Abuse Tracker
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September 25, 2017

Barbara Blaine, founder of sex abuse survivor group SNAP, dies

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

by Bill Frogameni

Barbara Blaine, the founder and former longtime president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, has passed away at age 61 in Utah, where she was vacationing with her husband.

According to a Sept. 24 statement from Blaine's family, the renowned advocate for victims of childhood sexual abuse by clergy died after falling ill from a sudden, unexpected cardiac condition Sept. 18. By many accounts, Blaine was known to keep herself in excellent physical shape, a fact that made the loss that much heavier for family, friends and fellow survivors.

"I'm just shocked and have profound sadness," said Barbara Dorris, SNAP's current managing director. "The world has lost a very wonderful woman. I'm sad. That's all we can be. She was way too young, wasn't sick. The only word is 'sad.' "

Barbara Blaine, founder of priest-abuse victims group SNAP, dies at 61

ILLINOIS
Chicago Tribune

Manya Brachear PashmanContact Reporter
Chicago Tribune

Barbara Blaine — the founder of SNAP, a prominent activist group in the Roman Catholic Church's clergy-abuse crisis — died Sunday in Utah at 61.

The cause of death was a condition resulting from a sudden tear in a blood vessel in her heart, her family said in a statement Monday.

"Her relentless advocacy enabled millions to eventually accept a long unbelievable reality: that tens of thousands of priests raped and fondled hundreds of thousands of kids while bishops hid these heinous crimes," said Barbara Dorris, the managing director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, the group Blaine helped start.

"Her contributions to a safer society would be hard to overstate," she added.

National Conference Announced to Address Educator Sexual Misconduct and Abuse in Public and Private Schools

MASSACHUSETTS
MassKids
Durso Law

September 25, 2017
Contact: Jetta Bernier - jetta@masskids.org - 617-827-5218

PRESS RELEASE

September 18, 20017 Over two hundred education leaders, legal experts, and child abuse prevention advocates from across New England will convene in Boston on October 20th for a national conference on “Innovative Strategies to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse in Public and Private Schools.” Topic areas will cover issues relating to training of staff and volunteers about sexual abuse and how to prevent it, screening prospective employees to eliminate unsafe applicants, developing codes of standards to identify prohibited boundary violating behaviors, and responding to suspected or disclosed cases of sexual misconduct or abuse. Goals of the event will be to gain support for this core set of safe child standards, detail plans to disseminate these standards nationally, and establish post-conference networking and technical assistance for participants once they return to their communities and schools.

“According to the U.S. Department of Education, 10% or 4.5 million school children K-12 report having had inappropriate sexual contact with someone in their school – in a third of cases, by a teacher or coach,” said MassKids director Jetta Bernier, whose group has been leading the effort to address educator sexual abuse and misconduct in Massachusetts. “Because child sexual abuse is significantly under-reported and few states keep publicly accessible records of school personnel disciplined for inappropriate or illegal behavior, these numbers are likely to be conservative.” She noted that in Pennsylvania, where such records are available, half of the 234 teacher licenses suspended or revoked in one year were for sexual misconduct or abuse.

Private schools are not immune from the threat of sexual abuse. Investigative reporting by the Boston Globe’s Spotlight Team in 2016 and 2017 has documented sexual abuse of more than 200 students in 67 New England private schools over the past 25 years. Abusers included teachers, coaches, administrators, and other staff members. At the time of the Globe’s reporting, at least 90 students or families had filed lawsuits, 37 school employees had been fired or forced to resign, and nearly two dozen employees had pled guilty or were convicted on criminal charges of sexually abusing children.

Jeff Dion of the National Center for Victims of Crime said the conference would also address the practice known as “passing the trash,” - the failing to report a suspected case of sexual abuse, and allowing or encouraging a school employee to resign, often under a confidentiality agreement which neither police, district attorneys nor parents can open. “We can no longer allow those who abuse children in our schools to get a free pass to seek employment in another school district or state where they can continue to pose a threat to children,” said Dion.

Carmen Durso, whose Boston-based law firm has seen a significant increase in cases brought against schools by former students, pointed to another problematic practice. “Too many schools faced with a credible report of sexual abuse choose to conduct their own internal investigation rather than report to the police or to child protective services as mandated by law,” he said. “The disbelief that a member of their staff could sexually abuse a child, concern about the impact of public disclosure, and the fear of legal retaliation from the alleged abuser, should no longer trump what should be a fundamental priority in every school, that is, keeping our children safe from the devastating impact of child sexual abuse.”

