Abuse Tracker
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BishopAccountability.org – Documenting the Abuse Crisis

December 5, 2019

OPINION: As New Jersey acts, Pennsylvania continues to fail our state’s victims of priests’ sexual abuse

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
The Philadelphia Inquirer

December 4, 2019

By Mike Newall

You couldn’t call it a happy day in New Jersey. But it was a long-awaited one.

On Monday, victims of past sexual abuse by priests began to file civil lawsuits against the Catholic Church — suits long barred by the statute of limitations.

Fifty lawsuits, the first wave of what are expected to be hundreds during a two-year window in which any victims of sexual abuse can file civil claims against their abusers, regardless of when the abuse happened. The window is one advocates fought hard to pry open. And one the church and its insurance agencies have long tried to hold shut.

A chance at some measure of justice, finally.

Buffalo Diocese faces its shame because Michael Whalen let his voice be heard

BUFFALO (NY)
The Buffalo News

December 4, 2019

By Sean Kirst

Michael Whalen was getting ready to go to a Buffalo Sabres game Monday when his phone started buzzing. A friend and ally, Siobhan O'Connor, told him of an impending shakeup in the Diocese of Buffalo unlike anything this community had seen before.

After more than a year of rejecting calls for his resignation, Bishop Richard Malone would take early retirement, a decision confirmed Wednesday by the Vatican.

For a moment, Whalen, 54, felt the whole thing wash across him. His account of childhood abuse by a priest, finally spoken out loud not quite two years ago, touched off shock waves still buffeting the diocese.

He describes himself as an everyday guy from South Buffalo, with all of this happening at a moment when Whalen and his wife, Maria, feel particularly grateful. While Whalen does not attend Mass, he still considers himself Catholic, and he said his blessing for this Advent season is a new granddaughter, Jasmine. Born seven weeks early at 3.6 pounds, she is now a smiling infant of more than twice that weight.

'It's overwhelming': Survivors create public list of Catholic clerics accused of sexual abuse

TORONTO (CANADA)
CBC News

Dec. 5, 2019

By Laura Clementson and Gillian Findlay ·

Starting at the age of 10, Miriam MacCormack says she was sexually abused by a Catholic priest for two years.

After five decades of struggle — including suicide attempts — MacCormack will see her abuser's name made public. But not by the southwestern Ontario diocese of London, where the abuse occurred.

MacCormack's abuser, Father Ron Reeves, now dead, is among the names of 36 accused clergy compiled and published by a group of sexual abuse survivors.

MacCormack said the list is important as validation of what happened to her.

"If you sit down and you look at the list, it's hard to deny that this has happened."

The list includes names of priests in the London diocese who were charged, convicted or linked to victims that made allegations and successfully sued or settled with the church for amounts of more than $50,000 — and only those who preyed on minors.

Rochester bishop requested Fulton Sheen beatification delay

ROME (ITALY)
Catholic News Agency

Dec. 5, 2019

By JD Flynn and Ed Condon

The beatification of Archbishop Fulton Sheen was delayed at the request of Bishop Salvatore Matano of Rochester, an official in the Peoria diocese and other Church officials have confirmed.

“They did not agree with the fact the beatification date was set and announced and asked the further consideration be done,” Msgr. James Kruse, Director of Canonical Affairs in the Diocese of Peoria, told CNA Dec. 4.

Kruse is also a member of the Sheen Foundation, and has worked for years on Sheen's cause for canonization.

Several other sources close to the beatification also told CNA that Matano requested the beatification be delayed.

Former priest sues Archdiocese for naming him on list of alleged abusers

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Post-Dispatch

Dec. 5, 2019

By Nassim Benchaabane

A former priest has sued the Archdiocese of St. Louis for libel, claiming church officials falsely said he was credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor.

In a lawsuit filed Nov. 3 in St. Louis County Circuit Court, Michael W. Toohey, 77, of Creve Coeur accused the archdiocese of intentionally damaging his reputation by falsely naming him as an alleged abuser, refusing to provide more details of any allegation against him and denying his challenge of the claim.

Toohey, who served as a priest at three St. Louis-area parishes from 1967 until 1970, is one of 63 men the archdiocese, in July and August, said have substantiated allegations against them of sexual abuse of a minor. He is one of 26 men — seven still living — against whom allegations were never before publicly revealed.

The archdiocese has declined to release more details about the cases or the clergy’s parish assignments, citing concerns about the alleged victims’ privacy and the impact on the faith community, but it maintains on its website a list of the accused clergy as well as the names of three former clergy who had possessed child pornography.

Bransfield: Abuse allegation worth another investigation

PARKERSBURG (WV)
News and Sentinel

Dec. 4, 2019

A man’s allegation he was sexually molested as a child by former Roman Catholic bishop Michael Bransfield should be investigated again, by both church and law enforcement authorities.

Bransfield, who headed the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston for 13 years, dismisses the story as coming from “a wack job.” Church officials point out it was investigated twice previously. Evidence to support the allegation was lacking, they say.

But one fact argues strongly in favor of taking another look into the matter: Bransfield got away with so much, for so long, while he was bishop. Is the old child sex abuse accusation part of his record?

A Washington Post story lays out the new/old accusation. It stems from Bransfield’s time as chaplain at Lansdale Catholic High School, in Philadelphia, during the 1970s.

In 2007, a former student called church authorities, telling them that Bransfield on several occasions touched him inappropriately. A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia told the Post, “I can say with certainty that this matter was not only investigated internally. It was reviewed by law enforcement on two occasions and no criminal charges were filed.”

Church officials dismissed the complaint because of inconsistencies in the man’s story. The former student said law enforcement investigations were hindered and ultimately dropped because he could not be guaranteed his identity would be kept secret. The first church investigation concluded in 2009, in a report that was kept confidential. It was looked into a second time in 2012, with similar results.

December 4, 2019

How to move forward after the resignation of Buffalo’s Bishop Malone

NEW YORK (NY)
Commonweal

Dec. 4, 2019

By John J. Hurley

The resignation of Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo has been greeted with a mix of emotions. There is sadness, of course, at the events that have brought the venerable Diocese of Buffalo to this place: reports of clergy sex abuse long covered up by the diocese, the mishandling of current cases of abuse and misconduct by Bishop Malone and the realization that this is the first time in the 172-year history of the diocese that a bishop has been pressured to leave office.

There is unresolved anger as well, among victims whose reports of sex abuse were ignored or handled poorly and now find themselves as plaintiffs in lawsuits with a long road ahead; Catholics who have made Bishop Malone the lightning rod for everything that has happened; priests who have felt alienated from the chancery and their bishop; and Catholics who have watched parish life around them disintegrate as people have marched out the door in response to the scandal.

Editorial: A welcome transition for the Buffalo Diocese

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

Dec. 4, 2019

The resignation of Bishop Richard J. Malone gives the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo a chance to move forward from the sexual abuse scandal that has tarnished the church here for months.

Malone’s retirement is not the end of the story, but a beginning. There is a long way to go in winning back the trust of Western New York Catholics who lost faith in an institution that was interwoven into many of their lives.

The diocese’s new interim leader, Albany Bishop Edward Scharfenberger, gave every indication Wednesday that he can play an important role in the healing and reconciliation that must take place.

“We are all family,” Scharfenberger said at his introductory news conference. “The survivors of sexual abuse are our family. I want everyone to know that they will be treated with respect. … I’ll meet with any and all survivors.”

Former Bishop of Portland Diocese steps down in NY, accused of shielding pedophile priests

PORTLAND (ME)
WGME TV

Dec. 4, 2019

A former Bishop of the Portland Diocese, accused of shielding predator pedophile priests, has stepped down from his post in New York.

Bishop Richard Malone is currently under a criminal investigation in Buffalo for allegedly diverting charitable donations into a fund for bishops.

