Abuse Tracker
A Blog by Kathy Shaw

BishopAccountability.org – Documenting the Abuse Crisis

September 24, 2020

[From 2017] Barbara Blaine, Who Championed Victims of Priests’ Abuse, Dies at 61

[Note from BishopAccountability.org: Today is the third anniversary of the death of Barbara Blaine, founder of SNAP and of the global movement for accountability in the Catholic Church. She is still deeply missed. Re-posted below is her New York Times' obituary in its entirety. See also obituaries for Barbara in the Toledo Blade and National Catholic Reporter, a remembrance by BA's Anne Barrett Doyle, Celia Viggo Wexler's call to make her a saint, and this stunning tribute by Peter Isely.]

September 25, 2017

By Laurie Goodstein

Barbara Blaine, who was sexually abused by a Roman Catholic priest as a teenager and went on to found the nation’s most potent advocacy group for abuse survivors, died on Sunday in St. George, Utah. She was 61.

The cause was a sudden tear in a blood vessel in her heart, which she sustained on Sept. 18 after going hiking on a vacation, her husband, Howard Rubin, said. She lived in Chicago.

Ms. Blaine, a lawyer with a degree in theology, served for nearly 30 years as president of the group she founded, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP. She stepped down this year and had recently started a new international organization to hold the Vatican and church officials overseas accountable for covering up abuse cases.

Ms. Blaine was an ardent Catholic who spent her years after college serving and living with homeless people in a Catholic Worker house in Chicago, part of a social justice movement for the poor founded by the activist Dorothy Day. Ms. Blaine applied that same activist sensibility to creating a new movement to fight for abuse survivors.

“She was relentless in the cause of justice, and in that sense she’s a true disciple of Dorothy Day,” said Jason Berry, who was among the first journalists to break news of the abuse scandal. “I think the damage she did to the hierarchy and its credibility was enormous, because she kept demanding that they be truthful.”

Ms. Blaine’s life changed after she read Mr. Berry’s articles in 1985 in the newspaper The National Catholic Reporter about a serial pedophile priest in Louisiana. She, too, had been molested for years as a teenager in Toledo, Ohio, by a priest who she said had convinced her that she was an “evil temptress.”

Mr. Berry’s articles helped her realize, she later told him, that the priest’s actions had been a crime and that she was not at fault. After Ms. Blaine confronted the priest, the Rev. Chet Warren, and his superiors, the church agreed to pay for therapy for her, but the priest was allowed to remain in ministry for years.

She started SNAP in 1988 as a support group, finding fellow victims through an ad placed in The National Catholic Reporter. Some of the early meetings were at the Catholic Worker house in Chicago, but there were also gatherings in San Francisco, St. Louis and other cities.

“We had the idea this would be necessary only for a couple of years,” said David Clohessy, an abuse survivor who soon joined Ms. Blaine as a leader of the organization. “Honestly, we thought there were maybe only 200 people like us across the country.”

Before long, the mission broadened to include advocacy. Members would stick fliers on the windshields of cars parked at a church during Mass warning that an abusive priest was inside. Victims stood outside cathedrals and even on St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican holding photographs of themselves as children when they were first molested.

Ms. Blaine told her story to the local news media in Toledo, and her abuser was removed from ministry after more of his victims came forward. She received a settlement from the church.

“She wasn’t trying to change the world; she was trying to heal herself,” said Barbara Dorris, the managing director of the Survivors Network and an early participant in the group. “She was trying to work within the church, but Barbara couldn’t because the systems failed her and her perpetrator was still out there. She felt, like every victim feels, that there’s this responsibility to speak up before what happened to you happens to someone else.”

In 2002, after a vast cover-up of abusive priests in Boston was revealed by The Boston Globe, and after similar accounts emerged across the country, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops asked Ms. Blaine and Mr. Clohessy to address them at a pivotal meeting in Dallas. American bishops eventually adopted a zero-tolerance policy and pledged to remove priests credibly accused of abuse.

But since then SNAP has often accused bishops of failing to keep these promises, and the group continues to be seen by the church as an adversarial force.

Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta, who was president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops at the height of the scandal in 2002, recalled on Monday that he had first met Ms. Blaine when he was an auxiliary bishop in Chicago. He had helped her obtain a closed church to use as a Catholic Worker house.

“She was a woman of faith; may God be merciful to her,” Archbishop Gregory said.

Besides her husband, Ms. Blaine is survived by her stepsons, Brett and Joshua Rubin; two step-grandsons; three brothers; and four sisters, one of them her twin.

NYC Church Accused Of Retaliating Against Reverend For Coming Forward With Sexual Misconduct Allegations

The Gothamist

September 23, 2020

By Sydney Pereira

A former reverend at a Manhattan Presbyterian church is accused of sending inappropriate photos and asking for oral sex from a female pastor who he helped get a job, according to a new lawsuit filed this week. When the pastor, Reverend Grace Nzameyo Maa, filed a complaint to church officials with the Presbytery of New York City, a group of dozens of churches in the five boroughs, the church and reverend iced her out of working as a pastor in the city, according to the court papers filed Tuesday.

Nzameyo, a New Jersey resident and former Manhattan pastor, is accusing the Presbytery of New York City of retaliating against her for coming forward about being sexually harassed by her boss, Reverend Charles Atkins, Jr., according to a lawsuit filed in Manhattan supreme court this week. Shortly after Nzameyo accepted a formal part-time position as a pastor at the Presbytery's French Evangelical Church in Chelsea, Atkins allegedly began expecting sexual favors in return for helping her get the job, the lawsuit says.

Church seeks to take Mount Cashel abuse ruling to Supreme Court of Canada

The Canadian Press via the Toronto Star

September 23, 2020

The archdiocese of St. John’s will ask the Supreme Court of Canada to overturn a decision that declared the city’s Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation liable for sexual abuse at the Mount Cashel orphanage in the 1950s.

The archdiocese says in a release that its lawyers today petitioned for leave to appeal the July decision from the Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal.

Geoff Budden, the victims’ lawyer, had said the Appeal Court ruling meant the archdiocese would have to pay about $2 million to four lead plaintiffs in the case.

Budden said today’s decision to appeal was expected, although his clients would rather be getting their settlements.

Novice's death in India puts spotlight on tragedies over three decades

Global Sisters Report via NCR

September 24, 2020

By Saji Thomas

THIRUVALLA, INDIA — On the morning of May 7, Divya P. John, a 21-year-old novice with the Basilian Sisters near here, attended class as usual, a church spokesman says. But an hour later, around noon, her body was found in a well at the convent. Rescuers retrieved the body and bypassed a nearby public hospital to transport it to a diocesan hospital farther away.

A subsequent autopsy found the cause of death to be drowning, but no time of death was given. Church officials did not seek a police crime scene investigation into the mystery of how she died, labeling the tragedy a probable suicide.

John's untimely death is the latest in close to 20 others since 1987 involving novices and sisters serving in Catholic communities in Kerala state in southern India.

The most notable was the murder of Sister Abhaya, whose body was found in 1992 at the bottom of her convent's well in Kottayam. Originally dismissed as a suicide, that case took a turn in 2008 after a criminal investigation deemed her death was a murder. Now, almost three decades after Abhaya's death, a priest and nun charged with her murder are undergoing a trial that only began in August 2019.

Vatican envoy's removal from India brings relief for some Catholics

National Catholic Reporter

September 18, 2020

By Jose Kavi

Several Catholic groups in India have expressed relief after the Vatican removed its controversial envoy from the country.

Pope Francis Aug. 29 suddenly transferred Archbishop Giambattista Diquattro, apostolic nuncio to India and Nepal, to Brazil amid accusations of inaction against allegedly corrupt bishops.

"I saw the nuncio's transfer as a small moral victory, not something to gloat about, but more a sense of relief," chhotebhai, coordinator of the Indian Catholic Forum and former president of the All India Catholic Union, the largest lay association in the country, told NCR.

