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December 31, 2006

2006 was filled with these days to remember in Morris

NEW JERSEY
Daily Record

Sunday, December 31, 2006

In a year featuring a record number of drug deaths in Morris County, debates over illegal immigration and property tax relief, and the continuing war in Iraq that took the lives of brave young local people, here are some significant dates: ...

Jan. 29

James T. Hanley, former Mendham priest and admitted child molester, angrily confronts some of his victims on a Paterson street. The victims had been warning neighbors about Hanley. They had asked Paterson Roman Catholic Diocese officials to take some responsibility for the former priest, to make sure he continues to go to therapy and is not a threat to children. One local church official responded by saying the diocese does have a moral obligation to do something.

Days later, a diocese spokeswoman said the first official spoke a little too soon. She said the diocese has no legal responsibility for Hanley, ending talk of moral obligations.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:46 PM

Archdiocese needs cash

CINCINNATI (OH)
Cincinnati Enquirer

BY DAN HORN | DHORN@ENQUIRER.COM
Money is so tight at the Archdiocese of Cincinnati that the central office is now taking a bigger share of donations from its parishes' Sunday collection plates.

Church officials also are considering cutting staff - through attrition and, possibly, layoffs - and are pushing parishes to repay tens of millions of dollars in outstanding loans from the archdiocese.

Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk said he knows the measures are painful, especially for struggling parishes with their own money problems.

He said he has no choice: Without more revenue, the 19-county archdiocese could be out of money within three years.

"If we do nothing, we're in trouble," Pilarczyk said. "The financial policies of the archdiocese will have to be a lot tighter than they have been. The time comes when you run out of money."

The archdiocese's financial woes have been building for years because of an economic slowdown, rising insurance premiums, declining donations and the costs associated with the clergy-abuse scandal.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:51 AM

Darien parish still healing after financial scandal

DARIEN (CT)
The Advocate

By Donna Porstner
Staff Writer

Published December 31 2006

DARIEN - The pastor of one of the richest churches in Fairfield County made headlines in May when he was brought down by accusations he stole from the church coffers to wine and dine his wedding planner boyfriend.

The scandal, which unraveled when the parish fell behind on bills, forced the Rev. Michael Jude Fay to resign as pastor of St. John Roman Catholic Church in Darien.

Another priest in the parish and the church bookkeeper blew the whistle on Fay's wild spending habits. A private eye hired by the Rev. Michael Madden and bookkeeper Bethany D'Erario said he documented that Fay racked up more than $200,000 on his parish credit card for airline tickets, limousine rides, designer clothing, alcohol and dinners at elite restaurants. Many of the purchases were made in Florida, where Fay owns a luxury condominium with Cliff Fantini, and in Philadelphia, where Fantini runs a wedding planning business under the name Cliff Martell.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:48 AM

Vatican Reinstates Priest Accused Of Abuse

CINCINNATI (OH)
CBS 5

(AP) CINCINNATI The Vatican has reinstated a priest suspended in 2002 over allegations of sexual misconduct and will allow him to return to active ministry after undergoing counseling, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati said.

The decision to reinstate the Rev. James Kiffmeyer was announced Friday, but church officials had not determined where he will serve.

Kiffmeyer, who previously taught high school in Cincinnati and Middletown, was accused of abusing two students in 1990 and around 1986, but the students did not report the allegations until 1997 and 2002.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:42 AM

Durbin wanted to make a difference in county

MISSOURI
Neosho Daily News

By John Ford / Daily News Associate Editor
Published: Sunday, December 31, 2006 12:25 AM CST
E-mail this story | Print this page

NOEL - Rural Anderson native Janice Durbin knew she always wanted to help people.

Early in life, she achieved one aspect of that goal by becoming a registered nurse, working 14 years in several hospitals in Missouri, Texas and Florida in that capacity.

“I decided I liked school, so I got a couple of graduate degrees in history before I went to law school.” ...

Another major case facing the new prosecutor soon is the church sex abuse case.

Raymond Lambert, 51, pastor of Grand Valley Independent Baptist Church; his wife, Patty, 49; her brother, Paul Epling, 53; and her sister-in-law, Laura Epling, age not available, face a variety of child sexual abuse charges. Raymond Lambert's uncle, George Otis Johnston, pastors a spin-off church in Granby, the Grandview Valley Baptist Church. He has been charged with child molestation in McDonald County, and 17 child sexual abuse charges in neighboring Newton County.

The first of the proceedings, an arraignment for Laura Epling, who faces a charge of second degree sodomy, is set for Jan. 9. Pre-trial conferences for the Lamberts and Johnston are set for Jan. 16, while a preliminary hearing for Paul Epling - who faces an unclassified felony rape charge - has been set for Jan. 29.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:39 AM

December 30, 2006

Former pastor's probation may be revoked

CARROLLTON (IL)
The Telegraph

By MAGGIE BORMAN, The Telegraph 12/30/2006

CARROLLTON - A petition was filed this week in Greene County Circuit Court to revoke the probation of former Greene County pastor Jeffery D. Heberlein.

According to court documents filed Tuesday, Heberlein violated the terms of his probation by refusing to continue a polygraph test given on Dec. 5 at the Illinois State Police Division of Forensic Science Laboratory in Springfield.

In a plea agreement, Heberlein, 43, was sentenced to four years of probation in November in exchange for his guilty plea to one count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a female minor. As part of the plea bargain, the state agreed not to ask for more than four years in prison.

Scott County Judge Lois Bell, who presided over the case, gave the defendant four years of supervised probation. The judge also ordered Heberlein to submit to regular polygraph exams at his own expense to monitor his adherence to conditions of probation and treatment, to verify his sexual history and to verify his version of the events in the sexual abuse of the minor.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:51 PM

Three Sikh priests arrested in sex case

CANADA
Edmonton Sun

Sat, December 30, 2006

Three Sikh priests arrested in sex case
By SUN MEDIA

WINNIPEG -- Three priests from a Sikh temple in the Winnipeg suburb of St. Vital have been arrested amid allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct, Sun Media has learned.

The three men, all of whom are priests at the Gurdwara Nanaksar temple, were arrested by Winnipeg police last Saturday and released from custody the next morning on promises to appear in court, which they are scheduled to do in February.

Police are still looking for a fourth suspect, believed to be in Vancouver.

Sgt. Kelly Dennison, a spokesman for Winnipeg police, declined to say exactly what charges the men are facing, but did say the charges are of a "sexual nature."

The lawyer representing the priests said his clients deny any wrongdoing.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:06 AM

Top local religion stories of 2006

TEXAS
The Dallas Morning News

From Staff Reports

The top religion news stories of 2006 in North Texas, as selected by the Religion staff:

1. The Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth loses a 19-month legal fight and releases documents showing that it kept child-abusing priests in ministry for years, hiding information from parishioners.

2. Bishop Charles Grahmann of the Dallas diocese submits his resignation, having reached the Vatican's mandatory retirement age of 75.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:04 AM

Scandals and celebrations

TEXAS
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

By Jim Jones
Special to the Star-Telegram

In March, evangelist Billy Graham, helped by his son Franklin Graham, gave a message of hope in New Orleans, which was still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
During 2006, I covered stories in New Orleans, Williamsburg, Va.; College Station; and Amman, Jordan. ...

Catholic sex scandal: Fort Worth Catholic Bishop Kevin Vann said he was "embarrassed, disheartened, appalled and angered" at behaviors revealed in the court documents released in November after legal action taken by the Star-Telegram, The Dallas Morning News and several accusers. The 700 pages of information detailed allegations against six priests, three of them deceased, who were accused of sexually abusing minors.

Protestant sex scandal: The Rev. Terry Hornbuckle, the founder of the Agape Christian Fellowship Church in Arlington, was found guilty of raping three women, including two of his church members. In August, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison. In a separate matter in March, the Rev. Larry Nuell Neathery, former pastor of the Westside Victory Baptist Church in Fort Worth, was sentenced to life in prison. He was convicted of 25 felony charges involving sexual assault or molestation of five boys.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:00 AM

Priest Returns To Ministry After Leave For Sex Allegations

CINCINNATI (OH)
WCPO

Reported by: 9News
Web produced by: Liz Foreman
Photographed by: 9News
First posted: 12/29/2006 3:21:17 PM
A priest who took a leave of absence from the priesthood after allegations of sexual contact with students has been reinstated by the Vatican.

Rev. James Kiffmeyer took a leave of absence from his teaching position four and a half years ago.

In a decree dated November 25, 2006, the Vatican's Congregation for Clergy wrote Kiffmeyer, "is to avoid situations and persons which might endanger his living up to his priestly commitment, and he is to closely guard his own personal behavior so that no further scandal be caused by any of his actions."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:56 AM

Sexual abuse of nun as youth leads to her counsel to other victims

NEW YORK
Catholic Online

By Kate Blain
12/29/2006
Catholic News Service

NISKAYUNA, N.Y. (CNS) – She knew something was wrong when she started to hyperventilate.

It was 1986, and Dominican Sister Carol Davis, who had a flourishing ministry in counseling and leading retreats, had been thinking about contacting her biological father.

Her parents were long divorced, and she had a different last name from her biological father's. But every time she thought about looking him up, she felt terrified and faint.

Then the flashbacks started, and Sister Carol thought she was losing her sanity: She was remembering repeated sexual abuse at his hands during her childhood.

"A flashback, for a survivor, is like being back in that war zone: reliving it in a visceral, emotional way, as if it's happening in the present," she told The Evangelist, newspaper of the Albany Diocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:49 AM

Vatican restores ex-Fenwick teacher's ministry

OHIO
Dayton Daily News

By Tom Beyerlein
Staff Writer

Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Vatican has overruled Cincinnati Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk by restoring the ministry of the Rev. James Kiffmeyer, a former teacher at Middletown Fenwick High School who was accused of sexually abusing two students and stripped of his priestly duties by Pilarczyk in 2002.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati announced Friday that Kiffmeyer will be reassigned to new duties in the 19-county archdiocese, which includes the Miami Valley.

The Vatican's Nov. 25 decree reversed Pilarczyk's order that Kiffmeyer not present himself as a priest, wear clerical garb, serve as a minister or celebrate sacraments.

The decree directs Kiffmeyer "to avoid situations and persons which might endanger his living up to his priestly commitment, and he is to closely guard his own personal behavior so that no further scandal be caused by any of his actions."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:45 AM

Author hopes to rid Christian diet of ‘fast-food forgiveness’

CALIFORNIA
Christian Examiner

By Lori Arnold

OXNARD, Calif. — “Forgive-and-forget” is a platitude that has diluted the biblical response of repentance and reconciliation into a type of “fast-food forgiveness” that Dr. Leah Coulter is not buying.

She hopes Christians learn not to buy it, either.

After years of counseling victims of sexual abuse, Coulter, a professor at King's Seminary in Van Nuys, Calif., began to re-evaluate her own understanding of biblical forgiveness. The “forgive-and-forget” mantra, she soon realized, rendered many of her clients hostages of their past instead of empowered believers.

“At the bottom of emotional healing, there was an issue of someone being sinned against with no repenting,” Coulter said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:43 AM

Vatican overturns decision in abuse case

CINCINNATI (OH)
The Kentucky Post

Post staff report

The Vatican has overturned a more than four-year-old decision of Cincinnati Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk to place a former Elder High School teacher on administrative leave.

The Rev. James Kiffmeyer is back on active duty as a priest, and now the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati must find an assignment for him.

The archdiocese's Priest Personnel Board is studying where Kiffmeyer might serve, archdiocesan spokesman Dan Andriacco said.

Kiffmeyer took personal leave from the priesthood and from his teaching job at Elder in April 2002 after a former student accused him of sexual misconduct when Kiffmeyer was teaching at Fenwick High School in Middletown.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:39 AM

Priest's suspension is over

CINCINNATI (OH)
Cincinnati Enquirer

BY JANICE MORSE | JMORSE@ENQUIRER.COM
The Rev. James Kiffmeyer, a priest who had been on leave for almost five years because of sexual misconduct allegations, has been returned to active ministry, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati announced Friday.

It was not clear Friday where he would serve.

The archdiocese said Kiffmeyer has many supporters in Greater Cincinnati, and that he was reinstated because he exercised his right to appeal the suspension to the Vatican in Rome.

A group representing sexual-abuse victims criticized the Vatican's decision.

Kiffmeyer, formerly assigned to Elder High School in Price Hill and Fenwick High School in Middletown, went on personal leave in April 2002 after allegations from 1986 and 1990 surfaced.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:35 AM

December 29, 2006

3 ex-altar boys sue BR Catholic diocese

BATON ROUGE (LA)
The Advocate

By ADRIAN ANGELETTE
Advocate staff writer
Published: Dec 28, 2006

Three more former altar boys have sued a one-time Baton Rouge area priest and the diocese, claiming they were sexually assaulted by him in the late 1970s.

The latest lawsuit, filed Wednesday in state district court in Baton Rouge, brings to 16 the number of former altar boys who claim Christopher Springer sexually assaulted them.

The lawsuit comes roughly a month after the Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge settled a suit with one former altar boy. Terms of the settlement were confidential, though a diocesan attorney said the case was settled for less than $100,000.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:48 PM

Cardinal opens doors to probers, students who griped v. priest

PHILIPPINES
Sun.Star

CEBU CITY -- "Whatever they like to do, I do not care," was Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal's reaction to the National Bureau of Investigation's (NBI) inquiry on the alleged harassment of high school students by a priest.

"I hope to respect the rights of others if they want also to respect my own rights...I have my own rights as an individual," Cardinal Vidal continued.

The prelate was referring to his right not to name the priest. He clarified, though, that he is willing to cooperate with the NBI if ever he gets a subpoena.

But he did not categorically say that he will go to the NBI.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:00 PM

Nalzaro: Double standard in priest’s case?

PHILIPPINES
Sun.Star

By Bobby Nalzaro
Saksi

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has identified the priest accused of making sexual advances on female students during a Life in the Spirit Seminar (LSS). But like some media outlets, the NBI has refused to publicly name him.

Is there double standard in the treatment of priests involved in controversies? Why the refusal to name the priest in the LSS? Had he been an ordinary person, I am sure the media would have treated him differently.

I have identified the priest in my dySS Super Radyo program days before and in my Superbalita column yesterday. Why? Because my sources are credible and I did some research.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:58 PM

Joline Gutierrez Krueger: From dream to nightmare, this marriage lives on

RIO RANCHO (NM)
The Albuquerque Tribune

By Joline Gutierrez Krueger
Friday, December 8, 2006

If you've never believed that God works in mysterious ways, you haven't met Tahne Lovell.

And after you meet her, your emotions work in mysterious ways, fluttering fast as eye blinks from awe to revulsion, curiosity, pity, pride, incomprehension and admiration.

She had been a happily married Rio Rancho woman, finding love the second time around after a harsh divorce and too many lonely days raising three sons on her own. Larry Lovell, she says, was a godsend.

They had so much in common, meeting in 1993 at the title company where she worked when he was closing the deal on his new Rio Rancho home and they realized they lived on the same street.

Like their middle names - Jo and Joseph.

Like how she left her first marriage in 1991 and how that same year he left the priesthood. Or so he told her.

"He always said our marriage was made in heaven," she says in the gentle, timid voice of a woman who has seen the backside of life too many times.

They married in 1995.

"He had me on a pedestal," the 45-year-old woman says. "He treated me well. I kept thinking, `Is this real?' "

But of course it wasn't. The heaven she thought she had found in Lovell became a hellish nightmare when the past he had never told her about caught up with him in 2003 with a knock on the door and a warrant for his arrest on charges that he had sexually molested four San Gabriel Mission altar boys in California in the early 1980s.

More charges followed, several involving a boy at Sacred Heart parish in Prescott, Ariz., in the 1970s. Several more involving a boy at St. Anthony's Church in Phoenix in the 1980s. All while Lovell was a Roman Catholic priest.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:37 AM

Cardinal Vidal pleads with clergy to change erring ways

PHILIPPINES
Balita

Friday, December 29 2006 @ 10:43 AM GMT

Cebu News
Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, facing a series of cases of priests accused of child abuse and of enriching themselves, on Thursday appealed to members of the clergy under him to change their ways.

The 75-year-old prelate, who has been under pressure to act on cases of misconduct, spoke at the end of the annual Christmas reunion of diocesan and religious priests in Cebu.

"Please, my brother priests, what is it that you lack? How much more material things do we need before we say: I have enough? When we stop to face our own poverty, when do we tell ourselves, No more?" Vidal said.

About 500 priests in the gathering at the San Carlos Minor Seminary in Mabolo, Cebu City listened quietly when the cardinal, who suffers a heart ailment, spoke of the need to remember their roles as trusted stewards and the need to "renew" themselves.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:27 AM

Lawyer hopes N.W.T. will OK residential school deal

CANADA
Whitehorse Daily Star

By STEPHANIE WADDELL

A Whitehorse lawyer who has represented numerous residential school survivors hopes judges in the Northwest Territories will follow the rest of the country in deciding to approve the settlement for survivors of the system.
“This is big step towards the end of the process,” Laura Cabott said in a recent interview. She spoke following Yukon Supreme Court Judge Ron Veale’s 25-page decision approving the package.
The deal was reached between first nations, federal government and church leaders. It would see survivors receive $10,000 for the first year they were in the system at an approved school and $3,000 for every subsequent year.
While the federal government paid for the school system across the country, churches ran the school system from 1920 until the last school closed in 1997.
In addition to the common experience payment, $125 million would also go to healing programs. Another $60 million would be poured into researching and documenting the survivors’ experiences and $20 million would be devoted to commemorative projects.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:11 AM

Archbishop ordered to give answers

MIAMI (FL)
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

By Sofia Santana
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Posted December 29 2006

An attorney suing the Archdiocese of Miami on behalf of a Broward County man who said he was drugged and sexually abused as a child by a local priest can legally force Archbishop John C. Favalorato answer questions, an appellate judge ordered this week.

The archdiocese in November filed a petition in an attempt to keep Miami attorney Jeffrey Herman from interviewing Favalora. The deposition request came as part of the suit involving allegations against the Rev. Neil Doherty, 63.

Doherty is a retired priest who last worked at St. Vincent's Catholic Church in Margate and was arrested in January on two counts of sexual battery, indecent assault and molestation.

