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May 30, 2016

The Hasidic School District That Was Created in Secret

NEW YORK
New York Times

By SAM ROBERTS MAY 27, 2016

Even most New Yorkers have forgotten that Congress passed the Bill of Rights in New York. According to “The Curious Case of Kiryas Joel: The Rise of a Village Theocracy and the Battle to Defend the Separation of Church and State” (Chicago Review Press, $27.99), New York State is also where the “establishment clause” of the First Amendment’s freedom of religion protections was cynically abridged exactly two centuries later.

Written by Louis Grumet with John Caher, the book recounts the political and constitutional maneuvering behind a state law passed in 1989 empowering the Satmar Hasidic enclave in Orange County to establish its own public school system.

The insular, muscularly politically incorrect Satmars in the village of Kiryas Joel wanted, as the authors write, to have their cake and eat it, too — that is, to segregate the village from secular society while wringing every public service it might be entitled to from government.

That presented a predicament: How to pay for the education of students with special needs who were ostracized because of their religious reclusiveness when they were assigned to classes in the secular school district.

The State Constitution bars direct aid to parochial schools; the First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits government from passing any legislation that establishes a religion or prefers one to another.

The authors recount how Democrats in Brooklyn, where the Satmar sect is based; George E. Pataki, then a Republican assemblyman in the Hudson Valley who was wooing the Hasidim, who vote as a bloc; and Gov. Mario M. Cuomo worked to establish “the first governmental unit in American history that was created solely to serve the needs and interests of only one religious group” — certain that the courts would overturn their largess.

Mother of deceased man accuses Apuron of molesting son

GUAM/ARIZONA
Pacific Daily News

[with video]

Haidee V Eugenio, Pacific Daily News May 31, 2016

An Agat youth who served as an altar boy in the village church was molested in the late 1970s by Father Anthony Apuron, according to his mother, Doris Concepcion, who said her son, Joseph A. Quinata, revealed his secret shortly before he died 11 years ago.

Concepcion is the latest person to accuse Apuron, who is now the island’s archbishop, of sexually assaulting a child under his care. Concepcion said she decided to come forward after another former Agat altar boy, Roy Quintanilla, on May 17 said Apuron molested him during a sleepover at Apuron’s home in the 1970s.

Apuron has denied Quintanilla’s allegation. The Archdiocese of Agana has also denied the allegation by Concepcion.

When asked about the newest accusation, the archdiocese provided the following written response.

“In the past days, malicious and calumnious accusations against the Archbishop have surfaced, even from a deceased person,” Father Adrian L.F. Cristobal, Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Agana, said in a statement. “The Archbishop strongly denies this accusation as he had done so before.”

FRANCIS A. [Art] AUSTIN 1948-2016

BRAINTREE (MA)
Boston Globe

[See Austin's Good Friday Speech (3/29/02); and Survivor's Lullaby (6/4/02).

AUSTIN, Francis A. Of Braintree, MA, born March 22, 1948, beloved brother and friend, died May 21, 2016 at Lahey Hospital in Burlington MA from complications of a long illness. Both his parents, Francis Austin of Braintree and Laura (Farrar) Austin of Norwell and Braintree predeceased him.

He is survived by his sisters Lorraine Austin of Braintree, Massachusetts and Mary Preckwinkle of Colorado Springs, Colorado, his brother Lawrence from Albuquerque, New Mexico, and his aunt, Madeline Farrar of Norwell, as well as many dear friends, among whom, Judy Ferdella of Auburn MA, Randy Testa of Cambridge, John and Lucia Mudd of Cambridge, Charles Felsenthal of Natick and Joan Van Heerden of Boston.

Art will be cherished in the heart of those who knew and loved him for his infectious sense of humor and his probing intelligence, as well as for his talent as a poet and his love of music, gardening, and old movies.

He will also be remembered by many for the battles he fought alone and with others to obtain justice for victims of clerical abuse.

A funeral Mass will be celebrated at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Boston, at 10:00 AM, June 8, 2016, followed by interment at Plain Street Cemetery in Braintree, MA. Friends and relations are invited to a celebration of Art's life June 4, 2016, from noon to 9:00 P.M. at the family home in Braintree, MA. Donations to the American Liver Foundation may be made, in lieu of flowers 188 Needham Street, Suite 240, Newton, MA 02464.

To be published in The Boston Globe on June 1, 2016.

Breaking the silence

AUSTRALIA
The Courier

Melissa Cunningham
May 30, 2016

When Maureen Hatcher tied a ribbon to the gates of the old St Alipius Christian Brothers Boys School a year ago, she never could have imagined how much her simple gesture would grow.

The single red ribbon was tied in honour of her friend’s brother. He’d taken his own life following years of torment after he was sexually abused by Catholic clergy as child. Ms Hatcher said a black cloud was left hanging over Ballarat during the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse hearings as years of pain were brought to the surface.

But as the darkness emerged out of the abuse inquiry something profound unfolded. Ribbons began being tied outside institutions as an overt response to traumas long held silent and a symbol of solidarity with sexual abuse victims.

“At the crux of this whole disaster is that children weren't listened to,” Ms Hatcher said. “As a community we needed to open up conversations about child sexual abuse and get rid of the stigma and fear surrounding it.”

It became known as Loud Fence. A grass roots movement depicting Ballarat fearlessly facing up to its harrowing past. It was also catalyst for change which saw public support continue to mount for survivors leading them on a plight for truth in Rome.

Al Sacerdote Leopoldo Nevarez se le quito el oficio de párroco

MEXICO
El Heraldo de Chiapas

[The Bishop of the Diocese of Ciudad Juarez said the priest Leopoldo Nevarez Erives must answer to the public prosecutor over allegations of sexual abuse.]

Angélica Bustamante / El Mexicano

Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua.-El Obispo de la Diócesis de Ciudad Juárez dijo que el sacerdote Leopoldo Nevarez Erives tendrá que responder ante el Ministerio Público por las acusaciones que tiene en su contra por abuso sexual porque el Clero es respetuoso de la Ley.

