Abuse Tracker
A Blog by Kathy Shaw

BishopAccountability.org – Documenting the Abuse Crisis

February 21, 2019

Nessel warns Catholic Church: Let state investigate clergy sexual abuse

Detroit Free Press

February 21, 2019

By Niraj Warikoo

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel accused Catholic Church leaders of not fully cooperating with law enforcement, telling them to stop "self-policing" and allow state investigators to probe sexual abuse by clergy.

Speaking Thursday at her first news conference, Nessel said she will continue the investigations into Michigan's seven Catholic dioceses launched under her predecessor, former Attorney General Bill Schuette. Schuette conducted raids in October at dioceses in Michigan that involved 70 police officers and 14 assistant attorney generals, Nessel said.

Nessel told victims of abuse and others to speak with state investigators rather than Catholic officials, expressing concern that nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) are being used to discourage victims of abuse to speak with law enforcement authorities.

"Stop self-policing" and let the state do its investigations, she said. "Our office is conducting a thorough investigation and it's important we be able to talk with any and all victims harmed by these egregious acts without the intervention of the church."

Clergy Sex Abuse Survivors Release New List of NYC Predators

Queens Daily Eagle

February 21, 2019

By David Brand

Survivors of clergy sex abuse have named 112 additional clergy members from the Archdiocese of New York, who they say molested and abused them when they were children.

Attorney Jeff Anderson, who represents survivors of clergy sex abuse, said that 57 of the alleged perpetrators are alive, 42 are dead and 13 could not be located. Anderson joined survivors to publicize the list today in Manhattan.

“We are releasing this list publicly because Cardinal [Timothy] Dolan will not release a list,” Anderson said. Dolan is cardinal at the Archdiocese of New York. “He has made a conscious and calculated choice to keep these names and documents secret and he has the power to release the names right now.”

On Friday, the Diocese of Brooklyn, which includes Queens, released the names of 108 clergy members “credibly” accused of sexual abuse.

The Archdiocese of Brooklyn and The Archdiocese of New York did not provide a response to requests from the Eagle.

It is unclear how Catholic schools are preparing to discuss the latest church abuse revelations when students return from winter break on Monday.

At one K-through-8 school in the Bronx, which is located in the Archdiocese of New York, staff members have not received any guidance on how to talk about child sex abuse, one 8th grade teacher who asked to remain anonymous told the Eagle on Wednesday.

Survivors to rally in DC as Vatican holds summit to fight sex abuse in the Catholic church


February 21. 2019

A historic summit at the Vatican is addressing the clergy sex abuse crisis in the Catholic church.

Pope Francis opened the summit Thursday by warning 200 Catholic leaders from around the world that the faithful want concrete action in response to the sex abuse scandal and not just condemnation.

Meanwhile, abuse survivors in the Washington, D.C. area are watching the summit closely.

FOX 5's Bob Barnard spoke with Becky Ianni, a woman who says she was sexually abused by her parish priest, Father William Reinecke, when she was an 8-year-old girl living in Alexandria, Virginia back in the 1960's.

Now a grandmother, Ianni said when she went to her church seeking solace and an apology she didn't get either. "Up until then I was Catholic. So my abuse did not take the church away from me,” Ianni said. "How the church handled my abuse is what destroyed my faith in the church."

Now a leader of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), Ianni is keeping a close eye on this week's meetings at the Vatican. "I don't think they understand or I don't think they want to understand. They're still in the mode of we're going to protect the church. The church comes first," she said.

What one survivor, advocate wants to hear from pope's summit on clergy sex abuse

Minnesota Public Radio

February 21, 2019

By Cathy Wurzer ·

Catholic leaders from around the world are gathered at the Vatican today for the start of a four-day summit on clergy sex abuse.

MPR News host Cathy Wurzer spoke with Frank Meuers about his expectations for the summit. Meuers leads the Minnesota chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP.

Latest revelations hint at shocking global scope of Catholic Church sex abuse scandal

CBC News

February 21, 2019

By Jonathon Gatehouse

How big is the problem of child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church?

No one but the Vatican knows.

Last summer, Pope Francis wrote an unprecedented letter to the world's 1.2 billion Catholics apologizing for the church's abandonment of "the little ones," and asking for the laity's help in "uprooting this culture of death."

But as a special four-day summit on abuse prevention opens in Rome this morning, the scope of the crisis might best be described as both huge and hazy.

Pope Francis’ Sex Abuse Summit Is Missing A Huge Opportunity To Center Survivors

Huffington Post

February 21, 2019

By Carol Kuruvilla

Pope Francis’ highly anticipated summit on sex abuse kicked off on Thursday ― but there appears to be a glaring gap in the official list of speakers.

Of the nine individuals chosen to give presentations and offer recommendations for combating sexual abuse, none have publicly identified themselves as abuse survivors. Nor are any of them advocates representing prominent survivors’ networks.

While victims’ testimonies are woven into the summit during some key moments, there appear to be no sessions wholly dedicated to listening to survivors freely share their demands for concrete action.

This lack of representation for sex abuse survivors at a sex abuse summit would be surprising if it weren’t taking place under the auspices of the Vatican ― a notoriously hierarchical institution exclusively run by men.

“Put very simply, the church is a monarchy and has been for centuries,” Zach Hiner, the executive director of the U.S.-based Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), told HuffPost. “Its hierarchy hasn’t had to be responsive to their essentially powerless constituents."

Pope demands ‘concrete’ response to abuse crisis at Vatican summit

Religion News Service

February 21, 2019

By Jack Jenkins

Pope Francis on Thursday (Feb. 21) opened a highly anticipated four-day meeting on his church’s ongoing sex abuse crisis by calling on the assembled bishops and other Catholic leaders to “hear the cry of the little ones who plead for justice” and be “concrete.”

“The holy People of God look to us, and expect from us not simple and predictable condemnations, but concrete and effective measures to be undertaken. We need to be concrete,” Francis said.

But as the day wore on and the nearly 200 clerics debated ways to respond to the crisis, it became less clear which “concrete” responses can be agreed upon by a global church rattled by multiple scandals, or whether they will satisfy abuse victims.

Francis opened the conference the featured episcopal presidents of the more than 150 nations by distributing 21 “reflection points” for consideration by church leaders. The recommendations included preparing a handbook for local churches to follow in abuse cases, establishing protocols for handling accusations against bishops and raising the minimum age for marriage to 16.

At a news conference after the session, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, former director of the Holy See press office, described the list as “starting points” for conversation among bishops. But Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, Australia, speaking after Lombardi, made clear that the bishops’ various perspectives on abuse were as different as the countries they represented.

Searing testimony heard at Vatican sex abuse summit

The Associated Press

February 21, 2019

By Nicole Winfield

The day began with an African woman telling an extraordinary gathering of Catholic leaders that her priestly rapist forced her to have three abortions over a dozen years after he started violating her at age 15. It ended with a Colombian cardinal warning them they could all face prison if they let such crimes go unpunished.

In between, Pope Francis began charting a new course for the Catholic Church to confront the "evil" of clergy sexual abuse and cover-up, a scandal that has consumed his papacy and threatens the credibility of the Catholic hierarchy at large.

Opening a first-ever Vatican summit on preventing abuse, Francis warned 190 bishops and religious superiors on Thursday that their flocks were demanding concrete action, not just words, to punish predator priests and keep children safe. He offered them 21 proposals to consider going forward, some of them obvious and easy to adopt, others requiring new laws.

But his main point in summoning the Catholic hierarchy to the Vatican for a four-day tutorial was to impress upon them that clergy sex abuse is not confined to the United States or Ireland, but is a global scourge that requires a concerted, global response.

"Listen to the cry of the young, who want justice," Francis told the gathering. "The holy people of God are watching and expect not just simple and obvious condemnations, but efficient and concrete measures to be established."

More than 30 years after the scandal first erupted in Ireland and Australia, and 20 years after it hit the U.S., bishops and Catholic officials in many parts of Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia still either deny that clergy sex abuse exists in their regions or play down the problem.

Column: For Catholic church, just another brick in the wall

Riverhead News Review

February 21, 2019

By Steve Wick

The gigantic scandal that is the Roman Catholic Church continues to grow worse, with new revelations of criminal behavior and the sexual abuse of children. With each new disclosure, the church itself looks more and more like a criminal cabal partly inhabited by pedophiles whose behavior was covered up and filed away, hidden from the public.

The latest report involves two women now in their 60s who say they were sexually abused as children by former Diocese of Rockville Centre Bishop John McGann. They were about 11 at the time of the alleged abuse, when McGann was a monsignor and auxiliary bishop. One of them said she was also abused by another priest in the diocese at age 5. The parents of these girls were devout Catholics who believed priests and bishops were in a special class by themselves and were to be revered. Little did they know the truth.

McGann is the once-esteemed bishop whose name adorned the Catholic high school in Riverhead, which was shuttered by the current bishop of the diocese — whose name appears in a grand jury report published last year about abuse by priests in Pennsylvania and the bishops who knew about it.

Statement from NY Leader Janet Klinger on Bishop John McGann

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

February 21, 2019

We are members of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. We exist for two reasons: To protect the vulnerable and to heal the wounded. We are here today for three reasons.

First, we are begging anyone with information or suspicions about crimes or cover ups by former Long Island Bishop John McGann to come forward.

McGann was sued this week by two brave women. We in SNAP strongly suspect there are others in and around Rockville Centre who saw, suspected or suffered McGann’s crimes and misdeeds. They should find the courage to speak up so that they can heal and so that others who ignored or hid McGann’s wrongdoing will be expose or punished.

Our message to victims: You CAN get better. But to do so, you must break your silence. Everyone recovers from the horror of abuse in different ways. But few recover alone. Reach out to trusted sources of help – police, prosecutors, therapists, loved ones or support groups like ours! Do it today.

Policy Change is Meaningless Without Discipline

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

February 21, 2019

For immediate release: February 21, 2019

As Pope Francis’ global abuse summit officially got underway today, the world’s top Catholic leader opened his global meeting with a list of 21 “reflection points” to help end the clergy sex abuse crisis.

Some of the points that the Pope has called for echo some of our own demands. We agree that Bishops must be cooperating with civil investigations and that they should be fully open and honest with the public when making decisions about accused priests.

But as we have grown to expect from the Church hierarchy, every step forward is complemented by at least one step backwards. What we wanted to see from Rome was action, yet we have heard these words before. Formalizing these points into policy is meaningless without any willingness to back them up with punishment.

In refusing to discipline those prelates in attendance who have had an active role in covering up and minimizing cases of child sex abuse, Pope Francis sends the message that Bishops and Cardinals are able to openly flout the very policies designed to hold them accountable. For example, despite being published more than 15 years ago, the guidelines within the Dallas Charter were ignored by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo in his recent dealings with cases of abuse within the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.

Cae el secreto de los abusos en España

[Five months of research reveals hidden clergy abuse in Spain]

El País

February 21, 2019

By Íñigo Domínguez and Julio Núñez

Cinco meses de investigación de EL PAÍS han sacado a la luz 19 casos con 87 víctimas de la pederastia, casi la mitad de los que se conocían hasta ahora en los últimos 30 años

EL PAÍS se propuso hace cinco meses comprobar si España era una excepción, o si lo excepcional era que en este país aún no hubieran salido a la luz más casos de pederastia en la Iglesia. La respuesta empieza a estar clara: los abusos en España sí han existido. Queda ahora por saber cuál es la dimensión del problema. Este periódico ha investigado y desvelado ya 19 casos, con al menos 87 víctimas. Es más de la mitad de lo que estaba registrado oficialmente en los últimos treinta años: 36 casos, a través de 34 sentencias civiles y seis eclesiásticas. Además, por primera vez hemos contabilizado los casos de los que se tiene constancia, sumando los judicializados y los que han aparecido en distintos medios de comunicación. Suman un total de 82 casos conocidos en 33 años; 28 de ellos en los últimos 14 meses. Un acelerón vertiginoso tras décadas de silencio. Un secreto que empieza a caer. Ha sido posible por la valentía de las víctimas, que se han decidido a hablar.

Church Sex Abuse Survivors Want Reform Now. Here’s Why That Might Not Happen

New York Times

February 20, 2019

By Jason Horowitz

In parts of the vast Catholic world, some bishops view clerical sexual abuse as more of a sin than a crime. Others attribute it to homosexuality or question that it exists at all. Where Catholics are a minority, as in the Middle East, reporting a pedophile priest to the civil authorities is tantamount to sentencing him to death.

As Pope Francis convenes church leaders for a meeting at the Vatican starting on Thursday to address the scourge of clerical sexual abuse, victims’ advocates are demanding urgent and uniform church laws to impose zero tolerance for priests who abuse minors and for the bishops who cover up for them, regardless of the culture in which they operate.

But Vatican officials say such a demand reflects a misconception that change in a global and ancient institution can be made with the wave of a papal wand.

The diversity of legal and cultural barriers to identifying abusers and assisting victims, as well as entrenched denial, makes putting in place one world standard virtually impossible, they say.

Before the conference, The New York Times interviewed bishops and priests on four continents, and their views varied widely on the urgency, extent and very existence of sexual abuse of children and minors among priests — a problem that by now has been painstakingly documented in many parts of the globe.

“It is not so simple,” said the Rev. Hans Zollner, an organizer of the meeting, member of the Vatican’s child-protection commission and president of the Center for Child Protection of the Pontifical Gregorian University.

Vatican leaders have worked for weeks to tamp down expectations of a sudden revolution in the sprawling bureaucracy governing the church.

The conference instead will amount to a kind of four-day crash course to instruct church leaders on how to handle abuse cases with responsibility, accountability and transparency, and to convince some that the problem exists at all.

That has hardly appeased survivors of abuse and others in the church who call the arguments against more decisive action a cop-out.

“They are saying there are all these bishops who don’t understand sexual abuse, which is stunning!” said Peter Isely, an American abuse survivor and leader of Ending Clergy Abuse, an advocacy group for survivors of clerical child abuse.

“How do you get to be a bishop if you have to be given an education about the rape of a child?” he said, after he met on Wednesday with Father Zollner and the prelates organizing the conference. He was furious that Pope Francis himself did not show up.

“The only way to solve this is at the top,” Mr. Isely said. “He can do it with the stroke of a pen.”

Father Zollner said he understood the anguished call from victims and advocates for action. But while the Vatican is a monarchy, it is not monolithic and has “as diverse backgrounds as you can imagine in humanity,” he said.

“If you think that by the pope declaring that these are guidelines you have solved the problem, actually I think that you may run the risk of being very much disappointed,” Father Zollner said in an interview in his office in Rome.

The pope has already provided the church with zero-tolerance laws, he argued, adding that if Francis introduced new norms prematurely, he would risk eroding papal authority, because they had a good chance of being ignored.

When the pope emphasized change starting at the bottom, Father Zollner said, he was not shirking responsibility, but making the only choice available, because that was where the change needed to happen.

Pope Francis wants ‘concrete’ steps on sexual abuse. Here are his 21 starting points.

Washington Post

February 21, 2019

By Julie Zauzmer

As the Vatican’s much-anticipated first summit on the abuse of children got underway Thursday, Pope Francis said he hopes “concrete and effective measures” will emerge from the gathering of the world’s leading bishops. To get that discussion started, Francis handed out a list of points for the days-long conversation among 190 Catholic leaders.

The document raises a number of ideas: a handbook for how abuse cases should be handled, an increase in the church’s minimum marriage age to 16, mandatory codes of conduct, and background checks for all church staff and volunteers worldwide.

Some of the suggestions are already in place in the United States, such as psychological evaluations of men who want to become priests and removal from ministry of any priest found guilty of abusing a child, but not in all countries.

The document recommends protocols for handling accusations against bishops, which was a central proposal at a meeting of U.S. bishops last fall, when the Vatican asked the Americans not to implement their ideas yet.

Read the complete list of Francis’s proposals, as distributed by the Vatican, here.

Pope Francis calls for ‘concrete measures’ as historic clergy sex-abuse summit opens in Rome

Philadelphia Inquirer

February 21, 2019

By Jeremy Roebuck

Pope Francis warned the globe’s top Roman Catholic leaders Thursday that they would need to emerge with more than just “predictable statements” as he opened a highly-anticipated summit aimed at finally defining a worldwide response to the issue of sex abuse within the church.

In an opening address before an audience of leading bishops from more than 100 countries, Vatican officials and experts, the pontiff urged those in attendance to “listen to the cry of the small who are asking for justice.”

“The holy people of God are looking at us, expecting not only simple and predictable condemnations but concrete and effective measures in place,” he said. “We need to be concrete.”

Francis’ remarks kicked off the three-day, closed-door meeting at the Holy See, which will see the presidents of the world’s bishops’ conferences participating in lectures and work sessions on how to prevent sex abuse, hold each other accountable and care for victims in their churches back home.

Organizers have said they hope it will prove to be a “turning point” for a hierarchy battered by a series of scandals — especially in the United States, which saw top Cardinal Theodore McCarrick defrocked over allegations he abused seminarians and minors, a scathing grand jury report in Pennsylvania and the launch of several similar investigations in more than a dozen states all within the last year, including New Jersey.

The meeting also presents an opportunity for Pope Francis to shore up his own record on the issue. His critics have described him as sluggish to respond and, at times, callous.

Clergy sex abuse victims and representatives from their most outspoken advocacy groups — have turned the area surrounding St. Peter’s Square into their own home base in the days leading up to Thursday’s session and have sought to wrest the spotlight from the summit’s official agenda.

Survivors blast pope’s ‘reflection points’ on abuse as less than zero tolerance


February 21, 2019

By Elise Harris

As part of Pope Francis’ high-stakes summit on clerical sexual abuse this week at the Vatican, during Thursday’s opening session he released a list of 21 “points for reflection”- including a couple that didn’t necessarily sit well with abuse survivors, who say they fall short of the Catholic Church’s pledge of zero tolerance.

One of those points, which Pope Francis said he got from suggestions made by bishops’ conferences ahead of the summit, dealt with releasing names of accused priests. Another concerned defrocking clergy guilty of abuse, and still another with listening structures so bishops can hear victims’ stories.

In comments following the opening session of Pope Francis’ Feb. 21-24 summit on the protection of minors in the Church, abuse survivor and co-founder of the U.S. branch of the Ending Clergy Abuse advocacy group Peter Isely said the pope’s list contains “not-very-concrete points,” despite a statement from Francis earlier in the day that people want “concrete, effective” measures.

The suggestions are not a sign of progress, Isley said, because “they don’t go anywhere, they’re not moving the line anywhere.”

“There’s nothing different in here than there was yesterday. Where is it in these points that if you’re a bishop or a cardinal and you’ve covered up child sex crimes, that you’re going to be removed from the priesthood or that any action will be taken against you?” he said.

“That’s not in here at all, so that’s not accountability and that’s not zero tolerance,” he said.

Speaking of point 15 on Francis’ list, which suggests that the Church’s traditional principle of “proportionality of punishment with respect to the crime committed” should be observed and asked for “deliberation” on defrocking, Isely said the idea that some priests guilty of abusing children would not lose their clerical status is “unacceptable.”

In a news conference after Thursday’s morning session, Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, a former Vatican prosecutor on clerical abuse cases and a leading figure in the protection of minors in the Church, said that dismissing abuser priests from the clerical state is not always a given, but in his view, should happen on a “case-by-case” basis.

The Latest: Pope issues ideas for handling clergy sex abuse

Associated Press

February 21, 2019

The Latest on the Vatican's conference on dealing with sex abuse by priests (all times local):

3:40 p.m.
Pope Francis has issued 21 proposals to stem the clergy sex abuse around the world, calling for specific protocols to handle accusations against bishops and for lay experts to be involved in abuse investigations.

Francis distributed the list on Thursday as he opened his high-stakes abuse prevention summit at the Vatican. The four-day event brings together some 190 bishops and religious superiors for tutorials on preventing abuse and protecting children.

The aim is to show pedophile priests a global problem and therefore require a global response.

The pope's proposals draw heavily from existing best practices, including establishing rules for transferring seminarians and priests.

Another idea suggests a basic handbook showing bishops how to investigate cases.

Polish activists pull down statue of disgraced priest

Associated Press

February 21, 2019

Activists in Poland toppled a statue of a prominent Solidarity-era priest early Thursday amid allegations that he sexually abused minors, a protest against what they called a failure by the Catholic Church and society to resolve the problem of clergy sex abuse.

The protest came only hours before Pope Francis gathered Catholic leaders from around the world for a landmark summit at the Vatican to address the Church’s sex abuse crisis.

Video footage showed three men attaching a rope around the statue of the late Monsignor Henryk Jankowski in the northern city of Gdansk and then pulling it down to the ground in the dark. The activists then placed children’s underwear in one of the statue’s hands and a small white lace church vestment worn by altar boys on the statue’s body to symbolize the suffering of the young people he allegedly molested.

It was a striking act in a country where more than 90 percent of the population identifies as Roman Catholic and where the Church still enjoys significant authority in public life. That position appears to be changing, however, as secularization grows along with a developing economy.

Church leaders have also alienated some Poles with their close ties to the conservative ruling party, which has been accused of eroding Poland’s democratic culture and institutions.

Police detained the three men and opened an investigation into whether they committed the crime of “insulting a monument.”

In six months, abuse allegations against over 2,600 priests and church workers have been revealed

CBS News

February 21, 2019

By Matthew Sheridan, Elizabeth Gravier and Alexandra Myers

In the past six months, authorities and Catholic Church dioceses across the U.S. have said that credible accusations of abuse have been made against more than 2,600 priests and other church employees over a span of several decades, according to a CBS News tally. The number includes sexual abuse accusations made against 301 priests over 70 years that a Pennsylvania grand jury revealed last summer.

Since then, individual dioceses and archdioceses across the country have been reviewing their files and releasing lists of people who they said face credible allegations of abuse. The issue has prompted Pope Francis to call church leaders from all over the world to the Vatican for a summit that started Thursday.

Between the release of the Pennsylvania grand jury investigation on Aug. 14, and Monday of this week, dioceses in two states have each named more than 300 people who have been accused of abuse. In New York, dioceses have named a total of 343 people, and Texas dioceses have named 304.

Dioceses in 31 other states and Washington, D.C., have come forward with what they said they've found in their files. The findings range from Mississippi, where the diocese of Biloxi said in January that credible allegations have been made against three priests since 1989, to California, where the diocese of Oakland on Monday released a list of 45 clergy members accused of abuse dating back to the 1960s.

Bill Would Make Priests Report Abuse Revealed In Confessions

Associated Press

February 21, 2019

A California lawmaker said Wednesday the state should require clergy members to report suspected child abuse or neglect even if they learn of it during confession.

Clergy members are among a list of more than 40 “mandated reporters,” meaning they are required under state law to report suspected abuse. But that doesn’t apply if they learn about something during a private communication such as confession, a sacrosanct practice in the Catholic church.

A bill by Democratic Sen. Jerry Hill would eliminate that exemption.

“The law should apply equally to all professionals who have been designated as mandated reporters of these crimes – with no exceptions, period,” he said in a statement. “The exemption for clergy only protects the abuser and places children at further risk.”

Clergy includes priests and ministers as well as rabbis or other religious practitioners. Under state law, clergy can assert privilege over a “penitential communication,” which is a statement made in confidence that the clergy must keep secret based on church doctrine.