Chhotebhai welcomed the transfer as a "good riddance," a sentiment shared by Virginia Saldanha, a laywoman theologian, and Melwyn Fernandes of the Association of the Concerned Catholics, who had tried to contact the nuncio. Their experience has made them question the relevance of an envoy of a religious state to a secular country like India.

Church must tackle underlying causes of abuse, expert says


September 24, 2020

By Elise Ann Allen

Peruvian theologian Rocio Figueroa says little is being done to target the spiritual abuse that allowed the clerical sex scandals to happen and is urging the Catholic Church to rethink its power structure and concept of leadership.

“Whenever there has been sexual abuse in the Church, you could see that there was first a spiritual abuse,” said Figueroa, who is among the speakers addressing a Sept. 21-Oct. 2 online course on abuse prevention in formation settings.

The course, organized by the Pontifical University of Mexico’s Center for the Protection of Minors, will feature a slew of professionals and experts in the field of child protection among its speakers and professors.

Chilean abuse survivors fear COVID crisis will stop investigations into accused clergy


September 24, 2020

By Inés San Martín

SANTA FE, Argentina – Chilean abuse survivors allege that the government is using the COVID-19 pandemic to delay having to deal with South American country’s clerical abuse scandal.

“The emails of the [Chilean ecclesiastical] Survivors Network are on fire seeing the situation of the allegations in the prosecutor’s office,” said Eneas Espinoza, a survivor from the Marist Brothers who is still waiting for justice. “The expectation grows and there’s much concern over the possibility of the pandemic being the truck of dirt that the Catholic Church needs to cover up its crimes.”

“If the Chilean State doesn’t do its job, we’ll move forward towards international courts. We need a State that guarantees human rights, not one that is a passive accomplice of crimes,” he told El Mostrador.

Lawsuit filed against Brophy Prep and Phoenix Diocese claims sex abuse by priest


September 23, 2020

By Spencer Blake

A priest who used to teach at Brophy is named in a lawsuit regarding possible sex abuse allegations in the 1980s.

There is yet another allegation of sexual abuse by a Catholic priest in Phoenix. On Monday, a lawsuit filed in Maricopa County is going after both Brophy College Preparatory and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix for allowing a priest to abuse a student in the 1980s sexually.

From 1980 to 1987, Father James Sinnerud worked as a teacher and a coach at Brophy. The lawsuit claims he left the plaintiff "John RK Doe" with “emotional distress, embarrassment, loss of self-esteem, disgrace, humiliation, anger, rage, frustration, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, loss of love and affection, sexual dysfunction, past and future medical expenses for psychological treatment, therapy, and counseling.”

“For [those who haven’t suffered abuse], that’s many years ago. But for the adult survivor, this is still an everyday part of their life,” said Robert Pastor, the plaintiff’s attorney.

South Jordan man accused of filming himself sexually abusing child at church


September 23, 2020

By Jeremy Harris

Federal authorities arrested a South Jordan man who is accused of producing child pornography and sexually abusing a 4-year-old child at a church.

Thomas Michael Wallin, 21, was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail on three charges of felony sexual exploitation of a minor, and one count of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, a first-degree felony.

According to an arrest affidavit, investigators from the Department of Homeland Security received information that Wallin was producing and distributing child pornography from his home in South Jordan.

Man accused of sexually abusing young boy during funerals at Utah church, police say

McClatchy News Service via Fort Worth Star & Telegram

September 23, 2020

By Summer Lin

A Utah man is accused of filming himself sexually abusing a young child at a Mormon church, police said.

It all started when the Department of Homeland Security received information that Thomas Michael Wallin, 21, of South Jordan was allegedly making and distributing child pornography, 2KUTV reported.

Police say Wallin admitted that he sexually abused a 4-year-old boy in December 2019 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, according to the station. Wallin is accused of filming himself abusing the child, 2KUTV reported.