Paul Kendrick is a graduate of Cheverus High School who co-founded a group to help Maine victims molested by pedophile priests.

He says more than a decade ago, his group asked then-Portland Bishop Richard Malone to post the names of priests credibly accused of abuse, and to embrace victims with compassion and get them the help they need.

But instead, he says Bishop Malone did just the opposite.

"Bishop Malone just treated the mother of one of the victims in such a horrible way that advocates demonstrated against him all the way from Boston," Kendrick said.

Kendrick says they've urged the Maine Attorney General to open investigation of the Portland Diocese, like the one now being conducted in Buffalo that led to Bishop Malone's resignation.

"This is a $50-million-a-year organization that has been hiding felony sex crimes against children for years," Kendrick said.

Whistleblower slams early retirement for N.Y. bishop accused of sex abuse cover-up

TORONTO (CANADA)
CBC Radio

Dec. 4, 2019

The resignation of a prominent New York bishop at the heart of the diocese's sex abuse crisis is "not a victory," says whistleblower Siobhan O'Connor.

Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo, who has been accused of covering up or mishandling the abuse of dozens of minors by priests in his diocese, admitted no wrongdoing when he stepped down voluntarily on Wednesday, two years before his scheduled retirement.

The Vatican said in a statement that Pope Francis has accepted Malone's request for an "early retirement."

"It's really not a victory. It feels more like a necessity," O'Connor told As It Happens host Carol Off. "It's disappointing that he chose to exit in that way, but I must say it's not surprising,"

From 'right-hand girl' to whistleblower
O'Connor used to be Malone's executive assistant, until she turned whistleblower in an explosive 2018 interview on CBS's 60 Minutes.

"I used to be Bishop Malone's right-hand girl and I initially was a huge fan of his. I certainly respected him and even admired him," she told Off.

"But I began to recognize that he wasn't the man I thought he was and that what he was saying publicly did not match what he was doing internally."

The turning point for O'Connor came when Malone publicly released a list of 42 priests facing credible allegations of sexual assault, many of them dating back decades.

But O'Connor had a copy of his original draft list, which was 17 pages long and contained more than 100 names.

Two of the accused priests Malone chose not to name were still active in the church, she said. One of them, she says, got a ringing endorsement from Malone, despite being accused of molesting a young boy.

Gordon says he'll talk with AG about priest abuse in Wyoming

CASPER (WY)
Star Tribune

Dec. 4, 2019

By Seth Klamann

Gov. Mark Gordon said he would talk with Wyoming Attorney General Bridget Hill about investigating sexual abuse by priests in the Equality State, in the wake of other states launching their own inquiries into the history of abuse by Catholic clergymen.

"My sense is I probably will, now that you bring it up, probably ask Attorney General Hill her point of view of where the state's role should be," Gordon said during a wide-ranging interview with the Star-Tribune on Tuesday. "Those are horrific cases. Horrific cases."

Gordon added that he was "hesitant to say we're going to storm in" without knowing more of the details of abuse by priests in Wyoming and without consulting with Hill.

The comments come as one of the state's top prosecutors, Natrona County's Dan Itzen, continues to review a sexual abuse case involving two men, including retired Wyoming bishop Joseph Hart. Hart has been accused by at least 16 men in Wyoming and in Missouri, where he was a priest for 20 years before moving here. He has been the subject of a months-long criminal investigation that started with Cheyenne Police and is now in the hands of Itzen, whose own work on the case has lasted more than 100 days.

Bathurst church gets cheque from insurers for sexual abuse victims

NEW BRUNSWICK (CANADA)
CBC News

Dec. 4, 2019

​​​​​​The Diocese of Bathurst has received the cheque from its insurance company, Aviva, in relation to sexual abuse scandals from decades ago.

The two engaged in a lengthy court battle that ended last spring over who should pay victims of Catholic priests who were seeking compensation.

The church had been arguing the insurance policy at the time of the abuse included coverage for "bodily injury caused intentionally by … the archdiocese."

But the insurers claimed the church failed in its obligation to disclose information about the abuse, and the coverage was therefore void.

In May, the Supreme Court refused hearing the case, thereby ordering Aviva to pay $3.4 million, as New Brunswick's court of appeal had ruled.

Abuse Allegations Against Retired Priest in Columbus Found Credible

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Dec. 4, 2019

Allegations of abuse against a retired priest from the Diocese of Columbus have been found “credible.” We call on Catholic officials to do outreach to other potential victims and to explain why the allegation was not found “credible” when it was first reported, despite the fact that the cleric was "retired" and barred from ministry.

Fr. David Schilder was first accused of abuse in 2004, but Church officials from the Dicoese of Columbus did not find the allegations “credible.” Making matters worse, they turned the allegations over to local children services instead of law enforcement officials. Interestingly, when another allegation was reported to the diocese in September, Catholic officials this time properly routed the allegations to the police.

Reporting allegations to the wrong agency is something that Catholic officials have done elsewhere. The practice conveniently lets them say that they “immediately reported the allegations,” despite the fact that the information went to an agency that is designed to investigate currently ongoing claims of abuse, not historical ones.

Charlotte Talks: Victims Of The Catholic Sex Abuse Scandal Wait For 'The List'

CHARLOTTE (NC)
WFAE Radio

Dec. 5, 2019

By Erin Keever

By the end of the year the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte is expected to release its list of priests "credibly accused" of sexual abuse. A look at what happens then.

Across the country, Catholic Dioceses have been releasing lists of names of clergy who have been accused of sexually abusing minors. The Catholic Diocese of Charlotte has yet to do so but they promise to release the names of priests they deem to be "credibly accused" by the end of this year.

With that date fast approaching, WFAE’s Sarah Delia has been exploring the history of this scandal, the church’s response, what victims hope to gain from the release of these names and what happens after their identity is known in a four-part podcast simply titled, The List. She and others join us to talk about that and more.

New accusers file suits alleging sex abuse by defrocked Paterson Diocese priest

BERGEN (NJ)
Bergen Record

Dec. 4, 2019

By Abbott Koloff

At least two new accusers came forward this week to file sex abuse lawsuits naming a now-defrocked Paterson Diocese priest, James T. Hanley, who has admitted to abusing children and was at the center of the 2002 Catholic Church scandal in New Jersey related to an alleged cover-up of sex abuse by some bishops.

One man said in court papers that he was abused by Hanley and two other priests — a former assistant to Hanley at a Mendham church decades ago and a former Catholic school administrator who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting two boys more than 25 years ago.

Another said Hanley abused him as a minor at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church in Pequannock in the late 1960s.

The accusations were among dozens of lawsuits filed since Sunday when a state law took effect that gives people more time to file civil complaints alleging sex abuse.

Hanley has admitted in prior court papers to abusing at least a dozen children, many of them at St. Joseph's parish in Mendham. Numerous men who attended St. Joseph's as children gathered in 2002 amid a growing church scandal for a meeting to discuss being abused by Hanley. The priest also was the central figure in a lawsuit that led to a $5 million settlement in 2005.

One of the new Hanley accusers alleged that the priest sexually abused him when he was between 11 and 13 years old, starting in 1974 when he attended St. Joseph's parish. He is not identified in court papers.

Editorial: Bishops need to recognize their own checkered history

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

Dec 4, 2019

Novelist William Faulkner wrote, "The past is never dead. It's not even past."

Faulkner's insight is worth remembering in church circles as Catholics deal with the fallout from the ongoing process of bishops investigating other accused bishops.

In the short time since the church formalized that process to deal with its seemingly never-ending crisis, we are finding out that it's had, to put it mildly, its hiccups.

Earlier this year, an investigation into Bishop Michael Bransfield of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia, by Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore revealed a pattern of embezzlement and sexual harassment of seminarians. Eventually, transparency was achieved, and a long-term punishment meted out by Bransfield's successor, Bishop Mark Brennan.