SNAP exposes five more publicly accused predators

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nearly 100 alleged predators are now publicly known here

Many abused elsewhere but are or were in St. Louis area to0

In last 6 months, 37 accused child molesting clerics are ‘outed’ here

Still, archbishop won’t disclose more than 50 others who are accused

Local Catholic victims will also discuss upcoming Vatican abuse summit


Holding five signs listing 100 accused clericsa at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will

reveal the identities of five accused priests who are/were in St. Louis but have escaped virtually all scrutiny or attention here, and
challenge local Catholic officials to disclose the names of ALL alleged predator priests,
prod Missouri’s attorney general to work harder to bring victims, witnesses and whistleblowers forward for his statewide probe into clergy sex crimes and cover ups.

Thursday, February 21 at 1:00 p.m.

On the sidewalk outside the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis (“new” cathdral), 4431 Lindell Blvd, (between Taylor & Newstead) in the Central West End in St. Louis

U.S. groups: Pope must sustain guilty verdict, defrock Guam's Apuron

Pacific Daily News

February 20, 2019

By Haidee V. Eugenio

Two leading U.S. organizations protecting victims and documenting the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic priesthood have called on Pope Francis to sustain the guilty verdict on Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron in a case involving sexual abuse of minors, and to defrock or expel him from priesthood.

"It is wrong for Pope Francis to leave Guam Catholics twisting in the wind and waiting to discover the fate of Archbishop Apuron, especially since it has been nearly a full year since the archbishop was found guilty of abusing children," according to Zach Hiner, executive director for the Missouri-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, the world's largest and oldest survivors group for abuse victims.

BishopAccountability.Org, which documents the Catholic clergy sex abuse crisis, said Apuron and four other bishops must be defrocked, just like the disgraced former cardinal archbishop of Washington, D.C., Theodore McCarrick.

Women activists float ‘Shawshank solution’ to Church’s abuse scandals


February 20, 2019

By Elise Harris

In the 1994 movie classic “The Shawshank Redemption,” Tim Robbins plays a wrongly convicted inmate who eventually escapes by tunneling out of the thick stone structure using only a tiny rock hammer he uses to chip the prison wall away over a long stretch of time.

His primary confidante behind bars is played by Morgan Freeman, who, after the escape, comments on his friend’s passion for geology: “Geology is the study of pressure and time. That’s all it takes, really … pressure and time.”

At a Rome news conference Tuesday, a panel of women activists touted what might be called a “Shawshank solution” to the woes plaguing the Catholic Church, including the clerical sexual abuse crisis and sexual assaults against women religious - recommending the application of pressure, combined with the determination to stay the course.

It was a piece in a women’s supplement published by the Vatican newspaper earlier in February that prompted Pope Francis to acknowledge sexual abuse of nuns by clergy.

Pope Francis skips meeting with survivors on eve of Vatican clergy abuse summit

Trib Live

February 20, 2019

By Deb Erdley

Clergy sexual abuse survivors were left waiting for answers Wednesday as an international mix of Catholic Church leaders gathered in Rome to address the child sexual abuse scandal that has rocked parishes around the world — including Western Pennsylvania.

Calls for an apology to survivors, an acknowledgement of their pain, sweeping global policy changes and the ouster of a Pennsylvania bishop some deemed to have been complicit in cover-ups were among the demands survivors took to Rome.

Shaun Dougherty, a 49-year-old Johnstown native, was among 12 survivors invited to meet with church leaders in advance of the official call to order of the four-day summit on clergy sexual abuse, which Pope Francis will convene at the Vatican beginning Thursday. Dougherty was disappointed but not surprised the pope did not attend Wednesday’s meeting with survivors.

“I’m aggravated. This is the CEO of the Roman Catholic Church,” Dougherty told CBS News reporter Nikki Battiste. “We came to his house to meet with him about his abusive priests … and he wasn’t there. He delegated.”

'I obeyed like a robot': Abuse survivor tells of predator priest


February 18, 2019

By Lucie Peytermann

Denise Buchanan was 17 when she was raped by a seminarian who continued to abuse her when he became a priest in her native Jamaica. The Catholic Church, she says, has offered her nothing but their "prayers".

"I got pregnant and he arranged a clandestine abortion," Buchanan, still shaking and close to tears 40 years after the ordeal, told AFP.

Today aged 57, the academic is a leading member of a new international organisation, Ending Clerical Abuse (ECA), which is bringing together victims in Rome this week to pressure Pope Francis to take a tougher line on child abuse by clerics.

She has struggled in vain for years for the Church to officially recognise her as a victim -- even writing to the pope himself -- while the priest who abused her has escaped justice.

Buchanan's struggle underscores the sense of isolation felt by many victims who see the institution as still in denial, particularly in poorer countries where the Church remains politically and socially influential.

Vatican to hold first-ever sex abuse conference

Reuters Videos

February 20, 2019

Pope Francis will convene the Church's first conference solely about sex abuse this week. But victims and activists fear it won't touch senior clerics who cover up the crimes. Philip Pullella and Lucy Fielder report.

The stakes are high for Pope Francis, Catholics worldwide in unprecedented sex abuse summit


February 19, 2019

By John Bacon

A crucial summit on clergy sexual abuse, which opens Thursday at the Vatican, will draw church leaders from around the world in an effort to break a "code of silence" that allowed the misconduct to take place over decades.

Presidents of more than 100 bishop conferences will be joined by high-ranking Vatican officials – and Pope Francis himself. The summit will focus on making bishops aware of their responsibilities, accountability and transparency, the Vatican said.

Archbishop Charles Scicluna, a member of the organizing committee, described the summit as a major step in the pope's efforts to end the code of silence. The Rev. James Bretzke, a theology professor at Marquette University, said the pope demands a change in "clerical culture."

Oakland Diocese releases names of priests accused of sex abuse; Survivor advocates say it omits names of dangerous priests

KGO – San Francisco

February 18, 2019

The Catholic Diocese of Oakland published a list of 45 priests who have been credibly accused of child sexual abuse, but survivor advocates say the list omits names of dangerous priests.

Mexican president will not 'confront' church over sexual abuse claims


February 18, 2019

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Monday he would not confront the country’s Catholic Church over sexual abuse allegations and that it would fall to the prosecutor’s office to investigate such claims.

At least 152 Catholic priests in Mexico have been suspended over the past nine years for sexual abuse against minors, and some of those priests have been jailed over those offences, Mexico’s Archbishop for Monterrey said earlier this month.

The Catholic Church has reeled from sexual abuse scandals in the United States, Chile, Australia, Germany and a number of other countries in recent years. Mexico is home to the world’s second-largest Catholic community after Brazil.

“We don’t want to confront the church,” Lopez Obrador said at a regular news conference when asked about the role his administration would take in investigating sexual abuse allegations.

Chilean nuns relieved by Pope's recognition of abuse

Reuters Videos

February 19, 2019

Three former Chilean nuns who claim to have been sexually abused over two decades ago by priests in their religious order have hailed comments by Pope Francis earlier this month in which he recognized the abuse of nuns in the Catholic Church. Havovi Cooper reports.

Pope Francis to host summit to tackle clergy abuse

FOX News Videos

February 19, 2019

Vatican hopes global clergy abuse meeting will be 'turning point' and help repair the reputation of the Catholic Church.

Roman Catholic Church leaders gather at Vatican for global meeting on clergy sex abuse

WLS – Chicago

February 19, 2019

A historic meeting is about to begin at the Vatican as leaders of the Roman Catholic Church gather for a global meeting on the clergy sex abuse crisis, led by Chicago's Cardinal Blase Cupich.

Victims ‘out’ two accused Long Island priests

Victims ‘out’ two accused Long Island priests

They also blast Long Island’s Catholic bishop

SNAP: “He should identify child molesting clerics”

And he must seek out others hurt by his predecessor, group says

Victim to read a letter the now-accused McGann wrote to her dad in 1995

Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will disclose the names of two publicly accused priests who are or were in the Rockville Centre dioceses but have largely been ‘under the radar,’

They will also prod Rockville Centre Catholic officials to
--reveal the names of ALL proven, admitted and ‘credibly accused’ predator priests,
--permanently and prominently post their photos, whereabouts, and work histories on church websites, and
--‘aggressively reach out’ to anyone who may have been hurt by a Long Island ex-bishop

Thursday, February 21 at 1:00 p.m.


On the sidewalk outside St. Agnes Cathedral, 29 Quealy Place in Rockville Centre, NY

Catholic Church credibility on the line at abuse meeting


February 17, 2019

By Philip Pullella

The Vatican will gather senior bishops from around the world later this week for a conference on sex abuse designed to guide them on how best to tackle a problem that has decimated the Church’s credibility, but critics say it is too little, too late.

The unprecedented four-day meeting, starting on Thursday, brings together presidents of national Roman Catholic bishops conferences, Vatican officials, experts and heads of male and female religious orders.

“I am absolutely convinced that our credibility in this area is at stake,” said Father Federico Lombardi, who Pope Francis has chosen to moderate the meeting.

“We have to get to the root of this problem and show our ability to undergo a cure as a Church that proposes to be a teacher or it would be better for us to get into another line of work,” he told reporters.

Vatican needs to offer more

Washington Post

February 20, 2019

In a recent letter to U.S. bishops, Pope Francis called for a “change of mindset” to regain credibility forfeited by the Catholic Church after nearly two decades of temporizing, equivocation and half-measures to address clerical sex abuse. In fact, the pontiff himself, whose response to the scandal has been a fog of mixed messages, would benefit from this advice. Just as important, as he prepares for a meeting of some 130 top bishops from around the world what is needed is a concrete blueprint that will shift the church toward a new era of accountability and transparency.

Those are among the stated goals of the meeting, called by the pope, of the presidents of the world’s Conferences of Catholic Bishops, scheduled for today through Sunday in Rome. Yet, rather than identifying specific agenda items that would signal a no-nonsense new approach, the Vatican has tried to lower expectations. Francis says the meeting will be an occasion for deep “discernment.” New policies would help more.

A good start would be the establishment of a muscular new mechanism, including lay members of the church, that would enable the Vatican to investigate and remove bishops and other senior clerics implicated in covering up for pedophile priests. Even now, more than 17 years after revelations of systematic abuse and coverups first rocked the American church, the wall of impunity that has long protected bishops is only gradually starting to crack.

In the United States, the church must also drop its largely successful efforts to block changes in state law that would allow adults who were once child victims of abuse to bring civil lawsuits against their abusers and the dioceses that enabled them. Owing to pressure by the church and insurance companies, only a handful of states have, so far, allowed such lawsuits. It’s hypocrisy on the church’s part to pledge “zero tolerance” for pedophile priests while lobbying resolutely to impede legislation that would allow victims to seek a measure of justice in the courts.

A genuine change of mindset would also mean a shift in tone by church officials at all levels. Many implicitly excuse the church’s epidemic of child sex abuse as no more than a reflection of society’s own problem with the same blight. It’s a fact that pedophilia isn’t limited to the church; it’s also a fact that no other large institution has been similarly plagued by the scale and scope of abuse that has beset the church, or by such massive systematic, institutional foot-dragging in the face of reform efforts.

Aly Raisman on Larry Nassar assault: Sometimes people forget I'm still coping with it

Yahoo News Video

February 19, 2019

By Rebecca Corey

“Through Her Eyes” is a new weekly half-hour show hosted by human rights activist Zainab Salbi that explores contemporary issues from a female perspective. You can watch “Through Her Eyes” every Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on Roku and see full episodes at yahoonews.com.

It has been a year since former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison for abusing more than 150 girls entrusted in his care. But Aly Raisman — an Olympic gold medalist and former captain of the U.S. women’s Olympic gymnastics team — is still coming to terms with the sexual abuse she experienced as a teenager.

“When I go out on the street, or I’m at the airport, or the grocery store, or whatever it is, people are so supportive. And I’m so grateful for that,” Raisman said during an interview with the Yahoo News show “Through Her Eyes.”

Raisman is frequently approached by supportive strangers who are eager to share their own traumatic experiences of sexual assault. But these stories from fellow survivors can sometimes be difficult for Raisman to hear.

“I think sometimes people forget I am coping with it too,” Raisman explained. “And sometimes people will go into graphic detail.”

"Everything in This Spreading Crisis Revolves Around Structural Mendacity"

Bilgrimmage blog

February 20, 2019

By William Lindsey

Pope news
Poland's most senior nun has been banned from further media contact after condemning the sexual abuse of religious sisters by Catholic priests in her country https://www.thetablet.co.uk/news/11385/polish-nun-silenced-for-speaking-out-on-abuse- …

12:36 PM - Feb 19, 2019
Polish nun 'silenced' for speaking out on abuse
Poland's most senior nun has been banned from further media contact after condemning the sexual abuse of nuns by Catholic priests in her country

Talking abuse, Catholic context and Southern Baptist context: good things I've been reading and want to share with you:

Carol Howard Merritt, "The Problem of 'Evil' in Describing Southern Baptist Abuse Crisis":

The Southern Baptist Church upholds gracious submission as godly and relegates the abuse as "satanic," casting them into different realms. Yet, submission and abuse should not occupy spaces so far apart in our theological imaginations, because they work together. When leaders demand unquestioning obedience from women and girls, it sets up the perfect environment for predation to occur.

Jonathan Merritt, "The Lessons Southern Baptists Need to Learn":

It's correct that Southern Baptist churches are autonomous, unlike Catholic churches, are not under the authority of a hierarchy. And yet, claims that the denomination's hands are tied in this matter will come as a shock to the many churches that have been censored or kicked out of the denomination due to their acceptance of LGBT people, ordination of women, or more progressive interpretations of the Bible. The denomination does actually possess the power to impose standards on its member churches, but heretofore protecting children from sex predators hasn’t been prioritized to that level. ...

How far will Pope Francis go in rooting out sexual abuse?

The Economist

February 21, 2019

“We hear the cry of the little ones asking for justice,” said Pope Francis on February 21st to 100 bishops from around the world and other leading members of the Catholic hierarchy who had gathered in the Vatican for a four-day meeting on clerical sex abuse. The conference is the most conspicuous effort yet to extirpate the cancer eating at the world’s biggest Christian church.

In the run-up to the meeting, a series of events had charged the atmosphere. Earlier this month, the pope admitted that there was truth in stories that nuns around the world had been raped by priests and bishops. This week a book by a French journalist, Frédéric Martel, was published, claiming that 80% of the clerics in the Vatican are gay. That may seem to have little bearing on the subject of the conference: there is abundant evidence to show that heterosexuals are as likely as homosexuals to prey on the young. But Mr Martel, himself gay, argues that sexually active homosexual priests are reluctant to report abusers for fear of being “outed” in revenge.

Pope's credibility 'on the line' as Vatican convenes global meeting on combating child abuse by clergy

The Telegraph

February 18, 2019

By Nick Squires

Victims of clerical sex abuse have warned Pope Francis that his credibility is on the line as he confronts the biggest challenge of his papacy with a landmark conference on protecting children from rape and molestation.

Nearly 200 bishops, archbishops, patriarchs and other senior Catholic figures from around the world will convene in Rome on Thursday for an unprecedented four-day conference that is supposed to tackle the scourge of child abuse by clergy.

It is the biggest effort so far to address scandals that have eroded faith in the Catholic Church in the US, Ireland, Australia and elsewhere.

“There’s going to be every effort to close whatever loopholes there are,” said Charles Scicluna, an archbishop from Malta who is one of the organisers of the summit.

Predator priest was moved around


February 20, 2019

The Catholic Church often shuffled priests accused of sexually abusing children from one assignment to another instead of removing them from ministry immediately, a KHOU 11 Investigates analysis has found.

‘Gay priests are in the crosshairs:’ As Vatican abuse summit begins, debate over homosexuality is divisive undercurrent

Washington Post

February 20, 2019

By Chico Harlan

This week, one arch-conservative Catholic website published a commentary saying that gay clerics needed to leave the priesthood “permanently.” Two traditionalist cardinals wrote an open letter decrying the “homosexual agenda” that they said was spreading throughout the church. And a gossipy 550-page book was set for release purporting to lift the veil on the double lives inside the Vatican, “one of the biggest gay communities in the world.”

The prevalence of mostly closeted gay priests has recently been portrayed in all manners, from the work of the devil to something the church should learn to embrace.

But church figures in Rome and beyond say one thing is clear: As Pope Francis opens a landmark conference at the Vatican on sexual abuse Thursday, the debate over gay priests is becoming a divisive undercurrent of the summit itself.

“Gay priests are in the cross hairs,” said Father James Martin, an American Jesuit who has advocated for the church to welcome LGBT members with more compassion.

The topic hints at the challenges for the Roman Catholic Church as it begins the most direct attempt in its history to address the problem of sexual abuse. Though abuse and sexuality have been found to have no correlation, according to widely accepted research, they have become intertwined on the ideological battlefield of the church — and Catholics of all stripes have descended on Rome this week, with some arguing that Pope Francis is overlooking homosexuality in diagnosing the root reasons for abuse.

“The church seems to have agreed, with a complicit silence, on a trivialization of homosexuality,” Jean-Pierre Maugendre, president of a French Catholic group, said at a news conference this week.

Victims Of Priest Sex Abuse Say Serious Changes Need To Be Made

WBBM News Radio

February 21, 2019

By Bernie Tafoya

Victims of priest sex abuse in Chicago are closely watching to see if Catholic bishops meeting in Rome seriously deal with the abuse scandal that has haunted the church since it was uncovered 20 years ago.

Larry Antonsen is a leader of the Chicago chapter of SNAP, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests. He said bishops meeting in Rome need to make some "serious, radical changes" to keep children safe and to address the needs of victims.

"They have a chance to do something really, really important right now. Whether they do it or not, I have a lot of question marks," he said.

Antonsen is a Catholic deacon, as well as being a victim of priest sex abuse. He said he was abused by an Augustinian order priest on a trip to Wisconsin in 1962 when he was a student at St. Rita High School.

"I don’t think the pain ever goes away. I really don’t. I still wake up almost every night of the week with a nightmare or a thought or whatever," the 72-year-old North Beverly resident said.

He said the bishops have done some good things over the years in dealing with the sex abuse scandal such as putting out lists of predator priests, but he said, "Lists aren’t enough either. If they put out lists, they should also put out pictures and work histories and where they are now, even if they’re dead."

Law Firm to Release Names of More Than 100 Perpetrators Accused of Sexual Misconduct in the Archdiocese of New York

Jeff Anderson & Associates

February 20, 2019

Survivors, attorneys and advocates demand transparency, accountability and action from Cardinal Dolan and Archdiocesan officials

Firm has released reports on sexual abuse nationwide, including reports involving the Dioceses of Buffalo, Syracuse and Ogdensburg

WHAT: At a news conference Thursday in downtown Manhattan, sexual abuse survivors and their attorneys and advocates will:

· Release the names and photographs of over 100 perpetrators accused of sexual misconduct with minors in the Archdiocese of New York;

· Demand that Cardinal Dolan release the identities and background information on all perpetrators in the Archdiocese of New York who have been accused of sexual misconduct with minors, including all the names reported to the Archdiocese during the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program, which closed in 2017;

· Announce an upcoming lawsuit to be filed under the Child Victims Act by survivor Monica Perez-Jimenez against Loyola High School for abuse by Louis Tambini.

· Expose how Church officials allowed Tambini, a former, successful basketball coach, to be placed with children at a second prestigious NYC private school.

WHEN: Thursday, February 21st at 1:00PM ET

WHERE: Andaz Wall Street Hotel – Studio 2
75 Wall Street
New York City, NY 10005

NOTES: Watch the event live on our website www.andersonadvocates.com, on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AndersonAdvocates/, and on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/andersonadvocates.

Contact: Jeff Anderson: Office: (646)759-2551; Cell: (646)499-3364
Mike Reck: Office (646)759-2551; Cell: (646)493-8058
Trusha Patel Goffe: (646)759-2551; Cell: (646)693-6862

Catholic Church abuse: Canada’s dark history and how to move forward

Global News

February 21, 2019

By Rebecca Joseph

The Catholic Church is hosting its first-ever summit on sex abuse to address the scale of the scandals that have plagued the church over the past years.

The four-day meeting, which began Thursday, will bring together some 190 presidents of bishops’ conferences, religious orders and Vatican offices for lectures and workshops on preventing sex abuse in their churches, tending to victims, and investigating abuse when it occurs.

The Vatican isn’t expecting any miracles, and Pope Francis himself has called for expectations to be “deflated.” But organizers say the meeting nevertheless marks a turning point in the way the Catholic Church has dealt with the problem, with Francis’ own conversion last year a key point of departure.

Canadian bishops are participating in the conference as well, as Canada hasn’t been free from the scandals that have plagued the church worldwide.

Voices of survivors are the wounds inflicted on Christ by the Church, says Scicluna

The Tablet

February 20, 2019

By Christopher Lamb

The voices of sexual abuse victims are like the wounds inflicted on the body of Jesus Christ by the Church and must be heard by the world’s bishops, according to Pope Francis's most trusted adviser on child protection.

In an interview which took place in the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith ahead of the Pope’s unprecedented summit dedicated to abuse, the Archbishop of Malta, Charles Scicluna, who has been helping to organise the 21-24 February gathering, defended the Pope’s legal document on holding bishops accountable, the stepping up of the Vatican’s attempts to process sex abuse cases and why bishops leading “double lives” lack moral authority to take the right decisions in this area.


Catholic Whistleblowers and Road to Recovery, Inc.

February 20, 2019

On February 20, 2019, on the eve of the international Papal summit on clergy sexual abuse, Pope Francis issued a statement indicating that those who criticize the Church are engaged in the work of the devil. The Holy Father’s words are unfortunate because, no doubt, he was referring to victim/survivors, advocates, and supporters who for decades have attempted to hold the Church accountable, especially members of the hierarchy who have covered-up, obfuscated, participated in, and enabled the sexual abuse of children.

It is outrageous that Pope Francis, after recently defrocking Cardinal Theodore Mc Carrick for his heinous sexual abuse of children and seminarians, would in any way blame anyone except himself, his predecessors, and his colleagues in the College of Bishops for the scandal of clergy sexual abuse that continues to infect the Catholic Church. Doesn’t Pope Francis realize that the “devil” is within, not without?

Pope Francis has indicated that his expectations are low for the international Papal summit with bishops from around the world which begins on February 21, 2019. The Holy Father must revise his expectations, for if nothing substantive comes from the summit, the credibility of the Pope might be lost forever. Unless Pope Francis and the bishops leave the summit on Sunday, February 24, 2019 with concrete solutions to very serious issues of clergy sexual abuse and accountability of the hierarchy, the Holy Father might be called upon to resign.

Catholic Whistleblowers and Road to Recovery, Inc., two advocacy organizations that assist victim/survivors of clergy sexual abuse and declare a preferential option for victim/survivors and their pursuit of justice, urge Pope Francis not to be distracted by foolish and unnecessary comments about “devil” critics; rather, he is urged to hold himself and the bishops of the world accountable for allowing the scourge of clergy sexual abuse to continue and flourish for so long.