A 4th District Court of Appeal judge denied the petition Tuesday, court records show.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:07 AM

Diocese faces another lawsuit

WILMINGTON (DE)
The News Journal

By MIKE CHALMERS, The News Journal

Posted Friday, December 29, 2006

Douglas J. McClure says memories of abuse were triggered by news stories.

Douglas J. McClure said he bottled up painful memories of sexual abuse by a Roman Catholic priest for 50 years, until it all came flooding back to him in 2005.

Now, the Wilmington resident wants the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington and St. Ann's Catholic Church in Wilmington to pay for the trauma he suffered at the hands of the late Rev. Edward B. Carley in the 1950s. He sued them Thursday, seeking financial compensation for the 200 to 300 instances of abuse he said happened when he was 8 to 10 years old.

McClure claims in his lawsuit, filed in Delaware Superior Court, that a January 2005 story in The News Journal about Carley's alleged abuse of a St. Ann's classmate triggered memories of his own abuse.

The diocese admitted Carley abused boys and apologized for his "despicable actions" when it announced the $65,000 settlement with McClure's classmate. Carley was one of 20 priests the diocese named in November as having substantial or admitted abuse allegations against them.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:02 AM

Monsignor seeks to heal wounds

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
The Republican

Friday, December 29, 2006
By MARY ELLEN LOWNEY
mlowney@repub.com
SPRINGFIELD - Newly appointed Monsignor George A. Farland issued a personal apology to victims of clergy abuse in a Christmas Day sermon that included an appeal to gays and lesbians.

Farland, who is pastor at Sacred Heart Church on Chestnut Street, won a standing ovation at one Mass for his words, which he said are aimed at healing wounds and welcoming those who may feel disenfran- chised within the Roman Catholic Church.

"If we're going to be a strong church and a healthy church again, I think we have to say, 'I'm sorry,' and, 'You are welcome here.' That's what I'm trying to do," he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:00 AM

Diocese sued for alleged abuse by priest

WILMINGTON (DE)
The Daily Times

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) -- A former Marine and Vietnam veteran filed a lawsuit Thursday against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wilmington and a church in the city, accusing them of doing nothing to stop a priest from sexually abusing him and other boys in the 1950s and 60s.

The diocese has acknowledged that the Rev. Edward B. Carley, who died in 1998 at age 82, abused a young male parishioner during his time as the assistant pastor at St. Ann's Catholic Church, from 1954 to 1962.

The diocese paid $65,000 to that parishioner, John F. Dougherty Jr., to reimburse him for counseling he said he needed as a result of the abuse. Dougherty said Carley raped him when he was 10 years old and was serving as an altar boy at St. Ann's, and that Carley abused him repeatedly for several years afterward.

Douglas J. McClure, the plaintiff in the lawsuit filed Thursday, was a classmate of Dougherty's. Carley molested McClure two to three times a week over a period of two years, when McClure was between 8 and 10 years old, said his attorney, Thomas Neuberger.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:58 AM

December 28, 2006

Wilmington man sues Catholic Diocese, church alleging sexual abuse 50 years ago

WILMINGTON (DE)]
The News Journal

By MIKE CHALMERS, The News Journal

Posted Thursday, December 28, 2006 at 11:17 am
A Wilmington man, who said 50-year-old memories of sexual abuse by a parish priest came flooding back to him in 2005, today sued the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington and St. Ann’s Church of Wilmington.

Douglas McClure, now 60, said the Rev. Edward B. Carley abused him 200 to 300 times between the time he was eight- and 10-years-old.

The Diocese has admitted Carley sexually abused children in the 1950s and 60s and apologized for his “despicable actions”.

Carley died in 1998 at a priest retirement community in Connecticut.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:37 PM

Vietnam Vet Sues Church After Allegedly Being Abused By Priest

WILMINGTON (DE)
NBC 10

WILMINGTON, Del. -- A former Marine and Vietnam veteran is suing the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington and a church in the city, claiming they did nothing to stop a priest from sexually abusing him and other boys in the 1950s and 60s.

Plaintiff Douglas McClure was a classmate of John Dougherty, who the diocese has already acknowledged was repeatedly abused by the Rev. Edward Carley. Dougherty was an altar boy and Carley was an assistant pastor at Saint Ann's Catholic Church.

The diocese paid $65,000 to Dougherty to reimburse him for counseling.

McClure claims he was molested by Carley two to three times a week over a period of two years, when McClure was between 8 and 10 years old. Carley died in 1998 at age 82.

A spokesman for the diocese said Thursday he had not seen a copy of the lawsuit and had no comment.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:35 PM

85% of U.S. dioceses report embezzlements

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

By JOE FEUERHERD

Sacred Heart parishioners and residents of Bath, Pa., were shocked last month when Elizabeth Fields, mayor of the tiny borough, was charged with stealing about $10,000 from the church’s Sunday collections. Fields was secretly videotaped in the parish rectory as she allegedly altered the collection tally sheets so the funds she pocketed would not be seen as a shortfall.

The community’s stunned reaction is typical, say experts, but theft at the parish and diocesan level is hardly surprising. In fact, it’s the norm.

A whopping 85 percent of U.S. dioceses have detected embezzlement over the past five years, according to Villanova University researchers. “No question about it, it’s a large number,” said Charles Zech, director of the school’s Center for the Study of Church Management and coauthor of the 15-page paper, “Internal Financial Controls in the U.S. Catholic Church,” that details the findings. Supported by a grant from the Louisville Institute, Zech and Villanova accounting professor Robert West surveyed 174 diocesan chief financial officers. Seventy-eight responded.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:08 AM

B'KLYN HOUSE 'THEFT'

NEW YORK
New York Post

By ALEX GINSBERG
December 28, 2006 -- A devious cabal that included a pedophile rabbi stole a half-million-dollar home from a cancer-stricken woman, using a forged power of attorney to sell it and pocket the profits, Brooklyn prosecutors charged yesterday.

According to investigators, Margaret Franklin's Crown Heights home was stolen in August 2004 after Nathen Farkas, 31, forged a power of attorney, signing Franklin's name, that effectively handed control of her assets to co-defendant Russell Pitt.

The power of attorney was notarized by a third defendant, Jerry Brauner, 53, a rabbi who had been on probation since 2002 for the sexual abuse of a 15-year-old boy. ...

Brauner was held in lieu of $85,000 bail for lying about prior sex-abuse convictions when he applied for his notary's license.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:29 AM

Court: Lawmakers overstepped in making priest abuse cases retroactive

CALIFORNIA
Central Valley Business Times

LOS ANGELES
December 27, 2006 10:42pm

The California Legislature went too far in trying to make cases of sexual abuse by priests retroactive, the 2nd District Court of Appeal says.

In affirming Superior Court cases which tossed out two lawsuits because they were not filed in time, the appellate court says the Legislature overstepped its authority when in 1998 it expanded the limitations period for actions against entities that employed or supervised abusers until three years from the date the victim discovers psychological injury occurring after age 18 was due to childhood sex abuse.

The two cases involved lawsuits against the Roman Catholic Bishop of Stockton (as a corporate entity) that had been dismissed as being filed too late. After the Legislature reached back in time with its 1998 law, the plaintiffs sued again, but this time the appeals court says the lawmakers meddled in the business of the courts.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:16 AM

FRONTLINE EXAMINES ONE FAMILY'S CONFRONTATION WITH CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE BY CATHOLIC CLERGY

MASSACHUSETTS
Religion News Service

(Boston, MA-December 27, 2006) In recent decades, more than 10,000 children were reportedly sexually abused by Catholic priests in the United States. In Hand of God, airing Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2007, at 9 P.M. ET on PBS (check local listings), filmmaker Joe Cultrera explores the very personal story of how his brother -- Paul -- was molested in the 1960s by their parish priest, Father Joseph Birmingham, who allegedly abused nearly 100 other children. Hand of God tells the story of faith betrayed and how the Cultrera family fought back against a scandal that continues to afflict scores of churches across the country.

From an early age, Paul Cultrera and his siblings were immersed in the beliefs and teachings of the Catholic Church, being raised in an Italian-Catholic family and attending all-Catholic school.

At 14, Paul became an altar boy at St. James Parish and came under the guidance of Father Birmingham, a young and friendly priest, who often took the boys on trips and invited them to the rectory for pizza parties. It was during a routine rite of confession that Paul's relationship with Father Birmingham changed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:12 AM

Decision on sex offender treatment delayed

WORCESTER (MA)
Milford Daily News

By Danielle Williamson/DAILY NEWS STAFF
Wednesday, December 27, 2006 - Updated: 10:47 PM EST

An ailing, retired Bellingham priest convicted last year of sexual abuse remains in Canada while awaiting a court date to see if he can skip sex offender treatment.

The Rev. Paul Desilets, 82, formerly of Our Lady of the Assumption Parish, was scheduled to appear in front of a judge last Friday in Worcester Superior Court. His defense team, however, moved to postpone the hearing and a new date has not been set, one of Desilets' lawyers said yesterday.

A judge was expected last week to decide on Desilets' lawyers motion to spend the rest of his life at a retirement home in Quebec.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:10 AM

Planning a day of fasting and penance

Catholic Online

12/27/2006
National Catholic Reporter -- (www.ncronline.org )

Pope Benedict XVI’s personal preacher, it was reported recently, asked the pope to declare a day of fasting and penance to atone for the “abominations” committed inside the church “by its own ministers and pastors.”

The moment passed with relatively little fanfare, and that is unfortunate, because it is certainly noteworthy that a figure so close to the pope – Father Raniero Cantalamessa – would acknowledge that the crisis is severe. The church “paid a high price,” as a result of the scandal, he said.

Father Cantalamessa also suggested that “a day of fasting and penance” take place “at local and national levels, where the problem was particularly strong, to publicly express repentance before God and solidarity with the victims.” We have some suggestions that we’ll dare to pass on about how such days of repentance might occur.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:07 AM

More on the Father Stepek case

CHICAGO (IL)
Renew America

Matt C. Abbott
December 27, 2006

The following is the text of a countersuit recently filed against the Chicago archdiocese in response to Father Robert Stepek's defamation lawsuit against his accusers. (There is also this story on the case.)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:04 AM

December 27, 2006

Editorial: Breaking silence

PHILIPPINES
Sun.Star

STEWARDSHIP is hardly a term some will associate with the media in its coverage of sex abuses allegedly committed by members of the clergy.

During the third quarterly en banc meeting of the Cebu Citizens-Press Council (CCPC) last September, Cebu Archdiocesan spokesperson Msgr. Achilles Dakay criticized the practice of local media to make public the name and photograph of priests accused of abuses but whose guilt has still to be established by the courts or church authorities.

As a community forum reviewing concerns raised about the media, the CCPC appointed during the same meeting its members, Mia Embalzado of St. Theresa’s College and Fr. Aloysius Cartagenas of the San Carlos Seminary, to consult members of the community, including the church and the media, to draw up standards guiding coverage of priests and religious officials.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:40 PM

Mayor wants ‘transparent’ probe

PHILIPPINES
Sun.Star

CEBU City Mayor Tomas Osmeña yesterday asked the Cebu Archdiocese officials to be clear in their policy, whether they will go on keeping the identity of erring priests from the public.

Osmeña said he cannot issue certifications or recommendations for some priests when he is asked now that he knows there is one priest whose character is questionable.

“What is the policy of the church, to be transparent or to hide? The mayor is sometimes asked to sign certifications that the priest is a person of good character. But how can I when I know one of them is questionable?” the mayor said.

“Is the church going to conceal that from the government? It really puts a cloud on everyone else. I’m just asking a question here but these are things that people would like to know,” Osmeña continued.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:38 PM

Malilong: Go to the police

PHILIPPINES
Sun.Star

By Frank Malilong Jr.
The Other Side

MY friend, Gerry Carillo, is already a good lawyer. There is no need for him to play policeman.

It pains me to watch a government panel, headed by no less than a Cebu City councilor, practically begging someone who is accused of wrongdoing to come out and incriminate himself in the guise of giving the suspect (yes, that is what he is) a chance to air his side. Nice try but it won’t work.

The task of Gerry’s panel is purely fact-finding: what really happened inside the confessional during a religious seminar for students at the Abellana National High School. Did one of the priests indeed make immoral advances towards the complaining high school girls in the course of their confession?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:36 PM

Editorials: That Life in the Spirit Seminar

PHILIPPINES
Sun.Star

FOR the organizers of the Life in Spirit Seminar (LSS) at the Abellana National School, this should be a damned if you do, damned if you don’t case.

Caught between the idea of shielding a priest from public scorn and the demand for justice from 20 students who complained of harassment, the LSS organizers hedged on the call to identify the accused.

As a result, they have become targets of criticism and the controversial incident subject of an investigation by the Cebu City Government.

Claiming ignorance

It is doubtful, however, whether divulging the name of the priest would have mattered, although it would have redirected much of the criticisms from the LSS organizers to the accused.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:26 PM

Nalzaro: Naming erring priests

PHILIPPINES
Sun.Star

By Bobby Nalzaro
Saksi

Scandals in the Roman Catholic Church or in other denominations are not new.

Remember the Iglesia ni Cristo pastor accused of rape by his househelp? The victim sought the assistance of dyMF Bombo Radyo broadcasters, who helped her seek justice. She ended up withdrawing the case. The broadcasters? They are facing libel suits filed by the pastor.

Leaders of US-based Christian fundamentalists were linked to scandals. Rev. Jim Jones of Jonestown misled his flock into committing mass suicide. Then there were the cases of Jimmy Swaggart, Jesse Jackson and James Baker.

Bob Stanley, in his article entitled “Scandals Within the Catholic Church,” said that an average of 3,500 religious in non-Catholic sects are charged with sexual misconduct every year. In Cebu, scandal hit the Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association when its supreme master was charged with parricide.

The Catholic Church cannot accuse the media of sensationalizing stories involving the misconduct and malfeasance of priests. Media also reported the questionable conduct of leaders from other religions.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:22 PM

Nalzaro: Probe on priest an exercise in futility

PHILIPPINES
Sun.Star

By Bobby Nalzaro
Saksi

EFFORTS by City Hall and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to look into the case of a “mysterious” priest accused of sexually harassing participants of a Life in the Spirit Seminar (LSS) are but an exercise in futility. Why? Because the priest has fled to the US according to a very reliable source.

Anyway, I no longer consider the priest “mysterious” because I already bared his complete name in my DYSS radio program, although my editors in Sun.Star and Superbalita are still withholding his family name.

The priest is Father Ben, but his close friends, especially the older ones, call him Dong Ben. I got his name from a source days after the media reported the incident. My source said His Eminence Ricardo Cardinal Vidal summoned Father Ben to the Archbishop’s Palace. The cardinal, who is soft spoken, reportedly raised his voice when he confronted the priest about the LSS participants’ accusations.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:19 PM

NBI takes over probe on priest

PHILIPPINES
Sun.Star

By Jujemay G. Awit
Sun.Star Staff Reporter

THE priest who allegedly harassed some 20 high school students will be treated like any other suspected criminal, because of the silence from the Cebu Archdiocese and a religious group.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) 7 scheduled a “friendly dialogue” yesterday on the accusations of students from the Abellana National School (ANS) that a priest inappropriately touched them during a confession as part of a seminar.

The Life in the Spirit Seminar was organized by the Oasis of Love and the Department of Education (DepEd) and held at the ANS last Nov. 14.

DSWD 7 invited Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal in behalf of the seven priests who heard confessions during that seminar, Nonito “Dodong” Limchua of Oasis of Love and ANS principal Ernesto Jacel.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:15 PM

Religious group wants no part in investigation of priest

PHILIPPINES
Sun.Star

THE Catholic group Oasis of Love is pleased that the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) 7 will handle the harassment complaint filed by some high school students against a priest.

Oasis of Love organized the Life in the Spirit Seminar (LSS) where some 20 students of the Abellana National School (ANS) accused a priest of harassing them during confession.

The seminar was held last Nov. 14.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:12 PM

Student tags priest from NBI files

PHILIPPINES
Philstar.com

By Fred P. Languido
The Freeman 12/28/2006

One of the participants in the controversial Life in the Spirit Seminar organized by the Oasis of Love and the Department of Education at the Abellana National School last month positively identified the priest accused of inappropriately touching her classmates during confession.

The third year high school student identified the priest through the pictures shown to her by the National Bureau of Investigation.

The NBI took over the investigation of the case after the Department of Social Welfare and Development failed to compel church officials to reveal the identity of the priest.

DSWD regional director Teodulo Romo requested the NBI to take over the investigation when the priest, through the Archdiocese of Cebu, snubbed their invitation for a friendly dialogue with the victims last week.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:00 PM

Five years later

UNITED STATES
Catholic Online

12/27/2006
Our Sunday Visitor (www.osv.com)

Five years ago, the clergy sex-abuse scandal erupted on the front pages of The Boston Globe. In the ensuing firestorm, bishops resigned, dioceses facing big lawsuits went bankrupt and hundreds of priests were suspended from ministry. The scandal has consumed much of the church's focus and energy since 2002 began.

After implementing the most stringent policies ever for addressing abuse, the church may have seen the worst of it. While some dioceses are still dealing with significant numbers of cases and resultant financial concerns, the ire has waned, the lawsuits have slowed and priests recently ordained have seemed to be avoiding cause for scandal. It's time to take stock of what has transpired.

First, the formation of seminarians and priests today is more closely scrutinized. The Vatican has recommended against admitting homosexual candidates. Compliance varies among dioceses, but a Vatican-led study of U.S. seminaries – planned primarily for reasons other than the scandal – and other advice has urged the bishops to re-examine their seminaries.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:52 PM

Catholic Diocese of Phoenix settles sex-abuse claim

PHOENIX (AZ)
Arizona Daily Star

Associated Press
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 12.27.2006
PHOENIX - The Catholic Diocese of Phoenix has agreed to pay $100,000 to a man who claimed he was sexually abused as a teenager by two priests and a lay minister at a Mesa church.
According to the joint stipulation filed in Maricopa County Superior Court, William Cesolini agreed to dismiss his civil lawsuit against the priests and St. Timothy's Parish.
The suit filed in January 2005 alleged that Cesolini, now 35, had been sexually assaulted in 1985 by a priest, Mark Lehman, and a former teen minister, Phil Baniewicz.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:47 AM

Bridgeport Diocese appeals court order to open records

CONNECTICUT
WTMH

(Waterbury-AP Dec. 27, 2006 7:45 AM)_ A long-running legal battle over documents involving allegations of sexual abuse by priests continues.