Protecting Abuse Survivors is ‘Personal,’ Says New Southern Baptist Leader

Religion News Service via Word and Way (blog)

By Adele M. Banks

September 23, 2020

In his first meeting as leader of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, Rolland Slade called on other committee members on Tuesday (Sept. 22) to be responsible “to shepherd and to protect” survivors of church sex abuse. Slade, senior pastor of Meridian Baptist Church in El Cajon, California, announced that the issue is “personal” for him because his wife is a survivor.

“For the last 40 years of my life, I have been in touch with a survivor of sexual abuse in the church,” he said to the 70 people attending the virtual meeting. “In fact, we’ve been married 39 years. So when I say it’s personal, it’s personal. And I encourage you to listen. You don’t have to solve it but you need to listen and share with them how much you care and what has happened to them is not what God would have happen in the church.”

‘Taking Responsibility:’ Gonzaga Scholars Awarded Grant to Host Conference on Sexual Abuse Crisis in the Catholic Church

Gonzaga (University) News Service

September 22, 2020


Gonzaga University has been awarded a $40,000 grant to host a four-day research conference in spring 2022 as part of a new interdisciplinary initiative entitled “Taking Responsibility.” The initiative, made possible by a new nearly $1 million grant to Fordham University in New York City, aims to address the crisis in the Catholic Church related to sexual abuse by priests.

It has been more than 19 months since the Society of Jesus in the United States publicly disclosed the names of its members who were credibly accused of sexually abusing minors.

Resolution possible in church bus sex abuse case

WHOP, 98.7 FM

September 23, 2020

A resolution could be coming soon in the case of a man accused of sexually abusing a juvenile female on a church bus on Easter Sunday last year.

Attorney Sands Chewning represents Tyler Frances and told Judge John Atkins Wednesday morning that he's working on speaking to some witnesses after discussions with the Commonwealth's Attorney's office and he's hopeful to resolve the case by a court date next month.

Judge Atkins scheduled another pre-trial conference for October 14.

Investigation by Hopkinsville police led to the first-degree sexual abuse charge after the alleged victim said Frances ripped off her underwear and inappropriately touched her while both were riding the church bus. Frances was not an employee or affiliated with the church and has pled not guilty in the case.

September 23, 2020

Catholic Church appeals to Supreme Court of Canada on bombshell Mount Cashel ruling

CBC News

September 23, 2020

By Ryan Cooke

Precedent could put church on the hook for millions, threatening future operations

The Archdiocese of St. John's is looking to the Supreme Court of Canada to examine a landmark ruling that puts the Catholic Church on the hook for millions in sexual abuse lawsuits.

The ruling involves Mount Cashel Orphanage in St. John's, where over the course of decades boys suffered immense sexual and physical abuse at the hands of the Christian Brothers of Ireland.

The Brothers were not employees of the archdiocese, but in July Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal ruled the church created space for them to abuse children and get away with it, and therefore was liable to pay out damages owed by the now-defunct Christian Brothers organization.

Child Victims Act lawsuits accuse ex-Seton coach of sexually abusing students during 1960s

Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin

September 23, 2020

By Anthony Borrelli


A now-deceased basketball coach accused of sexually abusing a student when he worked at the former Seton Catholic High School in Endicott during the 1970s faces similar allegations from his past employment at a Catholic school in Poughkeepsie.

Four lawsuits filed since December in the state Supreme Court of New York County accuse Vincent Dutkowski of sexually abusing students at Our Lady of Lourdes High School during the early to mid-1960s.

Dutkowski, who was a registered sex offender living in Florida before he died in 2012 at 83, did not face criminal charges related to accusations in the New York lawsuits — they were filed under provisions of the state's Child Victims Act. He became a sex offender after being convicted in South Carolina in 2005 of criminal sexual conduct with a minor, according to records.

Indian nun testifies in closed session of bishop's rape trial

Global Sisters Report via NCR

September 17, 2020

By Saji Thomas

KOTTAYAM, INDIA — A Catholic nun, who two years ago accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar of rape, started giving her testimony Wednesday in a district court in the southwestern Indian state of Kerala.

Her testimony will continue Thursday before the nun faces cross-examination by the defense lawyer.

