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January 31, 2007

The Godly Bishop

CLEVELAND (OH)
Cleveland Scene

First Punch
Article Published Jan 31, 2007

Cleveland Bishop Richard Lennon makes a brief appearance in a new documentary about sex abuse in the Catholic Church. Critics are hailing his performance as "richly dark," "menacing," yet "stunningly predictable."

The movie, Hand of God, recently aired on PBS's Frontline. (See Lennon in action at pbs.com/frontline.) In it, filmmaker Joe Cultrera chronicles the life of his brother Paul, who was molested as an altar boy by a Massachusetts priest.

Lennon, named Cleveland's bishop last May, was serving in Boston when the film was shot in 2004, the "supposed warm and gracious replacement" for Cardinal Bernard Law, Friend to Child Molesters Everywhere™. But Lennon appears about as kindly as a roundhouse to the pancreas.

As Cultrera films outside a Boston chancery, Lennon approaches, sticking his hand in Cultrera's lens. The filmmaker calmly explains that he needs shots of the building where his brother reported his abuse. When Lennon resists, Cultrera's emotions start to bubble. "I did 12 years of Catholic school," he tells Lennon. "My family put so much money into this church."

As PR opportunities go, this is a fastball down the middle: All Lennon has to do is apologize on the church's behalf -- even if he doesn't mean it -- and be hailed as warm and gracious, indeed.

But the bishop proves to be a complete dick. "Sir, if you think you're going to make me feel bad about this . . .," he says flatly.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:54 PM

Second Workshop For Church Leaders

CANADA
CD98.9

Another workshop is being held today for those in leadership roles in the Diocese of London to help erradicate sexual abuse in the church. Bishop Ronald Fabbro is requiring all priests, deacons, and pastoral teams attend one of two workshops in an effort to educate and rebuild the church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:16 PM

Review of mandatory celibacy?

WEST ROXBURY (MA)
Transcript

By Alyce Nicolo
Wednesday, January 31, 2007 - Updated: 11:33 AM EST

The Voice of the Faithful is considering requesting an official review of mandatory celibacy among priests, according to Svea Fraser, one of the movement’s original founders, at Monday’s Parkway Voice meeting.

“There is this bubbling sense of need to talk about this,” said Fraser. “If we get at some of the issues that create a culture of secrecy, maybe we can protect our children better.”

The Voice of the Faithful is a controversial movement started within the Catholic Church after the 2002 clergy sex abuse scandal. The organization focuses on three main goals: supporting survivors of clergy sexual abuse; supporting priests of integrity; and shaping structural change within the church.

Fraser, a member of the National Working Group on Goal 2, spoke to a group of about 25 people at St. John Chrysostom in West Roxbury about VOTF’s “Ongoing Efforts to Encourage and Challenge Our Priests.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:57 PM

Detroit auxiliary bishop won't fight his removal

GRAND RAPIDS (MI)
The Grand Rapids Press

Wednesday, January 31, 2007
By Patricia Mish
The Grand Rapids Press
GRAND RAPIDS -- Detroit Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Gumbleton said he does not plan to contest his removal as pastor of an inner-city parish, which he said Tuesday came as a direct result of his advocacy for victims of priest sexual abuse.

Gumbleton, in town to speak about nonviolence at Aquinas College, has made national headlines in recent days because of his removal as pastor and an unrelated decision by a Tucson, Ariz., bishop to ask him not to address a Catholic advocacy group on church property.

Gumbleton moved out of his modest room at St. Leo Catholic Church in Detroit on Sunday, a week after telling parishioners of his removal.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:08 PM

Bishop decides not to wait for Vatican before releasing names

MAINE
Sun Journal

By David Sharp , Associated Press Writer
Sunday, January 28, 2007
PORTLAND - The leader of Maine's 234,000 Roman Catholics on Saturday publicly identified six priests accused of sexual abuse out of concern that they could commit offenses while waiting for the Vatican to complete its investigation.

Bishop Richard Malone's original policy was to wait until a judgment from the Vatican before releasing the names of those accused of abuse before June 2002. But he became worried that there could be more victims during the drawn-out process.

"I am unsure how long it will be before all our cases are resolved," he said in a statement. "This being the case, I have become increasingly concerned about the possible risk of re-offense in the cases of those who have not been publicly identified."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:01 AM

Ex-St. Joe's Priest Accused Of Sexual Misconduct

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
KYW

(CBS 3) PHILADELPHIA A Roman Catholic Priest who worked in the area is the subject of five allegations of sexual misconduct with adults and minors.

Reverend H. Cornell Bradley was a member of the staff at Saint Joseph's University for 11 years, until he resigned a year ago.

At that time, he was removed from ministry by his Jesuit order.

The Jesuits say Bradley had psychiatric care in the early 1990's and was approved for return to duty.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:57 AM

Former Van Wert priest resigns

VAN WERT (OH)
The Delphos Herald

by Staff Reports
VAN WERT — In the wake of several years of sexual misconduct allegations within the Roman Catholic Church in the U.S., an area church has been notified of the resignation of its suspended pastor.

Parishioners at St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church were read letters from the Rev. Joseph Schmelzer and Bishop Blair of the Diocese of Toledo during weekend Masses.

Schmelzer resigned last week after a four-year leave. Both actions took place after a 2003 lawsuit was filed by Adrian, Mich. resident Jon Schoonmaker. The suit accused Schmelzer of abusing Schoonmaker at a church near Toledo approximately 20 years ago. Schoonmaker sought more than $25,000 in compensatory damages and unspecified punitive damages before later settling with the diocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:55 AM

Former St. Joe's priest is focus of sex allegations

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

By Michael Matza
Inquirer Staff Writer
Calling the allegations against a former Saint Joseph's University campus minister "deeply disturbing," university president Timothy R. Lannon alerted the campus community yesterday to an investigation of the Rev. H. Cornell Bradley, a Jesuit priest who worked at the campus for more than a decade before leaving last year.

The investigation is conducted by the Maryland Province Society of Jesus, a Jesuit governing body, which found that Bradley had engaged in "sexual misconduct with an adult male during the early 1980s" and cited four other alleged incidents involving minors and adults over three decades.

Saint Joseph's hired Bradley in 1995 and he resigned in January 2006, according to Lannon's statement to students, faculty and alumni, which appended a letter from the province stating that Bradley "verified substantial details" of one of the allegations and "said he is unable to deny" another of the incidents.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:52 AM

Church again tries to remove trial judge

VERMONT
Times Argus

January 31, 2007

By Kevin O'Connor Rutland Herald

For a third time, lawyers tied to Vermont's Catholic Church are trying to disqualify the judge presiding over a string of priest misconduct lawsuits.

Attorneys representing the statewide Diocese of Burlington sought the removal of Chittenden Superior Court Judge Ben Joseph on two occasions this past year, most recently after Joseph was about to decide whether church lawyer William M. O'Brien of Winooski should be sanctioned for failing to share three decades of personnel records with accusers.

Vermont Administrative Judge Amy Davenport denied the second request last week. But O'Brien has filed a motion asking Davenport to reconsider Joseph's disqualification, saying the basis of her latest decision was "simply wrong."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:51 AM

Diocese of Las Vegas Releases Statement On Fugitive Priest

LAS VEGAS (NV)
KLAS

Dr. Richard Facciolo, Chancellor and Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Las Vegas, confirmed that Father George Chaanine of Our Lady of Las Vegas has been suspended pending the outcome of an investigation into an alleged assault that occurred on Friday, January 26 at the parish.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department continues their search to locate Father Chaanine and is currently in the process of preparing warrants for his arrest.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:43 AM

Las Vegas priest remains at large after church soloist attack

LAS VEGAS (NV)
KRIS

LAS VEGAS -- A Roman Catholic priest remained a fugitive for a fourth day Tuesday, while a judge issued a warrant seeking his arrest on attempted murder charges in an attack on a church employee in a parish office.

