. Their son had been abused by a priest named Gerald Funcheon, and the family wanted to know what happened to the Crosier cleric.

At the time, I looked at the resources available. I saw a priest with huge holes in his assignment record and a couple of lawsuits. Other than that, he had simply vanished.

How times have changed.

This week, Funcheon (who had hidden assignments in Hawaii and California and very public assignments all over the country—including Indiana, where he was banned because of his “plans” to molest) was sued for sexual abuse by two more victims in Minnesota. That brings the victim tally to somewhere around 20.

Funcheon was also the first predator exposed under Hawaii’s civil window. His video deposition—where he talks about abusing kids in Hawaii and elsewhere—was made public a few years ago.

NE--Victims push Lincoln bishop to act on 3 accused clerics

NEBRASKA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Wednesday, July 29

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, davidgclohessy@gmail.com)

A Catholic cleric who spent time in Nebraska is being publicly accused for the first time of molesting a child. Two other Catholic clerics, who also worked in Nebraska, are being accused as well.

[Star Tribune]

We call on Lincoln Bishop James Conley to aggressively reach out to others who may have been hurt by the three predators. We strongly suspect that there are several Nebraska adults who were assaulted as kids by these clerics and who are still suffering in shame, silence and self-blame.

A Minnesota man filed a civil lawsuit yesterday charging that he was sexually assaulted by the three clerics - Brother Roman Lawrence Fleischhacker, Brother Gabriel Guerrero and Fr. Gerald Allen Funcheon from about 1979 to 1981 when he was 15 to 17 years old.

Fleischhacker is being named publicly as a predator for the first time. Funcheon and Guerrero have been publicly accused before. (Funcheon has admitted abusing “numerous children.”)

Stephanie Krehbiel on Violence...

UNITED STATES
Bilgrimage

Stephanie Krehbiel on Violence, Community, and Struggle for LGBTQ Justice in the Mennonite Church: Parallels to Catholic Conversations — Or, Why LGBT Folks Remain the Problem Even As Straight Men Engage in Sexual Predation

I've mentioned the work of Mennonite American Studies scholar Stephanie Krehbiel here in the past — for instance, in this February 2014 posting highlighting an article she published at Religion Dispatches on the parallels between "the Woody Allen problem" and the story of Mennonite theologian John Howard Yoder. As she notes, in the stories of both of these men, we encounter troubling questions about the ability of not merely conservative social and ecclesial structures, but also liberal ones, to shelter and offer excuses for the predatory sexual behavior of powerful men.

One of the questions driving Krehbiel's work is the question of how and why various institutions — notably, her church of origin, the Mennonite Church USA — can for so long shield such men while resisting accountability and transparency, especially as the victims of their sexual abuse come forward with their stories. As I noted in the February 2014 posting linked above, part of the answer to this puzzle, Stephanie suggests, is that "theology is a male-dominated field with a long history of covering, enabling, and trivializing sexualized violence."

But in Yoder's case, there's the added fillip, the grand irony, of his world-renowned witness to the Mennonite value of non-violence — a witness he was offering at the same time that he was sexually coercing female students and women under his pastoral guidance. In her article about Allen and Yoder, Krehbiel writes,

As a powerful male leader operating in a patriarchal religious academia, Yoder was anything but atypical as a sexual predator. His pacifism makes for some interesting irony, but there's always been something oddly masculinist about the way Mennonites teach nonviolence. Mennonite pacifist discourse evolved as a response to the dominant ideal of warrior masculinity, a way for men to justify not going to war; it has never been as fully formed or as celebrated for its challenge to interpersonal violence.

Catholic Church prioritised protecting reputation over children in Ballarat abuse case, senior sergeant says

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By Louise Milligan

A senior sergeant on the 1990s Victoria Police attempt to charge a bishop with covering up the crimes of paedophile priests has broken his silence, saying the Catholic Church he encountered was more concerned with "brand protection" than protecting vulnerable children.

Chris O'Connor, who led the force's Child Exploitation Squad in the 1990s, worked on Operation Arcadia, an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to prosecute Bishop Ronald Mulkearns for moving Gerald Francis Ridsdale from parish to parish in the Ballarat diocese, where the priest was able to abuse hundreds of children.

"In today's parlance, the Catholic Church was more concerned about its name, its organisation, its brand, than it was about the very reason for it being — and that was the protection of the most vulnerable that were under its guidance," Mr O'Connor told 7.30.

He was dismayed by the fact that, despite being told by a police officer that Ridsdale had abused children in 1975, the bishop continued to move the priest around parishes until the 1990s.

"Given that he was a man of the cloth, given his position that he was a leader within that organisation, he was morally bankrupt to behave in a manner where he knew or at least expected that by leaving this person or moving this person to another church, or district or region, would in itself expose other potential victims," Mr O'Connor said.

'Bishop of bling' sued by his former diocese for €3.9m after lavish refurbishment project

GERMANY
The Tablet (UK)

28 July 2015 by Christa Pongratz-Lippitt

The diocese of Limburg, whose former bishop resigned in 2013 after having spent more than €31m on redecorating the bishop’s residence, and who has often been dubbed the “Bishop of Bling”, plans to file a €3.9m claim for damages in a Vatican court against him.

The Limburg diocese is at the moment being administered by Manfred Grothe, formerly auxiliary Bishop of Paderborn, who was installed as Apostolic Administrator of Limburg by Pope Francis after the resignation of Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst.

The €3.9m represents the loss the diocese suffered after the €31.3m refurbishment works cost far more than its original €5.5m budget.

A bishop has a memory lapse about the alleged crimes of an ex-priest

AUSTRALIA
Broken Rites

By a Broken Rites researcher (article updated 29 July 2015)

A retired Australian Catholic bishop, Most Reverend Ronald Mulkearns, has been forced to appear in court to answer questions about a former priest, Robert Claffey (now aged 70), who is charged with multiple incidents of indecent assault against seven children. In court on 29 July 2015, Bishop Mulkearns was forced to admit that, yes, he had known about Father Claffey's "misbehaviour" but claimed that he could not remember the details.

Bishop Mulkearns (born in 1930) was the head of the Catholic Church throughout the western half of the state of Victoria (with his cathedral in the city of Ballarat), from 1971 to 1997. Father Robert Claffey worked in west Victorian parishes under Bishop Mulkearns in the 1970s and 1980s. Claffey is charged with having committed indecent assaults at various locations in western Victoria, including Ballarat, Warrnambool, Portland and Apollo Bay, between 1970 and 1992.

During a preliminary procedure in the Geelong Magistrates Court on 12 December 2014, the court was told that one of the alleged assaults involved Father Claffey going to a boy’s house and indecently assaulting him during the 1980s. Detective Sergeant Tim Kennedy, from the Sano Taskforce in the Victoria Police, told the court that the boy allegedly reported the assault to his father, who then allegedly reported it to Bishop Mulkearns. Claffey was then moved from his parish at Wendouree (in Ballarat) to another parish [in a different part of the diocese], Sergeant Kennedy said.

Just released from jail, a priest is in court again re more children from his early career

AUSTRALIA
Broken Rites

By a Broken Rites researcher (article updated 28 July 2015)

In March 2015, Victorian Catholic priest Father Leslie Sheahan, now 84, was jailed for three months for indecently assaulting a nine-year-old girl in one of his parishes forty years ago. In July 2015, immediately after leaving jail, he was charged in court again with indecently assaulting two more girls from another of his early parishes. He is now awaiting the outcome of this new court case.

In both court cases, the charges were laid in the Ballarat Magistrates Court by detectives from the Sano Taskforce in the Victoria Police sex crimes squad in Melbourne.