Amid heavy rains, the closed door session in the District and Sessions Court in Kottayam lasted from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Before the trial started, court officials closed all doors and windows and put up pink window curtains to keep the proceedings away from public view.

What if women comprised 50% of sex abuse victims in the Catholic Church?

The Worthy Adversary (blog)

September 23, 2020

By Joelle Casteix

What if the cornerstone of our conventional wisdom about the victims of the Catholic Church and clergy sex abuse crisis was wrong?

What if, in a statistically viable sample of survivors of abuse in the Catholic Church, 50% of respondents were female? What if you also knew that this result is almost statically impossible to achieve with the conventional wisdom, which says that boys outnumber girls four to one?

Would that change how you, the church, advocacy groups, and the general public respond to the crisis?

The results of my Survivors Insight Survey are in. You can read the white paper here.

WV Court considers whether the First Amendment protects diocese from consumer protection laws

The Charleston Gazette-Mail

September 22, 2020

By Lacie Pierson


The West Virginia Supreme Court is considering whether it’s a violation of the First Amendment for Attorney General Patrick Morrisey to pursue a case against the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston under the state’s Consumer Credit and Protection Act.

During about an hour’s worth of arguments in Charleston on Tuesday, the justices asked attorneys whether it was possible for the attorney general to hold the diocese accountable for potential violations of the consumer law in a way that didn’t impede its faith doctrine or church governance.

The arguments stem from a case filed in Ohio County Circuit Court in March 2019.

Morrisey filed the suit claiming that the diocese knowingly employed priests who had been credibly accused of sexual abuse, at Catholic schools and a camp owned and managed by the diocese. The diocese, Morrisey alleges, did not perform adequate background checks for the priests before hiring them, according to the lawsuit.

The diocese failed to disclose such issues in its advertising, according to the lawsuit

Another Former Brophy Priest Has Been Accused of Sexual Abuse

Phoenix New Times

September 22,2020

By Erasmus Baxter

A Jesuit priest who taught at Brophy College Preparatory for seven years in the 1980s and coached the boy's football team is the latest Phoenix-area Catholic priest to be accused of sexual abuse.

In a lawsuit filed today, an anonymous alum now living in California alleges that Reverend James A. Sinnerud, S.J. engaged in sexual contact with him without his consent and when he was a minor incapable of giving consent. The lawsuit does not specify the nature or time frame of the alleged misconduct, but Sinnerud would have been been in his late 40s when he taught at Brophy.

The lawsuit alleges that Brophy, the western U.S. Jesuits chapter, and the Phoenix Roman Catholic diocese were negligent in protecting the plaintiff from Sinnerud and either knew or should have known about his abuse. It cites longstanding evidence of the Church's efforts to conceal an epidemic of child sex abuse by clergy, including a 2003 confession by the Phoenix bishop that he had moved priests around to conceal their misdeeds.

Sinnerud was one of 38 clergy members named by the Omaha, Nebraska, archdiocese as credibly accused of sexual abuse in 2018 following a probe from that state's attorney general. It is unclear when the incident from that allegation occurred, but the Catholic school he was working for in 2018 said it occurred before he began work at the school in 1987 after leaving Brophy. Before arriving at Brophy, Sinnerud taught at Jesuit high schools in Seattle and Portland, according to research by the law firms filing the suit.

Child sexual abuse lawsuit filed against Brophy Prep and Diocese of Phoenix


September 22, 2020

A child abuse lawsuit has been filed against Brophy College Preparatory School and the Diocese of Phoenix.

The suit, filed by a man named John R. K. Doe, alleges Father James Sinnerud abused him while he was a student at the all-male prep school in Phoenix.

The Jesuit teacher and coach taught at the school in the 1980s.

In 2018 Sinnerud was removed from another Jesuit prep school in Omaha, Nebraska after being accused of sexual abuse.

The lawsuit was filed under the Arizona Child Victims Act. The law, which went into effect last year, extends the time for sexual abuse victims to sue predators and the institutions which protected them.

Amid pandemic, support group for clergy abuse survivors holds meetings online

Catholic News Service via Crux

September 23, 2020

By Barb Umberger

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted lives in many ways — from schools to workplaces, sports to socializing.

