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

October 15, 2019

Alleged victim of priest accused of sex crimes tells court massages left him bruised

FRESNO (CA)
Fresno Bee

Oct. 15, 2019

By Robert Rodriguez

A former Anglican priest charged with multiple counts of sexual battery told one of his followers that he was cursed and was going to die unless the alleged victim agreed to one of his special healing massages.

Police say the massage given by Jesus Antonio Castaneda Serna wasn’t special at all, and was just a way for the accused priest to sexually assault his victims, nearly all adult males.

Serna was arrested in February and has pleaded not guilty to 18 counts of felony sexual battery involving 10 members of his former church, Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe church in Fresno.

It’s time to talk about predators in the church

SEARCY (AK)
The Christian Chronicle

October 14, 2019

By Bobby Ross Jr

'Christian Chronicle Live' panel tackles sexual abuse in Churches of Christ.

The predator repented. Or so he claimed.

He’d done his time and confessed his sins. He was a changed man. Or so he told the elders of a congregation willing to forgive.

He was welcomed into the fold. But to protect children, the leaders determined that they couldn’t be too careful.

Church report provides lesson on transparency

OKLAHOMA CITY (OK)
The Oklahoman

October 13, 2019

The Oklahoman Editorial Board

With its approach to determining which of its priests may have committed sexual abuse, the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City impressed even a group that’s been one of the Catholic Church’s most vocal critics throughout the clergy abuse scandal. There's a lesson to be learned here.

Zach Hiner, executive director of Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, said the archdiocese’s report “goes into much greater detail than most other reports commissioned by church officials.”

“Notably, it is one of few that goes into detail about crucial information which church officials often leave off their own reports: when were allegations received, and what actions church officials took in response,” Hiner said.

Ex-Abilene pastor, Christian musician Jeff Berry arrested on child sex crime

ABILENE (TX)
KTXS

October 14, 2019

By Nick Bradshaw

Jeff Berry -- best known in Abilene as the worship leader in the late 90's at Grace Bible Study, a non-denominational bible-study for college students -- was arrested on a child sex crime.

Berry -- who now lives in Franklin, Tennessee -- was arrested around 4:30 p.m. by the Williamson County Sheriff's Office on a sealed indictment out of Taylor County.

He's charged with being a fugitive from justice.

Berry's bond was set at $10 million.

Oklahoma Joe: Church must learn from its mistakes

OKLAHOMA CITY (OK)
The Journal Record

October 14, 2019

By Joe Hight

I’ll never forget attending an Oklahoma City-area Catholic Church in 2002 after the release of the Boston Globe’s “Spotlight” team’s series. The pastor was blaming the media for revealing that priests had and were sexually abusing children.

I was outraged. Credible evidence and interviews with victims had already shown the “pure evil” intentions of the abusers, Walter “Robby” Robinson, editor of the Globe’s investigative team, said during the Oklahoma Pulitzer Centennial in 2016.

At that time in 2002, according to a recently released report from the law firm McAfee & Taft, the Oklahoma City Archdiocese had been actively involved in covering up sexual abusers. Perhaps the same could be said of the Tulsa Diocese.

CA LIFTS STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS ON SEX ABUSE

SACRAMENTO (CA)
ChurchMilitant

October 14, 2019

By Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.

Stephen Brady: 'Los Angeles archdiocese will be one of the biggest hit in the country'

California just became the sixth state to drop its statute of limitations for victims of child sexual abuse.

The law signed on Sunday by California's Gov. Gavin Newsom gives all victims of childhood sexual abuse a three-year period beginning Jan. 1 to file lawsuits. Following that period, the new law will extend the age limit of the victim filing from 26 to 40 and the time limit of when the abuse is discovered to when the case is filed from three to five years.

Church Militant reached out to Stephen Brady, head of watchdog organization Roman Catholic Faithful, on the impact this law will have on the Church in California.

"This situation in California will make New York and other states that passed similar laws look like small-time cases," remarked Brady. He then explained:

Church in Crisis: More names added to clergy sex-abuse list

CHARLOTTE (NC)
WCNC

October 14, 2019

The Catholic Diocese of Charlotte has learned of five more men that are now being investigated had connections to the diocese.

Lehigh County priest removed from ministry following allegations of sexually abusing a minor

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
PhillyVoice

October 14, 2019

By Virginia Streva

The Rev. Robert J. Potts, 82 was the pastor of St. Ursula Church in Fountain Hill

Authorities are investigating allegations that a Lehigh County priest sexually abused a minor.

The Rev. Robert J. Potts, 82, pastor of St. Ursula Church in Fountain Hill, has been removed from ministry services. Potts is accused of sexually abused a child in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Diocese of Allentown announced Sunday.

Potts was the pastor at St. George Parish in Shenandoah during the time of the alleged abuses.

New law opens window for child sex abuse lawsuits in California

SONOMA COUNTY (CA)
The Press Democrat

October 15, 2019

By Mary Callahan

Attorneys who specialize in child sex abuse cases say Sonoma County residents can expect to see a slew of fresh lawsuits against Catholic institutions and others under a new law granting greater leeway to adult victims who want to file claims against their abusers — including a three-year suspension of the statute of limitations beginning Jan. 1.

The floodgates already are opening, with a lawsuit to be filed Tuesday by three former clients of Hanna Boys Center who claim they were abused repeatedly by Father John S. Crews, the facility’s executive director for 29 years until 2013.

“We’re eager to get moving,” said Sacramento attorney Joseph George, who represents the three men and is filing the cases under a provision of the new law that extends the statute of limitations to cases that are pending on Jan. 1. “These guys have been waiting for a long time.”

Priest Accused of Sexual Abuse While Pastor of Church in Shenandoah

SHENANDOAH(PA)
WNEP

October 13, 2019

By WNEP Web Staff and Brit Purdy

A priest in the Diocese of Allentown has been accused of abusing a child years ago while serving at a church in Schuylkill County.

Fr. Robert Potts was currently serving as a priest in Bethlehem, but he's accused of molesting a child while working in Schuylkill County back in the 1980s and 1990s.

Potts, 82, is accused of sexually abusing a child decades ago while serving at the former St. George Parish in Shenandoah.

Four Archdiocese Priests On Leave Amid New Church Sex Abuse Accusations

NEW ROCHELLE (NY)
CBSNewYork/AP

October 14, 2019

As the sun shines down on Holy Rosary Church in Hawthorne, N.Y., a cloud of suspicion hovers over its parish priest and three other priests in the New York archdiocese now facing allegations of abusing children several decades ago.

The four clergy of the Archdiocese Of New York have been accused of abuse with minors, cases not included in the special investigation released two weeks ago.

The men, three pastors and a member of the archdiocese administration office, have been placed on administrative leave.

