Abuse Tracker
A Blog by Kathy Shaw
 
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BishopAccountability.org – Documenting the Abuse Crisis

September 27, 2016

Chicago-based religious order sued for docs on allegations

ILLINOIS
Beatrice Daily Sun

By MICHAEL TARM

CHICAGO (AP) — A 51-year-old Colorado man who says he was sexually abused when he was around 7 years old by a teenager who later became a prominent Roman Catholic priest — one known for his work with at-risk kids — on Monday sued the Chicago-based religious order to which the priest belongs, seeking the release of all records related to allegations of abuse by any of its priests.

Eric Johnson's lawsuit names the Claretians Missionaries, a 165-year-old order that has around 3,000 priests and brothers in about 60 countries, as the defendant. The suit filed in Cook County Circuit Court says that Father Bruce Wellems was around 15 when the abuse occurred in the early 1970s. Johnson says the abuse occurred over about a year.

Several phone messages left for Wellems on a private phone and at the Claretians headquarters were not returned Monday. He has previously acknowledged inappropriately touching of a minor when he himself was under 18, but he has also said he never again abused a child, including never as an adult and never as a priest. Messages seeking comment from the Claretians also weren't returned.

Victims of paedophile Bill Kenneally call for a parish priest to resign as chair of a primary school board of management

IRELAND
Irish Mirror

27 SEP 2016
BY SAOIRSE MCGARRIGLE

Monsignor John Shine is an uncle of Bill Kenneally and heads up the Holy Cross National School in Tramore

Victims of paedophile Bill Kenneally are calling for a parish priest to resign as chair of a primary school board of management.

Monsignor John Shine is an uncle of Bill Kenneally and heads up the Holy Cross National School in Tramore, Co Waterford.

The Sunday Independent reported a Waterford woman told Bill Kenneally’s cousin – former TD Brendan – her son had been abused in 2002 but he called the priest instead of reporting it to gardai.

Sports coach Bill Kenneally, 66, was jailed in February for 14 years for abusing boys in the 1980s – and now his victims want the cleric to be removed from his position.

Diocese cooperating in investigation into abuse, 'a grave sin and crime'

PENNSYLVANIA
Lehigh Valley Live

By Kurt Bresswein | For lehighvalleylive.com

The Diocese of Allentown this week affirmed its commitment to helping bring to justice those within its ranks who abuse minors.

Bishop John O. Barres issued a statement Sunday saying the division of the Roman Catholic church is cooperating in a new Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office inquiry into handling of allegations of abuse.

Diocese of Allentown spokesman Matt Kerr would not previously confirm the diocese's involvement in the grand jury investigation, or say if the diocese was subpoenaed.

Six Pennsylvania dioceses are under investigation, Barres wrote in the letter to parishioners, posted on the diocesan website. The inquiry follows the Allentown Diocese's cooperation in 2002 with district attorneys from the five counties that make up the diocese, during which records were shared of priests against whom allegations of abuse of minors had been leveled.

"Since then, we have notified the relevant district attorneys of claims of abuse," Barres wrote. "The state attorney general's office has subpoenaed our records on all possible abusers, and we are in the process of turning over that material. ...

"The Diocese of Allentown is committed to the protection and safety of the children and young people entrusted to its care. To this end, it is the policy of the Diocese of Allentown to cooperate with law enforcement. We will cooperate with the attorney general's office just as we have cooperated with the district attorneys."

Korean American Pastors Glean Advice on Handling Abuse Situations in Ministry

UNITED STATES
Christianity Today

RACHAEL LEE SEP 26, 2016

About 50 Korean American pastors gathered at Cerritos Mission Church earlier this month for a 'Crisis Management Seminar' hosted by Dr. Benjamin Shin, the director of the Asian American Doctor of Ministry cohort at Biola University's Talbot School of Theology.

The seminar was split into two parts, the first which featured Dave Carder, a counselor who has dealt with hundreds of cases of extra-marital affairs, sexual abuse, and other related incidents. Shin spoke during the second portion, sharing updates on an incident that occurred in July in a mission team sent by the college ministry Korean American Campus Mission (KCM), an incident which Shin said triggered this seminar.

“We wanted to provide this time to provide resources for Korean American pastors, especially since they don't go over this in most seminaries,” said Shin, who shared a list of counselors, lawyers, and police officers who could help in similar situations.

For many involved in the KCM incident, which involved allegations that a pastor engaged in inappropriate conduct during the mission trip, this was their first such experience dealing with moral failure among ministry leaders. For Shin, who helped KCM's leaders throughout the handling of the incident, it was his seventh time.

IS THE RISE OF “NONES” ACTUALLY THE DECLINE OF CATHOLICS?

UNITED STATES
Religion Dispatches

BY PATRICIA MILLER
SEPTEMBER 26, 2016

The Public Religion Research Institute is out with another fascinating report on one of the most significant religious trends of our time: the dramatic rise in disaffiliation, or, as some call them, the “nones.”

PPRI found that a fully a quarter of all Americans, and a whopping 39% of young adults, now say they have no religious affiliation, making the unaffiliated the largest “religious” group in a country long known for its high levels of religiosity.

And while the rise of the “nones” will continue to make headlines and shape culture for a long time to come, there is another largely unnoticed trend lurking in the numbers: just how much the growth in the nones has been fueled by the disaffiliation of Roman Catholics. According to PPRI:

While non-white Protestants and non-Christian religious groups have remained fairly stable, white Protestants and Catholics have all experienced declines, with Catholics suffering the largest decline among major religious groups: a 10-percentage point loss overall. Nearly one-third (31%) of Americans report being raised in a Catholic household, but only about one in five (21%) Americans identify as Catholic currently.

The Catholic rate of disaffiliation dwarfs the rate for any other faith tradition; the next biggest “loser” in terms of disaffiliation are the mainline Protestant denominations, which saw a 4.5-point loss, while white evangelical denominations saw a net drop of only 2.2 points, largely because they have both a lower rate of disaffiliation and a fairly robust rate of new adherents.

Church pastor sends statement to congregation after Problem Solvers story

COLORADO
KDVR

SEPTEMBER 26, 2016, BY ASHLEY MICHELS

THORNTON, Colo. – Agape Bible Church canceled all church services this past weekend following a Problem Solvers investigation into whether their head pastor tried to cover up an alleged sexual abuse case within the church.

A week ago, Agape’s former associate pastor Robert “Bob” Wyatt turned himself into police. He is accused of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl who went to that church.

Police documents and former congregation members allege that Agape’s head pastor Darrell Ferguson knew about the allegations in July and refused to go to police.

A 16-page arrest affidavit describes evidence that Ferguson knew about the allegations by July 21st, 2016 when Wyatt reportedly confessed the crime to the girl’s parents.

“Ultimately Darrell and [the girl’s parent] agreed to not report the sexual assault to the police or social services because they were concerned with what would happen to Bob,” the affidavit alleges.

Residential-school rulings raise concerns about denied compensation claims

CANADA
The Globe and Mail

GLORIA GALLOWAY
OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Sep. 26, 2016

Three recent court rulings have overturned adjudicators’ decisions to deny compensation to people who were abused at Indian residential schools, raising questions about how many other former students have been unfairly refused redress.