It also has impacted the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’s efforts to assist victim-survivors of clergy sexual abuse.

Since starting in June 2019 as the archdiocese’s outreach coordinator for restorative justice and abuse prevention, Paula Kaempffer has developed a list of healing events, presentations on restorative justice, listening sessions and other opportunities available through the Office of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment.

And last September, she started an in-person support group to help victim-survivors of sexual abuse. It met monthly for about 90 minutes in a Twin Cities-area local library. In-person attendance had been sparse, Kaempffer said, but those who participated valued the experience.

September 22, 2020

Lawsuit alleges sexual misconduct on part of pastor

Christian Leader

September 10, 2020

By Connie Faber

Former Bakersfield pastor, local church named as defendants

A female member of a Mennonite Brethren congregation in Bakersfield, California, has filed a lawsuit alleging sexual misconduct on the part of a former pastor and counselor.

The woman, who is not named, filed a complaint July 22, 2020, in Kern County Superior Court requesting a jury trial and financial damages. The defendants are listed as The Bridge Bible Church (BBC), former pastor Eric Simpson and 50 unnamed individual and entities.

The complaint alleges that the misconduct began when the plaintiff and her husband sought counseling for family and marital issues through BBC and met with Simpson every other week from August 2016 to May 2017. It is alleged that Simpson insisted on talking about sex and began making sexually inappropriate comments in texts and conversations after services. The complaint states that due to personal losses the plaintiff began one-on-one therapy sessions with Simpson in the summer of 2018, which is when the alleged sexual abuse began

Student charged in case that led to sex-abuse lawsuit against Catholic school, diocese

Palm Beach Post

September 22, 2020

By Jane Musgrave

The parents of an 11-year-old girl have sued All Saints Catholic School in Jupiter, its principal and the Diocese of Palm Beach over allegations that a boy inappropriately touched her.

A sixth-grade student at All Saints Catholic School was charged with battery and lewd and lascivious molestation after an 11-year-old classmate accused him of groping her, according to a Jupiter police report.

The allegations last week spawned a civil lawsuit against the school, its principal and the Diocese of Palm Beach.

In the lawsuit that was filed in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, an attorney representing the girl and her parents accused school officials and the diocese of protecting the boy because he is the son of wealthy donors.

The heavily redacted report that police provided to The Palm Beach Post on Tuesday confirmed many of the claims made by attorney Michael Dolce, who is representing the girl and her parents.

Number of WNY priests accused in Child Victims Act suits grows to 173

Buffalo News

September 22, 2020

By Jay Tokasz

Child Victims Act lawsuits filed over the past year have accused 173 Catholic priests in Western New York of sexually abusing children.

More than 30 of those priests were accused publicly for the first time only in recent weeks, including one cleric who has continued to run a South Buffalo parish despite being linked to abuse in a July lawsuit.

The Rev. Donald J. Lutz said he wasn’t aware of the lawsuit when The Buffalo News contacted him last week. Lutz is pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, a small parish on O’Connell Avenue in the Old First Ward neighborhood of the city.

Attorneys Steve Boyd and Jeffrey Anderson filed a lawsuit July 30 in State Supreme Court on behalf of an anonymous plaintiff accusing Lutz of engaging in “unpermitted sexual contact” with the plaintiff from 1975 to 1976. The plaintiff was 13 to 14 at the time and attended St. Leo the Great Church, according to court papers.

Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston issues release on lawsuit


September 21, 2020

The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston issued a statement responding to a civil lawsuit by a former Parkersburg Catholic High School Principal. John Gobolewski alleges retaliation for reporting abuse.

The diocese said the former principal's contract was not renewed and no issues were raised in discussions. The diocese said it won in court a motion to compel arbitration of the non-renewal of the contract.

Further, the diocese said its sexual abuse review board did not find credible abuse claims.

Diocese responds to former principal’s lawsuit

Parkersburg News and Sentinel

September 22, 2020

By Tyler Bennett

The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston released a statement Monday regarding the civil suit filed by former Parkersburg Catholic High School Principal John Golebiewski, stating the claims against the pastor were not credible.