The Rev. George Chaanine, 52, also faces charges including battery with a deadly weapon, battery with intent to commit sex assault and kidnapping in the Friday attack, police said.

Police have refused to name the woman who was attacked, but her lawyer identified her as Michaelina Bellamy.

"It was a violent attack," Bellamy's lawyer, Al Massi, said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:41 AM

Fugitive priest may be in area

MONTEREY (CA)
Monterey Herald

Staff and wire reports
A Catholic priest sought by Las Vegas police and U.S. marshals in connection with several crimes, including rape and attempted murder, allegedly came through downtown Monterey just as clergy and community members installed a new bishop for the Monterey Diocese.

The Rev. George Chaanine, 52, was reportedly seen at the Bank of America on East Franklin Street around 1 p.m. Tuesday, a Monterey County sheriff's deputy reported.

A "be on the lookout" alert was issued late Tuesday for the priest, who was previously seen in Las Vegas on Saturday. Chaanine was described as white, 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighing about 145 pounds. Press reports indicate Chaanine was driving a white or cream-colored 2005 Buick Le Sabre with Nevada plates 732RRM.

A Las Vegas judge issued a warrant for his arrest on attempted murder and other charges in an attack on a church employee in a parish office.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:39 AM

Cops say church volunteer abused 2 boys

ILLINOIS
Chicago Tribune

Published January 31, 2007

A Hoffman Estates man who volunteered at a Bartlett church has been accused of fondling underage boys, police said.

Alejandro Bautista, 32, of the 1400 block of Devonshire Lane was charged Sunday with three counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

Bartlett police said Bautista fondled two males between the ages of 11 and 15 on multiple occasions at the Bethel Baptist Church in the 600 block of West Lake Street between last October and January, according to a release from the department.

Officials at Bethel Baptist Church could not be reached Tuesday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:30 AM

Investigative Team and Personnel Committee Reports

MEMPHIS (TN)
Bellevue Baptist Church

Introduction

The incident, which was initially described as a “moral failure” by Paul Williams, Bellevue’s Minister of Prayer and Special Projects, became evident to the church Personnel Committee in December 2006. Bryan Miller, Chairman of the Personnel Committee, reported the incident to the church at the conclusion of both morning Worship Services on December 17 and announced Mr. William’s leave of absence which began December 15, 2006. Pastor Gaines commented on the incident and his concern for the Williams family.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:27 AM

Memphis minister fired over sexual abuse of son

MEMPHIS (TN)
KnoxNews

By Associated Press
January 31, 2007

MEMPHIS - A longtime minister at Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis was fired last week after he admitted to sexually abusing his son 17 years ago, according to a report issued by the church.

Paul Williams was fired Jan. 22 after an internal report conducted by the church was given to its personnel committee, which cited a "moral failure" 17 years ago as the basis for Williams' departure. Williams had been on a leave of absence since December.

The report was released on the church's Web site and distributed to church members Sunday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:24 AM

Complaint lists details of pastor-woman relationship

MINNESOTA
Winona Daily News

By Brian Voerding / Winona Daily News

At first, the pastor was her friend and confidant, someone who freely offered advice on marriage and life and once saved her from suicide.

They talked about her faith and her struggles, about spirituality and commitment and how vulnerable she felt with him.

Then the talk turned to panties, and that’s when everything began to fall apart, according to a criminal complaint filed in Winona County Court on Monday.

The 14-page complaint released Tuesday accuses the Rev. Donald Dean Budd with felony sexual conduct and outlines a 31/2-year relationship with a woman who claims she was too emotionally fragile to say no to his advances.

It’s a story about an alleged abuse of power that stopped just short of sexual intercourse, a story that began with a funeral and ended with a secret recording.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:21 AM

Church leaders told about alleged abuse

MINNESOTA
Winona Daily News

By Brian Voerding / Winona Daily News

The woman who has accused a Winona pastor of having sex with her while providing spiritual counseling turned first to the church for help.

But when she grew unsatisfied with the process, she went to the police instead.

The woman filed a complaint with the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church in September 2006, just less than a year after she cut ties with the Rev. Donald Dean Budd, the 62-year-old pastor of McKinley United Methodist who was charged Monday with 10 felony counts of criminal sexual conduct.

In early November, during the conference’s investigation, the woman went to the Winona police, whose subsequent investigation during the following two months led to the charges.

The church complaint was dismissed earlier this month.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:19 AM

Pastor pleads guilty to carnal abuse

JAMAICA
Jamaica Gleaner

SPANISH TOWN, St. Catherine

A 25-year-old pastor, Orane Ellis, who is charged with the carnal abuse of a 14-year-old girl, pleaded guilty and was remanded in custody when he appeared in the St. Catherine Circuit Court yesterday.

The court led evidence that between October 31, 2005 and November 1, 2005, Ellis, who ministered at the Bannister New Testament Church of God, in St. Catherine, allegedly molested five wards of the Yadel Girls' Home situated close to his church.

Several offences

According to arresting officer Inspector Deutress Foster Gardener of the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA), the clergyman fondled three of the girls, kissed one of them and had sex with the 14-year-old on at least two occasions.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:17 AM

Congregant protests 'secrecy' in priest investigation

ORLANDO (FL)
Daytona Beach News-Journal

By PATRICIO G. BALONA
Staff Writer

ORLANDO -- Catholic Church officials need to break their silence about a former Deltona priest accused of sexually abusing a man, said the national director of an organization supporting victims of abuse by the clergy.

In a Tuesday press conference in front of the diocesan chancery, members of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, criticized the bishop's handling of sexual abuse accusations against the Rev. Carlos Bedoya and a seminarian, David Estrada, on Oct. 4, 2006. The State Attorney's Office is investigating, and no one has been charged.

In a letter to SNAP, Bishop Thomas Wenski said based on the information provided to him when the accusations surfaced and the presumption of innocence, "I believe that my actions have been appropriate."

"I will take further action based on the outcome of law enforcement's investigation and any other factors uncovered," Wenski wrote.

Wenski also said officials of the Diocese of Orlando, which he leads, have offered counseling to the accuser and are cooperating with police.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:11 AM

Jury trial awarded in suit vs. no-show priest

WILMINGTON (DE)
The News Journal

By BETH MILLER, The News Journal

Posted Wednesday, January 31, 2007

WILMINGTON -- The defense table remained empty in Courtroom 6B at U.S. District Court early Tuesday morning, the court's deadline for the Rev. Edward Smith to respond to allegations that he had molested an Archmere Academy student in the 1980s.

Smith never showed up.

That meant Navy Cmdr. Kenneth J. Whitwell, 38, won his lawsuit against the Norbertine priest he says sexually abused him during skiing trips to Vermont in 1984 and 1985.

And he won something else, too.

Chief District Judge Sue L. Robinson granted his request for a jury trial to determine what, if any, damages are due him.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:09 AM

Churchgoers saddened by accused priests

MAINE
Morning Sentinel

By AMY CALDER
Staff Writer

Parishioners of Catholic churches in Waterville, Winslow and Skowhegan say they were surprised and saddened to learn that priests they knew are accused of sexual abuse against children.

On Saturday, Bishop Richard Malone of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Maine identified several priests who were removed from the ministry because of allegations of sexual abuse. Malone said he identified the men out of concern that additional offenses could occur while the cases are being investigated by the Vatican.

Three of the priests Malone identified worked at local churches. George W. Beaudet served at Notre Dame in Waterville and Notre Dame de Lourdes in Skowhegan; Michael L. Plourde served at St. John the Baptist Church in Winslow; and Peter Gorham served at St. Joseph Maronite Catholic Church in Waterville. None of the priests could be reached for comment.