Robert M. Hoatson, Ph.D., President
Road to Recovery, Inc.
Livingston, New Jersey 07039

Rev. James E. Connell, J.C.D.
Catholic Whistleblowers
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
(414) 940-8054

Churches sinking over dwindling contributions, bishop warns laity

The Irish Catholic

February 21, 2019

Parishioners must play a more active role in keeping their local churches afloat, Waterford and Lismore’s bishop Phonsie Cullinan has warned.

Dr Cullinan said that lay people are called to be involved in and support the Church which at a “very nuts and bolts” level requires financial contribution in their local parish.

His comments come after the diocese said it had no money to pay its priests’ wages at Christmas due to the depleting funds collected from parishioners.

“People don’t realise that bringing a child for baptism, first Holy Communion, Confirmation, that they too have a role to play in the Church – it’s not just the priest and the extraordinary ministers and those kind of people with specific jobs in the Church,” the bishop told The Irish Catholic.

“Everyone is called to be involved and an essential part of that, and just a very nuts and bolts part of that, is that people have to contribute to both the upkeep of the church building and keeping the parish going and of course to realise the priest has to be paid.”

The Catholic Church finally begins to own up to its #MeToo reckoning

Los Angeles Times

February 21, 2019

By The Times Editorial Board

On Thursday, Pope Francis will convene a long-awaited meeting of Catholic bishops and other church leaders to frame a global response to the abuse by clergy of “minors and vulnerable adults.” The Vatican considered this so-called summit meeting so important that it asked the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops last year not to act on new measures to hold bishops accountable for covering up for abusive priests until after the meeting took place.

It’s scandalous that the Vatican is convening this meeting only now, after decades of revelations of abuse by priests of children and others, and delay and denial by church leaders (including the current pope, who has apologized after defending a Chilean bishop accused of covering up abuse). If this four-day meeting is to be judged a success, the pope must make it clear to participants that if they won’t deal decisively and transparently with predatory priests — and complicit superiors — in their home countries, Rome will do it for them.

That message needs to be sent not only in connection with the abuse of children and adolescents by clergy, an evil that the church has been grappling with for decades, but also with a scandal that has attracted attention more recently: the sexual exploitation of adults, including seminarians and nuns, by powerful clerics. It’s increasingly clear that abuse of minors is only one dimension of the crisis.

Abuse survivor: Pope’s devil comments ‘outrageous’

Boston Herald

February 21, 2019

By Lisa Kashinsky

Pope Francis’ latest slam on church critics as cohorts of Satan stunned survivors of priest sex abuse and their advocates, who called the pontiff’s remarks “outrageous” on the eve of his clergy summit on the long-running scandal.

“It’s outrageous … He’s re-victimizing and re-traumatizing the very people he’s supposed to be meeting about,” said Robert Hoatson, co-founder of Road to Recovery. “Instead of criticizing people like us, he should be welcoming us into the dialogue and following the recommendations that we make.”

Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, an advocate for victims of sexual abuse by priests, said he’s “not surprised the pope would try to portray the Catholic Church as the victim,” but that it’s “really going to reopen a lot of wounds for clerical sex abuse victims and is very harmful to those victims.”

Church critics and advocates for victims of priest sex abuse told the Herald they have little hope for concrete reform to come out of the four-day summit on clerical sex abuse, which begins Thursday and is set to draw about 190 members of bishops’ conferences, religious orders and Vatican offices for lectures and workshops on preventing and investigating sex abuse, as well as caring for victims.

The summit comes three months after the Vatican pushed the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to delay voting last November on proposed steps to address clergy sex abuse.

Victims who met with summit organizers on Wednesday demanded transparency and accountability from the church. Among them was Phil Saviano, who urged the Vatican “break the code of silence” and release the names of abusive priests.

Hoatson said the defrocking of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick last week, seen as a rare high-level act of accountability by the church, was also “an indication that cardinals and bishops are involved not only in the cover-up, but in the practice of clergy sex abuse.” But Hoatson said the church is “inherently incapable” of policing itself and that “we need outside forces to hold them accountable

Vatican’s Legal Procedures For Handling Sex Abuse, Explained

Associated Press
February 21, 2019

For centuries, the Vatican’s canon law system busied itself with banning books and dispensing punishments that included burnings at the stake for heretics.

These days, the Vatican office that eventually replaced the Roman Catholic Inquisition is knee-deep in processing clergy sex abuse cases. The procedures of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will be on display this week as high-ranking bishops summoned by Pope Francis attend an unprecedented four-day tutorial on preventing sex abuse and prosecuting pedophile priests

Here is a primer on the Catholic Church’s regulations for investigating both priests accused of molesting children and superiors who have been accused of covering up those crimes.



In countries where clergy are required to report child abuse, bishops and superiors of religious orders are supposed to notify police when someone alleges that a priest molested a child and they are supposed to cooperate with any investigations.

However, the policy is nonbinding and only was articulated publicly in 2010 when the Vatican posted it on its website. Prior to that, the Vatican long sought to prevent public law enforcement agencies from learning about abusers in the clergy.

Irish bishops who considered adopting a mandatory reporting policy in 1997 received a letter from the Vatican warning that their in-house church investigations could be compromised if they referred cases to Irish police.

Nowadays, the Vatican justifies not having a binding policy that requires all sex crimes to be reported to police by arguing that accused clergy could be unfairly persecuted in places where Catholics are a threatened minority.

Rome priest accused of sex abuse in new lawsuit

Rome Sentinel

February 20, 2019

The Rev. Paul F. Angelicchio, of Rome, has been named in a lawsuit accusing him of sexually abusing a teenage altar boy when the priest worked at a church in Onondaga County in the late 1980s.

Angelicchio is pastor of the Catholic Church of St. John the Baptist & Transfiguration on East Dominick Street. Angelicchio was placed on a leave of absence by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse in late 2016 to investigate the claims. Church officials deemed the accusations not credible at the time and Angelicchio soon returned to service.

The lawsuit, filed on Feb. 14, also accuses two Syracuse-area priests who were named by the Diocese in December as having “credible” accusations of sexual abuse made against them. Those priests, Charles Eckermann and James F. Quinn, are both deceased.

Angelicchio was not among the priests listed by the Diocese in December.

Kevin Braney, age 46, currently of Colorado, filed the lawsuit only hours after the Child Victims Act was signed into law. The Act extends the statute of limitations for sexual abuse victims to seek criminal charges or file lawsuits. Braney is represented by the Saeed & Little LLP law firm in Indiana.

The lawsuit has been filed as a class action case, meaning other possible plaintiffs can join. The lawsuit lists up to 1,000 possible “John Doe” victims of sexual abuse by Syracuse Diocese priests. The lawsuit also accuses four to 200 unnamed “John Doe” priests as defendants, alongside Angelicchio, Eckermann and Quinn.

Braney’s lawsuit also accuses impropriety from the Diocese itself, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Bishop Robert J. Cunningham.

“We want to expose and discover the truth of what happened,” said attorney Lauren Berri, of California. She is one of several attorneys attached to the class action lawsuit.

“Who knew what and when? Who allowed these priests to abuse so many children, and why didn’t they do anything to stop it?”

Berri said that the attorneys attached to the lawsuit are working to find and involve more plaintiffs with accusations against the three priests and the Syracuse Diocese.

“It’s expected to be a very large number,” she stated. The plaintiffs will be allowed to remain anonymous, with Braney acting as the focal point.

Bishop offers apology to clergy sex abuse victims, but still not releasing priest list

Charlotte Observer

By Tim Funk

February 20, 2019

Bishop Peter Jugis, who heads the 46-county Catholic Diocese of Charlotte, issued a “sincere apology” Wednesday to victims of clergy sex abuse, which he called “this crime and awful sin.”

Jugis’ statement came a day after the Observer and others reported that the names of two monks who had once worked at Belmont Abbey College and at St. Michael Catholic Church in Gastonia appeared on a list recently released by the Diocese of Richmond, Va., of priests “with credible and substantiated allegation of sexual abuse of a minor.”

The two monks, Donald Scales and Frederick George, had also worked in Virginia, though the accusation against Scales, who died in 2008, dated to his time as pastor of St. Michael parish in the late 1970s.

Though Jugis said in his Tuesday statement that the Charlotte diocese was committed to being “open and transparent,” it has so far resisted the trend around the country of releasing a list of past and present priests in the diocese who have been credibly accused of child sex abuse.

According to the Catholic News Herald, the Charlotte diocese’s own newspaper, the scores of dioceses that have put out such lists in recent months include many of those nearby. The Archdiocese of Atlanta, and the dioceses of Raleigh, Charleston, Savannah, Richmond and Arlington, Va., and Nashville and Knoxville, Tenn., have all released their own lists, the newspaper reported.

New molestation lawsuit against disgraced San Jose priest

Bay Area News Group

February 21, 2019

Bt Nico Savidge

A former Roman Catholic priest and convicted sex offender is facing a civil suit filed by a minor who alleges that he repeatedly sexually assaulted her in her family’s home.

The lawsuit filed last week is the latest allegation against Hernan Toro, a 91-year-old former priest who was allowed to return to ministry in the 1980s despite the fact that he was a registered sex offender.

Toro, who retired in 1990, was also arrested in 2017 and charged with child molestation, but the criminal case is on hold, after doctors determined last year that the Toro was not competent to stand trial.

The civil suit in Santa Clara County Superior Court alleges that Toro molested the girl on five occasions from 2011 to 2016.

A complaint filed in the lawsuit states that at the time the girl was molested, her family was not aware that Toro was a convicted sex offender. Instead, according to the complaint, the family considered Toro “a close family friend,” who sometimes stayed overnight as a guest in their home.

The lawsuit alleges that during four of those visits, Toro entered the girl’s bedroom and touched her genitals. In a fifth instance, according to the lawsuit, Toro touched the girl while watching a movie with her in the family’s living room.

The girl said she did not report the assaults to her parents or to police because she feared Toro “would cause her more harm,” the complaint states. The girl is not identified in court documents, nor is her age specified.

N.J. priest at Vatican, removed in 2018, was accused of abuse in 2003

Catholic News Service

February 21, 2019

ByCindy Wooden

U.S. Msgr. Joseph R. Punderson, a senior official of the Vatican’s highest court, was instructed by his bishop to resign his Vatican post late in 2018 and then was removed from ministry 15 years after he was found to be credibly accused of the sexual abuse of a minor.

The abuse was reported to the Vatican, and Punderson offered to resign in 2004, but the Vatican allowed him to continue working.

Punderson’s named was included on a list of credibly accused clergy published by the Diocese of Trenton, New Jersey, Feb. 13. Bishop David M. O’Connell heads the diocese.

After initially declining to comment, Alessando Gisotti, interim director of the Vatican press office said Feb. 20 that Punderson “is no longer in service at the tribunal of the Apostolic Signature and has been in retirement since last fall.”

Local attorney on priest abuse: "I think there's a bigger issue"


February 20, 2019

By Renee Allen

There are both survivors and attorneys committed to standing up against priests accused of sexual abuse.

Attorney Anthony Fontana, Jr. of Abbeville has tried one of the first priests in U.S. history to be convicted of child molestation.

"I believe the church has created an atmosphere of sexual abuse tolerance; and created an expectation that we're going to protect you,” Fontana said.

Fontana has one clear emotion about clergy accused of sexual abuse. Fontana says there needs to be some secular oversight.

"A secular group that runs the church parishes and priests run the spirituality. Any complaints go to the secular group and they have mandatory reporters; and turn it over to police."

Fontana talks about his stance on the summit and the Pope's acknowledgement to address the issue of clergy sexual abuse. "Are we exposing it to protect the kids or to please the public? Or is there a bigger issue? I think there's a bigger issue to protect the good religious," Fontana said.

Fontana say he requested that the Diocese of Lafayette release the names and personnel records of those with credible accusations. "I had enough of all this. I'm tired and we're going to expose it," Fontana added.

For Pope Francis, the moment of truth on sexual abuse has arrived

The Guardian

February 21, 2019

By Catherine Pepinster

When I got married in 2003 it turned out that my wedding was caught up – unbeknown to me – in the abuse crisis that has engulfed the Catholic church. There were three Benedictine monk-priests there, one as celebrant, two as guests. One of the guests was later tried and acquitted of assaulting a child, although he was banned from living in his monastery. The other, David Pearce, would go on to be convicted in 2009 of the assault of five children, and jailed for five years. At the time of the wedding I had no idea of any murmurs about child sexual abuse. But others did hold deep suspicions.

Abuse was certainly known about in Rome, where documents passed across the desk of the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.When Ratzinger stood in for the dying John Paul II at the torchlit Stations of the Cross on Good Friday 2005, he declaimed: “How much filth there is in the church, even among those who, in the priesthood, should belong entirely to Him.” Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI in April 2005. He did more than John Paul had done in 26 years, by removing the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, Marcial Maciel, from office after his own investigations revealed the extent of Maciel’s abuse of boys and seminarians.

But despite this decisive start, his papacy became engulfed by the abuse scandal. Eventually, exhausted by it, Benedict dramatically resigned and was succeeded by Pope Francis in 2013. But his papacy has also been mired in scandal over child abuse. What could once be seen as incidents involving a few rotten apples now suggest something rotten at the heart of the institution.

This weekend will see the most ambitious attempt yet to deal with the crisis, with a four-day summit, ordered by Francis, that brings together almost 190 church leaders plus Vatican officials, invited experts and guest speakers. It is being presented by organisers as a turning point for the way in which the church handles allegations across the globe and the way it strengthens child protection policies. If it is indeed a turning point, the survivors of clerical sexual abuse and lay Catholics, exhausted by the constant revelations, will be mightily relieved. But they will also be wanting the church to explain why there has been a pandemic of abuse over so many years, and why abusers were left free to assault and rape children.

Clergy Sex Abuse Summit: A mother’s letter to church leaders


February 20, 2019

Fr. Jim Hummel

As church leaders from around the world meet at the Vatican this week to address the clergy sex abuse crisis, they will be hearing the story of a St. Landry parish family that was forever changed by clergy sex abuse.

Letitia Peyton, whose son has accused Father Michael Guidry of molestation, was asked by the Catholic Women’s Forum to write a letter to church leaders. It’s one of three documents the CWF has sent to Pope Francis and bishops across the country in advance of this week’s summit at the Vatican.

“From my words I hope there’s an understanding of what the victims suffer and what their families suffer,” said Peyton. “It’s not something that you just get over. It’s a different kind of sin that goes at the core of the victim’s heart and their families.”

Life changed for the Peyton family in May, 2018. In her letter, Peyton writes about the night her husband Scott, who is a deacon in the Diocese of Lafayette, awoke her to share horrible news.

Francis must fix cover-up culture that John Paul II enabled

National Catholic Reporter

February 21, 2019

By Jason Berry

Editor's note: Jason Berry was the first to report on clergy sex abuse in any substantial way, beginning with a landmark 1985 report about the Louisiana case involving a priest named Gilbert Gauthe. In 1992, he published Lead Us Not into Temptation: Catholic Priests and the Sexual Abuse of Children, a nationwide investigation after seven years of reporting in various outlets. In the foreword, Fr. Andrew Greeley referred to "what may be the greatest scandal in the history of religion in America and perhaps the greatest problem Catholicism has faced since the Reformation."

Berry followed the crisis in articles, documentaries, and two other books, Vows of Silence: The Abuse of Power in the Papacy of John Paul II (2004) and Render unto Rome: The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church (2011), which won the Investigative Reporters and Editors Best Book Award. Given the current moment and its possibilities and the fact that Berry is singular in his experience covering the scandal from multiple angles, NCR asked if he would write a reflection on the matter as the church's bishops are about to gather in Rome to consider the issue. Below is the concluding Part 3. Read the previous entries here: Part 1 and Part 2.

The church's cover-up debacle owes greatly to John Paul II.

In 1979, barely a year after becoming pope, John Paul II visited his native Poland and stood up to the Communist regime with ringing sermons on freedom. Almost overnight, he became a force in global politics in the Cold War era. He played a catalytic role in the collapse of the Soviet empire in 1989 as the Berlin Wall cracked apart.

In November of 1989, with John Paul triumphant on the world stage, the U.S. bishops responded to a rising tide of abuse lawsuits by sending a team of canon lawyers to Rome, seeking the authority for bishops to defrock child predators. American bishops were already sending scores of offenders to church-run treatment facilities; they wanted power to the oust the worst of them. John Paul refused. For years, I wondered why.

Jonathan Kwitny's 1997 biography Man of the Century: The Life and Times of Pope John Paul II details how as cardinal of Krakow, Karol Wojtyla, backed by a unified church, was the leader of the opposition to the Communist Party. As pope, his long delays in signing papers to release priests from their vows reflected John Paul's view that a man changes ontologically on becoming a priest, his very being made new. Priests could sin but pick up and carry on. The idea of a criminal sexual underground in clerical life was beyond his ken.

What if U.S. bishops had gotten the power in 1989 to defrock sex criminals without the long delays after sending case files to various Vatican tribunals? If a few bishops had taken the lead, sacking the worst priests, the reliance on treatment tanks as de facto safe houses, or the dishonest tactics to help a Lane Fontenot or Gary Berthiaume, might have ended sooner.

Canon law allows for internal church courts to assess a priest's guilt before sending the file to Rome, requesting that he be laicized. American bishops were reluctant to use that canonical process without a speedy judgment; the files were increasingly vulnerable to subpoena by plaintiff lawyers. A priest found guilty by a secret church court would raise the financial stakes for a settlement or verdict, particularly if the bishop was waiting to hear from Rome.

I learned more about the standoff on a milky afternoon in Rome in 2002. An influential canon lawyer spoke with me on the condition that he not be identified. We sat in a spartan conference room in a building older than most American states. The Holy See was well aware of the rising lawsuit costs in 1989, he told me. "There was more concern about the scandal undermining the work of the church. In how many cases did they apply the penal procedures [ecclesial courts]? Well, none."

He leaned forward, eyes flared. "The United States has the largest tribunal system in the world. To say that people were not qualified begs the issue. The U.S. tribunals violated grandly — terribly — the annulments of marriage."

I was bewildered. "What do marriage annulments have to do with pedophiles?" I asked

At summit, survivors expose 'cancer' of clergy sex abuse

Catholic News Service

February 21, 2019

By Junno Arocho Esteves

"Every time I refused to have sex with him, he would beat me," an abuse survivor from Africa told Pope Francis and bishops attending the Vatican summit on child protection and the abuse crisis.

The meeting began Feb. 21 with the harrowing stories of survivors of sexual abuse, cover-up and rejection by church officials.

The pre-recorded testimonies of five survivors were broadcast in the synod hall; the Vatican did not disclose their names, but only whether they were male or female and their country of origin.

In the first testimony, a man from Chile expressed the pain he felt when, after reporting his abuse to the church, he was treated "as a liar" and told that "I and others were enemies of the church."

"You are physicians of the soul and yet, with rare exceptions, you have been transformed -- in some cases -- into murderers of the soul, into murderers of the faith," he said.

Comparing the abuse crisis to a cancer in the church, the survivor said that "it is not enough to remove the tumor and that's it," but there must be measures to "treat the whole cancer."

Vatican abuse summit shines light on long fight for justice

The Guardian

Feb 21, 2019

By Angela Giuffrida

In early February, Arturo Borrelli handcuffed himself to a pole in front of the Vatican in a desperate plea to the Catholic church to take his allegations of sexual abuse by a priest seriously.

Ten years have passed since Borrelli, 43, opened up about the systematic assaults, including rape, that he says he endured as a child from his religion teacher, who was also a priest at a parish in the Naples district of Ponticelli.

Until now, his battle for justice has mostly been dismissed by senior clergy, who either advised him to “pray away” the trauma experienced between the ages of 13 and 17, or suggested he brought the abuse on himself.

“It was only when I got help from a psychiatrist that I realised it wasn’t my fault,” Borrelli told the Guardian. “He made me understand that I was a child, that what happened to me was wrong, and encouraged me to report the priest.”

Police escorted Borrelli away from the Vatican on the day of his protest and, despite their sympathy over his story, he was charged for wasting their time.

On Thursday Pope France opened an unprecedented summit on clerical sexual abuse, attended by 180 bishops and cardinals.

Francis told the Catholic hierarchy that they had a responsibility to deal effectively with the crimes of priests who rape and molest children. “Listen to the cry of the young who want justice,” he said. “The holy people of God are watching and expect not just simple and obvious condemnations, but efficient and concrete measures to be established,” he warned.

Bishops were urged to meet survivors of sexual abuse in their respective countries ahead of the conference, called by Pope Francis to address a deeply entrenched issue that many believe the church has so far failed to sufficiently act upon.

Borrelli himself had an audience with the pope last June. He claimed the pontiff had pledged to begin a canonical trial against the accused priest, Silverio Mura.

Pope demands bishops act now to end scourge of sex abuse

Associated Press

February 21, 2019

By Nicole Winfield

Pope Francis warned church leaders summoned Thursday to a landmark sex abuse prevention summit that the Catholic faithful are demanding more than just condemnation of the crimes of priests but concrete action to respond to the scandal.

Francis opened the four-day summit by telling the Catholic hierarchy that their own responsibility to deal effectively with priests who rape and molest children weighed on the proceedings.

"Listen to the cry of the young, who want justice," and seize the opportunity to "transform this evil into a chance for understanding and purification," Francis told the 190 leaders of bishops conferences and religious orders.

"The holy people of God are watching and expect not just simple and obvious condemnations, but efficient and concrete measures to be established," he warned.

More than 30 years after the scandal first erupted in Ireland and Australia and 20 years after it hit the U.S., bishops and Catholic officials in many parts of Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia still either deny that clergy sex abuse exists in their regions or downplay the problem.

Cardinal Sean O'Malley Joins Pope Francis for Summit on Clergy Abuse, Cover-Ups

New England Cable News

February 21, 2019

By Jeff Saperstone and Karla Rendon-Alvarez

Boston's Cardinal Sean O'Malley is in Rome to help lead a summit that brings church leaders together to discuss the sexual abuse and cover-up scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church and ignited anger across the country.

Pope Francis is calling on bishops from around the world to the Vatican to end sex abuse in churches. The pope says survivors are standing up and seeking justice for their years of traumatic abuse.

Before O'Malley and three other Massachusetts bishops left to the summit, he sent a letter to parishioners apologizing for the abuse victims experienced.

"The past year has been especially traumatic, and we again apologize to survivors and their families for all they have endured," he said in the letter.

In mid-September, Pope Francis authorized an investigation into allegations that West Virginia Bishop Michael Bransfield sexually harassed adults. His authorization came after Bransfield resigned from the church and after a Pennsylvania grand jury report detailed decades of abuse in six dioceses.

So far at pope’s anti-abuse summit, survivors are stealing the show


February 21, 2019

By John L. Allen Jr.

As Pope Francis’s high-stakes summit on clerical sexual abuse opens today, perhaps the biggest question pundits and handicappers will be asking is how well the agenda of victims and survivors will fare in the bishops’ deliberations.

The day prior to the opening of the summit, a group of survivors stole the show before the curtain even went up.

Since the beginning of the abuse crisis, bishops and other Church officials seeking to turn things around have often touted their listening sessions with victims, and even popes, beginning with Benedict XVI during his 2008 trip to the United States, have gotten into the act. Critics have charged that those victims were often selected precisely because they were tame, unlikely to push back or do much publicly other than expressing gratitude.