The Diocese of Bridgeport says it's appealing a Waterbury judge's ruling that thousands of pages of court files involving lawsuits against priests accused of sexual abuse be made public. The case involves files concerning allegations of sexual abuse by as many as 23 priests in the diocese.

Lawyers for the diocese have notified court officials of plans to appeal the decision of Judge Jon Alander to unseal some 12-thousand documents that have been under seal since the diocese settled sexual abuse claims by 23 individuals in March of 2001.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:33 AM

Diocese Appeals Ruling On Secret Files

CONNECTICUT
Hartford Courant

December 27, 2006
By DAVE ALTIMARI, Courant Staff Writer

As expected, the Diocese of Bridgeport has filed an appeal of a Superior Court judge's ruling that thousands of pages of secret court files involving lawsuits against some of its priests be made public.

The case now appears headed back to the state Supreme Court, and the files concerning allegations of sexual abuse by as many as 23 priests within the diocese will remain sealed.

Attorneys for the diocese notified the Superior Court clerk in Waterbury late last week that they planned to appeal the decision of Judge Jon M. Alander to unseal nearly all of the more than 12,000 documents that have been under seal since the diocese quietly settled sexual abuse claims by 23 individuals in March 2001.

The court filing did not indicate on what grounds they plan to appeal Alander's ruling. Hartford attorney Ralph W. Johnson III, who is representing the diocese, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:36 AM

Geoghan’s slayer cries foul in suit

WORCESTER (MA)
Telegram & Gazette

By Bronislaus B. Kush TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
bkush@telegram.com

WORCESTER— Joseph L. Druce, who was found guilty earlier this year of the 2003 prison slaying of pedophile priest John J. Geoghan, has filed a civil suit charging there was a conspiracy to mislead him about the defense strategy employed during his murder trial.

Named as co-conspirators and defendants in the Worcester Superior Court suit were Worcester District Attorney John J. Conte; Boston Archbishop Sean O’Malley; the diocese of Worcester; the Massachusetts Department of Correction; Deacon David Isabelle, a chaplain at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center where the murder occurred; and John H. LaChance, Mr. Druce’s defense lawyer.

A jury on Jan. 25 convicted Mr. Druce of first-degree murder in the Aug. 23, 2003, killing of the 68-year-old Mr. Geoghan — determining that the slaying was premeditated and done with extreme atrocity or cruelty.

Mr. Druce was already serving a life sentence for murder when he beat and strangled the defrocked priest, a convicted child molester.

Mr. LaChance had argued his client was not guilty by reason of mental illness and maintained that he lacked criminal responsibility for his actions.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:27 AM

Diocese settles sex-abuse suit

PHOENIX (AZ)
The Arizona Republic

Michael Kiefer
The Arizona Republic
Dec. 27, 2006 12:00 AM

The Catholic Diocese of Phoenix agreed to pay $100,000 to a man who claimed he was sexually abused as a teen by two priests and a lay minister.

According to the joint stipulation, which was filed last week in Maricopa County Superior Court, the man who made the allegations agreed to dismiss his civil lawsuit against the priests and church.

The lawsuit, filed in January 2005, alleged that William Cesolini, now 35, had been sexually assaulted in 1985 by a priest, Mark Lehman, and a former teen minister, Phil Baniewicz. The abuse supposedly took place at St. Timothy's Parish in Mesa, and both men were accused of abusing Cesolini on multiple occasions. advertisement

In the suit, Monsignor Dale Fushek, who was pastor of that parish and co-founded Life Teen, the nation's largest Catholic youth ministry with Baniewicz, was accused of giving alcohol to the teen and then watching and masturbating as Lehman sexually abused Cesolini, then 14. Furthermore, the suit alleged that Fushek acted negligently in not reporting the sexual abuse and that he, Lehman and Baniewicz threatened Cesolini if he reported them.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:07 AM

Bridgeport Diocese appeals court order to open records

CONNECTICUT
Newsday

December 27, 2006, 1:01 AM EST

WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) _ The Diocese of Bridgeport has appealed a Superior Court judge's ruling that thousands of pages of court files involving lawsuits against priests accused of sexual abuse be made public.

The case could return to the state Supreme Court, and the files concerning allegations of sexual abuse by as many as 23 priests in the diocese could remain sealed.

Lawyers for the diocese notified a Superior Court in Waterbury late last week of plans to appeal the decision of Judge Jon M. Alander to unseal nearly all of more than 12,000 documents that have been under seal since the diocese settled sexual abuse claims by 23 individuals in March 2001.

The court filing did not indicate on what grounds they plan to appeal Alander's ruling. Hartford lawyer Ralph W. Johnson III, who is representing the diocese, could not be reached for comment Tuesday, The Hartford Courant reported Wednesday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:05 AM

December 26, 2006

LOVE charity to be disbanded

IRELAND
Belfast Telegraph

Saturday, December 23, 2006

A charity set up to defend priests and nuns wrongly accused of abuse is dissolving this Christmas.

Campaigner Florence Horsman-Hogan, who founded LOVE, said it was time for those who supported the religious orders to move on with their lives.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:43 AM

Polygamy opponent my woman of 2006

UNITED STATES
Tucson Citizen

Smile. Be good. Forgive and forget. Little girls grow up with this mantra even in the most democratic cultures. It's an insidious form of social control, so prevalent that when the media focus heroic accolades on women, there is a good chance the praise is tied to their passivity.
Heroines forgive their tormenters. They pray for them. They're heavenly examples of femininity. It almost seems as if women are admired for being victims.
This is why Flora Jessop gets my nod for this year's most admirable woman of 2006. Flora Jessop was the victim of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a Colorado City religious cult known for trading underage girls to pederasts.
Girls born into this polygamous cult often suffer sexual abuse at the hands of their immediate family, and most are forced into marriage with much older men. During their lifetime of indoctrination, they're told that they're destined for hell if they don't "keep sweet."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:30 AM

Boston Cardinal's Podcasts another First

BOSTON (MA)
MarketVOX

Boston's Cardinal Sean O'Malley, leader of the fourth-largest U.S. Roman Catholic diocese, is the first of 186 cardinals worldwide to launch a podcast, reports Reuters. In September, O'Malley became the first U.S. cardinal to launch a blog.

Cardinal Sean's first video podcast, delivered on Christmas Eve - in English, Spanish and Portuguese - is hosted on iCatholic.com and can be played on demand. Downloadable video podcasts will be available in January. The site features other videos on demand and streams Catholic TV.

The Boston Archdiocese has relied on the web in part to help repair its reputation after a pedophile-priest scandal in 2002. O'Malley, a member of the Capuchin order, was appointed to head the Boston archdiocese in 2003.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:28 AM

Davenport bishop talks about bankruptcy filing

DAVENPORT (IA)
Des Moines Register

ASSOCIATED PRESS

December 26, 2006

The new bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Davenport says bankruptcy is a turning point as the diocese works to move past the church abuse scandal.

Bishop Martin Amos, 65, was installed on Nov. 20 to lead the diocese, which includes 106,000 Catholics in 84 parishes in 22 counties. He came to Iowa from the Diocese of Cleveland, where he served as auxiliary bishop. Amos succeeded Bishop William Franklin, who led the diocese since 1994 before retiring.

During his tenure, Franklin guided the church through the financial crisis which resulted from the sex abuse scandal and forced the diocese to become only the fourth in the country to file for bankruptcy.

Under that plan, the diocese must trim its $3.64 million budget by $270,000. The diocese has until Feb. 10 to submit a reorganization plan to a bankruptcy judge.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:11 AM

December 25, 2006

Here is the text of Pope Benedict XVI's 'Urbi et Orbi'

VATICAN CITY
International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: December 25, 2006

The Vatican's official English-language translation of Pope Benedict XVI's "Urbi et Orbi" Christmas Day address, delivered in Italian from the balcony in St. Peter's Basilica.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:47 AM

Ex-clergyman settles with accusers

LIVINGSTON (MT)
Billings Gazette

By The Associated Press

LIVINGSTON - A lawsuit alleging sexual misconduct by a former Livingston clergyman has been settled for undisclosed terms. Criminal charges against him are still pending.

Terrence Passmore is accused of sexually molesting three girls nearly 10 years ago while he was a Church of God pastor in Livingston. Passmore denies any wrongdoing. He is scheduled for trial Feb. 5 on charges of rape and sexual assault.

The civil suit was filed on behalf of the girls, now adults. Their lawyer, Mark Hartwig, said an agreement among the parties prohibits discussing terms of the settlement, which became final last month.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:43 AM

Church man in the dock after rape of girl

SOUTH AFRICA
IOL

A 60-year-old pastor has been arrested in Yeoville in connection with the rape of a 13-year-old girl, said Gauteng police on Tuesday.

Director Govindsamy Mariemuthoo said the pastor, a Nigerian, was accused of raping the younger sister of a colleague at the shop where he works, in a number of incidents since 2005.

He allegedly gave her money for her silence.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:39 AM

Priest who allegedly abused girls in US currently housed in Ireland

IRELAND
One in Four

Irish Examiner

A PRIEST who allegedly molested two young girls as well as a number of other people in the United States in the 1980s is currently being housed by a Catholic Order in a Dublin suburb where he is not allowed unsupervised contact with the general public.

Confidential church files released by court order in the US have shown how Reverend John Howlett allegedly fondled two young girls around 1984.

He is one of six priests who worked in the Fort Worth diocese where the claims of sexual abuse was not made public. The acts are understood to have taken place while Bishop Joseph P Delaney was in charge at the diocese. Bishop Delaney has since died.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:28 AM

Fresno Priest Issues Letter of Thanks to Congregation

FRESNO (CA)
ABC 30

12/24/06 - A Fresno priest plans to return to his church next month after a mistrial in the civil case accusing him of molesting a parishioner.

Father Eric Swearingen issued a letter to the people of Holy Spirit Church in Northeast Fresno. He thanks them for their prayers and says he'll be back to work on January 8.

Juan Rocha sued Father Swearingen and the Catholic Diocese, claiming the priest molested him nearly 20 years ago.

A majority of jurors believed the abuse happened, but they were not convinced the church knew about it.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:13 AM

Pope issues Christmas call to protect children

VATICAN CITY
Reuters

By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict ushered in Christmas at midnight mass on Monday, saying the image of the baby Jesus born in a manger should remind everyone of the plight of poor, abused and neglected children the world over.

The 79-year-old Benedict, marking the second Christmas season of his pontificate, celebrated the mass for more than 10,000 people in St Peter's Basilica in Rome.

Thousands of others watched on large screens outside on a clear, starry night and millions more tuned in via television or radio round the world.

"The child of Bethlehem directs our gaze towards all children, particularly those who suffer and are abused in the world, the born and the unborn," the Pope said in his homily, making a reference to abortion.

"Towards children who are placed as soldiers in a violent world; towards children who have to beg; towards children who suffer deprivation and hunger; towards children who are unloved. In all of these it is the Child of Bethlehem who is crying out to us. It is the God who has become small who appeals to us." ...

The Catholic Church, particularly in the United States, is still reeling from a 2002 child sexual abuse scandal involving priests. This month a papal preacher suggested the Pope should call a day of penitence to seek forgiveness from God.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:10 AM

Pope Benedict XVI prays for children at Midnight Mass

VATICAN CITY
Pravda

Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Christmas Midnight Mass in the splendor of St. Peter's Basilica early Monday with an appeal to help children who suffer and are abused, including those forced to beg or serve as soldiers and those deprived of food and love.

"The child of Bethlehem directs our gaze toward all children who suffer and are abused in the world, the born and the unborn," Benedict said in his homily, in a reference to the Vatican's staunch opposition to abortion.

He did not indicate if his mention of abuse also referred to many Catholics who have claimed that when they were youngsters they were victims of sexual abuse by clergy in lawsuits and other complaints in the United States and elsewhere.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:08 AM

Who speaks for the least among us?

UNITED STATES
Leader-Call

By Cokie and Steve Roberts, Syndicated Columnist

Tis the season of giving — and getting. Reading the business pages of the nation’s newspapers reveals that a very few people are getting a very great deal. Most aren’t so lucky. That’s always been the case, of course, but the disparity between the super rich and everyone else in America is greater than at any time since the roaring ’20s, according to a study that was issued even before the recent Wall Street bonus bonanza. In the United States, the richest 10 percent of the country now owns almost 70 percent of the assets. Here’s our question: where are the voices of moral outrage?

Catholic Charities, USA, one of the largest national social service providers, recently released a report on poverty detailing the grim statistics agencies like theirs face every day. Last year, 25 million people visited food banks. More than half of America’s adults will spend a year in poverty at some point in their lives. Meanwhile, the mega-rich jet off on their private planes to one of their multiple homes where they might spend more in a day than most families make in a year. But religious leaders remain largely silent on the subject.

Not long after Catholic Charities issued its startling document, U.S. Catholic bishops convened for their annual meeting. Did they choose to take up the moral issues raised by their own social service agencies? Did they address the fact that many full time working families can’t afford homes or health care? No, the prelates decided instead to weigh in against homosexuality and birth control. It’s as if they are asking to be ignored. ...

That scandal so weakened the authority of the church hierarchy that now bishops seem to be using the remnants of their clout to go after the weak, rather than the mighty. Gay couples willing to adopt hard to place children, as they did in Boston, hardly appear worthy targets of Episcopal ire. Wouldn’t the bishops’ voices serve the public good more effectively if they took on the obscenity of executive compensation in the hundreds of millions of dollars?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:01 AM

December 24, 2006

Spiritual Remedy For the Damage Done to the Roman Catholic Church by the Sexual Abuse Scandal

The M+G+R Foundation

A Guest Document by Lee Penn

INTRODUCTION

On December 15, Fr. Cantalamessa (the preacher to Benedict XVI’s household) proposed a Church-wide day of penance for the clerical sex abuse scandal. Mr. Lee Penn has prepared, at our request, a comprehensive commentary addressing Rev. Cantalamessa's spiritual remedy to "...the abominations committed in her womb by some of her own ministers and shepherds."

Although the comprehensive commentary is essentially what Mr. Penn submitted to us, miguel de Portugal, echoes his evaluation and recommendations. ...

In his sermon, Cantalamessa said:

“The Church has ‘wept and sighed’ in recent times for the abominations committed in her womb by some of her own ministers and shepherds. She has paid a high price for this. She has sought to repair the damage. Strict rules have been laid down so that these abuses do not happen again. The moment has come, after the emergency, to do that which is the most important: to weep before God, to do penance, as God himself has been abused; to do penance for the offense against the body of Christ and the scandalizing of the ‘least of his brothers,’ more than for the damage and dishonor that has been brought upon us.”

Nevertheless, Cardinal Bernard Law remains in his cushy Roman retirement post as Archpriest of the Basilica of St. Mary Major – and he still has the honors of the Episcopacy and the Cardinalship. Other bishops and cardinals continue the Scandal coverup and the worldly efforts at damage control. Priestly perpetrators continue to evade justice, in the US and worldwide. We are not in a time “after the emergency;” contrary to Fr. Cantalamessa, the Scandal continues.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:17 AM

Father Cantalamessa on Those Who Mourn

VATICAN CITY
Zenit

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 16, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the Advent sermon delivered Friday by Father Raniero Cantalamessa, Pontifical Household preacher, in the presence of Benedict XVI and members of the Roman Curia in preparation for Christmas.

Preaching in the Redemptoris Mater Chapel of the Apostolic Palace, Father Cantalamessa began a series of meditations on the beatitudes. ...

The Church has "wept and sighed" in recent times for the abominations committed in her womb by some of her own ministers and shepherds. She has paid a high price for this. She has sought to repair the damage. Strict rules have been laid down so that these abuses do not happen again. The moment has come, after the emergency, to do that which is the most important: to weep before God, to do penance, as God himself has been abused; to do penance for the offense against the body of Christ and the scandalizing of the "least of his brothers," more than for the damage and dishonor that has been brought upon us.

This is the condition for bringing good from this evil and for bringing about a reconciliation of the people with God and with its priests.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:15 AM

Yakima priest investigated for child porn now in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS (MO)
KNDO/KNDU

ST. LOUIS (AP) _ The Archdiocese of St. Louis is taking criticism today for failing to disclose that a priest once accused of possessing nude photos of boys is now working in St. Louis.

The assignment to St. Louis of the Reverend Darell Mitchell was defended by both the archdiocese and by his former employers at the Diocese of Yakima in Washington state.

Mitchell was in Yakima in 2003 when he was accused of having nude pictures of boys on his computer. He was eventually cleared of any wrongdoing.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:02 AM

A second chance for Louisiana church

PONCHATOULA (LA)
Houston Chronicle

By DEBRA LEMOINE
The (Baton Rouge) Advocate

PONCHATOULA, LA. — A Ponchatoula church shut down amid criminal allegations that some of its members engaged in ritualistic abuse of children is being reborn as a home for a new congregation.

Christian Life Assembly of God in Hammond is renovating the former Hosanna Church building in Ponchatoula and moving its church there, said the Rev. Gary Wayne Yates of Christian Life.

Seven members of the former Hosanna Church were arrested and charged in the sexual abuse of three children in April and May 2004. All are awaiting trial, and the first trial is scheduled for August.

The General Council of the Assemblies of God petitioned the 21st Judicial District Court in Amite last year to take ownership of the former Hosanna Church, which began as an Assembly member church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:58 AM

THE BANKRUPTCY AND THE SETTLEMENT

PORTLAND (OR)
The Oregonian

Sunday, December 24, 2006
David Reinhard
A lmost five years ago, on a Wednesday right before Easter 2002, I sat in a pew at St. Michael the Archangel Church in downtown Portland and listened to a priest pour out his broken heart. The Rev. Paul Peri stood in the center aisle that noon and talked about what everyone and no one was talking about: the priest sexual abuse scandal engulfing the Roman Catholic Church in the United States.

This devoted priest shared with his congregants everything they, too, felt: sorrow for the victims, anger toward the men who abused children and brought shame on the clergy, and a sadness for their church. I thought then that Peri's homily and others like it across the land that season were a turning point in the scandal. Catholic clergy and laity had at long last started to speak to each other about the once unspeakable, and there was comfort -- even hope -- in the shared suffering.