Edward Fredette, a member of the Parish of the Holy Spirit, which includes churches in Waterville, said he knew most of the priests because of his work as a funeral home owner. He said he was shocked to learn that Beaudet and Gorham had been named.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:06 AM

Leader: Parishioners not showing concern

AUGUSTA (ME)
Kennebec Journal

By ELIZABETH COMEAU
Staff Writer

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

AUGUSTA -- The Rev. Lou Phillips said he hasn't gotten one concerned phone call from parishioners since the state's Roman Catholic bishop disclosed this past weekend the names of six Maine priests accused of sexual abuse.

Three of those priests -- Peter Gorham, Frederick Carrigan and Michael Plourde -- held positions in Augusta-area churches, which serve about 4,800 families.

"I checked with the other two priests in Augusta-Gardiner and they report the same," Phillips said Tuesday.

Phillips is head of the Augusta area cluster of churches, which includes St. Andrew, St. Augustine, St. Mary of the Assumption, all of Augusta; St. Joseph of Gardiner; and St. Denis of Whitefield.

This past weekend, Maine's Bishop Richard Malone publicly identified the six accused priests out of concern that some of them could commit offenses while waiting for the Vatican to complete its investigation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:03 AM

January 30, 2007

Paulist office aims to help heal Catholic Church wounds

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic Online

By Stefani Manowski
1/30/2007
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

WASHINGTON (Catholic Online) – Jesuit Father J. Glenn Murray has seen both sides of the hurt.

In the wake of the church sex abuse scandal, Father Murray encountered a young man who had been abused by four priests.

“How do you know what to say to this young man?” he said. “I didn’t know where to begin.”

On the other end of the spectrum, Father Murray has seen the devastation caused when a fellow priest was falsely accused of abuse.

“He was just assumed guilty,” he said.

These experiences reinforced the need for reconciliation within the church in Father Murray’s mind, and that is one of the reasons he joined 15 other religious and lay people on the board of directors for the new Paulist Office for Reconciliation. The office was recently established by the Paulist Fathers at the North American Paulist Center here, where the first board meeting took place Jan. 23.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:54 PM

Officer wins sex case against priest

DELAWARE
Navy Times

By Beth Miller - The (Wilmington, Del.) News Journal
Posted : Tuesday Jan 30, 2007 15:56:07 EST

Cmdr. Kenneth J. Whitwell won a default judgment Jan. 30 in federal court against the Norbertine priest he says sexually abused him 20 years ago, while Whitwell was a student at Archmere Academy, a Roman Catholic school in Claymont, Del.

The ruling gives Whitwell the rare opportunity to tell a jury what happened to him and his family as a result of the abuse.

“Finally, a victim in Delaware gets to have their day in court, and gets to tell their story publicly,” said Whitwell, a Navy optometrist stationed at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va.

The Rev. Edward Smith never answered the allegations Whitwell made against him.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:52 PM

US call to prosecute Australian ex-priest

AUSTRALIA
Catholic News

Two American men are calling for the prosecution of a former Victorian priest, Paul Ryan, who is already serving a prison sentence in Australia for indecent assault, over offences alleged to have occurred while he was serving at a US parish.

The Virginian-Pilot reports that the two men claim to have been abused while Ryan was at Star of the Sea parish, Virginia Beach, on the US east coast.

Fr Ryan, 60, was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment in September by a Warrnambool, Victoria court after pleading guilty to five counts of indecent assault of two teenage boys in that country.

The two Virginia Beach men were teenagers at Star of the Sea parish school when Ryan was in Virginia.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:49 PM

Priest Under Criminal Investigation, Diocese Under Fire

DELTONA (FL)
WFTV

POSTED: 5:21 pm EST January 30, 2007
UPDATED: 5:32 pm EST January 30, 2007

DELTONA, Fla. -- A Volusia County priest is under criminal investigation and the Orlando Diocese is under fire, as well, for allegedly misleading parishioners at Saint Clare Catholic Church in Deltona.

The victim told investigators that Father Carlos Bedoya's got him drunk and held him down in his residence right on church property in October.

A victim's group is accusing Bishop Thomas Wenski of lying to parishioners at Saint Clare Catholic Church about why Bedoya stepped down.

The accusations against Bedoya are just accusations, but they were enough for the Orlando Diocese to remove him from his position at Saint Clare Catholic Church in November. The problem is, parishioners were never told why.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:43 PM

Priest Accused Of Pinning Man During Sex Attack; Coverup Alleged

ORLANDO (FL)
Local 6

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Allegations that a Catholic priest forcibly held down a 35-year-old man while he was sexually abused by another man has prompted cries of a coverup in Orlando, according to a Local 6 News report.

In November, the Rev. Carlos Bedoya at St. Clair Catholic Church in Deltona, Fla.,was removed as pastor and placed on administrative leave.

Parishioners said they were told that the change was made so Bedoya could deal with personal issues, Local 6 reported.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:41 PM

Director to offer free screening of ‘Hand of God’ in McAllen on Feb. 18

HARLINGEN (TX)
Valley Morning Star

By BRUCE LEE SMITH
bruces@valleystar.com
956-421-9871

HARLINGEN — In a special appearance, “Hand of God” will finally reach the Rio Grande Valley in February.

Director Joe Cultrera will bring his award-winning film, “Hand of God,” to McAllen for a free screening Feb. 18 at the Cine El Rey.

The documentary on the child molestation scandal in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston caused local controversy when KMBH, the local Public Broadcasting System affiliate, refused to air it at in the usual “Frontline” prime-time slot on Jan. 16.

The film is based on the abuse Cultrera’s brother, Paul Cultrera, suffered at the hands of a Catholic priest in the 1960s and how it still affects the family to this day. “Hand of God” also chronicles how the Archdiocese of Boston tried to sweep this and similar cases under the rug.

“I think it’s important to see that these things can be survived,” Cultrera said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:59 PM

Navy doctor wins default judgment in Del. against accused priest

WILMINGTON (DE)
Boston Herald

By Associated Press
Tuesday, January 30, 2007 - Updated: 02:15 PM EST

WILMINGTON, Del. - A federal judge on Tuesday entered a default judgment against a priest accused of molesting a former Catholic school student.

U.S. District Court Judge Sue Robinson granted the judgment against the Rev. Edward J. Smith after he failed to respond to a lawsuit filed by Navy Commander Kenneth Whitwell.

Whitwell’s attorney, Thomas Neuberger, said the judgment marks the first time that a priest has been found liable in Delaware for child sexual abuse.

Robinson scheduled a jury trial for late March to determine damages.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:20 PM

Tucson, Ariz., diocese shuns retired Mich. Bishop Gumbleton

TUCSON (AZ)
The Detroit News

Associated Press

TUCSON, Ariz. -- The Catholic Diocese of Tucson won't allow a retired auxiliary bishop from Detroit to speak on church property because the group hosting his visit takes positions contrary to church doctrine.

Tucson Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas said he's written to the Rev. Thomas J. Gumbleton, an outspoken advocate for sexual abuse victims and gays and lesbians, and told him that his visit to speak to the Tucson chapter of the Call to Action group can't be sanctioned by the church.

Call to Action is a group of lay Catholics that seeks changes in church doctrine on gays, lesbians and priestly celibacy, and has urged more democratic processes in the church, including election of bishops.

Because Gumbleton has been barred from speaking at diocese churches, he instead will speak Feb. 6 at the First Christian Church in Tucson, led by the Rev. Robin Hoover. Hoover's congregation supports making all religious entities more open and affirming of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:11 PM

Investments, land sale help fulfill $40M diocese payout

COVINGTON (KY)
The Cincinnati Post

Post staff report

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington seems to have weathered the financial storm of a $40 million payout for sexual abuse victims pretty well.