In the statement released by the Diocese’s spokesperson Tim Bishop, it states the Superintendent of Catholic Schools Mary Ann Deschaine and Father John Rice, designated pastor of Parkersburg Catholic, determined it was in the best interest of the school to have new leadership.

It also states that there were no issues between Rice and Golebiewski in discussions.

The allegations involving Rice were promptly investigated, reviewed by the Diocesan Sexual Abuse Review Board and were determined not to be credible abuse claims, the statement said.

Diocese responds to court filing by former PCHS principal


September 21, 2020

By Todd Baucher

Says claims against chaplain “not credible”

The Wheeling-Charleston Catholic Diocese has responded to a complaint filed by the former principal at Parkersburg Catholic High School.

The legal filing claims his contract was not renewed last spring, after he raised allegations of misconduct by the school’s chaplain and its football coach. The latter’s contract was not renewed after last season.

The full text of the diocese’s statement reads:

“This civil suit arises from an employment dispute with a former principal whose contract was not renewed. The Superintendent of Schools, Mary Ann Deschaine, and the designated pastor of the school, Fr. John Rice, determined it was in the best interest of the school to have new leadership. No issues with Fr. Rice were raised in the discussions with the former principal. The recent news story was prompted by the Court’s granting the Diocese’s motion to compel arbitration of the non-renewal of the contract pursuant to the terms of the contract. The allegations alleged involving Fr. Rice were promptly investigated, reviewed by the Diocesan Sexual Abuse Review Board and determined not to be credible abuse claims.”

Alleged priest abuse victim is to sue the pope

Portadown Times

September 21, 2020

A man allegedly targeted by a paedophile priest is to sue the Pope, it emerged today.

Lawyers for Co Armagh man Barry McCourt confirmed he is taking High Court action amid claims the Catholic Church covered up abuse perpetrated by the late Fr Malachy Finegan.

The test case was described as an attempt to gain justice for other victims.

Finegan taught and worked at St Colman’s College in Newry from 1967 to 1987, spending the last decade as the school’s president.

Opinion: Did Harris cover for the Catholic Church?

Catholic League (blog)

September 21, 2020

This is Bill Donohue’s reply to Peter Schweizer

In August, conservative author Peter Schweizer alleged that when Kamala Harris was the San Francisco District Attorney she failed to pursue allegations of sexual abuse by priests in the San Francisco Archdiocese. He says she did so because she was beholden to Catholic donors to her 2003 campaign; she took over that post in 2004. He also claims she destroyed Church documents.

The accusations that Schweizer made are based on his chapter on Harris in his recent book, Profiles in Corruption. I accessed the sources he cited in the book and matched them up with what he said to the media. As it turns out, there are important inconsistencies and omissions. Most important, what he says about the Church’s response to law enforcement lacks context, providing the reader with a skewed account.

Former De La Salle principal and another religious brother accused of molesting student in the 80s

NOLA. com (The Times-Picayune | New Orleans Advocate)

September 21, 2020

By Ramon Antonio Vargas

Both men have previously pleaded no contest to unrelated molestation allegations, but these are first public accusations from work at De La Salle

A former principal of De La Salle High and a subordinate are accused of sexually molesting one of the Uptown school’s students in the 1980s, according to a new lawsuit filed last month.

While the Aug. 7 lawsuit appears to mark the first time ex-principal Richard Langenstein and Robert Gandara face public abuse accusations stemming from their service at the 71-year-old school on St. Charles Avenue, each has previously pleaded no contest to charges of child molestation for unrelated conduct in St. Tammany Parish.

Neither Gandara nor Langenstein, who died in 2003, were clergymen, so they are not on the Archdiocese of New Orleans’ list of more than 60 priests and deacons who are considered credibly accused of child sexual abuse. The archdiocese also does not run De La Salle, which is operated by the Catholic Christian Brothers order’s regional chapter.