###
About MassKids

MassKids is a 58-year-old, private child advocacy organization which serves as State Chapter of Prevent Child Abuse America and directs the Enough Abuse Campaign to prevent child sexual abuse. It has produced research-based training tools specifically for schools, youth organizations, and parents, as well as policy tools, including “Child Sexual Abuse Safe Child Standards.” It maintains an on-line Resource Bank with over 75 annotated links to a variety of prevention resources for schools. It recently announced “Enough! Preventing Child Sexual Abuse in My School,” a one-hour, interactive online course developed specifically to support schools in addressing sexual misconduct and abuse. www.enoughabuse.org
About The National Center for Victims of Crime

The National Center for Victims of Crime is the nation’s leading resource and advocacy organization serving victims of all types of crime. Founded in 1985, the National Center has a proven record of accomplishment in working across disciplines to effect changes in public policy and culture. It has crafted substantive tools to combat child sex abuse, including its 2014 publication, “Preventing Child Sexual Abuse in Youth-Serving Organizations; Guidelines for Managers and Parents.” As part of its efforts at cross-discipline collaboration, the National Center has convened more than a dozen national-scope conferences. www.ncvc.org

DURSO LAW
LAW OFFICE OF CARMEN L. DURSO
175 Federal Street, Suite 1425
Boston, MA 02110-2287
Tel: 617-728-9123 - Fax: 617-426-7972
carmen@dursolaw.com
www.dursolaw.com

Church stoked tithing with unemployment scam, ex-members say

NORTH CAROLINA
WTOP

SPINDALE, N.C. (AP) — When Randy Fields’ construction company faced potential ruin because of the cratering economy, he pleaded with his pastor at Word of Faith Fellowship church to reduce the amount of money he was required to tithe every week.

To his shock, Fields said church founder Jane Whaley proposed a divine plan that would allow him to continue tithing at least 10 percent of his income to the secretive evangelical church while helping his company survive: He would file fraudulent unemployment claims on behalf of his employees. She called it, he said, “God’s plan.”

Fields and 10 other former congregants told The Associated Press that they and dozens of employees who were church members filed bogus claims at Word of Faith Fellowship leaders’ direction, and said they had been interviewed at length about the false claims by investigators with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The unemployment allegations were uncovered as part of the AP’s ongoing investigation into Word of Faith, which has about 750 congregants in rural North Carolina and a total of nearly 2,000 members in its branches in Brazil and Ghana and its affiliations in Sweden, Scotland and other countries.

SNAP founder Barbara Blaine dies at age 61

ILLINOIS
Fox 32

CHICAGO (Fox 32 News) - Barbara Blaine, the founder of a key group that worked tirelessly to bring pedophile priests to justice, has passed away.

Her organization, SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) said on Sunday that she had died after a cardiac event.

"She will be remembered for her tireless efforts on behalf of abuse survivors around the world," SNAP said in a statement.

Barbara Blaine, SNAP Founder, Advocate For Victims Of Clergy Sexual Abuse, Dies

UNITED STATES
International Business Times

BY SHREESHA GHOSH @SHREESHA_94 ON 09/25/17

Barbara Blaine, who founded the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) and was also the former president of the organization, died Sunday in Utah at the age of 61, the support group confirmed.

Last Monday, Blaine suffered a spontaneous coronary artery dissection, her family said in a statement to Reuters. The rare condition involves a tear in one or more blood vessels in the heart of the patient.

The managing director of SNAP, Barbara Dorris, issued a statement Sunday regarding Blaine's contribution and pioneer work for the survivors of clergy sexual abuse. "Few people have done more to protect kids and help victims than Barbara Blaine. Her relentless advocacy enabled millions to eventually accept a long unbelievable reality: that tens of thousands of priests raped and fondled hundreds of thousands of kids while bishops hid these heinous crimes. She started-and for almost 30 years-worked extremely hard to help build the world’s most successful organization of child sex abuse victims. Her contributions to a safer society would be hard to overstate," Dorris wrote on SNAP's official page.

People on social media expressed their condolences for the woman who helped numerous survivors of abuse.