The diocese started its fiscal 2005-2006 year in the minus column, with nearly $8 million more in liabilities than assets, but finished to the good with nearly $17.3 million in net assets, according to a report the diocesan newspaper, the Messenger, published earlier this month.

The diocese agreed in June 2005 to pay $40 million of its own money and to sue its insurance companies for up to $80 million to settle a class-action suit brought by victims of priest sexual abuse.

The diocese said that it funded its $40 million obligation by selling its Marydale retreat center property, off Donaldson Road in Erlanger, for $25 million. The diocese also used "substantially all of its uncommitted cash and investments," Bishop Roger Foys told the Messenger.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:23 PM

Clergy-abuse victims will protest outside bishop's office today

ORLANDO (FL)
Orlando Sentinel

Kristen Reed | Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted January 30, 2007, 8:53 AM EST

Members of a support group for victims of clergy abuse will protest outside the Roman Catholic Bishop's office this afternoon in hopes of getting him to take action on an investigation into a Deltona priest.

The Rev. Carlos Bedoya, of St. Clare Catholic Church, is being investigated on allegations he assisted another man who performed a sex act on a 35-year-old man. Bedoya has not been arrested or charged but was removed from his post as pastor in November.

Parishioners were told Bedoya was taking a leave of absence to deal with personal issues. Leaders of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests want Bishop Thomas Wenski to actively help solve the case and apologize to parishioners for misleading them.

The event begins at 1:15 p.m. today outside the diocesan chancery office at 50 E. Robinson St. in Orlando.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:30 AM

It's costly getting to the Truth

CANADA
Ottawa Sun

Tue, January 30, 2007

By Canadian Press

CORNWALL — The bill for the public inquiry into the institutional response to allegations of systemic sexual abuse in the Cornwall area has hit nearly $8 million, and that’s not including most of the lawyers’ fees.

Peter Engelmann, lead counsel for the commission, said Monday the inquiry cost $2.6 million during the fiscal year 2005-2006, which began April 1, 2005, and ended March 31, 2006.

Since April 1, 2006, the commission has cost $5 million and it’s expected that number will increase by the end of March, bringing the grand total to close to $8 million.

“The total does not include the lawyers’ fees for those public institutions which received funding,” said Engelmann. “Those fees are in line with standard counsel fees.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:43 AM

Priest’s double life devastates parishioners

VIRGINIA
MSNBC

By Candace Rondeaux

Updated: 1:04 a.m. ET Jan 30, 2007
The Rev. Rodney L. Rodis never healed the sick, much less turned water into wine. But some say he performed at least one minor miracle as the head of two small Catholic churches in central Virginia.

When he arrived in Louisa County as a substitute priest 14 years ago, the congregation was divided and attendance was near an all-time low. Yet, Rodis, a charismatic native of the Philippines with a round face, laughing eyes and Cheshire cat grin, united parishioners at Immaculate Conception in Buckner and St. Jude in Mineral, building church rolls to nearly 360 families and raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for capital improvements, parishioners said.

"He just absolutely wowed everybody," said parishioner Phil Scoggin, 73, who retired to the area from Great Falls with his wife. "I don't think I ever met a layman or a priest that I thought was a better Christian than him."

But now parishioners are trying to reconcile the saint they thought Rodis was with the sinner authorities say he is. Rodis, 50, has been charged with embezzling an estimated $600,000 to $700,000, possibly more, from the parish. And, unbeknownst to parishioners, for the past 14 years, Rodis has been living with a woman identified in court records as his wife and three children an hour away in Spotsylvania County, where his neighbors believed he was in the import-export business.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:09 AM

Ex-EP priest is accused of attempted murder

LAS VEGAS (NV)
El Paso Times

Article Launched: 01/30/2007 12:39:08 AM MST

LAS VEGAS -- A priest who used to lead El Paso's St. Anthony of the Desert Maronite Catholic Mission is wanted in a beating attack on a female employee at his southern Nevada church, and is expected to be charged with attempted murder, Las Vegas police said.

An arrest warrant was being prepared Monday for the Rev. George Chaanine, 52, that will also charge him with kidnapping and battery with intent to commit sex assault, Las Vegas police Lt. John Bradshaw said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:06 AM

Delay in Roslea priest's trial

IRELAND
The Fermanagh Herald

The trial, in England, of the 62-year old Parish Priest of Roslea, Fr Jeremiah McGrath for alleged indecent assault and facilitating the rape of a 12-year old girl has been delayed for five months.

He is currently suspended from carrying out his parochial duties by his Bishop.

The delay was revealed last week by a spokesman for Liverpool Crown Court. He said the original trial date was vacated as the prosecution required more time to prepare its case. The trial would now begin on 5th February, 2007. Fr McGrath is accused of indecently assaulting the girl who cannot be named for legal reasons, and with facilitating another person to rape her, between May and November, 2005 in England.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:03 AM

Search continues for fugitive priest

LAS VEGAS (NV)
Review-Journal

By BRIAN HAYNES
REVIEW-JOURNAL

Authorities continued their hunt Monday for a 52-year-old fugitive priest wanted in the beating of a church singer.

Las Vegas police filed for arrest warrants charging the Rev. Georges Chaanine with attempted murder, battery with intent to commit sexual assault, and kidnapping in connection with Friday's attack at Our Lady of Las Vegas Catholic Church.

Police began their search for Chaanine after a woman said he beat her with a blunt object inside the church at 3050 Alta Drive, between Rancho Drive and Valley View Boulevard. Officers closed roads and searched the area for several hours before determining Chaanine had escaped.

Investigators believe Chaanine fled in a cream-colored 2005 Buick sedan with Nevada license plate 732 RRM. The case has made national headlines and was featured on the front page of the America's Most Wanted Web site.

Las Vegas lawyer Bob Massi said the victim was Michaelina Bellamy, a prominent singer who has performed at many local lounges and venues, toured with the likes of Engelbert Humperdinck and opened for Enrique Iglesias. She sang the national anthem at a number of sporting events and in the 1980s was the principal singer and dancer in Folies Bergere.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:37 AM

Eastern Kentucky lawsuit accuses Mormon missionary of sex abuse

BEATTYVILLE (KY)
nwi.com

From Tuesday, January 30, 2007 5:39 AM CST

BEATTYVILLE, Ky. - A Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints missionary who was accused of sexually abusing three people during a 2005 missionary trip to Kentucky and Indiana has been sued along with the church by the mother of one of the accusers.

The eastern Kentucky woman contends that Jason Stark's conduct damaged her son psychologically, socially and mentally. The lawsuit says the boy, who is younger than 18, has suffered public scorn, ridicule and embarrassment because of Stark, who is from Idaho.

The case was filed in Lee County Circuit Court in December. The Mormon church asked last week that the case be moved to federal court.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:34 AM

Bishop Richard Malone's statement regarding priests accused of sexual abuse

MAINE
keepMEcurrent

PORTLAND (Jan 29, 2007): The following is the complete text of Bishop Richard Malone’s statement regarding the release of the names of four priests accused of sexual abuse.

The last time I met with the press, I indicated I was considering the need to release names of priests who in the past had been accused of sexually abusing minors, and who had been removed from ministry but without public notification. It was common practice to removing offending priests from ministry usually without public notification until the Dallas Charter took effect in 2002. Since then, all substantive complaints of sexual abuse of minors require that the accused step down from ministry while an investigation takes place, and that the parish community and the public are informed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:23 AM

Bishop releases names of priests accused in sex scandal

MAINE
keepMEcurrent

By Mike Higgins
Web Editor

REGIONAL (Jan 29, 2007): Portland’s Roman Catholic bishop has released the names of four priests accused of sexual abuse of children.