Safeguarding and child protection moves to the next stage

Catholic Outlook

September 22, 2020

As the Diocese of Parramatta prepares for the first meeting of its Safeguarding Council in October, it echoes the sentiments of the presidents of Catholic Religious Australia and the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference who have thanked an advisory group that has helped the Church progress matters related to safeguarding and child protection.

In letters sent earlier this month, Implementation Advisory Group (IAG) chair Jack de Groot informed Br Peter Carroll FMS and Archbishop Mark Coleridge that the group had concluded its work, with Mr de Groot noting “the many blessings that will result in taking forward the important and essential work of leading the Church in Australia”.

Br Peter said: “As the Church continues its emphasis on child protection and safeguarding after the conclusion of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the IAG provided important expert input to assist the Church in responding to the Commission’s many recommendations.

Clergy abuse survivors face a lifetime of PTSD recurrence

Catholic News Service via UCA News

September 22, 2020

By Dennis Sadowski

Stress can last for months or years with triggers that can bring back memories of the trauma

New job in hand, Jim Richter was adjusting well to life in Minneapolis several months after leaving his hometown of Chicago.

He was enjoying his fellowship at the University of Minnesota Medical Center despite the long hours and he was coming to realize his move was a good one.

Sexually abused as a teenager by a South Side Chicago Catholic priest who had similarly assaulted other young men, Richter wasn't expecting to hear more about the clergy abuse scandal in Minnesota.

Then news broke about Archbishop John C. Nienstedt of St. Paul and Minneapolis, who eventually resigned in 2015 over accusations he had mishandled allegations of abuse against an archdiocesan priest. Criminal charges were initially filed against the archdiocese over this, but were later dropped. Archbishop Nienstedt also faced allegations he had engaged in sexual misconduct with adults as a priest and as a bishop, claims he denied.

Richter said he felt he had been "assaulted" again when listening to news reports on the radio as he drove to work. The reports, he said, triggered a recurrence of post-traumatic stress disorder, known as PTSD.

Opinion: Why there's more to the question of the confessional

Wellington Times

September 22, 2020

By Father Brendan Lee

I DON'T always get to see letters written about me to editors or online, and maybe that's a good thing.

However, one particular letter to the editor earlier this month from a local politician which I did read gave me reason to pause.

He had just finished reading The Altar Boys by ABC journalist Suzanne Smith, a book on the abuse of children in the diocese of Maitland and the cover-up by the church.

In light of my recent article "More than ever we need to ask RUOK?", this politician accused me of hypocrisy, given that I'm the same person who has said I would rather go to prison than break the seal of the confessional.

It's true, I am a hypocrite. I ask others to take their lives and faith seriously, then find my myself more interested in sharing gags than the gospel.

Co Armagh man 'targeted by paedophile priest' to sue Pope

Belfast Telegraph

September 22,2020

By Alan Erwin

A man allegedly targeted by a paedophile priest is to sue the Pope, it has emerged.

Lawyers for Co Armagh man Barry McCourt confirmed he is taking High Court action amid claims the Catholic Church covered up abuse perpetrated by the late Fr Malachy Finnegan.

The test case was described as an attempt to gain justice for other victims.

Finnegan taught and worked at St Colman's College, Newry, from 1967 to 1987, spending the last decade as the school's president. He later served as a parish priest in Clonduff, Co Down.

Papal safeguarding commission meets online and in Rome

Catholic News Service

September 21, 2020

By Carol Glatz

Given the COVID-19 pandemic, members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors met online and, for those who could, in Rome for their plenary assembly Sept. 16-18.

"It was business as usual," Jesuit Fr. Hans Zollner, a commission member, told Catholic News Service Sept. 18. The meetings, held twice a year, give the 17 members a chance to listen to each working group's progress report and to lay the groundwork for future action.

Everyone was in attendance, he said, including U.S. Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston, commission president, who took part online.

With members on each continent, Zollner added, the challenge was finding meeting times to accommodate people in vastly different time zones; that meant signing in after midnight for one member on the Polynesian archipelago of Tonga and being up before 6 a.m. for members in the Americas.