As the process created by the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement to provide compensation for the abuse nears the end of its work, the court rulings – two in Ontario and one in Manitoba – suggest that problems with decisions made by adjudicators are not always caught in the reviews and re-reviews to which applicants are entitled.

Bill Erasmus, the regional chief of the Northwest Territories for the Assembly of First Nations, who is responsible for the AFN’s residential schools file, said many people who were abused at the schools are intimidated by the complexity of the Independent Assessment Process (IAP) and distraught at reliving the memories. For those reasons, he said, they often do not pursue claims that were unfairly denied.

“Many people didn’t get the money that they ought to have,” Mr. Erasmus said, “and they just give up.”

In July, Justice Paul Perell of the Ontario Superior Court determined that an adjudicator made a “glaring and crucial error” when she relied on her own knowledge of how the Catholic church operates to deny compensation to a claimant who said a priest raped him at a residential school in Spanish, Ont. Her assumptions, which incorrectly led her to conclude the assault must have happened after the school was closed, should not have influenced her findings, the judge said, but neither the review nor the re-review corrected the error. He ordered that the man be compensated.

Cardinal Dolan ousted priest for sex abuse claim, but accuser's lawyer says children still at risk

NEW YORK
New York Daily News

BY MICHAEL O’KEEFFE
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Monday, September 26, 2016

Timothy Cardinal Dolan has removed a Rockland County priest accused of sexual abuse — but children may still be at risk, said a lawyer for the clergyman’s alleged victim.

Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian said the Archdiocese of New York told him in August that Monsignor John J. O’Keefe — most recently the pastor of St. Margaret of Antioch in Pearl River — had been permanently removed from his duties following an investigation into allegations he had sexually abused his client in the 1980s.

But the archdiocese has not shared its findings with the public, which Garabedian argued puts kids at risk. The archdiocese continues to provide O’Keefe with a place to live, although it would not comment on where the disgraced priest has been living.

“Children must immediately be made safe from predators like Monsignor O’Keefe,” Garabedian said. “The archdiocese failed miserably in its supervision of O’Keefe, and now it is playing more children in potential jeopardy.”

September 26, 2016

Chicago-based religious order sued for docs on allegations

ILLINOIS
Associated Press

By MICHAEL TARM
Sep. 26, 2016

CHICAGO (AP) — A 51-year-old Colorado man who says he was sexually abused when he was around 7 years old by a teenager who later became a prominent Roman Catholic priest — one known for his work with at-risk kids — on Monday sued the Chicago-based religious order to which the priest belongs, seeking the release of all records related to allegations of abuse by any of its priests.

Eric Johnson's lawsuit names the Claretians Missionaries, a 165-year-old order that has around 3,000 priests and brothers in about 60 countries, as the defendant. The suit filed in Cook County Circuit Court says that Father Bruce Wellems was around 15 when the abuse occurred in the early 1970s. Johnson says the abuse occurred over about a year.

Several phone messages left for Wellems on a private phone and at the Claretians headquarters were not returned Monday. He has previously acknowledged inappropriately touching of a minor when he himself was under 18, but he has also said he never again abused a child, including never as an adult and never as a priest. Messages seeking comment from the Claretians also weren't returned.

Speaking at a news conference at his lawyer's Chicago office, Johnson said he decided to sue because the Claretians did not follow through on pledges the order made to Johnson earlier to closely monitor Wellems and to not allow him access to children unless another adult was present.

Life Story for Paul Likoudis

NEW YORK
Vedder and Scott Funeral Home

Paul Augustine Likoudis, age 61 of Caywood, NY, passed away due to complications in his fight against cancer on September 22, 2016. He was surrounded by loved ones at the time of his passing. The son of James and Ruth Likoudis of Montour Falls, Paul is survived by his brother Mark, and sisters Therese Williams, Celine Schanzer, Cathy Kader, and Margaret Byerley. Paul recently celebrated his 35th Wedding Anniversary with his loving wife Paulette, and sons Peter (Sarafina), Gabriel, and Vincent, and daughters Genevieve (Rick) Bitter, Kateri, and Irene (Matthew) DeMarco. He had 6 grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.

Paul was born in Buffalo, NY, blessed by Bishop James McNulty in St. Joseph's New Cathedral, and grew up in St. Mary of the Lake parish in Watkins Glen, NY, where he served as an altar boy. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in American History and European Literature from Eisenhower College in 1975.

He worked as an artist/illustrator for the Catholic News Service, as assistant editor of the Catholic Commentator in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he met his wife Paulette, and then became “special projects editor” for the Canadian Catholic Register. In 1990, after 8 years as editor and photographer for Rocket Publications, he became news editor for The Wanderer. For over two decades, he reported on the state of the Catholic Church in the United States; his range of writings included little known aspects of American Catholic history, as well as lucid commentaries on just war ethics, social justice principles, and the theological and political abuse of the findings of psychology and sociology.

PAUL LIKOUDIS: REST IN PEACE

NEW YORK
Church Militant

by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th. • ChurchMilitant.com • September 26, 2016

One of the giants upon whose shoulders we at Church Militant stand

A faithful son of Holy Mother Church, Paul A. Likoudis went before Our Lord on September 22 as a result of his three-year battle with cancer. A brief obituary can be read here.

His body will be buried September 28 near his hometown of Caywood, New York, but his legacy of defending the Catholic faith, oftentimes against enemies from within the Church Herself, will live on in the many thousands he inspired by his writings and talks.

In praying for the repose of Likoudis' soul, Michael Voris remarked that Paul was "truly a good man" and "a greatly beloved defender of the Faith." Voris pointed out the influence that Likoudis had on his own apostolate. "He was very involved in the initial resistance to the rebellion in the Church, and is one of the giants upon whose shoulders we consider ourselves here at Church Militant standing." ...

He deserves praise for exposing Church corruption in the years prior to 2002, when the clergy sex abuse scandal exploded in the secular mainstream media."

Former Pearl River priest removed from ministry

NEW YORK
The Journal News

Colleen Wilson, cwilson2@lohud.com September 26, 2016

“This claim is another example of why the statute of limitations has to be amended so that victims of sexual abuse can try to heal,” said Mitchell Garabedian, lawyer for the accuser.

A former Pearl River priest and Westchester Catholic school leader accused of sexual abuse has been permanently removed from his ministry by the Archdiocese of New York, according to a lawyer for his alleged victim.

Monsignor John O’Keefe, who served for more than a decade as president at Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains, had been suspended last year from St. Margaret of Antioch Parish in Pearl River after he was accused of sexually abusing a minor on two occasions — in New York and Virginia — more than three decades ago.

The announcement of O'Keefe's status was made Sunday afternoon by New Jersey-based nonprofit Road to Recovery Inc., which helps victims of sexual abuse. It issued a joint press release with Mitchell Garabedian, the lawyer for the accuser, who said he had been informed of the action by a church official.

Joseph Zwilling, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York, said the archdiocese would not make public statements on the case until the process is completed, which includes bringing the matter to the Holy See, the headquarters of the Catholic Church in Vatican City.