Father Leslie John Sheahan belongs to the Ballarat diocese, which covers the whole of western Victoria, extending to Mildura in the state's far-north, to Horsham in the far-west and to Portland on the south-western coast. The city of Ballarat is where the bishop is based.

The March 2015 case

In the March 2015 court case, Sheahan pleaded guilty to "unlawful/indecent assault" of one girl. The offence was committed in 1970-1971 and therefore the charge was laid according to the criminal statutes existing at that time. (For crimes committed since the 1980s, the statutes include revised laws relating to sexual penetration.)

Archdiocese abuse victims to ask court to extend Aug. 3 claims deadline

MINNESOTA
Star Tribune

By Jean Hopfensperger Star Tribune JULY 28, 2015

The bankruptcy case of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis reaches a critical point this week, when a judge will be asked to reverse his decision to move up the deadline for filing clergy abuse claims.

The victims’ committee will argue Thursday that the archdiocese didn’t publicize the deadline as ordered and that the Aug. 3 date for the archdiocese will complicate a timely settlement, because the 187 parishes can still be sued until May 2016.

The archdiocese insists that it has complied with the publicity plan and that the Aug. 3 deadline will speed up its financial reorganization.

Both sides are in uncharted territory. The Twin Cities is the first place in the nation where a court has cut short a filing deadline despite a state law that allows all other abuse survivors to file claims considerably later.

Even so, 228 abuse claims have been filed against the church as of this week.

“There is not an ideal solution,” said University of Minnesota law Prof. Christopher Soper. “There’s a tension between getting this bankruptcy resolved as quickly as possible and realizing that this isn’t a typical bankruptcy case.”

Lawsuit alleges child sexual abuse in Friends organization

OREGON
The Newberg Graphic

Written by Seth Gordon | Print

PORTLAND — A lawsuit filed July 17 in Multnomah County Circuit Court alleges that child sexual abuse occurred in the Friends (Quaker) church in Newberg from approximately 1987 to 1991.

The plaintiff, referred to by his initials “A.J.” in the suit, claims to have been sexually abused by former Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends youth superintendent Bruce Bishop when the youth was between the ages of 11 and 16 years old.

The suit makes five legal claims, including sexual exploitation and abuse and/or battery of a child, breach of fiduciary duty, intentional infliction of distress and negligence.

The suit seeks $4 million in noneconomic damages, as well as economic damages, loss of earning capacity and legal costs. It also states the plaintiff’s intent to include a claim for punitive damages.

8 Australian men charged with 500 sex offences against girl

AUSTRALIA
Today

PERTH — An Australian man was accused today (July 29) of allowing seven men to sexually abuse his 13-year-old daughter over the past two years, with police charging all eight men with more than 500 child sex offences.

Western Australia police arrested the men after receiving a tip-off from the public. Police say the father knew all of the men, and arranged for them to meet his daughter and subsequently assault her when she was between the ages of 11 and 13. The father is also accused of assaulting the girl.

The father and the other men, who range in age from 35 to 47, are facing 503 charges, including sexual penetration of a child under 13, stupefying with intent to commit a criminal offence and sexual servitude of a child.

Police Detective Superintendent Glenn Feeney, who described the abuse the girl suffered as “horrific”, said one of the men had 200,000 videos and four million child pornography images. The victim was featured in 149 images, he said.

“It’s disgusting material — there are no words to describe it,” Mr Feeney said. “Any sex offence against a child is just beyond words.”

WA father lets 7 men abuse daughter: claim

AUSTRALIA
9 News

A Christian preacher is among eight men charged over the abuse of a 13-year-old girl, who was allegedly sexually exploited by her father over two years.

Police claim seven men made contact over the internet with the father who then organised for them to meet his daughter at various locations in Western Australia where the offences were committed.

The men face a total of 503 charges for offences that allegedly happened when the girl was aged between 11 and 13.

She is now safe and in care, receiving treatment.

Child sex abuse detectives arrested the Perth father and the seven others after a tip-off from the public in April.

Elder stood down for adultery, not abuse

AUSTRALIA
9 News

Despite confessing to molesting his daughter, a Jehovah's Witness senior official was first stood down by the church for adultery, a royal commission has heard.

Church elder Dino Ali admitted that a judicial hearing in 1989 dealt with the man's adultery matter before allegations of sexual abuse, because they were dealing with "one issue at a time".

He also said they could not be sure the man's confession was true, based on his history of lying.

The victim, known as BCG, has previously said her father, a respected member of the church congregation in Mareeba, near Cairns, abused her and her three sisters.

Asked to read from his own notes from 1989, Mr Ali said: "(the father) has admitted to all things and also said that whatever (his daughter) said on molesting was true".

Jehovah's Witness elders ignored child sex abuse rules of evidence, royal commission told

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

July 29, 2015

Rachel Browne
Social Affairs Reporter

A group of Jehovah's Witness Church elders ignored their own strict religious standards in failing to punish a self-confessed child abuser in their ranks, a royal commission has heard.

The sex predator admitted to molesting his daughter to a committee of church elders, who also heard corroborating statements from the victim, her sister and mother.

However, the evidence before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was that the confession and three witness statements did not amount to proof in the eyes of the elders investigating the claim, all of whom were friends of the perpetrator.

A Jehovah's Witness elder involved in the investigation, Dino Ali, wrote in his statement tendered to the commission: "The judicial committee did not feel it had clear proof of the allegations of child sexual abuse from either party as it was one person's word against another's."
Counsel assisting the commission Angus Stewart, SC, told Mr Ali he had "ample proof" of the child sexual assault, which Mr Ali denied.

Royal commission hears how Jehovah’s Witnesses ...

AUSTRALIA
news.com.au

Royal commission hears how Jehovah’s Witnesses covered up child sex abuse dating back to 1950s

CANDACE Conti was just 9-years-old when she was shunned by her family and everyone she knew after she was sexually assaulted.

A member of the Jehovah’s Witness church, Ms Conti was a victim not only of her abuser, but of a system that covered up abuse, by enforcing a “two witness” rule, meaning any child who couldn’t verify their story by another witness was punished for their claim.

Ms Conti, now an adult, has spoken out about her experience. She says the cruel rule enforced by the church has helped keep a history of child sexual abuse covered up.

“They have a ‘two witness’ rule,” the American told The Guardian earlier this year.

“Anyone who accuses an adult of abuse must have a second witness.

“If there is no second witness, the accuser is punished for a false accusation — usually by ordering that no witness may talk with or associate with the “false” accuser.

“This is called dis-fellowshipping. For a kid raised only with other Witnesses, it was horrifying.

Jesuit priest Stanislaus Hogan jailed over child pornography has sentence overturned

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By Isabel Dayman

An Adelaide Jesuit priest and teacher found with more than 1,500 pornographic images of boys will be released from jail, after a court overturned his original sentence.

Stanislaus Hogan was sentenced to two-and-half years' jail with a non-parole period of 10 months in March this year, after books, magazines and videos of young and teenage boys were found in his private quarters at Saint Ignatius' College in 2013.

The Court of Criminal Appeal today re-sentenced Hogan to an 18-month good behaviour bond after suspending a jail term of one year, three months and three weeks.

The new sentence included a six-month non-parole period, but it was suspended.

The Court of Appeal found while the original sentence was not excessive, the sentencing judge should have applied a full 30 per cent guilty plea discount and should have suspended the sentence.

Child sex abuse royal commission hears Jehovah's Witness Church did not sanction self-confessed paedophile

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

A paedophile who admitted to molesting his daughters was not believed or sanctioned for it by the Jehovah's Witness Church, the royal commission into child sex abuse hears.