Speaking on Jan. 27, Bishop Richard Malone identified the priests, who all were removed from the ministry before June 2002 because of the allegations, though their names had not been made public previously.

The four priests are: George Beaudet, 77, who served in nine parishes, including St. Mary’s in Westbrook before being removed from the ministry in 2000; Michael Plourde, 56, who served at parishes in Sanford, Biddeford and Westbrook before being removed by the ministry in 1994; Ronald Michaud, 60, who served in parishes in Portland, Biddeford and Cape Elizabeth before he was removed in 1989; and Fredrick Carrigan, 70, who served at parishes in Bath and Bangor before he was removed in 2002.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:17 AM

Local Catholic diocese shuns retired bishop who'll speak here

TUCSON (AZ)
Arizona Daily Star

By Stephanie Innes
Arizona Daily Star
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 01.30.2007

A retired auxiliary bishop from Detroit who is an outspoken advocate for sexual abuse victims and gays and lesbians will be in Tucson next week, but he's not being welcomed by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson.

Tucson Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas said that decision is based on the identity of the group hosting the Rev. Thomas J. Gumbleton's talk, which he says takes positions that are contrary to church teachings. For that reason, the group's messages cannot be promoted on church property, the bishop said. He said he's had written contact with Gumbleton and made it clear that Gumbleton will not be in Tucson at the invitation of the local diocese.

"I'm saddened and disappointed to hear it," said Laurie Olson, vice president of the Tucson chapter of Call to Action, a group of lay Catholics that seeks changes in the church and is sponsoring Gumbleton, who will talk about homosexuality and Catholicism.
Olson said her group, which has about 150 people on its mailing list, has found a non-Catholic church to host Gumbleton as its keynote speaker.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:12 AM

Ex-priest broke Megan’s Law

SCRANTON (PA)
The Times-Tribune

BY ERIN L. NISSLEY
STAFF WRITER
01/30/2007

A former Catholic priest who admitted to sexually abusing children in Luzerne County and New York pleaded no contest Monday to failing to comply with Megan’s Law requirements.

In May 2005, Albert Liberatore Jr. pleaded guilty in Luzerne County to three counts each of indecent assault and corruption of minors and one count each of endangering the welfare of a minor and furnishing alcohol to a minor.

All the charges related to encounters Mr. Liberatore, now 42, had with a 13-year-old altar boy at St. Joseph’s Church in Duryea. The former priest was sentenced to 10 years of probation after pleading guilty.

A month later, Mr. Liberatore pleaded guilty in New York to attempted sexual abuse of a child and was sentenced to 10 years of probation. The New York judge ruled he had to register his address as a sex offender.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:09 AM

Bishop right to reveal names

MAINE
Kennebec Journal

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

On Saturday, Maine's Roman Catholic bishop, Richard Malone, released the names of six priests accused of sexual abuse. The priests' cases have not yet been resolved by Vatican courts in Rome. Malone said he did not want to delay any longer identifying the men for fear that while waiting for their cases' resolution, they might commit another offense.

Malone did the right thing. Knowing the identity of the accused priests is a public safety issue. By revealing their names, Malone made it easier for parents to protect vulnerable children who might come into contact with the priests.

Disclosure of where the priests currently live would have been even better. And if -- as two credible groups who advocate for victims of clergy abuse contend -- there are even more priests out there who are under investigation for abuse but whose identities have not been made public by the Church, we hope that the bishop will continue in this vein and reveal their names as well.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:04 AM

SNAP seeks action on Van Wert priest

OHIO
Toledo Blade

By CLYDE HUGHES
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The co-director of a Toledo organization that assists victims of sexual abuse by priests urged the Diocese of Toledo yesterday to take further steps to distance itself from a priest removed from public ministry in 2003.

Claudia Vercellotti of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, along with Jon Schoonmaker, who has accused the Rev. Joseph Schmelzer of sexually touching him, delivered a letter to diocesan offices at 1933 Spielbusch Ave. that made a number of demands involving the priest.

Parishioners at St. Mary of the Assumption Church in Van Wert, Ohio, where Father Schmelzer was pastor, were read a letter last weekend stating that he resigned his position at the request of Toledo Bishop Leonard Blair.

Mr. Schoonmaker said he notified the diocese in 1992 that when he was 16, about nine years earlier, Father Schmelzer began touching him sexually.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:58 AM

Former Loyola president emerges

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
The Times-Picayune

Tuesday, January 30, 2007
By Bruce Nolan
Bernard Knoth, the former Jesuit priest and Loyola University president whose abrupt resignation three years ago on a sexual abuse charge stunned the city, has launched a civilian career as an executive recruiter in Florida.

Global Recruiters Network of Sarasota lists Knoth as a member of its team with experience in finance and education administration. A photo of Knoth in a blazer and open-neck shirt accompanies his résumé for the benefit of prospective clients.

Contacted by e-mail, Knoth, who remains connected to the Jesuit order but is forbidden to wear the collar or minister as a priest, declined a request to be interviewed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:56 AM

January 29, 2007

Beach men want jailed priest to be charged here

VIRGINIA BEACH ({VA)
Virginian Pilot

By STEVEN G. VEGH AND SUSAN E. WHITE ,
January 30, 2007 | Last updated 9:56 PM Jan. 29

VIRGINIA BEACH - Two Virginia Beach men are pushing for local prosecution of an Australian Catholic priest in prison for child sexual abuse, saying he abused them in the late 1970s while serving at Star of the Sea parish.

The Rev. Paul David Ryan, 60, was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment in September by an Australian court. He pleaded guilty to five counts of indecent assault of two teenage boys in that country.

The two Virginia Beach men were teenagers at Star of the Sea parish school when Ryan was in Virginia.

The men spoke to The Virginian-Pilot late last year after learning of the Australian prosecution. They recently declined to comment further, saying they had been asked by Virginia Beach police not to talk publicly about their allegations. A police spokeswoman confirmed the department was investigating the men's abuse complaint.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:56 PM

Allowing more time for victim is the key to ending child abuse

DELAWARE
The News Journal

By Avril and John Madison

Posted Saturday, January 27, 2007
DELAWARE VOICE

For the second time in 12 months a bill has been introduced into the Delaware Legislature to give victims of child sexual abuse a measure of civil justice.

During last year's legislative term, Sen. Karen Peterson co-sponsored a bill to address the archaic statute of limitations in civil cases of child sexual abuse.

That legislation failed to pass during the last hours of the 143rd meeting. In the new legislative term, Sen. Peterson and her co-sponsors have introduced Senate Bill 29, "The Child Victims Act."

By so doing, she is sending a message that children are a protected class in Delaware and that this legislation is long overdue.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:07 PM

Judge to study rape charge allegations

PINEVILLE (MO)
Neosho Daily News

By John Ford / Daily News Associate Editor
Published: Monday, January 29, 2007 4:31 PM CST

PINEVILLE - A Newton County judge has taken under advisement a felony rape charge against a McDonald County church leader pending judicial review of state statutes.

On Monday, Newton County Division II Associate Circuit Court Judge Greg Stremel took the rape charge against Paul Epling, 53, under advisement during a preliminary hearing in Pineville. His ruling is expected Feb. 26.

Epling, a deacon in the Grand Valley Independent Baptist Church, is accused of having sex with a 6-year-old girl in the summer of 1977.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:05 PM

Bellevue ‘ill-prepared’ for child molestation, report states

CORDOVA (TN)
Baptist Press

Jan 29, 2007
By Tim Ellsworth
Baptist Press
CORDOVA, Tenn. (BP)--A minister at the center of a church-wide controversy at Bellevue Baptist Church has been terminated for sexually abusing his adolescent son 17 years ago.