But that was not till after the public learned that Lori himself was among those bishops who were the beneficiaries of Bransfield's questionable largesse, smacking of greasing palms to influence his ecclesial superiors. The revelation was an embarrassment to the process.

Following that probe, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn, New York, was enlisted to conduct an apostolic investigation into embattled Bishop Richard Malone, who resigned as head of the Diocese of Buffalo, New York, Dec. 4. Meanwhile, DiMarzio himself has been accused of sex abuse that allegedly took place in the 1970s in Jersey City, New Jersey, when DiMarzio was a priest in the Newark Archdiocese.

DiMarzio has a reputation as being tough on sex abuse, and his name was revealed only in the context of what attorney Mitchell Garabedian said will be a lawsuit filed under New Jersey's recently enacted expanded statute of limitations. As of this writing, nothing has been filed; DiMarzio has adamantly denied the accusation and deserves the presumption of innocence.

Priest Who Taught At St. Peter's In JC Accused Of Abuse In Westfield: Report

HACKENSACK (NJ)
Union Daily Voice

Dec. 4, 2019

By Paul Milo

A priest who died decades ago has been accused of sexually abusing a boy while serving in a Westfield parish, TAPintoWestfield reported.

A lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Newark filed Sunday claims the Rev. John Flanagan abused the boy -- who is now 75 and living in Canada -- over the course of a decade while serving at Holy Trinity church in the 1950s and '60s. The church is also a defendant in the suit.

The lawsuit was filed following passage of a state law creating a two-year window during which plaintiffs can sue regardless of when the abuse is alleged to have taken place.

The lawsuit claims Flanagan sexually abused Dennis Thome beginning when he was seven years old. Flanagan, who died in 1975, also abused other children but all the instances were covered up, the lawsuit also states.

Flanagan also served as pastor of Our Lady of All Souls in East Orange. He also taught at St. Peter's Prep and served at St. Francis Hospital, both in Jersey City.

'Hard to know' if Buffalo diocese will recover from clergy sex abuse crisis, says Catholic scholar

BUFFALO (NY)
WBFO NEWS

Dec.4, 2019

By Beth Adams

Nazareth College history professor Timothy Thibodeau, who studies the Catholic Church, says it's hard to know what long-term effects the resignation of Bishop Richard Malone will have on the Buffalo Catholic Diocese.

The Vatican ended weeks of speculation Wednesday when it announced that Pope Francis had accepted Malone's resignation after widespread criticism from the former bishop's staff, priests, and the public over how he handled allegations of clergy sexual abuse.

"It's not a surprise," Thibodeau said of the resignation. “I think what's surprising to me is why it took so long."

Pressure on Malone to step down was intense.

In the past year, two key members of Malone's staff went public with concerns about his leadership, including his former secretary, the Rev. Ryszard Biernat, who secretly recorded Malone calling a then-active priest "a sick puppy,'' but taking no immediate action to remove him.

Earlier, his executive assistant, Siobhan O'Connor, had leaked internal church documents after becoming concerned that Malone had intentionally omitted dozens of names from a publicly released list of priests with credible allegations of abuse.

At least 3 lawsuits filed alleging predator clergy in South Jersey

CAMDEN (NJ)
Press of Atlantic City

Dec. 4, 2019

By Molly Bilinski

Former Roman Catholic Brother Walter Hicks sexually abused a boy while the boy was in second and third grade in the late 1970s at Pleasantville’s St. Peter’s school, according to a lawsuit filed Monday in Camden County Superior Court.

“I went to Catholic school for three years, and two of these years were torture,” said Michael Troiano, who is identified as John Doe in the lawsuit but spoke at a news conference Tuesday afternoon. “When I would tell my family that I didn’t want to go to school and I was afraid of my abuser — I didn’t know the words to say, ‘I am being sexually violated by an adult.’ … Those words, a child doesn’t know.”

Hicks “engaged in unpermitted sexual contact” with Troiano, according to the suit, and officials in the Diocese of Camden should have known Hicks was not “fit to work with children” or should have learned of his “propensity to commit sexual abuse.”

At least three civil suits have been filed claiming members of the Roman Catholic Church abused minors in South Jersey and alleging negligence on the part of church leaders since Sunday, when a state law took effect allowing sex abuse victims to sue until they turn 55, or within seven years of their first realization the abuse caused them harm.

The previous limit was two years. More than a dozen lawsuits have been filed against the Diocese of Camden and the Archdioceses of Philadelphia and Newark so far.

Survivor group says Pope Francis should have fired Buffalo bishop, calls for more scrutiny across New York

ROCHESTER (NY)
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

Dec. 4, 2019

By Steve Orr

The Buffalo diocese of Buffalo, like its neighboring diocese of Rochester, has now felt the full effect of the Catholic Church’s roiling child sexual abuse scandal.

Buffalo Bishop Richard J. Malone, who was beset by public criticism, internal leaks and outside investigations, is leaving his post early, the Vatican announced early Wednesday.

Malone’s departure, coming just three weeks after a meeting with Pope Francis, was widely seen as a rebuke of his handling of abuse allegations.

He becomes the the sixth American bishop or cardinal in four years to leave office under the cloud of the church's on-going child sexual abuse scandal.

Bishop accused of corruption, fathering child now faces harassment complaint

MUMBAI (INDIA)
Crux

Dec. 3, 2019

By Nirmala Carvalho

Nearly a month after a Catholic bishop facing fire from his own priests for corruption and fathering a child as well as being accused of intimidating a survivor of sexual harassment, police last Friday registered what amounts to an initial complaint against Bishop Kannikadass William Antony of the diocese of Mysuru in southwestern India.

William, 54, has been accused of kidnapping, criminal intimidation and “outraging the modesty of a woman,” but has yet to be formally indicted or arrested.

On November 5, a charge was filed against the bishop by Robert Rosario, representing the Association of Concerned Catholics (AOCC), a citizen’s group. It came after a video of a woman surfaced last March alleging that Antony had threatened her after she accused another priest of sexual harassment.

Buffalo Bishop Resigns After Scandal Over Secret List of Abusive Priests

BUFFALO (NY)
The New York Times

December 4, 2019

By Sharon Otterman

Bishop Richard J. Malone “had become the lightning rod for all that was wrong,” a lay leader said.

First, a whistle-blower revealed that Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo had kept files about abusive priests that he hid from the public. Then leaked recordings showed that he was reluctant to remove a parish priest whom he called a “sick puppy.”

On Wednesday, after months of pressure from priests and lay leaders, the Vatican said in a statement that it had accepted the resignation of Bishop Malone, effective immediately. Since the Vatican did not specify the reasons behind the resignation, it was unclear whether Bishop Malone had been forced to quit.

Bishop Malone, in a statement, described his resignation as an early retirement that had been accepted by Pope Francis. He said he had made the decision to step down “freely and voluntarily” after being made aware of the conclusions of a recent Vatican investigation into the crisis in his diocese, which has been in turmoil over his handling of clergy abuse cases.

“I have concluded, after much prayer and discernment, that the people of Buffalo will be better served by a new bishop who perhaps is better able to bring about the reconciliation, healing and renewal that is so needed,” he wrote.

Statement from Bishop Richard J. Malone on His Resignation

BUFFALO (NY)
Diocese of Buffalo

December 4, 2019

By The Most Reverend Richard J. Malone, bishop emeritus of Buffalo

My Sisters and Brothers in Christ -

Just this past Sunday, we entered into the Season of Advent - a season of hope, of expectation and fulfillment, and the promise of new beginning. It is in the spirit of this Holy Season now upon us that I wish to address the future of our Diocese and my own fervent hope for a new beginning.