St. Frances has final service; parishioners plan new church

MASSACHUSETTS
Wicked Local Scituate

By Kristi Funderburk
kfunderburk@wickedlocal.com

Posted May. 29, 2016 at 1:33 PM

SCITUATE
Parishioners, both young and old, trickled into the St. Frances X. Cabrini Church for its final service on Sunday, May 29.

Some of the service was like any other Sunday, with prayers, readings and songs, but on this Sunday, many parishioners greeted each other with tears.

After more than 11 years, a vigil they began in the wake of an Archdiocese of Boston closure plan was ending. Attempts to appeal the archdiocese’s plan, including a plea before the U.S. Supreme Court, came and went without success.

“This has been an epic journey, a historic journey,” said Jon Rogers, spokesman of the Friends of St. Frances, the group that ran the 24-7 vigil. “Eleven years ago, we started a revolution of faith. It continued to this day. That’s because of you that that happened.”

He thanked the parishioners and other supporters for helping the Friends keep the vigil going.
Someone stayed within the church walls at all times to keep the archdiocese from closing it while the Friends appealed, but the Friends group promised once its appeals ran out, they would leave.

For some, Sunday’s service was regarded as a sad end, but others considered it a new beginning, as the parishioners plan to continue meeting. The group will meet at The Satuit Lodge/Masonic Temple, 344 Country Way, for 10 a.m. Sunday services.

“We’re going to keep the people we have and we’re going to continue until we can build our own church, even if it’s a barn,” said Nancy Shilts, a parishioner and Friends member. “It’s the beginning.”

Müller Out, Schönborn In. The Pope Has Changed Doctrine Teachers

VATICAN CITY
Chiesa

by Sandro Magister

ROME, May 30, 2016 – The prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith is still the same, German cardinal Gerhard L. Müller.

Who diligently continues to carry out his task, most recently with the monumental address he gave in Oviedo on May 4 for a correct understanding of “Amoris Laetitia,” in harmony with the previous magisterium of the Church on the family:

But it is increasingly evident that for Pope Francis, it is not Müller but another cardinal who is the teacher of doctrine authorized to shed light on the post-synodal exhortation: Cardinal Christoph Schönborn.

Former student claims ‘monster’ abused him in Bronx high school, supports Child Victims Act

NEW YORK
New York Daily News

MICHAEL O’KEEFFE
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Monday, May 30, 2016

He was the dean of discipline, and Kirk Balay remembers how he would always be lurking as students got off the train on their way to Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx.

Brother John Justin O’Connor, a large, heavyset friar, was on the prowl for any behavior — shouting, cursing, horsing around — he deemed worthy of punishment.

For Balay, who seemed to run afoul of O’Connor at least once a week throughout the fall of 1985 and into 1986, discipline often consisted of being sexually and physically abused.

Sometimes O’Connor had him stand facing a classroom wall for two or three hours with two dozen other disciplined students, Balay said.

More frequently, he would bring Balay to his office, where he would beat and molest him.

“It started out with him groping my buttocks as he paddled me and it evolved into him trying to rip my clothes off as he fondled himself,” said Balay, 45, who claims he first received “jug” — “justice under God” — from O’Connor about three weeks into his freshman year.

Committed To Protecting Our Children

ARKANSAS
Booneville Democrat

By Sen. John Boozman

As a father to three daughters and grandfather two granddaughters, I believe that protecting our children needs to be a priority. This includes improving laws to bring justice to children victimized by predators and strengthening punishment for offenders.

Our children deserve justice. We need to provide law enforcement with the tools they need to solve crimes committed against our children. That’s why Congress passed the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006. Named for a six-year-old Florida boy who was kidnapped and murdered in 1981, the law established nationwide notification and registration standards for convicted sex offenders, improved information sharing capabilities between law enforcement agencies, boosted resources to help law enforcement arrest the fugitives who commit these crimes and increased public safety through awareness.

This was an important step in protecting our children and helping communities prevent future abuses by registered sex offenders.

I was proud to support the reauthorization of this law in May and take child protection measures even further by providing additional rights and safeguards for victims of sexual assault and human trafficking crimes.

This legislation extends the statute of limitations for child survivors of sexual abuse or human trafficking offenses from three to 10 years after turning 18, establishes free medical forensic examinations for survivors, and ensures the preservation of sexual assault evidence collection kits free of charge.

Parishioners say farewell to Scituate church

MASSACHUSETTS
Boston Globe

By Astead W. Herndon GLOBE STAFF MAY 29, 2016

SCITUATE — Hundreds of solemn parishioners crowded St. Frances X. Cabrini church for a final service Sunday morning — but by nightfall, the church was strangely quiet, the dismantling begun.

By midnight Monday, St. Frances will be empty for the first time in 4,235 consecutive days, no vigilers sleeping on shabby cots in tight quarters, some using boiling water from an electric teapot to wash in the morning. Gone are the legal advisers consulting with parishioners on ways to block the Boston Archdiocese from forcing them out of the church they have defiantly occupied since 2004.

In the end, legal appeals ran out. When the Supreme Court refused to hear the parishioners’ case against the archdiocese on May 16, the nearly 12-year, round-the-clock vigil to save St. Frances from being closed down was over, as was the congregation’s relationship with the archdiocese.

At Sunday’s service, longtime churchgoers officially said a reluctant goodbye to their beloved spiritual home, with bitter words for the Catholic hierarchy. Legally, the congregation has been ordered by a court to vacate the church by 11:59 p.m. Monday.

“In war, there are casualties, and unfortunately our church will be one,” said Jon Rogers who, along with his wife, Maryellen, have spoken for the vigilers. The church gave Rogers a whooping ovation for his reflections on the group’s “revolution of faith.”

“This is not a death, but the birth of a new church and a new way of thinking,” he said. “We are the bright light our world needs, and I pray that we burn forever.”

Vigilers announced plans to form a new “Catholic community” church in Scituate. It would operate outside the Boston Archdiocese and be partly led by the Rev. Terry McDonough, a married Massachusetts priest who has long been at odds with Catholic leadership.