It is the second day that church elder Dino Ali has been questioned about the way he responded to one particularly shocking case of abuse.

Yesterday a woman known by the initials BCG, who was a member of the Mareeba congregation in Far North Queensland in the 1980s, 1990s, told the commission that when she spoke to the church hierarchy of the abuse against her and her three sisters she was treated with disdain.

This morning, in the face of new evidence, Mr Ali was questioned by counsel for BCG, Pauline David, about why no finding of abuse was made despite the perpetrator BCH making a confession.

Pastoral associate at Indianapolis Catholic church arrested on child molestation charges

INDIANA
Fox 59

JULY 28, 2015, BY AMANDA RAKES - DIGITAL MANAGER

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 28, 2015)—A man who served as a religious education director at an Indianapolis Catholic church was arrested on several child molestation charges.

Oscar Vasquez-Guzman, 38, was charged Tuesday with two counts of child molesting, seven counts of sexual misconduct with a minor and one count of attempted sexual misconduct with a minor.

According to court documents, Vasquez-Guzman is accused of molesting two boys. The incidents allegedly occurred between Sept. 10, 2013, and July 20, 2015.

“I always saw young boys in his yard. I’m not surprised,” said = Vasquez-Guzman’s neighbor.

“He was friendly and a nice guy. I didn’t think anything about him,” said another neighbor.

Former minister gets prison for decade-long sex abuse of boy

PENNSYLVANIA
New York Daily News

SASHA GOLDSTEIN

A former Pennsylvania minister who was HIV positive while he sexually abused a boy for approximately a decade will serve up to 15 years in prison.

Norman (Ted) Faux started abusing the child at age 9 and continued the abuse for years, eventually plying the boy with drugs in exchange for sex, according to WNEP-TV.

For much of the time, he served as a United Methodist Pastor in Lake Ariel, a small village 20 miles outside Scranton, Pa.

“He perverted his role as a clergyman. He is a despicable fella and one of the most manipulative defendants I’ve ever dealt with,” First Assistant Wayne County District Attorney Pat Robinson told the TV station.

Church school worker arrested for child molestation

INDIANA
WTHR

By David MacAnally, WTHR reporter

INDIANAPOLIS -
A religious education worker at a west side Catholic church is charged with molesting two boys.

Oscar Vasquez, 38, is the parish religious education director at St. Anthony. He faces sexual misconduct with a minor charges.

Both victims are now teenagers.

The alleged acts did not happen in the St. Anthony church or school, but in one case, it started in the park across the street, when Vasquez allegedly asked one of the victims back to his house, where he fondled him.

"If he did that, that is a horrible thing to do. And we've seen kids in and out. I didn't know that was going on. You just never know about your neighbors," said Taylor.

Teacher at Caldwell church sentenced for sexual abuse

IDAHO
Idaho Press-Tribune

CALDWELL — A teacher at Caldwell’s Centennial Baptist Church was sentenced Monday to 11 ½ years in prison for sexual abuse of three child victims from the church.

District Judge Bradly S. Ford sentenced Casey R. Dyck, 24, of McMinnville, Oregon, for sexual battery of a minor child 16 to 17 years of age. He could be eligible for parole after 1 ½ years are served.

Caldwell Police arrested Dyck in February after an investigation revealed he had an inappropriate sexual relationship with an underage female student on numerous occasions in April and May of 2014 while he was a teacher, according to a Canyon County news release.

The investigation also revealed that Dyck had exchanged inappropriate photos and texts with numerous underage victims that were sexual in nature. One victim said Dyck informed her that he would give her extra credit if she wore short skirts and low-cut tops to school.

Eight men arrested in WA over child abuse against teenage girl

AUSTRALIA
news.com.au

ONE of eight men charged with the horrific sexual abuse of a 13-year-old girl in WA over a two-year period is her father who allegedly “facilitated” the paedophile ring, WA Police have revealed.

Another man charged is Perth pastor and the former head of the WA Prison Fellowship Program, David Volmer.

Child sex abuse detectives arrested the eight men, who are aged between 35 and 47, after a tip-off from the public in April led to the rescue of the girl.

As an example of the shocking nature of the alleged offences, police said one man was in possession of 200,000 videos and four million images involving child exploitation.

Ronald Mulkearns did not recall a complaint about priest Robert Claffey

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

TESSA AKERMAN THE AUSTRALIAN JULY 29, 2015

Former Bishop of Ballarat Ronald Mulkearns has given evidence under oath that he did not recall a complaint being made about former priest Robert Claffey.

Mr Claffey is charged with historical sex offences dating back to 1970.

Bishop Mulkearns gave evidence this morning in Mr Claffey’s committal hearing at the Geelong Magistrates Court.

The court heard Mr Claffey offered his resignation to Bishop Mulkearns in 1989 after the bishop supposedly met with the father of an alleged victim.

Bishop Mulkearns said he remembered Mr Claffey “had been misbehaving ... In a sexual way”.

Former Lafayette priest named in abuse lawsuit

INDIANA
Lafayette Journal and Courier

Ron Wilkins, rwilkins@jconline.com July 28, 2015

Two victims of sexual abuse by priests filed civil lawsuits Tuesday in St. Paul, Minnesota, accusing a former Lafayette native and priest of violating them at a Crosier school in Onamia, Minnesota.

The lawsuit names the Crosier Fathers and Brothers as its defendants. But in each lawsuit, Father Gerald Funcheon, originally from Lafayette, is named as one of the priests who violated both men when they were teenagers.

Funcheon, 77, has confessed to sexually abusing boys in his charge for more than 30 years in the Crosier and Roman Catholic priesthood, said Jeff Anderson, the Minnesota attorney who represents the two latest victims.

In response to Tuesday’s filing, the Crosiers released a prepared statement from Prior Provincial Thomas Enneking.

Former Catholic Bishop remembers priest 'misbehaving' in a 'sexual way', court told

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By Geelong reporter Margaret Paul

The former Catholic Bishop of Ballarat remembers a former priest who is facing indecent assault charges "misbehaving", the Geelong Magistrate's Court has heard.

Robert Claffey pleaded not guilty to more than 10 charges of indecent assault at various locations in western Victoria, including Ballarat, Warrnambool, Portland and Apollo Bay, between 1970 and 1992.

Ronald Mulkearns was the Bishop of Ballarat between 1971 and 1997.

It is believed this is the first time Bishop Mulkearns has given evidence under oath about sexual abuse in the diocese under his watch.

He has previously been excused from giving evidence at the Victorian parliamentary inquiry into child sexual abuse in religious settings for health reasons.

Former Ballarat bishop Ronald Mulkearns remembers ‘misbehaving’ priest

AUSTRALIA
The Courier

By ALICA THOMAS July 29, 2015

FORMER Ballarat bishop Ronald Mulkearns has finally broken his silence about clergy sex abuse within the Catholic Church, telling a court he remembers a priest "misbehaving" in a sexual way.

Bishop Mulkearns was forced to give evidence against former priest Robert Claffey who has pleaded not guilty to a string of sexual assault charges.

Appearing in Geelong Magistrates Court on Wednesday, Bishop Mulkearns, now retired, underwent a compulsory examination revealing evidence about child sexual abuse for the first time in almost two decades.

"I remember he (Claffey) had been misbehaving ... in a sexual way", Bishop Mulkearns told the court.

"But I only would have recalled Wendouree in connection with that. I don't remember details".

3 Catholic clerics sued over sex abuse

INDIANA
The Journal Gazette

ROSA SALTER RODRIGUEZ | The Journal Gazette

Three Roman Catholic clergymen who served in the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese in the 1950s through the 1970s have been sued in Minnesota by two men who claim they were victims of sexual abuse as minors.