But more suffering was to come, particularly in Oregon. More accusations. More victims. More lawsuits. And humiliation. In July 2004, Portland became the first archdiocese in the United States to file for bankruptcy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:50 AM

Ohio Catholic bishops offer counseling for abused

OHIO
Spero News

Sunday, December 24, 2006

by Horizons

The Ohio Catholic bishops, through the Catholic Conference of Ohio, have created a new fund, independent of the church, to help adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. The Counseling Assistance Fund is designed to provide counselling or similar mental health services for persons who were sexually abused as minors by clergy or other representatives of the Catholic Church.

Currently, each Ohio Catholic bishop, through the diocese’s Victim Assistance Program, offers survivors of abuse the opportunity to receive counselling or other assistance, to aid in the healing process. This new fund offers another op0tion for healing.

The new Counseling Assistance Fund will consider claims from those who were abused by clergy or other representatives of the Catholic Church and were Ohio residents at the time. A Web site has been created to assist those wishing to file a claim.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:47 AM

December 23, 2006

Group wants priest to talk to parishioners

YAKIMA (WA)
Yakima Herald-Republic

By JANE GARGAS
YAKIMA HERALD-REPUBLIC

A local group is proposing that the Catholic Diocese of Yakima bring back a priest who left here two years ago amid controversy.

Voice of the Faithful, a Catholic reform group, issued a news release Friday saying that the priest in question deserves better treatment from the church.

The priest had been under criminal investigation for allegedly viewing child pornography while serving in Yakima. On Thursday, the Archdiocese of St. Louis announced that he is serving as an associate pastor at a church in St. Louis.

The parish has an elementary school.

Robert Fontana, coordinator of VOTF in Yakima, said the priest never should have been assigned to a parish with a school.

Fontana argued that the Catholic hierarchy no longer has the prerogative to return a priest to ministry without informing parents first that the priest had been looking at pictures of naked boys.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:16 AM

Seminary head hears Gaines reaction

MEMPHIS (TN)
Commercial Appeal

By Yolanda Jones

December 23, 2006
Dr. Michael Spradlin, head of Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary, has gotten a lot of calls and e-mails in response to recent comments in The Commercial Appeal about a divisive situation at Bellevue Baptist Church.

In an article Wednesday, Spradlin said he believed Dr. Steve Gaines, senior pastor of the Cordova church, should resign if he knew about sexual abuse by one of the church's ministers but didn't take immediate action.

During Sunday services, the congregation was told Paul Williams, minister of prayer and special projects and a longtime Bellevue staffer, had been placed on paid leave pending an investigation into what church leaders called a "moral failure" that occurred 17 years ago.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:00 AM

Child abuse suspects close to ministry

ST. PETERSBURG (FL)
St. Petersburg Times

By ABHI RAGHUNATHAN
Published December 23, 2006

ST. PETERSBURG - They studied the Bible and babysat children. And, of course, they put up Christmas lights.

Angela Hunnicutt, Lytricia Gardner and Wesley Earl Ball were all longtime members of Ted Kresge's Gospel of Truth ministry. They lived in poverty and anonymity, part of the tight-knit group who installed a nationally renowned Christmas display with tens of thousands of lights every year.

This April, all three were jailed on capital sexual battery charges. Several children have told police gruesome stories of how they were tortured and sexually abused as ministry members looked on.

Police say they have no evidence that Kresge knew about the abuse, and they have not charged him with a crime. But a review of court records, including depositions from the Kresges and former ministry members, shows that the three defendants were close to the ministry founder.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:57 AM

Former Immaculata coach pleads not guilty to assault

NEW JERSEY
Courier News

By CELANIE POLANICK
Staff Writer

A former Immaculata High School girls basketball coach pleaded not guilty Friday afternoon in Superior Court in Somerville to sexually assaulting a former student.

Pamela Balogh, now a physical education teacher at North Hunterdon-Voorhees High School in Lebanon Township, arrived early for the hearing wearing a crisp blue shirt and a dark suit.

Throughout the hearing, she had a calm, unflinching expression.

Both she and her attorney, James Wronko, declined to comment.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:56 AM

Ellisons want accountability for son's death, file lawsuit

WISCONSIN
Barron News Shield

The parents of James Ellison, the 22-year-old Barron native likely killed by a priest in 2002, recently filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Superior Wisconsin, which ordained and hired the cleric.

Carsten and Sally Ellison filed the civil lawsuit in St. Croix County Court seeking unspecified damages for their son's death.

A St. Croix County judge ruled earlier this year that Fr. Ryan Erickson likely shot and killed both James Ellison and Daniel O'Connell. Erickson hanged himself outside the church he was then serving in Hurley, Wis., soon after authorities began investigating his possible involvement in the double homicide.

The family contends the Diocese of Superior knew that there were allegations of sexual assault and other abusive behaviors tied to Erickson, but church officials overlooked them and ordained Erickson anyway. The diocese then placed the priest at St. Patrick's parish in Hudson without disclosing any information regarding his past to its parishioners or clergy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:52 AM

Appeal Dismissed in Local Priest Abuse Scandal

PENNSYLVANIA
WFMZ

A victory for the Allentown diocese tonight in a priest abuse lawsuit already shot down once by a Berks County judge. The Pennsylvania Superior Court upheld Judge Jeffrey Schmehl's 2005 dismissal of a lawsuit that accused Reading Central Catholic High School of failing to prevent sexual abuse by its then-vice principal, Father James Gaffney. Diana Vojtasek claims Father Gaffney forced her to have sex with him when she was a student at Central Catholic in the early 90's.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:48 AM

Catholic Diocese To Pay $750K In Sex Abuse Case

FRESNO (CA)
CBS 13

(AP) FRESNO, Calif. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno has agreed to pay $750,000 to settle a sex abuse case with a former parishioner.

Bishop John Steinbock has publicly apologized to a 54-year-old man who said he was molested by Monsignor Joseph Pacheco, a priest at St. Rita's parish in Tulare, in the 1960s.

Steinbock acknowledged that Pacheco molested the victim, who was not identified. Pacheco molested several other boys before he died in 1992 at age 60, Steinbock said Thursday.

The victim's lawyer, Owen Campbell, said he discovered that Pacheco invited several eighth-grade boys to spend the weekend with him at the Tulare church and that church officials never stopped him.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:40 AM

Father Roger Jacques cleared of abuse allegation

BRIGHTON (MA)
The Pilot

Posted: 12/22/2006 BRIGHTON -- The Archdiocese of Boston announced Dec. 18 that it has fully restored Father Roger Jacques as a priest in good standing.

Father Jacques was placed on administrative leave in October 2002 due to a single allegation of sexual abuse of a minor approximately 20 years earlier. The allegation was found to be unsubstantiated and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has confirmed this finding.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:38 AM

Archdiocese seeking to remove a priest

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

By David O'Reilly
Inquirer Staff Writer
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has announced it is seeking to permanently remove the Rev. John H. Mulholland from priesthood after finding credible evidence that he sexually abused a minor in the mid-1970s.

Mulholland was removed from active ministry in September 2005, soon after a Philadelphia grand jury report on clergy sex abuse in the archdiocese reported that Mulholland had a history of sadomasochistic activity with teenage boys in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

His case now goes before the Vatican, which can decide to laicize him.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:35 AM

Priests campaign to win back flock

MASSACHUSETTS
Boston Globe

By Michael Levenson, Globe Staff | December 23, 2006

Sensing a wave of disaffection among Roman Catholics in Greater Boston, a tiny community of priests on Beacon Hill is waging an all-out campaign to win them back.

This week, the Paulist Center launched a three-year, $800,000 advertising and outreach campaign to attract Catholics who feel disenchanted with church teachings on gay marriage and other social issues, stressing that "everyone is truly welcome" at the center and that "questioning is encouraged."

The center's priests say the pain of the clergy sexual abuse crisis and the closing of parishes in the region has also alienated many Catholics, and they say they want to seize on Christmastime as a moment to bring them back.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:33 AM

December 22, 2006

News from the San Joaquin Valley

FRESNO (CA)
The Mercury News

Associated Press
FRESNO, Calif. - The Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno has agreed to pay $750,000 to settle a sex abuse case with a former parishioner.

Bishop John Steinbock has publicly apologized to a 54-year-old man who said he was molested by Monsignor Joseph Pacheco, a priest at St. Rita's parish in Tulare, in the 1960s.

Steinbock acknowledged that Pacheco molested the victim, who was not identified. Pacheco molested several other boys before he died in 1992 at age 60, Steinbock said Thursday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:22 PM

North Charleston pastor faces ninth sex charge

GOOSE CREEK (SC)
WIS

(Goose Creek-AP) December 22, 2006 - A North Charleston minister faces another sex charge.

Goose Creek police have charged 39-year-old Tyrone Moore with assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct. It's the ninth charge they have filed against the founder of Full Word Ministries.

Moore is accused of simulating a sex act on a 22-year-old member of the church he founded after he served nine years in prison on convictions for two sex-related crimes involving children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:12 PM

North Charleston pastor faces another charge

GOOSE CREEK (SC)
Myrtle Beach Online

Associated Press
GOOSE CREEK, S.C. - Criminal charges continue to mount against a minister suspected in several sexual assaults, most of them involving males.

North Charleston Pastor Tyrone Moore appeared in court Wednesday, facing a charge of assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct, the ninth charge filed by Goose Creek detectives.

Moore, 39, is accused of simulating a sex act on a 22-year-old member of the church he founded after he served nine years in prison on convictions for two sex-related crimes involving children.

Moore, a registered sex offender, was arrested last month and charged with sexually assaulting a teenage parishioner in 2002 and 2003, when he was 17 years old, police said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:09 PM

Diocese settlement plan sidesteps justice, victims advocates say

PORTLAND (OR)
The Register-Guard

By Bill Bishop
The Register-Guard
Published: Friday, December 22, 2006

Advocates for victims of sexual abuse by priests are analyzing the bankruptcy settlement plan proposed by the Archdiocese of Portland and asking themselves: Where is the justice?

The bankruptcy, filed Monday on the eve of trials that would have required church officials to testify about what they knew and what actions they took concerning abuse by priests, is aimed squarely at preventing accountability by church leaders, says David Clohessy, national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

The proposed bankruptcy settlement also appears to effectively block the payment of large punitive damage awards - meant as a deterrent to continued bad behavior - to victims who reject the out-of-court settlement, go to trial and win such an award from a jury.

advertisement The lack of financial and personal accountability by church officials hurts not only the victims, but also leaves church members without answers about how the abuse by priests continued over many years and whether church officials are taking effective steps to stop it, Clohessy said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:07 PM

Teaching broader view of sexuality important to prevent child abuse

CINCINNATI (OH)
Catholic Telegraph

By Lenore Christopher

ARCHDIOCESE - Child abuse. In any form, it is reprehensible. The decades in which the church - and society in general - tolerated or was ignorant of sexual abuse of young people in society and, specifically, by priests and laity prompted a malaise, distrust and a rage from which many parishioners have yet to recover.

For the church, it has been a time of learning, compassion and forgiveness, reaching out to victims, dealing with offenders and taking responsibility. Are we doing enough?

Although the church did address the immediate issue of protection of children, "there are things we need to do to grow," said Sister of Mercy Fran Repka, psychologist and director of Mercy Professional Services in Cincinnati started in 1994.

She was one of the members of the original committee that drafted the first Decree on Child Abuse in March 1993, which five years later was revised and renamed the Decree on Child Protection.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:05 PM

Man claims priest beat him badly

CHICAGO (IL)
Daily Southtown

December 22, 2006
By Kim Janssen Staff writer
A Burbank priest accused of sexually abusing two boys at a South Side church in the 1980s admitted punching an altar boy in the face just two years earlier, it was claimed Thursday.

Ken Meyer, now 43, says he was badly beaten in 1980 in a North Side classroom by the Rev. Robert Stepek.

Stepek -- then a deacon -- confessed to the attack, according to Meyer's mother, Marion, but he was ordained as a priest a year later.

The Meyers' account of the violent incident stands in stark contrast with Stepek's claim last month that he "was of no danger to any child" and had "never abused any child."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:52 AM

Preacher in court on 9th sex charge

GOOSE CREEK (SC)
The Post and Courier

Friday, December 22, 2006

GOOSE CREEK - Pastor Tyrone Moore's only travel since Dec. 2 has been under police escort from jail to court for bail hearings on charges of sexual misconduct against male members of his church.

The founder of Full Word Ministries made the trip once again Wednesday for the most recent charge of assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct. The 22-year-old accuser began attending the North Charleston church in 2004, but the incidents occurred at the pastor's Goose Creek home, an affidavit stated. A clothed Moore, 39, lay on top of the victim and simulated a sex act, the affidavit said.

The arrest warrant is the ninth criminal charge filed against Moore by Goose Creek detectives. Another charge is pending in North Charleston, where police arrested Moore in November for second-degree criminal sexual conduct. The alleged victim was a 17-year-old congregant at the time of the offense, which occurred at the church, police said. He's now 21.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:48 AM

Priest charged with sex abuse

JOLIET (IL)
Daily Southtown

December 22, 2006
By Laurel Jorgensen The Associated Press
A Catholic priest previously convicted of child molestation was charged Thursday with sexual abuse after allegations that he fondled two teenage brothers in the 1990s.

Louis Rogge, 76, of Joliet, was indicted on four counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse following an investigation by the Will County state's attorney's office.

The first boy allegedly was abused in 1996, when he was 15, and the second in 1999, when he also was 15, said Charles Pelkie, spokesman for State's Attorney James Glasgow.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:45 AM

Priest charged in sex case

JOLIET (IL)
Chicago Tribune

By Matthew Walberg and Manya A. Brachear
Tribune staff reporters
Published December 22, 2006

A Carmelite priest convicted of child molestation in Georgia in the 1970s has been indicted by a Will County grand jury on charges of sexually abusing two teenage brothers in the 1990s.

The indictment returned Thursday against Rev. Louis Rogge, 76, of Joliet charges him with four counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. He surrendered to the Will County Sheriff's Department and was released after posting 10 percent of his $40,000 bail, said Charles Pelkie, spokesman for State's Atty. James Glasgow.

Rogge was a "spiritual adviser" to a family when he abused one boy during the summer of 1996 and fondled his younger brother three years later, according to the indictment. The men, now 25 and 22, were 15 when the alleged abuse occurred, Pelkie said.

Rogge's case is, in a way, the Catholic Church's sex-abuse scandal writ small: abuse, followed by treatment and restoration to ministry, then more allegations.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:43 AM

Paedophile jailed but police 'disappointed' with sentence

UNITED KINGDOM
Leamington Spa Today

Pro-paedophilia campaigner Thomas O'Carroll has been jailed for child porn offences - but the detectives who caught him are "disappointed" with his sentence.

O'Carroll, 61, formerly of Leam Street, Leamington, was jailed for two and a half years by a judge at a London court on Wednesday after admitting three counts of distributing indecent photographs of children between January 1 1994 and July 4 last year.

The former university press officer founded the International Paedophile Child Emancipation Group, which sought to legalise sex between adults and children. Police believe O'Carroll was a figure of admiration for paedophiles around the world. ....

O'Carroll's co-accused, millionaire former Anglican priest Michael Studdert, formerly of Hindhead, Surrey, received a four-year sentence after police searched his home and found the largest stash of abusive material ever found in the UK - 56,000 images.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:40 AM

Orwigsburg priest fails to win reduction in prison sentence

PENNSYLVANIA
Reading Eagle

From our news staff

A Schuylkill County judge refused to reduce a four- to 10-year prison sentence for an Orwigsburg priest for violating probation in a child pornography case, officials said Thursday.

The Rev. Ronald J. Yarrosh, 57, asked Schuylkill County President Judge William E. Baldwin to reduce his sentence because no additional charges had been filed against him.

In August 2005, Yarrosh was sentenced to three to 23 months in Schuylkill County Prison for taking more than $23,000 from St. Ambrose Church in Schuylkill Haven, where he was an assistant pastor.

At the same time, Yarrosh got 10 years of probation for sexual abuse of children. That charge came after police investigating the embezzlement allegations found Yarrosh had hundreds of images of child pornography.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:36 AM

Appeal in priest-sex lawsuit is dismissed

PENNSYLVANIA
Reading Eagle

By Holly Herman
Reading Eagle

In a win for the Diocese of Allentown, the State Superior Court has upheld a Berks County judge's dismissal of a lawsuit accusing the diocese of covering up the molestation of a former Central Catholic High School student in 1992.

On Sept. 30, 2005, Judge Jeffrey L. Schmehl dismissed the suit filed by Diana L. Vojtasek accusing the diocese of failing to prevent a priest, the Rev. James F. Gaffney, from molesting her.

Superior Court decided that Schmehl properly ruled the suit was filed 10 years after the two-year statute of limitations for such cases.

Vojtasek, now 31, of Reading was seeking more than $700,000 from the diocese, Central Catholic and Bishops Edward P. Cullen and Thomas J. Welsh.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:35 AM

Letter from Diocese of Fresno bishop

FRESNO (CA)
The Fresno Bee

12/21/06 18:43:10

Diocese of Fresno Pastoral Center 1550 North Freso Stret Fresno, California 93703-3788

My dear people of God at Holy Spirit,

I think it is important for you to have this information to correct the false and misleading statements that have been given to the media. What I write here hopefully will be reported by the media.

I first want to thank you again for your support and prayers for Fr. Eric Swearingen. I have never doubted his innocence. He has been a faithful priest for almost 20 years. He has never had any other allegation or even complaints against him in all those years. Two police departments, Fresno and Bakersfield, jointly investigated his case and their report was given to the Fresno District Attorney who declined to prosecute. He passed with flying colors a lie detector test administered by an expert, who had worked as an expert in this field for the FBI. The Diocesan Review Board, set up by the direction of the Charter of the Bishops for the Protection of Children, after examining all the evidence we gathered after the allegation, advised me that there was not sufficient reason to believe the allegation was credible and it was not necessary to remove Fr. Eric from ministry.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:33 AM

Diocese to pay $750,000

FRESNO (CA)
The Fresno Bee

By Pablo Lopez / The Fresno Bee 12/22/06 04:23:26

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno said Thursday that it has agreed to pay $750,000 to settle a lawsuit by a former parishioner who was sexually abused by a priest at St. Rita's parish in Tulare in the 1960s.