Support in Assembly growing for Child Victims Act

NEW YORK
New York Daily News

BY KEN LOVETT

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Monday, May 30, 2016

Here is an expanded version of the lead item of my "Albany Insider" column from Monday's editions:

Bipartisan support continues to grow in the state Assembly for a bill that would make it easier for kids who were sexually abused to seek justice as adults.

But it may not be enough if there aren’t 76 Democrats ready to vote for the measure.

A bill long sponsored by Assemblywoman Margaret Markey (D-Queens) that would give child sex abuse victims more time to bring civil cases could bring civil cases now has 64 sponsors-just 12 shy of the 76 votes that would be needed for passage.

Of the 64 sponsors, 46 are Democrats and 18 are Republicans.

Church members support convicted child molester

VERMONT
Rutland Herald

By Kathleen Phalen Tomaselli

STAFF WRITER | May 30,2016

It’s been 22 years since Joseph Angelo Pasquariello was convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a child. And in a petition to have his record expunged, the 71-year-old Rutland man said he has turned his life around.

“I am a member of Fellowship Bible Church in Castleton ... I have also completed three years of sex offender treatment,” he said in his request to have his felony record removed. “I have contributed to the community in a positive manner.”

On Tuesday in Rutland criminal court, about 30 members of Pasquariello’s church came to his hearing to support his request.

“His filing has been supported by numerous letters attesting to the defendant’s positive character and how he has turned his life around,” Judge Thomas A. Zonay said. “Defendant is now 71 years old and has not sustained any further convictions.”

In Reorganization plan, archdiocese offers $65 million for abuse victim remuneration

MINNESOTA
Catholic Spirit

Maria Wiering | May 26, 2016

Sixteen months after entering Reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis filed a plan for Reorganization May 26. The plan identifies more than $65 million in assets the archdiocese anticipates will be available to compensate victims of clergy sexual abuse, with the potential for that amount to grow.

The plan outlines specific sources for funds available for victim remuneration, including at least $8.7 million from the sale of archdiocesan properties, including three chancery buildings on Cathedral Hill, as well as more than $33 million from insurance settlements. It establishes a trust for victim remuneration funds, with a court-approved allocation protocol.

The plan also includes settlements from parish insurers of approximately $13.7 million with the potential for future settlements from archdiocesan insurers that are not currently entering into agreements with the archdiocese. The archdiocese is seeking to transfer the rights of recovery for those policies to the trustee of the trust for victims.

Diocese confirms number of new sexual abuse claims

MINNESOTA
St. Cloud Times

Stephanie Dickrell, sdickrell@stcloudtimes.com May 29, 2016

Bishop Donald Kettler asked for the prayers of area Catholics on Sunday as the Diocese of St. Cloud issued a statement confirming the number of sexual abuse claims made against it.

On Wednesday, May 25, a three-year window closed that temporarily lifted the civil statute of limitations on allegations of sexual abuse of minors in Minnesota.

A total of 74 claims were made against the diocese, according to the statement.

The statements name 31 members of the clergy who served in the diocese. Out of the 131 parishes in the diocese, 30 were named in the claims.

The diocese had been served with less than a dozen cases in the Child Victims Act window before Monday.

The claims are related to abuse alleged to have happened many years ago, according to the statement. In most cases, it was several decades ago.

St. Cloud Diocese: 74 Sexual Abuse Claims Made Under Child Victims Act

MINNESOTA
WJON

By Jim Maurice May 29, 2016

ST. CLOUD – The Diocese of St. Cloud says a total of 74 claims were made against the diocese under the Minnesota Child Victims Act. The Act created by the State Legislature lifted for three years the civil statute of limitations for allegations of past sexual abuse of minors. The window for filing claims ended on Wednesday.

The claims name 31 members of the clergy who served in the diocese. Thirty parishes are named in the claims; the diocese has 131 parishes.

The claims are related to abuse alleged to have happened many years ago — several decades ago in most cases. The claims do not involve anyone who is currently in parish ministry.

Pastors and parishioners are being informed about the claims. It is not expected that the claims will affect the normal operations of parishes or Catholic schools in the diocese. Diocesan and parish staff are working with attorneys to identify insurance coverage that could go toward resolution of these lawsuits.

Victims and survivors are urged to contact the diocesan victim assistance coordinator at (320) 248-1563.

Allegations of abuse were made against the following clergy members in the lawsuits against the Diocese of St. Cloud during the three-year window of the Minnesota Child Victims Act, which expired May 25, 2016.

Cosmas Dahlheimer, OSB
Hubert Dahlheimer, OSB
John Eccleston
Richard Eckroth, OSB
Sylvester Gall
Raoul Gauthier
Thomas Gillespie, OSB
Philibert Harrer, OSB
Othmar Hohmann, OSB
Matthew Kiess, OSB
Val Klimek
Joseph Kremer
Henry Lutgen
Brennan Maiers, OSB
Antonio Marfori
James Mohm
Jerome Reisinger
David Rieder
Donald Rieder
David Sheldon
Paul Shurek
Robert Smith
Peter Snyers
Allan Speiser
James Thoennes
Thomas Thole, OSB
Roger Vaughn, OSC
William Wey
Joseph Wiersgalla
Mark Willenbring
Vincent Yzermans

High time Catholic Church came clean on role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi

RWANDA
New Times

By: VINCENT GASANA
PUBLISHED: May 30, 2016

As the Month of May comes to an end, events to commemorate the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi will be tapering off.

Throughout the commemorative month of April, most Rwandans will have flocked to their respective places of worship, in the hope that their faith might pour some balm on the unfathomable pain, and anguish, from the loss of individual lives, multiplied over a million times, in a mere hundred days.

Spare a thought then, for the overwhelming majority, who profess the Christian faith, particularly the three out every five Rwandans, who follow the Catholic Church.

What added trauma must these believers be forced to endure, when the institution to which they naturally turn for solace at their most bereft, is the very same institution that betrayed them, abandoning them to stand instead, with their tormentors.

There can no longer be any argument, or debate that the Catholic Church was complicit in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. The only question that remains is whether, deplorably, shamelessly, the Church will continue to attempt to wash its hands of the blood of the innocents it could have saved, but chose not to, condemning them to slow, painful deaths.