The clerics – a priest and two religious brothers – were affiliated with the Canons Regular of the Holy Cross, also known as the Crosiers. The order for many years operated a seminary in Syracuse known as Our Lady of the Lake.

The new abuse is alleged to have taken place at Crosier Seminary in Onamia, Minnesota, between 1979 and 1981 when the men, identified only as Doe 51 and Doe 56, were students there.

The civil suit was filed Tuesday by Jeff Anderson and Associates of St. Paul, Minnesota, in Ramsey County District Court in St. Paul. None of the men who were sued has been charged criminally.

One of the accused clerics is the Rev. Gerald Funcheon, who was sued in Allen County in 2007 in connection with alleged abuse at a Catholic Youth Organization camp at Lake Wawasee and since 2003 has faced lawsuits alleging abuse in California, Hawaii and Minnesota.

July 28, 2015

Jehovah's Witness elders kept police out of sex abuse cases

AUSTRALIA
The Bulletin

A WOMAN whose father sexually abused her and her three sisters was refused permission by a North Queensland Jehovah's Witness congregation to contact police, the Royal Commission into Child Abuse heard on Tuesday.

The woman, 41, told the commission her father beat, berated and sexually assaulted her during the 1980s.

He was a respected congregation member involved in organising Bible studies and door-to-door counselling.

When she told congregation elders - many of them her father's close friends - about his actions she was interviewed and asked if she "enjoyed it".

The woman said when she suggested going to the police, an elder told her outsiders were not to be trusted and would attempt to discredit the church.

Father Ronald Mulkearns, ex-Catholic bishop ...

AUSTRALIA
Herald Sun

Father Ronald Mulkearns, ex-Catholic bishop of Ballarat testifies in priest’s child sex case

SHANNON DEERY HERALD SUN JULY 29, 2015

KEEPER of secrets Father Ronald Mulkearns has broken his silence about how he handled complaints of child sexual abuse while the Catholic bishop of Ballarat for more than two decades.

Until now Fr Mulkearns has avoided giving evidence at inquiries into institutional sexual abuse, citing health issues, meaning three decades of secrets from his tenure in Ballarat have remained sealed.

But he has been forced to testify in a prosecution against former priest Robert Claffey who is charged with a string of sexual assault charges.

Mr Claffey is charged with 14 counts of indecent assault, one count of committing an indecent act on a child under the age of 16 and one count of buggery on a girl.

Fr Mulkearns appeared at the Geelong Magistrates Court today but gave little away in his first sitting, answering “I don’t recall” to more than a dozen questions.

Paedophile priest praised for ‘change of heart’

IRELAND
Irish Examiner

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Liam Heylin

A sentencing judge has welcomed a paedophile and former Christian Brother’s “substantial change of heart” after he pleaded guilty for the first time to sex assaults on two pupils at the North Monastery secondary school in Cork.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin referred to the 30 months already being served by Edward Bryan, 62, for the sexual abuse of three other students — charges on which he was convicted by a jury after his denials — and imposed a concurrent one-year sentence yesterday.

“Edward Bryan has pleaded guilty to counts of indecent assault on two young boys when he was a teacher in a school here in the city,” said the judge. “Aggravating factors are the age difference and he was in a position of authority. He abused that trust in authority.

“A significant difference is his present attitude and the fact that he has pleaded guilty. That to me is a huge change and a change for the better.

“It is a public vindication that the accused is wrong, that the victims are vindicated in what they said and that the complaints they made were right and he was wrong, for the first time ever. It is some level of insight and remorse that was never there before, indicative of a substantial change of heart to be welcomed.”

Show Me the Money! After Philly Accuser Testified Under Oath Priest Abuse Claim Was Not About Money, He Later Files Lawsuit Against Catholic Church Seeking … Money

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
TheMediaReport

David Pierre

The old expression goes: "Whenever anybody says, 'It's not about the money,' it's about the money."

No other aphorism is more fitting to the case of the Philadelphia accuser who is now suing the Catholic Church even though he swore repeatedly at two criminal trials that he was not seeking money in claiming that a priest abused him many years ago.

Yet another crock revealed

A criminal jury twice rejected the accuser's claim that Philadelphia priest Rev. Andrew McCormick abused him back in the 1990s as a 10-year-old altar boy.

Rabbi pleads to endangering welfare of a child, ends sex abuse case

NEW YORK
The Journal News

Steve Lieberman, slieberm@lohud.com July 28, 2015

Plea agreement met family's wish that the boy not have to testify publicly against Rabbi Gabriel Bodenheimer.

A Monsey rabbi accused of sexually abusing a 7-year-old boy pleaded guilty Tuesday to a lesser charge of endangering the welfare of a child.

Prosecutors said the agreement met the family's request to spare their son from having to testify in public.

Rabbi Gabriel Bodenheimer, 72, principal of Yeshiva Bais Mikroh for decades, faces three years probation when sentenced Oct. 27 on the misdemeanor count. As part of the agreement, the rabbi is barred from teaching or entering any school. He will also be subject to typical restrictions imposed on sex offenders.

Rockland County Court Judge Rolf Thorsen accepted the rabbi's plea.

Prosecutor Richard Kennison Moran told Thorsen the case was being resolved at the request of the victim's family, who told Rockland District Attorney Thomas Zugibe they wanted the boy to move forward with his therapy and life.

"The victim is extremely strong mentally," Moran said. "I believe he would be able to testify before this court. The family wants to spare their son the ordeal of testifying. I respect his family's wishes."

More lawsuits filed against priest with Lafayette ties

MINNESOTA
WLFI

Dan Klein/Alexandra Kruczek
Published: July 28, 2015

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WLFI) — A priest with Lafayette ties is the target of two more civil lawsuits involving allegations of sexual abuse.

The suits allege the abuse between 1979 and 1981 at the Crosier Seminary in Minnesota involving Father Gerald Funcheon and several other clergy members.

According to the attorney for the plaintiffs, “Funcheon is accused of sexually abusing many children in several states.”

Funcheon was a graduate student at Purdue University and provided weekend pastoral assistance from 1969-70. He later was assigned to St. Ann’s and Central Catholic High School from 1986-87. He became a priest for the Lafayette diocese in 1987.

Lafayette Diocese Communications Director Kevin Cullen tells News 18 in 1992, the bishop became aware of earlier allegations. At that time, following Vatican protocols, Funcheon was removed from the public ministry and has not exercised it since 1992. When notices were published locally for victims to come forward, no allegations were received.

Crosier Abuse Lawsuits Filed Today...

MINNESOTA
Jeff Anderson and Associates

Crosier Abuse Lawsuits Filed Today Involve Clergy Who Worked and Abused Throughout Minnesota

7/28/2015
Accused Clergy Sexually Abused Children in Onamia, Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis, Diocese of St. Cloud

Doe 51 Complaint
Doe 56 Complaint

(St. Paul, MN) – Civil lawsuits were filed today by two men who were sexually abused as minors by clergy at Crosier Seminary in Onamia, Minn. Doe 51 and Doe 56 were molested by multiple priests and brothers of the Canons Regular of the Order of the Holy Cross (“Crosier”) religious order. Several of the clergy named in the complaints also interacted with and sexually abused children throughout Minnesota, including at parishes and schools in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, and the Diocese of St. Cloud.

Doe 51 was sexually abused from approximately 1979-81 by Father Gerald Funcheon, Brother Gabriel Guerrero and Brother Roman Fleischhacker, when Doe 51 was approximately 15-17 years old. Doe 56 was sexually abused in approximately 1979-80 by Funcheon, Brother Wendell Mohs and Father Roger Vaughn, when Doe 56 was approximately 14-15 years old. The perpetrators were assigned to Crosier Seminary at the time they abused Doe 51 and Doe 56, who attended the seminary.