But a church official confirmed to The Journal News that O'Keefe will never be permitted to function again as a priest.

Child sex abuse bill opponent responds to new law

GUAM
Guam Daily Post

Neil Pang | Post News Staff

As Catholic lay protestors hail the signing of Bill 326-33 into Public Law 33-187 as a moral victory, others in the community have not been so quick to embrace the new law.

Dr. Ricardo Eusebio, president of the lay organization "I Familan Mangatoliku Siha Pari Si Apuron," or "Catholic Families for Apuron," told the Post that members of the organization were disappointed at the enactment of the bill because it fails to fully address the injustice perpetrated against victims of child sex abuse.

The new law lifts the statute of limitations on civil lawsuits involving child sex abuse.

"You cannot repair an injustice by creating another injustice," he said. "It specifically discriminates against private institutions and gives the government a free pass."

Opinion: Stronger accountability makes the church safer

UNITED STATES
Mennonite World Review

Sep 26, 2016 by Sylvia E. Shirk

A Mennonite conference took action this summer to make the church a safer space by enhancing the accountability of its credentialed leaders.

Atlantic Coast Conference of Mennonite Church USA, which includes 33 congregations in Pennsylvania and several other states, sent a letter to all its credentialed leaders informing them that each one needed to renew their ministry credential.

The letter stated: “Because the Credentialed Leaders Covenant and the Child Safety Affirmation Statement help ACC fulfill its legal obligation under Pennsylvania’s Child Protective Services Law, those out of compliance with this policy will have their credentials suspended effective July 9.”

The required forms included the Sexual Misconduct Policy, MC USA-ACC Code of Ethics and either the Credentialed Leaders Covenant or Child Safety Affirmation Statement.

In the end, all but four of the 75 credentialed leaders met the July 8 deadline. Of those whose credential was suspended, two have since completed the forms and reinstated their credential. Of the remaining two, one has not been active in ACC and the other has left the conference and would face the credentialing contractual requirements of any new network or conference.

Ezzati defendió decisión del Vaticano de negar antecedentes sobre obispo Barros

CHILE
ADN 91.7

[Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati defended the Vatican's decision to deny background information on Bishop Juan Barros that was requested by secular court authorities in Chile. He is accused of witnessing abuse of minors by priest Fernando Karadima but did nothing about it.]

El cardenal Ricardo Ezzati defendió la decisión del Vaticano de negar los antecedentes del obispo de Osorno, Juan Barros. Dichos antecedentes permitieron exculpar al religioso como encubridor de los abusos cometidos por Fernando Karadima.

"La Santa Sede contestó el segundo exhorto y en ese segundo exhorto presentaba algunas objeciones, entre ellas, la fundamentación del exhorto y de acuerdo a la legislación internacional y de la legislación del Vaticano la Santa Sede comunicó en un comunicado verbal el día primero de abril de este año que eso no tenía curso", dijo Ezzati.

Mending Fences

UNITED STATES
The Good Men Project

I’ve always been intrigued by the different choices people make, while working to restore good boundaries in their life after an experience of abuse. Whether it’s re-establishing the broken boundary with the abusive person, or finding a safe way to relate to others, the memory of betrayed trust can complicate decisions about how to maintain safety.

When I think about my own relationship to personal boundaries, I’m often reminded of the iconic phrase, “good fences make good neighbors.” I learned the line from Robert Frost’s poem Mending Wall, first published 100 years ago, in 1914. The poem describes an annual spring ritual of two neighbors, together restoring the winter damage to an ancient stone wall between their abutting properties.

The narrator complains of the tedious, hard work involved every year, and notes that neither of them even has livestock that would require a solid fence line. His neighbor just patiently repeats the phrase, ‘’Good fences make good neighbors.”

My own healing process and my work with abused kids and violent adults inclines me to see a lot of wisdom in the neighbor’s approach. Without engaging in an argument or accusing the narrator of bad intention or being a potential “trespasser,” he respectfully insists on the firm limit he wants to live by. He does it even using the same sentence, setting a goal of being good neighbors!

But what’s a good fence?

MEDIA RELEASE – SEPTEMBER 25, 2016

NEW YORK
Road to Recovery

MONSIGNOR JOHN J. O’KEEFE PERMANENTLY REMOVED FROM MINISTRY IN THE ARCHDIOCESE OF NEW YORK BECAUSE OF CREDIBLE CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ABUSE CLAIMS

Monsignor John J. O’Keefe, suspended Pastor of St. Margaret of Antioch Parish in Pearl River, New York, former Principal of Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains, New York, former teacher and guidance counselor at Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx, New York, and former parish priest of Christ the King Parish in the Bronx, New York, has been removed permanently from serving as a priest by Cardinal Timothy Dolan because of credible childhood sexual abuse claims

One childhood sexual abuse victim of Monsignor John J. O’Keefe was sexually abused in two locations on separate occasions:

1) In a hotel room in Virginia during a Cardinal Hayes High School trip to Washington, DC, to visit with a Hispanic Congressman and tour the nation’s Capital, in the 1980s; and,

2) At the Irish Christian Brothers’ novitiate retreat house, Santa Maria, in Esopus (West Park), New York, during a “Cardinal’s Leadership Program” training weekend for Hispanic youth when he was a student at Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx, New York, in the 1980s

Why has Cardinal Timothy Dolan NOT announced that Monsignor John J. O’Keefe has been removed permanently from ministry as a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, and why has Cardinal Dolan not announced that the sexual abuse case against Monsignor John J. O’Keefe has or has not been sent to the Vatican for Monsignor O’Keefe’s removal from the priesthood?

What
A press conference announcing the permanent removal from priestly ministry of Monsignor John J. O’Keefe, a well-known priest of the Archdiocese of New York, who has spent decades in ministry to children in schools and parishes, and as Director of the “Cardinal’s Leadership Program” for Hispanic youth

When
Monday, September 26, 2016 at Noon

Where
On the public sidewalk in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Fifth Avenue and East 50th Street, Manhattan

Who
Robert M. Hoatson, Ph.D., Co-founder and President of Road to Recovery, Inc., a non-profit charity based in New Jersey that assists victims of sexual abuse and their families

Why
“John Doe” met then Father John J. O’Keefe at Christ the King Parish in the Bronx in approximately 1975 when he was a minor child and a parishioner of Christ the King Parish. He did simple jobs in the rectory and was an altar boy. Father John J. O’Keefe then became a teacher and guidance counselor at a nearby Bronx high school, Cardinal Hayes High School, where “John Doe” attended high school. When “John Doe” was approximately 15-17 years old and a student at Cardinal Hayes High School, he was sexually abused by Father John J. O’Keefe during two school-sponsored events. “John Doe” was invited to accompany Monsignor John J. O’Keefe and a group of Cardinal Hayes High School students on a school trip to the Washington, DC area, where Monsignor John J. O’Keefe sexually abused “John Doe” in a hotel room in Virginia. Sometime later, as Director of the “Cardinal’s Leadership Program” for Hispanic youth, Father John J. O’Keefe, who was rewarded with the title “Monsignor” by the Cardinal Archbishop of New York, sexually abused “John Doe” during a leadership training weekend at the novitiate retreat house of the Irish Christian Brothers, Santa Maria, in Ulster County, New York. “John Doe” suffered significant damages as a result of the sexual abuse by Monsignor John J. O’Keefe, including dropping out of Fordham University, because of the effects of the sexual abuse.