After 12 Years of Defiance, a Massachusetts Congregation Goes in Peace

MASSACHUSETTS
New York Times

By JESS BIDGOOD

MAY 29, 2016

SCITUATE, Mass. — For almost 12 years, the parishioners of St. Frances X. Cabrini have prayed, eaten meals, watched the Super Bowl and even slept in the church, holding a round-the-clock vigil to protest the Archdiocese of Boston’s decision to close it.

They have used detailed sign-up sheets to ensure that at least one person was in the church at all times, had communion wafers secretly consecrated by sympathetic priests, and held weekly services led entirely by lay members of the congregation.

On Sunday, having exhausted their options in Vatican and American courts, the parishioners held their last service, but not without a final act of defiance. A man who was ordained a Roman Catholic priest, but was later married, stood at the altar of the deconsecrated church and led services for parishioners who said they intended to break away from the archdiocesan hierarchy and form an independent Catholic church.

“In every revolution, obviously, there are collateral damage and there are casualties,” said Jon Rogers, an organizer of the vigil with his wife, Maryellen. “Our beloved church is one of those casualties.”

The parishioners plan to leave the church by 11:59 p.m. Monday and hold a service next Sunday in a Masonic lodge, a temporary stop while they try to raise money for a building of their own.

May 29, 2016

Archdiocese investigates priest after scandalous allegations

FLORIDA
Local 10

By Andrea Torres - Digital Reporter/Producer

MIAMI SHORES, Fla. - Father Pedro M. Corces was asked to resign and was under investigation, after allegations that he sustained a sexual relationship with a man he hired as a maintenance worker surfaced. Corces has denied the allegations.

A group of families at St. Rose of Lima, a Catholic church and school, in Miami Shores, hired a private investigator to follow Corces, after a group of nuns from the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary left the school.

The families presented the private investigator's findings to Archbishop Thomas Wenski on May 16. There were pictures that showed Corces with a maintenance worker who is openly gay on social media and has a criminal record.

On Friday, Wenski issued a letter to the families of the students at St. Rose of Lima to report that some of the allegations were under investigation including the "hiring of friends and improper socializing with employees."

From 1996 to 2006, Corces was the vocations director for the Archdiocese of Miami. The post required screening priesthood applicants.

State ‘failed’ alleged Christian Brothers abuse victims

UNITED KINGDOM
The Sunday Times

Niall Brady
May 29 2016
The Sunday Times

A High Court judge has criticised the state for threatening five men with legal bills running to “many thousands of euros” unless they dropped a legal action alleging sexual abuse at Christian Brothers schools but has ruled it is not legally possible for them to resume their lawsuit.

The men, now in their fifties and sixties, dropped their cases after the state threatened to pursue them for costs if they lost. They tried to resume the lawsuit, however, following the landmark Louise O’Keeffe case in 2014, when the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that her rights had been

Pädophilie in der Piusbruderschaft: Vertraue deinem Priester

DEUTSCHLAND
Spiegel Online

[Little is known about sexual offenses in the ranks of the ultra-conservative Catholic SSPX. SPIEGEL ONLINE spoke with victims and their relatives - their experience of the Church's "reclamation" is staggering.]

Von Annette Langer

Wenig ist bekannt über Sexualdelikte in den Reihen der erzkonservativen katholischen Piusbruderschaft. SPIEGEL ONLINE hat mit Opfern und Angehörigen gesprochen - ihre Erfahrung der kirchlichen "Aufarbeitung" ist erschütternd.

Die Piusbruderschaft tut viel, um sich vom angeblich modernistischen katholischen Mainstream abzugrenzen. In einem aber sind sich Traditionalisten und offizielle kirchliche Würdenträger erstaunlich ähnlich: im Umgang mit sexuellem Missbrauch.

"Ich muss ihm verzeihen", sagt der heute 13-jährige Joey* über einen Priester, der ihn im Schlafsaal eines Brüsseler Internats unter der Bettdecke betatschte. Der "schmutzige Dinge" mit ihm tat, ihn so berührte, wie es kein Erwachsener bei einem Kind tun sollte. Der ihn vor sich knien ließ, ihn bestrafte und erniedrigte. So berichtete es der Junge seinen Eltern und Geschwistern.

Local authorities favor lifting time constraints on prosecuting child abusers

ILLINOIS
The Southern

MOLLY PARKER THE SOUTHERN

Several Southern Illinois officials on the front lines of combating child sexual assault and seeking justice for victims say they agree with legislation introduced in Springfield that would lift time constraints on prosecuting alleged offenders.

“I’m for that because I think we have a seen a lot of cases where people come forward years later, in some cases even 30 years after the alleged incident,” said Williamson County State’s Attorney Brandon Zanotti. In situations where victims come forward with credible stories but after the clock has run out, Zanotti said justice isn’t being served. “It’s sad,” he said.

Current Illinois law says that prosecutors have the ability to file charges in cases where a person who was the victim of sexual abuse as a child comes forward with allegations within 20 years of his or her 18th birthday. In other words, the abuse must be reported to authorities before the victim turns 38.

Most crimes, as well as civil claims, have a statute of limitations -- or the amount of time that can pass from the alleged incident to when charges can be filed or a valid lawsuit brought -- with the idea that, over time, the memories’ of witnesses fade, evidence can lose value with passing years, and to establish a level of fairness for the accused.

Lawyers who recommended Starr's ouster at Baylor are former Philadelphia sex-crimes prosecutors

PENNSYLVANIA
Philly.com

by Craig R. McCoy and Chris Mondics, STAFF WRITERS

The two Philadelphia lawyers whose investigation led to the ouster of former independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr as president of Baylor University are former veteran sex-crimes prosecutors who have built a practice helping institutions respond to allegations of sexual abuse.

After a 10-month probe and 65 interviews, Gina Maisto Smith and Leslie Gomez produced a damning report that said the university did not take seriously the complaints of women who had been assaulted by university football players - and even actively discouraged victims from filing complaints.

Their investigation led the Texas university on Thursday to demote Starr, whose investigation of President Bill Clinton led to his impeachment in 1998. Baylor also fired the school football coach and suspended its athletic director.