From the Family of Barbara Blaine

UNITED STATES
BishopAccountability.org

September 24, 2017

We can now share with you that Barbara has peacefully passed away following an unexpected and rare cardiac event (SCAD) that occurred this past Monday. Her final hours were spent surrounded by her husband, Howard and sisters Marcia and Marian. From the window in her room, she was basked in the bright sunlight cascading off the serene Utah landscape. Barbara loved hiking those rocky climbs with Howard, and her indomitable spirit was in harmony with the unshakable vistas.

From running a homeless shelter that she helped found, to acting as a tireless voice for those sexually abused who might otherwise have been silenced by the Catholic Church, Barbara was a fierce and tireless warrior on behalf of social justice. Her passion for progressive and compassionate advocacy was only matched by the love she felt towards family. Those fortunate enough to have known her are readily familiar with the absolute commitment she felt towards her close circle; we were all lucky to have been graced by her love.

Barbara was taken far too early, and we may never find rhyme or reason in the manner of her passing, but we can forever find inspiration and purpose through the manner in which she lived. She was a truly remarkable human being, and her spirit will remain with us, shaping our choices for the better, erring us away from petty concerns and encouraging us to lean in towards compassion, that we might honor her memory.

A Celebration of Barbara's life will be held at a future date.

Pope's Sex Abuse Advisers Also Look Into Children of Priests

VATICAN CITY
US News

By NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis' committee of advisers on protecting children from sexually abusive priests is expanding its workload to include the needs and rights of children fathered by Roman Catholic priests.

Committee members told The Associated Press on Sunday that a working group is looking into developing guidelines that can be used by dioceses around the world to ensure that children born to priests are adequately cared for.

"It's a horrendous problem in many cultures, and it's not something that is readily talked about," commission member Dr. Krysten Winter-Green said.

Indeed, the church has tried to keep such children secret for centuries, because of the scandal of priests breaking their vows of celibacy. But it has gained visibility after Irish bishops published guidelines earlier this year that focused on ensuring the wellbeing of the child and the mother, who often suffer psychological problems from the stigma and silence imposed on them by the church.

Vatican says it terminated auditor general’s tenure for spying on senior officials

ROME
Japan Times

ROME – The Vatican said Sunday it had been forced to oust its former auditor general — who resigned without explanation in June — because he had been spying on senior officials.

In the latest scandal to embroil the centuries-old institution, Libero Milone had accused the Vatican of getting rid of him because his investigations into possible illegal activity had hit too close to home.

Just hours after the story broke, the Vatican issued a furious response.

“Milone’s office illegally appointed an external company to carry out investigations into the private lives of members of the Holy See,” it said in a statement.

SNAP founder Barbara Blaine, who advocated for survivors of clergy sex abuse, dies

ILLINOIS
WLS

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Barbara Blaine, who did pioneering work on behalf of individuals abused by priests and founded the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), died on Sunday, the organization said in a statement.

Blaine, 61, who resigned as SNAP president in February, was surrounded by family and friends when she died, the statement said.

Blaine stepped down after three decades of campaigning to force the Catholic Church to recognize the extent of the scandal and compensate thousands of people affected.

Blaine did not say why she resigned from SNAP.

She founded SNAP in 1988, years after she was abused as an 8th grader by a Toledo, Ohio priest who taught at the Catholic school she attended, according to the organization's website. Her pleas for help to Toledo's bishop were ignored. The first SNAP meeting of victims was held at a Holiday Inn in Chicago.

Lawsuit: Catholic school student left in closet, abused

GUAM
The Guam Daily Post

Mindy Aguon |The Guam Daily Post

The latest lawsuit to be filed against the Archdiocese of Agana alleges a Catholic school student was punished in the early 60s and left in a closet for several hours and sexually abused by a priest.

R.A.J., 62, who used his initials to protect his identity, filed a lawsuit today against San Vicente Catholic School and the Archdiocese of Agana.

When R.A.J. was 6 years old, he attended San Vicente Catholic School where Zoilo Camacho was a priest.

The civil complaint filed in the District Court alleges that one day R.A.J. snuck out of the school playground and ran down the street to Aguon Store to get some snacks. On his way back, one of the nuns who worked at the school caught him and punished him by putting him in a closet.

News: Barbara Blaine, Founder and former president of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, has passed away

UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release Sunday, September 24, 2017

Barbara Blaine, the founder and former president of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests passed away today, surrounded by her family and friends.

At this time, the family has asked that you respect their privacy until they make a statement.

The following is a statement by Barbara Dorris, SNAP managing director, regarding Barbara's pioneering work on behalf of survivors of clergy sexual abuse.