As part of the settlement, Bishop John Steinbock also apologized publicly to a man he said was molested by Monsignor Joseph Pacheco, who died in 1992 at age 60. The victim, now 54, lives in Southern California.

Steinbock also apologized for statements made by Monsignor John Harguindeguy, who publicly said in 2003 that the victim made false allegations. Since then, Steinbock said, the diocese has learned that Pacheco sexually abused several boys.

Steinbock's announcement came a day after a mistrial was declared in Fresno County Superior Court in another molestation suit brought against the diocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:30 AM

PRIEST ACCUSED OF MOLESTATION

JOLIET (IL)
Herald News

December 22, 2006
By Patrick Ferrell Staff Writer
JOLIET -- A 76-year-old Catholic priest with a sordid past was arraigned Thursday on charges he allegedly had sexual contact with two teenage boys in 1996 and 1999.

Louis Rogge, 76, from the Carmelite Order, posted $4,000 bail and is free on bond. He was indicted by a grand jury this week on four counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

Rogge lives at the St. Elias Priory. He has been out of the public ministry since 2002, when the issue of sexual abuse by priests became a national scandal.

At the time, the U.S. bishops issued an order to remove from ministry any priest that has had credible allegations of abuse lodged against him. And thus, Rogge was removed and assigned to duties as an archivist at the Carmelites' libraries, according to Father John Welch, Provincial of the Carmelites of the Most Pure Heart of Mary in Darien.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:28 AM

Ex-Clergyman Pleads Guilty To Child Sex Abuse

BOSTON (MA)
TheBostonChannel.com

BOSTON -- A former clergyman was sentenced to prison Thursday after pleading guilty to child sex abuse charges.

NewsCenter 5's Steve Lacy reported that Edward Anthony Holmes, 65, known as Brother Tony at the Congregation of Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary in Jamaica Plain, pleaded guilty to a 17-count indictment in connection with the sexual abuse of two boys when they were between the ages of 10 and 14 and 9 and 15, respectively. He was sentenced to five years in prison.

The abuse took place at the Nazareth Child Care Center in Jamaica Plain between 1976 and 1983, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said. The center has since closed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:19 AM

Former Catholic brother pleads guilty to raping two boys

BOSTON (MA)
Worcester Telegram & Gazette

The Associated Press

BOSTON— A former member of a Roman Catholic religious order has been sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to raping and assaulting two young boys he counseled at a youth services center.

Edward Anthony Holmes, 65, exploited the two boys while he was a counselor at the Nazareth Child Care Center in the city's Jamaica Plain neighborhood between 1976 and 1983, according to Suffolk County District Attorney's office spokesman Jake Wark.

Holmes, a former brother with the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, pleaded guilty to six counts of child rape, 10 counts of assault and battery and one count of posing for nude photographs.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:16 AM

Ex-Catholic brother admits raping boys

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Globe

By John R. Ellement, Globe Staff | December 22, 2006

A former Catholic brother pleaded guilty yesterday to repeatedly raping and sexually assaulting two boys in the 1970s and '80s and was sentenced to five years and one day in state prison.

Edward Anthony Holmes, who is now 65 and lives in Washington, D.C., declined to comment after leaving Suffolk Superior Court, where he pleaded guilty to a total of 17 charges, including photographing a child for sexual purposes.

His defense lawyer, Jeanmarie Carroll, also declined to comment.

In a victim impact statement read in court, one victim wrote, "I wish I could forgive you, but right now I can't. I hope you find peace with God."

One victim was repeatedly sexually assaulted between 1976 and 1980, when he was between ages 10 and 14. The second victim was attacked -- and photographed in a sexual act with Holmes -- between 1977 and 1983, when he was between ages 9 and 15.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:11 AM

Detectives seek help in priest allegations

CALIFORNIA
Santa Maria Times

By Kimberlina Rocha/Staff Writer

Santa Barbara County Sheriff's detectives are seeking information from the public as they continue investigating an alleged sexual assault by a local priest against a former St. Joseph High School student.

Father Timothy Lane, a priest who was teaching at St. Joseph, was transferred to Missouri after an alleged sexual assault in June against an 18-year-old woman who had just graduated from the high school, said sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Erik Raney.

The assault allegedly took place at Lane's residence at the St. Joseph seminary at 180 Patterson Road in Orcutt.

“We've investigated one specific incident of sexual battery,” Raney said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:02 AM

Archdiocese Reacts to Allegations About One of it's Priests

ST. LOUIS (MO)
KMOX

Michelle Wirth Reporting

Saint Louis (KMOX News) -- The Saint Louis archdiocese responds to concerns about a local priest that was transferred to Saint Louis from Yakima, Washington. Reports show the priest was being investigated for viewing child pornography, before he left Washington.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:55 AM

Play report on questionable priest assignment

ST. LOUIS (MO)
KMOX

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:53 AM

Priest reassigned to St. Louis was investigated in Wash. state

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

By JIM SALTER
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER

ST. LOUIS -- The Archdiocese of St. Louis was criticized Thursday for failing to disclose that a priest once accused of possessing nude photos of boys has been allowed to work at two St. Louis-area parishes.

The assignment to St. Louis of the Rev. Darell Mitchell was defended by both the archdiocese and by his former employers at the Diocese of Yakima in Washington state. Mitchell was in Yakima in 2003 when he was accused of having nude pictures of boys on his computer. He was eventually cleared of wrongdoing.

Still, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, said the archdiocese was wrong in welcoming Mitchell, and in failing to alert parishioners of the allegations against him.

"If we're importing (accused) priests secretly, the least we can do is keep them out of parishes, and certainly parishes with schools," SNAP national director David Clohessy said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:49 AM

Faith in priest was steadfast

WALTHAM (MA)
Daily News Tribune

By Galen Moore/Daily News Staff
Friday, December 22, 2006 - Updated: 01:08 AM EST

WALTHAM Á When the Archdiocese of Boston reinstated the Rev. Roger Jacques as a priest earlier this week, his former parishioners showed they've kept a candle lit for him since 2002, when he was suspended from the priesthood after being accused of sexually abusing a child.
Bill Aucoin, who assisted with Masses at St. Joseph's Parish, said he had grown up taught that a priest was ``on a higher plane,'' than the rest of humanity - not to be challenged or questioned.
Boston's clergy sex abuse scandal broke him of that notion, but his faith in Jacques never wavered, he said.
``We found out that they were sinners, but there are good ones,'' he said of the clergy. ``We're pretty confident. If he said he didn't do it, we believe him.''

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:47 AM

Court upholds tossing of case against diocese

PENNSYLVANIA
The Express-Times

Friday, December 22, 206
By JD MALONE
The Express-Times
The Pennsylvania Superior Court on Wednesday upheld a decision to toss out a sexual abuse case against the Diocese of Allentown.

In a written opinion, Judge Zoran Popovich said Diana Vojtasek's claim of sexual abuse against Rev. James Gaffney was filed after the statute of limitations had expired. Vojtasek alleges Gaffney began molesting her in 1990 while she was a student at Reading Central Catholic High School where he was vice principal.

Gaffney befriended Vojtasek while she struggled with depression and during their meetings he discussed sexual topics and forced himself upon Vojtasek, according to the lawsuit.

Vojtasek was 16 when the alleged abuse began. By law she needed to file the suit within two years of turning 18 in 1992. Since the suit was filed in 2004, Popovich ruled that Vojtasek's complaint came "too late in time to avoid the barring effect of the statute of limitations."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:44 AM

Quebec to give about 1,700 abused Duplessis Orphans a total of $26 million

CANADA
News 1130

December 21, 2006 - 11:44 am

By: PETER RAKOBOWCHUK

MONTREAL (CP) - Saying it's time to turn the page, the Quebec government has set aside $26 million to compensate the last group of so-called Duplessis Orphans.

Many of them were the children of unwed mothers who were physically and mentally abused in Roman Catholic Church-run institutions in the 1940s and '50s.

The orphans were named after Maurice Duplessis, who was Quebec premier at the time.

Michelle Courchesne, Quebec's minister of social solidarity, announced Thursday the province is putting in place a "reconciliation program" for 1,700 people who were abused in nine institutions.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:40 AM

Duplessis orphan can't forget sexual abuse that occurred almost 60 years ago

CANADA
Brooks Bulletin

PETER RAKOBOWCHUK
Thursday, December 21, 2006

MONTREAL (CP) - Martin Lecuyer, now 69, still chokes back tears when he talks about the abuse he first suffered when he was an 11-year-old living in an orphanage north of Montreal.

"At that time, we thought it was normal to have sex between men," an emotional Lecuyer said Thursday as Quebec announced $26 million in compensation for 1,700 Duplessis Orphans who were abused in Roman Catholic Church-run institutions in the 1940s and '50s. Many other children received the same treatment, Lecuyer told reporters.

"I saw a lot of kids who were physically abused by a bunch of guys. . .I have this in my head since I was 11 years old. You can't forget that, it's impossible, you can't forget that."

Lecuyer is one of the last group of so-called Duplessis Orphans to be compensated by the Quebec government.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:38 AM

Gaines' decision creates legal questions

TENNESSEE
WMCTV

Children's advocates say Tennessee law is clear.

"It is that every person is required to make a report to an agency like Department of Children's Services if they have reason to believe that someone may, a child may have been molested or abused," said Nancy Williams, with the Memphis Child Advocacy Center.

According to Bellevue Pastor Steve Gaines' own words, he didn't just have reason to believe it, he had a confession from one of his ministers, who admitted to molesting a child.

"In June of this year... I had a confidential meeting with [name removed] and he shared with me regarding this activity that took place some 17 years ago in his family," said Gaines in an address to Church members this week.

"No matter when it happened, it's got to be reported," said Susan Mackenzie, a Memphis attorney who has represented adult survivors of child sex abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:35 AM

Victims mull renewed suit

CANADA
London Free Press

By JANE SIMS, FREE PRESS JUSTICE REPORTER

After the Roman Catholic priest who sexually abused her as a child was shamed and sent to prison in October, Joanne Morrison says she had "an epiphany."

"I let go, I was done," she said yesterday from her home in White Rock, B.C.

Morrison said she moved on from the terrible acts of Charles Sylvestre, 84, a man whose deviant behaviour consumed and damaged her life.

But Wednesday's revelation by the Roman Catholic diocese of London that three Sarnia police reports from 1962 documenting Sylvestre's abuse were found tucked away in a filing cabinet has the potential to reopen her settled civil case from more than a decade ago.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:29 AM

Too many have stories like Yolanda's

The Dallas Morning News

We've become immune to the horrors, says MACARENA HERNÁNDEZ

The Dallas Morning News series this week detailing 19-year-old Yolanda Méndez Torres' life of sexual abuse and silence is not an easy read. The issue of violence against women and children around the world is easier to swallow when you don't see an actual picture of the victim, when you don't read the details about the rape, when you don't have to follow her torment from an impoverished village in Oaxaca to a tiny closet in a Dallas apartment, where she was held as a sex slave.

Most of us would rather forget – especially in this time of celebration and holiday cheer – that violence against women and children is not only on the rise in Third World countries, but at our doorstep.

Even here, victims like Yolanda, who spent the first five years in America illegally before getting adopted and being granted a green card, are doubly invisible. It's tough enough for U.S. citizens to report sexual assaults, much less girls like Yolanda who don't think our laws protect them at all. ...

When I read about Yolanda, I couldn't help but think of another child, an 11-year-old girl that I'll call Sandra. I first wrote about her in 2005, after Camargo, Tamaulipas, police went on a hunt for a missing priest in the nearby town of Comales – just 20 miles south of the Rio Grande. As it turns out, the 66-year-old priest, had been raping the child since she was 7. When I met her, she was a tiny girl, malnourished and younger-looking than her age.

The priest bought her silence with a few pesos, bags of chips and cans of soda. Had Sandra not told a classmate about the abuse, her teacher may have never found out and reported it to Mexico's family welfare organization, who took the case to the police.

As I interviewed neighbors and church members in the small fishing town, I found that many had long suspected the assaults, but as in Yolanda's story, they blamed Sandra's parents, whom they believed profited from the sexual abuse. Fathers of both girls have denied it. Sandra's father explained to me at the time that "she never told us anything. If I had known what he was doing, I would have killed him, even if I had been sent to jail."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:22 AM

Catholic priest accused of child molestation committed in 1990s

JOLIET (IL)
Pravda

Catholic priest convicted in the 1970s of child molestation was charged with sexual abuse on suspicion that he fondled two teenage brothers in the 1990s.

The Rev. Louis Rogge, 76, was indicted on Thursday on four counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. The first boy was abused in 1996, when he was 15, and the second in 1999, when he also was 15, said Charles Pelkie, spokesman for State's Attorney James Glasgow.

In 1974, Rogge pleaded guilty to child molestation in Athens, Georgia, and was sentenced to six years' probation, according to Glasgow's office.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:20 AM

Catholic clergyman in Joliet is charged with sexual abuse

JOLIET (IL)
Belleville News-Democrat

Associated Press
CHICAGO - A Catholic priest previously convicted of child molestation was charged Thursday with sexual abuse after allegations that he fondled two teenage brothers in the 1990s.

Louis Rogge, 76, of Joliet was indicted on four counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse following an investigation by the Will County state's attorney's office.

The first boy allegedly was abused in 1996, when he was 15, and the second in 1999, when he also was 15, said Charles Pelkie, spokesman for State's Attorney James Glasgow.

In 1974, Rogge pleaded guilty to charges of child molestation in Athens, Ga., and was sentenced to six years probation, according to Glasgow's office.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:18 AM

December 21, 2006

Former Catholic brother gets 5 years after admitting molesting boys

BOSTON (MA)
Boston.com

By John R. Ellement, Globe Staff

A former Catholic brother today admitted he repeatedly raped and sexually assaulted two boys in the 1970s and 1980s and was sentenced to five years and one day in prison.

Edward Anthony Holmes, who is now 65 years old and lives in Washington DC, declined to comment after leaving Suffolk Superior Court, where he pleaded guilty to a total of 17 charges, including photographing a child for sexual purposes. "I have nothing to say," Holmes said. His defense attorney, Jeanmarie Carroll, also declined comment.

Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Audrey C. Mark said in court that Holmes was a member of the Congregation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary and was assigned to work at the now-closed Nazareth Child Care Center in Jamaica Plain run by the Archdiocese of Boston.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:18 PM

Priest indicted for sexually abusing 2 boys

JOLIET (IL)
Herald News

December 21, 2006
JOLIET — A Will County grand jury has indicted a Catholic priest who is alleged to have had sexual contact with two teenage boys in 1996 and 1999, Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced.

This is the first case of sexual abuse involving a Catholic priest to be charged in Will County since the issue of sexual abuse by priests became a national scandal in 2002.

Louis Rogge, 76, of Joliet was indicted on four counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. All of the counts are Class 2 felonies that carry a prison sentence of three to seven years upon conviction.

Rogge, a priest from the Carmelite Order, was scheduled to surrender to authorities at the Will County Jail on Thursday morning on a $40,000 bond. He must post 10 percent to secure his release while awaiting trial.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:59 PM

Mistrial declared for Fresno priest accused of abuse

FRESNO (CA)
SignOnSanDiego

ASSOCIATED PRESS

10:25 p.m. December 20, 2006

FRESNO – A mistrial was declared Wednesday in the civil trial of a priest accused of molesting a former altar boy nearly 20 years ago.

After eight days of deliberation, a Fresno County jury said it had decided 9-3 that Father Eric Swearingen molested the boy, but deadlocked 5-7 that the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno knew or could have known about it. Nine jurors were needed to render a verdict.

Superior Court Judge Donald S. Black declared a mistrial and scheduled a new trial for April 16.
Juan Rocha, 31, accused Swearingen of molesting him at Our Lady of Guadalupe parish in Bakersfield and St. Alphonsus parish in Fresno when Rocha was between 12 and 15 years old.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:04 PM

Leaflets raise alarm about ex-priest

MISSOURI
The Examiner

By ROBERT HITE
The Examiner

When David Clohessy feels passionate enough about a certain issue he drives across the state of Missouri to tell people about it.

He and three other members of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests passed out fliers Thursday in the Independence neighborhood of John Tulipana.

Tulipana is a former priest accused of molesting a 12-year-old boy in the 1970s, according to BishopAccountability.org. He resigned from the priesthood in 1994.

"We've been worried about Tulipana for a while," said Clohessy, who drove from St. Louis.

He said SNAP found out that Tulipana lives on Shrank Road after reading a news article about a lawsuit filed last week against Tulipana. The incident allegedly occurred in 1978.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:02 PM

Dominican University Presents Lecture on the Church: 5 Years Later

UNITED STATES
Catholic Online

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MEDIA ADVISORY
Catholic PRWire

Dominican University’s Siena Center will present Fr. William Leahy, president of Boston College, in a lecture titled, “The Church in the United States Five Years Later: Reasons for Hope.” The lecture will be held on Thursday, January 25 at 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the university’s Priory Campus, 7200 W. Division Street, River Forest.

In January 2002, the Boston Globe published a series of articles that quickly made Boston “ground zero” in the sexual abuse crisis. Boston College, under the leadership of Fr. William Leahy, responded in September 2002 with its widely acclaimed “Church in the 21st Century” initiative.

The initiative seeks to bring the Catholic Church from crisis to renewal by engaging the critical issues facing the Catholic community today. The initiative has recommended that the Church share the faith with the next generation, foster relationships among the members of the Catholic community and uphold the Catholic intellectual tradition regarding sexuality and contemporary culture.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:54 PM

Pastor to face trial in sex-abuse case

ST. GEORGE (UT)
Salt Lake Tribune

The Associated Press
Article Last Updated: 12/21/2006 07:34:06 AM MST

Posted: 7:32 AM- ST. GEORGE - A pastor accused in the sexual abuse of an 11-year-old student at a Christian school in St. George will soon go to trial.

A judge ruled there's enough evidence against 32-year-old Gabriel Carlin to order him to stand trial next month.

Carlin is accused of molesting a girl, who reported the alleged abuse to her parents and police earlier this year.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:51 PM

Embattled Bellevue Baptist faces new conflict: 'moral failure' allegations

TENNESSEE
Associated Baptist Press

By Hannah Elliott
Published December 21, 2006

CORDOVA, Tenn. (ABP) -- The president of Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary has called for the senior pastor at one of the largest Southern Baptist congregations in the United States to resign.