Paul Williams, Bellevue’s minister of prayer and special projects, was the subject of a month-long investigation by a special Bellevue committee after his actions became known in December.

The investigative committee presented its findings to the church Jan. 28 following Bellevue’s Sunday evening worship service. Copies of the 19-page report were provided to Bellevue members after the meeting, and the report was posted on the church’s website. David Coombs, Bellevue’s administrative pastor who led the investigation, gave a summary of the full report.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:53 PM

Las Vegas Priest Accused Of Assault

LAS VEGAS (NV)
America's Most Wanted

Parishioners at Our Lady of Las Vegas were shocked when they heard the news that a reverend who is a senior leader at their parish may have beaten a fellow church worker and gone on the lam.

Police say that it all began around 4:30 in the afternoon on January 26, 2007 when neighbors called authorities after a woman came running out of a church building saying she had been beaten. Cops immediately shut down the local streets in hopes of catching the accused man, Rev. George Chaanine. At first, police believed that Chaanine had barricaded himself in the church with a weapon, but as time passed, cops learned that Chaanine had most likely fled in his car.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:48 PM

Fugitive Las Vegas Priest Sought in Attack Faces Attempted Murder Charge

LAS VEGAS (NV)
Fox News

Monday, January 29, 2007

LAS VEGAS — A Roman Catholic priest wanted in a beating attack on a female employee at his southern Nevada church faces an attempted murder charge, police said.

An arrest warrant was issued Monday for the Rev. George Chaanine, 52, also charging him with kidnapping and battery with intent to commit sex assault, police Lt. John Bradshaw said.

Bradshaw, who commands the Las Vegas police sex crimes unit, said Monday the encounter "had sexual connotations," but that the woman was not sexually assaulted in the encounter in a church office.

"The charges pretty much speak for themselves," Bradshaw said.

It was not clear whether Chaanine had a lawyer.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:44 PM

Steuben County pastor in court on sex abuse charges

BATH (NY)
Elmira Star-Gazette

January 29, 2007

BATH — A former Steuben County pastor charged with sexually abusing two boys entered no plea today during an appearance in Steuben County Court.

A court spokeswoman said the case of David J. Troup, 39, of Painted Post, was adjourned to 2:30 p.m. Feb. 22.

Troup, former pastor of the Borden Baptist Church, was arrested in October and indicted in January for allegedly abusing two boys younger than 11 years old in July 2005 in the town of Woodhull.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:42 PM

Court dismisses case of ousted Jehovah's Witnesses

TENNESSEE
Tennessean

Associated Press

A court has dismissed the claims of a couple who accused the Jehovah's Witnesses of improperly ousting them from their congregation after the wife told NBC's Dateline the denomination covers up child sexual abuse.

The denomination's national organization, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York Inc., asked the court to dismiss a $20 million lawsuit brought by Barbara and Joseph Anderson, who claimed defamation, fraud and intentional infliction of emotional distress in their ouster from their congregation, Kingdom Hall in Tullahoma, Tenn.

On Monday, an appeals court ruled in favor of the defendants, saying the Andersons' ouster involved internal denomination matters.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:37 PM

Church controversy

OHIO
ABC 13

January 29, 2007 - SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priest, says it's taken 15 years to get to this day, but there are still many questions that remain unanswered.

A victim of the sexual abuse stood outside the diocese and called for answers. He says he's waited 15 years for Father Joseph Schmelzer to be punished for his actions and to be removed from Saint Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church in Van-Wert.

He and leaders of SNAP, are still looking for answers about how things were handled by the diocese and questions about letters which they blew up to show that were possibly altered. They want answers and an apology.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:57 PM

Lawsuit against Green Bay Diocese returns to court this week

GREEN BAY (WI)
Press-Gazette

By Andy Nelesen
anelesen@greenbaypressgazette.com

David Schauer's civil lawsuit against the Diocese of Green Bay revs back up this week as lawyers and the court head to Taylor County to decide if church officials intimidated Schauer from suing the diocese in 1990.

Schauer, now 29, was molested in 1988 as a student at Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic School in Green Bay. Donald Buzanowski, a priest working at the school, was convicted by a Brown County jury in July of two counts of sexual assault of a child and was sentenced to 32 years in prison.

A Taylor County jury is hearing the case to combat pre-trial publicity stemming from the raft of pre-trial hearings, which included stories discussing a rejected settlement offer and a failed motion by Schauer's lawyer that demanded Brown County Circuit Court Judge Mark Warpinski recuse himself from the case. The trial, held in Medford and scheduled to begin today, is expected to last about a week.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:53 PM

Sex-abuse victims may get more time to sue

DELAWARE
The News Journal

By BETH MILLER, The News Journal

Posted Friday, January 26, 2007

Delaware lawmakers Thursday launched another effort to eliminate the civil statute of limitations on child-sexual abuse by adults.

Sen. Karen E. Peterson, D-Stanton, filed Senate Bill 29, known as the Child Victim's Act, which would remove time constraints on civil lawsuits.

The bill is similar to efforts made early in last year's session. Time ran out, though, as debate continued over the potential cost to the state if lawsuits against schools were permitted.

Also among the controversies last year was a provision that would allow victims of child-sexual abuse a two-year grace period to file claims even if they previously had been barred by the state's statute of limitations.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:34 AM

Bishop in Rome for talks on handling of sex abuse cases

IRELAND
The Donegal News

REVEREND Philip Boyce, Bishop of Raphoe, this week joined fellow Irish bishops in Rome for discussions with Pope Benedict XVI on the handling of clerical sex abuse in dioceses.

The meeting comes on the heels of further convictions for sexual offences by clerics in Donegal with the seven year sentence imposed on Carrigart born Daniel Doherty last week for the rape of a 13 years old female parishioner in 1985. His older brother Fr John Doherty was sentenced to three years imprisonment after he was convicted of sexually assaulting four altar boys in the 1970s.

Bishop Boyce and his fellow bishops face a rigorous scrutiny by the Pope and his advisers over the next fortnight as to how effectively they have handled the clerical child-abuse scandals in their respective dioceses and countrywide.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:45 AM

Bellevue details 'moral failure'

MEMPHIS (TN)
Commercial Appeal

By James Dowd

January 29, 2007

Bellevue Baptist Church leaders issued a report Sunday night detailing allegations that former minister Paul Williams was sexually abused as a child and repeated that cycle of abuse by molesting his own son two decades ago.

The report by an investigation team was released following Sunday's evening service and included sharp criticism for the cover-up of the abuse:

"On Paul's part, there appears to never have been any time in 17 years that any consideration was given to the effect that having a child molester on the ministerial staff of Bellevue Baptist Church would have on the church. His only consideration appears to have been to keep his job and, in the Team's opinion, to stay out of jail.

"If he had considered the welfare of the church family he would have resigned. The molestation of a child is bad enough, but to continue on in a ministerial capacity with responsibility for sensitive areas of our church is without excuse."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:38 AM

Report: Minister admits to sexually abusing son 17 years ago

MEMPHIS (TN)
Eyewitness News

Last Update: 1/29/2007 3:45:31 AM

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - A report issued by Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis tonight says a long-time church minister was fired last week after he admitted to sexually abusing his son 17 years ago.

Paul Williams was fired last Monday after an internal report conducted by the church was given to its personnel committee, which cited a moral failure 17 years ago as the basis for Williams' departure.

Williams had been on a leave of absence since December.