As you are well aware, we have faced tremendous turmoil over the past year and a half. Some have attributed this to my own shortcomings, but the turmoil also reflects the culmination of systemic failings over many years in the worldwide handling of sexual abuse of minors by members of the clergy. The crisis our Church is facing relates not only to the immoral and criminal acts of those who committed unconscionable offenses toward the most vulnerable, but also to the failure to regard these violations as grave offenses that warranted the full weight of civil and ecclesiastical justice. As you know, major reforms were undertaken in this country in 2002 by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and in the implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. But, of course, the injury caused by past abuse continues to bring immense suffering around the world and here in our Diocese.

Communique regarding the Diocese of Buffalo

WASHINGTON D.C.
Apostolic Nunciature

December 4, 2019

The Holy See mandated an Apostolic Visitation for the Diocese of Buffalo and appointed the Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio to evaluate the situation of this local Church. The final report was sent to the Holy See.

Bishop Richard Malone was made aware of the results, and subsequently asked the Holy Father Pope Francis to grant him an early retirement. This request was made during the 'Ad Limina' visit with the Bishops of New York.

The Holy Father has granted his request and has appointed as the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Buffalo the Most Reverend Edward Scharfenberger, Bishop of Albany, to serve until the appointment of a new bishop, effective immediately.

This resignation and appointment were announced today.

For a year, Catholics have pleaded for this bishop to resign. He finally did

BUFFALO (NY)
CNN

December 4, 2019

By Daniel Burke, CNN Religion Editor

For more than a year, thousands of Catholics in Buffalo pleaded, protested and prayed for Bishop Richard Malone to resign. They circulated petitions, held placards at prayer vigils, even tried to meet Malone's plane at the airport.

On Wednesday, these Buffalo Catholics finally got their wish, when the Vatican announced that Pope Francis had accepted Malone's resignation.

Malone followed with his own statement, attributing his early retirement to turmoil caused by the Catholic Church's clergy sexual abuse crisis, and discord over his response to it.

Pope accepts resignation of U.S. bishop accused of abuse cover-up

VATICAN CITY
Reuters

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo, New York, who has been at the center of a sex abuse crisis in his diocese, the Vatican said on Wednesday.

The Vatican said Francis had appointed the bishop of Albany, Edward B. Scharfenberger, to administer the Buffalo diocese until a new bishop can be appointed.

Malone, 73, who has been under pressure to resign for years, is stepping down two years before the normal retirement date for bishops.

Malone, who met with the pope last month, has been accused of covering up or mishandling the abuse of dozens of minors by priests in his diocese.
He has denied the accusations and until recently said he would not be stepping down early.

In September, a poll by the local newspaper, The Buffalo News, showed that about 85 percent of Catholics or lapsed Catholics in the area said he should resign.

Bulletin from Holy See Press Office: Resignations and Appointments, 04.12.2019

VATICAN CITY
Holy See Press Office

- Resignation of bishop of Buffalo, U.S.A., and appointment of apostolic administrator sede vacante of the same diocese

- Appointment of auxiliary of São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Resignation of bishop of Buffalo, U.S.A., and appointment of apostolic administrator sede vacante of the same diocese

The Holy Father has accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Buffalo, United States of America, presented by Bishop Richard J. Malone, and has appointed Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger of Albany as apostolic administrator of the same diocese.

December 3, 2019

Buffalo case shows more needs to be done on bishop accountability

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Tablet

Dec. 4, 2019

By Christopher Lamb

A bishop in the United States who came under intense criticism for his handling of abuse cases and governance of his diocese has resigned.

Pope Francis today accepted the resignation of the Bishop of Buffalo, Richard Malone, who has become a symbol of egregious failures among the Church hierarchy to clean up the abuse crisis.

It also reveals the weakness in a clerical governance system where a bishop can cling on in post despite having lost the confidence of his flock and even the Holy See. I was the first to reveal that the bishop would be stepping down on 13 November, after sources told me that the apostolic nuncio to the United States had agreed with Bishop Malone for him to step down. In response, the bishop, through a spokeswoman, said: “The Lamb tweet is false.” It was clear he was reluctant to go.

Former Seminarian Reacts To Catholic Diocese's 'List Of Amends' For Banished Bishop Bransfield

CHARLESTON (WV)
WV Public Broadcasting

Dec. 3, 2019

By Glynis Board

The Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston released a “list of amends” last week for the former bishop Michael Bransfield to consider. That list comes in the wake of multiple investigations revealing sexual and financial misconduct. The diocese wants Bransfield to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars and to apologize.

Former seminarian, Wheeling resident and Morgantown native Vincent DeGeorge has spoken out about abuse, saying he was among those targeted by Bransfield. He offered these thoughts on the Diocese's list.

Board: What was your overall reaction to that list?

DeGeorge: On the whole, I'm pleased that the Catholic Church in West Virginia is trying to make amends. And in this plan, this list proposed by Bishop Brennan is an attempt, and effort, to do that. I'm pleased. However, there are significant and concerning aspects lacking to this amends plan.

I saw the list as soon as it came out, and I read the letter and was honestly stunned. I was surprised by emotions that I didn't realize were still there. I was surprised by how much hope I still had in the diocese without realizing it. I was really counting on these events to make a difference in a positive direction. And as I read the amends, that hope gave way to disappointment. I didn't think I would or could let myself continue to be disappointed by the diocese.

Sisters sue Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg, say church should have protected them from predatory priest

HARRISBURG (PA)
WGAL News 8

Dec. 3, 2019

By Anne Shannon

A Susquehanna Valley family is suing the Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg.

The Fortney sisters, Patty and Lara, say the church should have done more to protect them from a predator priest.

"Today is a momentous day for our family because we can finally move forward in our pursuit for justice," Patty Fortney said.

Fortney and her family made an announcement Tuesday about the filing of a civil lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Newark and the Harrisburg diocese.

If Bishop Malone resigns, survivor 'can begin to heal’

BUFFALO (NY)
WKBW TV

Dec. 3, 2019

By Charlie Specht

If the expected resignation of Bishop Richard J. Malone will bring healing to the Diocese of Buffalo, nowhere will that healing be more personal than in the heart of Kyle Gorlick.

“There is hope that I can begin to heal,” Gorlick said Tuesday. “I hope that this is the period of renewal for the diocese. I hope that this is the time that we can all heal.”

Gorlick first came forward 15 months ago to describe inappropriate sexual advances by his parish priest, Fr. Robert Yetter of St. Mary’s of Swormville.

Letter: Malone’s resignation won’t help the healing

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

Dec. 3, 2019

There is a lot of press and news stories about Bishop Richard Malone’s resignation. I’m a victim of pedophile Father Joseph Friel. I’ve seen about eight other victims in the media regarding Friel as the predator. Well if 10 came forward then there are 20 that didn’t. Until about a year ago I was one of that 20, my sexual abuse took place 58 years ago when I was 10.

Now I am only speaking for myself. Malone is the last in probably 100 years of bishops in the Buffalo Diocese guilty of the cover up. There are tons of non-pedophile priests, and lay people also guilty regarding the cover up.

Life is often paradoxical which means truth and its exact opposite are correct. The entire clerical body of priests needs to come on bended knee to the victims, confess their sins and receive absolution from God, through the intercession of the victims. Of course, that would only occur in a perfect world.

Albany Bishop Scharfenberger may oversee Buffalo diocese

SCHENECTADY (NY)
Daily Gazette

Dec. 3, 2019

By Jeff Wilkin

Bishop Edward Scharfenberger, the spiritual leader of Albany's Roman Catholic Diocese, may soon be tabbed to temporarily oversee the Buffalo diocese.

While there has been no official word, Vatican journalist Rocco Palmo wrote this week in his "Whispers in the Loggia" blog that his sources say Scharfenberger soon will be named apostolic administrator.