“We applaud the courage of Doe 51 and Doe 56 in coming forward to seek accountability and take back power that was stolen from them as children by abusive clergy,” said Jeff Anderson, attorney for Doe 51 and Doe 56. “These abusers were allowed to travel all over Minnesota and elsewhere and be with children, many of whom they abused. Today, Doe 51 and Doe 56 are helping put an end to that tragic practice.”

Funcheon is accused of sexually abusing many children in several states, including Minnesota, where his assignments included St. Odilia’s in Shoreview (1970-74), Cathedral High School and John XXIII Middle School in St. Cloud (1980-82), and St. Stephen’s in Anoka (1985-86), in addition to Crosier Seminary (1979). Guerrero allegedly abused multiple minors at Crosier Seminary, where he worked from 1953-55, and 1958-79. Fleischhacker was assigned to the Crosier Community of Onamia (1949-85 and 2000-13), and was involved in the Teens Encounter Christ (TEC) retreat program in the Diocese of St. Cloud.

Mohs’ assignments included the Central Minnesota TEC program, Diocese of St. Cloud (1979-82), Epiphany school in Coon Rapids, Minn. (1980-82), in addition to Crosier Seminary (1974-80). Mohs resided at various locations during those assignments, including in St. Paul and at St. Stephen’s in Anoka. Vaughn’s assignments included the Central Minnesota TEC program, Diocese of St. Cloud (1979-84), and St. Peter’s Church, St. Cloud, Minn. (1980-84), in addition to Crosier Seminary (1977-80). Mohs and Vaughn each served as vocation director at Crosier Seminary, a job in which they traveled to Minnesota communities to recruit boys to attend Crosier Seminary. Funcheon, Mohs and Vaughn are included on lists of credibly accused clergy made public by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Crosiers. Vaughn is also on a list of credibly accused clergy made public by the Diocese of St. Cloud. Guerrero is included on the Crosiers’ list.

Doe 51 and Doe 56 brought their lawsuits under the Minnesota Child Victims Act, which gives child sexual abuse victims until May 25, 2016, to file civil lawsuits. But persons abused by clergy working in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, including Crosiers, have until August 3, 2015, to bring claims against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in bankruptcy court.

Contact Jeff Anderson: Office/651.538.5049 Cell/612.817.8665
Contact Mike Finnegan: Office/651.538.5049 Cell/612.205.5531

Two claim sexual abuse at Crosier Seminary

MINNESOTA
Mankato Free Press

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Two former seminarians who say they were sexually abused as teenagers by clergy at Crosier Seminary in Onamia have filed civil lawsuits.

Attorney Jeff Anderson said Tuesday one man was molested at about age 15 to 17 by a priest and two brothers who were assigned to the seminary and the other man was sexually abused by the same priest, another father and a brother when he was about 14 to 15 years old. The abuse allegedly took place in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The plaintiffs are unidentified.

China: Shaolin Temple's chief priest accused of sexual misconduct

CHINA
Hindustan Times

The chief priest of China's iconic Shaolin Temple, known for its martial arts traditions, is has been accused of having sexual relations with women followers including Buddhist nuns, a charge refuted by the temple as "groundless".

Shi Zhengyi (pen-name) claimed to be a former disciple of the temple and posted an article on various online forums last week, alleging that the 50-year-old Shi Yongxin, the abbot of the temple, maintained sexual relations with his women followers, including two Buddhist nuns.

Denying allegations, the abbot has complained to police about the "slander campaign" against him, official media quoted a staff member of the temple at Henan province as saying.

A police officer from the public security bureau of Dengfeng, Henan, told the Global Times that they have received the Shaolin Temple's report and are investigating the case.

Pfarrer K.: Revision hat wohl keine große Chance

DEUTSCHLAND
Westdeutsche Zeitung

Willich/Karlsruhe. Im Revisonsverfahren zum Urteil gegen den aus Willich stammenden Pfarrer Georg K. hat Generalbundesanwalt Harald Range Stellung genommen. Er sehe zwar einige Schwächen im Urteil, diese seien jedoch nicht so entscheidend, dass die Entscheidung des Krefelder Landgerichts geändert werden müsse. Er empfiehlt dem Bundesgerichtshof, eine Revision nicht zuzulassen. Das berichtete Dr. Wilhelm Helms aus Hannover, Strafverteidiger von Georg K., am Montag auf Nachfrage.

Üblicherweise folgt der Senat diesen Empfehlungen des Generalbundesanwalts. Darauf setzt auch Opferschützer Johannes Heibel von der Initiative gegen sexuellen Missbrauch. „Das ist ein gutes Zwischenergebnis“, freut er sich. „Ich hoffe, dass der Senat die Revision nicht zulässt.

Australien: Missbrauchs-Vertuschung bei Zeugen Jehovas

AUSTRALIEN
Radio Vatikan

Die Zeugen Jehovas in Australien haben die systematische Vernichtung von Dokumenten über den sexuellen Missbrauch Minderjähriger eingeräumt. Man habe vermeiden wollen, dass die Aufzeichnungen „in falsche Hände fallen“, sagte ein Leitungsverantwortlicher der Religionsgemeinschaft, Max Horley, laut australischen Medien am Montag vor dem staatlichen Untersuchungsausschuss zur Aufklärung des Umgangs mit Missbrauchsfällen.

Seit 1950 seien den Zeugen Jehovas 1.006 Fälle von Kindesmissbrauch bekanntgeworden. Alle diese Fälle seien intern behandelt worden, statt sie bei der Polizei anzuzeigen, so Horley. Man sei sich damals nicht bewusst gewesen, dass es sich um ein „kriminelles Vergehen“ handle. Schon zuvor waren in der Kommission Vorwürfe laut geworden, die Zeugen Jehovas hätten wiederholt übergriffige Verantwortungsträger in andere Positionen verschoben, um Missbrauch zu vertuschen.

Drei Jahre und vier Monate Haft für Pfarrer wegen Missbrauch

OSTERREICH
Salzburger Nachrichten

[Three years and four months in prison for a Austrian priest accused of abuse.]

Drei Jahre und vier Monate Haft für einen Pfarrer wegen sexueller Vergehen an einem Schützling: Dieses Urteil hat am Dienstag ein Schöffensenat am Landesgericht Wiener Neustadt über einen 49-jährigen Ordensgeistlichen verhängt. Der Schuldspruch ist aber noch nicht rechtskräftig, sowohl der Pater als auch der Staatsanwalt haben keine Erklärung abgegeben.

Es war bereits der zweite Rechtsgang in der heiklen Causa. Der Geistliche, der in einer 20.000-Seelengemeinde im südlichen Niederösterreich als Pater eingesetzt und bei der Bevölkerung sehr beliebt war, war bereits im Dezember 2013 wegen der sexuellen Übergriffe in Wiener Neustadt verurteilt worden - damals zu vier Jahren Freiheitsstrafe. Demnach soll der Pfarrer einen heute 25-Jährigen in den vergangenen Jahren vergewaltigt und auch durch K.o.-Tropfen sexuell gefügig gemacht haben.

How Pope Francis became the new Al Gore

UNITED STATES
The Week

Jason Berry

A Vatican conference recently drew mayors from cities across the globe to discuss climate change and modern slavery. The event marked a new turn in Pope Francis' evolution as a global leader — and as the rare pope with an activist foreign policy.