The accusations include Msgr. Edward Barry of Holy Rosary parish in Hawthorne, Father William Luciano of Blessed Sacrament parish in New Rochelle and Msgr. James White of St. Vito-Most Holy Trinity parish in Mamaroneck. Msgr. Edward Weber, director of the Priest Personnel Office in the archdiocese.

Church volunteer John Chu jailed for raping 14-year-old girl

UNITED KINGDOM
Warrington Guardian

October 15, 2019

By Adam Everett

A PENSIONER who raped a 14-year-old more than three decades ago has been jailed.

John Chu gained the trust of his victim by working alongside her as a volunteer at a Whitecross church in the 1980s before sexually assaulting her in his car and raping her.

Decades later, the 74-year-old was handed nine years behind bars for his sickening abuse.

The Church’s ‘mea culpa’ must be genuine | Aaron Zahra

MALTA
Malta Today

October 14, 2019

by Raphael Vassallo

Rocked by over a decade of child abuse scandals, the Catholic Church is in the process of renewing its structures and policies. Fr Aaron Zahra – abbot of the Dominican Priory in Vittoriosa, and author of a dissertation about sex abuse in Catholic schools – argues that the Church has a lot to learn from its past mistakes

Recently, you wrote an opinion piece criticising the Church for its mishandling of the international child abuse scandals of recent years. How seriously do you think this issue has dented the credibility of the Church, both globally and locally?

Let’s start with this: when it came to cases of abuse of minors by priests and members of religious orders, the Church thought it could grab the bull by the horns by keeping everything behind closed doors because it gave more importance to its own reputation on the outside, than to the good of the victims. The Church’s priority was, so to speak, to sweep everything under the carpet; and to safeguard the reputation of the priesthood, so that the figure of the priest would be kept on a pedestal as ‘a man of God’… as if priests were, by definition, incapable of doing such things.

Meanwhile, as far as the victims were concerned… it was as though the Church used them to glean information about what happened; and then stopped there. Even worse than that, I have heard of many cases where victims were even offered money to keep their mouths shut. Or where perpetrators were transferred to other parishes, where they continued to abuse other victims… It’s a bit like playing chess: you move your pieces around on the board… as if the abuse will stop happening, once the perpetrator is in a different place.

Responses to domestic violence in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

RICHMOND (VA)
The Presbyterian Outlook

October 15, 2019

By Katrina Pekich-Bundy

“Don’t walk alone at night.”

“Always carry pepper spray.”

“Never leave your drink unattended at a party.”

“When walking alone in a parking garage, always put your keys between your fingers.”

Most females have heard these recommendations at some point. They are the sacred conversations that happen from woman to girl — words of wisdom and warning. Grandmothers and mothers continue this oral tradition from generation to generation. The terminology and situation change over time. Now the conversation includes: “Never meet a man you met online in a private place.” The sentiments remain: Stay safe.

Swansea abuse survivor Brett Sengstock said Scott Morrison's support for Brian Houston 'beggars belief'

AUSTRALIA
New Castle Herald

October 15 2019

By Joanne McCarthy

BRETT Sengstock was seven when he was sexually abused by prominent evangelical Christian Frank Houston, and close to death in July last year when the church Houston founded slammed the door on compensation.

"There was no Christ in how they treated me," said Mr Sengstock, 58, about Australian Christian Churches and its most prominent entity, the Hillsong Church led by Frank Houston's son, Brian.

"I think Hillsong is nothing but a business."

Man fights to hold Catholic Church accountable for abuse

NEW ZEALAND
RNZ

October 11, 2019

By Phil Pennington

The dark past of the Dunedin diocese and its clutch of clerical paedophiles** still ensnares Marc. But he means to be free of it.

One drunken night in 2013 in Melbourne, Marc* wrote an email to the Catholic Church in New Zealand. He was drunk a lot back then.

"I could drink half a bottle of vodka right now and probably still have a lucid conversation with you," he said. Not now, now he's dry.

He was a functioning alcoholic back then, but still, he couldn't remember sending the email.

"The first line, and this was five years ago, was, 'If there's ever a Royal Commission in New Zealand, I will come back and give evidence'.

Glenmary releases list of credible claims, hopes it helps bring ‘healing’

CINCINNATI (OH)
Catholic News Service

October 15, 2019

Father Dan Dorsey, president of the Glenmary Home Missioners, said the religious community of priests and brothers “has become painfully aware that in the past we have failed to protect minors and vulnerable adults.”

“We have realized how often our response to victims has been inadequate. We deeply regret these failures,” he said Oct. 11. “We continue to seek your forgiveness for our mistakes. We are committed to healing and justice for all those involved.”

Dorsey made the comments in an open letter released with a list of men credibly abused of sexual abuse. The list is the result of a yearlong forensic review commissioned by Glenmary.

Former Chile nuncio defends himself; topless protesters attack cathedral in Argentina

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

Oct. 15, 2019

By Inés San Martín

A shirtless protest in front of one of the world’s largest cathedrals. A discredited papal representative heading to Portugal from Chile acknowledges failures in responding to allegations of clerical sexual abuse. And as murder rates continue to rise, a Mexican cardinal says that killing cannot be the solution to conflict.

Here’s a roundup of news coming from the Catholic Church in Latin America.

In Argentina, activists again call for burning down churches

A rally happening during Argentina’s annual “National Encounter of Women” on Sunday included a protest against the cathedral of La Plata, the city hosting the event this year.

The rally, organized by Argentina’s leading leftwing party, wasn’t officially supported by the organizers of the women’s event.

As in previous years, participants at the rally threw Molotov cocktails and human excrement on churches.

Jesuit Officials Trying to Force Victims to Reveal Their Names

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

Oct. 15, 2019

In their latest effort to dodge the deluge of lawsuits from survivors of clergy abuse, Jesuit officials are deploying a new tactic that is obviously aimed at scaring victims and witnesses into silence. We hope their tactic is thrown out in court today, and that survivors will be protected as they exercise their legal rights.

The hearing will be held on Tuesday, October 15, 2019, at 3:00 PM EDT, at 111 Centre Street (75 Lafayette Street, between White and Franklin Streets), Courtroom 1127, Judge George Silver presiding.

As lawsuits continue to move forward thanks to New York’s Child Victims Act, church officials from the Jesuit order are demanding that survivors filing lawsuits as Jane or John Doe must instead use their real name publicly.

This is a move designed to be hurtful and scare additional survivors from coming forward. Not every victim is ready to share the details of their abuse with their communities and they should not be prevented from coming forward and filing a lawsuit due to fear of being exposed by the very people who were responsible for the abuse they suffered in the first place.

Rochester diocese pressed on use of donations

ROCHESTER (NY)
Rochester Beacon

Oct. 15, 2019

By Will Astor

Might the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester consider altering a promise made to donors and use some charitable contributions to compensate survivors of sexual abuse suffered at the hands of its priests?

