Abuse Tracker
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BishopAccountability.org

BishopAccountability.org – Documenting the Abuse Crisis

February 7, 2016

Churchgoers shocked after priest arrested for alleged sex assault

CANADA
CTV

North Vancouver churchgoers say they were stunned to learn their priest is facing five historic sex assault charges against children in Edmonton.

“It’s horribly shocking,” said Evan Jennings, who attends St. Catherine’s Capilano Anglican Church. “It’s awful. The poor guy…poor all the people, I guess.

Father Gordon William Dominey, 63, allegedly sexually assaulted five youth while he was employed at now-closed Edmonton Youth Development Centre from 1985 to 1989. He was working at the time as a priest in the Diocese of Edmonton.

In September 2015, Edmonton police say they began investigating reports of sexual assaults that occurred at the facility in the 1980s.

Police say the victims were between 14 and 17 years old.

Chileno víctima de abuso sexual envía carta al Papa pidiendo remoción de un obispo

CIUDAD DEL VATICANO
swissinfo

Por Philip Pullella

CIUDAD DEL VATICANO (Reuters) - Un chileno que dijo haber sufrido abuso sexual de parte de un sacerdote envió dos cartas al Papa Francisco pidiéndole que remueva al obispo Juan Barros, acusado de proteger a un reconocido pedófilo en el país sudamericano.

Juan Carlos Cruz envió las cartas a través de Peter Saunders, un prominente miembro británico de la comisión de asesoramiento papal sobre abusos sexuales de parte del clero.

Las cartas quedaron en una casa de huéspedes de Roma, donde se reúne la comisión, para que fueran recogidas por el cardenal de Boston Sean O'Malley, presidente del cuerpo, a quien se le pidió que las misivas llegaran a manos del Papa.

Las cartas refieren a Barros, quien fue nombrado el año pasado como obispo de Osorno, lo que generó indignación entre muchos católicos, legisladores y víctimas de abuso sexual, que dicen que el ahora obispo protegió al padre Fernando Karadima, uno de los pedófilos más notorios del país.

Piden al papa que destituya obispo chileno por encubrimiento de abuso sexual

CHILE
Terra

[A group of lay and pastoral staff of different parish communities in the Diocese of Osorno, southern Chile, today called on Pope Francis to dismiss Chilean Bishop Juan Barros for his connection with the concealment of sexual abuse.]

Un grupo de laicos y agentes pastorales de distintas comunidades parroquiales de la diócesis de Osorno, en el sur de Chile, pidieron hoy al papa Francisco que destituyera al obispo chileno Juan Barros por sus vinculaciones con el encubrimiento de abusos sexuales.

A través de una carta que un miembro de la comisión pontificia se encargará de entregar personalmente al sumo pontífice, la organización de laicos y agentes pastorales solicitó al papa destituir al obispo Barros, quien, según la misiva, "está causando una división sin precedentes dentro de la diócesis".

El obispo de la diócesis de Osorno, ciudad ubicada a 940 kilómetros al sur de Santiago, es acusado de encubrir los abusos sexuales cometidos por el sacerdote chileno Fernando Karadima.

British Catholic church child abuse campaigner demands meeting with Pope after his ousting

ROME
Telegraph (UK)

By Andrea Vogt in Bologna 07 Feb 2016

The outspoken British member of a papal advisory commission on sex abuse has demanded a meeting with Pope Francis over what he says is a Vatican attempt to silence him.

The Vatican press office announced on Saturday that Peter Saunders, head of Britain’s National Association for People Abused in Childhood, had been asked to take a leave of absence from the commission he was invited by Pope Francis to join when it was set up in 2014. It was established to lay down “best practices” for tackling sex abuse in the church.

In a hastily-called press conference Saturday, Mr. Saunders said that despite a near-unanimous vote of no-confidence against him, he would not step down.

And in an interview on Sunday he told The Telegraph that he would consider himself still a member of the commission until the pontiff who hand-picked him for the role told him otherwise.

“It was suggested I take some time out to consider my options,” he said. “But I said the only one who can dismiss me is the man who appointed me, and so I have requested a meeting with the pope.”

Mr Saunders said he planned to leave Rome and return to his family in the UK next week while awaiting a response. Since going public about the commission’s decision, he has received dozens of emails of support, as well as menacing warnings from observers suggesting he watch his back. Survivor support groups that track sexual abuse by clergy quickly spoke out in his defence.

"The apparent attempt by the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors to eject an outspoken survivor raises serious doubts about its integrity and independence," Anne Barrett Doyle, co-founder of BishopAccountability.org said. ...

“Someone in the commission said, ‘You know Rome wasn’t built in a day, don’t expect the church to change overnight’,” he said. “My response was, ‘It only takes a few seconds to rape a child and that child’s life is changed forever.’ We know abuse in the church is rampant. We need more action now.”

Mr Saunders said he was particularly disturbed by the story of two Italian priests who told a member of the commission about a colleague known to be abusing children.

They had gone to their bishop but said they had been told to stay quiet. They had then gone to the local police, who asked if they had spoken to their bishop.

Mr Saunders pressed the commission for action, but was rebuffed, as it was deemed inappropriate to address individual cases.

Vatican ‘corrupt’ says child protection commission member

ROME
Irish Times

Paddy Agnew in Rome

UK child sex abuse lobbyist Peter Saunders, who was given a “leave of absence” from his role in the Holy See’s Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, has said that the “Vatican system” seems “essentially corrupt and unwilling to do the right thing”.

After a commission meeting on Saturday, the Holy See announced “it was decided” that Mr Saunders would take a leave of absence in order to “consider how he might best support the commission’s work”.

According to Vatican sources, this was prompted by concern among members that Mr Saunders had a conflict-of-interest created by his dual role as a campaigner with the UK child sex abuse lobby Napac and as a policy consultant on the Vatican commission.
In particular, Mr Saunders surprised fellow commission members last week by criticising Pope Francis.

Appointment of bishop

He claimed Pope Francis had reneged on a promise to attend commission meetings to answer questions about his handling of the sex abuse issue.

He also criticised the pope’s appointment last summer of controversial Chilean bishop Juan Barros to the Diocese of Osorno. Bishop Barros has been accused of covering up the sex abuse crimes of Fr Fernando Karadima, a Chilean priest.

Speaking to The Irish Times yesterday, Mr Saunders said he was “shell-shocked” and disappointed at the manner in which the “inquisition” had expressed a vote of no confidence in him.

As far as he is concerned, he has not taken a leave of absence, while he says the only person who can sack him is Pope Francis. He argues that “nothing significant” is happening at the commission, adding: “I had great hope for Pope Francis . . . but so far there has been no real change”.

Chilean alleges sex abuse cover-up, asks pope to sack bishop

VATICAN CITY
Daily Mail (UK)

By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY, Feb 7 (Reuters) - A man who says he was sexually abused by a priest on Sunday delivered two letters addressed to Pope Francis from Chilean Catholics asking him to remove a Chilean bishop accused of protecting a notorious paedophile.

Juan Carlos Cruz delivered the letters with Peter Saunders, a prominent and outspoken British member of a papal advisory commission on sexual abuse by the clergy. Saunders on Saturday refused to step down despite a no-confidence vote, and said only the pope could dismiss him.

The letters were left for Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston, the president of the commission, at a Rome guest house where the commission was meeting. O'Malley was asked to give them to the pope, Saunders and Cruz said.

The letters involve Juan Barros, who was installed last year as bishop of Osorno. The papal appointment outraged many parishioners, national legislators and abuse victims who said Barros had protected a priest accused of having been one of the nation's most notorious sexual predators.

The priest in question has denied he abused Cruz and the bishop has denied knowledge of any wrongdoing.

"The devastation that your decision has caused us, Pope Francis, cannot withstand any more silence or omission," said one of the letters, signed by about 30 representatives of parishes in Osorno. "We have knocked on every door ... and have received nothing but mockery."

Cruz, 51, sent a copy of one of the Spanish-language letters along with a statement in English to reporters. The other was a private letter to the pope from clergy in Osorno, Cruz said.

Vatikan: Päpstliche Kinderschutz-Kommission wirft kritischen Aufklärer raus

ROM
Spiegel

Er wurde selbst von einem Priester vergewaltigt, kämpft seit vielen Jahren gegen Missbrauch in der katholischen Kirche und wollte in der vom Papst eingesetzten Kinderschutz-Kommission für bessere Aufklärung sorgen. Doch damit soll nun Schluss sein.

Auf einer Sitzung der päpstlichen Kommission wurde entschieden, dass der Brite Peter Saunders beurlaubt sei, damit er darüber nachdenken könne, "wie er die Arbeit der Kommission am besten unterstützen könnte". Danach, ergänzte Vatikansprecher Federico Lombardi, wolle man entscheiden, ob Saunders in der Kommission verbleibe oder "von außen" seinen Beitrag leisten werde.

Die Kommission wirft Saunders vor, Kampagnen zu betreiben und zu oft mit den Medien zu sprechen - dabei sei es doch Aufgabe der Kinderschützer, dem Papst vernünftige Maßnahmen zur Missbrauchsbekämpfung vorzuschlagen, und nicht, Urteile zu verbreiten.

Terminally ill bishop Ronald Mulkearns reportedly spotted walking around gardens

AUSTRALIA
The Courier

By Melissa Cunningham
Feb. 7, 2016

Days before a Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse will decide whether terminally ill former Ballarat Bishop Ronald Mulkearns is well enough to give evidence, he was reportedly seen walking around the grounds of a nursing home unassisted.

On Friday the inquiry heard Bishop Mulkearns was extremely frail, had colon cancer, was in chronic pain and was terminally ill with a life expectancy of months.

Recent photos believed to be of Bishop Mulkearns, show him walking around the gardens of a nursing home, using a walking frame and without any medical assistance.

Other photos show him reading a book outside believed to be over a period of about two hours.

David Grace QC, acting for the bishop told the inquiry on Friday Bishop Mulkearns wished to give evidence but medical advice recommended he did not attend court in person.

Priest arrested for sexually assaulting teenager

INDIA
The Times of India

Jaideep Shenoy | TNN | Feb 7, 2016

MANGALURU: Mangaluru City Police has arrested a widower assistant priest of a muzrai temple in Kateel on charges of sexually abusing a teenager from his neighbourhood who performed household chores at his house. Police named the accused as Harishchandra Rao alias Appu Bhatta who offered tirtha to devotees visiting the temple. Harishchandra, 56, had recently lost his wife, a psychiatric patient and he was residing at their house with his two daughters.

Police said the teenager and her brothers grew up in the same neighborhood as the accused and the families knew each other well. Owing to financial condition in her family, the teenager carried out odd jobs at the house of Harishchandra. The incident, according to the teenager took place in September last and the accused had coerced her in to having sexual intercourse on at least six different occasions since then and this act made her pregnant as well, police said.

Incidentally, Bajpe police, with whom a case has been registered under sections 376 (rape) and 506 (criminal intimidation), said they had received an intimation from Lady Goschen Hospital some four months back when the teenager had gone there for treatment. However, since she had not to given any statement or desisted from lodging a complaint about the sexual assault then, police had to back down. The victim has since come forward to lodge a complaint, police said.

A Queensland priest is stood aside from ministry

AUSTRALIA/NIGERIA
Broken Rites

By a Broken Rites researcher, article posted 7 February 2016

The Brisbane Catholic Archdiocese, which has been bringing priests from Nigeria to help solve a shortage of priests in Australia, has announced that one of Brisbane's imported priests (Father Malachy Onuoha) has been stood down by his home diocese in Nigeria. The Nigerian diocese is investigating misconduct allegedly committed in Nigeria by Father Onuoha some years ago. In the Brisbane archdiocese (which covers south-east Queensland), Fr Onuoha has been serving as the parish priest in charge of two parishes (Gatton and Laidley, situated between Ipswich and Toowoomba), helping to solve Australia's shortage of Catholic priests.

Brisbane archbishop Mark Coleridge stated on 7 February 2016 that Fr Onuoha was stood aside while in Nigeria on holidays. He will remain in Nigeria while the Nigerian diocese investigates the allegations.

Research by Broken Rites

On 2 October 2006, the Brisbane Courier Mail newspaper gave some information about Brisbane's plan to bring priests from Nigeria:

The Catholic priest shortage in southeast Queensland has become so acute the Brisbane archdiocese is recruiting in Nigeria.

The archdiocese has one parish priest [in 2006] for every 6000 Catholics, double the number to which they were ministering 15 years ago, church figures show.

Despite the southeast Queensland population explosion, parish priest numbers in the region [in 2006] have plummeted by about a third from 150 to 103 in a decade.

Don Conti in carcere. Parlano le vittime

ITALIA
FarodiRoma

[Police per order of the appeals court in Rome have arrested priest Ruggero Conti, former parish priest of the Porto-Santa Rufina diocese, and he is to serve a prison sentence of 11 years, 10 months and 19 days and pay a $39,600 euro fine for sexually abusing minors and inducing child prostitution.]

p
The police of Tuscania company, pursuant to an 'order put by the Court' s Appeal of Rome, at the end of the Supreme Court decision, they arrested Father Ruggero Conti, former parish priest of the diocese of Porto-Santa Rufina.

I carabinieri della compagnia di Tuscania, in esecuzione di un’ ordinanza messa dalla Corte d’ Appello di Roma, al termine della decisione della Suprema Corte di Cassazione, hanno arrestato don Ruggero Conti, ex parroco della diocesi di Porto-Santa Rufina.

L’ uomo dovrà scontare una condanna totale di 11 anni, 10 mesi e 19 giorni nonché pagare la multa di 39.600 euro per violenza sessuale su minori e induzione alla prostituzione minorile. L’ arrestato, dopo le formalità di rito, è stato trasferito in un istituto religioso protetto in attesa di essere definitivamente tradotto in un carcere. Don Ruggero Conti, lombardo di origine, a Roma era finito in una delicata inchiesta del sostituto procuratore Francesco Scavo con l’ accusa di aver abusato, tra il 1998 e il 2008, di sette adolescenti che partecipavano o avevano partecipato ai gruppi parrocchiali nella chiesa della «Natività di Maria Santissima», nella zona di Selva Candida, dove era parroco. Li avrebbe circuiti promettendo capi d’ abbigliamento e ricariche telefoniche. La vicenda divise i fedeli. Condannato in primo grado a 15 anni e 4 mesi, pena poi ridotta due anni dopo, in appello, la pena era stata ridotta a 14 anni e due mesi perché nel frattempo erano finiti in prescrizione tre degli episodi contestati. Don Conti era stato sottoposto a divieto dell’ esercizio pubblico del ministero nel 2008 e quindi sospeso «a divinis» nel 2011.

Abusi su minori, don Roberto Elice: "Dissi tutto alla Curia nel 2014"

ITALIA
Giornale di Sicilia

[Child abuse victim of Don Roberto Elice: "I told everything to the Curia in 2014."

PALERMO. «Mi sono autodenunciato alla Curia a novembre del 2014»: così don Roberto Elice ha spiegato, davanti al gip di Palermo di avere riferito quasi due anni fa ai suoi superiori le molestie inflitte a tre minorenni palermitani.

Il sacerdote è stato arrestato per violenza sessuale dopo la denuncia della madre di due delle vittime. Oggi è stato sentito dal giudice nel corso dell'interrogatorio di garanzia.

La Curia, dopo la «confessione» ha trasferito il prete a Roma in una struttura per sacerdoti con problemi, l'ha sospes

Brüdergemeinde Korntal will bis zu 5.000 Euro pro Heimkind zahlen

DEUTSCHLAND
idea

[The Evangelical United Brethren at Korntal wants to voluntarily pay up to 5,000 euros to former home children who have experienced sexual abuse between the 1950s and 90s in the facilities in Korntal and Wilhelmsdorf respectively.]

Korntal (idea) – Die Evangelische Brüdergemeinde Korntal will jeweils bis zu 5.000 Euro freiwillig an ehemalige Heimkinder zahlen, die sexuellen Missbrauch zwischen den 1950er und 90er Jahren in den Einrichtungen in Korntal und Wilhelmsdorf erlebt haben. Das gab der Vorsteher, Klaus Andersen (Korntal), am 5. Februar vor der Presse bekannt. Damit wolle die Gemeinde bei verjährten Fällen zeigen, dass sie das Leid der Betroffenen anerkenne. Die Höhe orientiere sich an vergleichbaren Zahlungen anderer Institutionen. Das genaue Antragsverfahren solle mit ehemaligen Heimkindern ausgehandelt werden.

Geld als Zeichen der Verantwortung

DEUTSCHLAND
Stuttgarter Zeitung

Korntal-Münchingen - Bei der Aufarbeitung der Missbrauchsfälle in Kinderheimen der evangelischen Brüdergemeinde Korntal gibt es ein neues Wort: Täterorganisation. In der ersten Pressekonferenz seit dem Beginn des Aufarbeitungsprozesses hat der weltliche Vorsteher, Klaus Andersen, das Brüdergemeindewerk gleich mehrfach so bezeichnet. Und er kündigte an, den Betroffenen in Anerkennung ihres Leids bis zu je 5000 Euro bezahlen zu wollen. Dafür soll eine Stiftung gegründet werden. „In dieser wichtigen Frage müssen wir einen neuen Impuls setzen und zeigen, dass wir unsere moralische Verantwortung für die Geschehnisse annehmen.“

Die Pietisten kommen damit einer zentralen Forderung der Betroffenen nach. Diese fordern eine Wahlfreiheit zwischen Geld- und Sachleistungen, während die Brüdergemeinde seither nur Sachleistungen gewähren wollte. Ergänzend gab Andersen bekannt, die Brüdergemeinde habe dem interdisziplinären Forschungsprojekt der Landshuter Wissenschaftlerin Mechthild Wolff zugestimmt. Korntal bezahlt das Projekt. „Beide Entscheidungen gehen an die Substanz unseres Werkes“, sagte Andersen, ohne konkreter zu werden.

Britisches Missbrauchsopfer verlässt päpstliche Kommission

ROM
Neue Zurcher Zeiting

(ap)
Die päpstliche Kommission zur Aufklärung von Sexualvergehen katholischer Geistlicher muss vorerst ohne das Missbrauchsopfer Peter Saudners auskommen. In einer Sitzung am Samstag sei entschieden worden, dass der Brite Saunders von seiner Mitarbeit freigestellt werde, um zu überlegen, wie er die Arbeit der Kommission am besten unterstützen könne, teilte der Vatikan am Samstag mit. In der Vergangenheit hatte Saunders das Arbeitstempo der Kommission scharf kritisiert.

Die von Papst Franziskus 2013 berufene Kommission soll eine Strategie gegen sexuellen Missbrauch ausarbeiten. Saunders wurde vor gut einem Jahr ins Gremium berufen. Er war als Kind sowohl von Familienmitgliedern als auch von Geistlichen missbraucht worden und traf im Sommer 2014 mit fünf Leidensgenossen den Papst, dem er von seinen Erlebnissen berichtete.