On Wednesday, however, a dozen of the world’s most outspoken survivors of clerical abuse and advocates sat down with the summit organizers. Typically, they didn’t all come out saying the same thing … which, in a way, was probably the point.

Some of those survivors came away ticked off that Francis himself didn’t show up, even though his presence was never part of the plan. Their irritation boiled over when Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta - the “Eliot Ness” of the Catholic Church, who, as a Vatican prosecutor brought down Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, founder of the Legion of Christ - said in response to various suggestions made by the survivors, “Remember, I’m not the pope.”

Austin priest abuse survivor group leader in Vatican for abuse summit


February 21, 2019

By Candy Rodriguez

Catholic leaders and survivors are gathered for a historic sex abuse prevention summit. Early Thursday morning, Pope Francis opened the summit by warning bishops there needs to be more than condemnation and concrete action needs to be taken.

Carol Midboe with the Austin chapter of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests is one of many survivors and advocates in attendance.

Midboe said the group is there to demand action. They've set out five demands which including the dismissal of clergy involved, the creation of a "zero-tolerance policy," report abuse directly to law enforcement, release all files, and stop all "lobbying efforts against legislative reform that would benefit survivors."

On Tuesday, Carol said the group tried to deliver a letter directly to the Pope but were not allowed to.

"They walked up to the Vatican and tried to hand it over to officials and they asked them to place it on the ground and so survivors felt that that was representative of how survivors have been treated overall," she said, though she understood that when the group wasn't allowed to, it could have been a matter of security.

February 20, 2019

In U.S., pope's summit on sex abuse seen as too little, too late


February 20, 2019

By Katharine Jackson

In the study of his home outside Washington, victims’ advocate Tom Doyle searched a shelf packed with books to find the thick report that led him to stop practicing as a priest and devote himself to helping those who had been sexually abused by clergymen.

The 1985 report was one of the first exposes in a sexual abuse scandal that has plagued the Catholic Church. Pope Francis has called senior bishops to meet for four days starting on Thursday to discuss how to tackle the worsening crisis.

Doyle, 74, who lost his job as a canon lawyer in the Vatican Embassy soon after the report was made public and eventually decided he could not continue working as an active priest, is deeply skeptical that anything of substance will come of this week’s meeting.

"They're going to pray and they're going to meditate. But it's totally useless," he said. "You shouldn't have to have something like this in 2019. These men should know right out of the gate that if you have a priest who's raping children, you don't allow them to continue."

She Fought for Stronger Sexual Abuse Laws. Her Son Was the Reason.

New York Times

February 20, 2019

By Rick Rojas

For years, the Child Victims Act failed again and again. And for years, Margaret Markey continued to push for it in the New York State Legislature.

Several times, the legislation passed in the Assembly by a wide margin. But then it would collide with powerful opposition: the insurance industry, the Roman Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts of America. The Senate never even took it up for a vote.

Ms. Markey, then a member of the State Assembly from Queens, became so attached to the legislation that some took to calling it the “Markey Bill,” especially her critics as they publicly condemned her. But the aim of the bill — extending the statute of limitations for bringing child sexual abuse cases — had become nearly her singular focus.

She did not talk about it, but her devotion was fueled by personal experience: As an adult, one of her sons, Charles, had told her that years earlier he had been sexually abused by a priest at the Catholic parish where their family had worshiped for generations.

“Since so many abused children are not able to come to grips with what has happened to them until much later in life,” Ms. Markey said in 2015 as she renewed her call to pass the bill, “it is the victims who suffer the most as a result of our state’s archaic statute of limitations for these offenses.”

Last week, after 13 years, a version of the legislation became law. Ms. Markey had no involvement in its recent success; a challenger beat her in 2016 as she sought a 10th term. But as officials and advocates celebrated their victory, they repeatedly cited Ms. Markey’s zeal in waging a political fight that was bruising and once seemingly Sisyphean. When Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed the bill, Ms. Markey standing behind him, he called her efforts a “profile in courage.”

“She didn’t have an easy time of it, but she went with her convictions,” said Assemblywoman Linda B. Rosenthal, who succeeded Ms. Markey as the bill’s sponsor. “She did a lot of the legwork for this, and she deserves a lot of credit.”

Ms. Markey, a Democrat, first introduced the legislation in 2006, and she continued forcing it back onto the agenda in Albany until she lost her seat in 2016. Her husband had nudged her to retire, her family said, but she insisted on running again, hoping the bill would have better odds the next time around.

Ms. Markey has been diagnosed with a form of dementia, making it harder for her to talk about the legislation. But in recent interviews with The New York Times, family members, including her husband, son and daughter, have publicly discussed for the first time the allegations of abuse that forged her personal connection to the issue.

“I think she knew I was in pain,” her son Charles, now 52, said. Mr. Markey, a retired New York City firefighter, said that after telling his parents, he reported the allegations to the Queens district attorney’s office, but prosecutors told him the statute of limitations prevented them from pursuing his case.

“She decided to do something about it,” he said. “She’s been through so much over the years. I think now she’s satisfied knowing this has finally gotten through.”

A changing political calculus
Some have attributed the change in fortune to the Democrats gaining a majority in the Senate. But others, including Ms. Rosenthal, argued that the new political calculus had grown from a larger cultural shift.

Ms. Rosenthal pointed to the series of events that invigorated the conversation around extending statutes of limitations: the monsoon of sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby; the child sex abuse scandal at Penn State University; the explosive grand jury report in Pennsylvania that detailed decades of alleged abuse by Catholic clergy.

Suddenly, Ms. Rosenthal said, passing the Child Victims Act seemed inevitable.

Updated list of accused clergy with Jersey Shore ties

Asbury Park Press

February 18, 2019

By Andrew Goudsward, Alex N. Gecan and Steph Solis

The Catholic Diocese of Trenton has named 30 former clergymen who stand credibly accused of sexual abuse against children.

All 30 men are either dead or have been removed from their ministries. The list, initially released Feb. 13, has been updated to include the assignments each cleric had during their time in the ministry and whether they have one or multiple accusers.

"This preliminary list will be updated as more information becomes available," Bishop David M. O'Connell wrote in a statement Feb. 13. "I do this with the greatest sadness and a heavy heart."

The release of the list, which officials committed to last year, represents a major milestone in New Jersey in the ongoing reckoning with decades of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy and follows a push for greater transparency from the church about what transpired.

The accused include a former assistant superintendent of diocese's schools, a youth group coordinator and a priest who coordinated a council teaching human sexuality to children.

The Diocese of Trenton is in charge of churches in Burlington, Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean counties.

The accused are:

Romanilo S. Apuro
Ronald R. Becker (deceased)
Richard C. Brietske
Gerard J. Brown (deceased)
Francis D. Bruno
Charles J. Comito (deceased)
Benjamin R. Dino (deceased)
Manuel R. M. Fernandez (deceased)
Thomas J. Frain (deceased)
Gerald J. Griffin (deceased)
Douglas U. Hermansen
Frank J. Iazette (deceased)
Vincent J. Inghilterra
Francis J. C. Janos (deceased)
Leo A. Kelty (deceased)
Patrick F. Magee
Terrance O. McAlinden (deceased)
Francis M. McGrath
Joseph F. McHugh (deceased)
William J. McKeone
Richard R. Milewski
Liam A. Minogue (deceased)
Sebastian L. Muccilli (deceased)
Robert J. Parenti
Joseph J. Prioli
Joseph R. Punderson
Thomas A. Rittenhouse (deceased)
John E. Sullivan (deceased)
Florencio P. Tumang (deceased)
Brendan H. Williams

Pope Francis skips meeting with survivors on eve of Vatican clergy abuse summit

Tribune Review

February 20, 2019

By Deb Erdley

Clergy sexual abuse survivors were left waiting for answers Wednesday as an international mix of Catholic Church leaders gathered in Rome to address the child sexual abuse scandal that has rocked parishes around the world — including Western Pennsylvania.

Calls for an apology to survivors, an acknowledgement of their pain, sweeping global policy changes and the ouster of a Pennsylvania bishop some deemed to have been complicit in cover-ups were among the demands survivors took to Rome.

Shaun Dougherty, a 49-year-old Johnstown native, was among 12 survivors invited to meet with church leaders in advance of the official call to order of the four-day summit on clergy sexual abuse, which Pope Francis will convene at the Vatican beginning Thursday. Dougherty was disappointed but not surprised the pope did not attend Wednesday’s meeting with survivors.

“I’m aggravated. This is the CEO of the Roman Catholic Church,” Dougherty told CBS News reporter Nikki Battiste. “We came to his house to meet with him about his abusive priests … and he wasn’t there. He delegated.”

Dougherty and other survivors met for more than two hours with the Vatican’s lead sex abuse investigator and other members of the organizing committee for the summit. The event is taking place amid intense scrutiny after new allegations of abuse and cover-up last year sparked a credibility crisis for the Catholic Church hierarchy.

Phil Saviano, an American who played a crucial role in exposing clergy abuse in the United States decades ago, said after the survivors’ meeting that he argued for the Vatican to release the names of abusive priests around the world along with their case files.

“Do it to launch a new era of transparency,” Saviano said he told the summit committee in a letter and in person. “Do it to break the code of silence. Do it out of respect for the victims of these men, and do it to help prevent these creeps from abusing any more children.”

Dougherty said he hoped for an apology from church leaders and a plan to address the problem with zero tolerance for abuse so no other child will have to face the kind of abuse he faced from a trusted parish priest beginning when he was 10.

He has yet to realize those goals.

Vatican faces growing list of scandals and secrets ahead of historic clergy abuse summit


February 20, 2019

By Daniel Burke

For the first time in Catholic history, nearly 200 church leaders from around the world will gather at the Vatican starting Thursday to confront the scourge of clergy who sexually abuse children.

The unprecedented, four-day summit, convened by Pope Francis last September, will include two speeches by the Pope, talks outlining best practices, small group discussions among bishops and a penitential ceremony involving abuse survivors.

"We must look this monster in the face without fear if we really want to conquer it," said Alessandro Gisotti, a Vatican spokesman.

But as nearly every day brings new revelations about secrets and scandals at the heart of the Catholic Church, it seems as if the monster confronting the church only grows larger.

• Earlier this month, the Pope for the first time called the sexual abuse of nuns by Catholic clergy a "problem," even saying that some women had been sexually enslaved by religious men.

With Catholic sex abuse summit in Vatican, will Palm Beach Diocese named priests accused of abuse?


February 20, 2019

By Sam Smink

Starting Thursday, more than 100 Roman Catholic bishops will gather in Rome for a summit the pope has called to address clerical sex abuse.

It comes at a time when more than half of all the dioceses in the U.S. have named priests in their ranks who have been accused of child abuse.

Will the Diocese of Palm Beach do the same?

"Do what's right for the others over what's right for yourselves," says Eugene Rosenquest.

Rosenquest runs the Florida Chapter of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. Abused by a priest as a child, Rosenquest has a message for the Diocese of Palm Beach.

"Basically be honest. Get on the right side of history."


The Diocese of Palm Beach is no stranger to the wrong side of history.

Bishop Keith Symons resigned in 1998, after he confessed to molesting five young boys in the early days of his priesthood. At the time WPTV reported "church leaders said they wouldn't be surprised if there were more."

The bishop who replaced Symons, Bishop Anthony O'Connell, had to resign as well, after he admitted to the sexual abuse of at least two former seminary students.

In 2003, the diocese confirmed they removed nine priests because of abuse allegations, but never released their names.

"It's important for some victims to see a name and realize that I wasn't the only one abused by this particular individual," says Rosenquest. "My perpetrator admitted what he did, and then I was sort of deceived as to what was going to happen to him."

Rosenquest's deception happened in the Diocese of Brooklyn, but Palm Beach has a chance to not do the same.

Abuse victims demand to see pope, call for bishops to be fired


February 20, 2019

By Philip Pullella

Victims of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy demanded on Wednesday to meet Pope Francis to press their call for the Church to apply a zero tolerance policy including the dismissal of bishops who covered up such offences.

The 12 victims met with five Vatican officials a day before the start of an unprecedented conference on clerical abuse that aims to guide senior bishops on how best to tackle a problem that has decimated the Church’s credibility.

All the survivors of abuse who took part in the meeting, which lasted more than two hours, said they were disappointed the pope did not attend, even though he was not scheduled to be there.

“We need to have a discussion with the man who makes the rules and has the power in this institution, and that’s Pope Francis,” said Peter Isely, an American from Milwaukee who was abused when he was a boy by a priest.

Polish mother superior speaks out about priests sexually abusing nuns

Agence France Presse

February 20, 2019

A senior nun has spoken out for the first time about priests sexually abusing nuns in staunchly Catholic Poland following an an unprecedented public admission by Pope Francis.

Mother Superior Joanna Olech was speaking after the pontiff earlier this month admitted that priest have used nuns as "sexual slaves" -- and may still be doing so.

"The problem of sexual abuse committed by priests against nuns has also existed in Poland for a long time," Olech, who was the secretary general of women's religious orders in Poland between 1995-2008, told Poland's KAI Catholic news agency in an interview.

Olech said that in one of several cases she has seen, "a young nun who became pregnant, was forced to leave her order, but the father of the child is still a priest and certainly has not suffered any consequences for his actions."

"These cases have never been made public", even after being reported to the superiors of priests responsible for sexual abuse, said Olech.

She added that the scale of the abuse in Poland was unclear as "no studies have been done."

Sexually abused nuns have nowhere to turn, said Olech, who has spent the last 50 years in a religious order.

But she also insisted that the "era when this problem has been swept under the rug is drawing to an end".

"Times have changed, perhaps the new generation of nuns will approach these issues in a different way," she added.

Some 18,000 nuns served in around 100 Catholic women's religious orders in Poland as of 2016, according to the Statistical Institute of the Catholic Church of Poland.

Catholic bishops from across the globe gather at the Vatican this week for a summit called by Pope Frances focused on tackling the wave of child sex abuse scandals assailing the Catholic Church.

The Polish episcopate insists it has "zero tolerance" for these criminal acts.

Why Pope Francis must always watch his back

Irish Examiner

February 20, 2019

The Pope turned to one of his closest advisers: “Who is betraying me? The Church is not going in the direction I want it to go in.”

This is actually dialogue from the Sky TV series The Young Pope, starring Jude Law as Pope Pius XIII. But it could be something a Vatican correspondent might overhear any day in exchanges between Pope Francis and one of his advisers in the Casa Santa Martha, where the 81-year-old Argentine resides.

One difference is that Pius XIII’s trusted adviser is a nun, Sister Mary (played by Diane Keaton), whereas there is no woman in Francis’s inner circle. Many people, including some of his friends, believe that a female perspective might have steered him clear of some problems, including a few that were self-created.

This is a troubled papacy. The addition of a woman to its inner circle wouldn’t undo the difficulties Francis is now saddled with, but it might provide a bulwark against others. And it is by no means a novel idea.

When Eugenio Pacelli was papal nuncio to Germany in the 1920s, he met a young Bavarian nun in a nursing home, while he was convalescing. And when he was recalled to Rome, in 1930, by Pope Pius XI, to take up the post of secretary of state, he arranged for the nun, Sr Pascalina, to follow him and to head his household in the Vatican.

Leaders of Catholic Religious Orders Admit to "Errors in Judgment"

Jeff Anderson & Associates

February 19, 2019

“These are not errors in judgement but calculated and conscious choices they have made for decades.
This is a time for action and truth, not apologies and appeasement.” – Attorney Jeff Anderson

(Rome) - Today, the leaders of the Catholic religious orders admitted to what they refer to as, “errors in judgment” in handling child sexual abuse cases. Last week, five courageous sexual abuse survivors filed a lawsuit naming the Catholic Conference of Major Superiors of Men for hiding a dangerous public hazard by concealing the identities and files of all religious clerics who have been accused of child sexual abuse.

“These are not errors in judgement but calculated and conscious choices they have made for decades. This is a time for action and truth, not apologies and appeasement,” said Attorney Jeff Anderson.

On Friday, the Diocese of Brooklyn released a list of 108 names of clergy who have been credibly accused of sexual misconduct with a minor, however no religious priests or brothers were on that list. To-date, only six religious orders have released lists of accused clergy.

“The survivors filed suit against all religious superiors seeking court intervention for them to come clean,” said Anderson. “This is a want of courage. It’s a demand for action. Apologies and promises don’t protect kids or help survivors heal.”

Contact: Jeff Anderson: Office: (646)759-2551; Cell: (646)499-3364

Oakland diocese sat on secret of five priests’ abuse of kids for years

Mercury News

February 20, 2019

By John Woolfolk

When the Diocese of Oakland this week named 45 priests accused of sexually abusing children, the list mostly acknowledged clergymen already notorious through dozens of legal cases and news reports over the years.

But five priests the diocese named Monday had never before been publicly linked to the child sex abuse scandal rocking the Roman Catholic church. And what little the diocese has revealed about them suggests they served for years afterward before being removed from ministry.

“What is extreme, and noteworthy, is that the Diocese of Oakland did not release the names of these predators beforehand,” said Joey Piscitelli, who was abused by another priest on the list, the Rev. Stephen Whelan, for which he sued and won a $600,000 jury award in 2006. “They released names in 2004 and 2008, and did not mention these abusers.”

Diocese of Oakland Chancellor Steve Wilcox, who handles abuse complaints, and spokeswoman Helen Osman declined to comment or provide further information about the five newly identified priests beyond what they stated publicly and released earlier this week.

The diocese’s list, a bid to restore parishioners’ trust during a week when the Vatican is holding a summit on sex abuse, says nothing about what those five priests allegedly did to end up on its list of “credibly accused” priests.

Four of the five — Thomas Duong Binh-Minh, Hilary Cooper, Patrick Finnegan and Daniel McLeod — were priests of the Oakland diocese.

Those four ministered, committed their alleged offenses and ultimately were removed from ministry under Oakland’s first two bishops: Floyd Begin, who ran the diocese from its founding in 1962 to 1977, and John Cummins, who served until 2003.

The diocese identified a fifth listed clergyman, Virendra Coutts, only as a priest or deacon of the Salesians of Don Bosco, an international religious organization within the Catholic church, founded in India in 1928 to serve impoverished youth.

The Latest: Son of priest meets with Vatican investigator

Associated Press

The Latest on the Vatican summit on dealing with sex abuse of minors (all times local):
7:00 p.m.

The lead organizer of the Vatican's sex abuse summit has met with an Irish activist who is working to draw attention to a related issue the Vatican has tried to keep quiet: priests who father children.

Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, the Vatican's longtime sex crimes investigator, met with Vincent Doyle, himself the child of a priest.

Through his advocacy group Coping International, Doyle has sought to compel Catholic leaders to acknowledge the problem of non-celibate priests getting women pregnant and the impact the church's enforced secrecy has on the women and their children.

In a statement Scicluna provided to Doyle, the archbishop said the issue needs to be addressed and the children acknowledged.

2 women accuse longtime Long Island Bishop John McGann of sex abuse


February 19, 2019

Two women are accusing the longtime bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre and others of abusing them as minors.

The alleged abuse happened before Bishop John McGann ascended to the role in which he served from 1976 to 2000 before his death in 2002.

One woman claims to have been sexually abused by McGann, then a monsignor and auxiliary bishop, as well as Monsignor Edward Melton (now deceased), and Rev. Robert Brown (now deceased) while they were assigned to St. Agnes Parish in Rockville Centre.

The second woman claims to have been sexually abused by McGann, Melton, and parish janitor John Hanlon while they were assigned to St. Agnes.

Two women say Bishop John McGann sexually abused them

Riverhead News- Review

February 19, 2019

By Tim Gannon

Two women now in their 60s say they were sexually abused by priests at St. Agnes Parish in Rockville Centre when they were around 11 years old, and that one of those priests was John R. McGann, who would go on to be the Bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre.

Bishop McGann was a Monsignor and Auxiliary Bishop at the time of the alleged incidents. Also named were Monsignor Edward Melton and Rev. Robert L. Brown, all of whom were assigned to St. Agnes parish in Rockville Centre at the time and all of whom are now deceased.

A janitor at the church, John Hanlon, also was named. His status was not clear.

The two women are being represented by Mitchell Garabedian, a Boston attorney who has represented thousands of clergy abuse victims and who was portrayed in the movie “Spotlight,” which dealt with clergy abuse in Boston.

2 women claim late Bishop McGann, LI clergy members sexually abused them

News 12 Long Island

February 19, 2019

Two women have come forward with claims they were sexually abused by late Bishop John McGann and other clergy members on Long Island.

News 12 has learned both of the women grew up in the St. Agnes Parish in Rockville Centre and are now in their 60s.

Both women declined to speak to reporters on Tuesday. Their attorney, Mitchell Garabedian, says one woman was repeatedly sexually abused by then-Msgr. John McGann, Msgr. Edward Melton and Father Robert L. Brown. The second woman alleges she was sexually abused once by McGann and Melton and repeatedly by the parish janitor, John Hanlon.

In particular, the women allege that in 1967, when they were both 11 years old, they attended a Christmas party in the St. Agnes rectory. According to their attorney, the women remember being passed around to the laps of multiple priests who were in the room.

Your say: Vatican summit on child protection - time for actions, not words.

The Courier

February 20 2019

ON the eve of the third anniversary of his trip to Rome to hear evidence on child abuse to the Royal Commission, Ballarat victims' advocate Andrew Collins calls on the world summit to affect real change.

“But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” Matthew 18:6 (KJV)

“But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

” Matthew 18:6 (KJV) This week the most powerful of the world’s Catholic leaders will be in Rome for a summit on the problem of child sexual abuse in the church.

In Australia thanks to the recent Royal Commission into Institutional Responses into Childhood Sexual Abuse, we are well aware of the issue.

What many may not know is that it is not isolated to a few countries, but it is a worldwide pandemic. The issue is not new.

Throughout the history of the Church there have been allegations and rules made about the sexual abuse of children. Currently, this is covered under the church’s laws, or Canon Law.

EXCLUSIVE REPORT | Shaun Dougherty from Italy: First meeting at Vatican included 'a lot of emotion'

The Tribune-Democrat

February 20, 2019

By Shaun Dougherty

In an exclusive video report, Johnstown native Shaun Dougherty provides updates from this week's meetings on the topic of child sexual abuse at the Vatican.

Vatican summit on sexual abuse has its roots in Cajun country


February 20, 2019

By Kim Chatelain

Ray Mouton and Gilbert Gauthe could not have been more polar opposites.

Mouton was a flamboyant, well-heeled defense lawyer whose Louisiana ancestors included a governor, a United States Senator and the founder of the community that eventually became the city of Lafayette. He drove flashy cars, captured media attention, raked in big bucks and lived on a 15-acre estate with his wife and three children near the Acadiana fields where he had quarterbacked his school football team to a state championship.

Gauthe was the son of a struggling farmer, an introvert and a poor student. He was the oldest of eight children raised modestly along Bayou Lafourche in Napoleonville, a village with a total area of 0.15 square miles. Uncertain about his direction in life, the unassuming Assumption High School graduate entered Immaculata Seminary in Lafayette and became a priest. Using his Catholic collar as a shield, he molested dozens of young boys and for years intimidated them into silence.