Smith and Gomez declined comment but issued a statement saying they were hopeful that their work would spur further reform at Baylor.

"We are deeply committed to improving campus policies and practices nationally, and have devoted our careers to confronting sexual and interpersonal violence," they said.

Smith, 55, and Gomez, 45, have been working together since their days in the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office. Smith, a graduate of Temple law school, joined that office in 1986. Gomez, a Yale law school graduate, joined in 1994.

A Twin Cities Catholic's open letter to the new archbishop

MINNESOTA
Star Tribune

By Zach Czaia MAY 27, 2016

Dear Archbishop Bernard Hebda:

I am a Minnesota Catholic. I was baptized in a Twin Cities parish. I received my first communion at a Twin Cities parish. I took the oils of confirmation on my forehead at the cathedral in St. Paul. I have gratitude for the work that you do and your fellow priests do — the marrying and burying, the listening and absolving, the steady presence in the lives of those you pastor. You have a difficult job, a challenging vocation, and the present environment here has not made it any easier. So, before I say anything else, I want you to know that I value your work. At its best, I believe it is God’s own work.

I’m writing because I would like to see a radical change in the way our local church approaches victims of clergy sexual abuse. I believe our current approach is not nearly honest or generous enough to provide real healing to those who have been harmed. We need to do more. We need to give more.

At my home parish, every Sunday at the offertory, the ushers walk up the aisles and pass the baskets down the pews. I put my money in like many others. I hope you can understand that over these past two years, in light of what has been revealed through the witness of Jennifer Haselberger and the reporting of local news outlets, I have lost confidence that this money is doing much good for the community. Nevertheless, I give. I give because I was taught it was right to tithe, to give back to the church, to support it.

Sometimes your priests present “second collections” — on behalf of missions the local church in St. Paul and Minneapolis supports in other parts of the world. Sometimes they are on behalf of retired members of religious communities or food shelters or homeless shelters or any number of praiseworthy purposes. But I have never once heard a second collection taken up for the victims of sexual abuse, many of whom were victimized in the very spaces where we sit. I have never once heard a financial appeal for support of victims, whose lives have been uprooted at the hands of abusive priests. Good therapy is not cheap, but I have never once seen the collection basket passed around for good therapy so a victim of sexual abuse could heal. Never once, not in 33 years sitting in the pews.

Secrecy surrounds call for sex abuse complaints at St. Andrew’s School

FLORIDA
Palm Beach Post

By Andrew Marra - Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

BOCA RATON — St. Andrew’s School, a private Episcopal school in Boca Raton, has been rocked by the abrupt departure of its headmaster and the hiring of two law firms to investigate whether any students have been sexually abused there.

Whether the two events are related is unknown, but the timing of the announcements less than a month apart has rattled parents and fueled rampant speculation in school circles.

Parents learned of both events via emails from the school’s board of trustees, whose members include Bishop Peter Eaton of the Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida. But parents say the school has refused to provide key details or respond to questions.

The lack of information has jarred them, particularly after the school’s May 17 announcement that it had retained the prominent law firm Holland & Knight to “investigate any reports of sexual abuse of Saint Andrew’s students.”

The message from trustees did not say whether the school had any evidence of sexual abuse or whether it was investigating any allegations. A Boca Raton police spokeswoman said the department was not investigating any sex abuse complaints at the school.

Breaking the Silence

MINNESOTA
The Journal

May 29, 2016
The Journal

Editor's Note: This is the third in a series of articles The Journal is publishing on the issue of sexual abuse of children by priests in the New Ulm Diocese. Today's article tells the story of Leon, who doesn't wish his last name to be used, who was abused in Glencoe by Fr. Michael Skoblik.

Next Sunday: The church faces the future.

By Kevin Sweeney
Journal Editor

Leon remembers trying never to be the last altar boy out of the sacristy after mass in St. George Parish in Glencoe.

That's usually when Fr. Michael Skoblik would molest him.

"I would show up one minute before mass, and try to be out of there as soon as possible afterward so as not to be the last one," said Leon, who has asked that his last name not be used. "The other altar boys also rushed to get out of there, so I wonder if maybe they had been approached, too."

Being an altar boy was a natural for Leon, who grew up in a devout Catholic family. Born in 1951, Leon was about 12 or 13 when the molestation began. It lasted two years. Leon said he couldn't avoid Skoblik entirely, in part because of his family's devotion to the church.

Leon liked to earn money to supplement his allowance, he said. He worked odd jobs mowing lawns and shoveling show, and took a paper route to help raise some money. Skoblik was one of his customers.

Skoblik would give altar boys a nickel for serving mass on weekdays, and a dime on Sundays.

Sex abuse victim, 81, starts anew | Turkeys and Trophies

PENNSYLVANIA
Express-Times

By Express-Times opinion staff
on May 28, 2016

TROPHIES

Robert Corby Sr. is making up for lost time — and for the theft of childhood innocence many years ago. Corby, 81, of Bethlehem, is attending Northampton Community College after getting over the fear of taking classes and thinking he wouldn't be accepted. Before that, though, he took another leap — seeking therapy to deal with the memories of sexual abuse by a priest at Sts. Simon and Jude Catholic Church in West Bethlehem in 1947, when he was an altar boy. He said his life was changed by the Boston Globe's investigation into the cover-up of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. One of his regrets was never going to college, something is he now fulfilling through NCC's offer of free tuition for those 65 and over; he's indulging his love of philosophy and world geography. "I have opportunities to speak up for victims of sexual abuse," he says. "If I can even help one other victim to know I can understand their pain and suffering, I consider that a success."

National support group comes to area

PENNSYLVANIA
We Are Central PA

Ebensburg, Cambria County, Pa.

A national support group is heading to our area to help victims of the alleged sexual abuse within the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese.

The "Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests" or "SNAP" will be in Ebensburg on Tuesday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The self-help group will be at the Cottage Restaurant, located at 4554 Admiral Peary Hwy.

Anyone who has been impacted by the alleged priest sex abuse within the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese is welcomed to attend.