Vatikan-kritiker lämnar kommitté

ROM
Kristianstadsbladet

Britten Peter Saunders, medlem av Vatikanens rådgivande kommitté rörande sexuella övergrepp, lämnar gruppen. Saunders har varit en av de mest frispråkiga kritikerna av Vatikanen. Enligt ett uttalande beslutades det under ett utskottssammanträde att "Saunders skulle ta tjänstledigt".(TT)

Prominent lid misbruikcommissie Vaticaan uitgezet

ROME
NRC (Nederland)

Bastiaan Nagtegaal 6 februari 2016

De commissie die het Vaticaan moet adviseren over manieren om in de toekomst misbruik binnen de kerk te voorkomen, heeft een prominent lid op non-actief gesteld. De Brit Peter Saunders, zelf ook misbruikslachtoffer, is in het verleden zeer kritisch geweest op de commissie.

“Besloten is dat de heer Peter Saunders verlof neemt van zijn lidmaatschap om te overwegen hoe hij het werk van de commissie het beste kan ondersteunen”, schreef het Vaticaan volgens AP in een persverklaring. Veel meer details werden vanuit Rome niet bekendgemaakt.

Abuse survivor refuses to take ‘leave of absence’ from Vatican commission

ROME
Catholic Herald (UK)

Peter Saunders describes no-confidence vote as 'outrageous'

An outspoken British abuse survivor has said he will defy a Vatican commission’s request for him to take “take a leave of absence”.

Peter Saunders described a vote of no confidence against him by the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors as “outrageous”.

Mr Saunders, who was appointed to the commission in December 2014, said he was taken by surprise when the Vatican issued a statement on Saturday announcing the leave of absence.

Speaking at a press conference in Rome, he said: “I was asked to consider what my role should be with the commission. I did not make a decision to take or accept any decision on a leave of absence. I said I would reflect on what I would do. I may well have been back in the meeting shortly.

“I then heard that the Vatican had made a statement about my taking a leave of absence. I was never told in advance of any such statement and I find it outrageous that I was not told, much less that the statement occurred before I had had any time to reflect on what I might do next.”

No excuse for Seattle Archdiocese’s omissions in sexual-abuse cases

WASHINGTON
The Seattle Times

By Janice Palm
Special to The Times

THE recent story in The Seattle Times of one man’s struggle to heal from being sexually abused while a student at St. Benedict School in Wallingford brings to light both the lifelong, often silent, struggle for those who have been sexually victimized in childhood and also the critical need for adults to act when children divulge abuse.

Steve O’Connor’s story [“Victim speaks out on archdiocese’s omissions from list of accused child sex abusers,” Jan. 25] depicts the all-too-familiar pattern for sexually abused children who grow into adulthood carrying the secret of abuse. Many, if not most, victims wait decades before coming forward to speak of the abuse. In that time, they carry on with life, attempting to outpace the self-doubt, the fears and the pervasive and often debilitating sense of shame.

Unfortunately, the effects of the childhood violation of one’s body and ability to feel safe in the world do not dissipate as time passes. The demands and responsibilities of adulthood, including the need and desire to form close relationships, actually compound the effects of abuse, often leading to struggles with anxiety, deep depression, addictions and a number of other chronic mental and physical difficulties across a lifetime.

Get help if you suspect child abuse or have been sexually abused
State Child Protective Services (CPS), 866-ENDHARM (866-363- 4276)

Hotlines for help and treatment:

• Harborview Center for Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress: 206-744-1600

• King County Sexual Assault Resource Center’s 24-hour resource line: 888-998-6423

O’Connor’s outrage that the Seattle Archdiocese’s list of known perpetrators did not include the name of his perpetrator, who was a teacher and principal at his school, is justifiable. The need for accountability provides validation of the life-altering harm that was done. The continued confusion and evasion perpetuated by the Catholic Church is nothing short of a denial of the pain and suffering that countless children who are now adults continue to suffer.

Jehovah's Witnesses 'ordered destruction' of notes which could have been used during child sexual abuse inquiry

WALES
Wales Online

BY HUW SILK

The Jehovah’s Witnesses have been accused of ordering the destruction of documents in direct contradiction of an order not to do so from a major child sexual abuse inquiry.

Religious organisations, as well as schools, colleges and other institutions, have been told by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse – led by Judge Lowell Goddard – to keep hold of any documents which could be useful to the investigation.

A request sent out to the bodies last year stated measures should be taken “to ensure that everything of potential relevance to the Inquiry is retained”.

Jehovah’s Witness elders hear allegations against members of the congregation and record what is said.

We have seen a copy of an edict distributed to Jehovah’s Witnesses congregations around the UK ordering the destruction of “all agendas and minutes of elders’ meetings (other than business meeting minutes)”, “all personal notes taken at elders’ meetings (except those based on discussions of outlines from ‘the faithful and discreet slave’ and that do not mention any particular individual)” and “any other personal records, notes, or correspondence that refer to particular individuals”.

What new Catholic bishops are, and aren’t, being told on sex abuse

VATICAN CITY
Crux

By John L. Allen Jr.
Associate editor February 7, 2016

Given what a cancer the clerical sexual abuse scandals have been for the Catholic Church, one would imagine the Vatican would want new bishops to get a state-of-the-art presentation on best practices in terms of preventing such meltdowns in the future.

The Vatican has been running just such a training course since 2001 for newly appointed bishops around the world, and almost 30 percent of the Catholic prelates in the world today have taken it.

It’s more than a bit surprising, therefore, to discover that at least last year, the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, the body created by Pope Francis to identify “best practices” in the fight against child abuse, was not involved in the training.

What’s the point of creating a commission to promote best practices, and putting one of the Church’s most credible leaders on the abuse issue, Boston Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, in charge of it, and yet not having it address the new leaders who will have to implement those practices?

On Monday, the top official at the Congregation for Bishops, Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, outlined the papers presented during the most recent course, saying he wanted to invite “suggestions for improving the experience.” ...

In other ways, however, his presentation seemed seriously wanting. For instance, Anatrella argued that bishops have no duty to report allegations to the police, which he says is up to victims and their families. It’s a legalistic take on a critical issue, one which has brought only trouble for the Church and its leaders. Why, one wonders, was it part of a training session?

Most basically, canonical procedures kick in only after abuse has been alleged. Presumably the goal ought to be to stop those crimes from happening, and in that regard it’s striking that Anatrella devoted just a few paragraphs to abuse prevention, using abstract language without concrete examples.

Church Confronts Abuse Scandal at a Famed German Choir

GERMANY
New York Times

By MELISSA EDDY
FEB. 6, 2016

REGENSBURG, Germany — Udo Kaiser was 8 years old, brimming with energy and a bell-clear soprano voice when he arrived at the boarding school of the famed boys choir that bears this city’s name. Before his first day ended, he had been struck by a teacher.

The months that followed brought twisted ears or slaps for disrupting the silence demanded in the classrooms, corridors and dining hall. Singing the wrong note earned a beating with a conductor’s baton. Fingers that missed notes at the piano were slammed with the fallboard.

But it was the night he was caught playing with marbles in his dormitory, and was called to the prefect’s room for punishment, that would later send him into years of depression and cause him to lose his voice.

There, a priest whom the boys called “the pickle” because of his long nose, ordered him to pull down his pajama bottoms and kneel. The priest, whom Mr. Kaiser declined to name but said had since died, then placed the boy’s head between his legs and took up his rod.

Complaint sets in motion a 'healing' process

RHODE ISLAND
Providence Journal

By Karen Lee Ziner
Journal Staff Writer

Posted Feb. 6, 2016

When a complaint is filed with a diocesan "intake officer" about a member of the Episcopal clergy, the church launches a "Title IV" ecclesiastical disciplinary process.

That process seeks to support everyone involved or affected — from the clergy member in question, to those who may have been harmed, to the larger community. It also seeks to resolve conflicts, whether through "healing, repentance, forgiveness," or restitution, justice, reconciliation, or someone's agreement to change behavior.

"This is not a matter of what punishment can a person get. It’s how can we best act to heal all the brokenness and woundedness for everybody who is impacted," said Robin Hammeal-Urban, canon for mission integrity and training for the Episcopal Church in Connecticut.

Prior to July 1, 2011, the process in the Episcopal Church was based on a military code of justice, she said. "The question was, what sentence should be imposed on the clergy person? That, at this point, has been rejected."

Victim critical of pope on abuse asked to leave Vatican commission

ROME
Crux

By Inés San Martín
Vatican correspondent February 6, 2016

ROME — A clerical sexual abuse survivor who has been bitterly critical of the response from the Vatican and Pope Francis to several high-profile recent controversies involving abuse scandals has been asked to take a “leave of absence” by other members of the panel.

But the member, Peter Saunders of Great Britain, said at at press conference later Saturday that as far as he’s concerned, he’s still part of the commission.

“I have not left, and I am not leaving my place,” Saunders said. “I was appointed by Pope Francis, and I will only talk to him about my position on the commission.”

A short Vatican statement released Saturday said that Saunders, an abuse survivor named to the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors in 2015, a body created by Pope Francis in March 2014, will now ponder “how he might best support the commission’s work.”

Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston, who heads the commission, said Saturday that he has asked Saunders “to advise the commission on the possible establishment of a victim survivor panel to work with the commission.” ...

A Vatican official who’s close to the commission’s work told Crux on Saturday that in terms of his future role, Saunders has a decision to make.

“He has to decide if he’s an advocate and campaigner [for survivors] instead of being an adviser,” the official said.

Wexford child sex-abuse listed in new film 'Spotlight'

IRELAND
Wexford People

By David Tucker
PUBLISHED
06/02/2016

Wexford is listed among the world's high-profile places of child sexual abuse in the Oscar-nominated film 'Spotlight ' now showing in the Omniplex Cinema in Drinagh.

The film features the Pulitzer prize-winning investigation by Boston Globe journalists in the USA in 2001 into the cover-up by the Catholic Church there of the cases of 87 priests accused of child sexual abuse.

Their investigation led to the resignation of Cardinal Law of the Archdiocese of Boston.

Simon Kennedy, then a solicitor in New Ross, who advised many of County Wexford's abuse victims, visited Boston at the time and met some of the lawyers who are now represented in the film. Amongst those mentioned in the film were former priest and Canon Law expert,Tom Doyle with whom he consulted.

Priest accused in St. George's sex-abuse scandal faces church investigation in Pa.

RHODE ISLAND/PENNSYLVANIA
Providence Journal

By Karen Lee Ziner
Journal Staff Writer

Posted Feb. 6, 2016

In small-town Pennsylvania, congregants at St. James Episcopal Church in Bedford are praying for the Rev. Howard W. White Jr., who faces allegations of sexual abuse of teenage boys.

Mr. White, a former assistant chaplain at St. George's School in Middletown, is embroiled in a widening sex-abuse scandal at the elite Episcopal prep school that dates to the 1970s. On Saturday, authorities confirmed that White is now under investigation for sexual abuse in North Carolina, where he was formerly a church rector.

"The congregation has been very supportive of him, holding him in prayer, sending him cards, bringing him soup," said the Rt. Rev. Canon Audrey Cady Scanlan, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania. "They’re caring for him as they would care for any member of the congregation who is in a time of need."

The church has begun an investigation into White's actions — at the same time that both Rhode Island State Police and an independent investigator try to uncover the full extent of what occurred at St. George's. And dozens more former students have come forward to say they were victims of sexual abuse at the school.

White and others implicated in the St. George's scandal have not been criminally charged; however the school has acknowledged that sexual abuse took place, and apologized to victims and the school community. The school has sent information to Rhode Island State Police, which are conducting a criminal investigation.

February 6, 2016

Priest stood aside from ministry

AUSTRALIA/NIGERIA
Catholic Leader

February 7, 2016

FR Malachy Onuoha has been stood aside from ministry by his home diocese in Nigeria pending an investigation into allegations of misconduct some years ago in his native country.

The Archdiocese of Brisbane has confirmed that Fr Onuoha, the parish priest of Gatton-Laidley, was stood aside while in Nigeria on holidays. He will remain in Nigeria while the investigation into these allegations is conducted by an independent panel appointed by his Bishop.

Archbishop Mark Coleridge said Fr Onuoha’s return to the ministry would depend on the outcome of the investigation.

“The Archdiocese has only recently been made aware of the allegations and the investigation.
None of the allegations refer to Fr Onuoha’s time in the Archdiocese,” Archbishop Coleridge wrote in a letter to Gatton-Laidley parishioners.

North Vancouver Anglican priest arrested on sex assault charges

CANADA
Ottawa Citizen

THE PROVINCE, THE CANADIAN PRESS 02.05.2016

An Anglican priest has been arrested at his Coquitlam home on sex assault allegations stemming from his work in an Edmonton youth jail in the 1980s.

Police say Gordon William Dominey, 63, is accused of sexually assaulting five youths when he worked at the Edmonton Youth Development Centre between 1985 and 1989.

Dominey was arrested on Thursday. He faces five charges of sexual assault and five charges of gross indecency.

Investigators began looking into the allegations in September 2015. That is roughly the time Dominey began working at St. Catherine’s Capilano in North Vancouver, according to the church’s website.

A PASTORAL MESSAGE FROM BISHOP MELISSA SKELTON

CANADA
Anglican Diocese of New Westminster

By The Right Reverend Melissa Skelton

February 6, 2016

A Pastoral Message from Bishop Melissa Skelton

It is with genuine sadness and sincere concern that I write to you today to inform you that the Reverend Gordon Dominey, currently Priest-in-Charge at St. Catherine’s, Capilano, was arrested on February 4 by the RCMP and Edmonton Police Service. We have received very little information to date, but I do know that this involves incidents alleged to have taken place at least 30 years ago while Gordon was a priest in the Diocese of Edmonton.

Consistent with Diocesan practice, Reverend Dominey has been placed on administrative leave. I am offering ongoing pastoral care and support to Gordon in what must be a very difficult time for him. This support will continue as the legal process unfolds. He is entitled to a presumption of innocence and I ask for your prayers for Gordon, for all those who are involved in this legal process and for those bringing forth the allegations against him

Anglican priest, Gordon William Dominey, charged with historical Edmonton sexual assaults

CANADA
CBC News

Edmonton police have charged an Anglican priest with sexual assault in relation to incidents that allegedly occurred in an Edmonton youth incarceration facility during the 1980s.

Father Gordon William Dominey allegedly sexually assaulted five youth while he was employed at the Edmonton Youth Development Centre in the 1980s. The assaults are reported to have happened at the incarceration facility from 1985 to 1989.

Dominey transferred from the Diocese of Edmonton to the Diocese of New Westminster in Vancouver in July of 1990.

He was the priest-in-charge at St. Catherine's Anglican Church in North Vancouver until he was arrested on Thursday Feb, 4. when the Bishop of New Westminster, Melissa Skelton, placed Dominey on administrative leave, according to a release.

Vatican critic says only Pope Francis can dismiss him from sex abuse panel

ROME
Los Angeles Times

Tom Kington

An outspoken and critical member of Pope Francis' commission on priestly sex abuse has said he will defy moves to oust him, claiming that only the pontiff himself can remove him from the panel.

In a move that will raise questions about Francis’ commitment to tackle abuse within the Roman Catholic Church, Peter Saunders, a British member of the commission who suffered abuse by priests as a child, was sidelined on Saturday.

In a short statement, the Vatican said that during a commission session hours earlier, “it was decided that Mr. Peter Saunders would take a leave of absence from his membership to consider how he might best support the commission's work.”

But Saunders, who has advised the British government on abuse, told reporters on Saturday that he had been personally hired by Francis and could be fired only by him.

“I have not left and am not leaving my position on the commission,” he said, reading a prepared statement. “I was appointed by His Holiness Pope Francis and I will talk only with him about my position.”

Saunders said he “might” even show up at the commission’s Sunday meeting. “I haven’t had a call from His Holiness, so the door is still open,” he said.

Comisión del Vaticano sobre abusos sexuales separa a miembro

CIUDAD DEL VATICANA
Vanguardia (Mexico)

CIUDAD DEL VATICANO.- La comisión asesora del papa Francisco sobre abusos sexuales votó el sábado separar a uno de sus miembros, un conocido sobreviviente de los abusos, quien había expresado diferencias sobre la misión del organismo.

El británico Peter Saunders, quien aboga por los sobrevivientes, había criticado con dureza la lentitud de la Santa Sede para tomar medidas de protección a los niños y de castigo a los obispos que encubrieron a curas pedófilos. También quería que la comisión interviniera en casos individuales en lugar de limitarse a elaborar políticas a largo plazo contra los abusos.

Se resolvió que el señor Peter Saunders se tome licencia para estudiar la mejor manera de apoyar el trabajo de la comisión", anunció el Vaticano tras una reunión de la comisión el sábado,

Comisión papal sobre abusos sexuales del clero expulsa a miembro británico que invitó a exponer a víctima de Karadima

ROMA
El Mostrador (Chile)

[Papal Commission on Clergy Abuse expels a British member who invited the victim who explosed priest Fernando Karadima of Chile.]

Una de las víctimas de Fernando Karadima, Juan Carlos Cruz, denunció este sábado que el miembro de la Comisión Papal para la tutela de los menores creada por el Papa Francisco en el marco de los casos registrados en todo el mundo, Peter Saunders, fue echado del organismo.

Hoy se conoció que la entidad religiosa votó hoy por separar al británico Saunders, quien es un conocido sobrevivientes de los abusos cometidos por curas y que mantenía fuertes discrepancias sobre la misión que tenía el organismo.

Saunders había cuestionado duramente la lentitud de reacción del Vaticano en la adopción de medidas de protección a los niños y el castigo a los obispos que encubrieron a sacerdotes pedófilos. Además, otra de sus críticas apuntaba a que la comisión interviniera directamente en casos individuales en lugar de elaborar políticas a largo plazo.

“No matter what we do, we hit a wall with Francis, Vatican”

UNITED STATES
The Worthy Adversary

February 6, 2016

Joelle Casteix

Peter Saunders was given a vote of no confidence by the Vatican commission on the prevention of child sex abuse. His crime? Demanding the prevention of child sexual abuse.

Preventing child sexual abuse is uncomfortable and requires action. You can’t sit back and take the long view. Why? Because of the thousands of children who are being abused while you haggle over language and recommendations.

You can read the whole article here.

He’s in good company. But he was on the varsity Vatican team. Me? Small potatoes.

Denunciante de Karadima acusó que fue “vetado” por el Vaticano

ROMA
Publicmetro

[Juan Carlos Cruz, a victim of priest Fernando Karadima, tried to meet Saturday with the pontifical child abuse commission but his request was declined. Instead, they voted to oust Peter Saunders, who backed Cruz, from the commission.]

Juan Carlos Cruz señaló que desde el Vaticano le pidieron a Peter Saunders, integrante de la Comisión Pontificia que reflexionara si quería seguir siendo parte de la Comisión.

Este sábado el denunciante del caso Karadima, Juan Carlos Cruz, llegó hasta el Vaticano con la esperanza de poder exponer su caso y el del obispo Juan Barros, quien había tenido problemas con la comunidad de laicos del sectores tras su nombramiento, pero Cruz no pudo llegar hasta la cita en la Comisión Pontifica para tratar casos de abusos sexuales en el mundo.

De acuerdo a lo que señala Juan Carlos Cruz en un comunicado, Peter Saunders, quien es integrante de la comisión y sobreviviente de abusos sexuales lo había invitado para exponer su caso, pero hoy desde el Vaticano le señalaron que Cruz no podría ir.