The reports says Williams engaged in sexual activity with his adolescent son over a period of 12 to 18 months.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:35 AM

The Cardinal’s Sins

NEW YORK
New York Magazine

As the Cardinal walked into the front parlor of his St. Patrick’s residence, girding for a tense meeting with about 40 leading New York priests, he was painfully aware of the circle that seemed ready to close around him. For nearly seven years, Edward Egan had reigned as cardinal-archbishop of New York—“the archbishop of the capital of the world,” as Pope John Paul II once called the job. Yet throughout his time here Egan had never really felt at home, had never become a “real” New Yorker in the identity morph that so many transplanted prelates and politicians manage just by donning a baseball cap. Instead, by choice and by nature, Egan had remained an outsider, a Chicagoan by birth and a Roman cleric by training, who had both an exalted view of a bishop’s authority and an anxious sense of how perilous the modern world can be for anything that smacks of monarchy. ...

According to several accounts from those who were present, Egan went on to claim that his enemies were priests accused of sexual abuse who thought that Egan hadn’t adequately defended them. “When I hear stories about what those priests do, I have to do No. 2,” he spat in disgust. Then Egan widened his target to the entire priest corps: Of the 2,000 priests and bishops in the archdiocese, he lamented, not one stood up to defend him. “I was loyal to Cardinal Cody to the end,” he insisted in the stentorian affect he uses to complement his imposing height and girth. “Let me tell you, that is manliness! That is priestliness! That is Edward M. Egan!”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:30 AM

Father Schmelzer resigns post at St. Mary's

TOLEDO (OH)
The Times Bulletin

Toledo Catholic Diocese Bishop Leonard Blair, has requested the Rev. Joseph Schmelzer resign his position as pastor of St. Mary of the Assumption Church in Van Wert, according to the Toledo Catholic Diocese.

Reportedly, parishioners learned of the resignation at Masses held over the weekend. A release from the Vatican to Bishop Blair affirms Father Schmelzer's removal from public ministry, according to Sally Oberski, spokesperson for the Toledo Diocese.

Jon Schoonmaker, of Adrian, filed a lawsuit in 2003 alleging that Schmelzer abused him at a West Toledo church approximately 20 years ago.

In addition to Schmelzer, the Catholic Diocese of Toledo and St. Clement's Church in Toledo were named as defendants in the lawsuit. Schoonmaker asked for more than $25,000 in compensatory damages and unspecified punitive damages. Schoonmaker said he was abused during a "spiritual counseling session" when he was 17.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:25 AM

Faithful lament loss of leader

DETROIT (MI)
The Detroit News

Shawn D. Lewis / The Detroit News

DETROIT -- The mood was somber at St. Leo Catholic Church Sunday morning.

It was the first Sunday parishioners had to worship without their beloved Bishop Thomas J. Gumbleton at the helm. Gumbleton, 77, resigned from the west side church, near Grand River and West Warren, but told parishioners it was not of his own volition.

And the parishioners, although welcoming to the new pastor, the Rev. Gerard Battersby, are upset.

"If I could sum up our feelings in one word, it would be 'sad,' " said Leo Kohanski of Detroit, who has been attending the church for more than 20 years.

Gumbleton, the liberal priest who champions civil rights and is outspoken about victims of sexual abuse by priests, told parishioners during his final service at the church on Jan. 21 that he did not choose to leave St. Leo.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:23 AM

Bishop names accused priests

BANGOR (ME)
Bangor Daily News

By Judy Harrison
Monday, January 29, 2007 - Bangor Daily News

BANGOR - Bishop Richard J. Malone has reversed his position on keeping secret the names of priests removed from ministry due to accusations of sexual abuse before June 2002.

Previously, Malone publicly identified priests only after the Vatican had adjudicated their cases and disciplined them.

This makes the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland one of 15 of the 195 dioceses in the country that have a policy of releasing the names of priests whose sex abuse cases are pending in Rome.

Malone named four diocesan priests who have been removed from ministry but whose names have not been released previously. He declined to name the communities where they are living. They are the Revs. George W. Beaudet, 67, of Maine; Frederick A. Carrigan, 72, who lives out of state; Michael L. Plourde, 56, of Maine; and Ronald N. Michaud, 60, of Maine.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:15 AM

January 28, 2007

Victims' Group Not Satisfied With Bishop's Announcement

MAINE
WCSH

Web Editor: Caroline Cornish, Reporter
Created: 1/28/2007 5:24:40 PM
Updated: 1/28/2007 7:17:48 PM

Advocates for victims of priest sex abuse said they're not satisfied with the way Bishop Richard Malone released the names of 4 priests accused of abuse.

67-year old George Beaudet, 72-year old Frederick Carrigan, 56-year old Michael Plourde and 60-year old Ronald Michaud were all removed from ministry before 2002, but Malone had not released their names because the Vatican has not ruled on their cases. He said he decided to break with that church policy after an accused priest in Delaware who had not been named was charged with another sex abuse crime.

Members of the advocacy group Voice of the Faithful said they wished Malone had spoken up sooner, and they want him to tell people where the priests live, too. One of the accused priests, Michael Plourde, lives right around the corner from his old parish in Biddeford, near a lot of kids.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:50 PM

Catholic priest suspended in Las Vegas assault probe

LAS VEGAS (NV)
Las Vegas Sun

ASSOCIATED PRESS

LAS VEGAS (AP) - A Catholic priest wanted for questioning in connection with the assault of a woman at a church has been suspended by the Diocese of Las Vegas.

Our Lady of Las Vegas priest George Chaanine was placed on administrative leave, meaning he cannot act in any capacity as a priest, said diocese spokeswoman Rachel Wilkinson.

Police said a church employee accused Chaanine of striking her Friday afternoon inside a building on the church's campus.

Police continued their search Sunday for the priest, but he was not found at his home or the church, said Lt. Jeff Whitehead. "He's on the lam," Whitehead said.

Chaanine owns a gun and could be armed and dangerous, police said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:11 PM

Priest's RICO suit challenged

NEW YORK
Renew America

Matt C. Abbott Matt C. Abbott
January 27, 2007


The following is the text of a recent affidavit made by Father Robert Hoatson, whose RICO lawsuit is being challenged by the parties he is suing.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:46 PM

Abusive priest slipped under radar

WISCONSIN
Leader-Telegram

Leader-Telegram Staff
ALTOONA — For years Thomas Adamson's kindly face was a familiar sight at Oakwood Villa nursing home, assisting with activities for elderly residents and offering the caring, personal touch of a priest.

But apparently unbeknownst to nursing home visitors, residents and administrators, Adamson, 73, carried a dark, heavy secret — one that threatened to derail his career and reputation yet again.

The man known by those at Oakwood for his pleasant, friendly demeanor is considered one of the nation's most notorious pedophile priests, with claims by 30 people that he sexually assaulted them, beginning in 1959 and continuing at least into the 1980s. Experts estimate he likely has abused as many as 100 boys, and Minnesota Catholic dioceses have paid an estimated $6 million in lawsuit settlements as a result of Adamson's actions.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:39 PM

He inspires fear in the church, hope for victims

ST. PAUL (MN)
Pioneer Press

BY KEVIN HARTER
Pioneer Press

Attorney Jeff Anderson has been suing churches and clergy for 23 years.Under glaring lights, television cameras focus on Jeff Anderson. The St. Paul lawyer has just jetted to Los Angeles to publicly accuse the Catholic Church of failing to protect children from a predator priest.

As he stands at a podium at the Omni Hotel in his pressed taupe suit, Anderson raises a notebook-size photo of the Rev. Nicolas Aguilar above his head.

"We know now that this man, with the complicity and the participation of two cardinals, has shattered the lives of over 100 youths," Anderson says to the crowd of reporters. He accuses the church of shuttling Aguilar from California to Mexico, hiding him from prosecution. It is a charge the cardinals and churches in Los Angeles and Mexico will later deny.

Before Anderson leaves the stage, he turns to his client Joaquin Mendez, puts a hand on his shoulder and calls him a "courageous survivor." The cameras zoom in.