The antipodal lives of the two Cajuns merged in 1984 when Mouton, a cradle Catholic, was hired by the Diocese of Lafayette to represent Gauthe, whose iniquitous deeds had caught up to him in a criminal indictment charging that he molested 34 children. Unbeknownst to anyone at the time, Mouton and Gauthe would become key figures in the origins of a 35-year scandal about clergy sexual abuse and cover up that has become the church’s biggest challenge since Reformation in the 16th century – setting the stage for a historic religious summit at the Vatican that begins Thursday (Feb. 21).

With one of the world’s oldest and most powerful institutions now groaning under the weight of a heightening clergy abuse scandal, Pope Francis is attempting to get his arms around the crisis by summoning bishops from around the globe to Rome, 5,500 miles and a cultural world apart from the tiny Acadiana community where Gauthe became “patient zero” in Roman Catholicism’s plague of abuse.

For much of the past three-and-a-half decades since Gauthe’s crimes were exposed, the Catholic hierarchy has bobbed and weaved its way through a barrage of sex abuse complaints highlighted by blockbuster revelations in Boston in 2002 and in Pennsylvania last year. Those reports of abuse finally prompted church leaders to take tangible steps to address the deep-seated sins that some believe span much of the church’s long history.

But Mouton and a few others within the church recognized Gauthe not as an anomaly, but as the first of what they feared would be a wave of abuse cases. They wrote so in an internal report in the mid-1980s, warning church hierarchy that the crisis likely involved hundreds of pedophile priests and could cost the church $1 billion in judgments.

Church leaders ignored the warning.

How the mighty are fallen: Press should keep asking about 'Uncle Ted' McCarrick's secrets

Get Religion blog

February 20, 2019

By Julia Duin

The ongoing demolition of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick came to a head last weekend as the Vatican announced that he was being defrocked — an action that didn’t surprise anyone.

Big questions remain, of course. They are the same questions your GetReligionistas and lots of other people have been asking for months. Who promoted McCarrick? Who protected him, as reports about his private affairs circulated for years? And finally, who did McCarrick promote, in his role as a powerbroker in U.S. Catholic life?

Rocco Palmo, wizard of the Whispers in the Loggia blog had one of the better summations of what the issues are. Gone are the days, he wrote, when clergy sexual involvement with adults, ie the seminarians McCarrick preyed upon, were dismissed by the higher-ups.

“(Such) acts with adults are listed among the graviora delicta (grave crimes) warranting McCarrick's dismissal – specifically "with the aggravating factor of the abuse of power" – represents a massive sea-change in the church's handling of allegations beyond those involving minors, one which could well have significant ramifications going forward, both in Rome and at the local level.

With his laicization now imposed, McCarrick – a particular favorite of Popes John Paul II and Francis alike – loses all the titles, responsibilities and privileges of a priest and hierarch, except for one emergency role: namely, the faculty to absolve a person in imminent danger of death. As for his descriptor going forward, he should be referred to as "the dismissed cleric Theodore McCarrick," with the ranks or offices he once held only used after his name to reflect that they no longer apply.

Given his dismissal, it remains to be seen whether the now-former cleric will keep his residence at the Capuchin friary in Kansas where Francis ordered McCarrick to live in prayer and penance pending the outcome of Rome's investigation; as a result of today's decree, the onetime cardinal is no longer bound by obedience to his now-former superior.

That does bring up an interesting possibility; what if McCarrick decided to slip his bonds and walk away?

McCarrick’s hometown paper, the Washington Post, had quite the busy day on Feb. 16, producing a trifecta of pieces.

Pope strives to fight cleric sex abuse with Vatican summit

Associated Press

February 20, 2019

By Nicole Winfield

If Pope Francis needed a concrete example to justify summoning church leaders from around the globe to Rome for a tutorial on clergy sex abuse, Sister Bernardine Pemii has it.

The nun, who recently completed a course on child protection at Rome’s Jesuit university, has been advising her bishop in Ghana on an abuse case, instructing him to invite the victim to his office to hear her story before opening an investigation. But what if Pemii hadn’t stepped in?

“It would have been covered (up). There would have been complete silence,” Pemii told The Associated Press. “And nothing would have happened. Nobody would have listened to the victim.”

Starting Thursday, Francis is convening a summit at the Vatican to prevent cover-ups of sex abuse by Catholic superiors everywhere. The gathering comes as many Catholic bishops and authorities around the world still try to protect the church’s reputation at all costs, denying that priests rape children and discrediting victims even as new abuse cases keep coming to light.

Francis, history’s first Latin American pope, has made many of the same mistakes. As archbishop in Buenos Aires, he went out of his way to defend a famous street priest who was later convicted of abuse. He also took a handful of measures early on in his papacy that undermined progress the Vatican had made in taking a hard line against rapists.

These include the pontiff publicly botching a well-known sex abuse cover-up case in Chile by initially giving it no credence. But Francis realized last year he had erred. “I was part of the problem,” Francis told Chilean survivor Juan Carlos Cruz during a private meeting at the Vatican in June.

The pope has now done an about-face and is bringing the rest of the church leadership along with him at the extraordinary summit. Some 190 presidents of bishops’ conferences, religious orders and Vatican offices are gathering for four days of lectures and workshops on preventing sex abuse in their churches, tending to victims and investigating abuse when it does occur.

Pope Lashes Out at Survivors as Abuse Summit is Set to Begin

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

February 20, 2019

As Cardinals and Bishops from across the world gather for Pope Francis’s much-anticipated abuse summit, the tone at the start of the meeting has left survivors and advocates feeling minimized once again.

At the start of the summit, rather than lead with a message of apology, Pope Francis chose to cast aspersions instead, referring to survivors who have criticized the church as friends of the devil.”

Could there be a greater disappointment than hearing the pontiff lashing out at "accusers" as "friends, cousins and relatives of the devil" as the abuse summit opens?

Could he craft a more devastating message that would dash the hopes of victims and Catholics worldwide?

It's the oldest canard, the 'fall back' position of Catholic officials who feel pressure: Blame or shoot the messengers and attack their motives.

Seg. 1: Abuse In Churches

KCUR Radio

February 18, 2019

By Gina Kaufmann & Melody Rowell

Segment 1: What are local churches doing to prevent and report abuse?

Abuse in the church is a particular kind of betrayal. And it's an issue church-goers everywhere are wrestling with after news in Texas broke of pastors who could still find work despite long histories of sexual abuse allegations. In this conversation, we hear how local survivors, clergy, and advocates are responding to these stories.

Emily Jaeger, blogger, Finding God's Gifts
Stephanie Krehbiel, executive director, Into Account
Cheryl Jefferson Bell, associate pastor, United Methodist Church of the Resurrection
Melanie Austin, Director of Education, MOCSA



February 19, 2019

One element to calling the Summit on Sexual Abuse has been the release of names of accused priests and bishops. One organization believes this is the key to uncovering the abuse and finding healing for victims.

Survivors’ accounts, a database of accused priests, and files on bishops are just the beginning of the information Bishop Accountability has gathered on the abuse crisis.

Besides the revelations, the website’s co-director says it also is a relief for victims.

“When they go on our website and see their perpetrators name, immediately, they realize it wasn’t them, you know, that there was someone else who in that it was the perpetrator who’s to blame not them,” said Anne Barrett Doyle, the co-director of Bishop Accountability.

Doyle is an expert and research analyst on cases of abuse worldwide, but has extensively studied the United States.

“I have always said that the ultimate act of compassion by a bishop is to release the names of credibly accused priests. I’m glad Brooklyn diocese finally did so. But I am horrified to see the number of names on that list. I know it’s by no means a complete list,” she said.

Clergy sex abuse survivor delivers a devastating rebuke of the Vatican for ignoring predatory priests

Raw Story

February 20, 2019

By Brendan Skwire

Clergy sex abuse survivor Juan Carlos Cruz on Wednesday slammed the Vatican, telling CNN that “useless bishops around the world” had ignored reports and allowed the abuse to continue.

Host Alisyn Camerota recalled 2002 when the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston sex abuse scandal broke, and asked Cruz “how can we still be here 17 years later?

“Because we have useless bishops around the world,” Cruz replied.

“I heard a Chilean bishop, I’ve heard a Spanish bishop, I’ve heard bishops from other places in the world saying, ‘well, in 2011 we didn’t have protocols’ or ‘we didn’t have elements to deal with situations like this with abuse,'”, Cruz went on. “I think you’ll agree with me: raping a child, abusing a boy, abusing a girl, vulnerable people, raping women has been wrong before Christ, after Christ, in the Middle Ages, now, and it will always be bad.”

Cruz urged the Church to do something about its predatory priests before it was too late.

“You see now it’s imploding in Spain, imploding in Peru, just you wait when it implodes in countries in Africa, when it implodes in India, when it implodes in the Philippines, these bastions of Catholicism,” Cruz said. “You will see this is just tip of the iceberg, and if bishops don’t do something now, it’s going to get absolutely out of hand, more than it just is.”

Placards outside Montserrat Monastery expose abuse in Spanish Church


February 19, 2019

By Sabela Ojea

Tourists and worshippers visiting Catalonia's imposing mountain-side Montserrat Monastery on a sunny Sunday this month appeared to pay little heed to two men with placards demanding that the local abbot be defrocked for covering up sexual abuse.

But the pair, who say they were sexually abused in their youth, are making themselves heard by society in Spain and elsewhere as they pressure the Catholic Church to come clean on such wrongdoing by clergy.

The Vatican is holding an unprecedented meeting of senior bishops from around the world, experts and heads of male and female religious orders on Feb. 21-24 to discuss how to tackle sexual abuse.

Miguel Hurtado, 36, runs an online petition to Spanish authorities to significantly extend the statute of limitations for sexual abuse against minors. The petition on website change.org has received over 520,900 signatures since it launched in 2016.

Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who is facing an early general election in April, said on the petition website that he would study the proposals and act to prevent that kind of crime.

Survivors Slam New Vatican Exposé That Ties Sex Abuse to Gay Priests

Daily Beast

February 20, 2019

By Barbie Latza Nadeau

Fréderic Martel, a gay French author whose book In The Closet of the Vatican will be published Thursday to coincide with the Vatican’s crisis summit on clerical sex abuse, drew immediate criticism from victims of clerical sex abuse when he suggested a “complex link” between gay priests and the abuse issue.

Sexual-abuse survivor Peter Saunders, who was expelled from the Vatican’s Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors in 2017 for criticizing the church's lack of resolve, said that many of the victims he has worked with over the years were female, which he says proves his point. “There is no link between people who are gay and people who abuse children.”

Saunders, who is part of the victim-survivor group Ending Clergy Abuse, added, "Once you are inside the church and you are gay, you are bound to be silent and then when you see someone abusing, you are silenced from reporting it.”

Martel told reporters at Rome's foreign press association that his book was informed by 27 gay priests who live or work inside Vatican City. His conclusion, based on extensive interviews with them, is that the vast majority of the College of Cardinals—the group of esteemed prelates who vote in conclaves—are gay. “They were hit on, flirted with, and slept with a lot of cardinals in the College of Cardinals,” Martel says. “One gay priest alone told me he had slept with six different cardinals.”

Police Minister Troy Grant testifies at the trial of former priest Vincent Ryan

The Herald Sun

February 20, 2019

By Matthew Kelly

NSW police minister and former detective Troy Grant has recalled his investigation into complaints of abuse by former Catholic priest Vincent Ryan.

Mr Grant was stationed at Cessnock in the mid-1990s as part of the Northern Region Crime Squad and Child Protection Team.

He told Sydney District Court on Wednesday that he interviewed Mr Ryan in 1995 after two boys complained they had been abused by him while he was parish priest at St Josephs The Junction about 20 years earlier.

Mr Ryan, 79,is standing trial on charges of abusing a boy at The Junction in the mid 1970s and another at Cessnock in the early 1990s.

He has pleaded not guilty to five charges against the boys, including indecent assault on a person under 16 and attempted sexual intercourse on a person between 10 and 16.

Mr Grant recalled Ryan had become upset while being interviewed about three complainants at Cooma jail in 1996.

“He admitted to committing the offences but he became upset when we went into details,” Mr Grant told the court.

Pope’s credibility at stake as Vatican hopes summit will be turning point on sexual abuse scandals

The Globe and Mail

February 19, 2019

By Ric Reguly

A Vatican conference on sexual abuse will test the credibility of Pope Francis this week as abuse victims gather in Rome to call for zero tolerance for clerics who molest or rape children and escape jail time.

But the four-day conference on the protection of minors, which starts on Thursday after two months of planning, is already being dismissed by prominent Vatican watchers and victims’ organizations as rushed and a probable letdown.

Rev. Thomas Reese, a U.S. Jesuit priest, author of Inside the Vatican: The Politics and Organization of the Catholic Church and a senior analyst at Religion News Service thinks the event is too short and cluttered to deliver a sea change in Vatican policy – and that Francis lacks the iron will necessary to implement his no-excuses stand.

In a comment piece, Father Reese said that “in order [for the conference] to succeed, Francis will have to lay down the law and simply tell the bishops what to do, rather than consulting with them. He’ll have to present a solution to the crisis and tell them to go home and implement it. Francis will not do that. He does not see himself as the CEO of the Catholic Church.”

At a presentation at the Foreign Press Association on Tuesday in Rome, Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of BishopAccountability.org, a U.S. research group that tracks church abuse cases around the world, said she believes that cover-ups are still the norm in many Catholic dioceses, even though Francis talks tough.

She noted that only in one country – the United States – has the church taken a “zero-tolerance” approach to abusive priests. “So much is at stake this week,” she said. “The Catholics of the world are grieving. … [But] I believe the church is nowhere near to enacting reforms.”

The conference will see almost 200 bishops, archbishops, cardinals and members of religious and victims’ groups gather to discuss the themes of responsibility, accountability and transparency in the fight to prevent the abuse of minors. Almost every country in which the church is active will send a bishop or his spokesman. Canada’s main representative is Bishop Lionel Gendron of Quebec’s Saint-Jean-Longueuil diocese and the president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB).

Pope Francis decries critics of church as 'friends of the devil'

The Guardian

February 20, 2019

By Angela Giuffrida

Pope Francis said on Wednesday that those who constantly criticise the Catholic church are “friends of the devil”. Speaking to pilgrims from southern Italy, the pontiff said that defects of the church needed to be denounced so they could be corrected, but that those who condemned “without love” were linked to the devil.

“One cannot live a whole life accusing, accusing, accusing, the church,” he said. People who did, he said, were “the friends, cousins and relatives of the devil”.

His remarks come as dozens of victims of clerical sexual abuse gathered in Rome ahead of an unprecedented Vatican summit on the issue. In the lead-up to the four-day event, which begins Thursday and which will be attended by about 180 bishops and cardinals, the victims have criticised the church’s failure to sufficiently address the issue so far.

The Vatican said it hoped that the meeting would mark a turning point. But people who had survived sexual abuse by priests said the church was nowhere close to confronting the deeply entrenched problem.

Peter Isley, spokesperson for Ending Clergy Abuse, an organisation that brings together activists from different countries, told reporters on Wednesday that the victims’ group would demand Pope Francis adopted zero tolerance measures for paedophiles.

“There are two points,” Isley said. “Kicking out abusive priests and expelling the bishops and cardinals who covered them up. Resignations are not enough.”

Here is why Colorado didn’t convene a grand jury to investigate priest abuse as Pennsylvania did

The Colorado Sun

February 20, 2019

By Jesse Paul

With the announcement Tuesday that the Catholic church in Colorado will voluntarily participate in an independent investigation into sexual abuse by its priests comes a big question: Why didn’t the state convene a grand jury to investigate, as Pennsylvania did?

The answer has to do with the limited powers Colorado’s attorney general has to look into criminal offenses.

After a Pennsylvania grand jury released its report alleging hundreds of cases of child sex abuse had been covered up by the church, survivors of sexual abuse as children petitioned in August for an accounting of misconduct here, asking then-Attorney General Cynthia Coffman to convene a grand jury. And the possibility was explored.

But a statewide grand jury can be convened only in “certain, fairly limited circumstances that were not met in this instance,” Coffman told reporters Tuesday at the news conference announcing the independent investigation.

“Typical cases that go to the statewide grand jury are drug trafficking organizations, auto theft rings, financial fraud that occurs in multiple jurisdictions — places where there is evidence across judicial districts, where it makes sense for there to be a central investigation and prosecution,” Coffman said.

There are exceptions, however.

Public school rips name of alleged pedophile priest off its building

Star Ledger

February 20, 2019

By Kelly Heyboer

The old name of School No. 25 in Elizabeth has been ripped off the front of the building, but you can still make out the shadow of the letters on the red bricks.

Around the back of the building, the name of the school has been hastily covered with duct tape on its dedication plaque. But the letters are still visible beneath the silver tape.

District officials said they tried to erase the name of the school -- Charles J. Hudson School No. 25 in Elizabeth -- after learning the elementary school was named after one of the 188 priests “credibly accused” of child sexual abuse on a list released by New Jersey’s Catholic dioceses last week.

Hudson, who died 22 year ago, worked in St. Elizabeth Hospital in Elizabeth and was the founder of the Center for Hope Hospice in Union County, according to the list released by the Archdiocese of Newark. He was credibly accused of the sexual abuse by one minor, though no details were released by church officials.

Elizabeth School District officials said they had no idea Hudson’s name would be on the list.

The newly released records date back to 1940, church officials said.

“The Elizabeth School District began the process of renaming School No. 25 immediately upon learning the individual for whom it was named had been identified by the Newark Archdiocese as someone ‘credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors,’” said Pat Politano, a spokesman for the school district.

Man allegedly sexually abused by priest sues El Paso Diocese for more than $1 million

El Paso Times

February 19, 2019

By Aaron Martinez and Trish Long

A man who claims he was repeatedly sexually abused by an El Paso priest in the early 1970s is suing the El Paso Catholic Diocese for more than $1 million in damages.

The suit, filed Feb. 12, claims the Rev. Jaime Madrid abused the then 12-year-old boy at at a local school, at the seminary, at a motel and in the priest’s car.

The victim, who is only identified in court records as John Doe, is represented by prominent Texas lawyers Lori Watson and Hal Browne.

“Obviously we are trying to get compensation for our client for all the trauma he suffered, ...” Browne said. “We have been in several of these cases in El Paso … It has become clear to us that the Diocese had longtime institutional knowledge of the fact that there were abusive priests in the Diocese.”

El Paso Bishop Mark Seitz, who was named in the lawsuit but said he had not personally seen it, declined to comment on the suit, saying only that diocese’s lawyers had received it Friday and were still going through it.

Madrid, who died in 2007, was among the 30 priests named by the El Paso diocese as credibly accused of sexual abuse in a list released Jan. 31. The El Paso diocese list was part of a coordinated investigation by the dioceses in Texas in response to a nationwide scandal.

As Pope holds sex abuse summit, U.S. Catholics not hopeful for 'bold moves'

National Public Radio

February 20, 2019

By Tom Gjelten

Never in the history of the Roman Catholic Church has a pope ordered bishops from around the world to come together and consider how many priests abuse children sexually and how many church officials cover for the abusers. The scandal of clergy sex abuse has deep roots in church history, but church leaders have been notoriously reluctant to acknowledge it and deal with the consequences.

Not surprisingly, when Pope Francis summoned more than 100 bishops to a meeting in Rome to address the "Protection of Minors in the Church," the announcement raised expectations that it could mark a turning point in the Church's lagging response to the ongoing clergy abuse crisis. The three-day meeting begins Thursday.

In the weeks that followed the Pope's announcement, however, U.S. Catholics in particular have become disappointed over his characterization of the summit as a gathering that will merely feature "prayer and discernment," hardly an ambitious vision for what could have been a momentous event.

"That offers little solace to American Catholics who feel their own church is in need of reform," says Kathleen Sprows Cummings, director of the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism at the University of Notre Dame. "I think the bold moves that a lot of people are going to want to see are very unlikely to happen."

The Latest: Spain diocese establishes clergy sex abuse panel

Associated Press

February 20, 2019

The Latest on the Vatican summit on dealing with sex abuse of minors (all times local):
5:05 p.m.

A Roman Catholic diocese in northwest Spain has become the country's first to establish a panel to protect and support local victims of clergy sex abuse.

Bishop of Astorga Juan Antonio Menendez said the panel will include a priest, a psychologist, a lawyer and an abuse survivor.

Menendez said during a Wednesday news conference broadcast on YouTube the move is designed to increase confidence in church institutions.

Menendez also is leading efforts by the Spanish bishops' conference to improve its procedures for handling sexual abuse cases.

Other Spanish dioceses have taken steps such as stipulating that church officials must inform public prosecutors when they get molestation allegations against priests.

The Spanish bishops' conference current rules, adopted in 2010, merely require ecclesiastical authorities to recommend that victims take their allegations to the police themselves.

One survivor’s story: Falmouth resident shares story of abuse

Wicked Local Falmouth

February 19, 2019

By Sarah Murphy

This story is the first in a three-part series for The Bulletin.

Dan Sherwood was nine-years-old when he became an altar boy at St. Anthony’s Church. The experience would prove to be life-changing.

The West Falmouth resident, along with a co-plaintiff, settled a lawsuit last October alleging nearly a decade of sexual abuse by the late Monsignor Maurice Souza. According to the suit, the abuse began in the late 1970s, when they were nine and ten, and continued until Souza’s retirement in 1986, when they were 17.

Daniel Cronin, former bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fall River, was named the defendant for failing to oversee Souza during his tenure. Cronin appointed Souza to St. Anthony’s in 1977.

Cronin, 91, would go on to become Archbishop of Hartford following a 1991 appointment by Pope John Paul II. He retired in 2003.

According to the suit, Cronin “knew or should have known about the abuse,” and as part of the settlement, Cronin neither admitted nor denied the allegations of abuse.

The plaintiffs each received a $200,000 settlement, but Dan believes Souza not only stole his childhood, but he also jeopardized his future.

Dan met Souza shortly after he moved to Falmouth in 1977 with his mother and two older sisters. He started fourth grade at Teaticket Elementary School and proudly became an altar boy at St. Anthony’s. He and Souza shared a love of sports, particularly baseball, and Dan soon found himself invited to professional sporting events as Souza’s guest. Many times, he was Souza’s sole companion.

How will Pope Francis deal with abuse in the Catholic Church?

BBC News

February 20, 2019

By Martin Bashir

In an effort to deal with the sex scandals rocking the Roman Catholic Church, the Pope has convened an extraordinary summit of bishops in Rome.

This follows his recent, unprompted, admission that priests had exploited nuns as "sex slaves" at a convent in France.

Pope Francis decided to call this global conference after discussions with the so-called C9. This is the group of nine cardinal advisers who were appointed soon after Francis was elected.

The Pope is under serious pressure to provide leadership and generate workable solutions to what is the most pressing crisis facing the modern Church.

Stories of abuse have emerged in every corner of the world. And the Church has been accused of covering up crimes committed by priests, leaving its moral authority in tatters.

Pope Francis must also confront the assumptions, attitudes and practices that have allowed a culture of abuse to flourish. The extent of this challenge may prove overwhelming.

Journalist Jason Berry was one of the first people to expose the extent of abuse in the Church
The summit, to be attended by the heads of all national bishops' conferences from more than 130 countries, is only the beginning of an attempt to address a sickness that has been poisoning the Church since at least the 1980s.