Albany's bishop would take over for Bishop Richard Malone, who Palmo said is expected to resign the Buffalo diocese position in the wake of several scandals involving priests accused of sexual abuse.

According to the New York Times, the 73-year-old Malone, installed as the 14th bishop of Buffalo in 2012, has been criticized for the way he has handled incidents involving accused priests. Local Catholics told the newspaper that Malone promised transparency, but in several cases, appeared to be shielding priests accused of abuse.

Hundreds have filed sexual abuse claims against clergy with the Buffalo diocese, or lawsuits under New York’s new Child Victims Act, which allows lawsuits in old alleged incidents to be filed in state Supreme Court. Investigations by the FBI and state Attorney General’s Office are under way.

Woman files lawsuit against Allentown Diocese in connection with clergy abuse

EXTON (PA)
The Mercury

Dec. 3, 2019

The clock struck midnight, and thanks to a new law a slew of lawsuits against the Catholic Church have popped up in New Jersey.

That includes a case targeting the Allentown Diocese. A woman says she was repeatedly abused by a priest for more than a decade.

According to the lawsuit, a 13 year old girl started being sexually abused by later-defrocked priest Joseph Rock in 1974. It allegedly continued for 11 years.

Rock allegedly took photos and videos and threatened to share them if she ever told anyone.

NJ law prompts clergy sex-abuse suit against Archdiocese of Philadelphia

CAMDEN (NJ)
Cherry Hill Courier-Post

Dec. 3, 2019

By Jim Walsh

A former altar boy has sued the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in federal court here, alleging a parish priest sexually abused him during summer trips to the Jersey Shore.

The suit, brought by a 51-year-old Arizona man, was filed under a new law that extends the statute of limitations for civil claims alleging childhood sex abuse.

The plaintiff, identified only as John Doe, contends he was sexually assaulted "hundreds of times from 1978 to 1982" by the Rev. James Brzyski, a Pennsylvania priest who faced similar accusations from multiple accusers before his death in 2017.

The lawsuit contends the Archdiocese of Philadelphia failed to protect Doe and other children from abusers in the clergy.

The suit says Brzyski's "sexual grooming" began when he helped the boy, then 10, change his altar boy garments at St. John the Evangelist Church in Lower Makefield, Bucks County.

It says Brzyski initially massaged the boy, then moved on to molesting him.

New Jersey Lawsuit Accuses Former DC Archbishop McCarrick of Sexual Abuse

WASHINGTON (DC)
NBC 4 TV

Dec. 3, 2019

By Jodie Fleischer

A new accuser has come forward alleging sexual abuse by former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who once led the Catholic Church here in Washington and beyond.

The New Jersey man spoke out for the first time Monday as the state opened a window giving sex abuse victims of any age the right to sue, regardless of the statute of limitations.

John Bellocchio, now 37, said the abuse happened around 1995 in Hackensack, New Jersey, when he was just 14 years old. McCarrick was the archbishop of Newark at the time and visiting the local parish.

Bellocchio's lawsuit against McCarrick and the Archdiocese of Newark alleges the latter "knew or should have known that McCarrick was a danger to children before McCarrick sexually assaulted Plaintiff."

"I want there to be real, effective change from the top down," Bellocchio said.

Retired Columbus Priest Accused Of Sexual Abuse Of Minors

COLUMBUS (OH)
WOSU Radio

Dec. 3, 2019

By Adora Namigadde

The Catholic Diocese of Columbus announced it added a retired priest to its list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor.

In an email, the diocese says it first received a report of abuse by Father David Schilder in 2004. The diocese says the report did not provide details, so it could not determine whether the allegation was credible. The alleged abuse happened in 1968.

The diocese says it reported the allegation to Franklin County Children Services. Schilder then retired, and the diocese barred him from engaging in public ministry as a priest.

This September, the diocese received a second accusation of Schilder sexually abusing a minor. The time period for this accusation was 1981-1983. The diocese contacted Columbus Police and commissioned a third-party investigation of the incident.

Former Colorado priest up for possible parole in sex abuse case; was named in attorney general’s report

FORT COLLINS (CO)
Associated Press

Dec. 3, 2019

A former Roman Catholic priest imprisoned for sexually assaulting a teen in Colorado is up for possible parole.

The Coloradoan reports that 57-year-old Timothy Evans told the parole board Monday that he is “absolutely” guilty of abuse but has learned to identify his triggers for abusive behavior and has created a risk management plan through the treatment he’s received in prison. If paroled, he said he would be closely watched because his case is high profile.

It was the third parole hearing for Evans since he was sentenced to 14 years to life in prison in 2007 for sexually assaulting a boy who worked at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Fort Collins, where he was the pastor.

The full parole board would have to agree to release Evans. A decision is expected to take several weeks.

Evans was one of 40 priests named last month in a report released by the Colorado Attorney General’s Office into an investigation of child sex abuse in the state’s three catholic dioceses. It found at least 166 victims.

The report said that Evans abused three children between 1995 and 1999 at Spirit of Christ Parish in Arvada, Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Lakewood and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Fort Collins. He was laicized on May 3, 2013.

Fallen Priests: Should We Hear Their Stories?

NEW YORK (NY)
Commonweal

December 3, 2019

By Paul Baumann

Speaking about the church’s sex-abuse scandal at a September conference on the “Catholic Imagination” at Loyola University in Chicago, the essayist Richard Rodriguez said a very brave thing. “What do we know about these priests? We know nothing about the burden of these fallen priests,” Rodriguez said, according to articles in the National Catholic Reporter. “We don’t know their stories. What do they think they were doing?…. We have no idea who they were, or what they suffered…. Our imaginations have gone dull.”

Evidently Rodriguez’s remarks were prompted to some extent by the 2016 death of his friend, the Notre Dame theologian Virgilio Elizondo. Elizondo had been accused of abusing a minor, and appears to have committed suicide. He had denied the charges.

Rodriguez was criticized by some for showing concern and even sympathy for priests most people regard as monsters deserving nothing but condemnation and social oblivion. Such priests, and the bishops who hid their crimes, remain exhibit Number 1 in the case against a corrupt, hopelessly patriarchal, and arrogant institution. Who, after all, wants to be seen expressing interest in such people, let alone offering them comfort? Doesn’t doing so just retraumatize victims?

The wishes, well-being, and confidentiality of victims need to be placed first and foremost. But does that mean we have nothing to learn from the offending priests about the causes and consequences of the crisis? Criticism of Rodriguez seems misplaced to me. It took real courage for Jason Berry to break the sexual-abuse story in Louisiana in 1985. Early on, Thomas Doyle, OP, showed the same fearless determination in demanding that the hierarchy stop turning a blind eye to the victims and the crisis.

In 2002, the Boston Globe took risks in exposing the grotesque failure of Cardinal Bernard Law and the Boston archdiocese. But at this late date, simply damning the church is too easy, especially in light of the well-documented steps the church has since taken to protect children. Rodriguez makes an important point. Is it possible to understand the sexual abuse if the stories of priest-abusers are regarded as untouchable and irrelevant? Will such ignorance help us prevent future abuse? Don’t journalists have an obligation to pursue such stories, no matter how unpalatable?

Buffalo’s Catholic Bishop to Resign, SNAP Responds

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Dec. 3, 2019

According to a report, Buffalo’s Catholic bishop is set to resign on Wednesday after more than a year of scandals, mostly of his own making, have plagued the diocese. We hope that this resignation will lead to true change in this see, not simply a change in personnel.

The well-respected Catholic blogger Rocco Palmo says that Bishop Richard Malone will resign this week. For the past year plus, Bishop Malone has faced scandal after scandal, from his lying about the extent of abuse in his diocese, to his being the subject of secret recordings, to his failing to remove an accused priest from ministry while allegations were investigated. Now, the Bishop of Albany, Edward Scharfenberger, will apparently be left to pick up the pieces from these months of deceit.