May 28, 2016

Priest Who Wrote Vatican’s Anti-Gay Guidelines Accused of Sex With Male Seminarians

UNITED STATES
Towleroad

by Michael Fitzgerald
May 28, 2016

A French priest who has written disparagingly about gay people and acted as a counselor to student and novice priests struggling with their sexuality has been accused of having sex with male clients.

Monsignor Tony Anatrella – who earlier this year told new Bishops they are not obligated to report a suspected abuser to authorities – is still regularly consulted on matters of sexuality by the Vatican.

One of his accusers said that Anatrella engaged in various sex acts with him in the Monsignor’s Paris office, with the activity allegedly occurring up until a few years ago. Daniel Lamarca claims Anatrella said he could rid him of his “pseudo-homosexuality” by performing sex acts.

According to Religion News Service, Lamarca added that although he reported Anatrella to the archbishop of Paris in 2001, nothing was done.

Monsignor Accused Of Having Sex With Young Priests Looking To Be “Cured” Of Homosexuality

FRANCE
NewNowNext

by Dan Avery

A French priest who worked to “cure” young seminary students of their homosexuality has been accused of having sexual relations with a number of the men in his care.

Monsignor Tony Anatrella, a consultant with the Vatican on issues of sexuality, routinely counseled novices sent to him by seminaries and monasteries across France. But at least four men claim Anatrella engaged in sexual acts with them during sessions in his office in Paris.

Anatrella reportedly claimed having sex with them would cure the men of their “pseudo-homosexuality.”

“You’re not gay, you just think that you are,” he reportedly told Daniel Lamarca, who was a 23-year-old seminarian when he first went to Anatrella in 1987.

“I know details about Anatrella’s body that could only be known to someone who has seen him naked,” Lamarca told the Dutch paper Nederlands Dagblad.

In 2001 he reported Anatrella to the archbishop of Paris but nothing was done. Five years later, after Lamarca went to the media and more victims surfaced, church officials expressed support for Anatrella and said the accusers were part of a “gay lobby” out to discredit the Church.

Laicos de Osorno protagonizaron nueva manifestación en contra de obispo Juan Barros

CHILE
Bio Bio

[The laity of Osorno staged another demonstration against Bishop Juan Barros.]

El Movimiento de Laicos y Laicas de Osorno se manifestó este viernes frente a la Catedral de esa ciudad por la falta de respuesta desde el Vaticano ante el exhorto enviado por la Corte Suprema.

Lo anterior, en relación a los dichos del Papa Francisco contra los opositores del obispo Juan Barros, cuestionado por su estrecho vínculo con el sacerdote Fernando Karadima.

El pontífice realizó el año pasado una polémica defensa a Barros, criticando en duros términos a sus detractores: “La única acusación que hubo contra ese obispo fue desacreditada por una Corte Judicial. Entonces por favor, no pierdan la serenidad. Osorno sufre sí… pero por tonta. Porque no abre su corazón a lo que Dios dice y se deja llevar por las macanas que dice toda esa gente”.

Amid ‘slanderous gossip,’ pastor at St. Rose in Miami Shores asked to resign

FLORIDA
Miami Herald

BY ANA VECIANA SUAREZ
aveciana-suarez@MiamiHerald.com

The pastor of St. Rose of Lima has been asked to step down after a group from the parish presented a 129-page report to the Archdiocese of Miami filled with allegations of sexual impropriety against Father Pedro Corces.

“This unfortunate chain of events has fractured the spirit and unity at this long established parish and school,” wrote Archbishop Thomas Wenski in a May 26 letter emailed to parents Thursday afternoon. A printed copy of the letter was being sent home in students’ communication folder Friday.

But far from calming parents’ concerns, the letter angered the group, which calls itself Christifidelis. The Wenski letter blames the fracturing of the parish on a small group. “Slanderous gossip, calumny, detraction — all sinful behaviors — have fomented division in the parish and school communities,” he wrote.

Miami attorney Rosa Armesto, who has children at the parish school in Miami Shores, is representing Christifidelis. She met with Wenski on May 16.

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests starts Tucson meetings

ARIZONA
Arizona Daily Star

Johanna Willett Arizona Daily Star

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, also known as SNAP, will launch Tucson support group meetings 6:30 p.m., Wednesday June 1.

Attending the confidential meeting at Martha Cooper Library, 1377 N. Catalina Ave., does not require reservations, according to press materials.

Email snaptucsonvickie@gmail.com for more information.

Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh says church employee stole $220K in donations

PENNSYLVANIA
Tribune-Review

BY AARON AUPPERLEE | Friday, May 27, 2016

A former employee of Good Samaritan Parish in Ambridge who ran up a six-figure casino gambling loss admitted to stealing more than $220,000 from donations for votive candles and the collection plate, the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh and Beaver County District Attorney's Office said Friday.

Thomas P. Ross, 62, known in the church as the Rev. Ambrose Ross, was arraigned Friday on three counts of theft and three charges of receiving stolen property. A phone call to a number listed for Ross was not returned.

Records from Rivers Casino showed Ross had gambling transactions totaling $2.7 million from 2010 to 2015, including more than $331,000 in losses, according to the district attorney's office.

He made $28,000 a year working for the parish.

Bishop David A. Zubik of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh said he was “deeply grieved” that someone would take money given to the church.

LOCALS RALLY AT CHURCH FOR PA. CHILD SEX ABUSE BILL

PENNSYLVANIA
6 ABC

WYNNEWOOD (WPVI) -- About a dozen people showed up in front of Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood Friday night to rally in support of a bill to remove the statute of limitations for child sex abuse in Pennsylvania.

The legislation is opposed by the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, which fears parishes would have to defend cases where perpetrators may even be dead.

Bill 1947 would drop the 30-year statute of limitations on child sex abuse crimes.

Scathing Report Accuses Miami Shores Priest Of Unholy Acts

FLORIDA
CBS Miami

[with video]

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A salacious scandal at a South Florida church where the parishioners hired a P.I. to tail their priest. And a scathing report accuses him of all kinds of unholy acts.

Armed with a book of evidence filled with pictures, receipts and police reports, a group of parents have proven that when it comes to their kids they don’t play.