Vatican--Victims blast Vatican over papal panel's role

UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release, February 6, 2016

Statement by Barbara Blaine, President of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, 312-399-4747, bblaine@snapnetwork.org

"The Vatican says that as part of an advisory body, the (Pope's abuse) commission's members should not comment on individual cases of abuse and leave these up to investigators," Reuters reports.

That's baloney. It's perfectly appropriate for people like Pete Saunders and other members of the Vatican clergy sex abuse panel to address individual cases. If Obama appoints me for a commission to examine crime prevention, I should still "stop" if i see a purse-snatching or call 911 when i see a robbery.

It is irresponsible for church officials to stay silent when Francis promotes and defends compilcit clerics like Bishop Barros of Chile. There is no excuse for silence, we should always report, no matter what.

Critic of Vatican refuses to step down from sex abuse commission

ROME
Reuters

VATICAN CITY | BY PHILIP PULLELLA

A prominent and outspoken British member of a papal advisory commission on sexual abuse by the clergy on Saturday refused to step down despite a no-confidence vote, and said only Pope Francis could dismiss him.

A Vatican statement issued earlier said that "it was decided" at a commission meeting that Peter Saunders would take a leave of absence. Saunders, head of Britain's National Association for People Abused in Childhood, would now "consider how he might best support the commission's work", it said.

But Saunders, who as a child was abused by two priests, told a hastily called news conference: "I have not left and I am not leaving my position ... the only person who can remove me is the person who appointed me, the pope."

Saunders said he had not been aware of the Vatican's statement until after it was issued.

Saunders had been publicly critical of the commission, which was set up in 2014. Made up of clerics and lay people from around the world, its task is to help Pope Francis establish "best practices" in dioceses around the world to root out sex abuse in the Church. Eight of its 17 members are women and two are themselves victims of abuse by clerics.

Critic of Vatican refuses to step down

ROME
Herald Sun (Australia)

AAP

A prominent and outspoken British member of a papal advisory commission on sexual abuse by the clergy has refused to step down, despite a no-confidence vote, and said only the Pope could dismiss him.

A Vatican statement issued earlier on Saturday said that "it was decided" at a commission meeting that Peter Saunders would take a leave of absence.

Saunders, head of Britain's National Association for People Abused in Childhood, would now "consider how he might best support the commission's work", it said.

But Saunders, who as a child was abused by two priests, told a hastily called news conference: "I have not left and I am not leaving my position ... the only person who can remove me is the person who appointed me, the Pope."

Saunders said he had not been aware of the Vatican's statement until after it was issued.

Sex Abuse Survivor Takes Leave Of Absence From Vatican Commission On Protecting Survivors

ROME
International Business Times

[Peter Saunders statement - via BishopAccountability.org]

BY ISMAT SARAH MANGLA @ISMAT ON 02/06/16

UPDATE: 3:30 p.m. EST — Peter Saunders, the sexual abuse survivor the Vatican said was taking a leave of absence from a commision on sexual abuse, said Saturday he is not stepping down despite a no-confidence vote. Earlier in the day, the Vatican issued a statement saying "it was decided" Saunders would take a leave of absence.

Saunders, who was abused by two priests as a child, said only Pope Francis has the authority to dismiss him. He held a new conference to dismiss the commission's announcement.

"I have not left and I am not leaving my position. ... The only person who can remove me is the person who appointed me, the pope," Saunders said.

He added that he did not know about his "leave of absence" until the Vatican issued its statement on Saturday. Saunders has been critical of the commission that he's served on since 2014.

Priest Abuse Victim Is Suspended From Vatican Panel

ROME
The New York Times

By ELISABETTA POVOLEDO and LAURIE GOODSTEINFEB. 6, 2016

ROME — A high-profile Vatican commission on the prevention of child sexual abuse voted on Saturday to temporarily suspend one of its members, an outspoken victim of clerical abuse who accused the church of failing to deliver on its promises of reform and accountability.

But the suspended commission member, Peter Saunders, said at a news conference in Rome on Saturday evening that he would stand his ground.

“I have not left, and am not leaving my position on the commission,” Mr. Saunders said. “I was appointed by His Holiness Pope Francis, and I will talk only with him about my position.”

The public blowup could undermine confidence in Francis’ efforts to rebuild the Roman Catholic Church’s credibility on the child abuse issue. When the 17-member commission was created by Francis in his first year as pope, many victims and their advocates hoped that the presence on the panel of Mr. Saunders and another victim would spur the commission to act forcefully. But Mr. Saunders, who founded the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, in England, has complained that the commission has failed to produce tangible results. ...

The church in Chile has been coping with an explosion of discontent ever since Francis proceeded with the appointment of Bishop Juan Barros to lead the diocese of Osorno. Bishop Barros was a close associate of the Rev. Fernando Karadima, a Santiago priest whom the Vatican found guilty of sexual abuse in 2011.

Father Karadima’s victims say that Bishop Barros was aware of the abuse and failed to speak up, and then failed to support the victims years later when they stepped forward. But Francis was caught on video last year calling the people of Osorno “dumb” for protesting against Bishop Barros with what he said was no proof.

At the commission’s meeting on Saturday, its third since it was formed, Mr. Saunders asked to bring in one of Father Karadima’s victims, Juan Carlos Cruz, to speak to the members. Mr. Saunders said that he was refused, and that commission members told him they were frustrated with his speaking to the news media and advocating action on specific cases. Instead, the 16 members present voted “no confidence” in his membership, with 15 in favor and one abstention.

Mr. Cruz appeared with Mr. Saunders at the news conference in Rome and said the commission had become the “laughingstock of survivors.” Mr. Cruz had at one time been recommended for membership on the commission, but emails published by Chilean news outlets showed his participation was blocked by the Chilean church hierarchy.

“No matter what we do, we hit a brick wall with Francis, his commission and his cardinals,” said Mr. Cruz, who works in the United States.

UPDATED: Papal Commission Asks British Survivor Member to Take Leave of Absence

ROME
America Magazine

Gerard O'Connell | Feb 6 2016

The commission set up by Pope Francis to advise him on the Protection of Children has “decided” that Mr. Peter Saunders (UK), one of the two survivors of sexual abuse on this body, should “take a leave of absence from his membership to consider how he might best support the commission’s work.”

It announced this in a statement released to the press after its meeting on Saturday morning, Feb. 6. It said that at that meeting the commission members had “discussed the direction and purpose of the commission” and “as the result of this discussion” it took its decision.

Pope Francis appointed Mr. Saunders to the 18-member commission on Dec. 17, 2014. A British survivor of sexual abuse as a child, Mr. Saunders had set up Britain’s National Association for People Abused in Childhood to support survivors and develop better resources for responding to such abuse. He joined Marie Collins, an Irish survivor, whom the pope had appointed to the commission the previous March. Their presence gave added credibility to the commission and to the pope’s determination to deal with abusers, hold bishops accountable and ensure the protection of children and minors in all church institutions.

To understand today’s decision by the commission it is worth noting that from the beginning its role was meant to be an advisory one to the pope. Francis spelled this out clearly in a chirograph on March 22, 2014 when he wrote that its “specific task” is “to propose to me the most opportune initiatives for protecting minors and vulnerable adults, in order that we may do everything possible to ensure that crimes such as those which have occurred are no longer repeated in the Church. The commission is to promote local responsibility in the particular Churches, uniting their efforts to those of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, for the protection of all children and vulnerable adults.”

Sex abuse survivor on leave from Vatican panel

ROME
CNN

By Ray Sanchez, CNN

(CNN) One of two sex abuse survivors on Pope Francis' commission on the abuse of minors by the clergy has taken a leave of absence, the Vatican announced Saturday.

But Peter Saunders, an outspoken critic of the papal commission, responded: "I have not left and I'm not leaving."

Founder of the London-based National Association for People Abused in Childhood, Saunders told reporters, "I was appointed by His Holiness Pope Francis and I will only talk to him about my position."

A Vatican statement said the "direction and purpose" of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors was discussed at a Saturday meeting.

"It was decided that Mr. Peter Saunders would take a leave of absence from his membership to consider how he might best support the commission's work," the statement said.

Abuse Victim Refuses To Leave Vatican Inquiry

ROME
Sky News

A British member of the Pope's advisory commission on sexual abuse in the clergy has refused to step down - despite receiving a vote of no confidence.

Peter Saunders, an outspoken critic of the Vatican, said "the only person who can remove me is the person who appointed me: the Pope".

The Vatican had released a statement saying Mr Saunders, who himself was a victim of sexual abuse by two priests, had decided to take a leave of absence from the commission.

However, just hours later, the campaigner said he had not been aware of the Vatican's comments - and branded the commission a "disgrace".

Mr Saunders added: "They believe that child abuse is behind us, but it is in no way behind us."

His colleagues have accused of him of being hard to work with, and also claimed he speaks to the media too frequently.

Mr Saunders made headlines last year when he said Australian Cardinal George Pell should be dismissed over claims he failed to take action to protect children years ago.

Sex abuse victim allegedly sidelined by papal panel

ROME
Religion News Service

Rosie Scammell | February 6, 2016

ROME (RNS) One of the two victims of clerical sexual abuse serving on a Vatican commission set up by Pope Francis has apparently been sidelined.

The Holy See on Saturday (Feb. 6) said Peter Saunders, a British Catholic who was abused by Jesuit priests as teenager, is taking a “leave of absence” from the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

Its head, Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley, said Saunders had been asked to consider establishing a victim survivor panel to work with the advisory body.

But Saunders rejected the Vatican’s version of events. At a press conference in Rome, he said he wanted to reflect on his role, insisting he was still part of the 17-member panel.

“I have not left and I will not leave my position on the commission,” he said. “I was appointed by His Holiness Pope Francis and I will only talk to him about my position.”

Saunders, founder of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood in Britain, is one of two victims to sit on the advisory body, set up by the pontiff in 2014. The other is Marie Collins, who was raped by a priest as a girl in Ireland.

Saunders said there was a vote of no-confidence backed by all but one member of the commission present at the three-day meeting, which ends Sunday. He said they were unhappy with his outspokenness on pedophilia in the church.

“A number of members of the commission expressed their concern that I don’t tow the line when it comes to keeping my mouth shut,” Saunders said. “I made clear I would never be part of something that was a public relations exercise.”

Critic refuses to quit Vatican sex abuse commission

VATICAN CITY
BBC News

[Peter Saunders statement - via BishopAccountability.org]

An outspoken British member of a Roman Catholic commission on sexual abuse has refused to quit, saying his treatment by the Vatican is "outrageous".

Peter Saunders, who as a child was abused by priests, said he would stay and only discuss his position with the Pope - the man who appointed him.

The commission earlier voted for Mr Saunders to "take a leave of absence", saying he was difficult to work with.

Mr Saunders has been highly critical of the commission, set up in 2014.

'Disgrace'

Responding to a Vatican statement about his leave of absence, Mr Saunders was quoted by Reuters as saying in Rome: "I was never told in advance of any such statement.

"I find it outrageous that I was not told, much less that the statement occurred before I had had any time to reflect on what I might do next.

"I have not left and I'm not leaving my position on the commission. I was appointed by His Holiness Pope Francis and I will only talk to him about my position."

Clergy abuse victims in limbo again

AUSTRALIA
Newcastle Herald

By Melissa Cunningahm
Feb. 7, 2016

Clergy abuse victims have been left reeling again with uncertainty surrounding whether Cardinal George Pell will appear at a child sex abuse inquiry in the city this month.

A lawyer representing Cardinal Pell, Allan Myers, made an application for the cardinal to give evidence at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Ballarat on Friday via video link from Rome rather than appear in person, citing health reasons.

A two-page medical report was handed up to support the application a flight to Australia from Rome could pose a serious risk to his health.

David Ridsdale, victim and nephew of disgraced priest Gerald Ridsdale, said there was a “mental health emergency” in Ballarat and victims had been thrown into limbo again, only adding to their turmoil.

"If a fire ripped through Ballarat and burnt down 20 per cent of houses it would be deemed an emergency and a fund would be set up to help everybody involved,” he said.

Abuse survivor disputes removal from Vatican commission, seeks papal meeting

ROME
National Catholic Reporter

Joshua J. McElwee | Feb. 6, 2016

ROME
The clergy sexual abuse survivor who the Vatican has said will be taking a leave of absence as a member of Pope Francis' commission to confront the abuse crisis says he did not accept such a leave and is now seeking a meeting with the pontiff.

"I have not left and I am not leaving my position on the commission," said British children's advocate Peter Saunders. "I was appointed by His Holiness Pope Francis and I will only talk to him about my position."

Saunders was speaking in a press briefing in Rome late Saturday, after the Vatican released a statement that day saying "it was decided" by the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors that he would be taking a leave from his position as one of its 17 members.

The British child advocate is the founder of the UK's National Association for People Abused in Childhood. He has served on the commission since December 2014 but has also been highly critical of what he characterized as a slow process of reform of the church's practices on sexual abuse.

The commission has been meeting in Rome this weekend.

Saunders said Saturday that commission members had taken a vote of no confidence in him that morning, but had said the vote was meant for him "to consider what my role should be with the commission."

"I did not make a decision to take or accept any decision on a leave of absence," he said. Saunders said it was his understanding that after the vote he would be given time to consider his role with the group, but that afterwards the Vatican released the statement reporting his leave of absence.

Press Conference: Statement Prior to Questions

ROME
BishopAccountability.org

By Peter Saunders
Member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors
February 6, 2016

From: Peter Saunders
Sent: 06 February 2016 19:05
Subject: Press Conference

Rome
February 6, 2016
16:30 GMT

Thank you very much for joining Juan Carlos [Cruz]and myself.

I am going to read a short statement which isn’t something that I generally do, but my experience as of the last few days on the commission has included some accusations concerning things that I have said when, in fact, I have not said those things. It is very hard to repudiate, especially if you haven’t got it there in black and white. I am going to make a short statement if you will bear with me and then Juan Carlos will say what he needs to say and then we are happy to take any questions.

My name is Pete Saunders and I am currently a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. I am the Founder of NAPAC in the UK.

I went to a meeting of the commission this morning to continue to ask the commission many hard questions about what is not being accomplished to protect children. I specifically was going to ask the commission to meet with Juan Carlos Cruz, who arrived in Rome last night, who has letters for Pope Francis from the clergy and the people of Osorno, Chile. Juan Carlos was kept off the commission after powerful cardinals in an email scandal made clear they were going to block him. Indeed, under oath one of those cardinals swore that he had prevented Juan Carlos from becoming a member of the commission.

Juan Carlos and we as commissioners were told after this that he was kept off because he was in litigation with the Church. I have presented questions that have not been answered about why this does not make sense. Juan Carlos was abused by a priest who the Vatican took action against based on his credibility and others. The same survivors accused Bishop Juan Barros of Osrono Chile of enabling and watching the abuse by this priest. Yet Pope Francis elevated Barros to bishop of Osorno. Myself and a number of other commissioners said this was wrong and that this bishop should be removed. This would be a test of the Pope’s seriousness on stopping child sex abuse, which was stated by a number of observers in the media.

Then Francis was recorded calling the people of Osorno “dumb” and “leftists”, which he has never answered for and which I have never stopped speaking out about. I said the Pope needs to come to the commission and explain this and other things, such as why there was no Tribunal set up yet to hold bishops accountable for enabling child sex abuse. The people of Osorno and of Chile from parishioners to the the government have been outraged by this situation, as they should be. I have criticised the pope often before on these vital issues, and have given him credit for having a survivor like me on the commission who would do so. But today, commission members reacted to my criticisms in a frightening way, acting as if dissent and free speech would make their work more difficult. This is exactly what created the child sex abuse crisis in the first place.

I was asked to consider what my role should be with the commission. I did not make a decision to take or accept any decision on a leave of absence. I said I would reflect on what I would do. I may well have been back in the meeting shortly. However, I then heard that the Vatican had made a statement about my taking a leave of absence. I was never told in advance of any such statement and I find it outrageous that I was not told, much less that the statement occurred before I had made had any time to reflect on what I might do next.

I have not left and am not leaving my position on the commission. I was appointed by His Holiness Pope Francis and I will talk only with him about my position.

Yesterday, as an example of why I am reading this statement is because this is so important. I am so grateful for you being here. Yesterday one of my proposals to the commission was that we looked at how we could work with more openness and transparency as a body. Perhaps by having open meetings or at the very least making transcripts of our discussions public. The response of the commission was that they want to remain in secret with discussions behind closed doors for reasons I am sure they are more than happy to share with you. But as I said the reason the vile crime of abuse and rape of children persists is because too many people and too many institutions, including our church our willing to brush these matters under the carpet and to try and silence anybody who wishes to speak out of such matters.

Before I turn this over to Juan Carlos, one of the most disturbing things that happened with the commission this week was a report that two priests from Italy recently discovered that one of their colleagues is abusing children. The priests did the courageous thing and did what they should do and went to their bishop to report this criminality. The bishop instructed they remain silent. That is itself rips my heart apart, that a bishop would tell his priests to remain silent and sadly this happens all over the world. Those brave priests went to the police, the police response was, what did your bishop say?

Here is my dear friend, Juan Carlos Cruz from Chile.

Sex Abuse Survivor Takes Leave Of Absence From Vatican Commission On Protecting Survivors

VATICAN CITY
International Business Times

BY ISMAT SARAH MANGLA @ISMAT ON 02/06/16

A key member of Pope Francis’ advisory commission on protecting children from sexual abuse has taken a leave of absence, dealing a blow to the credibility of the panel itself.

Peter Saunders, a sexual abuse survivor from the U.K., served on the commission, raising a critical voice in the debate on protecting children and punishing bishops who helped hide the behavior of pedophile priests. Formed in 2014, the commission's purpose is to offer advice to the Vatican on how to protect children, keep pedophiles out of the priesthood and raise awareness about sexual abuse.

But at a meeting on Saturday, "it was decided that Mr. Peter Saunders would take a leave of absence from his membership to consider how he might best support the commission's work," the Vatican said.

As a result, only one abuse survivor, Marie Collins, is still on the panel.

One of the commission’s major proposals — that the Vatican form an in-house tribunal to address cases of bishops who failed to protect their parishioners from abuse — was successfully enacted last year. But the Vatican has not announced any updates on the tribunal since the pope agreed to its formation.

Pope's sex abuse panel tells abuse survivor to take a leave

VATICAN CITY
Orange County Register

By NICOLE WINFIELD / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis’ sex abuse advisory committee voted Saturday to sideline one of its members, a high-profile abuse survivor who had clashed with the commission over its mission.

Peter Saunders, a British advocate for victims, had been highly critical of the Vatican’s slow progress in taking measures to protect children and punish bishops who covered up for pedophile priests. He also wanted the commission to intervene immediately in individual cases, rather than just craft long-term policies to fight abuse.

During a commission meeting Saturday, “it was decided that Mr. Peter Saunders would take a leave of absence from his membership to consider how he might best support the commission’s work,” the Vatican said.

The decision is a blow to Francis’ efforts to show that he is tough on abuse, since the presence of Saunders and another abuse survivor, Marie Collins, had given the commission credibility.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Saunders said commission members, with one abstention, asked had him to step aside after concluding they could no longer trust him to work within the scope of the commission’s mandate. ...