It will be demanded on behalf of “John Doe” and the other childhood sexual abuse victims of Monsignor John J. O’Keefe that Cardinal Timothy Dolan:

1) Investigate the “Cardinal’s Leadership Program” for Hispanic youth, reach out to those Hispanic young men who were part of that program and may have been sexually abused, and provide the necessary resources to help those men heal;

2) Announce publicly that Monsignor John J. O’Keefe has been removed from priestly ministry permanently and that he will be monitored on a full-time basis; and,

3) Confirm that the Vatican has received the sexual abuse file of Monsignor John J. O’Keefe so he may be removed from the priesthood.

“The secrecy of the Archdiocese of New York surrounding the sexual abuse of an innocent child by Monsignor John J. O’Keefe is another example of why statute of limitations laws must be changed to help sexual abuse victims heal and to protect innocent children.” – Attorney Mitchell Garabedian

Contacts
Robert M. Hoatson, Ph.D. - Road to Recovery, Inc., 862-368-2800 – roberthoatson@gmail.com
Attorney Mitchell Garabedian – Boston, MA – 617-523-6250

Catholic church needs better way to select bishops

VATICAN CITY
National Catholic Reporter

Robert Mickens | Sep. 26, 2016 A Roman Observer

Pope Francis really believes there is a serious lack of quality among priests and bishops in the Catholic church. Otherwise, he would not talk so often about the negative traits of certain men in ordained ministry, as he's done again several times in recent days.

"The world is tired of lying charmers and -- allow me say -- of 'fashionable' priests or 'fashionable' bishops," the pope said on Sept. 16 to a group of 94 bishops consecrated in the last two years for dioceses in mission territories.

"The people 'scent' -- the People of God have God's 'scent' -- the people can 'scent' and they withdraw when they recognize narcissists, manipulators, defenders of personal causes and standard bearers of worthless crusades," the pope warned the so-called "baby bishops," who were in Rome for a training seminar.

He also cautioned them about too easily accepting seminarians or incardinating already ordained priests into their dioceses.

Reminder to register for private sessions by 30 September

AUSTRALIA
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

26 September, 2016

Survivors of institutional child sexual abuse are reminded that they must register with the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse by Friday 30 September 2016 if they wish to have a private session.

Private sessions give survivors of child sexual abuse in an institution the ability to share their story directly with a Commissioner in a private setting.

The Royal Commission has now held almost 6,000 private sessions and it expects to have held more than 7000 private sessions by the time it completes its work at the end of next year.

In April this year, the Royal Commission announced it would close registrations for private sessions on 30 September due to the strong demand from survivors to share their story, which resulted in a queue of people waiting to meet with a Commissioner.

The Hon Justice Peter McClellan AM, Chair of the Royal Commission, said that unless applications were closed off well before the final report was completed, many people seeking a private session would be disappointed.

He said that it would be ‘intolerable for a survivor to be accepted for a private session only to find we could not meet with them.’

Lev Tahor sect in Guatemala resettles, claiming harassment

GUATEMALA
Times of Israel

A community of ultra-Orthodox Jews living outside Guatemala’s capital moved out Sunday, claiming persecution because of their faith.

The 500-strong group hails from the United States, Israel, Canada, several European countries, Mexico and El Salvador.

The leader of the Lev Tahor community, the US rabbi Uriel Goldman, said his people are moving to a village in eastern Guatemala because of harassment including a raid of the group’s buildings on September 13 on the outskirts of the capital.

Guatemalan authorities said that search was carried out at the request of Israeli authorities to search for a girl who was barred from leaving Israel.

The raid was also aimed at investigating allegations of child abuse, the Guatemalan authorities said. The community includes some 150 minors.

“We cannot take any more,” said Goldman. “We are going to start over.”

El enojo de los osorninos tras la posible visita del Papa a Chile

CHILE
El Vaca Nudo

[There is not a lot of joy in Osorno after announcement that Pope Francis possibly will visit Chile next year as part of a tour of several South American country. This is because all still remember how the pope supported Bishop Juan Barros after he was accused to covering up the sexual offensesof priest Fernando Keradima. Recall that in the video that was widely disseminated, the pope himself said that the people of Osorno are "silly" in not believing Barros who has denied the allegation against him.]

Alegría es lo menos que hay en Osorno luego del anuncio del Papa Francisco que dijo que posiblemente visitará Chile el próximo año en el marco de una gira por algunos países sudamericanos.

Esto, porque todos aún recuerdan cómo el Sumo Pontífice apoyó al obispo Juan Barros luego de que éste fuese acusado de encubrir los delitos sexuales de Fernando Karadima.

Precisamente el día miércoles, cuando se anunció su posible visita, El Vaticano se negó a entregar antecedentes sobre la defensa que hizo Francisco I.

Victims celebrate passage of Bill 326, but say they're far from done

GUAM
KUAM

Updated: Sep 26, 2016

By Krystal Paco

It's a law that opposers have said could potentially bankrupt the local Catholic Church. While others say it's a step toward healing for victims of child sexual abuse. Late Friday afternoon, Governor Eddie Calvo put pen to paper and signed the highly-controversial Bill 326 into law. While the church braces for doomsday, survivors celebrate.

Survivors of child sexual abuse, the time is now. "We want justice," stated Roland Sondia, adding, "and we think this is the opportunity now." Sondia and others who have publicly accused clergy men of child molestation can finally get their day in court. "I'm very happy that the governor signed it. By doing that that, he just made the island a much safer place for our children," he shared.

Governor Eddie Calvo shared the same sentiment in his weekly address, in which he said, "I hope that we can now move forward and begin the process of healing. I ask everyone to pray for our island's victims - of this most heinous crime, most especially the vulnerable of our community, our children."

The Archdiocese of Agana meanwhile is preparing for the new law's potentially crippling consequences, including bankruptcy, school closures, and an end to the church's community services for the less fortunate. Days before Calvo took action on the legislation, the church circulated a petition to block the bill. Over 4,500 signatures were submitted to the Governor's Office to veto the measure. The church offered assurance that a trust fund was being established for victims of sex abuse by church clergy.

Delegate to the administrator Father Jeff San Nicolas said, "Our archdiocese did not want to cause division and we are thankful for those who spoke up and expressed themselves and we will work cooperatively and fully with the process that justice is served and we want to meet the needs of whatever we can as a church to help that process of justice take place. And thank for all those who have made this bill, made the will of the people very clear and we're cooperative with that."

September 25, 2016

Protesting Catholics call Archbishop Hon "a failure"

GUAM
KUAM

By Jason Salas

Members of the Concerned Catholics of Guam and the Laity Forward Movement continue to their weekly picket line on the steps for the Hagatna Cathedral Sunday morning. Messages on their signs have changed slightly -- now calling Apostolic Administrator Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai a failure and demanding he go home to Rome.