Michael Spradlin, who leads the seminary situated across the street from Bellevue Baptist Church in suburban Memphis, said Steve Gaines should relinquish the pastorate because of his deliberate silence about sex-abuse allegations against a Bellevue minister.

On Dec. 18, Gaines announced to the 25,000-member Bellevue congregation that Paul Williams, a 34-year employee at Bellevue, had gone on paid leave pending a church investigation regarding "moral failure."

Specific details of the case, allegedly involving sodomy with a minor 17 years ago, have not been released to the public, although claims of sexual abuse have been posted on the Internet. Williams, who was unavailable for comment, has not been officially charged with any criminal activity.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:47 PM

Earlier reports of priest's abuse surface in diocese files

CANADA
CBC News

Police reports relating to sexual abuse by former priest Charles Sylvestre dating back to 1962 have been found in a London, Ont., diocese filing cabinet, even though it had been believed reports of his abuse were first made in 1989.

Sylvestre, 84, was sentenced last October to three years in prison after he was convicted of indecent assault against 47 girls.

On Wednesday, London Bishop Ronald Fabbro said that three documents, dating back to 1962, were found in a diocese filing cabinet.

In the documents were transcribed interviews with three girls who told police how Sylvestre had touched them and exposed himself.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:45 PM

Joliet priest accused of sexually abusing 2 brothers

JOLIET (IL)
Daily Southtown

December 21, 2006
Special to the Daily Southtown
A Catholic priest was indicted in Will County on charges he sexually abused two teenaged brothers he was counseling, the state's attorney's office announced today.

Louis Rogge, 76, a Carmelite priest, was indicted by a grand jury on four counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. Each felony carries a prison sentence of between three and seven years if found guilty.

The indictment against Rogge is the first criminal sexual abuse case filed against a Catholic priest in Will County since sexual abuse by priests became a national scandal in 2002.

Rogge was a longtime family friend and a spiritual adviser to both teens. Both youths were 15 years old at the time of the alleged abuse. The first is alleged to have occurred in the summer of 1996, and the second was in the summer of 1999, Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:43 PM

Joliet priest charged with abusing teenage boys

JOLIET (IL)
WQAD

JOLIET, Ill. Authorities say a Roman Catholic priest in Joliet with a history of child molestation has been charged with sexually abusing two teenage boys.

Will County state's attorney's office spokesman Charles Pelkie says Louis Rogge was indicted today on four counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

Pelkie says the 76-year-old Rogge (ROH'-geh) was a "spiritual adviser" to the victims and a long-time friend of their family.

He says that in the summer of 1996, Rogge abused one of the boys, who was 15 at the time, and three years later abused his younger brother.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:41 PM

Joliet priest charged with sex abuse

JOLIET (IL)
Chicago Tribune

By Matthew Walberg
Tribune staff reporter
Published December 21, 2006, 10:40 AM CST

A Joliet priest who authorities said previously pleaded guilty to child molestation was indicted today for allegedly fondling two teenage brothers.

Louis Rogge, 76, was charged with four counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and was expected to surrender to authorities this morning, said Charles Pelkie, spokesman for Will County State's Atty. James Glasgow.

Pelkie described Rogge as a "spiritual adviser" to the victims and a longtime friend of their family. He said that in the summer of 1996, Rogge abused one of the boys, who was 15 at the time, and three years later abused his brother, by then 15 as well.

In 1974, Rogge pleaded guilty to child molestation charges in Athens, Ga., and was sentenced to six years of probation, according to Pelkie.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:31 PM

Swearingen decision draws protest

FRESNO (CA)
The Fresno Bee

The Fresno Bee 12/21/06 08:39:10

A news conference to protest Fresno Bishop John T. Steinbock's decision not to suspend Father Eric Swearingen from his duties will be held this afternoon in Fresno, according to a news release issued this morning by SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

A Los Angeles clergy sex abuse victim who is described as a leader of the nationwide support group is scheduled to address the media in front of the Fresno County Court House on Van Ness Avenue in downtown Fresno, beginning at 1:15 p.m.

Swearingen is accused of molesting an altar boy nearly 20 years ago in Bakersfield and Fresno.

A civil trial in the case ended Wednesday with a hung jury. The jury voted 9-3 that Swearingnen had molested former altar boy Juan Rocha, but voted 7-5 to clear the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno of wrongdoing. A new trial is expected to be held in April.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:05 PM

Kid porn haul Rev gets 4yrs

UNITED KINGDOM
The Sun

A FORMER vicar and a paedophile rights campaigner were jailed yesterday after a massive porn collection was found at a country mansion.

Nearly 50,000 magazines, videos, photographs and slides were hidden in a vault behind a wall at the home of millionaire ex-minister Michael Studdert in Hindhead, Surrey.

It was one of the largest finds of its kind.

Children — mostly boys and as young as six — had been pictured being raped and tortured.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:52 AM

THE PORN VAULT

UNITED KINGDOM
The Mirror

By Graham Brough
A FORMER vicar and an ex-teacher were jailed yesterday after a huge stash of child porn was found in a secret vault.

Grey-haired Michael Studdert and Thomas O'Carroll kept an Aladdin's Cave of filth behind a bathroom wall. The only way into it was by turning an innocent-looking coat-hook.

Their sick "library" - dating back 50 years - was found after a huge undercover police operation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:50 AM

Paedophile rights campaigner jailed for child porn distribution

UNITED KINGDOM
Irish Examiner

An Irish paedophile rights campaigner has been jailed in the UK today after a massive “Aladdin’s Cave” of child porn was found in a country mansion.

The library of magazines, videos, photographs and slides – nearly 50,000 images altogether – was stored in a secret vault behind a bathroom wall.

The collection, which took half a century to amass, was discovered after undercover police infiltrated the International Paedophile Child Emancipation Group and its subsidiary, Gentlemen With An Interesting Name. Both championed the legalisation of sex between adults and children.

Irishman Thomas O’Carroll (aged 61), a former teacher turned journalist, helped run them from his end-of-terrace home in Shildon, Co Durham, within half a mile of four schools.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:47 AM

'Aladdin's Cave' of porn two jailed

UNITED KINGDOM
Guardian

Press Association
Wednesday December 20, 2006 12:28 PM

A former vicar and an "evil" paedophile rights campaigner were jailed after a massive "Aladdin's Cave" of child porn was found in a country mansion.

The sickening library of magazines, videos, photographs and slides - nearly 50,000 images altogether - was stored in a secret vault behind a bathroom wall.

The collection, which took half a century to amass, was discovered after undercover police infiltrated the International Paedophile Child Emancipation Group and its subsidiary, Gentlemen With An Interesting Name. Both championed the legalisation of sex between adults and children.

Irishman Thomas O'Carroll, 61, a one-time teacher turned journalist, helped run them from his end-of-terrace home in Shildon, Co Durham, within half a mile of four schools. According to police he saw them as a base for an "international secret society" of "academic" child abusers to further his twisted aims.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:45 AM

Priest guilty of sex assaults on boy

IRELAND
The Irish Times

A Co Waterford priest has been given a three year suspended sentence for indecently assaulting a schoolboy twenty years ago.

Fr Con Desmond (71), with an address given as a parish house Knockerra, Cooraclare in Co Clare, assaulted the boy while he was principal of a De La Salle national school in Waterford.

The court heard he abused the boy three times in his office and three times in a car on unknown dates between January 1 st, 1982 and June 24 th, 1983.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:43 AM

Ex-priest gets child sex conviction quashed

AUSTRALIA
ABC

A former Tasmanian priest has successfully appealed against his conviction for sexually abusing young boys at Burnie's Marist College, in the state's north.

In February this year a Criminal Court jury found 70-year-old Roger Michael Bellemore guilty on four counts of maintaining a sexual relationship with a person under 17.

It was alleged Bellemore committed the offences in the late 60s and early 70s while working as a teacher at the college.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:40 AM

Ex-priest rejects offer on Hudson bat charge

NEW JERSEY
The Jersey Journal

Thursday, December 21, 2006
By JEFF DIAMANT
NEWHOUSE NEWS SERVICE
James Hanley, the former Catholic priest who admitted molesting about a dozen boys in what was New Jersey's most notorious clergy sex abuse case, has declined a prosecutor's plea offer on charges in an unrelated March incident at a Secaucus motel.

Hanley, 70, appeared Dec. 11 in Hudson County Superior Court for a brief hearing, shackled and wearing a green jail uniform and walking with a cane. He has been jailed since late October, when a warrant was issued for his arrest for missing a court date, Assistant Prosecutor Howard Bell said.

Hanley was indicted in June on charges of possessing a weapon for an unlawful purpose and making terroristic threats, Bell said. He will remain in jail until his next court date, Jan. 22, unless he can post his $50,000 bail, which has a 10 percent cash option.

Authorities say that on March 10 Hanley swung a bat at three employees at the Extended Stay Motel in Secaucus. An officer drew his gun and ordered Hanley to drop the bat, but Hanley did not, prosecutors say. Instead, Hanley turned around and started to walk away, still holding the bat, prosecutors say.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:37 AM

Defrocked priest's hearing is postponed

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Los Angeles Times

From Times Staff and Wire Reports
December 21, 2006

A hearing on new charges against defrocked priest Michael Stephen Baker was delayed Wednesday and rescheduled for Jan. 4.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:35 AM

Mistrial declared for Fresno priest accused of abuse

FRESNO (CA)
Monterey Herald

Associated Press
FRESNO, Calif. - A mistrial was declared Wednesday in the civil trial of a priest accused of molesting a former altar boy nearly 20 years ago.

After eight days of deliberation, a Fresno County jury said it had decided 9-3 that Father Eric Swearingen molested the boy, but deadlocked 5-7 that the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno knew or could have known about it. Nine jurors were needed to render a verdict.

Superior Court Judge Donald S. Black declared a mistrial and scheduled a new trial for April 16.

Juan Rocha, 31, accused Swearingen of molesting him at Our Lady of Guadalupe parish in Bakersfield and St. Alphonsus parish in Fresno when Rocha was between 12 and 15 years old.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:34 AM

CHAMBER OF HORROR

UNITED KINGDOM
Glasgow Evening Record

By Marie Sharpe
A FORMER priest was yesterday jailed after police found a massive haul of child porn in a secret chamber at his mansion.

Ex - school chaplain Michael Studdert was caught when an officer pulled a coathook on his toilet wall - and a door swung open.

Sick photos, magazines and videos were stacked floor to ceiling in the vault at the 67-year-old millionaire's home in Hindhead, Surrey.

Studdert was jailed for four years at Middlesex Guildhall Crown Court in London.

His co-accused Thomas O'Carroll - who founded the now-defunct Paedophile Information Exchange - got two-and-a-half years.

They were caught in July 2005 when an undercover cop infiltrated their group.

Peter Zinner, prosecuting, said police swooped after an investigation codenamed Operation Glenlivet.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:23 AM

Family Goes Forward With Grace

HARTFORD (CT)
Hartford Courant

December 21, 2006

This is an opportunity for us to step up for a girl who's got a shot at a new beginning.

It won't change the fact that she is a child who gave birth to a child - the victim, police say, of repeated rape by her pastor.

Or that the members of the church she was once part of have abandoned her.

But maybe it will restore her faith in people.

Or maybe it will make her eyes twinkle the way those who know her say they used to - "before."

Most likely, it'll just make us feel better. But whatever the reason, I found myself back at the apartment I last visited in July, this time invited by Carol Coburn.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:20 AM

Priest under cloud of suspicion gets new post

YAKIMA (WA)
Yakima Herald-Republic

By JANE GARGAS
YAKIMA HERALD-REPUBLIC

A Catholic priest who left Yakima in 2004 while under criminal investigation for allegedly viewing child pornography has been reassigned to a church in St. Louis.

According to the Catholic Diocese of Yakima, the priest has a supervised ministry as an associate pastor in a St. Louis parish.

Monsignor Ron Metha, speaking for Bishop Carlos Sevilla of Yakima, said in an e-mail Monday that the priest "was given that assignment by Archbishop Raymond Burke, the Archbishop of St. Louis, after Bishop Sevilla disclosed to him completely all of the events that led to (his) absence from the Diocese of Yakima."

The priest was assigned last June to a St. Louis parish, which has an elementary school.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:13 AM

With court battles over, McNeese renews ministry

CLARKSVILLE (TN)
The Leaf Chronicle

By AMY RITCHART
The Leaf-Chronicle

A clergyman who spent years defending himself against allegations of child abuse has formally reopened — and retooled — his ministry in Clarksville.

The Rev. La Monte McNeese has established a community service center, L. McNeese Ministries, on Dean Drive, which will be home to his Pentecostal Apostolic church and a variety of human services programs.

The ministries include those that remained operational during McNeese's court battles — and one new offering.

The FAITH Agency, a program launched to educate people who have been falsely accused of child abuse, has become a lead program for the church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:56 AM

Slovenian errant priest sentenced to prison

SLOVENIA
Makfax

Ljubljana /21/12/ 14:35

Ljubljana District Court has sentenced the Catholic priest Franc Frantar to three-and-a-half years in prison for sexual abuse of minor.

Frantar (59) is the first priest sentenced to jail on pedophile charges in Slovenia, the local media reported.

The verdict will enter in effect after completion of appeal period. Both the prosecutor and defense lawyer said they would appeal court's ruling.

The victim, who turned 25 this year, reported the case in 2000. The priest escaped abroad to evade trial. He was apprehended upon an international arrest warrant.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:51 AM

Pelham Hispanic pastor pleads guilty to sex-abuse charges

PELHAM (AL)
Alabama Baptist

Thursday, December 21, 2006
By: Grace Thornton
Several years ago when Luis Federico Garcia, a Hispanic pastor in Pelham, came clean about sexually abusing three girls in his congregation, fellow Pastor Mike Shaw of First Baptist Church, Pelham, did the only thing he knew to do grieve and then turn him in immediately.

After a long legal process, Garcia, 66, pleaded guilty Dec. 11 to three counts of first-degree sexual abuse involving three girls ages 6, 7 and 8, according to The Birmingham News. At his sentencing Feb. 12, 2007, he could face 10 years for each count.

"It's such a tragedy that it happened, that he took advantage of those children," Shaw said. From early 2000 until the time Shaw found out about the abuse, Garcia had used the vacant former building of First, Pelham, to house his growing congregation, Iglesia La Roca (The Rock Church).

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:49 AM

Gaines wants to remain at Bellevue

MEMPHIS (TN)
Commercial Appeal

By Jody Callahan
Contact
December 21, 2006
Appearing subdued and distraught, Steve Gaines told members of Bellevue Baptist Church Wednesday night that he'd like to remain their pastor.

The embattled Gaines, under fire from some in the religious community for various controversies at the massive church, spoke to several hundred members before their usual midweek service.

"The past few days have been very difficult times," said Gaines, who took over leadership of the church from the late Adrian Rogers in July 2005. "I'd really like to stay and be your pastor."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:46 AM

Charges against NN pastor dropped

NEWPORT NEWS (VA)
Daily Press

BY JENNIFER LATSON
247-4731
December 21, 2006
NEWPORT NEWS -- A judge on Wednesday dismissed charges against a longtime Newport News pastor who was accused of failing to report sexual abuse of three young girls by a man in his congregation.

Prosecutors agreed to drop charges against the Rev. Floyd Blackwell, pastor of the Miracle Temple Baptist Church on 32nd Street, after he attended a training program on detecting and reporting child abuse.

Stephanie Pass, a commonwealth's attorney in Chesapeake who prosecuted the case on behalf of Newport News, said she was pleased with the outcome of the case.

Blackwell was arrested nearly a year ago and charged with obstructing justice and contributing to the delinquency of a minor after he was accused of staying silent about a 19-year-old parishioner who had for years been sexually assaulting three girls, ages 7, 8 and 9.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:42 AM

Bellevue Baptist pastor in hot seat

MEMPHIS (TN)
Jackson Sun

The Associated Press

MEMPHIS - Sexual abuse allegations have led to the suspension of a longtime minister at Bellevue Baptist Church and to at least one call for the church's senior pastor to step down.

Bellevue Baptist, a 30,000-member Southern Baptist congregation, announced Monday that Paul Williams has been placed on paid leave pending an investigation of a "moral failure" 17 years ago. The church didn't provide other details on the allegations.

But some church members have said the claims involve abuse of a child and that the Rev. Steve Gaines, senior pastor at Bellevue, didn't act fast enough when he found out about them.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:39 AM

Former Baptist pastor didn't know about abuse allegations, widow

MEMPHIS (TN)
Eyewitness News

Last Update: 12/21/2006 7:55:16 AM

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - The widow of long-time Memphis pastor Adrian Rogers said the prominent Southern Baptist leader knew nothing about sexual abuse allegations against a former minister at Bellevue Baptist Church.

Bellevue, a 30-thousand-member Southern Baptist congregation, announced Monday that minister Paul Williams has been placed on paid leave.

The church is currently investigating Williams for a "moral failure" 17 years ago. The church didn't provide other details on the allegations.

Joyce Rogers said that her husband, who died in 2005, had no knowledge of any indiscretion by Williams.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:37 AM

'We see this as a matter of justice'

CANADA
London Free Press

By JANE SIMS, FREE PRESS JUSTICE REPORTER
Thu, December 21, 2006

Bishop Ronald Fabbro answers questions from Free Press Reporter Jane Sims about the Charles Sylvestre case.

Q: Why did you feel it was important at this time particularly to come out with a report that goes into where the diocese is at this point?

A: First the victims -- I've met with a few for them. It's been hard to hear over the past few months what they've been through. (With) the harm, the horrible abuse that they suffered and affected their whole lives, they're expecting that something good will come of this. Quite rightfully, they expect the church will be preventing abuse. It was important for me to give them a progress report of where I was at and in bringing what I said I would be doing and bringing it to completion.

The other was the reporting of the 1962 documents. That was important to me as well.

Q: There are a lot of questions that follow that discovery. It was important for you to disclose that. Can you tell me why?

A: It was distressing to find out that we had those documents and weren't aware of them. We have an obligation when these claims come forward . . . to do a search of our files and to present to the individuals involved those documents. It is distressing to know we had a document going back to 1962 that we weren't aware of.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:30 AM

Diocese finds it had reports on pedophile priest

CANADA
London Free Press

Thu, December 21, 2006

By JANE SIMS, FREE PRESS JUSTICE REPORTER

In a shocking revelation yesterday, the Roman Catholic diocese of London admitted it has been in possession of three police reports from 1962 detailing the sexual abuse of three victims by disgraced priest Charles Sylvestre.