The commission had been highly critical of Francis’ decision to appoint a Chilean bishop despite allegations from abuse survivors that he had covered up for the country’s most notorious pedophile, the Rev. Fernando Karadima.

One of Karadima’s victims, Juan Carlos Cruz, joined Saunders on Saturday in Rome in hopes of speaking to the commission but was refused. Cruz had been proposed as a possible commission member but emails published in the Chilean media showed how the Chilean church hierarchy worked to keep him off the panel.

The head of the commission, Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley, said after Saturday’s vote that Saunders had been asked to consider forming an external group of survivors to help advise the commission.

Local priest charged in connection with alleged historic sexual assaults

CANADA
Global News

By Jennifer Ivanov Global News

EDMONTON- Edmonton police have charged an Anglican priest with several historical sexual assaults.

The charges date back to an investigation that was launched last September involving reports of sexual assaults. The incidents allegedly occurred at the Edmonton Youth Development Centre during the 1980s.

Police allege Father Gordon William Dominey sexually assaulted five complainants, who were youths at the time of the alleged incidents. The incidents allegedly took place while Dominey was employed at the incarceration facility from 1985 to 1989.

Gordon William Dominey, 63, is facing five charges of sexual assault and five charges of gross indecency.

The accused was arrested without incident in Coquitlam, B.C. on February 4.

Police believe there may be additional victims and witnesses. Investigators are asking anyone with information about “Father Gord” to come forward and contact the Edmonton Police Service at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone.

Sex abuse survivor removed from Vatican panel

VATICAN CITY
Deutsche Welle

Peter Saunders, an abuse survivor, has been dumped from Pope Francis' sex abuse advisory committee. The victims' advocate had been highly critical of the Vatican's sluggish progress in protecting children.

A high-profile British sexual abuse survivor and member of a papal sex abuse committee was voted off the panel, the Vatican said.

"It was decided that Mr. Peter Saunders would take a leave of absence from his membership to consider how he might best support the commission's work," the Vatican said following a commission meeting on Saturday.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Saunders said the commission members voted, with one abstention, against his further participation in the group. He said the members concluded that they could no longer trust him to work within the scope of the commission's mandate.

"I do not want to prevent the work of the commission, the good work that the commission is doing, from going ahead, so I had no choice but to step aside," Saunders said.

The outspoken critic, who had been abused by a priest as a child, said the Vatican's lack of immediate action to protect children in the face of continuing rape and molestation cases, "made me lose faith in the process and lose faith in Pope Francis."

Critic of Vatican leaves its sexual abuse commission

VATICAN CITY
Reuters

A prominent British member of a papal advisory commission on sexual abuse by the clergy who has been outspokenly critical of the Vatican has left the group, the Vatican said on Saturday.

A statement said that at a commission meeting "it was decided" that Peter Saunders would take a leave of absence. Saunders, head of Britain's National Association for People Abused in Childhood, would now "consider how he might best support the commission's work".

In a separate statement, commission president Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston said Saunders had been asked to advise the commission on the possible establishment of a victim survivor panel.

Saunders, a victim of sexual abuse by a priest, did not immediately reply to a telephone message requesting a comment.

His departure leaves only one victim of sexual abuse by a cleric, Marie Collins of Ireland, sitting on the commission, which has been slowed down by internal disputes.

Saunders had been increasingly critical of the commission, which was set up in 2014. Made up of clerics and lay people from around the world, its task is to help Pope Francis establish "best practices" in dioceses around the world to root out sex abuse in the Church. Eight of the 17-member commission are women.

The U.S.-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said it shared Saunders' frustration with Vatican officials.

"Pete has been a brave, honest and tireless voice for kids and victims," it said in a statement.

On the eve of the current meeting, Saunders was quoted by the Los Angeles Times as saying that the previous meeting last year was a "non-event," and demanded that the pope attend the current meeting.

Vatican--Prominent survivor leaves papal panel; SNAP responds

UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, davidgclohessy@gmail.com)

We share Pete Saunders’ justifiable frustration with Vatican officials. They refuse to take quick, simple, common sense steps to protect kids and deter cover ups by punishing clerics who conceal abuse. Instead, they do what church officials have done for decades: shrewdly fixate on and discuss meaningless internal policies on paper that give the impression of progress while changing virtually nothing.

[USA Today]

Contrary to considerable sloppy reporting, Francis has NOT sent us a church panel to judge bishops who enable or hide abuse. Last June, he said he would. But he has NOT done so. It’s inaccurate to claim otherwise. And it leads to more complacency about kids’ safety in a church where more vigilance is crucial.

Pete has been a brave, honest and tireless voice for kids and victims. We especially applaud him for speaking out about the Pope’s callous promotion and defense of the corrupt Chilean Bishop Juan Barros and for speaking up for courageous victims of Fr. Fernando Karadima (like Juan Carlos Cruz).

[National Catholic Reporter]

The Pope’s abuse panel will issue recommendations. The Pope will adopt them. And nothing will improve. Why? Because there will be no enforcement. Why? Because the church hierarchy is an entitled, rigid, secretive, all-male monarchy. No new protocols or policies or procedures will radically undo a centuries-old self-serving structure that rewards clerics who keep a tight lid on child sex crimes and cover ups.

Here are 20 easy abuse prevention steps we proposed three years ago. As best we can tell, they’ve been ignored.

[SNAP]

The clear answer to this crisis remains outside of the church hierarchy – with victims, witnesses and whistleblowers speaking up and with police, prosecutors and secular authorities stepping up.

Anti-Pädophilie-Aktivist nimmt sich Auszeit

VATIKAN
Radio Vatikan

Peter Saunders nimmt sich bei der Päpstlichen Kommission zum Schutz von Minderjährigen eine Auszeit. Das hat die Kommission an diesem Samstag bekannt gegeben, nachdem der englische Anti-Pädophilie-Aktivist den australischen Kurienkardinal George Pell öffentlich kritisiert hatte und ihm „Abneigung“ gegenüber Missbrauchsopfern vorwarf. Saunders wolle während der Auszeit darüber nachdenken, wie er am besten der Kommission künftig helfen könne.

Der englische Aktivist ist selber ein ehemaliges Missbrauchsopfer. Bei dem Treffen der Päpstlichen Kinderschutzkommission ging es um eine Klärung über Ziel und Zweck dieser vatikanischen Einrichtung, so eine Note des Vatikans von diesem Samstag.

Vatikan-kritiker lämnar kommitté

VATIKAN
Kristianstadtbladet

Britten Peter Saunders, medlem av Vatikanens rådgivande kommitté rörande sexuella övergrepp, lämnar gruppen. Saunders har varit en av de mest frispråkiga kritikerna av Vatikanen. Enligt ett uttalande beslutades det under ett utskottssammanträde att "Saunders skulle ta tjänstledigt".

Pedofilia, braccio di ferro in Vaticano: “sacrificato” il laico ribelle Saunders

CITTA' DEL VATICANO
Secolo d'Italia

di PAOLO LAMI
sabato 6 febbraio 2016 - 17:52

Si apre un caso imbarazzante nella Commissione internazionale voluta dal Papa contro gli abusi sessuali del clero, la Pontificia Commissione per la Tutela dei Minori.
Il laico Peter Saunders, da ragazzo vittima di abusi, lascia per un periodo la Commissione per una sorta di conflitto di interessi. L’impegno di Saunders in difesa delle vittime di abusi e promotore di campagne in tal senso, – in Cile, e in particolare in Australia relativamente al cardinal Pell, – ha recentemente creato frizioni con il suo ruolo di membro della Commissione pontificia.
Saunders nei mesi scorsi aveva anche minacciato di dimettersi dalla Pontificia Commissione per la Tutela dei Minori relativamente ai casi di abusi del clero in Cile.

Comisión vaticana sobre abusos sexuales separa a un miembro

CIUDAD DEL VATICANO
20 Minutos

AP

La comisión asesora del papa Francisco sobre abusos sexuales votó el sábado separar a uno de sus miembros, un conocido sobreviviente de los abusos, quien había expresado diferencias sobre la misión del organismo.

El británico Peter Saunders, quien aboga por los sobrevivientes, había criticado con dureza la lentitud de la Santa Sede para tomar medidas de protección a los niños y de castigo a los obispos que encubrieron a curas pedófilos.

También quería que la comisión interviniera en casos individuales en lugar de limitarse a elaborar políticas a largo plazo contra los abusos.

El Vaticano dijo que en una reunión de la comisión el sábado, "se resolvió que el señor Peter Saunders se tome licencia para estudiar la mejor manera de apoyar el trabajo de la comisión".

Sobrevivente de abuso sexual tira licença de comissão do Vaticano

CIUDAD DEL VATICANO
Diariode Pernambuco

Por: Agência Estado
Publicado em: 06/02/2016

Os esforços do Papa Francisco para mostrar que é rigoroso quando o assunto é abuso sexual clerical sofreu um golpe neste sábado, depois que um sobrevivente de alto perfil tirou uma licença da comissão consultiva do pontífice.

Peter Saunders, um advogado britânico para os sobreviventes, tem criticado duramente o ritmo lento do progresso do Vaticano em tomar medidas para proteger as crianças e punir bispos que encobriram padres pedófilos.

Durante reunião da comissão deste sábado, o Vaticano disse que "foi decidido que Peter Saunders tiraria uma licença de sua função como membro para avaliar como ele poderia melhor apoiar o trabalho da comissão".

British victim steps down from Vatican inquiry into clerical sex abuse

VATICAN CITY
The Guardian

Rosie Scammell
Saturday 6 February 2016

A British survivor of clerical sex abuse has left the Vatican’s inquiry into paedophilia within the Catholic Church, adding to pressure on Pope Francis to take concrete action.

Peter Saunders, who was abused by two priests as a teenager and has been a vocal critic of the church’s response to child abuse scandals, was attending the advisory body’s weekend meeting when it was agreed that he should step down.

“It was decided that Mr. Peter Saunders would take a leave of absence from his membership to consider how he might best support the commission’s work,” said the advisory board, officially known as the pontifical commission for the protection of minors.

The president of the commission, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, said Saunders had been asked to advise on “the possible establishment of a victim survivor panel to work with the commission”.

Saunders, along with Marie Collins, another victim from Ireland, was chosen by the pope to join the commission in 2014, to advise the Vatican on how to respond to historic clerical abuse.

He was described as a “brave, honest and tireless voice for kids and victims” by David Clohessy, director of the US-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (Snap). He accused the Vatican of inaction.

“They do what church officials have done for decades: shrewdly fixate on and discuss meaningless internal policies on paper that give the impression of progress while changing virtually nothing,” he said.

Saunders criticised the Holy See’s response to paedophilia within the church, calling on the Vatican to sack its financial chief, Cardinal George Pell, over his alleged involvement in covering up abuse. The Australian cardinal turned to his lawyers, while the commission sought to distance itself from Saunders’ “personal views”.

Pope's Sex Abuse Panel Tells Survivor to Take a Time-Out

VATICAN CITY
New York Times

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
FEB. 6, 2016

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis' sex abuse advisory committee voted Saturday to sideline one of its members, a high-profile abuse survivor who had clashed with the commission over its mission.

Peter Saunders, a British advocate for victims, had been highly critical of the Vatican's slow pace of progress in taking measures to protect children and punish bishops who covered up for pedophile priests. He had also wanted the commission to intervene immediately in individual cases, rather than just craft long-term policies to fight abuse.

During a commission meeting Saturday, "it was decided that Mr. Peter Saunders would take a leave of absence from his membership to consider how he might best support the commission's work," the Vatican said.

The decision is a blow to Francis' efforts to show that he is tough on abuse, since the presence of Saunders and another abuse survivor, Marie Collins, had given the commission credibility.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Saunders said commission members, with one abstention, asked had him to step aside after concluding they could no longer trust him to work within the scope of the commission's mandate.

"I do not want to prevent the work of the commission, the good work that the commission is doing from going ahead, so I had no choice but to step aside," he said.

He said the Vatican's inaction in the face of continuing cases of children being raped and molested "made me lose faith in the process and lose faith in Pope Francis."

Sex Abuse Survivor Leaves Vatican Commission

VATICAN CITY
Sky News

A British member of the Pope's advisory commission on sexual abuse has left the group, the Vatican has revealed.

At a commission meeting "it was decided" that Peter Saunders, who has been an outspoken critic of the Vatican, would take a leave of absence, a statement said.

The commission said Mr Saunders, who himself was a victim of sexual abuse by a priest, would now "consider how he might best support the commission's work".

Mr Saunders made headlines last year when he said that Australian Cardinal George Pell should be dismissed over claims he failed to take action to protect children years ago.

Cardinal Pell is now the Vatican's economic minister.

High-Profile Advocate Takes Leave From Papal Commission On Sex Abuse

VATICAN CITY
NPR

CAMILA DOMONOSKE

One of the Vatican's most prominent critics, who pushed for greater protections for children and harsher punishments for pedophile priests, has taken a leave of absence from the pope's advisory commission on clerical sex abuse.

Peter Saunders, a British survivor of sexual abuse by a priest, was appointed to Pope Francis' Commission for the Protection of Minors in 2014. The commission, which first met in early 2014, includes both clergy and lay people.

A Vatican statement Saturday said "it was decided" that Saunders would take a leave of absence to "consider how he might best support the commission's work," The Associated Press and Reuters report. The announcement came halfway through the commission's three-day meeting, scheduled for Friday through Sunday.

His departure is a blow to the pope's efforts to show he's tough on sex abuse, the AP writes. With Saunders gone, one survivor of clerical sexual abuse remains on the 16-person commission.

Saunders has openly criticized the Church hierarchy for failing to prevent or punish sexual abuse by priests. He was unafraid of challenging even the highest-ranking cardinals: last year he called for the resignation of Australian Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican's economic minister, over the decades-long abuse of Australian children.

"Saunders has also been outspoken about a case of an alleged cover-up of sexual abuse in Chile and threatened to resign from the commission over the Vatican's handling of that case," Reuters reports. "The Vatican says the commission is an advisory group and members should not make comments on individual cases."

Pedofilia, Saunders lascia la Commissione pontificia

CITTA' DEL VATICANO
Vatican Insider

TORINO
Peter Saunders, da ragazzo vittima di abusi sessuali da parte di preti, lascia per un periodo la Commissione pontificia per la protezione dei minori, per una sorta di conflitto di interessi. Lo comunica la Commissione, che oggi ha discusso con l’interessato la posizione dello stesso Saunders, il cui impegno di attivista in difesa delle vittime di abusi e promotore di campagne in tal senso - in Cile, e in particolare in Australia relativamente al cardinale Pell - ha recentemente creato frizioni con il suo ruolo di membro della Commissione pontificia. Saunders aveva anche minacciato di dimettersi dalla Commissione relativamente ai casi di abusi del clero in Cile. La nota informa che egli «prenderà un periodo di aspettativa dalla sua partecipazione come membro per riflettere come egli possa contribuire nel modo migliore al lavoro della Commissione». Dopo questo periodo, ha spiegato padre Lombardi, si deciderà se tornerà nella Commissione, o se vorrà contribuire dall’esterno ai suoi scopi.

Abuse survivor no longer working with Vatican commission

ROME
National Catholic Reporter

Joshua J. McElwee | Feb. 6, 2016

ROME One of the most outspoken members of the commission advising Pope Francis on issues relating to clergy sexual abuse is no longer actively working with the group, the Vatican has announced.

Following a meeting of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors this week in Rome, a statement Saturday said "it was decided" that British sexual abuse survivor and children's advocate Peter Saunders would take a leave of absence from the group.

Saunders, the statement said, would take time "to consider how he might best support the Commission’s work."

Saunders is the founder of the UK's National Association for People Abused in Childhood. He had served on the Commission since December 2014 but had been highly critical of what he characterized as a slow process of reform of the church's practices on sexual abuse.

The commission member had particularly said he was "gravely concerned" about the appointment last year of a bishop in Chile who is accused of covering up abuse. He also told the Los Angeles Times Friday that he had asked Francis to attend the commission's meeting this week in Rome and that it would be "outrageous" if the pope did not come.

In a separate statement Saturday, commission president Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley said the group's members had asked Saunders to advise them on possibly creating a victim/survivor panel to help with their work.

Child abuse campaigner handpicked by the Pope to head up commission into paedophile priests suddenly leaves the Vatican 24 hours after warning the pontiff he has to do more to tackle the issue

VATICAN CITY
Daily Mail (UK)

By KATIE LOUISE DAVIES FOR MAILONLINE
PUBLISHED: 08:08 EST, 6 February 2016

A British campaigner who said he would be outraged if the Pope did not attend meetings to protect children from sex abuse abuse in the church has left the Vatican.

Peter Saunders, who was abused by a priest as a child, was selected by Pope Francis to serve on the Vatican's sex abuse commission in 2014.

This week the abuse campaigner, who said he had invited the Pope to a three-day meeting of the commission, told The Times it would be 'outrageous if he didn't attend'.

The Vatican said it was decided at a commission meeting that Saunders would take a leave of absence.

Saunders did not immediately reply to a telephone message requesting a comment on the circumstances of his departure.

It said Saunders would now 'consider how he might best support the commission's work'.

Pedofila, polemica in Vaticano: Peter Saunders lascia Commissione della Santa Sede

CITTA' DEL VATICANO
la Repubblica

CITTA' DEL VATICANO - Peter Saunders, attivista inglese nella lotta contro la pedofilia, egli stesso vittima di abusi da parte di un sacerdote cattolico, lascia per ora la Commissione vaticana per la protezione dei minori nella quale lo aveva inserito Papa Francesco.

"La Commissione Pontificia per la Protezione di minori - si legge in una nota diffusa dal portavoce della Santa Sede, padre Federico Lombardi - nell'incontro di oggi ha discusso l'orientamento e gli scopi della Commissione stessa. Come risultato della discussione si è deciso che il signor Peter Sunders prenderà un periodo di aspettativa dalla sua partecipazione come membro per riflettere come egli possa contribuire nel modo migliore al lavoro della Commissione".

La decisione, assunta all'interno dell'organismo, arriva a seguito ad affermazioni dello stesso Saunders che ha criticato il cardinale George Pell, superministro vaticano dell'Economia, per aver risposto con certificati medici alle richieste di essere interrogato dalla Commissione governativa australiana che deve far luce sugli abusi nel grande paese, riguardo alla gestione dei sacerdoti colpevoli o sospettati di abusi nella diocesi di Melbourne, quando il porporato ne era l'arcivescovo.

British member of Vatican sexual abuse commission leaves

VATICAN CITY
Channel News Asia

A British member of a Vatican advisory commission on sexual abuse who has been among the most outspokenly critical of the Vatican, has left the group, the Vatican said on Saturday.

VATICAN CITY: A British member of a Vatican advisory commission on sexual abuse who has been among the most outspokenly critical of the Vatican, has left the group, the Vatican said on Saturday.

A Vatican statement said that at a commission meeting "it was decided" that Peter Saunders would take a leave of absence. Saunders, himself a victim of sexual abuse by a priest, did not immediately reply to a telephone message requesting a comment on the circumstances of his departure.