Editorial: Systemic malady has deep roots in clerical culture

National Catholic Reporter

February 20, 2019

Reasons immediate and remote have merged to force a first meeting of its kind — the gathering in Rome in February of the heads of bishops' conferences around the world to discuss the global clergy sex abuse scandal.

John Carr, who directs the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown University and who has spent most of his life working for bishops, had an apt characterization of the Feb. 21-24 event: It should have happened a long time ago, and it's a miracle it's happening.

Indeed, the scandal has been around a long time and, in hindsight, perhaps a progression can be detected as hierarchy and people moved through stages of denial to realization and accountability.

It has become clear during the past half-year that two occurrences caused the scandal to take hold of people's imagination in an entirely new way. The first was the revelation that the highly regarded former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick had acted inappropriately with seminarians and was credibly accused of sexually abusing a child. The second was graphic accounts of abuse in the Pennsylvania grand jury report, including details of episcopal cover-up.

These were old incidents newly revealed, but they served to finally raise awareness that this was not a problem isolated in a dark corner of the church or the problem of "a few bad apples," or even the result of misunderstanding and mistakes.

It was instead, and remains, a systemic malady with its roots deep in a clerical culture that valued secrecy, privilege and power over the welfare of child victims and their families.

Something has definitely changed since last summer. Theologian and lawyer Cathleen Kaveny of Boston College, during a panel discussion last November, said, "I think that this iteration of the crisis has marked a turning point in how Catholics, especially American Catholics, are perceiving the church. … Many people now are not seeing the sex abuse crisis as an aberration within the system, but they're seeing it as something that runs throughout the system. That it is enabled by the system."

The disturbing question that follows, she said, is: "What would have to be true of the church and its culture for sex abuse like this not to be an aberration but to be something that's running through it?"

She went even deeper, saying we need "theological language" in discussing the scandal and a way "of reimagining our common life."

Such steps are for farther down the road. For the moment, it will be enough that the global church square up with the truth.

No four-day meeting in Rome could deal adequately with decades of crime and cover-up, much yet to be revealed in parts of the globe.

Southern Baptists issue calls to action in wake of abuse scandal

The Oklahoman

February 20, 2019

By Carla Hinton

Southern Baptist Convention President J.D. Greear outlined 10 "calls to action" for Southern Baptists. He recommended that they:

1. Enter a season of sorrow and repentance.

2. Embrace a new free video-based curriculum, "Becoming a Church that Cares Well on Abuse," for holistic care in the early stages of learning of abuse.

3. Affirm three separate “Statement of Principles” documents signaling a collective commitment to address abuse at every organizational level of the Southern Baptist Convention.

4. Take immediate action on abuse prevention and care, strengthening policies and practices on abuse.

5. Consider requiring background checks, at a minimum, for all Southern Baptist Convention standing committees and trustee appointments.

6. Re-examine the ordination process, specifically evaluate how to strengthen screening and background efforts in the ordination process.

7. Update the Annual Church Profile so that Southern Baptist Convention churches are asked questions related to updated abuse policies and occurrences of abuse so that this information is included in the profile report.

Church leaders' abuse response mutes prophetic voice

LaCroix International

February 20, 2019

By Inday Espina-Varona

The arrest of an American priest who allegedly abused minors gives Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte a weapon against members of the clergy who criticize his bloody war against narcotics.

Police served five more arrest warrants on Father Kenneth Hendricks, who was nabbed in December by a joint team of Philippine and American law enforcers in the central Philippines.

A magistrate judge in Ohio district issued the first warrant against Hendricks for allegedly engaging in illicit sex with a minor in a foreign country, a crime punishable by up to 30 years in prison.

At the time of his arrest, the American priest was serving in the rural town of Naval on the island province of Biliran.

US Church suffering, but Canadians in control of sex abuse crisis

LaCroix International

February 20, 2019

The North American Church is a scene of striking contrasts.

Pope Francis issued a warning to U.S. bishops, who have been grappling with an endless list of revelations for months while their Canadian counterparts were congratulated by Father Federico Lombardi SJ, coordinator of the forthcoming Rome summit on sexual abuse, for the measures they adopted in 2018.

The powerful US Catholic Church has turned into a sad showcase for the global sexual abuse scourge. The laicization of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, an unprecedented move at this level of the Church, is merely the most recent illustration of this.

Norton sentencing hearing rescheduled due to judge's illness

CTV London

February 19, 2019

The sentencing hearing for David Norton, a former Anglican priest convicted on numerous sex-related charges, has been put off again.

Victim impact submissions were expected to begin Tuesday, but the hearing had to be delayed as Justice Lynda Templeton was ill.

The statements are now scheduled to be delivered March 18, with sentencing expected on March 22.

Will the summit on abuse bring meaningful changes in Rome?

America Magazine

February 19, 2019

By Gerard O’Connell

“So much is at stake this week...I hope something important comes from it,” Anne Barrett Doyle, the co-director of BishopAccountability.org, told reporters at the Foreign Press Association in Rome on Feb. 19, two days before the Vatican summit on the protection of minors in the church is scheduled to begin on Feb. 21. But if nothing substantial comes of the meeting, Ms. Barrett Doyle said it is her hope “the energy of change” can be assumed by secular forces “so that changes will come from the outside, through attorneys general, grand jury investigations and so on.”

“The Catholics of the world are grieving, disillusioned,” she said, because of “the sexual abuse of thousands of minors by clergy in past decades and bishops who covered up.”

“We all know,” she added, “that canon law has to be changed so that it stops protecting the priesthood of ordained men over the lives of children.

“I believe the church is no way close to enacting the reforms to end this epidemic,” she said, “which consists of two aspects: the sexual assault on minors by priests and the cover-up by bishops.”

BishopAccountability.org is one of the many advocacy groups for survivors of abuse by clergy that have descended on Rome this week from all over the world to highlight the problem ahead of the summit.

Institutional lying at heart of the crisis

National Catholic Reporter

February 20, 2019

By Jason Berry

Editor's note: Jason Berry was the first to report on clergy sex abuse in any substantial way, beginning with a landmark 1985 report about the Louisiana case involving a priest named Gilbert Gauthe. In 1992, he published Lead Us Not into Temptation: Catholic Priests and the Sexual Abuse of Children, a nationwide investigation after seven years of reporting in various outlets. In the foreword, Fr. Andrew Greeley referred to "what may be the greatest scandal in the history of religion in America and perhaps the greatest problem Catholicism has faced since the Reformation."

Berry followed the crisis in articles, documentaries, and two other books, Vows of Silence: The Abuse of Power in the Papacy of John Paul II (2004) and Render unto Rome: The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church (2011), which won the Investigative Reporters and Editors Best Book Award. Given the current moment and its possibilities and the fact that Berry is singular in his experience covering the scandal from multiple angles, NCR asked if he would write a reflection on the matter as the church's bishops are about to gather in Rome to consider the issue. Below is the second of three parts. Read Part 1 here.

Everything in this spreading crisis revolves around structural mendacity, institutionalized lying. For years, bishops proclaimed the sanctity of life in the womb while playing musical chairs with child molesters. High-dollar lawyers facilitated church officials' stiff-arm response to survivors scarred by traumatic childhood memories.

The media narrative of survivors seeking justice has cut a jagged trail through the mind of the church. The concealment strategies, unearthed in depositions and church documents, show how bishops and religious order superiors, sometimes paying "hush money" settlements to avoid scandal, controlled the fate of the priest and kept the closed system operating. "Convinced that they know the truth — whether in religion or in politics — enthusiasts may regard lies for the sake of this truth as justifiable," writes Sissela Bok in Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life. "They see nothing wrong with telling untruths for what they regard as a much 'higher' truth."

Clashing with that rationale are insiders who couldn't swallow the lies and leaked information. The man who did more to shape my reporting of the Diocese of Lafayette, Louisiana, in 1985 was such a specimen; though even now I am not entirely sure what fueled him.

In June 1984, attorneys for six families with nine boys — victims of Fr. Gilbert Gauthe, a pastor in rural Cajun country — negotiated a $4.2 million settlement with the diocese. Gauthe meanwhile was indicted on 33 criminal counts, including aggravated rape of a minor, which carried a life sentence. In early 1985, as I read civil depositions of Bishop Gerard Frey and other diocesan officials, Gauthe sat in a mental hospital. Ray Mouton, his attorney, negotiated with the tough-minded prosecutor, Nathan Stansbury, seeking a plea bargain.

J'can recounts abuse by priest, pregnancy and abortion

Agence France Presse

February 20, 2019

Denise Buchanan was 17 when she was raped by a seminarian who continued to abuse her when he became a priest in her native Jamaica.

The Catholic Church, she says, has offered her nothing but their “prayers”.

“I got pregnant and he arranged a clandestine abortion,” Buchanan, still shaking and close to tears 40 years after the ordeal, told AFP.

Today aged 57, the academic is a leading member of a new international organisation, Ending Clerical Abuse (ECA), which is bringing together victims in Rome this week to pressure Pope Francis to take a tougher line on child abuse by clerics.

She has struggled in vain for years for the Church to officially recognise her as a victim — even writing to the pope himself — while the priest who abused her has escaped justice.

Buchanan's struggle underscores the sense of isolation felt by many victims who see the institution as still in denial, particularly in poorer countries where the Church remains politically and socially influential.

She was living in Kingston when her sister introduced her and her family to the future priest, then known as Brother Paul, a theology student and a member of the Congregation of the Passion of Jesus Christ.

Father Francis McDermott: Priest guilty of child abuse offences

BBC News

February 20, 2019

A Roman Catholic priest has been found guilty of abusing six children during the 1970s.

Father Francis McDermott, 75, abused his victims in London, Norwich and High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, Aylesbury Crown Court heard.

One of his victims kept a diary marking each sexual encounter while another said McDermott regularly stayed at his family's home and sexually abused him.

He was convicted of 18 sex offences, including 15 indecent assaults.

McDermott, who is due to be sentenced on 14 March, was also found guilty of two indecent assaults on a male and one charge of indecency with a child.

He was found not guilty of two counts of indecent assault on a male, three counts of indecent assault on a female, one count of gross indecency on a boy under 14, rape and buggery.

McDermott, from Atlantic Way, Bideford, Devon, was a priest in a number of different parishes between 1971 and 1979.

Accuser's family: Evansville Diocese knew about abuse allegations against former priest

Evansville Courier & Press

February 20, 2019

By Jon Webb

A sexual abuse allegation against a deceased Evansville priest last week was news to a diocese spokesman.

But according to the wife of the accuser, other diocese officials have known for months.

While speaking in front of the Indiana Senate Judiciary Committee on Feb. 13, Christopher Compton, 42, said the Rev. Raymond Kuper sexually abused him multiple times when Compton was 9. The reported abuse took place while Kuper was a priest at Christ the King.

Kuper died in 2012.

Diocese spokesman Tim Lilley said a call from the Courier & Press was the first he’d heard of the allegation. But he was speaking only for himself. Because Aimee Compton said family members reported the allegation to the diocese back in August.

She said they spoke with the victim assistance coordinator and eventually met with Bishop Joseph Siegel.

Lilley said allegations against priests aren’t something he’s “routinely made aware of.”

It’s uncertain whether the accusation against Kuper would have become public without Compton’s testimony. It has a lot to do with how accusations are reported to the church.

Pope Francis says people who make accusations against Catholic Church 'without love' are related to the devil

Irish Post

February 20, 2019

By Aidan Lonergan

Speaking on the eve of a landmark Vatican summit on the prevention of clerical sex abuse, the pontiff told a congregation of 2,500 pilgrims in Saint Peter's Basilica that those who "live their whole life accusing the Church" are "friends, cousins and relatives of the devil".

He said the Church's "defects" must be denounced in order to correct them, but that it had now become "fashionable" for people to "destroy with the tongue" – behaviour akin to that of the "great accuser".

Francis said: "One cannot live their whole life accusing, accusing, accusing the Church. Whose profession is it to accuse? Who is the 'great accuser' quoted in the Bible?

"Those who spend their lives accusing, accusing, accusing are – I won't say the devil's children, because he doesn't have any – but they are friends, cousins, relatives of the devil.

"This is not right. Defects must be identified so that they can be corrected. When defects are pointed out and denounced, the Church is loved. Without love – that is from the devil."

After concluding his speech, Francis spent a few minutes personally greeting worshippers before setting off ahead of this week's summit.

They say they were sexually abused by priests, then silenced. Now these women are speaking out


February 20, 2019

By Melissa Bell, Saskya Vandoorne and Laura Smith-Spark

Lucie was just 16 when she became involved with a Catholic religious community after attending a holiday camp in Switzerland. At the time, she told CNN, she was "very, very, very alone" and looking for friends and affection.

What she found at first was "really like a family," she said. But two years later -- by which time she was preparing to become an "oblate," a lay person affiliated with a religious order -- she says a pattern of sexual abuse by a charismatic priest who she considered her spiritual father began.

It took 15 years for Lucie -- a pseudonym used at her request to protect her family -- to realize that what she says she experienced over several months in the 1990s was abuse. At the time, just 18 years old, she felt "disgusted" by the physical intimacy she says the priest forced on her but also wracked by guilt and powerless to stop him.

"It was like automatic you know. He wanted to go to the end -- to ejaculation -- and I was just like an object for him and I had a feeling he did this a lot of times," she said.

Her story is not unique.

As Vatican Summit On Abuse Prevention Starts, A Clergy Sex Abuse Survivor Stops Eating

New England Public Radio

February 20, 2019

By Nancy Eve Cohen

A survivor of clergy sex abuse from Chester, Massachusetts, said he'll stop eating starting at midnight Wednesday until Pope Francis acknowledges he's received letters from survivors of abuse from Massachusetts — or that the Pope returns the letters.

Olan Horne, 59, says he was abused by a priest in Lowell in the 1970s. He said letters describing the abuse he and three others suffered were delivered to the Pope this fall by Boston Cardinal Seán O'Malley.

“What we are asking for is that all they do is validate that he received the letters and that these people were heard,” said Horne. “Nothing happens until a survivor has spoken and been heard. Some of these people have waited 20-plus years to be heard.”

Horne starts his hunger strike on the eve of a summit on the prevention of abuse at the Vatican, attended by the presidents of the world’s conferences of Catholic bishops.

In a separate request, not related to the hunger strike, Horne has asked the Pope to investigate the way Bishop Mitchell Rozanski of the Springfield Diocese has responded to survivors.

What survivors plan to demand in unprecedented meeting on clergy sex abuse

CBS News

February 19, 2019

Shaun Dougherty never imagined his very personal crusade against Catholic clergy sexual abuse would lead him to the Vatican. He traveled about 4,000 miles from Pennsylvania for an unprecedented meeting between bishops and survivors of alleged clergy sexual abuse in Vatican City.

He and 11 other survivors from around the world are urging the Catholic Church to have a zero-tolerance policy for abuse. CBS News' Nikki Battiste spoke to Dougherty just before he walked into the meeting. He told her he's feeling relaxed and focused and plans to give a strong but respectful message.

He said he's waited years for this moment and that he wants to give the Catholic Church one last chance but looking up at St. Peter's Basilica, Dougherty said "that's just a dome to me."

"I was abused at 10 years old. I never had the opportunity to fully believe in God," he said.

He's there for only one reason: to get the abuse of children to stop.

Since Battiste first met Dougherty last August, he's fought for statute of limitations reform across Pennsylvania and confronted the former priest he says molested him. Wednesday's meeting is the pinnacle in his fight for justice.

Asked if he feels like he's carrying the weight of thousands of survivors, he said "I know I am."

"They're carrying me … so many people did so much more than me … I'm thrilled to be a part of this now," Dougherty said.

Survivor Peter Isely – who alleges he was sexually abused by a priest in Wisconsin at age 13 – said their group's message to Pope Francis is clear.

Women sexual abuse survivors seek inclusion at Catholic Church summit

CTV News Channel

February 19, 2019

By Daniele Hamamdjian

As a dozen sexual abuse survivors meet with organizers of a Catholic Church summit at the Vatican this week, women will largely be absent from the discussion.

This doesn’t mean that women have been immune to the abuse, however.

Barbara Dorris is one of the women to be abused at the hands of Church officials. As a child, she was repeatedly raped by a priest who told her she was so evil that she was forcing him to sin.

Dorris is the former executive director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. She spoke Tuesday at a press conference for female survivors of Catholic Church sex abuse and discussed the difference between how male sex abuse victims are portrayed compared to females.

“The abuse of women and girls has not been the focus of the coverage and when it has, unfortunately words like affair and relationship have been used,” she told reporters on Tuesday.

Among the other speakers was Doris Wagner, who was abused as a nun.

“When I was raped in 2008 by a priest, I thought that I was the only nun to whom that had ever happened,” she said.

Then there’s Mary Dispenza, who at age seven was told to sit on a priest’s lap. She said he then then “put his hands under my panties and into my vagina.”

Dispenza says there was another incident involving a nun when she herself was one.

Earlier this month, Pope Francis acknowledged for the first time that some nuns have been sexually abused by members of the Catholic Church, and that it could still be happening.

How the pope can spur reform — recognize SNAP leader Barbara Blaine as a saint

San Francisco Chronicle

February 19, 2019

By Celia Viggo Wexler

Pope Francis signaled last week that even high-ranking prelates can face punishment for sexual abuse. The Vatican threw former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick out of the priesthood, because of his sexual abuse of minors and other crimes.

But that gesture does not address the other part of the problem: the church’s long-standing cover-up of credible abuse allegations. Indeed, some critics are skeptical that a four-day sexual abuse summit of bishops in Rome beginning Thursday will produce concrete reforms. Others worry that the event could be used to declare war on gay priests.

On his flight back to Rome from Panama last month, the Pope told reporters that expectations for the Rome meeting were “somewhat inflated,” adding that “the problem of abuse will continue” because it is “a human problem.” The pope, who requested prayers for the meeting’s success, may face resistance to reform from some of his own prelates.

But he could take one positive step on his own: He could ask the church to consider whether abuse survivor and activist Barbara Blaine merits recognition as a saint.

I got to know Blaine when I interviewed her for my book, “Catholic Women Confront Their Church.” She was tall and slender, dressed in a suit whose neutral tones complimented her fair skin and light brown hair. Her warmth and generosity were evident, despite the trauma she had suffered.

Blaine, who died in 2017, was sexually assaulted by her parish priest for four years, starting when she was 13. She was 29 when she read Jason Berry’s reports of priestly abuse in Louisiana, and finally realized that she was not the guilty party; her assistant pastor was.

Alone and unsupported, she began the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) in 1988, both to help victims and reform the church.

Blaine initially trusted bishops to fix the problem. They betrayed her.

February 19, 2019

Sights and sounds from ‘Super Bowl week’ in Rome


February 20, 2019

By John L. Allen Jr.

Yesterday I described this as “Super Bowl week” in the Vatican, in the sense that the pope’s keenly-anticipated summit on the clerical sexual abuse scandals opening Thursday has drawn media, activists and onlookers from all over the world to the Eternal City, creating energy and anticipation leading up to the big event.

Here’s a rundown of some of the sights and sounds of this week in Rome on Tuesday, which capture only a random sampling of everything that’s on offer this week.

Counter-altar at the Foreign Press Club
Veteran Italian journalist Maria Antonietta Calabrò dispatched a tweet Tuesday morning saying on that day, Rome’s Foreign Press Club became a “counter-altar” to the Vatican Press Office and its spin operation around the pope’s summit.

Two different events took place at the Foreign Press Club, both featuring dissident voices: A morning news conference staged by Bishop Accountability, a watchdog group on the clerical abuse scandals, and an afternoon event by Voices of the Faith, another activist group promoting the empowerment of women within the Catholic Church.

At the Bishop Accountability event, Ann Barrett Doyle, the group’s director, appeared with Phil Saviano, an abuse survivor who worked with the Boston Globe’s “Spotlight” team.

Vatican’s four-day summit to explore how to protect children from sex abuse by clergy

Los Angeles Times

By Tom Kington

February 19, 2019

Pope Francis’ special summit on protecting children from sexual abuse by clergy may be a turning point for the Vatican, but many critics still wonder what took so long.

The four-day summit, which begins Thursday, is expected to explore ways for the Roman Catholic Church to protect children from abuse by examining bishops’ legal responsibilities. It is also supposed to address accountability by church leaders and transparency in confronting cases of abuse.

Francis called more than 100 bishops from around the world and dozens of others, including superiors of men’s and women’s religious orders, to the Vatican amid ongoing scandals about decades-long clergy abuse.

The church last week announced the defrocking of former U.S. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who was found guilty by the Vatican of sexually abusing a child. The church and the pope during the past year have also faced an abuse scandal in Chile and a Pennsylvania grand jury report showing decades of cover-ups of abuse by priests.

“There is going to be every effort to close whatever loopholes there are and to make sure bishops understand what their responsibilities are,” Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich, who helped organize the summit, said at a Vatican briefing this week. “My hope is people see this as a turning point.”

Cupich was joined at the briefing Monday by Maltese Archbishop Charles Scicluna, the Vatican’s top abuse investigator, who said, “Silence is a no-go. Whether you call it omerta or a state of denial.”

Scicluna said an initial response may be to deny problems, but that is not sufficient.

“It’s a primitive mechanism we need to move away from,” he said.

Francis called the summit after his dramatic U-turn last year on abuse cases in Chile, where he first denounced victims for slandering priests, then admitted widespread abuse and prompted a number of bishops to resign.

“The pope said, ‘I got that wrong, we are not to do it again and we are going to get it right, and that gives us great hope,” said Scicluna, who led Francis’ investigation in Chile.

Keep Cardinal McCarrick in Kansas, SNAP Says

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

February 19, 2019

Though former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick has been defrocked, we hope - for the safety of children and vulnerable adults – that Catholic officials in Kansas will keep him at the friary where he has been living.

The disgraced prelate has not been there very long. He has likely not yet been able to win the trust of nearby families. Moreover, it is a small town so it is likely nearly everyone knows who he is and why he is there. Under those circumstances, the former Cardinal would no doubt have a tough time ingratiating himself into local families and potentially damaging more young lives.

However, if Cardinal McCarrick were to move back to New Jersey or Washington DC there are, sadly, sure to be more than a handful of families who believe he is innocent or "has been punished enough" or is no longer a threat to young lives. Church official should keep him where he is.

'The pope ignored them': Alleged abuse of deaf children on 2 continents points to Vatican failings

Washington Post

February 19, 2019

When investigators swept in and raided the religious Antonio Provolo Institute for the Deaf, they uncovered one of the worst cases yet among the global abuse scandals plaguing the Catholic Church: a place of silent torment where prosecutors say pedophiles preyed on the most isolated and submissive children.

The scope of the alleged abuse was vast. Charges are pending against 13 suspects; a 14th person pleaded guilty to sexual abuse, including rape, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. The case of the accused ringleader - an octogenarian Italian priest named Nicola Corradi - is set to go before a judge next month.

Corradi was spiritual director of the school and had a decades-long career spanning two continents. And so his arrest in late 2016 raised an immediate question: Did the Catholic Church have any sense that he could be a danger to children?

The answer, according to a Washington Post investigation that included a review of court and church documents, private letters, and dozens of interviews in Argentina and Italy, is that church officials up to and including Pope Francis were warned repeatedly and directly about a group of alleged predators that included Corradi.