“Parents gathered and pooled their money together to hire a private investigator,” said Rosa Armesto.

That investigator was charged with following a pastor at St. Rose of Lima in Miami Shores.

Armesto is an attorney who has children at the parish school, and is working with the parents.

They claim that Father Pedro Corces fired the previous maintenance crew and replaced them with his friends.

Church daycare employee facing multiple child sexual assault charges

TEXAS
Fox 7

By: Marcus Officer

A Gillespie County Grand Jury has indicted 31-year-old Seth Batterton with more than 12 counts of sexual assault involving a child. He is accused of sexually abusing as many as four young children since 2009 including a child from the Fredericksburg United Methodist Church Child Development Center, the place he worked prior to his arrest.

In April, a local middle school contacted Fredericksburg Police after a young girl, the daughter of Batterton's close friend, told them she was abused. She was not the only one.

According to court paperwork, Batterton is accused of abusing at least four young girls, one of the victims was under the age of 14. People we talked to were shocked.

Day care employee accused of sexually assaulting children

TEXAS
KXAN

[with video]

By Calily Bien and Leslie Rangel
Published: May 27, 2016

FREDERICKSBURG, Texas (KXAN) — A man who worked at a church day care in Fredericksburg is charged with 12 counts of sexual assault, one count of indecency with a child and one count of continuous sexual abuse of a child.

Fredericksburg police say they originally started investigating Seth Batterton, 31, when a child made an outcry to her school on April 19, 2016. The child says Batterton touched her inappropriately.

During the investigation, Batterton denied touching the child, but he did admit to working at the Methodist Church Day Care. It is not known what his position was with the church.

The church pastor, George Lumpkin, says as soon as he heard about the allegations, he fired Batterton and reported the incident to officials.

“We self-reported that and then in turn contacted the police and we terminated him immediately and took away his keys and banned him from any access to the campus,” Lumpkin says. “We also put in place kind of a safety plan to let the parents know what was going on.”

Prelate responds to newspapers series on sexual abuse

CANADA
The B.C. Catholic

By Deborah Gyapong
OTTAWA (CCN)

Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, SJ, of Ottawa responded to a series of clerical sexual abuse news stories in the archdiocese by acknowledging the great evil and pledging vigilance.

"This shocking moment can become a moment of purification for us in the Catholic community and serve to remind us to keep vigilant in protecting the vulnerable, especially children," said Archbishop Prendergast in a statement released to CCN as well as to the Ottawa Sun. "We will continue to commit to making sure that our protocols for safety and security are being followed and are effective."

"We Catholics may see in this reminder of our past failures a call from God to our Church to let go of all that does not come from the teaching and life of Jesus Christ, the Lord who loves, forgives, heals, and above all is merciful," he said.

Beginning May 17, the Postmedia's Ottawa Citizen and Ottawa Sun ran several days of front page coverage tracing historical abuses back to the 1950s. Using court records and the archives amassed at Sylvia MacEachern's blog "Sylvia's Site," Postmedia documented 41 victims of 11 priests.

NOT WORDS OF ENEMIES, SILENCE OF FRIENDS

IOWA
Catholic Globe

This article is a reprint of a Virtus monthly bulletin written by Sharon Doty, a frequent author and contributor to the Virtus ongoing training program. Doty has a master’s degree in human relations and a diploma from the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine Department of Pediatrics in Interdisciplinary Training in Child Abuse and Neglect, and she graduated with distinction with a juris doctorate from the University of Oklahoma College of Law. Doty has 10 years experience as a litigator and approximately 20 years as a staff person and volunteer in agencies advocating for victims of abuse and neglect in court.

“In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In our Protecting God’s Children for Adults sessions, we discuss two aspects of bystander engagement. First is the failure to speak up when an adult observer has a concern about the behavior of an adult toward a child. Second is engaging in gossip about the concern with no regard for the damage these conversations can cause.

In potentially abusive relationships, there is a range of behaviors – with elements that could be healthy and age-appropriate – and other elements that are child sexual abuse. There are many ways one could intervene. The difficulty is identifying the right circumstances to interrupt and the right action to take.

When we talk about the failure of adult observers to speak up, we recognize several factors that enter into the decision. There is a fear of retaliation, a concern that intervention will seem to be an accusation, the fear of “being wrong” about what’s happening, the fear of being sued for speaking up and not wanting to upset someone we know and/or with whom we work or volunteer. These concerns are universal.

Researchers considered what it takes for a bystander to overcome these concerns and take action. They found there are five steps to the process:

1. Notice the event along a continuum of actions
2. Consider whether the situation demands your action
3. Decide if you have a responsibility to act
4. Choose what form of assistance to use
5. Understand how to implement your actions safely

Confronting the enormity of these questions often leaves people with a decision to do nothing. The decision to “communicate your concerns” demands we be among those who chose an action(s) that creates a safe environment and protects potential victims from harm.

May 27, 2016

A Mennonite pastor is suspended and a denomination is splintered

UNITED STATES
Religion News Service

By Meghan Florian

(RNS) The Virginia Mennonite Conference suspended a pastor’s ministerial credentials Wednesday (May 25) because he officiated at a same-sex wedding.

The Rev. Isaac Villegas of the Chapel Hill (N.C.) Mennonite Fellowship and my pastor, is “at variance” with the conference, which belongs to the Mennonite Church USA. The denomination, with some 100,000 members, holds that marriage is “a covenant between one man and one woman for life.”

The conference was aware of Villegas’ plan to officiate the wedding well in advance, as the congregation has been in dialogue with it for years over the matter of fully welcoming LGBT people in the congregation.

But the conference went one step beyond an immediate suspension of the minister’s credentials. It shifted the tone of the conversation, not to mention the power dynamic, from “variance” to “misconduct.”

State Senate Republicans holding up child-sex abuse victims bill slammed by Democratic opponents

NEW YORK
New York Daily News

GLENN BLAIN
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Friday, May 27, 2016

ALBANY — State Senate Republicans are beginning to feel political heat for preventing a vote on legislation that would help victims of child sexual abuse obtain justice.