It said Saunders would now "consider how he might best support the commission's work".

Last year, Saunders made waves when he said that Australian Cardinal George Pell should be dismissed over allegations he failed to take action to protect children years ago.. Pell is now the Vatican's economic minister.

The 17-member commission, which is advising Pope Francis on how to root out sex abuse in the Church, later distanced itself from Saunders comments.

Time to turn spotlight on abuse by priests in Scotland

SCOTLAND
Herald Scotland

Kevin McKenna / Friday 5 February 2016

IF THE testament of my friends who have already seen Spotlight is to be trusted, I can expect an enthralling if deeply uncomfortable cinematic experience when I go to see it next week. The film is about the investigation conducted by the Boston Globe newspaper in 2001 into widespread and systemic child sex abuse by Catholic priests in the city and the how the church tried to cover it all up.

For a small but growing group of men and women in Scotland the film carries a wretched resonance. When they were children, they were sexually abused in locations around Scotland by Catholic priests and in Catholic primary schools, yet they are still waiting for the Church in this country and the Holyrood Government to take their cases seriously.

A handful of them, representing abuse survivors’ groups from all over Scotland, have been granted an audience next Thursday with Angela Constance, the Education Secretary. They will be given an hour and expenses of no more than £100, significantly below the going rate for qualified legal representation, and the group face being without a lawyer at their meeting.

Allocating just one hour for this meeting and refusing to meet each of the groups represented separately suggests that this will be another box-ticking exercise as the Government and the Catholic Church in Scotland seek to continue their mission to bury this out of sight.

The Boston Globe applauded 'Spotlight,' and now the Vatican has too

UNITED STATES
Palm Beach Post

"Spotlight," best picture contender at this year's Oscars, has earned massive critical praise for its retelling of The Boston Globe's investigation into sex abuse within the Catholic Church.

It even got the praise of the Boston Globe's staff for the film's accuracy in depicting the real-life players in the story. (Video via Open Road Films / "Spotlight")

But Thursday, "Spotlight" probably got the highest praise of all. It was screened at the Vatican for a commission on clerical sex abuse.

The commission is meeting for a three-day conference to find better ways to protect children and prevent abuse by priests. The group was founded in 2014 as part of Pope Francis' pledge to fight child abuse within the church.

One member of the commission, who was abused by a London priest as a child, told the Los Angeles Times, "The film is extremely worrying about the cover-up of abuse in the Catholic Church, and I think it would be a good moment for the pope to see it."

Franciscan University Knew About Craigslist Ad Placed By Joel Wright Before Arrest

OHIO
10TV

By Tylar Bacome
Friday February 5, 2016

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio - As the story of an Ohio seminary student accused of trying to buy a Mexican toddler to have sex with continues unfolding, 10TV found yet another person who thought that something wasn’t quite right when it came to Joel Wright’s interest in children.

10TV first uncovered even more unsettling allegations involving Joel Wright and kids just this week, raising more concerns that there were questions even before federal agents busted the 23-year-old reportedly en route to Tijuana carrying a few thousand dollars, baby clothes and baby bottles.

A Steubenville police report indicates an Ohio Valley mother says she responded to a craigslist ad posted by someone named “Joel” who said he was willing to pay parents $150 to watch their children.

The woman told detectives that “Joel” told her he was a student at Franciscan University and sent a photo that University security identified as Joel Wright.

Steubenville is home to the Steubenville Diocese which sponsored Wright’s education at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus.

Wright first attended Franciscan University of Steubenville and he was enrolled at or around the time that police report was filed.

A school spokesperson said they read about the babysitting allegations on social media before Wright attended the Josephinum and they too notified Steubenville Police.

Priest-in-training who tried to travel to Mexico to rape infants 'posted ad to Craigslist last year offering to pay $150 to babysit'

OHIO
Daily Mail (UK)

The Ohio priest-in-training who was arrested last Friday accused of attempting to travel to Mexico to have sex with multiple infants allegedly posted an ad to Craigslist last year offering to pay $150 to babysit.

Joel A. Wright, who was busted in San Diego after communicating with an undercover Homeland Security agent online seeking help to arrange the rape of babies as young as one year, waived his right to a detention hearing and declined to seek bail Thursday, the Times of San Diego reported.

Wright, 23, had been investigated by police before, NBC4I reported.

Police in Steubenville, Ohio said Wright posted a Craigslist ad last year in which he offered to pay a willing family $150 to watch children.

Diocese of Duluth Liabilities Total at $12 Million

MINNESOTA
WDIO

Frank Hoefferle, the chief financial officer for the Catholic Diocese of Duluth, testified in federal bankruptcy court Friday. He said the diocese assets total $5 million, while its liabilities are $12 million.

The diocese filed for bankruptcy in early December after a nearly $5 million verdict in one abuse case.

Representatives estimated they're now aware of about 40 more claims of abuse, and almost half of those came after bankruptcy filing.

Belleville man accused of sexually abusing two girls

ILLINOIS
St. Louis Post-Democrat

By Tim O'Neil

BELLEVILLE • Dennis C. Theurer of Forest Avenue has been accused of sexually assaulting two girls in his home, police said Friday.

Theurer, 66, was longtime leader of a youth singing group at a church in Fairview Heights, but police and the pastor said the allegations are unrelated to his church work.

Theurer faces eight felony counts, six of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and two of criminal sexual assault of a victim younger than 13. Court documents show the alleged victims are 7 and 13 years old. He is accused of offenses that occurred from 2013 until this year.

Belleville detective Sgt. Mark Heffernan said police believe the offenses occurred at Theurer's home in the 700 block of Forest. Heffernan said they were not related to his involvement at Edgemont Bible Church, where he was an elder and a leader of a youth singing group.

Oahu church, school found to have most sex abuse allegations

HAWAII
West Hawaii Today

HONOLULU (AP) — A Catholic church and school on Oahu have generated the most allegations across the state of priests and teachers sexually abusing students decades ago.

Court documents say Saint Anthony Church in Kailua and Damien Memorial School in Kalihi have each recorded 21 sexual abuse complaints from the 1950s through the mid-1980s. Across the state, accusations have been made by 63 people against 26 priests, teachers and others. In all, 18 schools and churches have faced 40 lawsuits, Hawaii News Now reported (http://bit.ly/1R8RBpR).

According to the lawsuit, the late Father Joseph Henry has faced the most sexual abuse allegations. Eighteen men have filed complaints saying Henry molested them from 1952 to 1972, with most of the alleged incidents occurring at Saint Anthony Church.

Henry was the pastor and superintendent of St. Anthony Church and School until he died in 1974.

Other complaints at the church were against Father Joseph Ferrario, who was accused of sexually abusing boys in five cases between 1969 and 1981. All the alleged incidents occurred before Ferrario became bishop and headed the Catholic Church in Hawaii from 1982 to 1993. He died in 2003.

Belleville man accused of molesting children babysat at Fairview Heights church

ILLINOIS
Belleville News-Democrat

BY SCOTT WUERZ
swuerz@bnd.com

The pastor of a Fairview Heights church said members of the congregation are struggling to come to grips after an elder was charged with the sexual abuse of children.

Dennis Theurer, who lives in Belleville but was a member of the church in neighboring Fairview Heights, was charged with eight felony counts for allegedly sexually abusing two children, Belleville Police announced earlier this week.

“It’s beyond a betrayal of trust,” said pastor Doug White of Edgemont Bible Church. “It’s caused so much hurt. It’s like grieving the loss of a family member.”

White said Theurer volunteered to babysit children as their parents participated in church services and he served as a volunteer choir director. Theurer abruptly resigned all his responsibilities as a church elder about three weeks ago. He had been a member of the church for about 30 years before suddenly severing ties.

Attorney Comments On Sexual Assault Of Teen Girl By Pennsylvania Pastor

PENNSYLVANIA
Digital Journal

AbuseGuardian.com reports on the police search for a former Chester County, Pennsylvania pastor who is accused of sexually assaulting and impregnating a teenage girl. The teen had lived with the pastor, Jacob Malone, who is now wanted for rape, institutional sexual assault, and other charges.

Malone was one of five pastors at a non-denominational church in Downingtown, PA and had worked there for about 18 months. The teen moved from Minnesota in July of 2014 with Malone and his wife and they treated her as an adopted daughter. In the fall of 2014, Malone allegedly began to sexually assault the teen. Claims state that on one particular occasion, the teen became highly intoxicated after she was provided alcohol by Malone, and he reportedly molested her. Church leaders discovered in November that the teen was pregnant, and learned of the alleged relationship between her and Malone, as well as another female whose age has not yet been disclosed.

Malone was confronted by the other church leaders and admitted to them that he had impregnated the teen. He resigned in mid-November and in early December she moved out of his house to reside with family members. The remaining church leaders informed the congregation of the allegations against Malone and hope that in difficult moments like these, they are able to help the innocent and encourage the offender to repent. The church had completed a background check, which Malone had passed prior to being hired.

Former Rector of Waynesville Church Faces Allegations of Sexual Misconduct

NORTH CAROLINA
WLOS

by: Rex Hodge

WAYNESVILLE, N.C. -- A former Episcopal priest who was the longtime rector of a Waynesville church faces allegations of sexual misconduct.

Former students of a private school in Rhode Island claim Howard White abused them when he was on the staff there in the '70s and '80s.

News 13's Rex Hodge was in Waynesville Friday, where he reported on new information about alleged sexual abuse of a minor. A WNC woman said she was sexually abused when White was rector at Grace Church in the Mountains, where White served from 1984 until 2006, when she was a minor.

Read the letter from the Rev. G. Porter Taylor here about allegations of sexual abuse.

News 13 talked to Waynesville Police, who confirm they have been notified and are investigating.

From a letter released late Friday afternoon from Bishop Porter Taylor of the Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina in Asheville:

Catholic priest avoids jail over collection of 3,000 child sex abuse images

UNITED KINGDOM
Manchester Evening News

BY BEN MITCHELL

A Catholic priest has avoided being sent to jail after pleading guilty to having more than 3,000 child porn images.

Paul Clarke, 71, now of Urmston, Manchester, but formerly of Watchbell Road, Rye, East Sussex, was sentenced to an eight-month prison sentence suspended for two years at Lewes Crown Court.

He had admitted one charge of possession of an indecent image of a child, another of possession of prohibited images, and three counts of making a total of 3,100 indecent images of children.

A Sussex Police spokesman said: "All the offences involved images taken from the internet. There is no evidence of contact offending and none of the images are of local children."

Police officers executed a search warrant at Clarke's Rye address, the residential presbytery attached to St Anthony's Church, on November 13 2014, and seized computers and related material.

Former Calcasieu priest found guilty of sexually abusing altar boys

LOUISIANA
The Advocate

LAKE CHARLES — A former Catholic priest molested and raped altar boys in Calcasieu Parish in the 1980s and 1990s.

A Calcasieu Parish jury found Mark Anthony Broussard, 60, guilty on two counts of aggravated rape, molestation of a juvenile, aggravated oral sexual battery and aggravated rape.

The jury verdict was 11 to 1. The jury began deliberating at 12:53 p.m. and delivered the verdict at 2:50 p.m.

Sentencing is set for Friday, March 11.

Diocese of Duluth opens books for bankruptcy proceedings

MINNESOTA
Duluth News Tribune

By Peter Passi on Feb 5, 2016

Creditors' attorneys attempted to pick apart the finances of the Catholic Diocese of Duluth at a hearing Friday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

The diocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December, about one month after a St. Paul jury ordered it to pay nearly $4.9 million in damages to a man who was sexually abused by a priest in Itasca County. The decision stems from the sexual abuse the man endured as an altar boy more than 35 years ago at the hands of the late Rev. J. Vincent Fitzgerald.

Franz Hoefferle, the finance director for the diocese, on Friday told Sarah Wencil, an attorney for the U.S. Trustee's Office: "There was a judgment rendered against the diocese that we felt we could not pay."

He said the diocese typically breaks even on an annual budget that is based on operating revenues of about $3.5 million.

Hoefferle said that as of November, the diocese had net assets of a little more than $5 million and total liabilities of just over $12 million.

CBCP is one with secular authorities against sexual abuse by clergy members—Villegas

PHILIPPINES
Philippine Canadian Inquirer

By The Canadian Press on February 5, 2016

MANILA—The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is one with secular authorities against sexual abuse by clergy members, a CBCP official said.

In a pastoral exhortation, CBCP President Archbishop Socrates Villegas noted that the universal and the local Church’s laws on sexual abuse are in place and “demand strictest compliance.”

“Bishops will not pre-empt investigations by declaring innocence or pronouncing exoneration until after a thorough, impartial and credible evaluation of facts as established by competent evidence,” he said in the statement, which was crafted during its plenary assembly in Cebu City last month.

Villegas added that they were determined to make sure the Church was a safe environment for all Catholics, especially for children.

The CBCP stated that no priest, who is under investigation for child abuse or sexual harassment, would be allowed to leave the diocese.

Clergy sex abuse victims claim church is breaking promises for care, treatment

MASSACHUSETTS
WCVB

[with video]

BOSTON —It was one of the promises from the landmark settlement of church sex abuse cases from the Archdiocese of Boston: the church would pay for counseling to try to fix the lives their abusive priests had damaged.

But now, victims and their advocates tell 5 Investigates the Archdiocese has in some cases begun backsliding on that promise, putting up more resistance than ever before to paying for treatments.

"What other kind of rape victim or victim of sexual assault has to go to their perpetrator to try and get services?" said attorney Tyler Fox. "That's getting re-victimized again."

Fox represents a man known in church documents as John Doe 24.

Together they say the church is acting like an insurance company when it comes to John Doe 24's therapy, even though the settlement agreement with the church promised "continued therapy and healing."

February 5, 2016

Embattled West Palm Beach priest helped speed investigation

FLORIDA
Sun Sentinel

Andy Reid
Sun Sentinel

Before being branded a liar recently by the Diocese of Palm Beach, the Rev. John Gallagher played a key role in helping investigators catch a priest who showed child porn to a teenager.

Finger pointing over the handling of the January 2015 incident at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church in West Palm Beach, and the church-leadership shake-up that followed, has pitted Gallagher versus diocese leaders in a public spat playing out in the media from South Florida to Gallagher's native Ireland.

But a review of investigative records shows that long before the recent church rancor emerged, it was Gallagher who helped convince a fellow priest to talk to detectives the day after that priest was accused of using a cellphone to show a 14-year-old boy naked pictures of children.

Initially, the Rev. Jose Palimattom, 48, told detectives he wanted to talk to a lawyer before answering their questions.

"I prefer that, to deal with a lawyer for the clarity of things," Palimattom told the detectives, according to recordings by the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.

Former Calcasieu priest Mark Broussard found guilty of sexually abusing altar boys

LOUISIANA
KPLC

By Theresa Schmidt

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -
A former Catholic priest molested and raped altar boys in Calcasieu Parish in the 1980s and 1990s.

A Calcasieu Parish jury found Mark Anthony Broussard, 60, guilty on two counts of aggravated rape, molestation of a juvenile, aggravated oral sexual battery and aggravated rape.

The jury verdict was 11 to 1. The jury began deliberating at 12:53 p.m. and delivered the verdict at 2:50 p.m.

Sentencing is set for Friday, March 11.

Broussard sexually abused two boys while a priest at Our Lady Queen of Heaven and at St. Henry Catholic Church in the 1980s and 1990s.

Four men took the stand claiming to have been abused by Broussard, but the charges only revolved around two of them. Broussard became a priest at OLQH in 1986.

In her closing statement, prosecutor Cynthia Killingsworth implored jurors to hold Broussard responsible.

UPDATE: Former priest found guilty of rape, molestation, sexual battery

LOUISIANA
KATC

[with video]

UPDATE: Former priest Mark Broussard was found guilty of two counts aggravated rape, one count molestation of a juvenile, one count aggravated oral sexual battery and one count oral sexual battery.

The jury in his Calcasieu Parish case handed up the verdict shortly before 3 p.m. Friday afternoon.

Broussard will be sentenced on March 11.

VIDEO: Victim abused by priest in East Staffs hails new film for raising awareness

UNITED KINGDOM
Uttoxeter Advertiser

A VICTIM of sexual abuse at the hands of a Catholic priest has hailed a new movie for bringing the issue into the public eye.

Eamonn Flanagan, now 52, was abused from the age of 11 by Father Samuel Penney while serving as an altar boy at St Modwen Church in Guild Street, Burton.

Mr Flanagan spoke to the Advertiser about how new film Spotlight can help victims of abuse.

He said: "It's great that stories, like Spotlight, are giving clergy abuse, and sexual abuse in general, a bigger audience and a broader understanding of the issues abused children face.

"Every time there is further coverage of abuse, both by clergy and others, I think it helps to change the climate of shame that abused children often feel.

'Justice has been served' – Bishop Conley on why he invited Bishop Finn to Lincoln

NEBRASKA
Catholic News Agency

Lincoln, Neb., Feb 5, 2016 / 11:29 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln defended his decision to allow Bishop Robert Finn, former bishop of Kansas City, Mo., to take a position as chaplain of a community of religious sisters in the Diocese of Lincoln, Neb. saying that justice for his past negligence “has been served.”

“The Church in Lincoln is committed to serving and protecting our people,” Bishop Conley said in a Feb. 4 column in the Lincoln Journal-Star. “We will do that without further punishing those who have already met the demands of justice.”

In September 2012, Bishop Finn was convicted on a misdemeanor count of failure to report suspected child abuse after he and his diocese did not disclose that lewd images of children had been found on a laptop belonging to Fr. Shawn Ratigan, a priest of the Diocese of Kansas City, in December 2010.

Bishop Finn was sentenced to two years’ probation for failing to report suspected abuse and he retired from his position as bishop in April 2015.

Campaigner issues warning to Pope Francis ahead of abuse commission meeting

ROME
Premier

Fri 05 Feb 2016
By Aaron James

An abuse campaigner has said it would be "outrageous" if Pope Francis failed to attend a special Vatican meeting on child protection.

Peter Saunders, who is one the members of the Holy See's Clerical Abuse Commission, was speaking before it hosted a three-day event to review the Catholic Church's safeguarding policies and the punishments in place for those who break the rules, or covered up for those who do.

Mr Saunders told The Times: "It will be outrageous if he doesn't attend and I will say so."

He also criticised the appointment of a Chilean bishop, Juan Barros, who is accused of covering up the abuse of a colleague - something Mr Barros denies.

Pope Francis has publicity backed the appointment of the bishop.

‘Spotlight’ Gets a Vatican Audience

ROME
New York Times

The Carpetbagger
By CARA BUCKLEY FEB. 5, 2016

“Spotlight,” considered an Oscar front-runner, follows The Boston Globe exposé of the Roman Catholic Church’s cover-up of sexual abuse by priests. And on Thursday the film was finally shown to figures at the heart of the story: it was privately screened for a Vatican commission entrusted with investigating that abuse.

The screening, described in The Los Angeles Times as “extraordinary,” preceded a three-day meeting of the commission. That panel was created by Pope Francis, but he was reportedly not at the showing.

Last year, after the film played at the Venice Film Festival, Deadline.com quoted Mark Ruffalo, who plays one of the Boston Globe journalists, as saying that he and the rest of the “Spotlight” team were “hoping that the pope and the Vatican use this very, very sober and judicious story to begin to heal the wounds that the church also received.”