The question, posed by an abuse survivor to Rochester diocese Bishop Salvatore Matano last week, comes as the diocese simultaneously kicks off its annual Catholic Ministries Appeal and begins to thread its way through the Chapter 11 bankruptcy it filed in September.

The diocese did not rush to embrace the suggestion, but also did not definitively turn it down.

The overseer of the Roman Catholic churches in a 12-county region of Upstate New York, the diocese sought court protection from creditors last month, stating that it made the move in anticipation of a flood of sex-abuse claims that could make it liable for as much as a $100 million payout.

Not yet known is the number of claims it will be hit with during a one-year window in which victims of long-buried abuse by priests and other church functionaries can file claims that otherwise would have been barred by a statute of limitations.

So far, the diocese has taken pains to assure donors that their contributions would not be used to satisfy sex-abuse claims.

California sex abuse law likely to spur thousands of claims

SACRAMENTO (CA)
The Associated Press

October 14, 2019

By Don Thompson

Thousands of lawsuits will be filed against alleged child molesters as well as the institutions that employed them under a new California law taking effect next year, attorneys predicted Monday.

The California School Boards Association called the new law an "existential threat" to smaller school districts. Attorneys said the Roman Catholic Church, Boy Scouts of America and other institutions will also face a flood of lawsuits that could force bankruptcies.

They are newly possible because the law that Gov. Gavin Newsom approved on Sunday gives victims of childhood sexual abuse until age 40, up from age 26, to file lawsuits. It also gives victims of all ages three years to sue, starting Jan. 1.

New CA law allows survivors of child sexual assault more time to come forward

CALIFORNIA
KSBY

October 14, 2019

By Melissa Newman

Victims of child sex abuse have more time to seek justice as part of a new bill AB 218, signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom Sunday.

The bill changes the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit against an alleged abuser, allowing people who are up to 40 years old to file suits and provides a three-year window for survivors to file a lawsuit, regardless of when the abuse occurred and regardless of their current age.

San Luis Obispo attorney Taylor Ernst says the previous laws forced them to turn some people away.

Child Sex Abuse Law Signed by Gov. Newsom Likely to Spur Thousands of Claims Against Accused Molesters, Institutions

CALIFORNIA
Associated Press

October 14, 2019

Thousands of lawsuits will be filed against alleged child molesters as well as the institutions that employed them under a new California law taking effect next year, attorneys predicted Monday.

The California School Boards Association called the new law an “existential threat” to smaller school districts. Attorneys said the Roman Catholic Church, Boy Scouts of America and other institutions will also face a flood of lawsuits that could force bankruptcies.

New California Law Gives Child Sex Assault Victims More Time to File Suit

CALIFORNIA
The Epoch Times

October 14, 2019

By Bowen Xiao

The state of California is giving childhood victims of sexual abuse more time to decide if they want to file lawsuits, the latest in a growing trend among states to loosen statute of limitation laws in the United States.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the law into effect on Oct. 13 to give childhood sexual abuse victims until the age of 40, or five years from the discovery of the abuse, to file civil lawsuits. Previously, the limit was at 27 years old, or within three years of the discovery of the abuse.

The new law also entirely suspends the statute of limitations for three years, beginning from January 2020, allowing victims of any age the ability to bring lawsuits if they wish.

A statute of limitations blocks prosecutors from having the power to charge someone once a certain number of years have passed since a crime was committed.

Fourth Allegation Made Against Former Bishop Hubbard

ALBANY (NY)
Spectrum News

October 14, 2019

A fourth allegation has been made against former Albany Bishop Howard Hubbard.

A lawsuit filed under the umbrella of the Child Victims Act in Albany County Supreme Court on Friday also contained allegations against Gerald Kampfer, a former pastor.

The alleged abuse is said to have happened at St. John the Baptist between 1988 and 1990.

While the lawsuit does not go into specifics, the filing claims the church received a number of complaints against Hubbard and Kampfer — saying policies didn’t protect children.

Here’s why N.J. may be hit with more Boy Scout sex abuse lawsuits than any other state

NEW JERSEY
NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

October 13, 2019

By Kelly Heyboer

Scott remembers he wasn’t feeling well when his mother dropped him off for his first camping trip with his Boy Scout troop back in the early 1960s.

But Scott, then 12, didn’t want a routine childhood illness to keep him from hiking in a beautiful canyon near Amarillo, Texas, and sleeping beneath the stars. One of his troop leaders assured his mother he would keep a close watch on him and have the boy share his tent, Scott recalls.

“That was the first night I was basically attacked and sexually abused,” said Scott, now 69, who asked that his last name not be used.

He says the sexual abuse that began in the tent that night continued for more than a year as he was abused by two Boy Scout leaders until he finally quit the group and moved away. Scared and confused, he says he never reported the alleged abuse.

October 14, 2019

Did Stolen Pope Charity Cash Fund Priest Party Pads?

ROME (ITALY)
Daily Beast

Oct. 15, 2019

By Barbie Latza Nadeau

A few hours before Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with his Vatican counterpart Pietro Parolin in Rome in early October, the Swiss Guard gendarmes raided a key office in Parolin’s department.

They were acting on orders from “up high,” and cleaned out the offices of the Holy See’s Financial Information Authority (AIF), which is essentially meant to be the watchdog agency set up to keep an eye out for any illicit activities at the Vatican Bank, which has been embroiled in dozens of scandals over the years. The gendarmes carted away computers, documents, and as many secret hard drives as they could find. Then they left and sealed the office.

The investigators were looking into what may seem like just the latest scandal within the Vatican’s beleaguered financial system. But this time it touched Pope Francis personally with allegations that money meant for his beloved charities for the poor was actually going into pricey London property and seedy apartments alleged to be used for sinful activities.

Five people, including AIF director Tommaso Di Ruzza, were banned from entering the Vatican’s fortified walls while the investigation tied to the raid was carried out. A wanted poster—featuring photos of the five people who worked in the office and meant for Swiss Guards’ eyes only to know who not to let in—was inevitably leaked to the press.

Pope Francis, to put it mildly, was pissed off that the wanted poster was leaked and the reputations of those on it—who may not be guilty of anything—sullied. A Vatican statement condemned the outing of those on the wanted poster as “prejudicial to the dignity of the people involved.” The pope turned to his security chief Domenico Giani to find out exactly who leaked the photo. On Monday, his detective work still fruitless, Giani resigned.

In his official letter of explanation, he blamed his inability to smoke out whoever leaked the photos. “I felt shame for what happened and for the suffering of these people,” he wrote, according to the letter sent to Vatican accredited journalists. “Having always said I was ready to sacrifice my life to defend the Pope’s, in the same spirit I made the decision to resign.”

Retired Diocese Of Greensburg Priest Accused Of Sexually Abusing A Minor Dies

GREENSBURG (PA)
KDKA TV

Oct. 14, 2019

A retired priest from the Diocese of Greensburg who was placed on administrative leave after credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor has died.