When the new bishop for Buffalo is selected, we hope that he will be a prelate who learns from Bishop Malone. That is, we hope that this new bishop will take the opposite action from his predecessor at every opportunity, will truly be transparent instead of secretive, and will welcome the truth with open arms instead of attempting to silence it. Parishioners in Buffalo deserve no less.

Former Cardinal McCarrick Accused Again of Abuse, SNAP Reacts

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Dec. 3, 2019

A now-disgraced cardinal who has been accused of abuse at least a dozen times has been named in a newly filed lawsuit in New Jersey. We applaud the survivor in this case for coming forward and hope that his example will encourage other survivors to come forward and get the help and support that they need.

The now-defrocked Cardinal Theodore McCarrick has been named as an abuser again, this time by a New Jersey man named John Bellocchio who alleges that McCarrick abused him while McCarrick was on a visit to his parish in the 1990s. Our hearts ache for this victim and we hope that this new allegation will lead to renewed outreach to victims by church officials in both Newark – where McCarrick was working as Archbishop at the time of the allegations – and every other diocese where McCarrick worked.

Clergy sex abuse lawsuits taking advantage of new law

NEWARK (NJ)
Associated Press

December 3, 2019

Former Roman Catholic Cardinal Theodore McCarrick abused a teenage boy in the 1990s when he was leader of the Archdiocese of Newark, according to a lawsuit filed under a newly enacted New Jersey law that gives accusers more time to make legal claims.

Another lawsuit filed by two of six sisters alleges that a now-deceased priest who had previously worked for the archdiocese abused them and their siblings for nearly 10 years after he was transferred to Pennsylvania.

“This is a momentous day for our family because we can finally move forward in our search for justice,” one of the sisters, Patty Fortney-Julius, said at a news conference Monday.

Catholic Church, Boy Scouts hit with dozens of sex abuse suits under new N.J. law extending victims’ rights to sue

NEWARK (NJ)
The Philadelphia Inquirer

December 2, 2019

By Jeremy Roebuck

Dozens of new allegations of sexual abuse against priests and scoutmasters have surfaced after New Jersey opened a two-year window granting victims a second chance to pursue court claims that had been barred by time limits.

New lawsuits filed Sunday and Monday include allegations against six priests in the Camden Diocese as well as previously undisclosed claims involving the now-defrocked cardinal Theodore McCarrick, former archbishop of Newark.

Surge of new abuse claims threatens Catholic church like never before

NEW YORK (NY)
The Associated Press

December 3, 2019

At the end of another long day trying to sign up new clients accusing the Roman Catholic Church of sexual abuse, lawyer Adam Slater gazes out the window of his high-rise Manhattan office at one of the great symbols of the church, St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

“I wonder how much that’s worth?” he muses.

Across the country, attorneys like Slater are scrambling to file a new wave of lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by clergy, thanks to rules enacted in 15 states that extend or suspend the statute of limitations to allow claims stretching back decades. Associated Press reporting found the deluge of suits could surpass anything the nation’s clergy sexual abuse crisis has seen before, with potentially more than 5,000 new cases and payouts topping $4 billion.

It’s a financial reckoning playing out in such populous Catholic strongholds as New York, California and New Jersey, among the eight states that go the furthest with “lookback windows” that allow sex abuse claims no matter how old. Never before have so many states acted in near-unison to lift the restrictions that once shut people out if they didn’t bring claims of childhood sex abuse by a certain age, often their early 20s.

Allentown Diocese sued over new clergy sex abuse complaint

ALLENTOWN (PA)
The Morning Call

December 2, 2019

By Emily Opilo

A woman has sued the Allentown Diocese over what she alleges was 16 years of sexual abuse by diocesan priest Joseph A. Rock, one of 300 Pennsylvania priests named in a 2018 grand jury report and the subject of numerous complaints made to the diocese.

The lawsuit, filed in Superior Court of Atlantic County, New Jersey, alleges that Rock, a priest who worked at churches in Lehigh, Northampton, Berks and Schuylkill counties between 1972 and 2001, abused the unnamed woman beginning when she was 13. She’s 58 now and living in North Carolina.

The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified punitive damages, was one of at least two filed Monday in New Jersey courts that involved Pennsylvania dioceses. A New Jersey law that took effect Sunday allows victims of child sex abuse to sue until they turn 55, or within seven years of their first realization the abuse caused them harm. The previous limit was two years.

N.J. sex abuse survivors take aim at Catholic Church, others as lawsuit window opens

NEW JERSEY
WHYY

December 2, 2019

By Nicholas Pugliese

Lara Fortney-McKeever fought back tears on Monday as she and her sister announced a long-awaited lawsuit against the Newark Archdiocese and Harrisburg Diocese. They allege officials there protected a now-deceased priest that sexually abused them and three of their siblings in the 1980s and ‘90s.

“Who knew he was a pedophile and aided in helping to cover it up?” she asked. “Were we silenced so that certain individuals could step on our backs to rise to power?”

About an hour later, a man announced a separate lawsuit alleging that former Roman Catholic Cardinal Theodore McCarrick abused him as a teenager when McCarrick led the Newark Archdiocese in the 1990s. It also says Vatican officials were aware of McCarrick’s behavior, yet continued to promote him to higher positions.

Italian bishops face blowback for opening to divorced/remarried Catholics

KEY WEST (FL)
Crux

November 26, 2019

By Elise Harris

Two Italian bishops are making waves after issuing public statements allowing divorced and remarried Catholics to receive the sacraments, with one apologizing for having “ignored” these couples in parish life and insisting that their decisions are in line with Pope Francis’s 2016 document on the family Amoris Laetitia.

Last week, Bishop Renato Marangoni of Belluno-Feltri in northern Italy issued an emotional apology in a Nov. 22 pastoral letter to separated, divorced, civilly married or unmarried couples, titled, “A word to share with you: I’m sorry!”

Speaking to people in families “that have experienced situations which led you to separation or also to divorce, and beyond this, to begin new unions for which some have chosen to remarry civilly or not to get married,” Marangoni said he wants to open “a relationship of awareness, respect and dialogue” with these couples.

“There’s an initial word to confide to you: I’m sorry,” he said, adding that “This word contains our awareness of having often ignored you in our parish communities.”

Vatican dicastery announces formation of new youth advisory body

ROME
Catholic News Service

November 26, 2019

By Paige Hanley

The Vatican’s Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life announced it is setting up a specialized team of young Catholic leaders as advisers.

The new international advisory body was established following a proposal in the final document of the 2018 Synod of Bishops on Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment. The Vatican made the announcement Nov. 24, the feast of Christ the King.

The Youth Advisory Body consists of 20 young leaders who participated in the various phases of the synodal process, including the international youth forum in June, and who are active in Catholic lay movements, associations, communities or their respective dioceses.

3 Afghan Schools, 165 Accounts of Students Being Raped

KABUL (AFGHANISTAN)
The New York Times

November 25, 2019

By David Zucchino and Fatima Faizi

An advocacy group says it has documented systematic sexual abuse by teachers, principals and other authorities of dozens of boys in one rural area.

The 14-year-old Afghan boy said his teacher had asked him for “a little favor” in return for not failing him on his final exams. Then the man took him to the school library, locked the door and raped him, the boy said.

At the same school, a 17-year-old boy reported similar treatment from the school’s principal. He said the man had threatened to kill him if he told anyone.

But the boys did talk, giving their accounts to a child advocacy group in their province and repeating them later in interviews with The New York Times. The advocacy group discovered that those two boys were not the only victims. From just three schools in one area of Logar Province, south of the Afghan capital, the group said it had taken statements from 165 boys who said they had been sexually abused at their schools, or by local officials they went to for help.