The Sarnia police reports were found tucked away in the back of a filing cabinet among accounting papers at the diocesan offices and not in Sylvestre's personnel file.

Their discovery provides the smoking gun for plaintiffs in civil suits showing the diocese knew of Sylvestre's abusive behaviour before he was moved from parish to parish across Southwestern Ontario.

Chatham-Kent police have been asked to investigate. Failing to disclose the information during the criminal case is potentially a criminal offence, said Chatham-Kent Crown attorney Paul Bailey.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:28 AM

Victim Not Suprised Priest Had Complaints from 1962

CANADA
CD98.9

One of former priest Charles Sylvestre's victims says she's not surprised the London diocese has documents of sexual abuse claims dating back to 1962.

Lou Ann Soontiens of Chatham was abused by Sylvestre in the 1960s and 70s. Up until yesterday, it was believed the first allegations of abuse were made in 1989.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:27 AM

Priest molest civil case ends in mistrial

FRESNO (CA)
Fresno Bee

By Pablo Lopez / The Fresno Bee 12/21/06 04:38:26

The civil trial of a Fresno priest accused of molesting an altar boy nearly 20 years ago ended in a mistrial Wednesday.

Jurors voted dozens of times on key issues, but never reached the required consensus over eight days of deliberations in Fresno County Superior Court.

In the end, the jury of seven women and five men answered two of four questions — voting 9-3 that Father Eric Swearingen had molested former altar boy Juan Rocha, but 7-5 to clear the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno of wrongdoing. A majority of nine votes was required for each question.

The mistrial means both sides will try it again, perhaps in April.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:24 AM

Catholic diocese finds more evidence of priest's sexual abuse

CANADA
Ottawa Citizen

Trevor Wilhelm, CanWest News Service; Windsor Star
Published: Thursday, December 21, 2006
WINDSOR, Ont. - The London, Ont., Catholic diocese admitted Wednesday it has evidence that Rev. Charles Sylvestre was sexually abusing little girls since at least 1962.

Bishop Ronald Fabbro revealed that in Octoberhis assistant found copies of statements three victims made to Sarnia, Ont., police in 1962 about how Sylvestre sexually abused them.

The discovery was upsetting, he said, because it shows police and church officials knew about Sylvestre's transgressions and don't appear to have done anything to stop him.

''This would confirm that in '62, the diocese did receive a police report,''said Fabbro. ''We thought 1989 was the first record that we had.... It was distressing. I was taken aback by that.''

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:18 AM

December 20, 2006

Priest (62) faces six sex charges

NORTHERN IRELAND
One in Four

Irish Times

A 62-year-old Catholic priest from the diocese of Derry has been returned for trial charged with six sex offences dating back over 30 years.

The priest, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, pleaded not guilty at the Crown Court in Derry yesterday to one charge of indecently assaulting a boy between August 30th and September 30th, 1972. He also denied committing an act of gross indecency with the same boy between the same dates.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:11 PM

Diocese pays €285,000 to victims of sex abuse

IRELAND
One in Four

Irish Examiner

The Bishop of Killaloe, Dr Willie Walsh, confirmed yesterday that the diocese had paid out €285,000 to victims of clerical sex abuse last year.

The confirmation of the highest annual payout to sex abuse victims by the diocese is contained in the diocesan accounts for 2005 published yesterday.

The payment of €285,000 brings to €680,000 the total paid by the diocese to victims of sex abuse since 2003.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:09 PM

Sex assault file involving priest to be sent to DPP

IRELAND
One in Four

Irish Examiner

Gardai have confirmed that a file is being prepared for the DPP in relation to allegation of sexual assault – dating from the 1970s – against a north Cork priest.

Inspector Senan Ryan of Mallow Garda Station said this week that the complaint related to the alleged sexual assault of a teenage girl in the Mallow area in the 1970s.

The priest who is being accused has been questioned, Insp Ryan confirmed and gardai have interviewed the alleged victim and two other individuals.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:39 PM

Alleged child molester facing more counts

GLENS FALLS (NY)
WCAX

GLENS FALLS, N.Y. Another child has come forward with sexual abuse allegations against a Warren County probation officer who was formerly a social services caseworker.

Thirty-year-old Bradford Overton now faces additional charges including first-degree sexual abuse and coercion. ...

Overton is also a youth minister at New Hope Community Church in Glens Falls. He's on administrative leave from the probation department and awaiting arraignment.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:32 PM

Pastor accused of sexual misconduct will retire

DENTON (TX)
Denton Record-Chronicle

08:37 PM CST on Wednesday, December 20, 2006
By DONNA FIELDER / Denton Record-Chronicle

DENTON – The pastor of a Denton Baptist church accused in a lawsuit of past sexual abuse of a 14-year-old female member of his congregation has announced his retirement, writing that remaining as pastor "is not the right thing to do."

Dr. Larry Reynolds, 59, pastor of Southmont Baptist Church in Denton, wrote his congregation that he will retire effective Dec. 31.

Dr. Larry Reynolds plans to retire Dec. 31 as pastor of Southmont Baptist Church in Denton. Many members of the church received a letter from him on Wednesday. Many members of the church, one of the largest in Denton, received the letters Wednesday.

Dr. Reynolds declined to comment when reached by telephone Wednesday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:24 PM

Hung Jury Looks Likely in Priest Molestation Trial

FRESNO (CA)
ABC 30

By Itica Milanes
12/19/2006 - Another day without a decision from the jury in the sexual abuse trial of a Fresno priest and there are more signs the case could end in a hung jury.

For the second straight day, jurors said they are stuck on the second question of four, which is "Did Fresno's Catholic Diocese know about the alleged abuse?" Jurors say they've voted at least 10 times, but can't get the 9 "yes" votes needed to move on to the next question.
Jurors can't seem to agree on whether Fresno's Catholic Diocese knew about the alleged sexual abuse. The question is crucial. If they can't agree the case is over.

ABC-30 Legal Analyst, Tony Capozzi, says, "The Diocese is on trial here, not the priest. If they can't prove the Diocese knew, the case is over."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:21 PM

Mistrial declared in priest case

FRESNO (CA)
Fresno Bee

By Pablo Lopez / The Fresno Bee 12/20/06 16:53:56

After eight days of deliberations, a mistrial was declared today in the civil trial of a Fresno priest accused of molesting an altar boy nearly 20 years ago. At 3 p.m. Judge Donald S. Black announced in Fresno County Superior Court that the jury was "hopelessly deadlocked," thereby ending an emotionally charged trial.

Before leaving the courtroom, the jury of seven women and five men revealed its votes — 9-3 that Father Eric Swearingen had molested former altar boy Juan Rocha, but 7-5 in favor of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno.

A majority of jurors concluded that the diocese did not know or couldn't have known of Swearingen's alleged sexual misconduct toward Rocha. But nine jurors were needed to render a verdict.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:19 PM

Bellevue Investigates Minister for 'Moral Failure'

MEMPHIS (TN)
Ethics Daily

Bob Allen
12-20-06
A prominent Southern Baptist mega-church has placed a long-time staff member on administrative leave and launched an internal investigation into allegations he molested a member of his family 17 years ago.

Steve Gaines, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn., said Sunday that Paul Williams, a minister of prayer and special projects, confessed the inappropriate behavior to him six months ago, but Gaines agreed to keep it quiet until two weeks ago, when he learned some family members did not agree the matter was resolved.

But a Web site critical of Gaines' leadership accused the successor to the late three-time Southern Baptist Convention president Adrian Rogers of harboring a pedophile and coming clean only after details of the incident appeared in a blog Dec. 14.

Bryan Miller of the church's personnel committee read a statement at the close of Sunday's morning worship service about what Gaines termed a "church matter."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:06 PM

Priest sentenced in Waterford abuse case

IRELAND
RTE News

20 December 2006 19:36
A priest has been given a three-year suspended sentence for indecently assaulting a young boy in Waterford in the early 1980s.

Fr Con Desmond was a De La Salle brother and principal of the De La Salle boys' primary school on Stephen Street in Waterford city when the offences occurred.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:07 PM

Priest guilty of sex assaults on boy

IRELAND
The Irish Times

A Co Waterford priest has been given a three year suspended sentence for indecently assaulting a schoolboy twenty years ago.

Fr Con Desmond (71), with an address given as a parish house Knockerra, Cooraclare in Co Clare, assaulted the boy while he was principal of a De La Salle national school in Waterford.

The court heard he abused the boy three times in his office and three times in a car on unknown dates between January 1 st, 1982 and June 24 th, 1983.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:56 PM

Bellevue's Gaines should resign, seminary president says

TENNESSEE
Baptist Press

Dec 20, 2006
By Staff
Baptist Press
CORDOVA, Tenn. (BP)--A call for the resignation of Bellevue Baptist Church senior pastor Steve Gaines has been voiced by the president of Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary, which has a longstanding relationship with the prominent Southern Baptist congregation.

At issue, according to comments to the Memphis Commercial Appeal by the seminary president, Michael Spradlin, is Gaines' six-month silence after learning of a sexual abuse allegation 17 years ago against a longtime Bellevue staff member.

"If Steve Gaines found out that a child had been sexually molested by one of his ministers and if he did nothing to address it, then he needs to step down immediately," the newspaper quoted Spradlin as saying in a Dec. 20 article.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:55 PM

Silent Treatment Demands HighProfile Preacher Step Down Says Seminary Prez

MEMPHIS (TN)
USA Religious News

2006-12-20 -- USA Religious News

(AgapePress) - A crisis at one of the nation's largest Southern Baptist churches appears to be escalating as a seminary president has called for that church's senior pastor to step down for remaining silent about allegations of sexual abuse involving a longtime staff member.

Dr. Steve Gaines, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church near Memphis, has been under fire since revealing this past Sunday that Pastor Paul Williams, minister of prayer and special projects at Bellevue, had been put on a paid leave of absence while the church investigates allegations of what it describes as "a past, but highly concerning moral failure" involving Williams. The alleged incident took place 17 years ago when Williams molested a family member. He has been on the Bellevue staff for 34 years, according to one newspaper report.

After his sermon on Sunday, Dr. Gaines addressed the issue. "As a result of this entire situation, it's obvious that we need operational policies [and] procedures at Bellevue that would be available to give us guidance in these types of situations," he told the congregation. "We've not had those in writing." He shared that he has since instructed the church's personnel committee to devise staff policies and procedures so the church will "be able to have some guidance in these areas should they occur in the future."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:52 PM

Sexual abuse lawsuit filed

CALIFORNIA
Lodi News-Sentinel

By Ross Farrow
News-Sentinel Staff Writer
Last updated: Wednesday, Dec 20, 2006 - 06:25:54 am PST

An Orange County attorney who has previously sued former Lodi Priest Oliver O'Grady and the Stockton Diocese on sexual battery has filed another lawsuit, this one by a woman who was once enrolled in Catholic schools in Lodi and Stockton.

The defendants' names have not been announced, pending authorization by San Joaquin County Superior Court, according to Kathy Frederiksen, legal assistant for attorney John Manly, who filed the lawsuit on Dec. 6.

However, the lawsuit gives a description of the defendants. The description indicates the plaintiffs are O'Grady, St. Anne's Catholic Church and School in Lodi, Church of the Presentation and School in Stockton, the Stockton Diocese, the Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly in Ireland, Cardinal Roger Mahony of the Los Angeles Archdiocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:49 PM

Catholic Church scandals reveal need for parish fiscal transparency

UNITED STATES
Catholic Online

By Michelle Martin
12/19/2006
Our Sunday Visitor (www.osv.com)

HUNTINGTON, Ind. (Our Sunday Visitor) – The Catholic Church is, by definition, based on faith. But when it comes to handling its finances, faith is not enough, according to diocesan officials and those who study church finances and management.

The church is not immune to thievery and fraud, a fact that has become all too clear in recent months as financial scandals rocked parishes and dioceses all over the country:

- In Delray Beach, Fla., two priests were charged in September with skimming more than $8.6 million from St. Vincent Ferrer Parish over decades.

- In Ohio, the former chief financial and legal officer of the Cleveland Diocese was charged in August with participating in a kickback scheme that brought him nearly $785,000. Joseph F. Smith had left the Diocese of Cleveland and was working as the finance director of the Diocese of Columbus when the 23-count federal indictment, naming him and former Diocese of Cleveland employee Anton Zgorznik, was handed down.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:46 PM

Lawsuits Against Diocese of London on the Rise

CANADA
CD98.9

The number of lawsuits against the Diocese of London has ballooned to 41 since Father Charles Sylvestre was convicted. Sylvester was convicted last October of indecent assault against 47 girls. A progress report issued today by the Diocese says it's been advised of six more possible claims, and that it is hopeful some of the claims can be resolved out of court with "reconciliation" as opposed to cash. In an effort to stop the abuse of children at the hands of Catholic priests, Bishop Ronald Fabbro is also seeking to develop a sexual abuse policy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:44 PM

Baptist pastor attacked for handling of staffer's `moral failure'

MEMPHIS (TN)
Ledger-Enquirer

Associated Press
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Sexual abuse allegations have led to the suspension of a longtime minister at Bellevue Baptist Church and to at least one call for the church's senior pastor to step down.

Bellevue Baptist, a 30,000-member Southern Baptist congregation, announced Monday that Paul Williams has been placed on paid leave pending an investigation of a "moral failure" 17 years ago. The church didn't provide other details on the allegations.

But some church members have said the claims involve abuse of a child and that the Rev. Steve Gaines, who is senior pastor at Bellevue and a former pastor in Alabama, didn't act fast enough when he found out about them.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:42 PM

Man next door who ran child sex ring

UNITED KINGDOM
The Northern Echo

From the archive, first published Friday 22nd Sep 2006.

A PERVERT who led an international child sex ring from his North-East home was last night facing jail.Residents of Shildon, County Durham, have spoken of their disgust after learning that the prominent pro-paedophilia campaigner was living in their midst.Thomas O'Carroll led a worldwide campaign to legalise child sex from his end-terrace house.Last night, he was behind bars, facing a possible ten years in jail after admitting three counts of distributing indecent photographs of children between January 1, 1994, and July 4 last year.The 60-year-old author and his accomplice, millionaire Michael Studdert, a former priest from Surrey, were arrested in January after a police investigation involving up to 100 officers.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:39 PM

Catholic diocese reveals sex-abuse accusation against deceased priest

MISSOURI
News-Leader

The Catholic Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau announced today that in October it received an accusation of sexual abuse of a minor that occurred 40 years ago against one of its priests, Eugene Deragowski.

Law enforcement officials were informed of the accusation by the person who notified the diocese. The diocese informed the authorities that Deragowski died in 1981 and that there was no record of any other accusation against him.

The chancellor of the diocese, Monsignor Thomas Reidy, met with the complainant and, in doing so, respected his request for anonymity and confidentiality. Provisions of the diocesan policy on sexual abuse were implemented.

The complainant was offered counseling, which he did not take advantage of. He has not sought compensation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:20 AM

Archdiocese Outlines $75 Million Settlement, Costing Insurers Almost $52 Million

PORTLAND (OR)
Insurance Newsnet

The Oregonian, Portland, Ore.

Dec. 19--The Archdiocese of Portland late Monday revealed details of a $75 million plan to pay off more than 150 priest sex-abuse accusers and get out of bankruptcy.

Insurance companies will pitch in nearly $52 million. The rest of the money will come from assets controlled by the archdiocese -- other than parishes and schools.

The settlement also sets up a $20 million fund for those who came forward after a deadline to file a claim in the bankruptcy, as well as for accusers who have not yet come forward.

The 100-plus-page settlement plan was filed just before 11 p.m. Monday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Portland.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:19 AM

Creditors committee formed in diocese bankruptcy

IOWA CITY (IA)
The Gazette

By: Gregg Hennigan - The Gazette
IOWA CITY, IA - Seven men were appointed today to a committee that will decide how the Roman Catholic Diocese of Davenport will distribute its assets in its bankruptcy case.

Court records filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of Iowa only name two of the committee members, Mike Uhde of Davenport and Mike Gould of Bradenton, Fla. Both men have said they were abused by the diocese's priests.

The other five are listed as John Does 13, 18, 23, 55 and 65.

Before deciding how to distribute the diocese's assets, the creditors committee will determine what exactly those assets are. In court records, the diocese has listed more than $9.1 million in total assets.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:16 AM

Audit: Diocese In Compliance With Guidelines

MAINE
WCSH

Web Editor: Ken Christian, New Media Manager
Created: 12/19/2006 5:46:43 PM
Updated: 12/19/2006 7:11:12 PM

Maine's Roman Catholic diocese is in full compliance with church guidelines in conducting background checks on volunteers and employees and providing sexual abuse prevention training for minors in its care.

Bishop Richard Malone released the audit today.

Last year, the diocese was found to be falling short in complying with the Catholic Church's Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, commonly known as the Dallas Charter. But this year, Malone said the diocese was compliant in all 13 areas that were audited.

According to the audit, which reviewed the period from mid-December 2005 to August 2006, all 4,926 clergy, employees and volunteers in the diocese have undergone background checks.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:14 AM

Davenport Diocese to sell three properties soon

DAVENPORT (IA)
Catholic News Service

By Barb Arland-Fye
Catholic News Service

DAVENPORT, Iowa (CNS) -- Three Davenport diocesan properties -- including the house that Bishop Martin J. Amos recently moved into -- were to go on sale by Christmas as part of the diocese's bankruptcy proceedings. A fourth property, the diocese's St. Vincent Center headquarters, will be sold later.

The Diocesan Corporate Board and Finance Council met Dec. 4 and decided to take action immediately because the property must be sold to compensate the diocese's creditors, victims of clergy sexual abuse.

Details of the proposed sales will be included in the diocese's reorganization plan, which was to be delivered to the bankruptcy court by Christmas, said Dick Davidson, the diocese's bankruptcy attorney.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:13 AM

Robinson moved to prison hospital

OHIO
Toledo Blade

COLUMBUS - Gerald Robinson, the Toledo Catholic priest serving 15 years to life in prison for murdering a nun, was transferred yesterday from the Ohio State University Medical Center to the Corrections Medical Center in Columbus, a prison spokesman said.