Michael W. Matusak, who retired in July after he was placed on administrative leave due to accusations of sexually abusing a minor, died at age 69 at the diocese’s residence for retired priests.

The Diocese of Greensburg says law enforcement did not make the results of their investigation known to them at the time of Matusak’s death.

McCaffrey: To the finish, we’ve kept the faith

FRAMINGHAM (MA)
MetroWest Daily News

Oct. 13, 2019

By Arthur McCaffrey

This fall marks the 15th anniversary of the start of the grassroots Parish Vigil Resistance Movement (PVRM) which began in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston (RCAB) during September-October in 2004. This Occupy movement — unique in the 200 year history of the archdiocese — saw parishes organize 24/7 vigils inside their churches to protest Archbishop O’Malley’s plans to close over 80 diocesan parishes in 2004. While the newly arrived bishop claimed he was only responding to changing demographics in his diocese, we knew better.

After the mess left behind by his fugitive predecessor, Cardinal Law, who escaped to Rome, O’Malley was faced with a very large bill for paying financial settlements to abuse victims. So he targeted for closure a broad swathe of both weak and strong parishes as revenue generators, like my own in Wellesley, St. James the Great, which was both financially and religiously viable, with a strong, vibrant congregation, including young families with children in CCD classes, and money in the bank— not to mention eight very attractive acres along Rte. 9.

O’Malley sent out his dreaded Fedex letters in the summer of 2004, notifying which parishes were getting the axe. In response, 24 parishes grouped together to challenge O’Malley’s decision, using legitimate canon law appeals to both the archdiocese and the Vatican. In an act of spontaneous combustion, about a dozen of us went one step further by going into full-time vigil to prevent a lockout in our parish churches.

Msgr. William Williams, former vicar of Ulster County, dies at 85; was cleared of sexual abuse charge in May

KINGSTON (NY)
Daily Freeman

Oct. 14, 2019

By Patricia R. Doxsey

Msgr. William Williams, a former vicar of Ulster County, has died five months after being cleared by a Vatican-authorized tribunal of sexually abusing a child.

Williams was 85 when he died at the Ten Broeck Commons nursing home in Lake Katrine on Oct. 9, according to his obituary.

Williams' name appeared on an April 26, 2019, list released by the Archdiocese of New York that contained the names of 120 priests who had been "credibly accused" of sexual abuse. Williams was among 12 priests in the Mid-Hudson Valley who appeared on the list.

Wannabe Catholic priests can expect interrogations about porn, psych evaluations and abuse prevention training

DENVER (CO)
Colorado Sun

Oct. 14, 2019

Jennifer Brown

Investigators examining decades of child sexual abuse by Colorado priests are expected to release their report within weeks. The reckoning is due, say Catholic leaders, but the public account will sting as it brings a fresh round of damage to the church.

“Our psyche at large as a church, as the body of Christ, has just taken so many strikes to the same wound, that just becomes a traumatic experience,” said Father Ryan O’Neill of the Archdiocese of Denver. “Is this stabbing of the same wound over and over again going to hamper the church’s ability to move forward? That’s what trauma does. It makes you turn on yourself.”

Bracing for the report’s release, church leaders detailed the changes in policy over the years intended to prevent abusers from entering the priesthood. They include psychological evaluations of men who want to become priests, including probing questions about pornography, sexual urges, homosexuality and narcissism.

Crooks, Quacks, Kooks, Creeps and Cruds in the Clergy

Patheos blog

Oct. 14, 2019

By James Haught

[Editor’s Note: For readers who hail from my home state, today’s post is relevant since New York’s Child Victims Act recently took effect. This law opens a one-year window for victims of child sexual abuse, who were previously shut out by the statute of limitations, to file civil lawsuits against their abusers and the churches and other organizations that sheltered them. As with other issues, statute-of-limitations reform was blocked for years by Republicans (who were doing the bidding of the Catholic church’s lobbyists), and was swiftly passed when Democrats took control of the state senate. —Adam]

“Give me that old-time religion…”

Pentecostal evangelist Mario Leyva of Columbus, Ga., sodomized more than 100 church boys. He was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison in 1989. Two assistant pastors got 15 and 12 years for transporting the boys state-to-state for orgies.

“Give me that old-time religion…”

The Rev. Roy Yanke of Beverly Hills, Mich., pleaded guilty in 1991 to robbing 14 banks of $47,000 to pay for his daily use of prostitutes. He got seven years in prison.

“Give me that old-time religion…”

Some 400 U.S. Catholic priests have been charged with child molestation in the past decade, and the church has paid an estimated $400 million in damages and costs. One priest, James Porter, is accused of abusing perhaps 100 victims in three states — including a boy in a full body cast who couldn’t move to resist.

“It’s good enough for me….”

Born-again con-artist Michael Douglas of Antioch, Ill., who specialized in investments for wealthy fundamentalists, got a 12-year sentence in 1991 for swindling 131 people out of $31 million.

“It was good for Paul and Silas…”

Army chaplain aide Steven Ritchie of Fort Lewis, Wash., was sentenced to 26 years in prison in 1990 for raping a six-week-old baby girl.

SNAP Applauds as California Governor Signs SOL Reform into Law

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

Oct. 13, 2019

We applaud lawmakers in California, especially Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez for introducing this important reform bill and Governor Gavin Newsom for signing it into law yesterday. Californians can be proud of their leadership on this issue.

With AB 218 signed into law, California is now the latest state to pass sweeping reform to their civil statute of limitations for survivors of child sexual abuse. These changes come as more states around the country are amending their laws to reflect the realities of sexual violence: the average age of a survivor coming forward is 52, and by the time most feel comfortable to come forward, they are barred by the statute of limitations.

Fortunately, for the next three years that is no longer the case for victims in California.

By opening a “window to justice” and allowing survivors whose cases were previously barred by SOL to be heard in court, important information can be exposed that can help create safer, more informed communities. We hope that other legislators around the country will look to California as an example as they begin to take up SOL reform in their own states.

Jesuit Officials Deploy Obvious Intimidation Tactic in their Attempts to Defeat Lawsuits for Clergy Abuse

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

Oct. 14, 2019

In their latest effort to dodge the deluge of lawsuits from survivors of clergy abuse, Jesuit officials are deploying a new tactic that is obviously aimed at scaring victims and witnesses into silence. We hope their tactic is thrown out in court and that survivors will be protected as they exercise their legal rights.

As lawsuits continue to move forward thanks to New York’s Child Victims Act, church officials from the Jesuit order are demanding that survivors filing lawsuits as Jane or John Doe must instead use their real name publicly.

This is a move designed to be hurtful and scare additional survivors from coming forward. Not every victim is ready to share the details of their abuse with their communities and they should not be prevented from coming forward and filing a lawsuit due to fear of being exposed by the very people who were responsible for the abuse they suffered in the first place.