Opinion: It's time for Guam's second great awakening

GUAM
Pacific Daily News

Steven Castro McManus September 24, 2016

The long and arduous "mumon linahyan" that has engulfed Guam’s community for a number of years is echoing schisms of another era in history – 1517 to be exact and seems to be resulting in the same kind of reformation that followed. Pope Leo X’s corruption that exploited the faithful seem to have been reborn today in the person of one Archbishop Anthony Apuron. Unfortunately, the people of Guam have been suffering at the hands of this kind of colonial screw balling since Magellan “discovered” Guam in March 1521 and perhaps the passage of Bill 326 is the beginning of a new era.

Leo’s pattern of abuse served only to alienate indigenous peoples and drive them into the arms of another genus of Christianity. The radical ideas of Martin Luther was not just spiritual; it was nationalist in nature. German sentiment against the powerful Italian Medici was fertile soil for a reformation that would give them their own Christianity – thus the Lutheran Church was born. The Scots would get their Presbyterian Church, the English, their Anglican Church and the American colonists their Methodist and Baptist churches. And in each case, better systems of governments ensued.

Is it a coincidence that Guam’s religious rumblings are occurring simultaneously with the islands growing movement toward decolonization? Massachusetts outcast and Rhode Island founder Roger Williams probably wouldn’t think so. His Christian zeal for a better church in 1636 also fashioned a more democratic state that would inform the ideals of the U.S. Constitution more than a hundred years later.

Church protest grows

GUAM
Guam Daily Post

Neil Pang | Post News Staff

About 150 Catholic activists – the most so far – turned out yesterday morning for the weekly protests held outside the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica in Hagåtña. Stretching to the driveways on both ends of the walkway in front of the cathedral, protestors were stalled at multiple segments of the picket line as they adjusted to the unprecedented turnout.

The reason

Taking part were members of Silent No More, Concerned Catholics of Guam and the Laity Forward Movement – the three lay organizations that have organized the major protests concerning the allegations of child sex abuse against members of the clergy, the property dispute over the Redemptoris Mater Seminary and the call for the laicization of Archbishop Anthony Apuron. In addition, yesterday’s picket line included parishioners from the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Toto.

Picket organizers said the Toto parishioners took part as a show of support for their pastor, Rev. Mike Crisostomo. Crisostomo had recently been reprimanded by Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai, the apostolic administrator to the Archdiocese of Agana.

"We stand in solidarity behind our parish priest," said John Taitano, member of the Toto parish council. "We are here to support him."

According to sources, Crisostomo attended a meeting of the Presbyteral Council of the Archdiocese where Hon is said to have singled him out and accused him of disobedience in the presence of other council members.

An einem verfluchten Ort

AUSTRALIEN
Frankfurter Allgemeine

[In the Australian city of Ballarat. abused priests and teachers abused children for years. To this day, many people refuse to see the truth in the eye.]

on TILL FÄHNDERS, BALLARAT

Das australische Städtchen Ballarat ist auf Gold gebaut. Abenteurer, die auf der Suche nach schnellem Reichtum gekommen waren, hatten die Ortschaft Mitte des 19. Jahrhunderts gegründet. Die gewaltigen Vorkommen im Buschland nördlich von Melbourne führten damals zu einem fiebrigen Goldrausch. Bis heute zeugen die verschnörkelten Fassaden aus der Zeit der britischen Königin Viktoria von diesem Reichtum. Ein bewaffneter Aufstand in Ballarat im Jahr 1854, mit dem Goldsucher sich mehr Rechte sichern wollten, wird sogar als Ursprung der australischen Demokratie gesehen. Man ist hier stolz auf diese Geschichte.

Jedoch liegt ein anderer Teil ihrer Vergangenheit wie ein dunkler Schatten über der ehemaligen Goldgräbersiedlung im Bundesstaat Victoria. In Ballarat fand einer der schlimmsten sexuellen Missbrauchsskandale in der Geschichte Australiens und der katholischen Kirche statt. Über Jahre hinweg hatten sich Priester, Mönche, Ordensleute, Lehrer und von der Kirche beschäftigte Laien an Minderjährigen vergangen.

PERUGIA: “Don Lucio Gatti ha abusato di me. Avevo 13 anni”

ITALIA
Rete L'Abuso

[A 20-year-old man has gone to police and accused priest Lucio Gatti of abusing her when he was age 13.]

E l’agghiacciante racconto di un ragazzo oggi 20enne, ai carabinieri, ai quali racconta le presunte violenze psicologiche e sessuali che avrebbe subito da don Lucio Gatti quando aveva 13 anni, quando i servizi sociali lo portarono via di casa per affidarlo ad una delle comunità gestite da don Lucio, il centro Caritas di San Fatucchio.

La querela risale allo scorso aprile quando il ragazzo che stavamo da tempo seguendo ha trovato il coraggio di denunciare i presunti abusi.

Esplora il significato del termine: «Don Angelo mi ha violentato a 9 anni», nuovo testimone contro il parroco bresciano«Don Angelo mi ha violentato a 9 anni», nuovo testimone contro il parroco bresciano

ITALIAS
Corriere della Sera

"Don Angelo raped me in nine years," said a new witness against priest Angelo Blanchetti from Brescia.]

di Mara Rodella

Impresse nero su bianco sulla pagina virtuale. Chiare, inequivocabili. E riconducibili a un nome e un cognome. Digitate d’impeto - ma non per questo senza sofferenza o dopo una riflessione attenta sulle conseguenze - davanti all’ennesima «difesa» di chi, di quel sacerdote, si è sempre fidato. E che alle accuse non ci crede.

Ma «io sono ancora in cura, da anni. Ne avevo nove quando ho subito gli abusi da lui, adesso ne ho 35». Lo ha scritto su Facebook un giovane camuno, mettendoci la faccia. O meglio, il suo profilo. Quello vero. E «lui» è don Angelo Blanchetti, 55 anni, parroco di Corna di Darfo e di Bessimo, agli arresti domiciliari da martedì con l’accusa di violenza sessuale su minore: un ragazzino che ha compiuto 14 anni in aprile ha trovato il coraggio di confidare a un pastore milanese prima e agli inquirenti coordinati dal pm Ambrogio Cassiani poi, gli abusi che avrebbe subito per circa due anni

Mgr di Falco de nouveau assigné au civil pour un viol prescrit

FRANCE
Liberation

Par Bernadette Sauvaget — 23 septembre 2016

Mgr di Falco de nouveau assigné au civil pour un viol prescrit

Quatorze ans après avoir été classée sans suite à cause de la prescription des faits, l’affaire mettant en cause Mgr Jean-Michel di Falco, l’actuel évêque de Gap, ressurgit. Accusant le prélat de l’avoir violé et abusé sexuellement au début des années 70, «Marc» (un prénom d’emprunt), la victime présumée, a entamé selon son avocat Jean-Baptiste Moquet une procédure au civil pour obtenir réparation du préjudice subi et réclamer des dommages et intérêts. Une démarche courante dans les pays anglo-saxons. «Nous avons épuisé toutes les autres procédures judiciaires», explique, à Libération l’avocat de Marc. Personnalité très médiatique, Mgr di Falco, un proche de Bernadette Chirac et de l’homme d’affaires François Pinault, a toujours nié les faits. En 2003, le prélat, promis à un brillant avenir, avait été nommé dans un petit diocèse peu prestigieux, celui de Gap (Hautes-Alpes). Di Falco est récemment revenu sur le devant de la scène grâce au succès du groupe de chanteurs qu’il a créé, les Prêtres.