“Few people have done more to protect kids and help victims than Barbara Blaine. Her relentless advocacy enabled millions to eventually accept a long unbelievable reality: that tens of thousands of priests raped and fondled hundreds of thousands of kids while bishops hid these heinous crimes. She started-and for almost 30 years-worked extremely hard to help build the world’s most successful organization of child sex abuse victims. Her contributions to a safer society would be hard to overstate.”

Barbara Blaine, founder of group for clergy abuse victims, dies at 61

ILLINOIS
WHTC

By Alex Dobuzinskis

(Reuters) - Barbara Blaine, who founded the 'Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests' and led the organization until earlier this year, died on Sunday at age 61 in Utah, her family and the organization said.

Blaine suffered a spontaneous coronary artery dissection last Monday, her family said in a statement. The rare occurrence involves a tear in one or more blood vessels of the heart.

She died on Sunday with her husband, Howard, and her sisters at her side, the family statement said.

The organization she founded in 1988 is a leading advocacy and support group for victims of sexual abuse by clergy. It has thousands of members and works to help people from a range of faith traditions.

Barbara Blaine, founder of abuse victims group SNAP, dies

ILLINOIS
ABC News

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
CHICAGO — Sep 25, 2017

Barbara Blaine, the founder and former president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, has died. She was 61.

The organization known as SNAP announced on its Facebook page that Blaine died Sunday following a recent cardiac event.

In a statement, SNAP managing director Barbara Dorris praised Blaine's work with victims of clergy sexual abuse.

"Few people have done more to protect kids and help victims than Barbara Blaine," Dorris said. "Her contributions to a safer society would be hard to overstate."

Blaine founded SNAP in 1988, years after she was abused as an 8th grader by a Toledo, Ohio, priest who taught at the Catholic school she attended, according to the organization's website. Her pleas for help to Toledo's bishop were ignored. The first SNAP meeting of victims was held at a Chicago hotel.

Another clergy sex abuse case filed in federal court

GUAM
KUAM

Updated: Sep 25, 2017

By Krystal Paco

Another clergy sex abuse case has been filed in the District Court of Guam. 62-year-old R.A.J. alleges he was sexually molested by now deceased, father Ziolo Camacho.

The incident occurred at San Vicente Catholic School when R.A.J. was about 6 or 7 years old.

Court documents state the boy was put in the closet for hours by a nun who caught him sneaking off campus to go to the nearby store.

From the Family of Barbara Blaine

ST. GEORGE (UT)
The Family of Barbara Blaine

September 24, 2017

We can now share with you that Barbara has peacefully passed away following an unexpected and rare cardiac event (SCAD) that occurred this past Monday. Her final hours were spent surrounded by her husband, Howard and sisters Marcia and Marian. From the window in her room, she was basked in the bright sunlight cascading off the serene Utah landscape. Barbara loved hiking those rocky climbs with Howard, and her indomitable spirit was in harmony with the unshakable vistas.

From running a homeless shelter that she helped found, to acting as a tireless voice for those sexually abused who might otherwise have been silenced by the Catholic Church, Barbara was a fierce and tireless warrior on behalf of social justice. Her passion for progressive and compassionate advocacy was only matched by the love she felt towards family. Those fortunate enough to have known her are readily familiar with the absolute commitment she felt towards her close circle; we were all lucky to have been graced by her love.

Barbara was taken far too early, and we may never find rhyme or reason in the manner of her passing, but we can forever find inspiration and purpose through the manner in which she lived. She was a truly remarkable human being, and her spirit will remain with us, shaping our choices for the better, erring us away from petty concerns and encouraging us to lean in towards compassion, that we might honor her memory.

A Celebration of Barbara's life will be held at a future date.

September 24, 2017

Tools for thinking about the Vatican’s two latest scandals

ROME
Crux

John L. Allen Jr. EDITOR

ROME - Journalists often are accused of reporting only bad news, and there’s often a fair bit of truth to the charge. Experience shows that scandal and controversy sell, while feel-good, uplifting material sometimes struggles to find a market, but that’s not really an excuse for failing to present the whole picture.

At the same time, the press also has an important role to play in bringing hard truths to light, which institutions usually would prefer to keep hidden. If the Catholic Church has learned anything from the sexual abuse scandals, it’s that refusing to confront bad news only makes it worse.