Church officials have long hidden the name of abusive clerics from public view. In fact, only in the past several months have Jesuit leaders started to post the names of abusers publicly. To us, this move seems to me like a spiteful reaction to having their own veil of secrecy pulled back and seeing their crimes exposed.

Director: Victims call new film on abuse ‘the French Spotlight

DENVER (CO)
Catholic New Service via Crux

October 13, 2019

By Mark Pattison

Anybody who sees “By the Grace of God,” a new French-language film that details a true-to-life French clerical sex abuse scandal, may be struck by similarities to the U.S. drama “Spotlight,” which dealt with the abuse scandal that erupted in Boston in 2002.

“The two films are complementary,” said Francois Ozon, director of “By the Grace of God.” “In ‘Spotlight,’ the story is told from the point of view of the journalists. In my film, it’s from the point of view of the survivors.”

He added, “When I met the victims, I was very touched. And they all talked to me about ‘Spotlight.’ It was, of course, a big success. I understood, they trusted me, and they told me their story. In a certain way, they wanted me to do the French ‘Spotlight,’ because they knew ‘Spotlight’ won an Oscar (Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay) and was a big movie in America. And they were right.”

Law gives child sex assault victims more time to file suits

SACRAMENTO (CA)
Associated Press via ABC News

October 13, 2019

By Adam Beam

California is giving childhood victims of sexual abuse more time to decide whether to file lawsuits, joining several states in expanding the statute of limitations for victims over warnings from school districts that the new rules could bankrupt them.

The law signed Sunday by Gov. Gavin Newsom gives victims of childhood sexual abuse until age 40, or five years from discovery of the abuse, to file civil lawsuits. The previous limit had been 26, or within three years from discovery of the abuse.

It also suspends the statute of limitations for three years — beginning Jan. 1 — giving victims of all ages time to bring lawsuits if they wish.

"The idea that someone who is assaulted as a child can actually run out of time to report that abuse is outrageous," said Democratic Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, the author of the bill.

California is at least the third state this year to take this step. Earlier this year, New York and New Jersey raised their statutes of limitations to age 55. New York also suspended its statute of limitations for one year, leading to hundreds of lawsuits against hospitals, schools, the Roman Catholic Church and the late financier Jeffrey Epstein.

California grants more time for filing child sexual abuse allegations under new law

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Los Angeles Times

October 13, 2019

By Patrick McGreevy

Sacramento - Victims of childhood sexual abuse will have more time to report allegations and file a lawsuit under a California law signed Sunday by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The legislation was introduced following widespread allegations of abuse of minors by Catholic priests as well as the 2018 conviction of Larry Nassar, a former U.S. Olympic gymnastics team doctor, for molesting young athletes.

“The idea that someone who is assaulted as a child can actually run out of time to report that abuse is outrageous,” said Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), the bill’s author. “More and more, we’re hearing about people who were victims years ago but were not ready to come forward to tell their story until now.”

Allentown Diocese taps little of its $300 million in Lehigh Valley real estate to compensate abuse victims

ALLENTOWN (PA)
Morning Call

October 13, 2019

By Emily Opilo

[Includes list of properties and photographs.]

Five months ago, the Allentown Diocese opened a window for people who were abused by priests to apply for a payout from the church.

To the hundred or so people who already had reported abuse, the diocese sent information about applying for compensation. To those who had kept silent, they extended an invitation. On Sept. 30, the window closed, capping the amount of money the diocese will be offering victims.

Diocesan officials see the fund as a step toward righting some of the wrongs documented by an explosive grand jury report in 2018, which named dozens of Allentown Diocese priests among the 301 accused of abusing about a thousand children across Pennsylvania.

The payouts will also cause “severe financial stress," the diocese cautioned in December, four months before it opened the fund to claims. It said then that it would tap available cash, borrow money and sell assets “to the extent possible” to cover the fund, noting no money would be taken from parishes.

But public records show the diocese has left one of its largest collective assets — more than $323 million of property it controls in Lehigh and Northampton counties — largely intact.

Diocese Disputes Main Premise of Morning Call Articles

ALLENTOWN (PA)
Diocese of Allentown

October 13, 2019

For three straight days this week, The Morning Call newspaper has published articles claiming that the Diocese of Allentown has $323 million in property in the Lehigh Valley.

That is wrong.

For three straight days, the implication of these website articles has been that the Diocese could have sold this property to raise cash, but has chosen not to.

That also is wrong.

In one article, there is a list of “Highest-value Allentown Diocese parcels.” Most of them are thriving parishes like St. Thomas More, St. Joseph the Worker and St. Catharine of Siena. Others are thriving high schools like Allentown Central Catholic, Bethlehem Catholic and Notre Dame. The implication? These are properties owned by the Diocese, and they could be sold.

Wrong again.

Priest removed from ministry during investigation

ALLENTOWN (PA)
Diocese of Allentown

October 13, 2019

[Includes assignment history.]

Father Robert J. Potts, pastor of St. Ursula Church, Fountain Hill (Bethlehem), has been removed from ministry pending investigation of an allegation that he sexually abused a minor in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The allegation was made recently to the administrators of the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program, who then notified the Diocese. The Diocese had no prior knowledge of the allegation until being notified by program administrators. The program was established by the Diocese to provide compensation to abuse victims as one part of their healing.

On the day he was notified of the allegation, Bishop Alfred Schlert immediately removed Father Potts from ministry and immediately directed that law enforcement be notified.

The removal of Father Potts from ministry at this time is not a determination of guilt, but rather a precautionary measure until the appropriate investigations are completed.

The abuse allegedly occurred when Father Potts, now 82, was pastor of the former St. George Parish, Shenandoah. He was ordained in March 1964.

Allentown Diocese removes priest over sex abuse allegation

ALLENTOWN (PA)
Morning Call

October 13, 2019

By Nicole Radzievich

The Rev. Robert J. Potts, seen in this 1999 photo, has been removed from ministry pending investigation of an allegation that he sexually abused a minor in the late 1980s and early 1990s, according to the Allentown Catholic Diocese.

The Rev. Robert J. Potts, pastor of St. Ursula Church in Fountain Hill, has been removed from ministry pending the investigation of an allegation that he sexually abused a minor in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Allentown Diocese said Sunday.

The allegation was made recently to the administrators of the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program, and they notified the diocese the week of Sept. 24. Bishop Alfred Schlert immediately removed Potts from the ministry and notified law enforcement, a news release said.

The release said Potts’ removal is a precautionary measure until the investigation is completed and not a determination of guilt.

Parishioners of St. Ursula were informed of the allegation at all Masses this weekend. The diocese’s announcement was done in consultation with the district attorney’s office in Schuylkill County, where the alleged abuse occurred.

Pennsylvania Priest Accused of Sexually Abusing Minor

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
WCAU NBC 10

October 13, 2019

By David Chang

A Pennsylvania priest was removed from the ministry after being accused of sexually abusing a minor.