Now, Afghanistan is again caught up in discussion of rampant sexual abuse of children, and of a deep reluctance by many officials to deal with the issue at all.

Prince Andrew showed what true power is: turning a blind eye to abuse

UNITED KINGDOM
The Guardian

November 17, 2019

By Suzanne Moore

If Prince Andrew thought being grilled by Emily Maitlis was a good idea, God only knows what he thinks might be a bad one. Sadly I think I know. Still, as we now all realise, there are lots of things that the prince simply does not notice. Hordes of available teenage girls. Are they staff? Is it a railway station? Who are these people? The interview had been widely trailed, but the nation was not prepared for this level of monstrous self-pity and frankly astonishing stupidity.

Lying is the new normal for leaders: Donald Trump, another former friend of Jeffrey Epstein, lies non-stop; the current British prime minister lies and dissembles daily. So I guess we just thought Andrew would make more of an effort to at least come across as genuine and competent. We his disrespectful subjects gathered, strangely united, to see how he would justify the photographs of himself with a man who plea-bargained his way out of statutory rape charges, never mind the allegations made by Virginia Giuffre (and strongly denied by Andrew), that she was forced to have sex with the prince when she was aged 17.

New survey weighs Church employees’ reaction to abuse scandals

WASHINGTON (DC)
Crux

November 26, 2019

By Elise Harris

After more than a year of media headlines dominated by Catholic sexual abuse scandals, NBC News in Washington has conducted a new survey with “insiders” in the Catholic Church, which shows that most believe the crisis has been handled well by their dioceses, and that abuse is no more common in the Church than in other organizations.

Conducted with priests, members of religious orders and lay employees of the Catholic Church, the survey was done by the News4 I-Team in Washington, who partnered with several NBC-owned stations throughout the country.

A 26-question survey was sent to more than 32,000 people around the country. It was conducted on Survey Monkey Oct. 18-Nov. 14, and during that time, some 2,700 people sent responses, including more than 400 priests, 240 nuns, and nearly 1,900 lay employees. Most responses were given by women who work in the Church.

Bishop Caggiano named chairman of Catholic Relief Services board

BALTIMORE (MD)
Catholic News Service

November 26, 2019

Bishop Frank J. Caggiano of Bridgeport, Connecticut, is the new chairman of the board of Catholic Relief Services following his appointment by Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

A native of Brooklyn, New York, Caggiano succeeds Maronite Bishop Gregory J. Mansour, whose three-year term has ended. Mansour heads the Eparchy of St. Maron of Brooklyn.

“It’s a great honor to lead an organization that is such a bright light for all of our brothers and sisters overseas who don’t have enough to eat or a place to sleep because of entrenched poverty,” Caggiano said in a statement released Nov. 25 by CRS.

Ohio House GOP leader 'open' to statute of limitations reform after I-Team report on Catholic church

CINCINNATI (OH)
WCPO Cincinnati

December 2, 2019

By Dan Monk

Rep. Bill Seitz aims to increase public disclosure

The author of a 2006 bill that reformed Ohio’s civil statute of limitations for child sex abuse wants to revise the law again after reviewing materials uncovered in the I-Team’s three-month investigation of the Catholic Church.

Rep. Bill Seitz, a Republican from Green Township, said he would like to encourage more public disclosure in the church and correct problems a Columbus judge cited in 2010. As majority floor leader, Seitz sets the Republican agenda in the House. So, his endorsement of statute of limitations reform is significant. But just like in 2006, Seitz is approaching the topic cautiously. He doesn’t want to make it too easy for people to seek financial damages over abuse that happened decades ago.

“That will bankrupt institutions that have done and continue to do a lot of good in our community,” Seitz said. “It’s going to make a relatively small number of people very wealthy who have inordinately delayed in bringing forward their claims to the point where we cannot be certain that they are telling the truth.”

Reporter Sarah Delia Talks About 'The List,' A New Investigative Series From WFAE

CHARLOTTE (NC)
WFAE, 90.7 (NPR affiliate)

December 3, 2019

By Sarah Delia

[AUDIO]

Most Catholic dioceses in the country have released a list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse. The diocese of Charlotte has not released a list, but its bishop has said he’s committed to doing so by the end of the year. In the meantime, WFAE’s Sarah Delia has been learning how such a list is compiled, what it means, and how victims of clergy continue to deal with the abuse they suffered.

She’s produced a four-part series. It’s called "The List," which you can read and listen to it at wfae.org/thelist. Sarah joins "Morning Edition" host Lisa Worf to talk about the new series.

LISA WORF: Why hasn’t the diocese released a list of credibly accused clergy? It’s among the last to do so.

SARAH DELIA: Well, you’re right, the Charlotte Diocese is one of the last to release a list, according to BishopAccountability.org, a watchdog organization that tracks and analyzes lists released by dioceses across the country, out of 178 dioceses in the country, 146 have released lists. Charlotte is one of the last to do so, especially in the South.

Sexual abuse lawsuits: Boy Scouts of America named by more than a dozen NJ accusers

NEW JERSEY
Bridgewater Courier News

December 3, 2019

By Mike Deak

While the Catholic Church has been the focus of sexual abuse lawsuits filed with extended time limits, the Boy Scouts of America is named as a defendant in more than a dozen of them.

Though the suits were filed in Superior Court in Middlesex County because the organization's national headquarters was once located on Route 1 in North Brunswick, the accusers are from across the state, from Camden to Bergen counties.

The allegations of Douglas Parker, who grew up in Middlesex County, are representative of the lawsuits filed by the firm of Rebenack Aronow & Mascolo with offices in New Brunswick and Somerville.

Parker alleges he was sexually abused from 1961 through 1964 by an assistant scoutmaster.

The sexual abuse occurred during activities sponsored by the Boy Scouts of America, including camping trips to Camp Watchung which, at that time, was in Lebanon Township near Glen Gardner, the lawsuit alleges.

New report suggests Bishop Malone will resign Wednesday

BUFFALO (NY)
WBFO-TV

December 2, 2019

A journalist who has covered the Vatican for several news agencies is reporting that, according to numerous sources, Bishop Richard Malone will resign Wednesday and a temporary administrator has already been selected.

(This story is developing and will be updated as more details become available.)

Rocco Palmo, who authors the blog Whispers in the Loggia, published the story late Monday afternoon. His report comes two and a half weeks after fellow Vatican correspondent Christopher Lamb delivered a similar report of an "imminent" resignation.

Bishop Malone denied Lamb's report, which came during the week the leader of the Diocese of Buffalo was among New York State's other bishops in Rome for their "ad limina" visit, which happens once every five years.

December 2, 2019

1 big thing: Catholic Church faces "astronomical" liability

Axios

Dec. 2, 2019

By Mike Allen

17 years after the Boston Globe published its groundbreaking reporting on sexual abuse by priests, the Catholic Church faces a historic crisis of legal liability.

The big picture: The Church could be on the hook for more than $4 billion in damages, the AP estimates.

There could be at least 5,000 new cases against the church in New York, New Jersey and California alone, which are among the eight states with “lookback windows” that allow sex abuse claims no matter how old, the AP reports.

15 states and D.C. have changed their statute of limitations since 2018 to allow for these suits, since so many sexual assault allegations date back decades.

Why it matters: Never before have so many states acted in near-unison to lift the restrictions that once shut people out if they didn’t bring claims of childhood sex abuse by a certain age, often their early 20s.

The bottom line: Los Angeles lawyer Paul Mones, who has won tens of millions in sex abuse cases against the church going back to the 1980s, told the AP that “the zeitgeist is completely unfavorable to the Catholic Church.”

“The X-factor here is whether there will be trials,” he said. “If anyone starts trying these cases, the numbers could become astronomical.”

New sex abuse lawsuits roll in as N.J. law takes effect

NEWARK NJ)
Star Ledger

Dec. 2, 2019

By Blake Nelson

Three years ago Sunday, Carolyn Fortney woke up in a hospital.