Vatican Radio commented on the film at the time, calling it “honest” and “compelling,” and praising the director, Tom McCarthy, for avoiding scandal-mongering. The outlet also noted that the church had nothing to fear from the film.

Members of the pope’s abuse commission watch ‘Spotlight’ movie

ROME
Crux

By Inés San Martín
Vatican correspondent February 5, 2016

ROME — Members of a Vatican commission created by Pope Francis to lead the Church’s recovery from clerical sexual abuse scandals gathered the evening before their February meeting to watch “Spotlight,” the Oscar-nominated movie based on The Boston Globe’s coverage of abuse scandals 14 years ago.

Peter Saunders, a British member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors led by Boston Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, told Crux that some members watched the film Thursday night at the Domus Santa Marta, the hotel on Vatican grounds where the pope lives.

Francis was not present.

On background, a Vatican official said Friday this was not a formal viewing, but rather something arranged independently by some members of the commission. The viewing was first reported by The Los Angeles Times.

“The movie is excellent,” said Saunders, himself a survivor of sexual abuse. “Every Catholic should watch it, and certainly all the clergy.”

From the age of 8 until he was 13, Saunders was sexually abused by a member of his family, a lay teacher, and two priests of the Catholic school he attended in the United Kingdom.

Victim tells story; jury to deliberate

LOUISIANA
American Press

Last Modified: Friday, February 05, 2016

Crystal Stevenson / American Press

A state district court jury will begin deliberations today in the case of former priest Mark Broussard, who is accused of sexually assaulting a then 8-year-old altar boy at St. Henry Catholic Church in the late 1980s and early ’90s.

Broussard is charged with molestation of a juvenile, oral sexual battery, aggravated oral sexual battery and two counts of aggravated rape.

On Thursday, prosecutors called their last witness, a man who said Broussard sexually assaulted him in the LSU-Eunice student center in the summer of 1981 — a charge to which Broussard admitted in 1988.

The victim, who was 14 at the time, said his relationship with Broussard began when he was an altar boy at Our Lady Immaculate Catholic Church in Jennings. He said Broussard would frequently travel to Jennings to help with services at the church and that is where the two met.

“It was at first fun,” he said of their friendship. “With me and a couple other buddies, he took us on day trips to farms, check out the roosters, wrestle on the front lawn. He acted like he was one of us. He was in his late 20s. It was like he was a fun adult.”

Priest escapes jail after police raid his church and find more than 3,000 images of children

UNITED KINGDOM
The Argus

Gareth Davies, Reporter

A PRIEST has escaped jail after his church was raided and more than 3,000 indecent images of children were found.

Paul Clarke, 71, a Roman Catholic priest, admitted a number of offences relating to indecent images of children.

One concerned his possession of an indecent image of a child, another concerned his possession of prohibited images, and three concerned his making a total of 3,100 indecent images of children.

Officers had executed a search warrant at Clarke's Rye address, the residential presbytery attached to St Anthony's Church, onNovember 13, 2014, and seized computers and related material.

All the offences involved images taken from the Internet.

There is no evidence of contact offending and none of the images are of local children.

Priest Paul Clarke admits possessing 3,100 indecent child images

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC News

A Roman Catholic priest has pleaded guilty to possessing more than 3,000 indecent images of children.

Paul Clarke, 71, from East Sussex, but now living in Manchester, was given an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, at Lewes Crown Court.

He admitted possessing an indecent image of a child, possession of prohibited images.

Clarke, of Redclyffe Road, Urmston, was put on the sex offenders' register for 10 years.

The court, where he was also given an indefinite sexual harm prevention order restricting his access to computers, was told he had a total of 3,100 indecent images.

Massive overhaul slated for Chicago Archdiocese

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Tribune

Manya Brachear Pashman
Chicago Tribune

A radical overhaul in the nation's third-largest Roman Catholic archdiocese could shutter many of the Chicago church's houses of worship by 2030 as it reckons with dilapidated buildings and an expected shortage of priests, sources say.

Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich told priests and advisers in meetings in recent weeks that the shortage — an estimated 240 priests available in 2030 for Chicago's 351 parishes — could necessitate closings and consolidations, according to the sources.

Based primarily on those projections and on future capital needs, the priests who attended the meetings say a large number of churches could close over the next 14 years. Several of those priests who attended the sessions with the archbishop shared details about the reorganization process with the Tribune, some requesting anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the discussion and because they didn't have permission to speak on behalf of the archdiocese.

Officials at the archdiocese, contacted Thursday, said they could not answer any of the Tribune's questions.

The reorganization process will kick into high gear next week when auxiliary bishops begin meeting with lay leaders and parish staff in their regions to discuss solutions.

Steubenville police had investigated former seminary student in 2015 after he offered to babysit kids

CALIFORNIA/OHIO
NBC4i

SAN DIEGO (WCMH)–A former seminary student from Columbus remains in jail in California tonight after waiving his right to a detention hearing.

Joel Wright was back in federal court. According to the San Diego Times, he agreed to be held without bail until his preliminary hearing and arraignment on Feb. 25.

Wright was arrested in San Diego last Friday after police say he was planning a trip to Mexico with the intent of having sex with a child. If convicted, he faces 30 years to life in prison on the most serious charge.

Wright had come to the attention of authorities before. Steubenville police investigated Wright last year when a woman reported he had offered to pay someone $150 on Craigslist to watch children.

The ad said parents could stay with the children, see how it goes and then leave to go shopping or to a movie. Wright told a mother who responded to the ad that he was a student at Franciscan University.

Police investigated, but did not find anyone at the address tied to the ad.

How The So-Called Tipster Scammed, Then Exposed Joel Wright

OHIO
TV10

By 10TV Web Staff
Friday February 5, 2016

The man who claims he's the ICE informant who exposed Joel Wright on his alleged quest for child rape made no secret that he intended to swindle the 23-year-old seminary student. He tells 10TV exclusively that he planned on robbing Wright when he arrived in Tijuana, Mexico, where he believed he would “adopt” a child for the purpose of having sex.

The alleged informant says he stumbled upon Wright on Craigslist looking for a tour guide in Tijuana. The man says Wright told him he wanted to adopt a child between 2 and 3-years-old.

The alleged informant says he fully played along with the scheme and told Wright to send him money. He believes Wright sent him “no less than $1,500,” and probably closer to $2,000. When Wright arrived at a Tijuana hotel room in July 2014 in hopes of supposedly adopting a child for sex, the informant took the cash from him and never returned. Days later, the 23-year-old student returned to the U.S.

The informant says he alerted authorities after Wright began telling him explicit details about his plans to buy children to rape, and after he told him he molested a baby girl one year earlier.

The criminal complaint corroborates the story and reveals Wright was set to board a plane again in December 2015 for Tijuana when investigators say he called the whole thing off.

"Please don't ever contact me again for anything," Wright e-mailed.

The informant tells 10TV federal agents accused him of tipping Wright off, an accusation he denies. “[I told the agents] what are you talking about? I want you guys to get this guy because he's crazy.”

HI--Victims blast Hawaii church officials over “window dressing”

HAWAII
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Friday, Feb. 5

Statement by Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach CA, western regional director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (949 322 7434, jcasteix@gmail.com)

Hawaii Catholic officials are trotting out the same old claims of “reform” that bishops have cited for decades in the continuing abuse and cover up crisis in the church.

[Hawaii News Now]

According to Hawaii News Now, the Honolulu diocese is taking a few steps, including:

--Priests must keep office doors open when they’re with kids. But does anyone really think this will stop a child molesting cleric?

--Priests from elsewhere who are allowed to work in Hawaii by Honolulu Bishop Clarence Silva must now present a “letter of suitability” from their own bishop. But this has been a requirement in the church worldwide for decades. It’s yet another example of written church policies that sound good on paper but are, at best, sporadically enforced.

--Hiring a social worker to oversee safety policies. But virtually every US diocese did this 14 years ago, as mandated by a belated, grudgingly adopted and largely unenforced national church policy. So again, this is no real sign of progress.

Standards like this in the church are meaningless. Why? Because almost never are church employees disciplined for violating them. So they are widely ignored.

Here’s the bottom line: Policies don't protect kids. Decisive action protects kids. As long as Hawaii church officials refuse to

--publicly expose all those who committed child sex crimes and

--publicly punish all those who concealed child sex crimes,

All the policies, protocols, procedures and pledges on earth won’t do a thing to protect children.

Considering Pre-'Spotlight' Reporting on Sexual Abuse by Catholic Priests

UNITED STATES
City Beat

BY BEN L. KAUFMAN · FEBRUARY 5TH, 2016

Thirty years ago, Jason Berry and National Catholic Reporter ignited Americans’ awareness of sexual abuse by Catholic priests. Yup, it’s been in the news media at least that long.
Twenty-four years ago, Boston Globe’s Alison Bass wrote about a Massachusetts priest accused of molesting at least 100 altar boys and girls.

Fourteen years ago, the Globe’s “Spotlight” investigative team produced the first of its stories about priestly sexual abuse and hierarchy coverup.

Now, the film Spotlight tells the Boston Globe story and is nominated for Best Picture of 2015.

Missing from much of the adulation in the news media is credit for the Berry/NCR courage and pioneering investigative journalism and the reporting by Alison Bass and her Boston Globe colleagues.

It’s as if no gruff old editor growled, “Did you check the clips?”

Berry’s been at our dinner table, talking shop; I’d been a longtime NCR correspondent in Minneapolis and Cincinnati and the Enquirer religion reporter.

On The Eve Of Clerical Sex Abuse Commission Meeting, The Vatican Held A Screening Of ‘Spotlight’

UNITED STATES
Think Progress

BY JESSICA GOLDSTEIN FEB 5, 2016

Spotlight, a Best Picture contender at the Oscars, is a gripping exploration of how reporters at the Boston Globe revealed rampant sexual abuse among priests in Boston and the lengths to which the clergy went to keep those crimes under-wraps.

On Thursday, the movie was screened for a special audience: The Vatican commission on clerical sex abuse.

As the L.A. Times reports, the private screening took place in the church where Pope Francis (when Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio) stayed before he was elected as pope in 2013. The viewing kicked off a three-day meeting of the commission.

The commission includes survivors of the church abuse, like Peter Saunders, who was abused by a Catholic priest as a child and told the Times that now is “a good moment for the pope” to see Spotlight.

The screening was closed to journalists. The pope, reportedly, did not attend, and the Vatican has not released an official statement on Spotlight. Pope Francis has been criticized before for not doing enough to aid victims of the abuse. Last year, he appointed Chilean Bishop Juan Barros to the diocese of Osorno in Chile. Saunders told the Times that there were “very credible” accusations that Barros “covered up for a predator priest, Father Fernando Karadima, who was punished by the Vatican.” From the Times:

Last May, Francis told a group of Chileans to ignore Barros’ critics, who include survivors of abuse by Karadima.

“Think with your heads and do not be led by the noses by the lefties who orchestrated this whole thing,” Francis said.

“Francis has said phenomenally damaging and painful things about survivors,” said Saunders.

“People in Chile now see the commission as a laughingstock, and I cannot pretend the commission means anything unless he sacks Barros.”

The abuse commission was established by Francis in 2014. It marked Francis’ first official response to the sexual abuse of children by priests and, when it was announced by Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the archbishop of Boston, was immediately met with criticism by sex abuse victims and the organizations that support them.

Pope Francis’ Personal Income: €428 Million in 2013

UNITED STATES
The Open Tabernacle: Here Comes Everybody

Posted on February 5, 2016 by Betty Clermont

The Peter’s Pence collection totaled €378 million in 2013. (1 euro = 1.10 dollar) Peter’s Pence is an annual collection from Catholics worldwide asked to donate to the pope’s charitable works.
The Vatican Bank’s annual profits are also “offered the Holy Father in support of his apostolic and charitable ministry.” This was €50 million in 2013.

While popes have used the bank’s profits to support the Vatican’s administration as they see fit, the Peter’s Pence donations are intended to be given entirely to charity.

Pope Francis makes only 20 percent of the Peter’s Pence collection available for the poor as disclosed by Gianluigi Nuzzi, in his book Merchants in the Temple, released in November 2015. This was confirmed by Pope Francis’ chief of staff, Archbishop Becciu, last month. The archbishop said if even 60 per cent of Peter’s Pence was given to charity “we would have to immediately fire 400 people” out of the current 4,000 Vatican employees.

“It is important to point out that the Vatican is not broke. Apart from the pension fund, which needs to be strengthened for the demands on it in 15 or 20 years, the Holy See is paying its way, while possessing substantial assets and investments,” Pope Francis’ financial czar, Cardinal George Pell, wrote in December 2014. “In fact, we have discovered that the situation is much healthier than it seemed, because some hundreds of millions of euros were tucked away in particular sectional accounts and did not appear on the balance sheet,” he continued.

An April 2015 article in Italy’s financial newspaper, Il Sole 24 Ore, stated the Vatican’s assets – securities, investments, real estate, bank accounts – for all its departments combined would be around €15-17 billion “by a conservative estimate”

Oproep

BELGIE
Bert Smeets

[Open call. Because there are xx * victims of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in Belgium.
We launch this appeal to all the Belgians who were molested in their childhood or their youth and abused by the clergy of the Catholic Church in Belgium and which have hitherto never filed a complaint.]

Brussel, woensdag 10 februari 2016

Open oproep

Vanwege xx* slachtoffers van seksueel misbruik in de katholieke kerk in België
Wij lanceren deze oproep aan alle Belgen die in hun kindertijd of in hun jeugdjaren werden aangerand en misbruikt door de clerus van de katholieke kerk in België en die daar tot op heden nooit een klacht hebben over ingediend.

Alleen al binnen de werking Mensenrechten in de kerk gaat het om ongeveer 50% van de meer dan 950 mensen die ons hierover hebben aangesproken.

SAVONA: Pedofilia, Dai Giudici Accuse Alla Curia

ITALIA
Rete L'Abuso

SAVONA. Amarezza, «amarezza per una vicenda che,prima che processuale, umana» di un giovane seminarista che «per anni privo di una qualunque tutela, inascoltato dai genitori, percosso dal padre e ignorato dai vertici della curia, il cui unico interesse sembra fosse quello di salvaguardare l’immagine della Diocesi piuttosto che la salute fisica e psichica dei fanciulli affidati al seminario per assumere a loro volta, l’alto e gravoso incarico di pastori di anime» Un macigno. Un decreto di archiviazione ancora più pesante di un’eventuale condanna quello depositato nei giorni scorsi dal giudice delle indagini preliminari Fiorenza Giorgi nell’ambito di un procedimento a carico di don Pietro Pinetto per calunnia nei confronti della sua vittima e di chiunque avesse riportato quei fatti (due giornalisti e Francesco Zanardi).

The Incredible Story of Spotlight's Phil Saviano: The Child Sex Abuse Survivor Who Refused to Be Silenced by the Catholic Church

UNITED STATES
People

BY MIKE MILLER 02/05/2016

He no longer belongs to any sort of organized religion, but Phil Saviano, whose pivotal role in exposing the child sex abuse scandal within the Catholic Church is showcased in the Oscar-nominated film Spotlight, appears to have had something almost like divine intervention on his side.

For instance, if he hadn't been flipping through The Boston Globe looking for last minute Christmas presents in December of 1992, he might have never stumbled across a report that the priest who raped him as a child was arrested for doing the same thing to two boys in New Mexico.

"That was my big life-changing moment because I was very much surprised and just stunned," Saviano, 63, tells PEOPLE. "It was just sort of a one shot, fairly short story in the Globe, not even in the front section, I could've easily missed it. But I didn't."

The news of his abuser's arrest could not have come at a more pivotal point in his life. At the time, Saviano had been diagnosed with AIDS and was not given long to live. But living so close to the edge of death finally gave him the courage to speak out about his abuse.

"The truth of the matter is that AIDS freed me up to do some things that I might not have had the courage otherwise to do, and going public about my abuse at the age of 40 is one of them," he admits.

And if it weren't for his seemingly fatal illness, Saviano believes the church would never have allowed him to take his settlement money – a measly $15,500 – without signing their customary nondisclosure agreement.

Abuse survivor on Vatican panel criticises Francis for not joining meetings

VATICAN CITY
Catholic Herald (UK)

A British abuse campaigner appointed to serve on a Vatican commission has said he would be outraged if the Pope failed to attend their meetings.

Peter Saunders, who was abused by a priest as a child, had been handpicked by the Pope to serve on a Vatican sex abuse commission in 2014. But he told the Times this week that he had asked the Pope to appear at a three-day meeting of the commission, which starts today, to defend his record.

He told the paper: “It will be outrageous if he doesn’t attend and I will say so.”

The Pope set up the commission with promises to clean up the Church after a decade-long sex abuse scandal that uncovered abuse by priests of minors in several countries. Last year he created a new tribunal that punished bishops for covering up.

Mr Saunders, who founded the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, has also criticised the appointment of the Chilean Bishop Juan Barros to the Diocese of Osorno. Bishop Barros was accused of covering up an abusive priest, and even witnessing abuse.

“People in Chile now see the commission as a laughing stock and I cannot pretend the commission means anything unless [the Pope] sacks Barros,” Mr Saunders said.

Sexueller Missbrauch: Die Kinder schützen - und die potenziellen Täter

DEUTSCHLAND
Spiegel

[Police crime statistics show about 40 children in Germany are victims of sexual abuse each day.]

Von Jana Hauschild

Pro Tag werden etwa 40 Kinder in Deutschland Opfer von sexuellem Missbrauch - so die Polizeiliche Kriminalstatistik. Doch das sind bei Weitem nicht alle Übergriffe.

Psychologen und Mediziner aus Regensburg, Bonn, Hamburg, Ulm und Dresden haben deshalb nachgeforscht. Sie haben untersucht, was unterhalb des Polizei-Radars geschieht. Die Ergebnisse sind bemerkenswert.

Das Mikado-Projekt offenbart in drei großangelegten, anonymen Befragungen eine genauere Schätzung zum tatsächlichen Ausmaß der Vergehen. Und es liefert Ansatzpunkte, wie sich sexueller Missbrauch verhindern lässt - auf Seiten der Opfer und der Täter.

Genfer Priester missbraucht Teenager (17)

SCHWEIZ
20min

[A Catholic priest is said to have sexually abused a 17-year-old in Geneva. He was relieved of his duties, but is at large.]

Bevor er verhaftet wurde, war der 75-jährige Priester, der in drei Kirchgemeinden im Kanton Genf arbeitete, beliebt. Im Pfarrblatt bedankte man sich Ende August bei ihm mit einem kleinen Text für seine «beeindruckende Präsenz», seine Dienstbarkeit und seinen Anstand.

Worte, die nachhallen, wenn man weiss, welchen bleibenden Eindruck der Geistliche offenbar bei einem 17-Jährigen hinterliess. Der junge Mann, der als sehr religiös beschrieben wird, besuchte regelmässig eine der Kirchen, in der der Priester seit rund einem Jahr tätig war. Eine Frau erinnert sich an ihn: «Man sah ihn immer in der Messe, ein toller Junge», sagt sie zu «Le Matin».