Father Robert J. Potts, the pastor of St. Ursula Church, Fountain Hill in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is accused of sexually abusing a minor in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Potts, 82, allegedly abused the victim while he was pastor of the former St. George Parish, Shenandoah.

The accusation was made recently to the administrators of the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program who then notified the Diocese of Allentown. The program was established by the Diocese to provide compensation for abuse victims.

Letter to the Editor: Statute of limitations needs to be reevaluated

HARTFORD (CT)
Hartford Courant

October 13, 2019

By Thomas F. Morrissey, Jr.

I read with interest the in-depth reporting by Daniela Altimari [Oct. 6, Politics, “After scathing report on sex abuse by clergy in Bridgeport Diocese, victims press for changes to Connecticut’s statute of limitations law”]

I retired as a New Haven detective with 27 years of service, half as the department’s community youth coordinator. Sexual abuse of an innocent child by criminals within the Catholic Church and wherever else causes permanent damage to the victims, thus the Connecticut state statute of limitations that protects these perpetrators must be eliminated now.

State Sen. Mae Flexer is correct in stating that such legislation “was thwarted by the Catholic Church’s lobbying effort.” State Sen. Martin Looney is President Pro Tempore of the Connecticut Senate; his influence is enormous. Everyone who cares about this matter should contact him and ask that he commit to advocating the abolishment of this cruel and unjust obstacle.

Thomas F. Morrissey, Jr., Cheshire

Statement in light of the most recent court filing under the Child Victims Act

ALBANY (NY)
Times Union

October 13, 2019

By Bishop Emeritus Howard J. Hubbard

The most recent court filing names me as a known sexual abuser dating back to the beginning of my episcopate in 1977.

The first allegation of such misconduct was in 2004. This complaint was thoroughly investigated by Mary Jo White, the former attorney of the Southern District of New York who prosecuted John Gotti and the terrorists at the World Trade Center. She investigated my entire life going back to grammar school years till 2004. She interviewed over 300 people, offered a toll free hot line to receive any complaints of misbehavior on my part, reviewed my medical and financial records and had me take a polygraph test administered by a former FBI specialist in this regard. Ms. White included that there was no evidence I ever abused anyone sexually and stated that any further allegations should be reviewed with the greatest skepticism.

Fourth lawsuit alleges sexual abuse by former bishop

ALBANY (NY)
Times Union

October 13, 2019

By Cayla Harris

Complaint accuses Hubbard, another priest of abusing a young boy in the late '80s

A lawsuit filed in state Supreme Court in Albany on Friday is the fourth civil action to accuse former Albany Bishop Howard Hubbard of child sex abuse.

The complaint, which does not include specific details, alleges that Hubbard and a second priest — now deceased — abused a child in the late 1980s while the plaintiff served as an altar boy at St. John the Baptist church in Chestertown.

Hubbard, who retired in 2014 after nearly four decades at the helm of the diocese, said in a statement Sunday that he "adamantly" denies any accusations of child sex abuse lodged against him.

Peter Saghir, the plaintiff's attorney, said the alleged abuse involving Hubbard was a one-time incident that occurred when the boy was roughly nine or 10 years old and visited the home of the second priest, Gerald Kampfer.

*

The first claim against Hubbard, filed in August, alleged that the former bishop abused a teenage boy in the 1990s. A second filed the next month accused him and two other Capital Region priests — Francis P. Melfe and Albert DelVecchio, both now deceased — of repeatedly assaulting a teenage girl in the late 1970s at a now-shuttered church in Schenectady.

A third filed earlier this month claimed that Hubbard and a second priest abused a teenage boy at a Troy church in the 1970s. The second priest is identified in the complaint as "Joseph Mato," but the Times Union could not confirm if a priest by that name served at the church. A deceased priest with a similar name was employed by the diocese during that time.

Sex abuse lawsuit alleges fraud and conspiracy by Bishop McCort High School & Diocese

JOHNSTOWN (PA)
WJAC

October 11, 2019

By Crispin Havener

A new civil lawsuit filed Thursday alleges fraud and conspiracy against Bishop McCort Catholic High School, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown and the Franciscan Friars of the Third Order Regular, over allegations of sexual abuse made by a former student who attended the school from 2000 to 2002.

The plaintiff, listed in the complaint as "A.L.", said the abuse by an unnamed "priest and athletic trainer" employed by the school in Johnstown, the diocese, and the Third Order Regular Friars, started after the student suffered an injury during a freshman day camp. The athletic trainer, according to the complaint, rubbed the plaintiff's leg under the guise of treatment but proceeded to assault the student.

Other abuses are alleged in the complaint to have happened over the two year period, including in a bathroom at the Visitation Church near the school. The plaintiff said other students mentioned getting "rub downs" from the "John Doe" athletic trainer.

The victim, who is older than 30 and has aged out of the statute of limitations for civil suits, is filing suit claiming allegations of abuse by others were not known to him until the 2016 grand jury report into the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown came out. This summer, a state Superior Court panel reinstated Renee Rice's lawsuit alleging the diocese and two bishops illegally tried to cover up her abuse to protect their reputations and that of the parish priest she claims abused her, which she did not know about until the report came out.

October 13, 2019

Valley priest sues accusers, Diocese

WARREN (OH)
Tribune Chronicle

October 12, 2019

By Ed Runyan

Suit calls claims false and defamatory

Youngstown - Father Denis G. Bouchard, who was placed on administrative leave in November after the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown received an allegation that he engaged in inappropriate behavior with a minor, has filed a libel and slander suit against the accuser, his mother and the diocese.

The lawsuit, filed late last month in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court, names the alleged victim, who lives in Chardon, his mother, who lives in Orwell, and the diocese as defendants.

It says the allegations are false and defamatory.

Monsignor John Zuraw, chancellor of the Diocese of Youngstown, when asked about the lawsuit, said, “Because there is a civil suit that is active, we cannot make any comment because of the legal ramifications.”

Retired Youngstown police Sgt. Delphine Baldwin-Casey, diocese victim assistance coordinator, said in November the purported victim was a minor at the time of the alleged incidents but is now an adult.

The Diocese said in November its Diocesan Review Board had recommended to Youngstown Bishop George V. Murry that further investigation be done to determine the credibility of the allegations against Bouchard, who was pastor of Queen of the Holy Rosary Parish on Scoville Drive in Vienna.

Resignation of Auxiliary Bishop Jenik Accepted

NEW YORK (NY)
Catholic New York

October 11, 2019

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Auxiliary Bishop John J. Jenik, who is 75, the age at which canon law requires bishops turn in their resignation to the pope.

Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States, made the announcement Oct. 10 in Washington, D.C.

In October 2018, Bishop Jenik was removed from public ministry pending a Vatican review of a decades-old accusation of sexual abuse made against him, a claim he denies.

He stepped down as pastor of Our Lady of Refuge parish in the Bronx, where he had been pastor since 1985.