NDR-Missbrauchskampagne gegen die Kirche – 2015 wie 2010 – medienethisches Versagen ARD (10)

DEUTSCHLAND
katholisches

In einer beispiellosen Kampagne im Sinne von Schwarmjournalismus hatten die Medien im Frühjahr 2010 die Kirche wegen Missbrauchsvorfällen an den Pranger gestellt. Damit verbreiteten sie in der Bevölkerung die absurd irrige Meinung, Kindesmissbrauch sei unter Priestern in der katholischen Kirche weit verbreitet. So lautete damals der Vorhalt des Allensbach-Instituts, dem 47 Prozent der Befragten zustimmte. Fünf Jahre nach dem rufschädigenden Kampagnen-Journalismus, an dem sich auch der NDR beteiligte, schlägt der Sender mit einem neuen Filmbericht in die gleiche Kerbe.

Ein Gastbeitrag von Hubert Hecker.

Im Jahre 2011 hatte das Kriminologische Forschungsinstitut Niedersachsen in einer repräsentativen Studie 11.428 Personen zwischen 16 und 40 Jahren nach Missbrauchserfahrungen befragt. Daraus ergab sich, dass 683 Personen (knapp sechs Prozent der Befragten) vor dem 16. Lebensjahr mindestens einmal Opfer von Missbrauch geworden waren. Bei mehr als drei Viertel der den Opfern „bekannten“ Missbrauchstätern mit Körperkontakt (473 Betroffene) handelt es sich um männliche Täter aus dem engen Familienkreis oder aus dem Umfeld der Eltern. Zugeordnet nach gesellschaftlichen Bereichen kamen fast einhundert Missbrauchstäter bezüglich aller Sexualdelikte aus dem Schulbereich, jeweils um die vierzig aus dem Freizeit/Sportbereich sowie dem Heim- und Pflegekontext. Von den elftausend Befragten gab eine Person an, von einem katholischen Priester missbraucht worden zu sein.

INFO FRANCEINFO. Pédophilie : l’affaire di Falco relancée

FRANCE
Franceinfo

C’est une information franceinfo : monseigneur di Falco, l’évêque de Gap, ex-porte-parole médiatique de l’épiscopat, est assigné au civil dans une affaire de pédophilie présumée.

Un ancien élève, qui se fait appeler "Marc", veut demander réparation pour le préjudice qu’il aurait subi, après des viols et des agressions sexuelles que le prêtre aurait selon lui commis dans les années 1970, alors qu'il avait entre 12 ans et 15 ans. À l’époque, monseigneur di Falco était le directeur du petit collège de Saint-Thomas-d’Aquin dans le 7e arrondissement de Paris.

Französischer Bischof in Missbrauchs-Prozess vorgeladen

FRANCE
cath.ch

[Bishop Jean-Michel Di Falco of the Southeast French Alps Gap diocese, has been summoned to a civil court to answer an allegation of child abuse. Various French media report he is accused of sexually abusing a student in the 1970s. The alleged abuse happened at the private College Saint-Thomas-d'Aquin in Paris. Di Falco was director at the time.]

Paris, 23.9.16 (kath.ch) Der Bischof der südostfranzösischen Alpendiözese Gap, Jean-Michel Di Falco, ist in einem Zivilprozess zu Kindesmissbrauch vorgeladen. Verschiedene französische Medien berichten, dass er beschuldigt werde, sich in den 1970er Jahren an einem Schüler vergriffen zu haben. Der angebliche Missbrauchsfall habe sich im Privatcollege Saint-Thomas-d’Aquin in Paris ereignet, dessen Direktor Di Falco damals war. Das Opfer klagt laut Medienangaben auf Schadenersatz.

Ein 2002 eröffneter Prozess zu dem Fall war wegen Verjährung eingestellt worden. Zum aktuellen Prozess wollte der Bischof sich nicht äussern.

Spotlight: 9/24/16 Gallup, NM panel discusses area child abuse by Priests and other adults

NEW MEXICO
WGLP

[audio]

A panel discussion was held Saturday (Sept. 24) in Gallup, New Mexico, on "Spotlight: A Public Discussion about Faith, Journalism and Protecting Children from Sex Abuse."

Speaking were Terry McKiernan of Boston, the founder of BishopAccountability.com and a consultant to “Spotlight”; Ralph Lind of Albuquerque, a licensed professional clinical counselor and former minister; Phoenix attorney Robert E. Pastor, who represented 18 clergy sex abuse claimants in the Diocese of Gallup’s bankruptcy case; Gallup attorney Billy Keeler, who has represented Navajo plaintiffs in Catholic sex abuse lawsuits and currently represents Navajo plaintiffs in abuse complaints against the Mormon Church; Elizabeth Hardin-Burrola, a freelance journalist who has covered the Gallup Diocese for 14 years.

Pesch: What happens after child sex abuse bill becomes law

GUAM
Pacific Daily News

Bill Pesch September 25, 2016

Like many others on Guam, I woke up Saturday morning wondering what the future holds for us as a community. With Gov. Eddie Calvo’s signature of approval to Bill 326, we are on an unchartered course of attempting to hold a religious institution accountable for alleged acts that, if true, are both morally and legally deplorable. This is going to take some time to sink in.

There is no doubt that Gov. Calvo anguished over his decision to let the courts decide the merits of the public accusations of child sexual abuse made against Catholic priests. He deserves our thanks and appreciation, as does the Guam Legislature, for opening a legal channel for child abuse victims to seek justice and retribution. The difficult journey these victims face will be easier to endure with the knowledge that a large segment of the community stands united behind them.

So, what happens now? In light of the governor’s action, we can expect an outburst of loud and lively public comment. I suspect that after a couple of weeks things will quiet down. There will be a shift from public to private conversations that will take place within families trying to determine if any members suffered child sexual abuse at the hands of persons in authority. Hopefully, families will encourage victimized relatives to come forward with their accusations. To optimize the healing process, victims will need strong family support throughout the long legal ordeal.

Victims will next need to retain a reputable attorney to represent them in moving forward. The attorney should have a strong background in personal injury law and a proven track record of successful trial litigation experience. Do not hesitate to ask an attorney to cite specific examples of his or her trial experience, along with the outcomes. Before making a final decision, meet with several attorneys and talk to their former clients, if possible.

September 24, 2016

Should Pennsylvania sex abuse survivors accept half loaf of justice?

PENNSYLVANIA
The Morning Call

Bill White

Should advocates for extending child sex abuse statute of limitations accept half a loaf?
Is half a loaf better than none?

Not when it comes to this year's emotional and contentious effort to offer justice to many victims of child sex abuse in Pennsylvania by extending or eliminating statutes of limitations, according to the Legislature's most visible advocate for changing the law.

State Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, told me last week that he has consulted with survivors, advocacy groups and other House members over the question of whether the House should accept the watered down version of House Bill 1947 that passed the Senate in June.

He says the consensus is that they need to revert to the original House bill, or at least restore the language that gave victims of child sex abuse up to age 50 — including those blocked by the present statute — the retroactive right to sue their abusers.

One of those advocates, constitutional scholar Marci Hamilton, told me Rozzi is right to push hard for retroactivity, but she's OK with incremental improvements if necessary.

"My view is that you get what you can each year, and you keep pushing," she said. "If they pass an inadequate bill, they'll have to reconsider the issue next year. It's not going away."

Magdalene Laundries: 20 years since the last laundry closed in Ireland, five survivors tell their heartbreaking stories

IRELAND
Irish Post

September 23, 2016, By Erica Doyle Higgins & Fiona Audley

THIS weekend marks the 20th anniversary of the closure of the last Magdalene Laundry in Ireland.

On September 25 1996, Ireland’s final laundry, which was located on Sean MacDermott Street in Dublin and run by the Sisters of Our Lady, closed its doors for good.

While it’s not known for definite, it’s estimated that 10,000 women were institutionalised in laundries since the foundation of the Irish state in 1922.

The Irish Post reported in 2013 that the majority of laundry survivors escaped to Britain, for fear they’d be caught and incarcerated again.

As a result of the secrecy of the institutions, many survivors felt forgotten and unable to tell their stories.

Sex charge dropped after church decides to return Iowa priest to home country

IOWA/GHANA
World-Herald

By Andrew J. Nelson / World-Herald staff writer

A charge of soliciting prostitution has been dropped against a southwest Iowa priest after the Catholic church decided to return him to his home country of Ghana, according to a prosecutor and court documents.

Dominic Yamoah, now 41, was arrested in Fremont County on July 9; authorities accused him of offering to purchase the services of a confidential informant for a sex act.

The Diocese of Des Moines said in a statement after the arrest that Yamoah “very sincerely regrets his actions” and that it had suspended him from public ministry, according to The Associated Press. Yamoah, who was released on bail, had been a pastor of churches in Clarinda, Bedford and Villisca.

Malka Leifer extradition: Accused principal must be brought back to Australia

AUSTRALIA
Brisbane Times

Michael Short

There is a school in the inner Melbourne suburb of Elsternwick that exclusively serves a small and secretive Jewish sect, the ultra-Orthodox Adass Israel community, comprising about 200 families. It has been the scene of shocking sexual abuse, and is at the centre of an ongoing scandal that allegedly involves community members helping to finance the life of the exiled perpetrator, the predatory former principal Malka Leifer, who was protected by school leaders after her crimes were discovered.

The Adass Israel School looks like a prison. Upon its looming, grim walls perch security cameras. Its gates are locked. Security guards prowl throughout the day. These unusual measures are presumably to protect the children. But the enemy has been within.

There is no suggestion of which I am aware that current students are being abused. But the available evidence indicates the school leaders have failed to adequately grasp their responsibility to ensure any current or former members of the school community can seek the most appropriate help should they have been involved in the Leifer atrocity or any similar occurrence.

The entire situation is a tragedy and a travesty. Back in 2008, Leifer, a mother of eight, was found to have abused girls under her charge. Instead of denouncing her to the police, school leaders immediately arranged a late-night flight and she escaped to Israel, where she remained at large for several years. The tickets were funded by members of the Adass community.

Supreme Court judge Jack Rush has indicated in a judgement that some of the school and community leaders responsible for such a perversion of justice may well have broken the law, and police are reportedly belatedly investigating. What sort of message does protecting a child-sex criminal send to the obedient and reserved members of the Adass community, who undoubtedly cherish their children as much as any other people? When he awarded one of Leifer's victims $1.2 million compensation last year, Justice Rush lambasted then and current Adass Israel school board president Yitzhak Benedikt and board member Mark Ernst for organising the 1.20am flight – hours after her sacking – in full knowledge of the hideous, criminal abuse of trust and power she had allegedly committed.

Special advocates team up with Rozzi to push for end-of-session passage of statute of limitations bill.

PENNSYLVANIA
Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse - FACSA

Advocates, survivors and members of the General Assembly will stand with state Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, to call on House leadership to run H.B. 1947 with the retroactive component that overwhelmingly passed the House 180-15 in April.

The news conference will begin at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 27 in the Main Capitol Rotunda. The bill would substantially revise the statute of limitations on child sex crimes and abuse.

Special guest speakers at the news conference will include:

*Jennifer Storm – state victim advocate;
* Josh Shapiro – chairman, Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD);
* Delilah Rumburg – chief executive officer, Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR);
* Charles Gallagher – senior prosecutor for the 2003 and 2005 Philadelphia Archdiocese grand juries under former Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham; and
* Shaun Dougherty – Altoona/Johnstown clergy abuse survivor, advocate.

Rozzi will address the recent news of the investigation of the remaining six Roman Catholic dioceses within the commonwealth and the statements by state Attorney General Bruce Beemer concerning H.B. 1947. Additionally, Rozzi intends to discuss the need for the state Senate to allow the courts to decide the constitutional concerns of the bill and pass the reinstated measure to the governor before the end of the legislative session.

Teacher's victim 'learning how to live again' after sexual exploitation

CANADA
Ottawa Sun

SABRINA BEDFORD, THE RECORDER AND TIMES

“Mr. Rancourt, you no longer own me.”

That statement, from a woman in a case of sexual exploitation and sexual assault, was part of a powerful victim impact statement delivered Friday at the Brockville courthouse that left many in the courtroom in tears.

“I was outsmarted and manipulated by a person I trusted,” said the victim of years abuse at the hands of her high school teacher, adding she has been diagnosed with depression, anxiety and PTSD in the aftermath of the abuse.

“I can’t walk down the street. I live each and every day in fear of being hit, of being yelled at, of being used as a sexual tool.”

Dave Rancourt, a former teacher at St. Mary Catholic High School, was found guilty on one count of sexual exploitation and one count of sexual assault in July.

Former Wyckoff pastor sentenced in youth group sex abuse case, report says

NEW JERSEY
NJ.com

By Craig McCarthy | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

HACKENSACK — A former pastor at a Wyckoff church has been sentenced to six years in prison for sexually assaulting teenage girls in a youth group, NorthJersey.com reports.

David Hayman, 38, was arrested in March of last year. Hayman was charged with two counts of sexual assault and five counts of child endangerment.

Authorities said Hayman exchanged videos with two 16-year-old girls in the youth group and texted explicit messages to two others, one who was 15-years-old and another who was 16 at the time.

"All of the victims were members of a church youth group, of which Hayman was the pastor and for whom he had direct supervisory responsibility," Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said in a statement last year.

Former Richmond megachurch pastor, convicted felon ‘Pastor G’ asks for new trial

VIRGINIA/TEXAS
WRIC

[with video]

By Kerri O'Brien
Published: September 23, 2016

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Convicted sex offender and former Richmond megachurch Pastor Geronimo Aguilar has officially filed his appeal in Texas. You’ll remember, last year the former “Roc Church” pastor was convicted on seven counts of sexual assault on a minor. It happened during the 1990’s while he was a youth pastor in Texas.