Speaking in Spanish and without notes, Francis closed the conference by giving praise to the politicians and asking their help in the face of "growing bands of poverty" around urban areas, which he called "a worldwide phenomenon," according to a Vatican transcript.

"Why do people come to large cities, to the outskirts of large cities, to the slums, shanty towns and favelas?" the pope asked. "It is simply because the rural world does not offer them opportunities."

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who attended the conference, affirmed Francis' message in an email to GroundTruth: "With more and more people moving to cities, mayors are uniquely positioned to innovate solutions to local and global challenges," he wrote. "The pope renewed a sense of hope and possibility for mayors to create equitable solutions."

Francis also called the Congo and Amazon rainforests "the world's great lungs." He coupled deforestation with "unemployment and human trafficking," drew a thread on "slavery in mining" and "the use of certain elements in the purifying of minerals, such as arsenic and cyanide, causing diseases in the population."

Disgraced Former GOP House Speaker Rod Jetton Disinvited from Prayer Breakfast

MISSOURI
Riverfront Times

By Danny Wicentowski Tue., Jul. 28 2015

The church flyer promoting former state representative Rod Jetton's speech was heavy on inspiration and light on details.

"Rod's candid way of explaining his mistakes and pointing out the dangers of putting
his career in front of his faith and family will be of great benefit to fathers focused on accomplishing their professional goals," the flyer read. Hosted by First Baptist Church in Arnold, Jetton's speech was to take place during a men's-only prayer breakfast on August 15.

The flyer continued: "His ability to identify the early warning signs of pride, bitterness and paranoia in his life are exactly the type of cautionary advice anyone who is experiencing success needs to hear."

But it wasn't pride and bitterness that tarnished Jetton's legacy as a lawmaker and Missouri House Speaker: In 2009, after leaving office due to term limits, Jetton was charged with felony assault when a woman alleged that a night of sadomasochistic sex had turned dangerous and violent. Jetton later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge. (A year later, Jetton found himself the subject of a federal investigation into whether he'd been bribed to weaken a proposed regulatory bill.)

For David Clohessy, director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), the fact that Jetton was being trotted out as a moral lighthouse, at a church no less, was an outrage.

In an email sent last week to First Baptist Church, SNAP urged the church's leadership to withdraw Jetton's invitation:

"Please don't claim this invitation is about forgiveness," the email read. "We can forgive a drunk driver but shouldn't give him school bus keys. We can forgive someone who commits violence but shouldn't give him a gun. We can forgive someone who assaults someone but shouldn't give him a speaking role in a church."

Assignment Record– Rev. Joseph C. Kremer

MINNESOTA
BishopAccountability.org

Summary of Case: Joseph C. Kremer was ordained for the St. Cloud MN diocese in 1969. In addition working in parishes, Kremer was Vice-Rector and Procurator of St. John's Seminary in Collegeville, and he held the diocesan position of Censor Librorum. He died in 1992. Kremer's name was included on the diocese's list released January 3, 2014 of clergy involved in incidents of likely claims of sexual abuse of minors.

Ordained: 1969
Died: November 18, 1992

ID--Victims applaud new legal avenue for abused kids

IDAHO
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Tuesday, July 28

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, davidgclohessy@gmail.com)

We admire Matt Morgan of Idaho Falls for having the strength to seek and win justice using a little-known legal approach. It takes real courage to confront child molesters in court and to open doors for other survivors of horrific childhood trauma.

[Idaho Statesman]

Morgan successfully sued his perpetrator for fraud. Like most adults who were assaulted as kids, an archaic, predator-friendly statute of limitations initially prevented him from exposing his predator. But he and his attorneys persisted and eventually won using the fraud charge.

We hope Morgan’s bravery will inspire others who were victimized as kids to come forward, seek justice, expose predators and protect kids.

DC--Victims urge action on predator priest who worked in DC

WASHINGTON (DC)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priets

For immediate release: Tuesday, July 28

Statement by Becky Ianni of Burke VA, DC area director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (703 801 6044,SNAPvirginia@cox.net)

Newly-released information shows that a credibly accused serial predator priest headed a DC area HIV/AIDS non-profit before he quietly passed away a few years ago.

[BishopAccountability.org - Assignment Record]

The work history of Fr. James "Jim" R. Nickel has just been posted on line. From 2004-2008, Fr. Nickel ran Damien Ministries, an HIV/AIDS organization in Washington DC, despite facing at least three accusers. One of them received a six figure settlement. The other two filed civil abuse and cover up lawsuits with an experienced clergy sex abuse attorney.

But as best we can tell, Washington area Catholic officials did nothing to warn parents, parishioners, police, prosecutors or the public about Fr. Nickel. Nor have they, since Nickel’s passing, taken any steps to find and help others who may have been hurt by him.

Shame on Cardinal Donald Wuerl, his predecessor Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and their staffs.

Common sense tells us that there are almost certainly other victims of Fr. Nickel suffering in silence. The official national Catholic church abuse policy tells us bishops are to “reach out” to the wounded. The Bible tells us to “leave the 99” and go out into the cold searching for the one “lost sheep.”

But this isn’t happening with Fr. Nickel. And it’s not happening in DC or in virtually any diocese on the planet with virtually any predator priest.

Again, shame on every staff member of the Washington DC archdiocese who timidly tolerates such irresponsible and self-serving secrecy. If one DC area man or woman who was assaulted by Fr. Nickel commits suicide, the blame lies squarely with every current or former Catholic staffer here who knew about or suspected Fr. Nickel’s crimes and kept silent.

We beg every single person who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes by Fr. Nickel or cover ups by archdiocesan staff to step forward, call police, expose wrongdoers, protect others, deter cover ups and start healing. We especially beg them to seek out independent sources of support and to call secular authorities not church bureaucrats.

Fr. Nickel was a priest of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary He was ordained in 1970, died in 2008, and worked in California (La Puente in the Los Angeles archdiocese), Minnesota (Winona in the Winona diocese and Minnieska in the St. Paul and Minneapolis archdiocese) and in Massachusetts (West Harwish, Fairhaven and Dennisport in the Fall River diocese) and in the Bahamas (in the Nassau diocese)

The Francis Factor: How Will The Pope Influence The 2016 Election?

UNITED STATES
Talking Point Memo

ByJOHN GEHRING
PublishedJULY 27, 2015

When Pope Francis visits the United States in two months and becomes the first pontiff to address Congress, his speech will be a seminal moment in American history. A pope who pumps fresh energy into the world’s most influential religious institution and humanizes the papacy will likely find his toughest audience in this country. Several polls released last week show both the challenges and opportunities that await a pope who denounces an “economy of exclusion” and in bracing language prods political leaders to wake up to the reality of climate change.

After enjoying sky-high approval ratings for the past two years, a new Gallup poll shows a swift decline in support for Pope Francis in the United States, driven largely by conservative angst. The pope’s overall favorability rating is now 59 percent, a significant dip from 76 percent early last year. Forty-five percent of conservatives now view the pope favorably, a stark decline from 72 percent who did a year ago.

Don’t quote me on this, but I think Jesus also took a hit in his poll numbers when he kicked the money changers out of the Temple, broke bread with prostitutes and reminded the religious elite that their obsession with the letter of the law missed the big picture. I doubt a pope who is focused on bringing those on the peripheries to the center of global debates is losing sleep over the finer points of Washington punditry or polling. This is a pope who still remains enormously popular and is arguably the most compelling moral leader in the world today. Coveting thy fellow leaders’ polling numbers is likely a sin, but most politicians would do anything to have the pope’s widespread appeal.