Yet they took no apparent action against him.

"I want Pope Francis to come here, I want him to explain how this happened, how they knew this and did nothing," a 24-year-old alumna of the Provolo Institute said, using sign language as her hands shook in rage. She and her 22-year-old brother, who requested anonymity to share their experiences as minors, are among at least 14 former students who say they were victims of abuse at the now-shuttered boarding school in the shadow of the Andes.

'They were the perfect victims'
Vulnerable to the extreme, the deaf students tended to come from poor families that fervently believed in the sanctity of the church. Prosecutors say the children were fondled, raped, sometimes tied up and, in one instance, forced to wear a diaper to hide the bleeding. All the while, their limited ability to communicate complicated their ability to tell others what was happening to them. Students at the school were smacked if they used sign language. One of the few hand gestures used by the priests, victims say, was an index figure to lips - a demand for silence.

"They were the perfect victims," said Gustavo Stroppiana, the chief prosecutor in the case.

And yet they may not have been the first. Corradi, now 83 and under house arrest, is also under investigation for sexual crimes at a sister school in Argentina where he worked from 1970 to 1994. And alumni of a related school in Italy, where Corradi served earlier, identified him as being among a number of priests who carried out systematic abuse over five decades. The schools were all founded and staffed by priests from the Company of Mary for the Education of the Deaf, a small Catholic congregation that answers to the Vatican.

Women’s Voices at the Vatican Summit

Patheos blog

February 19, 2019

By Sofia Carozza

On Thursday, the Vatican is hosting a summit on preventing clergy sexual abuse. Presidents of bishops’ conferences from around the globe will meet for four days, to listen to survivors and discuss the Church’s response. The main themes of the meeting are responsibility, accountability and transparency.

It is absolutely essential that women’s voices are represented at this meeting. Horrific atrocities perpetrated by Catholic priests have torn apart the wellbeing of families, of religious orders, of schools, and of parish communities. Women are not only members but leaders of these spaces. We have authoritative insight into the causes and effects of clerical sex abuse, as well as possible solutions. The Vatican must listen and respond to these insights if the Church is to begin the process of healing and restoration.

CWF Submissions to the Summit
Toward this end, the Catholic Women’s Forum (CWF) has submitted a set of documents to the summit. CWF strives to amplify the voices of Catholic women within the Church and the culture, in support of the Catholic faith.

Catholic Church 'nowhere close' to confronting global 'epidemic' of child sex abuse by priests

Daily Telegraph

February 18, 2019

By Nick Squires

The Catholic Church is "nowhere close" to enacting the reforms needed to stop the "epidemic" of sex abuse by predatory priests and bishops against children, campaigners warned on Tuesday.

Pope Francis is "in retreat" from any meaningful effort to bring abusers to justice, said Bishop Accountability, a leading pressure group.

The scathing criticism comes as the Vatican admits it has secret guidelines on how to deal with priests who break their celibacy vows and sire children.

Nearly 200 archbishops, bishops and other senior officials are to join the Pope at the Vatican for an unprecedented, four-day conference on combating the sexual abuse of minors by clergy.

Like his predecessors, the Pope has fostered "a culture of plausible deniability" in which allegations against priests are lost, not scrutinised properly, or buried in bureaucracy, campaigners said.

The Catholic Church persists in regarding the sexual abuse of children as a sin, to be dealt with internally, rather than as a serious crime that requires the intervention of the police, said Phil Saviano, a high-profile survivor of sex abuse.

Molested by a priest in Massachusetts when he was 12 years old, his ordeal was told in the Oscar-winning film Spotlight, based on a Boston Globe investigation into widespread sex abuse by clergy.

Newark Archdiocese Refuses to Reveal Whereabouts of Abusive Clerics

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

February 19, 2019

We’re both encouraged and worried to learn that “Four (accused abusers) are being monitored by the Newark Archdiocese under unclear circumstances.” Children are safest when predators are jailed. If that’s not possible, then predators should be publicly exposed and closely monitored, ideally in remote, secure, independently-run facilities under the supervision of secular professionals.

That is not what is happening in Newark. Catholic officials are housing some predators in a setting where they are presumably somewhat watched. That is a step forward. However, while this is better then letting them live alone completely unsupervised among unsuspecting neighbors, it is far from ideal.

For the safety of children in the immediate vicinity, Newark Archbishop Joseph Tobin should reveal the “undisclosed retirement home” where these ex-clerics live now.

We also agree with the former Bergen County prosecutor John Molinelli, who once seized oversight of one such cleric from the Archdiocese, when he said “it's often a question of will, not ability.”

Local Survivors in Rome for Clergy Sex Abuse Conference

Erie News Now

February 19, 2019

By Paul Wagner

For the past year, we have continued to cover the clergy sex abuse scandal as it unfolded here in Pennsylvania.

But now the focus is on Rome, for the first ever papal conference on sexual abuse.

And two men who say they were abused years ago by Erie Catholic Diocese priests are there.
Jim VanSickle and James Faluszczak spoke with us today by Facetime and Skype.

They hope Pope Francis and 115 key bishops from around the world take concrete action to stop abuse and cover ups.

But they also want to be a voice for victims.

VanSickle said, "I think that they need to be aware that we are here. I think we're going to voice ourselves loudly."

Faluszczak said, "Whatever I am doing in this regard I am trying to give my voice to people who like myself even just a year ago was afraid to speak out."

The four day conference that starts tomorrow.

Berks lawmaker taking clergy sex abuse fight to pope's door

69 News

February 19, 2019

From the halls of Harrisburg to the headquarters of the Catholic church, a state lawmaker from Berks County is taking his fight for clergy sex abuse survivors to the pope's doorstep.

Pennsylvania Rep. Mark Rozzi will be at the Vatican as Pope Francis convenes a summit Thursday with church leaders from around the world. Their focus will be on preventing clergy sex abuse.

"The Catholic church," Rozzi said, "has an opportunity here to lead and be an example for the world and other institutions to follow, that maybe we can really take a bite out of child sexual abuse and start protecting our children."

Rozzi, a survivor himself of clergy sex abuse, said his mission of traveling to the Vatican is two-fold.

First, he said he wants the church to stop blocking legislation such as his that would reform the statute of limitations and allow child sex abuse victims to sue the perpetrators and the institutions that may have covered up their crimes.

"We just want victims to have the opportunity to be able to find truth and justice and start the healing process," Rozzi told 69 News on Tuesday.

The other reason for his visit, he said, is to seek zero-tolerance by the church when it comes to abuse.

"We want to make sure that the policies they put in place this weekend protect children, but at the same time, we want to hold bishops accountable," Rozzi said.

While he's still unsure whether he'll be granted an audience with the pope, Rozzi said he wants to make sure his voice and that of other survivors is heard by those in a position of power.

"We're going to be going to the doorstep of the Vatican and we're going to be banging on it and say, 'You better hear us now,' and we want the world to hear us," Rozzi said.

Ahead of the summit, one of the first items on Rozzi's schedule after he arrives in Rome will be a meeting with members of the Italian parliament and representatives of various groups from around the world, including the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), End Clergy Abuse (ECA), and Bishop Accountability.

"For the first time, we're able to coordinate this meeting, bring all these groups together and find out what is important for survivors and victims and how we're going to protect these children moving forward," Rozzi said.

Survivor on Pope’s Anti-Abuse Summit: ‘He’s Gotta Deliver’


February 19, 2019

By Elise Harris and John L. Allen Jr.

One of the most outspoken survivors of clerical abuse says that he wants to see accountability for both the crime and cover-up of clerical abuse, and that if an upcoming summit fails to yield these results, Pope Francis will have failed victims.

“He has to deliver. In my opinion as a survivor, he’s gotta deliver during the summit. If he doesn’t do that, he has really betrayed what he said he has learned from hearing our stories,” Peter Isely, a survivor of child sexual abuse by a Wisconsin priest, told Crux in an interview.

While he and other survivors are hopeful Francis will come through, “we can’t base this thing on hope. Hope is not going to get us there,” he said, explaining that for those who have long endured the devastating impact of abuse, “we base it on justice.”

A longtime outspoken activist and advocate for abuse survivors, Isely was a founding member of the U.S. branch of the Ending Clergy Abuse (ECA) activist group and he was also a founding member and Midwest Director for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).

He is in Rome for a Feb. 21-24 summit on the protection of minors in the Church, which was called by Pope Francis to address the global clerical abuse crisis, and which will be attended by the presidents of all bishops’ conferences around the world, heads of religious orders, representatives of Eastern Catholic Churches and abuse victims, among others.

Pegged by many as perhaps Pope Francis’s highest-stakes endeavor to date on the abuse scandals, the summit has been made up to be a sort-of make-or-break deal for Francis on the abuse issue following a tumultuous year in 2018, including a major PR flop in Chile and questions about his own actions in the case of Theodore McCarrick, the former cardinal who was recently defrocked after being found guilty of sexual abuse and manipulation.

In Isely’s view, survivors have typically encountered two different personas in Francis, one being the sympathetic pastor who has a deep sense of the horrifying impact of abuse, and another who can be cryptic, insensitive and who appears to fail to take action against known abusers.

Sentencing delayed for ex-priest guilty of sexually abusing altar boys

London Free Press

February 19, 2019

By Jane Sims

The sentencing hearing for a former Anglican priest convicted of sexually abusing Indigenous boys almost four decades ago has been delayed.

Victim impact statements had been scheduled for Tuesday morning in the Superior Court of Justice in the case of David Norton, 72, who was convicted of three counts of indecent assault between Jan. 1, 1977 and Jan. 3, 1983 and one count of sexual assault between Jan. 4, 1983 and Dec. 31, 1984 after a trial in November.

The four victims were all altar boys at St. Andrew’s Anglican church at Chippewas of the Thames, where Norton had been a popular rector. They all came from disadvantaged families on the reserve.

The men testified that they and their families saw Norton as a beloved friend and spiritual guide. Norton took the boys on weekends and had them sleep over at his London apartment and his Belmont property. He took them to movies, bowling, parks and, for some of them, trips to the Bahamas, where he had served before returning to Canada.

The boys, now men, testified at trial that they were often given chocolate milk or Pop Shoppe pop before bed time. Norton would sleep with them. They believe they were drugged.

The stakes are high for Pope Francis, Catholics worldwide ahead of unprecedented sex abuse summit


February 19, 2019

By John Bacon

A crucial summit on clergy sexual abuse opening Thursday at the Vatican is drawing church leaders from around the world in an effort to break a "code of silence" that allowed the misconduct to take place over decades.

Presidents of more than 100 bishop conferences will be joined by high-ranking Vatican officials – and Pope Francis himself. The summit will focus on making bishops aware of their responsibilities, accountability and transparency, the Vatican said.

Archbishop Charles Scicluna, a member of the summit organizing committee, described the summit as a major step in the pope's efforts to end the code of silence. The Rev. James Bretzke, a theology professor at Marquette University, said the pope is demanding a change in "clerical culture."

"The pope is saying this isn't just a problem for the United States, or Europe or elsewhere," Bretzke told USA TODAY. "The problem is the clerical culture that looks to protect the institution even at the expense of individuals who have been harmed."

On Wednesday, a dozen victims of clergy sexual abuse will meet with summit organizers. Chilean abuse victim Juan Carlos Cruz, who is coordinating a meeting, said his group will further urge bishops to stop pleading ignorance about abuse.

“Raping a child or a vulnerable person and abusing them has been wrong since the 1st century, the Middle Ages, and now,” he said.

John Thavis, a former Catholic News Service reporter and author of "The Vatican Diaries," said the meeting with abuse victims was added after the Vatican program.

"The bishops will no doubt hear some very direct criticism of their past failures," Thavis said.

Thavis said the true effectiveness of the summit will be determined by follow-up actions over the next year or so "if and when the Vatican sends teams of auditors around the world to make sure that the summit's conclusions are being implemented."

On Tuesday, two groups representing the leadership of Catholic religious orders apologized for their failure to quickly act to halt sexual abuse of children by priests.

"We bow our heads in shame at the realization that such abuse has taken place in our congregations and orders, and in our church," the statement from the Union of Superiors General and its female counterpart the International Union of Superiors General said.

Report: Pope Francis Ignored Rampant Sexual Abuse at Schools for Deaf Children


February 19, 2019

By Molly Olmstead

A Washington Post investigation published Tuesday alleges that those at the highest ranks of the Vatican, including Pope Francis, were made aware of horrific abuse allegations in three Catholic schools for deaf children but did little to punish the accused or stop the abuse from continuing.

The allegations, the first set of which emerged in 2006, led to the 2016 arrest of an 83-year-old Italian priest named Nicola Corradi, who was thought to be the “ringleader” of the abuse, according to the Post. Charges are pending against 12 other suspects, and a 14th has already been sentenced to 10 years in prison for rape and sexual abuse.

The abuse reportedly began in the 1950s and lasted through the 1980s at the Antonio Provolo Institute for the Deaf in Verona, Italy, and began in the 1980s in Argentina at Provolo schools in Lujan de Cuyo and in La Plata. Corradi taught for decades in each country.

The allegations are difficult to read, and they involve countless cases of abuse of children at least as young as 7. According to the Post:

Vulnerable to the extreme, the deaf students tended to come from poor families that fervently believed in the sanctity of the church. Prosecutors say the children were fondled, raped, sometimes tied up and, in one instance, forced to wear a diaper to hide the bleeding. All the while, their limited ability to communicate complicated their ability to tell others what was happening to them. Students at the school were smacked if they used sign language. One of the few hand gestures used by the priests, victims say, was an index [finger] to lips—a demand for silence.

But the church failed to punish the accused priests. The 2006 accusation by a man named Dario Laiti led more than a dozen other former students to come forward. The victims wrote to a local bishop in 2008 (it was at that point too late to press charges). In public statements, they named 24 priests and other faculty at the school as abusers. According to the group, dozens of others had been abused but were not willing to come forward. The bishop accused the victims of lying, and the victims sued for defamation, alerting the Vatican to the allegations.

Beyond Thorn Birds (again): Vatican confirms there are rules for priests with secret children

Get Religion blog

February 19, 2019

By Terry Mattingly

Is it just me, or does anyone else suspect that this is a great time for journalists to ask Vatican officials hard questions about the sins of priests who want to have sex with females?

I am not joking about this, although I will confess that there is a rather cynical twist to my question.

Let me also stress that we are talking about serious stories, with victims who deserve attention and justice. We are also talking about stories that mesh with my conviction that secrecy is the key issue, the most powerful force in Rome’s scandals tied to sexual abuse by clergy (something I noted just yesterday).

Still, the timing is interesting — with Vatican officials doing everything they can to focus news coverage on the abuse of “children,” as opposed to male teens, and a few young adults, as opposed to — potentially — lots and lots of seminarians. I am talking about this week’s Vatican summit on sexual abuse.

So first we had a small wave of coverage of this totally valid story, as seen in this headline at The New York Times: “Sexual Abuse of Nuns: Longstanding Church Scandal Emerges From Shadows.”

Former Bishop in New York Accused of Sexually Abusing Minors

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

February 19, 2019

Another U.S. Catholic bishop has been accused of child sexual abuse, this time on Long Island. Today, two women have come forward to accuse Bishop John McGann, formerly of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, of sexually abusing them as children.

Often, the more powerful and prominent a predator is, the harder it is to come forward and report sexual assaults by him. This is even true when the accused is deceased, because victims assume fewer people will believe the accuser.

Yet still, it is critical for these stories and experiences to be shared. When the first victim speaks out, it usually gives strength and encouragement to other victims who may be suffering in silence. We hope the announcement of these allegations today will be helpful to other victims, whether of Bishop McGann or any other religious figure.

Southern Baptist sex abuse crisis: What you need to know

Nashville Tennessean

February 19, 2019

Duane W. Gang and Holly Meyer

Southern Baptists across the country are grappling with a sex abuse crisis in the wake of a startling investigative report detailing more than 380 cases where church leaders and volunteers have been accused of sexual misconduct.

In total, the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News found more than 700 victims.

Here's what you need to know about the story and how Southern Baptist Convention leaders are responding.

Why did the news organizations investigate the church?
Victims of sexual abuse had long criticized church leaders for not doing enough to combat the problem, including tracking how many church leaders are accused of sexual misconduct. So the news organizations set out build their own database.

What was the reaction to the news?
Calls for reform and change came quickly. Southern Baptist leaders vowed to address the problem.

Southern Baptist Convention President J.D. Greear, a pastor in North Carolina, called sexual abuse by church leaders and volunteers "pure evil," and apologized to victims.

"We are profoundly sorry," Greear, along with fellow Pastor Brad Hambrick, wrote in a article posted on Greear's website the day after the news broke. "It is an unjust tragedy that you experienced abuse in the past. And it is unjust and tragic that you feel fear in the present.

"We, the church, have failed you."

What is the church doing about the problem?

SNAP Supports California Effort to Remove Ecclesiastical Exemptions in Mandatory Reporting Laws

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

February 19, 2019

A bill has been introduced into the California State Senate that would remove exemptions in mandatory reporting laws that allow clergy to avoid punishment for refusing to report allegations of child abuse or neglect.

We are supportive of any effort that protects children. This law will help ensure that adults who are trusted to care for children will also report any worrying signs or behavior they may witness. It is incumbent on adults to care for children and shield them from abuse, and this can only be accomplished when adults know and understand their reporting responsibility.

In the past, clerical exemptions to mandatory reporting laws have allowed clergy not to report when they heard allegations of child abuse during confession or witnessed a child being abused by another cleric or church staffer. Any law that can help remove this secrecy and promote the protection of children and prevention of abuse is one that we support, and we hope that the California Senate will take up Senator Hill’s bill immediately.

List Of Maryland Priests Accused Of Child Sexual Abuse


February 15, 2019

By Deb Belt

A new wave of lists naming Catholic priests credibly accused of sexual abuse against children has been released in the past two months, including the Baltimore archdiocese. In late December the church posted a revised list of 99 priests and religious brothers facing accusations over the years. The posting includes an initial list of 57 men posted in 2002, along with additions of those later accused, and priests named in a grand jury report released by the Pennsylvania Attorney General in August 2018, who either had an assignment in Maryland or were accused of engaging in sexual abuse of minors in Maryland.

"Many Catholics here in our own archdiocese, as well as many across the country, are rightly dismayed by what they perceive as a lack of decisive action to strengthen protocols of accountability for bishops accused of sexual abuse or misconduct," Archbishop William E. Lori said in November after U.S. bishops met in Baltimore. "Understandably, there is a sense that this was a missed opportunity – and one unnecessarily so. ... We must be held fully accountable – as are priests, deacons, lay employees and volunteers of the Church – in matters of moral and professional conduct."

The Baltimore list was released about a month after the Washington, D.C., archdiocese — which includes Montgomery and Prince George's counties in Maryland — released similarly accused priests. A total of 32 priests were named by the DC diocese, but its list does not specify which parishes or schools they served in. See that list of names at the bottom of the story or online.

Over 95 clergymen from Queens accused of sexual abuse named in Diocese report

The Queens Courier

February 19, 2019

By Mark Hallum

The Brooklyn Diocese has released a list of priests spanning the 20th century who they say have credible claims of sexual abuse against them from victims, either before or after their death.

The report also shows that while many of the alleged sexual predators are long dead, many not only served in Queens, but about 40 percent are still alive, though none of them still serve as clergymen, either by their own volition or by removal from the ministry.

Up to 95 of those listed served at locations in Forest Hills, Ridgewood and Flushing with one of the most notorious offenders being Father Adam Prochaski, who served at Holy Cross School in Maspeth from 1969 to 1994 and has been accused of abusing more than 20 female victims, according to Lawyers Helping Survivors of Child Sex Abuse.

What differs between the earlier report released by the legal organization and the report released by the diocese is that it does not list the number of accusations against various priests and only indicates whether reports emerged before or after the individuals death and how they eventually left the diocese. The diocese report does not list clergy members currently serving with accusations against them.

“As we know, sexual abuse is a shameful and destructive problem that is found in all aspects of society, yet it is especially egregious when it occurs within the church and such abuse cannot be tolerated,” Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio said in a letter. “It is my hope that publishing this list will provide some assistance to some of those who are continuing the difficult process of healing, as well as encouraging other victims to come forward.”

There are more than 100 priests on the list and the diocese said it is aware of about 14 percent of cases prior to a 2017 effort to pay remediations to victims.

Former Memphis bishop accused of sexual abuse


February 18, 2019

Carroll Dozier, the first Catholic bishop of Memphis, has been named on a list of priests accused of child sex abuse.

The Richmond, Virginia Diocese, where Bishop Dozier was ordained as a priest, released the list.

Bishop Dozier led the Memphis Diocese from 1971 until 1983. He helped the poor, fought racism and opposed the Vietnam War.

The oldest priest in Memphis, a man hired by Bishop Dozier, is stunned by the sex abuse revelation.

At age 87, Father David Knight knows the Memphis Diocese and its first Bishop well.

"Dozier was the best bishop we've ever had,” Father Knight said.

Father Knight despises the Catholic church’s history of sex abuse.

Colorado’s Catholic churches will open records to independent investigator in effort to account for alleged sex abuse

Colorado Sun

February 19, 2019

By Jesse Paul

The three Catholic dioceses of Colorado will open their records to an independent investigator in an effort to provide a full accounting of sexual abuse of children by priests through the decades, part of a national reckoning for the church after an explosive grand jury report last year in Pennsylvania.

The investigator will compile a list of priests with substantiated allegations of abuse, including where the clergy were assigned and the years when the offenses were alleged to have occurred, under the initiative announced Tuesday by the church and the Colorado Attorney General’s Office. That list will then be made public. The initiative also will include a full review of the church’s policies and procedures in responding to and preventing abuse.

“My colleagues around the country have responded to the Pennsylvania grand jury report in a variety of ways,” Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser, a Democrat, said in a written statement. “Today, we are announcing a Colorado solution that is collaborative, enhances transparency and provides victims access to support services and compensation. I want to thank the bishops for working with my office to achieve these positive steps.”

Colorado’s former U.S. attorney, Bob Troyer, will lead the independent investigation. Half of his fees will be paid by private anonymous donors known to state officials; the other half will come from the dioceses in Denver, Pueblo and Colorado Springs.

The review will go from 1950 onward and is aimed, in part, at making sure that there are no known abusers still in the church, Weiser’s office said at a news conference Tuesday. No state funds will be used.

“It’s important to note this is not a criminal investigation. This is an independent inquiry will the full cooperation of the Catholic church,” Weiser said.

Victims will not be named.

Blaming homosexuality for abuse of minors is distraction, victims say

Catholic News Service

February 19, 2019

By Carol Glatz

People must stop using homosexuals as scapegoats for the sexual abuse of children, two male survivors of abuse by priests told reporters.

“To make this link between homosexuality and pedophilia is absolutely immoral, it is unconscionable and has to stop,” said Peter Isely, a survivor and founding member of the survivor’s group SNAP.

Speaking to reporters outside the Vatican press office Feb. 18, he said: “No matter what your sexual orientation is, if you’ve committed a criminal act against a child, you’re a criminal. That’s the designation that counts. Period.”

Isely and other survivors were in Rome to speak with the press ahead of a Vatican summit Feb. 21-24 on child protection in the Catholic Church.