Gewalt und Missbrauch: Wer Opfer ist, bestimmen immer noch wir!

DEUTSCHLAND
Regensburg Digital

Trotz „Chefaufklärer“ Ulrich Weber und trotz Kuratorium zur Aufarbeitung von Gewalt und Missbrauch bei den Domspatzen: Dem bischöflichen Ordinariat geht es anscheinend weniger um die Betroffenen. Es agiert wie von Anfang an, weiter taktisch. Es geht um die Rettung der in ihrer Existenz bedrohten Domspatzen. Betroffene aus anderen Einrichtungen sind Opfer zweiter Klasse.

Von Robert Werner und Stefan Aigner

Sechs Jahre sind bald vergangen, seit der ehemalige Domschüler Manfred van Hove in einer Talkshow als erster öffentlich systematischen sexuellen Missbrauch bei den „Domspatzen“ beklagte. Sechs Jahre, in denen das Bistum Regensburg versuchte, Missbrauch und Gewalt in seinen Einrichtungen zu verschleiern, kleinzureden und die Betroffenen durch unwürdige Behandlung, Ignoranz und Diffamierung zum Schweigen zu bringen. Selbst vor Klagedrohungen schreckte man nicht zurück.

Klage in Missbrauchsfall kam zu spät

SCHWEIZ
Tagblatt

[Action in abuse case came too late. The European Court of Human Rights dismissed the complaint of Walter Nowak who suffered physical and sexual abuse at the orphanage at the Fischingen monastery 40 years ago. Nowak's lawyer criticized substantive errors in judgment from Strasbourg.]

Der Europäische Gerichtshof für Menschenrechte hat die Beschwerde von Walter Nowak abgewiesen. Der körperliche und sexuelle Missbrauch im Kinderheim Fischingen liege über 40 Jahre zurück und sei damit verjährt. Nowaks Anwalt bemängelt inhaltliche Fehler im Urteil aus Strassburg.

KATHARINA BRENNER

«Wir sind sehr enttäuscht», sagt Philip Stolkin. Der Zürcher Anwalt vertritt Walter Nowak bei der Klage gegen das ehemalige Kinderheim des Klosters Fischingen. Nowak beklagt, dort zwischen 1962 und 1972 körperlich und sexuell missbraucht worden zu sein. Das Bundesgericht wies die Klage wegen Verjährung ab. Jetzt argumentiert der Europäische Gerichtshof für Menschenrechte (EGMR) gleich. Angebliche Misshandlungen könnten nach 40 Jahren nicht mehr verfolgt werden. «Die Verjährung ist nicht mehr als Täterschutz», sagt Stolkin.

Vatican Commission on Sex Abuse Holds Private ‘Spotlight’ Screening

ROME
Hollywood Reporter

by Ariston Anderson 2/5/2016

The three-day meetings will aim to find ways to protect children from clergy abuse.

A new commission at the Vatican to combat sex abuse within the Catholic Church kicked off Thursday with a private screening of the Oscar-nominated film Spotlight, a searing look into the journalists who uncovered the abuses that persisted for decades within the Boston Catholic Church.

“The film is extremely worrying about the cover-up of abuse in the Catholic Church, and I think it would be a good moment for the pope to see it,” Peter Saunders, an anti-abuse campaigner and member of the commission told the L.A. Times.

The commission was set up by Pope Francis in 2014 and aims to find ways of protecting children from clergy abuse. The pontiff also set up a new tribunal last year to prosecute bishops accused of covering up for priests. But the leader of the Catholic Church has also been accused of not doing enough, as well as of promoting people who have covered up crimes.

At Spotlight’s premiere in Venice last year, director Tom McCarthy called on the Vatican to take further action. “I remain after making this movie pessimistic toward change within the Catholic Church,” he said. “I was raised catholic. My family is very catholic. I think I understand it to some extent. But words are one things and actions are another. I have high hopes for Pope Francis but I think what actually changes remains to be seen so I guess we just have to wait.”

Actor Mark Ruffalo said at the time: “I hope the Vatican will use this movie as a perfect opportunity to begin to right these wrongs, not just for the victims and their destroyed lives, but for all the people who have lost a way to order a chaotic world for themselves.”

El Club' Movie: A Searing Look at the Failings of the Catholic Church

UNITED STATES
Latin Post

By David Salazar (staff@latinpost.com)

Taking down the Catholic Church for its corruption is among the most prominent tasks of filmmakers these days. "Spotlight," the current Oscar front-runner, takes an investigative approach, discovering the infamy from the outside. But the best take on the Catholic Church's problematic politicking is actually from Chile.

Directed by rising star director Pablo Larrain, "The Club" takes us into a home where former priests waste away their days in a species of exile. One day, yet another fallen "angel" arrives in the house but is immediately forced to confront his dark history. His response is that of suicide, forcing the church to send over a priest to seek out the events behind the death.

The film's opening reel sets up the rather relaxed lifestyle of four priests in this household. They drink, they gamble and they train a dog to race, all considered inappropriate for men of their stature. These scenes actually humanize the men; Larrain's withholding of information to this point only adds to the ability for the audience to connect emotionally with these men. We slowly gather rather painful information about their past actions, but Larrain actually does a fantastic job of balancing the equation. During one interrogation with young and by-the-books priest Garcia (Marcelo Alonso), each of the men gets a chance to justify their inappropriate behavior. While some of it is certainly disgusting, Larrain's use of straight-on close-ups on each man puts the viewer right in the middle of the action, almost as if the men were speaking directly to the audience. It is painful to endure, but also asks the audience to recognize these characters as flawed humans who acted on their basic instinct. Exonerating them is the objective, but rethinking our judgement is on some level.

On the other hand, Larrain shows how Garcia, the perfect representation of the church, creates the dreadful behavior by his constant repression of the other men around him. By pushing against their desires, he winds up hurting them all the more.

Minnesota lawmakers: 70,000 reports of child abuse in 2014

MINNESOTA
Fox 9

By: Tim Blotz
POSTED:FEB 04 2016

ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - Lawmakers in St. Paul are considering initiatives to better protect children who are either neglected or abused. It's driving a huge discussion at the Capitol to change laws, and also give families, social workers, and foster parents more support.

This is largely inspired by a single case back in 2013 when a young boy named Eric Dean died at the hands of his step-mother. The abuse was reported to Pope County 15 times, yet his case still fell through the cracks. To this day, it's still a case that haunts lawmakers.

According to the legislative child protection task force that met Thursday, 604 children were taken out of their homes by the courts in 2014, and there were 70,000 reports. 77 percent of the abuse claims were directed against a biological parent.

Youth pastor, school volunteer charged with sex crimes

KENTUCKY
WAVE

Posted by Brad Hawley

WALTON, KY (FOX19) -
A youth pastor at the New Banklick Baptist Church in Walton is facing sexual abuse charges, church officials confirm.

Joseph Niemeyer, 53, is facing three felony counts of Sexual Abuse, Rape and Sodomy. He is accused of sexually abusing a 7-year-old girl over a three-year period, court documents show.

"Mr. Niemeyer actually came to the Independence Police Department and spoke to detectives and basically self-reported," Kenton County Prosecutor Rob Sanders said.

Court documents show the alleged abuse occurred at Niemeyer's home in Independence.

"Mr. Niemeyer volunteered at Twenhofel Middle School for the past three years,” said Jess Dykes who is a spokesperson for the Kenton County School District.

Dykes said Niemeyer helped as a volunteer with a group known as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. The group he worked with is a very small group of sixth, seventh and eighth graders who meet once a week before school, according to Dykes.

Hawaii Catholic Church bolsters training, hires director to prevent sex abuse

HAWAII
Hawaii News Now

By Keoki Kerr

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
Officials with the Catholic Church in Hawaii said they have created policies and trained thousands to prevent sexual abuse of children by priests that was a problem nationwide and in Hawaii decades ago.

The Hawaii diocese and Catholic churches in Hawaii are preparing to spend at least $20 million to settle dozens of lawsuits filed mostly by men who said they were molested from the 1950s through the 1980s. The church has settled more than 30 of 40 abuse lawsuits through a mediation process that’s scheduled to conclude later this month.

In recent years, the Catholic Church in Hawaii has encouraged churches to install windows in office doors, literally making things more transparent, and recommended that priests leave their office doors open when meeting with a child one-on-one.

"When they are in the care of our church, we want to make sure we are providing the safest environment possible for them," said licensed social worker Kristin Leandro, who is director of safe environment for the Catholic Church in Hawaii. The church elevated her position from part-time to full-time a year and a half ago to oversee screening, training and response efforts.

Leandro said the church has been requiring criminal background checks on priests and volunteers who work with children since 2002.

Did State Police know about abuse allegations against Santa Fe teacher?

NEW MEXICO
Albuquerque Journal

By Mark Oswald / Journal Staff Writer
Thursday, February 4th, 2016

SANTA FE — An arrest warrant affidavit filed by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office this week stated that State Police may have known about alleged sexual abuse by a Santa Fe Catholic school teacher in 2012, and now State Police say they’re conducting an internal investigation as to why no charges were ever filed.

In another development, the Journal confirmed that after his initial arrest in January for alleged improper touching of a girl at Santo Niño Regional Catholic School, a judge gave teacher Aaron Dean Chavez permission to attend a pro football playoff game in Denver. But Chavez’s lawyer says Chavez didn’t go.

Chavez, 47, was arrested again by Santa Fe deputies Tuesday on four charges of sexual criminal contact of a minor after more four girls came forward and said Chavez sexually molested them at Santo Niño as far back as 2007. Chavez was initially arrested Jan. 20 for one count of sexual criminal contact of a minor after a 6-year-old female student told her parents that Chavez touched her private areas as he was tucking in her shirt during art class last month. He was released on bond and GPS monitoring a day after the first arrest.

An affidavit from the sheriff’s office says two 14-year-old girls alerted Santo Niño principal Theresa Vaisa in 2012 that Chavez touched their buttocks while he bounced them on his lap when they were in his first-grade class in 2007. State Police were also notified of those incidents, but charges were never brought and Chavez continued to work at the school. On Thursday, State Police Chief Pete Kassetas said in a statement that there is now an internal investigation into why no charges were filed and he says disciplinary action may be taken.

Why is Cardinal George Pell avoiding Australia? Here is some background

AUSTRALIA
Broken Rites

By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 5 February 2016

Cardinal George Pell is feeling "too sick" to face the Catholic Church's victims in Australia but he is healthy enough to continue his big job in Rome as one of the Vatican's top leaders. This Broken Rites article examines some of the background to Pell's reluctance to re-visit Australia to appear in person at this country's national child-abuse Royal Commission.

The Royal Commission met on 5 February 2016 to examine whether Cardinal George Pell is prepared to appear in the witness box in Australia later in February to answer questions about how the Catholic Church, historically, has dealt with clergy sexual abuse in two Australian cities — Melbourne and Ballarat. The answer, from Pell's lawyer, is: "No."

Since May 2015, the Royal Commission has been holding a series of occasional public hearings to obtain information about the archdiocese of Melbourne (covering the Melbourne metropolitan area) and the diocese of Ballarat (covering the western half of the state of Victoria). The Melbourne inquiry is Case Study 35, while Ballarat is Case Study 28.

George Pell, who was born in Ballarat, was originally a priest in the Ballarat diocese. He was later the archbishop of Melbourne (from 1996 to 2001) and then became the archbishop of Sydney before gaining his current senior role in the Vatican.

During a four-weeks public hearing in November-December 2015, the Royal Commission examined a series of submissions concerning clergy sexual crimes in Melbourne and Ballarat. The Royal Commission heard from victims in Ballarat and Melbourne who alleged that church leaders had been ignoring or concealing these crimes. The Commission also questioned priests from Ballarat and Melbourne who replied to many of the Commission's questions by uttering the legal strategy: "I do not remember"or "I cannot recall".

Tactic used to reject residential-school claims goes against apology: AFN chief

CANADA
The Globe and Mail

GLORIA GALLOWAY
OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Feb. 04, 2016

The head of Canada’s largest indigenous organization says the government acted counter to its own apology for the treatment of children at Indian residential schools when it used a technical argument to deny compensation to many of those who were abused.

The 2008 apology was made the year after the implementation of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement involving the government, the survivors and the churches that ran the schools. In it, former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper asked on behalf of Canada for the “forgiveness of the aboriginal peoples of this country for failing them so profoundly.”

Two years later, Justice Department lawyers working under Mr. Harper’s government began to argue in compensation hearings that more than 50 of the schools listed in the settlement agreement ceased to be residential schools in the 1950s and 1960s when Ottawa took over the operation of the educational facilities and left the churches responsible for only the dormitories – a move known as the administrative split. Justice lawyers successfully argued that students who were sexually or physically assaulted after that time in any place but the dormitories were not abused at a residential school and were, therefore, not entitled to payment for their suffering.

Former Sydney archbishop did not understand effects of sexual abuse on children, royal commission hears

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By Emilie Gramenz

A former Sydney Anglican archbishop has told a royal commission he did not understand the long-term effects of sexual abuse on children.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has heard allegations of a multi-state paedophile ring operating within Church of England Boys Society (CEBS).

Former Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, who retired in 2013, has told the Hobart hearing that even in the 1990s many in the clergy did not understand the real nature of perpetrators, or the long-term impacts of child sexual abuse.

"Even though I occupied a senior position in the church, I still wasn't fully aware of the impact that such abuse has on survivors and their families," he said.

Under the Spotlight – the journalist as hero(ine)

AUSTRALIA
The Conversation

Brian McNair
Professor of Journalism, Media and Communication, Queensland University of Technology

I have been in Tasmania these last few days, by coincidence at the same time as the royal commission has held hearings in Hobart into paedophilia in the Church of England in which senior Christian clerics have been apologising for the sexual abuse of children and young people. Meanwhilem the new film Spotlight, directed by Tom McCarthy, has been winning multiple industry awards (and is a hot tip for Oscar success).

Spotlight tells the story of how, in the early 2000s, investigative journalists in Boston broke the first stories of child sexual abuse by the Catholic Church, setting off a wave of scandals which has spread around the world and has still not subsided.

In an era when journalists come in for a lot of stick from politicians and publics regarding their propensity for bias, or for sensationalism and sleaze in the pursuit of audiences, the film reminds us why journalism matters, and the good work so many times of its practitioners do on our behalf.

In Spotlight, the journalists and their editors at the Boston Globe take on one of the world’s most powerful and secretive institutions. They expose the moral corruption that great and (until that moment) largely unaccountable power breeds.

Like the iconic All The President’s Men of 40 years ago, Spotlight is a work of popular cinematic art which celebrates the good things that journalists do, and the risks they often take in the process. Where last year’s Nightcrawler depicted the very worst that mainstream journalism can be, with its villainous sleaze monger played to creepy perfection by Jake Gyllenhaal, Spotlight represents the journalist as hero, and highlights the function of journalism as a Fourth Estate telling truth to power in the manner without which our modern democracies could not survive.

Church ethos led to abuse failures: Jensen

AUSTRALIA
Gold Coast Bulletin

AAP

Sydney's former Anglican archbishop Peter Jensen has apologised for the church's past handling of child sex abuse allegations but says he probably would have made the same mistakes in an era when the impact of pedophilia was misunderstood by many.

Now-retired Bishop Jensen on Friday sat through the "absolutely heart-wrenching" evidence of a Sydney man who recounted four years of abuse by a leader at the Church of England Boys' Society at St Ives Christ Church, which began when he was 10.

Simon Jacobs is in prison for his abuse of three boys, including this victim who cannot be named for legal reasons.

Bishop Jensen, who in his role as archbishop in 2002 apologised to the man, thanked him and his mother for having the strength to share their story.

Visits to Bell’s palace were my girlhood ordeal, paper told

UNITED KINGDOM
Church Times

by Hattie Williams

Posted: 05 Feb 2016

THE survivor who raised allegations of sexual abuse by a former Bishop of Chichester, George Bell, has given her account in public for the first time.

In an interview with The Argus, a newspaper in Brighton and Hove, the survivor, who has chosen to remain anonymous, describes being repeatedly molested by Bishop Bell over a four-year period, from the age of five.

She said that a relative who worked at the Bishop’s Palace in Chichester would often take her there, “usually for two or three days at a time, sometimes a week”, as a favour to her mother, who was looking after a large family.

Bell would take her to a private room under the guise of reading her a bedtime story, she said, and sit her on his lap, before moving his hands over her thighs and interfering with her. “He said it was our little secret, because God loved me,” she told the paper, on Wednesday.

The survivor, who is now in her seventies, first reported the abuse in a letter to the Bishop of Chichester, Dr Eric Kemp, in August 1995. She said that she had done so after struggling with “feelings of guilt” for decades.

Former priest Mark Broussard on trial - Day 4

LOUISIANA
KPLC

By Theresa Schmidt

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -
A fourth man who said he was sexually abused by ex-priest Mark Broussard took the witness stand Thursday during the trial's fourth day of testimony.

The witness sometimes had difficulty speaking, as he choked up recalling what he said happened to him when he was 14-years-old in Eunice.

Mark Anthony Broussard, 60, is on trial related to accusations that he molested and raped altar boys when he was a priest at St. Henry and Our Lady Queen of Heaven catholic churches n the 1980s and 1990s. He is charged with molestation of a juvenile, oral sexual battery, aggravated oral sexual battery and two counts of aggravated rape.

The four witnesses who said they were sexually abused by Broussard tell similar stories about how he befriended them, gained their trust and then took their innocence in ways that wreaked havoc in their lives. All describe varying degrees of mental illness, alcohol and drug abuse and difficulty trusting others. All said they kept what had happened secret for many years. All sought counseling for various issues, including PTSD, depression and substance abuse.

The fourth witness was 14 in 1981 and Broussard, not yet a priest, was in his 20s. The witness' father had died that year and he welcomed the companionship of what he called a "fun adult." The witness testified that Broussard bought him alcohol and he became intoxicated.

Review: ‘The Club’ Sees the World Through the Eyes of Damaged Souls

UNITED STATES
New York Times

By A. O. SCOTT
FEB. 4, 2016

Tom McCarthy’s “Spotlight,” deservedly nominated for a bunch of Oscars, examines evil from the outside, shining a beam of journalistic illumination at the abuse and corruption that festered within the Roman Catholic hierarchy for decades. “The Club,” the latest feature from the Chilean writer-director Pablo Larraín, looks at the same issue from the inside out, bringing the viewer into an uncomfortable state of intimacy with the perpetrators of hideous crimes.

Not that the four men and one woman at the center of this clammy, unsettling film regard themselves that way, or look that way to their neighbors. The five of them live in a neat, yellow-painted house in a small coastal town, where they share meals and strolls along the beach and devote themselves to training their beloved racing dog. His winnings pad the household budget, and while their lives are hardly opulent, the members of this group of outcasts seem to enjoy a measure of peace.

That changes when a new priest joins the club. Almost as soon as he arrives, a disturbed, raggedly dressed man who calls himself Sandokan (Roberto Farías) shows up outside the house and relates, at the top of his lungs and in pornographic detail, a story of sexual abuse. Violence ensues, and in its aftermath an official from the Vatican — a Jesuit named Father García (Marcelo Alonso) — hangs around to investigate and to bring his disgraced colleagues into line.