The 'Ex-Gay' Candidate for Missouri Governor

MISSOURI
Advocate

BY BIL BROWNINGJULY 28 2015

Missouri State Senator Bob Dixon is running for governor and claims that childhood abuse and "teenage confusion" caused him to be gay for a few years.

Dixon's campaign issued a statement Monday touting his "faith in God" and support for "traditional marriage" while condemning any opponents who try to use his past against him.

"Through the years, I have publicly spoken about being abused as a child and the confusion this caused me as a teenager," said Dixon in the statement. "There are literally thousands of Missourians who will understand how heartbreaking childhood abuse can be -- though few might be willing to acknowledge it." ...

David Clohessy -- the St. Louis-based director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests — spoke to reporters Monday about Dixon, noting his support for legislation to help “protect kids from predators,” but stopped short of endorsing him.

"As best we can tell, he’s the first statewide candidate in Missouri history to disclose that he was molested as a child," said Clohessy. "We are sad for his trauma but grateful for his candor. Adults who have the courage to talk publicly about having been sexually assaulted, at any age by any predator, should be applauded.

Waukesha pastor, school bus driver accused of sexual assault of child

WISCONSIN
WISN

By Christina Palladino

WAUKESHA, Wis. —A Waukesha man who worked as a pastor and a school bus driver has been arrested, accused of first-degree sexual assault of a child.

Peter J. Knebel, 72, was an associate pastor at Fox River Christian Church in Waukesha, mostly making hospital rounds and planning funerals.

According to the criminal complaint, Knebel called a child into his office at the church last week and told her she could sit on his lap and play on his computer

Waukesha pastor arrested, charged with sexual assault of child

WISCONSIN
WKOW

By Dani Maxwell

WAUKESHA (WKOW) -- A pastor of a Waukesha church has been arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a child.

Peter Knebel was arrested Sunday, according to the Waukesha County Sheriff's Office. Online court records show Knebel was charged Monday with First Degree Child Sexual Assault. The sheriff's office says Knebel was a pastor at Fox River Christian Church and was also a school bus driver.

A criminal complaint says a girl told someone that Knebel touched her inappropriately while she was seated on his lap and playing computer games in his church office. Executive pastor Mark Roberts says the church reported what happened to authorities and suspended Knebel. Roberts says Knebel wasn't assigned to work with children.

WISN 12 News reports Knebel apparently left his job as bus driver with First Student on his own accord last month. First Student is a bus company that operates within the Waukesha School District. The school superintendent told WISN 12 News, "We have no information that would tie this alleged incident to any of our students."

Waukesha pastor charged with sexually assaulting child

WISCONSIN
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

By Bruce Vielmetti of the Journal Sentinel July 27, 2015

A 72-year-old school bus driver and pastor in Waukesha has been charged with sexually assaulting a child in his church office.

Peter J. Knebel was arrested Sunday after sheriff's officials say he admitted to an offense while under investigation, as well as violations involving other children in the past.

According to the Waukesha County sheriff's office, Knebel was a pastor at the Fox River Christian Church, and drove a school bus for the Waukesha School District since 2009.

Knebel faces a single count of second-degree sexual assault of a child under age 13, which is punishable by up to 40 years in prison upon conviction.

According to the criminal complaint:

A girl told someone that while she was using a computer in the church gym earlier this month, Knebel told her she couldn't use it for games, but could play on the computer in his office. There, while the girl was seated in his lap, Knebel rubbed her breast area with his thumb.

Waukesha pastor, former school bus driver accused of sexually assaulting a child at his church

WISCONSIN
Fox 6

JULY 27, 2015, BY KATIE DELONG AND JENNA SACHS

WAUKESHA — Waukesha County Sheriff’s officials say a 72-year-old pastor at a church in Waukesha and a school bus driver who recently retired has been arrested for first degree sexual assault of a child.

Peter Knebel of Waukesha has been charged with first degree sexual assault of a child – sexual contact with a person under the age of 13.

Sheriff’s officials say they were made aware of the assault — and during the investigation, the Knebel admitted to his involvement.

He also admitted to committing other violations against children in the past, officials say.

Other Pontifical Acts

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 28 July 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:

- appointed Bishop Salvador Gimenez Valls of Menorca, Spain, as bishop of Lleida (area 2,977, population 233,531, Catholics 207,167, priests 131, permanent deacons 5, religious 195), Spain. He succeeds Bishop Joan Piris Frigola, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

- gave his assent to the canonical election by the Synod of Bishops of the Patriarchal Maronite Church, of Rev. Paul Abdel Sater as bishop of the patriarchal curia. The bishop-elect was born in 1962 in Ain El Remmaneh, Lebanon, and was ordained a priest in 1987. He studied moral theology and science of education in Boston, U.S.A., and since returning to Lebanon has served as deputy priest, parish priest, school director, and eparchial bursar. He is currently syncellus for economic affairs and parish priest of the “Saint Jean” parish in Beirut.

Idaho Falls man uses new legal tactic to get long-delayed justice for child abuse

IDAHO
Idaho Statesman

BY TOM HOLM
Idaho Falls Post Register
July 27, 2015

IDAHO FALLS — Matt Morgan’s effort to punish his uncle for sexual abuse three decades ago has traveled a unique legal course.

After exhausting traditional legal avenues, Matt Morgan’s legal team used claims of fraud to bring Terry Morgan to justice, winning a $395,000 judgment Dec. 2.

It is a legal tactic that could be used more extensively in the future, especially for those trying to press sexual abuse cases that can’t be prosecuted because the statute of limitations has expired, said Boise attorney Andrew Chasan.

Child abuse royal commission: Jehovah’s Witnesses reveals father’s abuse

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

JULY 28, 2015

Nicola Berkovic
Reporter
Sydney

A Jehovah’s Witness elder says he believed a young woman had been sexually abused by her father but could not take action because he did not have a second witness.

The elder, Dino Ali, told the Royal Commission into child sexual abuse said “divine law” required two witnesses to a crime or for the perpetrator to confess.

Asked why he could not take action, even though he believed the then-18-year-old woman that her father had tried to rape her, he said:

“We couldn’t ... Because there was only the person who was aware or knew that that had happened. We [did] not have another person to corroborate.”

Mr Ali said that members of the Jehovah’s Witness church believed that it was up to a victim of a crime to make a report to police.

Royal Commission: Jehovah's Witness sex predator reinstated

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

July 28, 2015

Rachel Browne
Social Affairs Reporter

A former senior member of the Jehovah's Witnesses who repeatedly molested a teenage girl was stood down as a church elder only to be later reinstated, a royal commission has heard.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was told that former church elder Bill Neill admitted to voyeurism in a meeting in which his accuser was forced to face him.

Former circuit overseer Doug Jackson, who was in charge of the investigation, told the commission he did not regard Mr Neill's conduct as criminal at the time, nor did he inform the police.

The commission heard Mr Jackson wrote a letter to the branch officer of the Jehovah's Witness Church in Australia noting that Mr Neill, now deceased, had received "strong counselling" for his "uncleanness".

The letter recommended Mr Neill be reinstated as an elder once the incident had blown over.

Jehovah’s Witness ‘ministerial servant’...

AUSTRALIA
Daily Telegraph

Jehovah’s Witness ‘ministerial servant’ held in high regard by congregation while assaulting daughters

JANET FIFE-YEOMANS THE DAILY TELEGRAPH JULY 28, 2015

A TEENAGE girl prayed to Jehovah to put angels around her bed and stop her father from sexually assaulting her but no-one listened, she told the sex abuse royal commission today.

While the rest of the Jehovah’s Witness branch held her father in high regard as a “ministerial servant”, he was flogging her at home until she bled and had sex with her and three of her sisters, the commission was told.