He has been an auxiliary bishop since 2014.

Insurance firm sues Buffalo Diocese to avoid paying for sex abuse claims

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

October 10, 2019

By Jay Tokasz

A Chicago-based insurance company has launched an opening salvo in what are expected to be bruising legal battles between the Buffalo Diocese and its insurers over payouts on clergy sex abuse claims under the Child Victims Act and the legal costs of defending the diocese against the claims.

Continental Insurance Company is arguing in court papers that insurance policies it may have issued to the diocese more than 40 years ago don’t apply to childhood sex abuse lawsuits being filed now against the diocese.

Potentially millions of dollars in legal costs and sex abuse claims are at stake in the case.

Continental urged the court to rule that the company was not obligated to pay for sex abuse claims or for the diocese’s legal costs in defending itself against the claims. The insurer also argued that it wasn’t obligated to provide funds to help offset the expenses of the diocese’s voluntary compensation program, which already paid $17.5 million to 106 abuse victims.

Vatican Expert Looks to Calm Parishioner Fears Amid Diocese of Buffalo Probe

BUFFALO (NY)
Spectrum News

October 8, 2019

By Mark Goshgarian

After months of parishioners voicing mistrust toward the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo over the handling of the clergy abuse crisis, Pope Francis has sent Bishop of Brooklyn Nicholas DiMarzio to Buffalo.

"It's the pope saying, ‘I hear you.’ The alarm over Buffalo is so significant to have risen at that top most level," said Rocco Palmo, Vatican expert.

The Diocese is the third placed under a visitation since the pontiff became leader of the Church in 2013.

"This visitation has come from the highest level of the Catholic Church. This is the equivalent in the Catholic Church of either an FBI investigation or a grand jury. It's kind of like, in a way, being charged with a crime, and kind of hanging in that limbo," said Palmo.

Palmo has known DiMarzio for 20 years, and says the Bishop's fact-finding mission will be handled quickly and responsibly.

"And they're sending in someone again with the universal reputation for being tough. Anyone who calls this guy soft has no idea who they're dealing with," said Palmo.

DiMarzio is expected to interview stakeholders, evaluate Bishop Richard Malone's handling of clergy cases, review files and documents, as well as more than 200 Child Victims Act lawsuits.

Pope names new apostolic nuncio to Chile

KANSAS CITY (MO)
Catholic News Service via National Catholic Reporter

October 7, 2019

By Junno Arocho Esteves

Vatican City - Pope Francis named Spanish Archbishop Alberto Ortega Martin as the new apostolic nuncio to Chile, the Vatican announced.

Ortega, 56, served as nuncio to Jordan and Iraq prior to his appointment to the South American country, the Vatican said Oct. 7.

Ordained to the priesthood in 1990, Ortega entered the Vatican diplomatic service in 1997, serving in posts in Nicaragua, South Africa and Lebanon. He was ordained a bishop in 2015.

His appointment comes at a time when the Catholic Church in Chile is under continuous scrutiny over its handling of cases involving the abuse of minors and vulnerable adults.

Ortega's predecessor, Italian Archbishop Ivo Scapolo, whom Francis transferred to Portugal in late August, often was criticized by survivors for his alleged inaction and complicity in covering up cases of abuse.

Cardinal Sarah: To oppose the Pope is to be outside the Church

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Catholic Herald

October 9, 2019

By Cindy Wooden

The cardinal said accusations that he is against Pope Francis are 'diabolical'

Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, said the people who portray him as an opponent of Pope Francis are being used by the devil to help divide the Church.

“The truth is that the Church is represented on earth by the vicar of Christ, that is by the Pope. And whoever is against the Pope is, ipso facto, outside the Church,” the cardinal said in an interview published on October 7 in Corriere della Sera, an Italian daily.

*
The Corriere piece was published to coincide with the release of a new book-length interview with Cardinal Sarah, “The Day is Now Far Spent.” The English edition was released on September 22 by Ignatius Press in the United States.

*
“I would add that every Pope is right for his time,” the cardinal said. “Providence looks after us very well, you know.”

However, Cardinal Sarah’s new book is filled with warnings about how a lack of faith, trust in God and adherence to tradition is threatening the Catholic Church, particularly in Europe and the wealthy West. But he especially focuses on clerical sexual abuse and how that has meant “the mystery of betrayal oozes from the walls of the Church.”

Still, in the chapter, “The Crisis of the Church,” the book includes the cardinal saying, “I would like to remind everyone about Jesus’ words to St Peter, ‘You are Peter and on this rock I will build my church’ (Mt 16:18). We have the assurance that this saying of Jesus is realized in what we call the infallibility of the Church. The spouse of Christ, headed by the successor of Peter, can live through crises and storms.”

Papal visit organiser to become Scouting Ireland chief executive

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Irish Times

October 11, 2019

By Jack Power

Youth organisation has been embroiled in a a historic sex abuse scandal in recent times

A woman involved in the management of last year’s papal visit to Ireland is to become the chief executive of Scouting Ireland.

Anne Griffin is to take over as head of the youth organisation from Dr John Lawlor in January, and will be the first woman to hold the role in the organisation’s history.

Ms Griffin was the general manager of the World Meeting of Families, a major religious gathering which saw Pope Francis deliver a Mass in Dublin’s Phoenix Park in August of last year.

She was also the general manager of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress, another major international Catholic Church event, which was held in Dublin in 2012.

She was also employed as a consultant advise on the running of the 2015 and 2020 congresses.

Dr Lawlor has been chief executive of Scouting Ireland since 2012, and previously held several national volunteer roles in the youth organisation, which has more than 50,000 members.

Scouting Ireland has been at the centre of controversy over the last two years, following several governance and child protection scandals which were revealed by The Irish Times.

François Ozon on dramatising the biggest abuse scandal to hit the French Catholic church

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Guardian

October 13, 2019

By Kim Willsher

[With English-subtitled trailer.]

The director’s new film, By the Grace of God, retells the story of a paedophile priest. Ozon reveals how the victims’ stories unlocked his own painful memory

For most film directors, the nail-biting action unfolds on screen. Not, however, for François Ozon. The theatrics over his latest film played out in the French courts as he fought a last-minute attempt to stop it being released and found himself at the centre of a legal and national controversy. Today, Ozon can almost but not quite laugh about his starring role in the off-screen drama that earlier this year came perilously close to having his €5.9m (£5.2m) film By the Grace of God – the story of a real-life scandal involving a paedophile priest – canned.

“I suppose I was naive to think there wouldn’t be attempts to stop it coming out,” he says. “There was huge tension over the court case and we really didn’t know if the film could be released. The judgment was on the Tuesday; the film was due out on the Wednesday. We only knew the decision the night before.

“There were two court cases, but each time there has been legal action the judges have found in our favour. Fortunately.”