There are two such less-than-edifying stories bubbling in and around the Vatican at the moment, so here I’ll try to offer some resources for thinking intelligently about each - without implying that such situations are the only things the Vatican, or the Catholic Church, has going on at the moment worth knowing.

Vatican diplomat and child pornography

On Sept. 15, the Vatican issued a brief press release announcing that one of its priest-diplomats at the papal embassy in Washington, D.C., was suspected by the U.S. government of possible violation of child pornography laws and had been recalled to Rome.

The Promoter of Justice in the Vatican’s tribunal, it said, had opened an investigation and had requested information from the U.S. government, adding that those investigations are “subject to confidentiality.”

Bishop Zubik marking 10 years at helm of Pittsburgh diocese

PENNSYLVANIA
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

PETER SMITH
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
petersmith@post-gazette.com
SEP 24, 2017

Scores of young adults, most of them dressed business-casual for the after-work gathering, chatted over Coronas and nachos on a crowded rooftop bar at the Steel Cactus in Shadyside on a warm spring night.

One arrival didn’t fit the demographic — a tall, slightly stooped, gray-haired man dressed in black, who patiently made his way through the crowd, stopping for short conversations.

Eventually the banter subsided, the participants recited a Hail Mary and an organizer introduced Bishop David A. Zubik as the speaker of the evening’s gathering. The event was one of a series known as Theology on Tap, a casual setting for young and often single Catholic adults to meet, network and talk spirituality over suds.

Taking the Catholic Church beyond its buildings, trying to reach an age group that’s often taking itself out of the church entirely — the evening’s themes neatly captured some of Bishop Zubik’s highest priorities as he approaches the 10th anniversary this Thursday of his installation as bishop of the six-county Diocese of Pittsburgh.

Judge begins decision process in suit against Crookston diocese, bishop

MINNESOTA
Duluth News Tribune

By Andrew Hazzard

CROOKSTON, Minn. — A northwest Minnesota judge has until Dec. 19, 2017, to rule on a lawsuit accusing the Diocese of Crookston and its bishop of covering up abuse and inflicting emotional damages on a man who says his bid to become a deacon was rejected because he reported being sexually abused by a priest more than 40 years ago.

On Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, Minnesota Ninth District Court Judge Kurt Marben took under advisement a lawsuit from Tabor, Minn., resident Ron Vasek against the Diocese of Crookston and Bishop Michael Joseph Hoeppner. This gives him 90 days to make a decision in the case, according to the Polk County Clerk of Court's Office, meaning a ruling is due by Dec. 19.

The lawsuit accuses Hoeppner of coercion and inflicting emotional distress. It says that in 1971, Vasek was sexually abused by Monsignor Roger Grundhaus while on a trip to Ohio when he was 16 years old. In 2010, his son, the Rev. Craig Vasek, was ordained as priest in the Diocese of Crookston, and Ron Vasek tried to become a deacon. That's when he claims he revealed his abuse and was told by Hoeppner to stay quiet, which he believes is an act of blackmail.

Auditor says he was forced to quit Vatican after finding irregularities

VATICAN CITY
Reuters

Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Vatican’s first auditor-general, who resigned without explanation in June, has broken his silence, saying he was forced to step down with trumped-up accusations after discovering evidence of possible illegal activity.

Speaking to reporters from four media organizations including Reuters in the office of his lawyers in Rome, Libero Milone also said he believed that some in the Vatican wanted to slow down Pope Francis’s efforts at financial reform.

He said he could not give details of the irregularities he had found because of non-disclosure agreements. Reuters was unable to independently verify his assertions, which the Vatican strongly contested.

The Holy See’s deputy secretary of state, Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu, told Reuters in an interview that Milone’s claims were “false and unjustified”.

“He went against all the rules and was spying on the private lives of his superiors and staff, including me,” Becciu said. “If he had not agreed to resign, we would have prosecuted him.”

Out of ‘Spotlight,’ the movie, comes the Spotlight Fellowship

MASSACHUSETTS
Boston Globe

Today’s report started with the Academy Award-winning film “Spotlight.”

The film told the story of the Globe’s groundbreaking investigation of child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy. In 2016, the movie’s producers won the Oscar for Best Picture.

But the team at one of the companies behind the film — Participant Media, founded by Jeff Skoll and dedicated to entertainment that inspires social change — wanted to do more to champion the work of investigative journalists. So they created the Spotlight Investigative Journalism Fellowship.