His second eldest daughter, now aged 47, said that when she tried to kill herself over the abuse, she was chastised by the church because it was seen as being a sin against Jehovah - while her father was stood down for some time but then accepted back with open arms by the congregation.

The woman, who cannot be named, said that one of the elders of her church branch in rural Queensland told her she could not report her father to the police because “you will bring reproach upon Jehovah’s name and you will be disfellowshipped”.

Royal commission into child sexual abuse: Former Jehovah's Witness tells hearing of abuse by father who was church elder

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By Danuta Kozaki

A child abuse victim and former Jehovah's Witness has detailed how she was abused by her father, who was an elder with the church in north Queensland.

During its hearings in Sydney, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has heard the Jehovah's Witness church did not report any complaints to police involving the assault of children.

The 43-year-old witness codenamed BCG told the commission she spoke to the church hierarchy of the abuse against her and her three sisters, and was treated with disdain.

"It felt so wrong that my father's abuse affected me so much and yet didn't even qualify as something wrong in the eyes of Jehovah's witnesses who professed to be acting with the authority of Jehovah and the Holy Spirit which is considered to be above Australian law," she said.

Jehovah's Witness abuser quoted scripture while assaulting daughter, royal commission told

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

July 28, 2015

Rachel Browne
Social Affairs Reporter

As a child growing up in a strict Jehovah's Witness household she was taught to obey her father as head of the family and warned that outsiders were "worldly people" who served Satan.

In a harrowing day of evidence before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the woman detailed how her father repeatedly sexually abused her and her three sisters.

I wanted to dig a hole and die.

The father, given the pseudonym BCH, was a respected figure in the church who would conduct door-to-door preaching and deliver talks from an elevated platform at his congregation's kingdom hall in Queensland.

At home the man became a tyrant, with the commission hearing that he would beat his daughter so hard with a leather belt she would bleed from the welts.

The woman, now 43 and using the pseudonym BCG, told the commission that her father repeatedly molested her.

July 27, 2015

Abuse hearing would `sully Jehovah's name'

AUSTRALIA
9 News

A Jehovah's Witness elder has denied he tried to discourage an abuse survivor from going to the royal commission into child sexual abuse.

Jim Bello an elder in a congregation in Western Australia visited the woman, referred to as BCB, in 2012 to discuss her allegations of abuse by an elder in the church in the 80s and 90s.

On Tuesday Mr Bello said he had been told by the branch that oversees the Jehovah's Witness Church in Australia to visit BCB and her husband at their WA farm to see if he could help and to gain information.

He recalled a conversation with BCB's husband who told him his wife was thinking of going to the royal commission.

Child abuser was guilty of 'uncleanness'

AUSTRALIA
SBS

Source: AAP
28 JUL 2015

The Jehovah's Witnesses used the biblical term "uncleanness" to describe an elders' persistent molestation of a young girl and just stood him down from preaching.

A royal commission sitting in Sydney heard on Tuesday how the church uses biblical terms to describe criminal behaviour.

"Uncleaness" is not as serious as "loose conduct", retired district overseer Doug Jackson said when he was questioned about the Witnesses investigation into abuse committed by Elder Bill Neill in the Narrogin congregation in Western Australia in the late 80s and 1990s.

"Loose conduct" would cover intercourse and is referred to in the bible as "immorality, porneia", Mr Jackson said.

Peeping Tom Rabbi Case Remanded to State Court

WASHINGTON (DC)
Courthouse News Service

By DAN MCCUE

WASHINGTON, D.C. (CN) - Hundreds of women who claim to have been victims of peeping tom Georgetown rabbi convinced a federal judge on Monday to move their respective class actions back to D.C. Superior Court.

Rabbi Bernard "Barry" Freundel was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison on May 12, 2015, after acknowledging as part of a plea agreement that he secretly recorded at least 150 women in a Jewish ritual bath over several years.

Freundel led the Kesher Israel synagogue in Georgetown for 25 years before he was arrested on Oct. 14, 2014, after one of his recording devices was discovered hidden inside a clock radio.

He told prosecutors that he started setting up hidden cameras in the changing and showering area of the National Capital Mikvah - a cleansing bath - in 2009.

Media Release - Catholic Whistleblowers Steering Committee– July 27-28, 2015

NEW JERSEY
Catholic Whistleblowers

On July 29, 2015, the Catholic Whistleblowers Steering Committee will submit to Pope Francis’ newly-established Vatican tribunal a case of abuse of office against Archbishop John J. Myers of the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey, regarding incidents of sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults by clergy, and request that Archbishop John J. Myers be removed as Archbishop of Newark, New Jersey, and the clerical state, that he be denied access to his lavish retirement home, and assigned to a life of prayer and penance

What
A press conference sponsored by the Catholic Whistleblowers Steering Committee which will announce the filing of a case against Archbishop John J. Myers of Newark, New Jersey to the newly-established Vatican tribunal that investigates and holds accountable bishops who abuse their office in matters of sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults

When
Wednesday, July 29, 2015 at 11:30 AM

Where
Fair Bridge Hotel and Conference Center, 130 New Jersey Route 10 West, East Hanover, NJ 07936

Who
Members of the Catholic Whistleblowers Steering Committee, victim/survivors of sexual abuse and their families, and victim/survivors of the actions and decisions of John J. Myers as Bishop of Peoria, IL and Archbishop of Newark, New Jersey, including: Peoria, IL Diocese parents (of sexual abuse victims) Helen Rainforth and Linda Bruns; Newark, NJ sexual abuse victim/survivor Samuel Rivera; Milwaukee retired priest and canon lawyer Rev. James Connell; former Newark Archdiocesan priest Dr. Robert M. Hoatson; New York Archdiocese sexual abuse victim/survivor Sr. Claire Smith; victims’ advocate and whistleblower Sr. Maureen Paul Turlish of New Castle, DE and Philadelphia, PA; and, New York Archdiocese whistleblower Fr. Ronald Lemmert, who will represent and speak on behalf of Fr. Patrick Collins, a retired priest of the Peoria, IL Diocese

Why
Pope Francis has expressed his desire to hold accountable bishops who have abused their office with regard to incidents of sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults, and established on June 6, 2015 a Vatican tribunal to hear cases of such abuse of office. The Catholic Whistleblowers Steering Committee, with the involvement of victim/survivors of sexual abuse, advocates, and supporters, have compiled a case of abuse of office against Archbishop John J. Myers of the Newark, NJ Archdiocese, and will submit documentation of such abuse to Vatican authorities with copies to the Papal Nuncio in Washington, DC, and Archbishop Myers. From the time he was named co-adjutor Bishop of Peoria, IL in 1990 to his tenure as Archbishop of Newark, NJ from 2002 to the present, John J. Myers has abused his episcopal office on many occasions, including a serious cover-up of the sexual abuse of priests in the Peoria, IL Diocese and the mistreatment of families of sexual abuse victim/survivors there. John J. Myers also retaliated against a Newark Archdiocesan priest for speaking out about clergy sexual abuse, forcing him to leave the priesthood, and he mishandled the cases of sexual abuse against the notorious Fr. Michael Fugee and other priests, including a Newark Archdiocesan priest who was allowed to retire one week after 6 victim/survivors received a settlement of hundreds of thousands of dollars. The press conference will call on Pope Francis to remove Archbishop Myers from the Newark Archdiocese and the clerical state, deny him access to a lavish retirement home, and assign him to a life of prayer and penance.

Contacts
Robert M. Hoatson, Ph.D., West Orange, NJ - 862-368-2800
Rev. James Connell, Milwaukee, WI – 414-940-8054