She had tried to end her life, she said, because of sexual abuse she endured from a priest decades ago. Her sisters were with her then, and three were next to her Monday in Newark, when the family announced a new lawsuit against Newark’s Archdiocese.

“Did they know he was a pedophile, prior to moving him to PA?" asked Lara Fortney-McKeever, one of Carolyn’s sisters who said she was also abused in Pennsylvania by the same priest.

“This day will help me to finally get the answers,” she said.

Sunday marked the beginning of a two-year window for people to file lawsuits against their abusers and the institutions that protected them, because of a new law that vastly expands when people are allowed to sue.

Even after the two-year window ends, on Nov. 30, 2021, people who were molested as children will still be able to file lawsuits until they turn 55, or seven years after they discover that they were abused.

Lack of retroactivity an issue with new bills

SUNBURY (PA)
Daily Item

Dec 1, 2019

Pennsylvania lawmakers almost got it right. While it is difficult to say a package of bills signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf this week reforming the state’s statute of limitations laws is a bad thing, it doesn’t go far enough: There is no immediate help for adult survivors of abuse, many of whom have waited decades for accountability and closure.

State Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who oversaw the grand jury that ignited the latest statute of limitations push, said the new laws accomplish three of the four recommendations made by the grand jury that examined the decades of abuse and cover-ups within the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania.

“These reforms fundamentally change our justice system and will protect generations of children who experience abuse from this day on,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro said. “While we still must address justice for those survivors who made this day possible, seeing this progress gives me hope that bravery and activism will win over entrenched interests and powerful institutions.”

According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, 66 percent of children who are sexually abused are between the ages of 12 and 16. The average age a victim comes forward is age 52.

Pedophile priests operated at this California school for decades.

NEW YORK (NY)
CNN

Dec 3, 2019

By Nima Elbagir,Barbara Arvanitidis, Katie Polglase,Bryony Jones and Alex Platt

Two boys, born into deeply religious families, both sent to Catholic school, and both abused by the very priests and teachers meant to protect them.

George Stein and Joey Piscitelli grew up a decade apart, but they are connected by their abuse at the hands of priests and brothers from a Catholic order founded to help and support vulnerable children.

Their experiences reveal a pattern of abuse and cover-up going back more than half a century.

A year-long CNN investigation into the Salesians of Don Bosco discovered that for decades, abuser priests and brothers were repeatedly protected and transferred from school to school at the expense of their young victims who were pressured and threatened not to report what had happened to them.

On multiple occasions Salesian leaders withheld cases of abuse from the authorities and even from other parts of the Catholic Church.

A cluster of abusers
The oldest of eight children Stein grew up believing it was his calling to become a priest.

He was 13 in 1958 when he began studying at Don Bosco College, later renamed Salesian High School, in Richmond, California. It was there that he met Brother Bernard Dabbene.

Report: Bishop Malone will resign Wednesday, will be replaced by Albany bishop

BUFFALO (NY)
WKBW TV

Dec 2, 2019

By Charlie Specht

A prominent Catholic journalist is reporting that Bishop Richard J. Malone will resign on Wednesday, capping nearly 22 months of scandals and tumult in the Diocese of Buffalo centered on the bishop's handling of sexual abuse.

Catholic journalist Rocco Palmo -- who runs the influential news site "Whispers in the Loggia" -- is also reporting that Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger of the Diocese of Albany will be named by the Holy See as temporary administrator of the diocese until a permanent bishop is selected by Pope Francis.

7 Eyewitness News received confirmation from an independent source that Malone would step down on Wednesday, to be replaced by Scharfenberger, but was unable to corroborate the information with multiple sources.

Yonkers priest accused of 'parading' sex abuse victim toward other men

WESCHESTER COUNTY (NY)
Rockland/Westchester Journal News

Dec. 2, 2019

By Frank Esposito

A former Yonkers priest, who was thrown out of the church after he committed a sex act on a teenager, was named in a child sex abuse case from a different event.

Daniel Calabrese, along with nine other defendants, were charged with abusing a then 13-year-old boy while a student at Saint Joseph's Seminary, according to a Westchester court filing.

Calabrese was accused in the lawsuit of taking the unnamed plaintiff into the showers at Saint Joseph's and performing a sex act on him while another unnamed defendant also attempted to sexually assault him, according to court documents.

Former Fort Collins priest jailed for sex abuse makes case for parole

FORT COLLINS (CO)
Fort Collins Coloradoan

Dec. 2, 2019

By Sady Swanson

A former Fort Collins priest incarcerated for sexually assaulting a teen in 2007 presented his case for parole Monday morning.

Timothy Evans, now 57, was sentenced to 14 years to life in prison in 2007 for sexually assaulting a teen boy who worked at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church, where Evans was a pastor.

Evans was one of four priests from different parishes in Fort Collins and Loveland named in a special report from the Colorado Attorney General's Office released last month detailing credible claims of abuse by Catholic priests and the Archdiocese of Denver's handling of the acts. His was the only Larimer County case that led to criminal charges.

During Monday's hearing — Evans' third since he's been incarcerated — he said he's "absolutely" guilty of abuse but has learned to identify his triggers for abusive behavior and created a risk management plan through sex offender treatment he's received while in custody at the Fremont Correctional Facility in Canon City.

Family of five Dauphin County sisters abused by same priest file lawsuit against Catholic dioceses

HARRISBURG (PA)
Patriot News

Dec. 2, 2019

By Ivey DeJesus

Two members of a Dauphin County family of five sisters who were sexually abused as children by a trusted family priest are seeking to bring to court the two Catholic dioceses at the heart of their abuse.

Patty Fortney-Julius and Lara Fortney-McKeever on Monday filed a civil lawsuit in New Jersey against the Archdiocese of Newark and the Diocese of Harrisburg. The lawsuit takes advantage of New Jersey’s newly enacted civil window legislation.

The lawsuit outlines the sexual abuse of the members of the Fortney family at the hands of former Newark Archdiocese priest Augustine Giella, and the cover-up of his crimes by the dioceses in that city and Harrisburg.

Giella was transferred to the Harrisburg Diocese, where he met the Fortney family. He sexually abused the Fortney sisters in Pennsylvania and on trips to his New Jersey summer home.

“I‘m feeling amazing,” said Patty Fortney-Julius on Monday. “Finally our family is going to get the discovery here in New Jersey that we have needed for so long in order to put the missing pieces back into the puzzle. I feel empowered. I‘m looking forward to being able to get answers to so many questions.”

Their attorney, Benjamin Andreozzi, said discovery could take up to two years, and would require the Diocese of Harrisburg to turn over every document related to predatory priests.

Auxiliary Bishop in Philadelphia Accepted Cash Gifts from Bishop Under Investigation for Abuse

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Dec. 2, 2019

Philadelphia's top Catholic official should suspend one of his auxiliary bishops, based on a new investigative report by the Washington Post, that shows the prelate had accepted cash gifts from a now-disgraced bishop who has been accused of abuse.

From February 2009 through last year, then-Monsignor Timothy C. Senior (promoted to bishop in later in 2009) accepted $3,750 from former Bishop Michael Bransfield. For years, Senior was responsible for helping to assess sexual abuse claims against clerics in Philadelphia under Archbishop Charles Chaput, who still heads the archdiocese.

Notably, Bransfield is accused of sexually abuse in both Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Did Senior handle the first known abuse report against Bransfield? Despite repeated pledges to be "open" about abuse and cover up cases, church officials in Philadelphia refused to say. We hope that parishioners and the public will demand answers from their prelates.

In addition, Bransfield
--once taught Senior in high school,
--“was very friendly with (Senior),” and is "a very close friend" of his, and
--said the cash gifts had no connection to the claim against him.