Participant Media, along with the film’s partners Open Road Films and First Look Media, fund the fellowship, which provides recipients the opportunity to work on their own in-depth investigative stories alongside The Boston Globe’s Spotlight Team.

Father Paul J. Radetski not guilty of sexual abuse of a minor

WISCONSIN
Fox 11

GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- A priest has been found not guilty of sexual abuse of a minor according to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican.

That information was released today by the Diocese of Green Bay. Father Paul J. Radetski "has been granted senior priest status, and his restrictions from exercising public priestly ministry have been lifted. He will serve the diocese in a limited capacity in his senior priest status," the Diocese of Green Bay says.

Menasha priest found not guilty of sexual abuse of a child in church trial

WISCONSIN
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Raquel Rutledge, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Sept. 23, 2017

A Menasha priest accused in 2010 of sexually abusing a minor has been found not guilty through canonical judicial proceedings.

Father Paul Radetski had been placed on administrative leave from his duties at St. John’s, St. Mary’s and St. Patrick parishes in Menasha after civil authorities were alerted to what were said by the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay at the time to be credible allegations.

“Father has been granted senior priest status, and his restrictions from exercising public priestly ministry have been lifted,” a Saturday press release from the diocese states. “He will serve the diocese in a limited capacity in his senior priest status.”

Under canonical proceedings, the ruling was made by three canon lawyers and judges from outside the diocese following a trial.

September 23, 2017

In Vatican trial, witness calls spending on cardinal’s apartment ‘anomalous’

ROME
Crux

John L. Allen Jr. EDITOR

ROME - In the latest hearing on Friday of the Vatican’s first-ever trial for financial crimes, an official of the Government of the Vatican City State testified that a remodeling project for the private Vatican apartment of Italian Cardinal Tarcisio bypassed the normal bidding process, and was “singular” and “anomalous.”

That remodeling project is at the heart of the case, since two Italian laymen and former officials of a foundation for a papally-sponsored pediatric hospital in Rome called the Bambino Gesù are accused of diverting roughly $500,000 of the hospital’s money to help cover the costs.

The defendants are Giuseppe Profiti, the former president of both the hospital and its foundation, and Massimo Spina, who served as treasurer during Profiti’s tenure.

The Government of the Vatican State is responsible for the 108-acre physical footprint of the Vatican, and generally approves and oversees all building projects within its territory.

‘Pontifical secret’ in abuse cases needs review, advisers tell pope

ROME
Crux

Carol Glatz CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

ROME - Members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors believe they have done important work over the past three years, but, because there is so much more to be done, they presented Pope Francis with a list of suggestions, including changing the way confidentiality is imposed during church investigations of child sexual abuse.

Pope Francis had his first face-to-face discussion with commission members Sept. 21 and, during the meeting, members summarized the work they have accomplished and detailed a number of recommendations, including regarding the invocation of “pontifical secret” during abuse investigations and trials.

Vatican norms maintain the imposition of “pontifical secret” on the church’s judicial handling of clerical sex abuse and other grave crimes, which means they are dealt with in strict confidentiality.

Vatican experts have said it was designed to protect the dignity of everyone involved, including the victim, the accused, their families and their communities. Confidentiality, however, is meant to have limits in the relationship with civil authorities as bishops are required to comply with civil law that requires reporting of abuse accusations.

University report lifts the lid on child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church

AUSTRALIA
National Catholic Reporter

Sep 23, 2017

by Kieran Tapsell

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA — The most comprehensive report ever published on the systemic reasons behind child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church has recently been released.

The August 2017 report, Child Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church: An Interpretive Review of the Literature and Public Inquiry Reports, examined 26 commissions of inquiry, scientific research and literature since 1985 to find common features in the culture, history and structures of the church and the psychological, social and theological factors that contributed to the tragedy.

The report, five years in the making, comes from a research team at the Centre for Global Research at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University headed by Desmond Cahill and Peter Wilkinson.

The research team's conclusions in this highly readable 379-page document confirm the view of the psychologist Philip Zimbardo that if you find many bad apples in a barrel, there has to be something wrong with the barrel. The pattern of abuse and cover up was the same all over the world.

Cahill is a psychologist and professor emeritus of RMIT University, and Wilkinson holds a licentiate and doctorate in missiology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Both are former Catholic priests, Cahill of the Melbourne Archdiocese and Wilkinson formerly with the Missionary Society of St. Columban.