At least four Democratic candidates for Senate issued statements this week attacking GOP incumbents for opposing the Child Victims Act, which would eliminate the statute of limitations for cases of child sexual abuse and allow a one-year window for victims to revive old civil cases.

“It is outrageous that Carl Marcellino voted against the Child Victims Act and is defending the criminals who abused these defenseless children,” James Gaughran, who is taking on the senator from Nassau County, said in a statement.

Similar statements were issued by Democrats Sara Niccoli, who is challenging Sen. George Amedore of Schenectady County; Christopher Eachus, who’s challenging Sen. Bill Larkin of Orange County; and Ryan Cronin, who is taking on Sen. Kemp Hannon of Nassau County.

Closing arguments wrap up in sexual abuse trial of former priest

ALABAMA
WVTM

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. —Closing arguments wrapped up Friday afternoon in the trial of a former Catholic priest and EWTN television host charged with sexual abuse of a child under 12.

The judge gave the jury the option of starting deliberations Friday or waiting until Tuesday. The jury said they wanted to start on Friday, but deliberations have not yet begun.

During closing arguments, the prosecution argued this case is solely about the child under the age of 12 that David Stone is accused of sexually abusing.

Prosecutors said Stone inappropriately touched the victim on his bottom on multiple occasions.

The defense was quick to point out that the prosecution never called DHR to testify, an agency in charge of protecting children.

The defense also argued the victim may have somehow been persuaded to make the allegations against Stone.

Archdiocese, creditors clash over bankruptcy assets

MINNESOTA
National Catholic Reporter

Brian Roewe | May. 27, 2016

Starkly conflicting views of total assets have placed the St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese and its creditors at dramatic odds, with the latter claiming that the archdiocese's just-released reorganization plan represents 1 percent of total assets they say approach $2 billion.

On Thursday, May 26, the archdiocese filed its reorganization plan with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of the District of Minnesota. The plan proposes $65 million to establish an independent trust through which it would settle the 440 claims made by survivors of clergy sexual abuse. The trust is to be funded by a combination of archdiocesan cash, property sales, insurance settlement proceeds, and contributions from parish insurance settlements.

The archdiocese said that the $65 million figure surpasses what has been proposed in a majority of already diocesan bankruptcies. In a statement, newly installed Archbishop Bernard Hebda urged for fast approval of the plan.

"The longer the process lasts, more money is spent on attorneys' fees and bankruptcy expenses; and, in turn, less money is available for victims/survivors," he said.

"While we believe that this Plan is fair, we also know that some well-intentioned people may raise objections," said Hebda, who before his May 13 installation served as apostolic administrator of St. Paul-Minneapolis following Archbishop John Nienstedt's resignation last June.

Spanish bishop demands staff get 'anti-paedo certificate'

SPAIN
The Local

The Bishop of Lleida has requested all staff, including priests and monks, prove they are not paedophiles.

Priests working within the parish of Lleida in Catalonia must present an "anti-paedophile certificate" the parish’s bishop, Juan Piris Frígola, has announced.

Anyone in Spain can apply for the certificate - officially called the Certificate of Sexual Offences - a document which proves the holder has never committed a sexual crime.

The certificate can be obtained via a government website and must be carried by those working with children.

The request from the Bishop of Lleida will affect at least 80 priests and around 100 monks as well as at least 400 volunteers who work with children - a number which, the bishop's office admitted, could be much higher, as it wasn’t sure how many volunteers works on activities in every church, Spanish newspaper El Periódico reported.

The final number will be known in September, the deadline for people to present the relevant documents to obtain the anti-paedophile certificate but parish insiders estimate that "at least 600 people" will be required to obtain the certificate.

Wealthy sex assault survivor pledges to defeat GOP lawmaker who won’t let victims sue their abusers

NEW YORK
Raw Story

TRAVIS GETTYS
27 MAY 2016

A wealthy New York businessman has made it his personal mission to defeat state lawmakers who won’t pass a bill to allow child sex abuse survivors to sue their abusers.

Gary Greenberg, a minority owner of the Vernon Downs racetrack, has pledged $100,000 of his own money to unseat state Sen. John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse) and other lawmakers who oppose a bill that would eliminate the civil and criminal statute of limitations for child sex abuse crimes, reported The Post-Standard.

DeFrancisco is the Senate deputy majority leader and an attorney who specializes in malpractice litigation, said he won’t bow to political pressure and back a bill that would grant victims a one-year window to sue abusers and their employer for abuse that happened decades ago.

“To go back forever, witnesses die, recollections get worse as time goes on,” DeFrancisco said. “I think it’s something that should not be done because statute of limitations have a purpose. The purpose is to make sure there is a proceeding based upon fact.”

The 57-year-old Greenberg, who is the victim of childhood sexual abuse himself, has formed the new Fighting for Children PAC seeded by his own six-figure contribution.

He said DeFrancisco’s argument against lawsuits involving decades-old claims ignore the fact that victims must still prove their claims to win their cases.

Former EWTN priest calls sex abuse allegations a 'scheme' by mother of his child

ALABAMA
AL.com

By Greg Garrison | ggarrison@al.com

A former EWTN priest and TV personality who hosted a talk show for youth from 2001-2007 called the allegations that he sexually abused his son a "scheme" by the mother, who denied him further visitation after saying the child told her of improper touching.

"I know absolutely that this was not true," David Stone testified today about claims he sexually abused his son. "It was some kind of scheme going on."

Stone, 55, said he moved to Birmingham in 1990 and lived at the Annunciation Friary in Irondale as he served as a Franciscan friar and studied to become a priest. He was ordained as a priest in 1998, he said.

Stone met the mother of his child, Christina Presnell, in 1998. She began work at EWTN in about 2002 and attended Mass at the EWTN chapel with her children. Stone said under questioning he may have invited Presnell to his ordination service; he was not sure.

The two of them gradually become close friends, he testified. "It was organic, natural," he said. "We had a good friendship."

By 2006 or 2007, that relationship had become sexual, although they had been "passionate" before that, he said.

"We would be passionate with one another, but every time we would be passionate it wasn't a conjugal act," Stone said.