Phil Saviano, who founded SNAP’s New England chapter and is a board member of BishopsAccountability.org, told reporters Feb. 19 that he felt “there has been a lot of scapegoating of homosexual men as being child predators.”

To lay the blame for the abuse of children on homosexuality “tells me that they really don’t understand” the problem and have made a claim “that is not based on any source of reality.”

“I will admit that if a priest is abusing a 16-, 17- or 18-year-old boy, that part of the element that is going on there is homosexuality, but that is not the root of the problem” of abuse by clergy, he said at an event at the Foreign Press Association in Rome.

Saviano was a prepubescent boy when he was abused by Father David A. Holley of Worcester, Massachusetts, and he said, very often, a perpetrator is no longer “interested” in his victim when the child goes through puberty.

Saviano, whose story of abuse triggered the Boston Globe investigation and was featured in the film Spotlight, said he hears from victims from all over the world “and many of them are women who were abused as children.”

“Trying to lump it all together under homosexually,” he said, is “a dodge” and will not “lead to a proper solution.”

Man allegedly sexually abused by priest sues El Paso Diocese for more than $1 million

El Paso Times
February 19, 2019

By Aaron Martinez and Trish Long

A man who claims he was repeatedly sexually abused by an El Paso priest in the early 1970s is suing the El Paso Catholic Diocese for more than $1 million in damages.

The suit, filed Feb. 12, claims the Rev. Jaime Madrid abused the then 12-year-old boy at at a local school, at the seminary, at a motel and in the priest’s car.

The victim, who is only identified in court records as John Doe, is represented by prominent Texas lawyers Lori Watson and Hal Browne.

“Obviously we are trying to get compensation for our client for all the trauma he suffered, ...” Browne said. “We have been in several of these cases in El Paso … It has become clear to us that the Diocese had longtime institutional knowledge of the fact that there were abusive priests in the Diocese.”

El Paso Bishop Mark Seitz, who was named in the lawsuit but said he had not personally seen it, declined to comment on the suit, saying only that diocese’s lawyers had received it Friday and were still going through it.

Madrid, who died in 2007, was among the 30 priests named by the El Paso diocese as credibly accused of sexual abuse in a list released Jan. 31. The El Paso diocese list was part of a coordinated investigation by the dioceses in Texas in response to a nationwide scandal.

Anti-abuse group calls for five “more McCarricks” to be defrocked


February 18, 2019

By Christopher White and Inés San Martín

A leading U.S. organization dedicated to documenting the clergy sex abuse crisis believes there are “many more McCarricks” and has publicly named five bishops they believe should face the same fate as the disgraced former cardinal archbishop of Washington, D.C.

At a press conference outside of St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, Bishop Accountability made their case for the laicization of Archbishop John Nienstedt of St. Paul-Minneapolis, Minnesota; Archbishop Anthony Sablan Apuron of Agaña, Guam; Bishop Aldo di Cillo Pagotto of Paraiba, Brazil; Bishop Roger Joseph Vangheluwe of Bruges, Belgium; and Bishop Joseph Hart of Cheyenne, Wyoming.

These men, according to Bishop Accountability’s co-president Anne Barrett Doyle, have been removed from their former posts and also should be removed from the clerical state.

“It is an insult to the Catholics of the world to hold forth McCarrick’s laicization as accountability,” she said. “We are past the stage of confusing a fired bishop as accountability. We haven’t even begun yet.”

Only lawmakers can protect pedophile priests. Let the law work for victims | Editorial


February 17, 2019

By Star-Ledger Editorial Board

The Roman Catholic Church in New Jersey believes it has found a path to redemption by releasing a list of 188 predatory priests – 108 of them deceased – which it hopes is a step toward “healing for the victims” and the “restoration of trust in church leadership.”

That, to coin a term, is a Hail Mary. There is no catechism to comfort raped children. There is no psalm of purification for this occasion. The disclosure of these credibly accused clerics is important, but sexual assault victims are not likely to be healed by this perfunctory gesture sanctified by Cardinal Joseph Tobin.

To the contrary, many remain haunted by decades of silence, and wonder why names were hidden for so long. They seek the identities of the bishops who engineered the coverup. They will say this confession was triggered only by the creation of a daunting task force, convened to investigate clergy abuse throughout our state by a determined Attorney General.

Missing Names On List Of NJ Priests Accused Of Child Sex Abuse?

Patch National

February 15, 2019

By Tom Davis

As many as 23 names are missing, and at least one NJ archdiocese acknowledged that the report may be incomplete. Here are 10 omitted.

New Jersey's five Catholic archdioceses said they were trying to accountable by releasing the list of nearly 200 names of priests credibly accused of child sex abuse. But now they're ackowledging that the list probably wasn't complete – and we have the names of 10 who were omitted.

As many as 23 names or priests and religious leaders are missing, and victims and critics are calling on the archdioceses to be more forthcoming in their revelations.

Indeed, the Trenton archdiocese promised to release more information on its list of 30 priests who were accused – such as church affiliations. But, thus far, the archdiocese has been silent since the public release of names on Wednesday.

Survivor says the dioceses’ release of 188 names of priests, deacons accused of sexual abuse is all about damage control


February 14, 2019

By Mark Crawford

For decades, advocates and organizations like SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, have called on our New Jersey bishops to release the names and files of clergy known to have abused children. Such pleas fell on deaf ears.

While any release of information from our church officials, from an institution well known for its secrecy, is a step in the right direction, the list lacks important details. The list could hardly be considered a sincere attempt at contrition or full transparency. In fact, this limited release is more about damage control than it is about healing.

One can only conclude that the real reason any information has been released at all is due to continued pressure from the state Attorney General’s and his office’s ongoing investigation of the five Catholic dioceses, as well as nationwide efforts to reform the statute of limitation laws and similar reform bills pending before New Jersey lawmakers. These are laws that will finally instill accountability, create consequences for institutional cover-ups and allow sexual abuse victims access to our courts.

Women accuse John McGann, late Long Island bishop, of sexual abuse


February 19, 2019

By Chau Lam and Craig Schneider

A lawyer representing two women who allege they were sexually abused as girls by the late Bishop John R. McGann and others in the Rockville Centre diocese is expected to make their stories public Tuesday.

The news conference is scheduled for Tuesday morning in Rockville Centre, according to a news release issued by a nonprofit group that aids victims of clergy sexual abuse. The women are not scheduled to appear, according to the co-founder of the New Jersey-based group, Road to Recovery.

A spokesman for the diocese did not have an immediate comment on Tuesday morning.

One woman claims to have been sexually abused by McGann, then monsignor and auxiliary bishop, Msgr. Edward L. Melton and the Rev. Robert L. Brown while they were assigned to St. Agnes parish in Rockville Centre, according to the news release. All the men are deceased.

Editorial: When #MeToo scandals confront churches, corporations and schools

Chicago Tribune

February 19, 2019

The #MeToo movement brought sexual abuse and harassment out of the shadows by encouraging survivors to speak up. It has held individuals small and mighty accountable for vile behavior.

While those who commit wrongdoing are responsible for their actions, the cultural and legal awakening also puts the onus to do more on large institutions. Many of the sexual misdeeds revealed by #MeToo have taken place in business, church and school settings. At the organizational level, efforts to prevent and punish abuse still aren’t happening quickly enough.

Starting Thursday, the Vatican will host a landmark four-day summit on the sex abuse crisis within the Roman Catholic church. While advocates press for changes in canon law and new ways to hold bishops and other church officials accountable for cover-ups, Pope Francis and others caution against expecting much from the event. This will be the first time a pope has brought church leadership together to discuss a scandal that’s been making headlines for 15 years.

No surprise. Institutions often struggle to confront their failings. When faced with a humiliating or legally vulnerable situation, the instinct for stonewalling and secrecy emerges. It’s true for corporations and bureaucracies as well as churches. Catholic communities long denied, deflected and moved offenders to new populations where they preyed again. “We showed no care for the little ones,” Pope Francis has said of pedophilia in the church. Earlier this month, he acknowledged that Catholic bishops and priests had abused nuns in India, Africa, Europe and South America. One encouraging sign: the disclosure Saturday that the pope has expelled from the priesthood Theodore McCarrick, the former cardinal of Washington, D.C., for sexually abusing minors and seminarians.

The Southern Baptist church faces scrutiny for an alleged history of sex abuse and secrecy. The Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News reported this month that offenders, including pastors and deacons, left a trail of 700 victims of sexual misconduct and crime. The church resisted policy change, while some abusers simply were waved along to offend again.

Schools, entrusted with providing a safe space for children, also have not done enough to protect them. The Chicago Tribune’s searing “Betrayed” investigation showed that Chicago Public Schools neglected to adequately check employees’ backgrounds, to report sex abuse when it happened and to deal appropriately and sensitively with young victims. There were failures in hiring, training, discipline and investigations.

Political Scene: R.I. lawmaker details torment of her sister’s molestation

Providence Journal

February 17, 2019

By Katherine Gregg

“I want to explain and paint for you a picture of my family and how this injustice rocked us to the very core.”

So begins Rhode Island lawmaker Carol Hagan McEntee’s account of what the repeated sexual molestation of her older sister, Ann, by their parish priest in West Warwick over a period of time that began in 1957, when Ann was 5 years old, did to their deeply Catholic family.

McEntee stayed up most of the night, one recent night, writing it out, so she’d know what she wanted to say at the public hearing the House Judiciary Committee is holding on Tuesday, Feb. 26 on her bill to give the victims of childhood sex abuse more time than current law allows them to file civil suits against their abusers.

Her now 66-year-old sister, Ann Hagan Webb, a psychologist, was one of several victims of priests and other trusted elders, including staff members at the elite St. George’s School in Middletown, who told their stories to the state’s lawmakers last year. Ann has told The Journal she plans to tell her story again next week.

This is a shortened version of what Carol McEntee, a three-term member of the R.I. House of Representatives, wrote:

“When I filed this bill last session I knew that there were many victims in RI who were suffering, some silently. Never did I imagine that the world would explode as it did this past summer and which continues to shock us daily with story after story in state after state of the systematic abuse of children that has occurred within the Catholic Church.

“The mere fact that those in charge knew that the abuse of children was happening under their supervision and did nothing to prevent it and in many cases covered it up should shock and enrage all of us.”

“This is my personal story from a sister’s perspective.”

Francis inherits decades of abuse cover-up

National Catholic Reporter

February 19, 2019

By Jason Berry

Editor's note: Jason Berry was the first to report on clergy sex abuse in any substantial way, beginning with a landmark 1985 report about the Louisiana case involving a priest named Gilbert Gauthe. In 1992, he published Lead Us Not into Temptation: Catholic Priests and the Sexual Abuse of Children, a nationwide investigation after seven years of reporting in various outlets. In the foreword, Fr. Andrew Greeley referred to "what may be the greatest scandal in the history of religion in America and perhaps the greatest problem Catholicism has faced since the Reformation."

Berry followed the crisis in articles, documentaries, and two other books, Vows of Silence: The Abuse of Power in the Papacy of John Paul II (2004) and Render unto Rome: The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church (2011), which won the Investigative Reporters and Editors Best Book Award. Given the current moment and its possibilities and the fact that Berry is singular in his experience covering the scandal from multiple angles, NCR asked if he would write a reflection on the matter as the church's bishops are about to gather in Rome to consider the issue. Below is the first of three parts.

As the heir to disastrous mistakes of John Paul II and Benedict XVI in their handling of the clergy sex abuse crisis, Francis is an existential pope, trying to chart a way out of the long, aching scandal by forging standards where few exist.

The upcoming meeting of the heads of bishops' conferences from around the world is the latest evidence that what was once considered the scandal of "a few bad apples," or the result of Western permissiveness, or hostile, anti-Catholic media is, in fact, a pathological sickness eating through the church's clerical and episcopal culture. The scandal has gone global. Prosecutors in several countries have church officials under scrutiny for helping predators evade criminal prosecution.

The "cases" are often old. But as we saw in the Pennsylvania grand jury report, church officials showed Olympian insensitivity to victims, while abetting a criminal sexual underground. Survivors, like the chorus of a Greek tragedy, warn of a moral order being broken.

How did the crisis reach this stage? What feasible reforms can the pope engineer?

People seize on McCarrick laicization for their own agendas

National Catholic Reporter

February 19, 2019

By Michael Sean Winters

The Holy See's decision to laicize Theodore McCarrick, the former cardinal, only partially closes a sad and ugly chapter in the history of the Catholic Church in the United States. The victims of McCarrick's depraved behavior may find a modicum of healing in this execution of justice, but there is no way to give them back their childhood, nor the years of suffering that followed. To them, our hearts go out.

Similarly, to those whose faith has been shaken, for whom the realization that someone they esteemed was capable of such crimes, may they find comfort in the words of St. Paul that we all heard at Mass on Sunday: "If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are the most pitiable people of all." Our faith is not rooted in anything but the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. When he abandons the church, let us follow him out the door — and he has promised to never abandon her. The Lord keeps his promises.

It is impossible to square concern for victims with the efforts of some to weaponize the McCarrick tragedy for unrelated and incongruous objectives. Leave it to EWTN's Raymond Arroyo, whose execrable television show never ceases to miss the essence of Christianity, to use the McCarrick case to try and slime someone he does not like. Last week, he spoke with Robert Royal, and the two questioned Pope Francis' decision to appoint Cardinal Kevin Farrell as the camerlengo. Farrell was auxiliary bishop to McCarrick, and the two lived in the same house. "Roommates," Arroyo sneered, as if it was not the case that bishops often live with other priests. The two ignored the fact there were no accusations of McCarrick's misconduct during his time in Washington. This was merely an attempt to slime Farrell. It was despicable.

Priest pleads not guilty to sexually assaulting woman

The Associated Press

February 19, 2019

A May trial has been scheduled for a Roman Catholic priest accused of sexually assaulting a woman in central Nebraska.

Valley County District Court records say the Rev. John Kakkuzhiyil entered a written plea of not guilty Monday to a charge of forcible sexual assault. His trial is set to begin May 6.

The woman who accused him has obtained a protection order against the cleric. She says he assaulted her in November when she went to his Ord home on business. She says she blacked out after having a couple of drinks with him.

The Grand Island Diocese says Bishop Joseph Hanefeldt placed Kakkuzhiyil on leave Dec. 15 upon learning that the Nebraska State Patrol was investigating the allegations.

My Own Personal Experience with Abusive Clergy

National Catholic Register

February 18, 2019

By Kevin Burke

This week, the bishops of the world will gather in Rome for an international summit to address the clergy abuse scandals in the Catholic Church.

The Catholic News Agency reported the comments of Pope Francis on a Jan. 28 papal flight from Panama concerning the summit that “the bishops receive a ‘catechesis’ on the suffering of abuse survivors…” The Pope emphasized the importance of survivor testimonies to understand the lasting effects of sexual abuse.

In the spirit of the Pope’s desire to highlight the experience of victims I felt inspired to share my experience as a social worker and songwriter to create a song and video that tells the story of a young man abused by a priest. The process of creating this musical story also inspired me to share my own deeply painful experiences, in my youth, and later as a father of 5 children, with clergy abusers.

Music provides an effective vehicle to help the listener enter the life of an abuse victim and intimately share in their emotional experience. The perpetrator priest in the song “Uncle Ted” is partially based on the notorious Theodore McCarrick. McCarrick instructed his minor and young adult victims to call him “Uncle Ted.” Like the young man in this song, more than 80 percent of clergy abuse victims were adolescent males.

Vatican’s Secret Rules for Catholic Priests Who Have Children

New York Times

February 18, 2019

By Jason Horowitz and Elisabetta Povoledo

Vincent Doyle, a psychotherapist in Ireland, was 28 when he learned from his mother that the Roman Catholic priest he had always known as his godfather was in truth his biological father.

The discovery led him to create a global support group to help other children of priests, like him, suffering from the internalized shame that comes with being born from church scandal. When he pressed bishops to acknowledge these children, some church leaders told him that he was the product of the rarest of transgressions.

But one archbishop finally showed him what he was looking for: a document of Vatican guidelines for how to deal with priests who father children, proof that he was hardly alone.

“Oh my God. This is the answer,” Mr. Doyle recalled having said as he held the document. He asked if he could have a copy, but the archbishop said no — it was secret.

Now, the Vatican has confirmed, apparently for the first time, that its department overseeing the world’s priests has general guidelines for what to do when clerics break celibacy vows and father children.

“I can confirm that these guidelines exist,” the Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti wrote in response to a query from The New York Times. “It is an internal document.”

The issue is becoming harder to ignore. “It’s the next scandal,” Mr. Doyle said. “There are kids everywhere.”

As the Vatican prepares for an unprecedented meeting with the world’s bishops this week on the devastating child sexual abuse crisis, many people who feel they have been wronged by the church’s culture of secrecy and aversion to scandal will descend on Rome to press their cause.

Which Victims of Sexual Abuse in the Church Count?

Patheos blog

February 19, 2019

By Kristy Burmeister

When we discuss sexual abuse within the church, we usually assume we’re talking about young boys who were sexually abused by priests. There are several other types of victims that don’t get as much attention but have also suffered within our churches.

Last year, when #churchtoo started trending on Twitter, I wondered if I was the “right” kind of victim. I’d certainly been victimized within my church, but not in the way people would immediately assume. I was never sexually assaulted by anyone in church leadership.

There are more kinds of abuse going on within our churches than child sexual abuse.

I see a lot of focus on the abuse of boys within Catholicism, but girls have been sexually abused as well. Nuns have been sexually abused.

Adult men and women have been sexually abused. Priests and other church leaders sometimes use their authority to manipulate adults into sexual relationships. The uneven power dynamic makes these relationships sexually exploitative and abusive.

Buffalo Diocese keeps priests off abuser list as it offers their accusers money

Buffalo News

February 19, 2019

By Jay Tokasz

The Buffalo Diocese has offered to pay Thomas W. Travers because he was a victim of clergy sexual abuse as a boy.

But the diocese refuses to add Monsignor Sylvester J. Holbel — the man Travers says raped him — to its list of 80 priests who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children.

Travers said Holbel, a former superintendent of Catholic schools, groomed him from the age of 9 and then had molested him multiple times by age 11.

Also missing from the diocese's list is Monsignor Joseph J. Vogel, the founding pastor of Queen of Heaven Church in West Seneca, even though the diocese offered a woman $75,000 through its compensation program to settle a claim that Vogel molested her decades ago when she was 12.

Diocese spokeswoman Kathy Spangler said those names are not on the diocese's list because the priests are deceased and had just a single abuse complaint against them.

Bishop Richard J. Malone won't publicly identify as abusers 48 deceased priests who each had a single allegation against them. Diocese officials said they wrestled over how to balance providing more transparency in their response to child sex abuse while also ensuring that a dead priest’s legacy isn’t tarnished when that priest had no opportunity to defend himself against a claim. Malone decided that if a deceased priest had at least two credible allegations against him, his name would go on the list.

The Vatican does not have a universal church standard for publicly identifying abusive priests, so bishops are free to determine their own criteria.

“If there’s only one allegation on the priest, we’ll note it, we’ll record it and keep it in the file, and if a subsequent allegation comes in, that priest will be moved on to the list,” said Lawlor F. Quinlan III, a lawyer for the diocese.

Pope’s sex abuse prevention summit explained

Associated Press

February 19, 2019

By Nicole Winfield

Pope Francis is hosting a four-day summit on preventing clergy sexual abuse, a high-stakes meeting designed to impress on Catholic bishops around the world that the problem is global and that there are consequences if they cover it up.

The meeting opening Thursday comes at a critical time for the church and Francis’ papacy, following the explosion of the scandal in Chile last year and renewed outrage in the United States over decades of cover-up that were exposed by the Pennsylvania grand jury report.

Here is a look at what’s in store for the summit.


The meeting is divided into three thematic days, with the final day — Sunday — devoted to Mass and a concluding address from the pope.

Day 1 explores bishops’ responsibilities to their flocks, including their legal responsibility to investigate and prevent abuse.

Day 2 is dedicated to accountability and is focused on church leaders working together, along with rank-and-file Catholics, to protect children.

Day 3 focuses on transparency, and features remarks from a Nigerian religious sister, a German cardinal and a Mexican journalist.

Testimony from survivors is interspersed throughout during moments of prayer, but there are no sessions dedicated to hearing their stories. Participants were told to meet with victims before coming to Rome to learn first-hand of their pain — and to drive home the idea that clergy sex abuse isn’t confined to certain parts of the world.

Pope’s ‘close friend’ accused of abuse and taking naked selfies

Patheos blog

February 19, 2019

By Barry Duke

ANOTHER day, another revelation about an abusive Roman Catholic priest – this one a ‘spiritual child’ of the Pope, no less.

It’s reported here that Argentinean prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation against Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, above, “a close personal friend appointed and protected by Pope Francis”, who stands accused of sexually abusing seminarians, including some who were minors. He was also accused of taking naked selfies, exhibiting “obscene” behaviour, and mismanaging the diocese.

Zanchetta was named bishop of the diocese of Orán by Pope Francis in 2013. Zanchetta suddenly fled his diocese and resigned from his office in July 2017, claiming he had health problems that could not be treated in Argentina. Soon after he was appointed by Pope Francis to a specially-created position within the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA).

Francis assigned him the ambiguous title of “assessor” and as a “deputy” second in rank after the president of the APSA in early 2018.

Religious orders apologize for abuse cover-up before summit

Associated Press

February 19, 2019

Catholic religious orders from around the world are apologizing for having failed to respond when their priests raped children, acknowledging that their family-like communities blinded them to sexual abuse and led to misplaced loyalties, denial and cover-up.

The two umbrella organizations representing the world's male and female religious orders issued a joint statement Tuesday on the eve of Pope Francis' sex abuse prevention summit. They vowed to implement accountability measures to ensure cover-up by superiors ends and that children are safe.

With a few exceptions, religious orders have largely flown under the radar in the decades-long abuse scandal, since the focus has been on how diocesan bishops protected their priests. Yet congregations such as the Jesuits, Salesians and Christian Brothers have some of the worst records.

February 18, 2019

Saginaw Catholic diocese ‘stonewalled’ investigators in alleged sex abuse case, prosecutors say


February 19, 2019

By Cole Waterman

When a beloved priest known as “Father Bob” was charged with sex crimes a year ago, the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw vowed to help investigators.

Bishop Joseph Cistone said he had a “sincere desire for justice” and the diocese “would cooperate fully with law enforcement.”

Prosecutors say it didn’t happen that way.

In the year that followed, the diocese delayed a police investigation by failing to turn over documents. It enlisted a retired Michigan appeals court judge to act as its point person in dealing with prosecutors and the public. It waited to release information it had about the scope of the sex-abuse scandal, which so far has involved 19 priests and one deacon in the diocese.

“We’d ask for specific things and for a specific person to talk to us. We would get a person we did not ask for and they would basically read from a script,” said Mark J. Gaertner, chief assistant prosecutor for Saginaw County. Gaertner is preparing the state’s case against the Rev. Robert J. DeLand Jr., the 71-year-old Freeland priest accused of sexually assaulting a teenager and two men.

DeLand goes to trial in March on six felony charges.

The Saginaw Diocese is among several dioceses facing criticism for its handling of a sex-abuse scandal now sweeping the Catholic Church.