Brisbane archbishop says abusers may have traded boys interstate

AUSTRALIA
Brisbane Times

One of Australia's most senior Anglican leaders says evidence suggests boys were traded interstate by pedophiles linked to the church.

But Brisbane archbishop Phillip Aspinall said whether there was a "ring" of sex abusers operating during the 1970s, `80s and `90s is a matter for the royal commission to decide.

The leader of the Brisbane diocese, who boasts a near-life-long association with the church which started as an eight-year-old member of the Church of England Boys' Society (CEBS), on Thursday gave evidence at a public hearing in Hobart.

"Certainly there were abusers who knew each other," Archbishop Aspinall said.

"There seems to have been evidence that some abusers sent boys from one state to another state where they were abused."

Man Accused of Setting Up Sex With Kids Held

CALIFORNIA
Courthouse News Service

By BIANCA BRUNO

SAN DIEGO (CN) - An Ohio seminary student who was arrested by federal authorities on suspicion of trying to buy Mexican children will remain behind bars until his arraignment later this month.

U.S. District Judge Bernard Skomal heard from defendant Joel Alexander Wright, 23, who shuffled into the courtroom wearing an orange jumpsuit, spectacles and ankle shackles. Through his attorney Greg Murphy, Wright waived his right to a detention hearing until he is arraigned later this month.

Wright was arrested by federal authorities on Jan. 29 at the San Diego International Airport on suspicion of travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct and aggravated sexual abuse of a child.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Alessandra Serano said the two violations Wright has been accused of carry a maximum sentence of 60 years to life in prison.

Federal prosecutors say that while attending school to become a priest at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio, Wright unwittingly corresponded with a federal agent posing as a Tijuana tour guide who would procure infants for Wright to have sex with.

Spotlight: Controversial Film On Child Abuse Gets No Cuts

INDIA
SKJ Bollywood

by Subhash K Jha

"Spotlight, the hardhitting film that tells the traumatizing story of a true-life Roman Catholic priest who sexually abused over 80 young children, has just been cleared by the Censor Board Of Film Certification(CBFC) ."

Most surprisingly, the film has been passed with no cuts. Spotlight comes at a time when the trial of the priest Father Johnson Lawrence accused of sexual abuse of a 13-year old boy occupies centrestage in Mumbai.

Says Pahlaj Nihalani , “We are deeply impressed by the film’s commitment to throwing open the doors to reveal the dangers that lurk for young innocence children who don’t even understand what wrong is being done to them.”

In fact the CBFC apparently deliberated with the idea of certifying the film for all ages.

Says Nihalani, “We believe children need to know about the dangers they may face specially sexual predators. However the content of Spotlight would be to disturbing for young minds. So we have passed the film with an ‘Adults’ certificate and no cuts.”

The CBFC is ready to face a huge backlash from the Roman Catholic community. Apparently there was pressure to ban the film in India.So much so that the Indian distributors Sony Pictures did not announce a release date until the film was censored .

Victims sick at heart that George Pell won't front child sex abuse royal commission

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian

David Marr

Thursday 4 February 2016

The cardinal won’t be coming. It’s his heart. A fresh medical report from Rome says it would be “difficult” for Cardinal George Pell to take the long flight home to give further evidence to the royal commission into the institutional responses to child sexual abuse.

“It doesn’t preclude his travel,” observed the commissioner Peter McClellan. “It doesn’t say he can’t come.” But McClellan has accepted the verdict of Pell’s medicos that a journey home at this time might have “serious consequences” for His Eminence’s health.

It’s an unhappy outcome all round. McClellan wants him to give evidence in person. Abuse victims are keen to confront the man in the flesh. And the cardinal, it seems, may never walk the streets of his native Ballarat again.

Just how sick he is remains a mystery. Pell is keen to keep the finer details of his heart problems secret.

His counsel, Alan Myers QC, argued against releasing the medical reports in full: “All it would do is provoke some sort of debate in the press about the medical condition of Cardinal Pell. There is no public interest in that.”

Under strict secrecy, McClellan allowed four barristers to read the latest report. Unimpressed was Paul O’Dwyer SC who told the commission the two-page document revealed “common or garden problems in a man of the cardinal’s age”.

February 4, 2016

Pope's commission to protect children watch Oscar-nominated Spotlight

ROME
The Guardian (UK)

Stephanie Kirchgaessner in Rome
Thursday 4 February 2016

The members of Pope Francis’s commission to protect children have seen the Oscar-nominated film Spotlight together amid criticism that the pontiff needs to follow through on his promise of “zero tolerance” for clerical sex abuse and cover-ups.

The film, which has been nominated for six Academy Awards, tells the inside account of the Pulitzer Prize-winning team at the Boston Globe who in 2001 doggedly pursued and exposed systematic sex abuse – and subsequent cover-ups to hide the abuse – by clergy and top church officials in their city.

Peter Saunders, an abuse survivor and member of the commission, told the Guardian that another commission member had suggested they watch the film together on the eve of their plenary meeting even though many individual members, including head of the commission Cardinal Sean O’Malley, had already seen the film. The 17-member Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors meets twice a year.

“We got in touch with Phil Saviano – one of the characters in the film – and he got in touch with the producers in LA,” Saunders said. The special screening of the film was shown near the Vatican but not inside Vatican City.

Irish priest praised in US police letter to the Vatican

FLORIDA
Irish Times

Patsy McGarry

An Irish Catholic priest has been singled out for praise in a letter sent to the Vatican by US police officers who investigated a clerical child abuse case, while criticising the diocese in which the priest served.

Last week, Fr John Gallagher (48), from Strabane, Co Tyrone, who has been ministering in Florida since 2000, claimed he has been ostracised by church authorities there for reporting the conduct of another priest in January 2015.

He said he was subsequently demoted.

On April 30th, Fr Gallagher said he was told by Palm Beach diocesan authorities that he was being transferred to another parish. The transfer was not negotiable.

The accused Franciscan priest, Fr Jose Palimattom, was arrested and charged with possession of pornography and distributing it to a minor.

He pleaded guilty in court, served a sentence, and has been deported to his native India.

In an unsolicited letter about the case last May to her superior, detective Debi Phillips of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office praised the Irish priest.

“Having dealt with the Catholic Church in another criminal investigation I fully expected church administrators to be unco-operative and dismissive of the allegations,” she wrote. “Much to my surprise I was wrong.”

BRITISH VICTIM OF CHRISTIAN BROTHERS SPEAKS OUT

UNITED KINGDOM
Church Militant

by Christine Niles • ChurchMilitant.com • February 4, 2016

The religious order has been dogged by sex scandals worldwide
A victim of sex abuse at the hands of the Christian Brothers religious order is going public.

Leslie Turner, a teacher in the United Kingdom, is breaking his silence in a new film released by The Guardian. As a result of sex abuse he claims to have suffered at the hands of two members of the Christian Brothers at St. Aidan's Roman Catholic Grammar School in northeast England, Turner was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, and has since been paid £17,000 (about $25,000).

The Congregation of Christian Brothers settled the lawsuit just before the case was to go to trial, where the order would've been forced to disclose whether other students had also been abused, and how the Congregation handled those complaints.

The Congregation is refusing to admit liability, stating it's unable to admit or deny the allegations, and that it would be "quite impossible" to investigate the charges long after the the alleged abusers' death.

The Christian Brothers have been dogged by multiple sex abuse scandals worldwide, suffering a sharp drop in members over the last few decades. In addition to the United Kingdom, lawsuits have been filed against the Congregation in Ireland, Australia, Canada and the United States.

Christian Brothers fail to stop legal action over alleged sex abuse

IRELAND
Irish Times

Mary Carolan

THE Christian Brothers have failed to stop a High Court action brought against them by a man who alleges, when he was a child, he was sexually abused in the classroom by an apparently drunk lay teacher.

The man, now aged in his 60s, claims the since deceased substitute teacher sexually abused him behind a free-standing blackboard between 1962 and 1965 while his classmates were told to write in their copybooks.

The teacher often appeared to have been drunk during classes, regularly smelled of alcohol and would be missing from the school, run by the Christian Brothers, for weeks at a time, the man claims.

The teacher sometimes requested “the good looking boys” to stay back after class and he believed the teacher also abused other boys in the classroom in the same manner, the man alleged.

Cardinal George Pell says he’s still too sick to attend child abuse royal commission

AUSTRALIA
Herald Sun

Shannon Deery

A DECISION will be made next week about whether or not the child abuse royal commission will force Cardinal Pell to return to Melbourne.

Justice Peter McClellan said he would consider submissions made today about his attendance over the weekend.

The cardinal has requested to appear via video-link citing ill health.

But lawyers for victims of sexual abuse have argued he should be forced to attend saying it was in the interest of justice.

It is expected Cardinal Pell’s evidence will take two to three days.

George Pell 'still too unwell' to fly to Australia for child abuse royal commission

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian

Melissa Davey
@MelissaLDavey
Thursday 4 February 2016

Australia’s most senior Catholic, Cardinal George Pell, has applied to give evidence to the child abuse royal commission via video link from Rome rather than appearing in person, leaving victims angered and disappointed.

At a directions hearing in Sydney on Friday, Pell’s lawyers tended medical documents to the commission that said Pell was still unwell and flying could pose a risk to his health. Pell again requested to appear via video link, with his lawyer, Allan Myers, saying the cardinal would be willing to do so “as soon as possible”.

Pell had been due to give evidence to the royal commission into institutional responses into child sexual abuse at the second stage of the Ballarat hearings late last year. But in December the commission heard that Pell was too unwell to appear at the hearings before Melbourne’s county court. He requested to appear via video link from Rome instead.

At the time, the chair of the commission, Justice Peter McClellan, refused Pell’s request. He said the commission would wait until February to see if Pell’s condition improved so that he could fly to Australia and face the commission during hearings due at the end of February.

McClellan said given Pell was due to give evidence on complicated matters, including about abuse that occurred in Ballarat, and the response of the Archdiocese of Melbourne to reports of abuse in its institutions, it was preferable Pell appear in person at a later date than video video link.

McClellan will announce his decision on Monday.

Cardinal George Pell 'too ill' to give evidence at child sex abuse inquiry

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By Jayne Margetts, Michelle Brown, staff

Cardinal George Pell is still too ill to travel from Rome to give evidence at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the inquiry has heard.

His lawyers applied for the 74-year-old to be able to give evidence by audio visual link at hearings of the inquiry dealing with abuse in Ballarat.

Several victims of abuse had stated their opposition to the request.

A two-page medical report was handed up to support the application that a flight to Australia from Rome, where Cardinal Pell oversees the Vatican's finances, could pose a serious risk to his health.

Allan Myers QC said Cardinal Pell was keen to give evidence to the inquiry.

"The Cardinal's view is that it's very important that he give his evidence as soon as may be, while the evidence of others is fresh, and he certainly wants to avoid the appearance that he's unwilling to give evidence," Mr Myers told the inquiry.

Access to Cardinal Pell's medical report was provided at the hearing on the undertaking its details were not publicised.

Doctor clears Pell to travel to Australia

AUSTRALIA
Sky News

Cardinal George Pell is continuing to resist efforts to have him return to Australia to give evidence at the royal commission into child sexual abuse due to ill health.

Cardinal Pell, who is based in Rome where he manages the Vatican's finances, was initially scheduled to give evidence in Melbourne in December, but cancelled because of a worsening heart condition.

The commission wants to hear testimony from Cardinal Pell, as well as former Bishop of Ballarat Ronald Mulkearns, about decades of sexual and physical abuse at schools run by the Catholic clergy in Melbourne and Ballarat.

Lawyers for Cardinal Pell, at a directions hearing on Friday to consider his capacity to return to Australia for a hearing on February 22, again requested he instead give evidence via video link, despite a medical examination on January 29 not precluding his from travelling.

Alan Myers, QC, representing Cardinal Pell, told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse that the 74-year-old "when he was able to, was not unwilling to travel to Australia and give evidence before the commission".

"For the reasons that are set out in the medical opinion to which I've referred, that's not the position at the moment," Mr Myers said.

But commission chair Justice Peter McClellan said the medical opinion tendered did not say Cardinal Pell could not travel to Australia.

"That doesn't preclude his travel, does it?" Justice McClellan asked.

"The doctor opines that it would be difficult for him to undertake a flight. It doesn't mean he can't come."

Lawyer argues elderly priest should not stand trial on sex abuse charges

CANADA
Windsor Star

SARAH SACHELI, WINDSOR STAR

A retired Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing a dozen boys in decades past is being assessed by a court-appointed psychiatrist to see if he’s fit to stand trial.

Rev. Linus Francis Bastien attended Superior Court Thursday where his lawyer also argued that a lower-court judge who committed the old man to stand trial after a preliminary hearing made errors in law.

The 89-year-old cleric sat in his walker next to defence lawyer Patrick Ducharme. At times, Bastien was seen nodding off. Staff have outfitted him with a headset connected to the courtroom microphones to help him better hear the proceedings.

Bastien is charged with 30 counts of indecent assault, gross indecency, sexual assault and sexual interference against 12 former altar boys. In the case of one of the alleged victims, the charges date back to 1959.

AC principal put on leave, school statement says

MASSACHUSETTS
Your Arlington

The principal at Arlington Catholic High School has been put on leave pending the outcome of an investigation, various media outlets are reporting, citing school officials.

In a note sent to parents Wednesday, Feb. 3, Vice Principal Linda Butt said the decision about Stephen Biagioni stems from allegations that took place after a Sunday detention at the school.

"We have no reason to believe at this time it involves allegations of sexual abuse," the letter said.

Biagioni has been a longtime administrator at the school. and students who spoke to FOX25 expressed shock.

The school said it would update the community once the investigation was finished.

Capt. Richard Flynn, who handles public information for Arlington police, told YourArlington: "As of this time, the Arlington Police Department has received no reports of abuse or allegations of any kind regarding Principal Biagioni.

Principal at Arlington Catholic High School placed on leave

MASSACHUSETTS
Fox 25

[with video]

by: Malini Basu Updated: Feb 3, 2016

ARLINGTON, Mass. —
The Principal at Arlington Catholic High School has been put on leave according to school officials.

In a note sent to parents, Vice Principal Linda Butt said the decision stems from allegations that took place after a Sunday detention.

“We have no reason to believe at this time it involves allegations of sexual abuse,” the letter said.

Stephen Biagioni has been an long-time administrator at the school and students that spoke to FOX25 said they are shocked.

Seminary student made prior attempts to obtain baby

OHIO
WTOV

BY JULIA KRAMER THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 4TH 2016

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio — Details on the past of a seminary student who was arrested earlier this week on child sex charges have come to light.

Joel Wright, 23, was apprehended in San Diego, CA after he was tracked by a Homeland Security investigations team. He was allegedly on his way Mexico to "rent" a 3-year-old female child for sexual assault purposes.

Wright is being charged by federal prosecutors with felony counts of traveling with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor and aggravated sexual abuse of a child.

A police report shows that Wright may have begun his search for a child in May of last year, right here in Steubenville.

Last spring, a call was made to the Steubenville police department concerning a post found on Facebook and Craigslist. The report says Wright, a former Franciscan University student, was looking to pay $150 to babysit a child.

Judge refuses to dismiss child sex abuse case

DELAWARE
The News Journal

Jessica Masulli Reyes, The News Journal February 4, 2016

A Delaware judge is allowing a lawsuit against a Jehovah's Witness congregation to continue, but repeated concerns about the constitutionality of the state's law that shields clergy from having to report child abuse disclosed during confessions.

Superior Court Judge Mary M. Johnston issued a 12-page ruling last week in which she refused to dismiss the lawsuit, citing genuine issues that can only be decided at a trial.

Attorney General Matt Denn's office filed a lawsuit against the Laurel Delaware Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses in 2014 alleging two elders failed to report to state authorities a sexual relationship between a woman and 14-year-old boy, both of whom were members of the congregation.

The congregation's attorney asserts that the elders were exempt from reporting because of a state law that does not require disclosure when the abuse is disclosed in an attorney-client setting or "that between priest and penitent in a sacramental confession."

Judge: Abuse reporting case against church elders can go on

DELAWARE
Washington Post

By Randall Chase | AP February 4

DOVER, Del. — A Delaware judge says state officials can pursue a lawsuit against elders of a Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation for failing to report suspected child abuse.

Superior Court Judge Mary M. Johnston last week declined to rule in favor of the elders, saying there are factual issues that must be decided at trial.

She nevertheless reiterated her concerns about the constitutionality of Delaware’s child abuse reporting law.

The state is suing the elders for not reporting a sexual relationship between a woman and a 14-year-old boy, both congregation members at the time.

The defendants say they did not have to report what they learned because the law exempts communications “between priest and penitent in a sacramental confession.”

Diocese: Previous complaints made against Broussard

LOUISIANA
American Press

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Crystal Stevenson / American Press

The Diocese of Lake Charles was aware of at least two other sexual abuse claims against former priest Mark Broussard before they met with the victim whose case is being tried this week in state district court.

George Stearns, chancellor for the diocese, testified Wednesday that the organization received its first complaint of sexual abuse involving Broussard on Feb. 28, 1988.

Stearns said the claim involved a man who said Broussard sexually assaulted him seven years earlier inside the student center at LSU-Eunice.

Stearns, who was not chancellor at the time the complaint was filed, testified based on records kept in the diocese’s personnel files.

Stearns said the victim, who was 14 at the time of the alleged incident, told Monsignor Harry Greig his relationship with Broussard began after the death of his father. He said Broussard consoled him as he mourned his father and was also the one who taught him how to drive.

Vatican panel kicks off meeting on sexual abuse by watching 'Spotlight'

ROME
Los Angeles Times

Tom Kington

A Vatican commission on clerical sex abuse gathered Thursday for a private screening of “Spotlight,” the Oscar-nominated film about abuse by Boston priests, even as Pope Francis came under fire for failing to act on the crisis.

The extraordinary screening was held on the eve of a three-day meeting by the commission, and was shown in the same church residence in central Rome where Francis — then Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio — stayed before his election as pope in 2013.

“The film is extremely worrying about the cover-up of abuse in the Catholic Church, and I think it would be a good moment for the pope to see it,” said Peter Saunders, a British anti-abuse campaigner who is a member of the commission. He was abused by a Catholic priest as a child growing up in London.

Francis set up the abuse commission in 2014, appointing clergy and abuse survivors as members, and handing leadership to Cardinal Sean O’Malley, who took over the Boston archdiocese after the Boston Globe exposed rampant abuse by priests — events portrayed in “Spotlight.” The commission was charged with finding ways to better protect children from abuse by priests.

Rome--Another meaningless church panel

ROME
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Thursday, Feb. 4

Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314-503-0003, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org)

Yet another church abuse panel is holding yet another meeting. Such panels have met at varying levels in the church for decades the results: extraordinarily little progress.

More than thirty years ago, the first US pedophile priest made national headlines. We fear thirty years from now there will still be more meaningless meetings by church officials making promises instead of calling the police. Church officials refuse to take the easiest and quickest abuse prevention step: firing clerics who conceal abuse. Until this happens, the meetings, talks, pledges, and all the rest will amount to no more than public relations.