Even for Ozon, who is known for zigzagging across cinematic genres – farce, horror, comedy, psychosexual – By the Grace of God is a departure from style, a dramatised retelling of the story of the victims of Bernard Preynat, a former Catholic priest in the city of Lyon who is believed to have abused 70 children over three decades.

Colorado attorney general announces new settlement fund for victims of Catholic priest abuse

DENVER (CO)
Colorado Sun

October 7, 2019

By Jennifer Brown

The announcement comes ahead of the release of an investigative report into abuses by priests going back decades

Victims of sexual abuse by Colorado priests can now apply for financial reparations from a settlement fund announced Monday, part of a healing process after years of scandal in the Catholic Church.

Those who have already come forward will receive packets with instructions on how to apply for compensation — 65 packets were going out Monday to alleged victims already known to the church. Those who have yet to come forward must register by Nov. 30 for an eligibility review, no matter how long ago the abuse occurred.

The fund, officially called the Colorado Independent Reconciliation and Reparations Program, was a joint project by the state attorney general’s office and the Catholic Church. It is independent of church control. Two nationally known victims’ fund administrators will administer the program, with oversight from a committee headed by former U.S. Sen. Hank Brown.

Possibility of women deacons proposed on day three of the Amazon Synod

NEW YORK (NY)
America Magazine

October 9, 2019

By Luke Hansen, S.J.

Most bishops who lead dioceses in the Amazon support the ordination of married men of proven virtue, or viri probati, as a way of addressing the lack of priests in the region, said the retired Bishop Erwin Kräutler of Xingu, Brazil, speaking to journalists after a Vatican press briefing on Oct. 9. “I guess that [of] the bishops who are in the Amazon region, two-thirds are in favor of the viri probati,” he said.

At the briefing, Paolo Ruffini, the prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communication, said that synod members have described the uniqueness of the Amazon region, which has “dioceses as big as nations.” He added, “Viri probati does not mean changing the law of celibacy in the church” but, “depending on the discernment” that takes place in the synod, “this law, like all human laws, can have exceptions in concrete cases.”

On this point, Bishop Kräutler said there are thousands of indigenous communities in the Amazon that “do not celebrate the Eucharist except perhaps one, two or three times a year.”

“The Eucharist, for us Catholics, is the source and summit of our faith,” the bishop continued. “For the love of God, these people don’t have it!” The bishops in favor of ordaining married men, he said, “are not against celibacy. We just want these brothers and sisters of ours not to have just a celebration of the word but also the celebration of the Eucharist.”

Several speakers at the synod have also proposed the ordination of women to the permanent diaconate.

‘Marching to hell’: Why young men are still choosing to become Catholic priests

SYDNEY (AUSTRALIA)
news.com.au

October 13, 2019

By Gary Nunn

https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/real-life/news-life/marching-to-hell-why-young-men-are-still-choosing-to-become-catholic-priests/news-story/6a3ec306353091c2994d2de09181e968

They’re in their sexual prime — but these men and others like them are flocking to a career that demands they swear off sex for life.

Why are young men still choosing to become Catholic priests? It’s a fair enough question to ask any trainee priest in the current Australian climate: who, today, is choosing to devote their entire lives to the Catholic Church?

In the context of George Pell’s imprisonment, the Catholic Church having the most cases in the Royal Commission into child sexual abuse, stories of paedophile priests moved from parish to parish and plummeting church attendance, few would dispute that the once juggernaut institution is in crisis.

The answer, then, might surprise you.

I was given rare access within the Catholic Church’s notoriously tight PR machine to three young trainee priests all based within Australia’s largest seminary: Melbourne’s Corpus Christi College — where Pell himself studied and the heartland of a network of paedophile priests who operated there in the 1970s.

I ask what motivated them to give their lives over to an institution facing such momentous challenges.

Brooklyn’s Bishop DiMarzio begins visitation of scandal-hit Buffalo diocese

DENVER (CO)
Catholic News Agency

October 10, 2019

Buffalo, N.Y. - Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn has begun his apostolic visitation of the scandal-hit Diocese of Buffalo.

A statement released by the Diocese of Brooklyn Thursday said that DiMarzio had traveled to the diocese of Bishop Richard Malone and interviewed more than 30 people earlier this week.

“The Bishop takes his role as Visitator seriously and is determined to continue the fact-finding mission he has been directed to carry out by the Holy See,” said the Diocese of Brooklyn in the Oct. 10 statement.

“Both lay faithful and clergy, members of the Diocesan staff, and others have been invited to be a part of this process so that Bishop DiMarzio can gather information from several perspectives as part of this fact-finding mission of the Buffalo Diocese.”

DiMarzio was appointed to inspect the Buffalo diocese by Cardinal Marc Ouellet, head of the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops, last week. In an announcement released Oct. 3, the apostolic nunciature to the United States released a statement underscoring that the process was “non-judicial and non-administrative,” meaning that no formal charges are currently being considered against the scandal-plagued Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo.

Priest molested woman seeking help after father’s death, court hears

VANCOUVER (BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA)
Coast Reporter

October 8, 2019

By Jeremy Hainsworth

'He shoved his ugly tongue in my mouth. I hated it. I prayed to God to stop it.'

A woman seeking help from a Kamloops Roman Catholic priest dealing with grief from her father’s death in 1976 instead found herself being groped by him in his office, BC Supreme Court heard Oct. 8.

Rosemary Anderson alleged in a Dec. 22, 2016, notice of civil claim the sexual abuse at the hands of Father Erlindo “Lindo” Molon, now 86, started when she was 26 when she sought solace after her father’s death. She names Molon and the Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Kamloops, A Corporation Sole in the claim.

The court has heard Anderson went to then Bishop Adam Exner with her concerns about Molon.

Anderson had moved to the Interior city to take up a teaching job with the diocese after doing practicum work in Rock Creek and later in Greenwood.

Vatican Accepts Resignation of Credibly Accused New York Bishop

FERNDALE (MI)
Church Militant

October 10, 2019

By Stephen Wynne

New York - Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of a New York prelate accused of sexually abusing a minor.

On Thursday, the Vatican announced that New York Auxiliary Bp. John Jenik is stepping down, nearly two years after he was first accused of sexually abusing a teenage boy.

Jenik, 75, was removed from ministry in October 2018 after a nine-month investigation by the archdiocesan lay review board.

Arrested Lowestoft priest re-released as police investigation continues

NORWICH (ENGLAND)
Eastern Daily Press

October 10, 2019

A vicar who was suspended after being arrested has been re-released by police as an investigation continues.

Matthew Payne was vicar of Christ Church, Lowestoft, until he stepped down on Sunday, September 29.

The vicar was arrested on Thursday, September 19 as part of a police investigation, and was released on bail until Thursday, October 10.

Mr Payne was arrested as part of an "ongoing police investigation", officers said, and was taken to Great Yarmouth Police Investigation Centre for questioning until he was released on bail.