The 68-year-old retired cleric had been taken to the OSU hospital on Dec. 7 for kidney problems that were considered nonlife-threatening, according to Andrea Dean, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction in Columbus. No further information on his health was available because of medical privacy laws, Ms. Dean added.

Robinson will remain in the prison system's medical center until deemed healthy enough to go back to Hocking Correctional Institution in Nelsonville, Ohio, where he is serving his sentence, Ms. Dean said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:34 AM

Paedophile jailed

UNITED KINGDOM
The Northern Echo

By David Roberts
A FORMER teacher who led a worldwide campaign to legalise paedophilia from his County Durham home has been jailed.

Thomas O'Carroll, 61, was the founder of the now defunct Paeodophile Information Exchange and was caught after an undercover police officer infiltrated the group.

He was arrested at his home in Shildon, County Durham, in January, and charged alongside his co-defendant 67-year-old Michael Studdert, a former priest from Surrey.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:27 AM

As We See It: Diocese of Monterey names first Mexican-American as bishop

MONTEREY (CA)
Santa Cruz Sentinel

It has often been said that the Roman Catholic Church moves slowly, befitting its 2,000 years in existence.

Shifts must be examined in perspective and historical context, and a single decision can reverberate throughout many believers' lives.

That's why the announcement Tuesday that Bishop Richard J. Garcia had been named new Bishop of the Diocese of Monterey is more than just "church news."

The diocese — which comprises the counties of Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Benito and San Luis Obispo — is getting its first Mexican-American leader and the church in California only its second Hispanic bishop.

Garcia, currently auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Sacramento, will replace Bishop Sylvester Ryan, who is retiring. Ryan, 76, was appointed bishop of Monterey in 1992.

Ryan has been a popular, pastoral leader. He has been the public face of the regional church through triumphs and even the priest sex-abuse scandals, and his open and genial personality has graced many public events in this county. His commitment to education was demonstrated for Santa Cruz County Catholics with his leadership and fundraising that made Watsonville's St. Francis high school a reality, even when many doubted a Catholic high school could ever again succeed here.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:22 AM

Parishioners welcome settlement

PORTLAND (OR)
The Oregonian

Wednesday, December 20, 2006
ASHBEL S. GREEN and AIMEE GREEN
The Archdiocese of Portland's $75 million settlement plan was met Tuesday with a mixture of praise by experts and a sense of relief among parishioners.

"Hopefully, this is the end of it," said Anna Stufano, a member of All Saints Parish in Northeast Portland. "Hopefully, it will be a new era. And we'll have a different church."

Stufano also likes to think the settlement will help the victims, who were sexually abused by priests decades ago.

"They need to move on -- it will be good for them," she said.

The 135 pages of settlement documents reveal both wins and losses for the archdiocese in the bankruptcy process. Unsettled and future claims could come in far lower than the money set aside, reducing the total settlement to under $50 million -- that's less than the $51.75 million pledged by the insurance companies.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:19 AM

Porn case against priest adjourned

UNITED KINGDOM
Leamington Spa Today

The case of a former Leamington priest accused of downloading child pornography has again had to be adjourned - because experts' reports will not be ready until the New Year.

Father Anthony Jones appeared at Warwick Crown Court on Monday after his case had been adjourned last month when the judge was told the defence was 'in the process of commissioning our own expert's report.'

Fr Tony, 56, who was a parish priest at St Peter's Catholic church in Leamington until a police investigation was launched earlier this year, was due to enter pleas to 17 charges of making indecent images of children.

He is alleged to have downloaded the images, which include one each of the most serious categories as defined by the Court of Appeal, on dates between January 2000 and October last year while he was based in Caversham, Berks, and then Leamington.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:59 AM

Maine diocese in compliance with rules preventing sex abuse

MAINE
Bangor Daily News

By Judy Harrison
Wednesday, December 20, 2006 - Bangor Daily News

BANGOR - An annual audit shows that Maine’s Roman Catholic diocese is in full compliance with national requirements designed to prevent the sexual abuse of children, Bishop Richard J. Malone announced Tuesday.

The same audit last year found that the diocese had completed background checks of 87 percent of the 4,500 volunteers and employees in its database.

It also found that 33 percent of the children at its schools or in its religious programs had undergone sexual abuse prevention training.

"This year, we are 100 percent compliant in all 13 areas of the audit, which was a three-day, very thorough review by independent auditors," Malone said Tuesday during a news conference at the St. John’s campus of All Saints Catholic School.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:56 AM

Priest-abuse trials set for next year

ILLINOIS
Chicago Tribune

Published December 20, 2006

A Kane County judge on Tuesday set trial dates for two civil lawsuits against a former Geneva priest convicted of sexually abusing two teenage girls.

Mark Campobello, 41, pleaded guilty in May 2004 to aggravated criminal sexual abuse charges and is serving an 8-year prison term. Each of his victims are suing Campobello, Bishop Thomas Doran and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockford for damages in excess of $50,000, claiming the diocese knew of the abuse and did not do enough to stop it.

Judge F. Keith Brown set one trial for Oct. 22 and another for Nov. 5, leaving open the option for the two cases to be tried together on the earlier date.

But a mediation scheduled for February could produce a settlement, keeping the suits out of court, said Chicago attorney Michael L. Brooks, who is representing the victims.

In that event, depositions given by witnesses would remain secret, since the judge has barred the parties involved in the suits from divulging any evidence before trial. In January, Monsignor Joseph Jarmoluk, Campobello's superior at St. Peter Catholic Church in Geneva, will give a deposition detailing what he knew about the abuse, Brooks said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:50 AM

Bishop: Church meets abuse-prevention goal

PORTLAND (ME)
Portland Press Herald

By ELBERT AULL, Staff Writer

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Bishop Richard Malone Maine's Catholic Church is now in compliance with guidelines requiring criminal background checks for all employees and volunteers who work with children, according to information released Tuesday.
Bishop Richard Malone announced that an annual audit found the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland is in full compliance with 13 abuse-prevention standards adopted in 2002 after the national clergy sex abuse scandal.
The results are an improvement over last year, when a similar audit revealed the diocese was one of five nationwide -- out of nearly 200 -- that failed to perform enough background checks. Auditors also determined the diocese's sex-abuse prevention training program failed to meet standards.
"Sending in the delinquent paperwork and setting up needed training classes were daunting tasks, and it was gratifying to see everyone involved prioritize the safety of children for now and the future," Malone said in a prepared statement released Tuesday afternoon.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:47 AM

Jury appears not to favor priest

FRESNO (CA)
Fresno Bee

By Pablo Lopez / The Fresno Bee 12/20/06 03:58:22

A civil jury appears to have concluded that a Fresno priest molested a former altar boy nearly 20 years ago, but the jurors are stalled on whether the Roman Catholic Diocese knew or should have known of the alleged sexual abuse.

The jury announced it has voted 9-3 on the first question it must weigh — whether Father Eric Swearingen, pastor of Holy Spirit Catholic Church, sexually abused former altar boy Juan Rocha. Jurors did not indicate which way they voted.

However, jurors were reminded Tuesday that they must answer the four questions before them in sequence — and must vote yes on one question before proceeding to the next question, or the trial is over.

Rocha, now 31 and an Army sergeant first class, has accused Swearingen of molesting him at Our Lady of Guadalupe parish in Bakersfield and at St. Alphonsus parish in southwest Fresno when Rocha was between 12 and 15 years old.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:40 AM

Ore. Archdiocese Offers Bankruptcy Plan

PORTLAND (OR)
San Francisco Chronicle

By WILLIAM McCALL, Associated Press Writer

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

(12-19) 16:08 PST Portland, Ore. (AP) --

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Portland has filed a bankruptcy reorganization plan that would pay about $75 million to settle nearly 170 claims of priest sex abuse.

Insurance companies have agreed to pay nearly $52 million under the proposal, with the rest of the money coming from various archdiocese assets — but not its parishes and schools.

The reorganization plan, filed just before midnight Monday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, said that 143 claims had been settled for $40.7 million.

It would require the archdiocese to provide as much as $13.75 million to pay 26 claims that have not yet been settled. It also would set up a $20 million fund to pay future claims.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:40 AM

Teacher Says Archdiocese Using Her In Abuse Case

CHICAGO (IL)
CBS 2

Rafael Romo
Reporting

(CBS) CHICAGO The principal of a Catholic school is making some explosive allegations against the Archdiocese of Chicago.

CBS 2's Rafael Romo reports the allegations stem from a scandal involving a priest accused of abusing children.

I could not live with myself or look at those children straight in the eye if I didn't tell the truth.

The principal of the Lady of the Westside Catholic school says enough is enough.

"They didn't act! They did not act. They covered up, covered up, covered up. That was exactly what they did," said Barbara Westrick.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:31 AM

Lawmakers cut proposal to allow secret meetings

OHIO
Toledo Blade

By JIM PROVANCE
BLADE COLUMBUS BUREAU

COLUMBUS - A Senate committee yesterday stripped language from the state's capital budget bill that would have allowed a majority of House committee members to discuss legislation behind closed doors without violating the state's open meetings law.

The $1.8 billion wish list of borrowing-fueled bricks-and-mortar projects across the state is headed for a full Senate vote as soon as today with the authority for a hike in the Lucas County hotel tax still intact to pay for a new Toledo arena and expanded convention center.

Current law allows an entire caucus of one political party on a Senate or House committee to meet privately but is silent on whether a majority party on a committee can do the same. Earlier this year, several House Republicans were sued for allegedly discussing amendments behind doors just before voting to strip a bill of a provision allowing the filing of civil suits in decades-old child sexual abuse cases.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:25 AM

Headmaster guilty of child porn

IRELAND
Irish Independent

A FORMER primary school principal found in possession of 10,000 images of children as young as six having sex, has received a two-and-a-half year suspended jail sentence.

Former principal of Arklow Boys School, Padraig Branigan, was also found with 200 short films and 100 stories where children were portrayed in a series of sickening and horrific poses.

A former Christian Brother with an address at The Rise, Mountain Bay, Arklow, the 41-year old pleaded guilty at Wicklow Circuit Court yesterday to one charge of possession of child pornography.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:22 AM

Priest convicted in nun's murder leaves hospital

COLUMBUS (OH)
The Beacon Journal

Associated Press
COLUMBUS, Ohio - A priest convicted of killing a nun was moved to a prison medical facility Tuesday after spending nearly two weeks in a hospital for a problem related to his kidneys, a state prisons spokeswoman said.

The Rev. Gerald Robinson was moved to the Corrections Medical Center from the Ohio State University Medical Center, said Andrea Dean, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. Both are in Columbus.

His condition was not life threatening, Dean said Monday, but she wouldn't go into specifics.

Robinson was taken to the Ohio State hospital on Dec. 7 from the Hocking Correctional Facility in Nelsonville.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:18 AM

SNAP members fight to overturn new child sex-abuse law

OHIO
Toledo Free Press

By Jacob Ruhe
Toledo Free Press Staff Writer
news@toledofreepress.com
Three Ohio leaders of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests planned to return to the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas to continue to try to invalidate Ohio's new child sex-abuse law on Dec. 19. Claudia Vercellotti, a co-leader of SNAP in Toledo, and Christy Miller and Dan Frondorf, SNAP's Cincinnati co-leaders, are the plaintiffs in the case Vercellotti v. Husted et al.

The SNAP members seek to overturn the new law on grounds that Republican members of an Ohio House committee on Senate Bill 17 met in violation of Ohio's open-meeting laws prior to the bill's passage. Republican House Speaker Jon Husted, who wasn't on the committee, was present at this meeting according to the SNAP leaders.

They contend the Republicans who met included a majority of the committee. Though Ohio law allows caucuses to meet privately, it forbids private committee meetings, which it defines as “any prearranged discussion of the public business of a committee by a majority of its members.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:15 AM

Youth minister gets jail for sex charge

WATERLOO (IA)
Des Moines Register

ASSOCIATED PRESS

December 19, 2006

Waterloo, Ia. — A former youth minister convicted of abusing church youth has been given jail time as well as probation and parole under new sentencing laws for sex offenders.

Michael R. Ross, 28, pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation by a counselor, two counts of providing alcohol to a minor and simple assault.

Judge Kellyann Lekar agreed to uphold the prosecution’s plea offer, which sentenced Ross to five years in prison, suspended to two to five years’ probation for the exploitation charge. The judge also imposed a 14-day jail sentence for the simple assault charge, and $500 fines for the alcohol charges.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:10 AM

'People losing trust' in Bellevue pastor, seminary leader says

MEMPHIS (TN)
Commerical Appeal

By James Dowd
Contact
December 20, 2006
Alarmed by what he described as a crisis of the faithful at Bellevue Baptist Church, the president of Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary said Tuesday the senior pastor of the Cordova congregation should resign.

Dr. Michael Spradlin, head of the seminary that moved across the street from Bellevue this summer, said Dr. Steve Gaines should step down because of his initial decision to remain silent amid allegations of sexual abuse involving a Bellevue minister.

Church leaders announced Monday that Paul Williams, a Bellevue staffer for 34 years, had been placed on paid leave pending an investigation regarding a "moral failure."
The alleged incident occurred 17 years ago. Details have not been made public by the church and Williams has not been formally charged with any wrongdoing, but claims of sexual abuse have been posted on the Internet.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:03 AM

Former Pelham pastor pleads guilty to abusing young girls: Garcia to be sentenced on three charges of sexual abuse

PELHAM (AL)
Shelby County Reporter

By MEREDITH TOWLE/Staff Writer
(Updated: Tuesday, December 19, 2006 5:23 PM CST)

Luis Federico Garcia, 66, of Alabaster and former pastor of Iglesia La Roca in Pelham pleaded guilty on Dec. 11 to three charges of first-degree sexual abuse. The victims were three young Hispanic girls in the church community under the age of 12.

Assistant Shelby County District Attorney Angela Dunn said the sentencing is at the discretion of the judge, but that the state will ask for the maximum time.

“We take all sexual offenses seriously,” Dunn said. “Mr. Garcia was in an authoritative position and within a church. With the position he held, we will not be lenient in any way.”

Garcia’s sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 12, and he could face up to 10 years in prison on all three counts.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:59 AM

Principal says she's being made 'scapegoat' in priest abuse case

CHICAGO (IL)
WQAD

CHICAGO Barbara Westrick says the boy was sobbing as he told her a Roman Catholic priest who taught and coached at her school had molested him since he was in the fourth grade.

The principal at Our Lady of the Westside School says she also told Chicago police, the Archdiocese of Chicago and the Department of Children and Family Services of the student's allegations right after hearing them in January 2006.

The Reverend Daniel McCormack faces charges of five counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse in the alleged fondling of five boys at the school's two campuses and the nearby St. Agatha Catholic Church. He's pleaded not guilty.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:56 AM

December 19, 2006

Davenport Diocese to sell three properties soon

DAVENPORT (IA)
Catholic News Service

By Barb Arland-Fye
Catholic News Service

DAVENPORT, Iowa (CNS) -- Three Davenport diocesan properties -- including the house that Bishop Martin J. Amos recently moved into -- were to go on sale by Christmas as part of the diocese's bankruptcy proceedings. A fourth property, the diocese's St. Vincent Center headquarters, will be sold later.

The Diocesan Corporate Board and Finance Council met Dec. 4 and decided to take action immediately because the property must be sold to compensate the diocese's creditors, victims of clergy sexual abuse.

Details of the proposed sales will be included in the diocese's reorganization plan, which was to be delivered to the bankruptcy court by Christmas, said Dick Davidson, the diocese's bankruptcy attorney.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:20 PM

Audit: Diocese In Compliance With Guidelines

MAINE
WCSH

Web Editor: Ken Christian, New Media Manager
Created: 12/19/2006 5:46:43 PM
Updated: 12/19/2006 7:11:12 PM

Maine's Roman Catholic diocese is in full compliance with church guidelines in conducting background checks on volunteers and employees and providing sexual abuse prevention training for minors in its care.

Bishop Richard Malone released the audit today.

Last year, the diocese was found to be falling short in complying with the Catholic Church's Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, commonly known as the Dallas Charter. But this year, Malone said the diocese was compliant in all 13 areas that were audited.

According to the audit, which reviewed the period from mid-December 2005 to August 2006, all 4,926 clergy, employees and volunteers in the diocese have undergone background checks.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:18 PM

Creditors committee formed in diocese bankruptcy

IOWA CITY (IA)
The Gazette

By: Gregg Hennigan - The Gazette
IOWA CITY, IA - Seven men were appointed today to a committee that will decide how the Roman Catholic Diocese of Davenport will distribute its assets in its bankruptcy case.

Court records filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of Iowa only name two of the committee members, Mike Uhde of Davenport and Mike Gould of Bradenton, Fla. Both men have said they were abused by the diocese's priests.

The other five are listed as John Does 13, 18, 23, 55 and 65.

Before deciding how to distribute the diocese's assets, the creditors committee will determine what exactly those assets are. In court records, the diocese has listed more than $9.1 million in total assets.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:15 PM

Archdiocese Outlines $75 Million Settlement, Costing Insurers Almost $52 Million

PORTLAND (OR)
Insurance Newsnet

The Oregonian, Portland, Ore.

Dec. 19--The Archdiocese of Portland late Monday revealed details of a $75 million plan to pay off more than 150 priest sex-abuse accusers and get out of bankruptcy.

Insurance companies will pitch in nearly $52 million. The rest of the money will come from assets controlled by the archdiocese -- other than parishes and schools.

The settlement also sets up a $20 million fund for those who came forward after a deadline to file a claim in the bankruptcy, as well as for accusers who have not yet come forward.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:12 PM

Catholic diocese reveals sex-abuse accusation against deceased priest

MISSOURI
News-Leader

The Catholic Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau announced today that in October it received an accusation of sexual abuse of a minor that occurred 40 years ago against one of its priests, Eugene Deragowski.

Law enforcement officials were informed of the accusation by the person who notified the diocese. The diocese informed the authorities that Deragowski died in 1981 and that there was no record of any other accusation against him.

The chancellor of the diocese, Monsignor Thomas Reidy, met with the complainant and, in doing so, respected his request for anonymity and confidentiality. Provisions of the diocesan policy on sexual abuse were implemented.

The complainant was offered counseling, which he did not take advantage of. He has not sought compensation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:10 PM