In the brief, Aguilar and his legal team are asking a Texas appeals court to reverse his conviction and grant him a new trial. One of the grounds for appeal argues the Texas trial court abused its discretion in admitting extensive evidence of Pastor Aguilar’s extramarital affairs here in Virginia.

READ: Pastor G files appeal

Aguilar’s attorneys argue, “what started out as an allegation in Texas 19 years ago evolved into a Virginia circus.” The brief goes on to say the “pastor’s circus of a trial was anything but fair.”

Legal experts say the inclusion of those adult affairs could give an appellate judge some pause to consider the case.”

“Generally speaking, if it is more prejudicial than probative that is going to hurt the witness worse than any reason for admitting it’s not admissible,” Chesterfield County attorney Bill Shields told 8News Investigative Reporter Kerri O’Brien. “In Virginia the admission of that evidence would have been problematic.”

Former Bergen Youth Pastor Sentenced To 6 Years For Teen Sex Abuse, Report Says

NEW JERSEY
Patch

By Daniel Hubbard (Patch Staff) - September 24, 2016

A former church youth pastor was sentenced to six years in prison Friday for sexually-explicit charges involving teenage girls, NorthJersey.com reported.

David Hayman, 38, of Oradell, was charged with engaging in inappropriate sexual activity and exchanging sexual explicit videos on several occasions with two 16-year-old girls, then-Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli said when Hayman was arrested in March 2015.

Hayman, a married father of three, had inappropriate relationships with at least five girls at Cornerstone Christian Church in Wyckoff, the report said. Hayman worked at the church for about 10 years.

One victim said in court that knowing Hayman, "has been the most negative experience of my life," according to the report.

Hunter Marist Brothers left trail of violence: Royal Commission

AUSTRALIA
Newcastle Herald

IAN KIRKWOOD
24 Sep 2016

THE Royal Commission hearings in Newcastle earlier this month heard repeated evidence of the physical and sexual abuse that characterised life for many Marist Brothers pupils at Hamilton and Maitland.

Counsel assisting the commission, Stephen Free, said 32 people had made claims of sexual abuse against one or more Marist brother from schools in the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle, including nine people whose claims were against more than one individual.

Francis Cable, known as Brother Romuald, had been the subject of 12 claims, nine of which related to incidents at Marist Brothers Hamilton and Maitland. Cable went to trial in 2015. He is serving a 16-year jail term, with eight years minimum non-parole, over offences relating to 19 complainants.

Allegations of child sexual abuse at Lincoln school being investigated by police

UNITED KINGDOM
Lincolnshire Echo

By PWhitelam_LE | Posted: September 24, 2016

Allegations of child sexual abuse at a Lincoln school are being investigated by Lincolnshire Police.

The force has confirmed that it is looking into claims surrounding the Cathedral School in Lincoln as part of an investigation called Operation Redstone.

The school, which educated the minster's choristers, was amalgamated with others in 1996 to become Lincoln Minster School.

Detectives launched Operation Redstone after "a number of concerns" were referred to Lincolnshire Police in 2015 following a review of past safeguarding cases by the Diocese of Lincoln dating back to the 1958.

Detective Superintendent Rick Hatton, who is leading the enquiry team, said: "As there are individual investigations under the umbrella of this operation it would not be appropriate to give specific details, but suffice to say that all appropriate care and support is being given to past victims by both the police and the Diocese.

"Anyone who has any information relating to such cases is urged to contact Lincolnshire Police or the Diocese of Lincoln and the matter will be investigated."

IAN KIRKWOOD: the impact of paedophile priests on a faithful congregation

AUSTRALIA
Newcastle Herald

AS the Royal Commission hearings into events at the Maitland-Newcastle Diocese of the Catholic Church drew to a close, I found myself wondering about the sanctity of priests, and what a devout, doctrinal Catholic would think about the sins of their priests, from a theological point of view.

Despite the march of science, some practising Christians still adhere to a literalist reading of the Bible, meaning that they take both the Old and New Testaments as the literal word of the one God. They believe in Heaven and in Hell, and accept that God created the world in seven days, shortly before he put Adam in Eden and fashioned Eve from one of his ribs.

Even if most Catholics now recognise the mythical aspects of Christianity, many of the church’s 1.2 billion adherents still place great store in the rituals and symbols of the church despite the reprehensible behaviour of many of its priests and brothers.

As an example, one of the aged Marist Brothers whose conduct was examined at the Newcastle royal commission hearing – Darcy John O’Sullivan, known as Brother Dominic – was jailed on Friday for crimes he committed in the 1970s and early 1980s.

The chairman of the commission, Justice Peter McClellan, said more than once during the hearings that the inquiry was very interested in the Catholic use of the confessional, which critics say was relied on by the church to absolve the sins of its priests while keeping the church’s problems away from public scrutiny.

Farrell scandal puts Catholic church's attitude to Australian law under the microscop

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian

David Marr
Friday 23 September 2016

The furrows deepened on the brow of Father Brian Lucas. His bouncy confidence evaporated in the witness box. He sweated under questioning. He confessed over and over again to be puzzled by his own actions. Puzzled by the actions of others. So puzzled. But he gave no ground.

On one reading of this tangled story, Lucas could face possible criminal charges for failing to alert the police 24 years ago to the apparently frank confessions of a paedophile priest. He doesn’t see it that way.

Lucas put everything he had this week into convincing the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse that his handling of the case of Father John Farrell – who was abusing children from the moment he was ordained in 1981 – was absolutely proper.

Lucas matters. Though he has no fancy title and doesn’t wear lace, this lawyer priest has been a fixer of great skill within the Catholic church for decades. He has been one of the hard men in the church bureaucracy: for years the spokesman of the archdiocese of Sydney and then secretary to the Bishops’ Conference.

Diocese of Stockton submits bankruptcy plan

CALIFORNIA
Turlock Journal

By Sabra Stafford
Crime Desk sstafford@turlockjournal.com 209-634-9141, ext. 2002

The Diocese of Stockton has filed a reorganization plan with the bankruptcy court that, if approved, will allocate $15 million to the more than two dozen victims of sexual abuse that have come forward since 2014.

The Roman Catholic Bishop of Stockton filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January 2014 after a series of costly sexual abuse settlements left them financially drained. Once the Diocese made the decision to file for bankruptcy they began a notification process that over the course of three months led to 34 new claims of sexual abuse. The new claims were filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court and the proposed plan will provide $15 million to 27 survivors of sexual abuse as well as non-monetary commitments such as therapy and counseling.

“The plan demonstrates the Diocese of Stockton’s continued commitment to providing for survivors of sexual abuse in a fair, just and equitable manner from its available resources,” the Diocese said in a released statement.

Locally, the Diocese oversees All Saints University Parish, Sacred Heart Church and Our Lady of the Assumption of the Portuguese Church, all in Turlock, and St. Anthony’s Church in Hughson. It also includes Sacred Heart’s Turlock schools. However, the bankruptcy filing will have no impact on the parishes, schools and other ministries.