Anderson, 59, understands drama. And he knows how to get the public's attention.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:36 PM

OUR LADY OF LAS VEGAS CATHOLIC CHURCH: Woman says priest beat her

LAS VEGAS (NV)
Review-Journal

By DAVID KIHARA
REVIEW-JOURNAL

The Metropolitan Police Department was searching late Friday for a priest at Our Lady of Las Vegas Catholic Church who was wanted for questioning in connection with the beating of a woman on the church's grounds.

Police said they were searching for Georges Chaanine, who is in his early 50s.

The priest was considered a "person of interest" in the battery of a woman who worked with him at the church, Las Vegas police Capt. Gary Schofield said. Police said the priest was possibly armed and dangerous.

The woman accused Chaanine of striking her inside one of the buildings at Our Lady of Las Vegas, on the 3000 block of Alta Drive, near Rancho Drive, police said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:09 AM

VEGAS PRIEST SOUGHT IN SEX ASSAULT

LAS VEGAS (NV)
Winnipeg Sun

LAS VEGAS -- Police were searching for a Catholic priest they believe may have sexually assaulted and struck a woman at a church.

Authorities said they were called to Our Lady of Las Vegas Roman Catholic Church on Friday evening by someone who heard a woman in the church cry for help.

Officers found a church employee who said she had been assaulted and hit in the head with an object by a priest. Investigators consider Rev. George Chaanine a person of interest, police spokesman Bill Cassell said.

Police closed the grounds of the church, which is about seven kilometres west of the Las Vegas Strip, for about an hour while they searched for Chaanine.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:06 AM

Van Wert pastor resigns post

VAN WERT (OH)
Toledo Blade

VAN WERT, Ohio - Parishioners at St. Mary of the Assumption Church here were to learn at Masses this weekend that the Rev. Joseph Schmelzer resigned his position as pastor at the request of Toledo Roman Catholic Diocese Bishop Leonard Blair.

The announcement comes after a communication to Bishop Blair from the Vatican and affirms Father Schmelzer's removal from public ministry, said Sally Oberski, spokesman for the Toledo diocese.

Letters from Bishop Blair and Father Schmelzer were read to parishioners, Ms. Oberski said.

Father Schmelzer was barred from public ministry in 2003 after Jon Schoonmaker alleged that he was a teenager when the priest abused him. Father Schmelzer appealed to the Vatican.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:03 AM

Former Student Sues Teacher Over Alleged Sexual Relationship

CANADA
CityNews

Friday January 26, 2007
A 22-year-old man is suing his former English teacher after claiming she had sex with him for four years, commencing when he was a grade 11 student at St. Peter's Secondary School in Barrie.

The $2.5 million civil suit names the school board and a principal, who according to the claim was told of the affair by the boy's mother but did nothing.

The 13-page statement of claim describes how the grade 9 student and teacher would have sex in locked portables while school was going on. It also claims she would invite her alleged lover's friends to her apartment so they could have sex with their girlfriends.

"The teacher has been removed from the school and any class and any contact with students," reveals Michael O'Keefe of the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:00 AM

Teacher-sex lawsuit

CANADA
Toronto Sun

Sat, January 27, 2007

By TRACY MCLAUGHLIN, SPECIAL TO THE SUN

BARRIE -- The twin brother of a boy who received sex notes from teacher Laura Sclater has launched a $2.5-million lawsuit against another teacher, claiming they had repeated sexual encounters including oral sex in a portable classroom.

Sclater made headlines across the country after sending a 13-year-old student more than 65 lurid letters, calling the boy "hottie," and "big stud." She was acquitted of sexual offences in 2002 after a judge found the boy "not credible" as a witness.

Now the boy's identical 22-year-old twin is seeking $2.5 million in damages after alleged repeated sexual encounters with another teacher.

16-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN

The sex with Amy Mullins, a teacher at St. Peter's Secondary School in Barrie, took place in the year 2000 when the twin was a 16-year-old virgin, the statement alleges.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:46 AM

Bishop Releases Names of Accused Priests

MAINE
WMTW

Bishop Richard Malone is joining 14 other dioceses and archdioceses by adopting a policy of identifying priests who were removed from ministry before June of 2002 due to allegations of sexual abuse of minors, whose cases are still awaiting a final disposition from Rome. Today’s announcement changes the previous policy whereby the names of the accused were released only after the Vatican’s determination regarding laicization.

“In some instances the process has taken longer than I had anticipated,” explained Malone. “I am unsure how long it will be before all our cases are resolved. This being the case, I have become increasingly concerned about the possible risk of re-offence in the cases of those who have not been publicly identified.”

Since the Dallas Charter of 2002, all substantive allegations of sexual abuse of minors are publicized and active priests must step down during investigations of those complaints.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:43 AM

Doctors oppose bishops' abuse prevention program

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic Insight

By CI Staff
Issue: January, 2007

Washington, D.C.—The Catholic Medical Association has asked the U.S. bishops to stop using controversial sexual abuse education programs, aimed at teaching young children to protect themselves from abusers, in their dioceses.

During the association’s annual conference in Boston last month, the CMA released a 55-page study that condemned programs such as “Talking About Touching” as ineffective, out-of-step with child development, and not in keeping with the Church’s teaching on the appropriate sex education of children, the National Catholic Register reported (Nov. 26, 2006).

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:41 AM

Church's woes a boon for screeners

ST. PETE BEACH (FL)
St. Petersburg Times

By SHERRI DAY
Published January 28, 2007

ST. PETE BEACH - Ralph Yanello never imagined his client roster would include the Catholic Church.

Yanello, a lawyer, runs a Web-based company in Walnut Creek, Calif., that trains corporations on how to handle issues such as disabilities and sexual harassment. His clients include Microsoft, Cisco Systems and Lucas Film.

But Yanello has focused his company's future growth on training to prevent the kind of abuse by clergy that rocked Catholic congregations across America five years ago. His company has developed software that would help churches do background checks on employees and volunteers who work with children and allow diocesan officials to keep track of them.

He also markets Internet courses that teach adults to recognize abuse and plans to create a game that instructs children to do the same.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:30 AM

Gumbleton not ousted for condemning abuse, archdiocese says

DETROIT (MI)
The Detroit News

Santiago Esparza / The Detroit News

DETROIT -- Archdiocese of Detroit officials disputed reports today that they forced Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Gumbleton from running St. Leo's Catholic Church parish.

"It is not for a bishop to put conditions on retiring," said Ned McGrath, the archdiocese's spokesman. "If you retire, it is accepted. You are not being forced out. We took him at his word."

The outspoken Gumbleton is 77 years old, and church law requires bishops to retire at 75 years old, McGrath said. However, there is no law requiring retiring bishops to remove themselves from all of their church's leadership.

Gumbleton last year stated he wanted to retire, but he wanted to stay on to run the parish on a yearly basis, McGrath said. But in accepting the resignation, Pope Benedict XVI informed Gumbleton he had to resign from all posts, McGrath said. Gumbleton does not want to do this and in a Jan. 21 Mass at St. Leo's Catholic Church stated he was being ousted for speaking out against priests who molest children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:28 AM

'Deliver' chronicles abuse

UNITED STATES
Deseret Morning News

By Bob Strauss
Los Angeles Daily News
DELIVER US FROM EVIL — *** — Documentary feature about child sexual abuse; not rated, probable R (profanity); opens today at the Tower Theatre.

The Catholic Church's pedophile-priest scandal is examined with extensive emotionalism, barely controlled outrage and persuasively obsessive backup research in "Deliver Us From Evil."
But at the center of this anguished cry of a documentary is a character of remarkable serenity. Remarkable because, by any measure, he is an incredible kind of monster.
That is Father Oliver O'Grady, who, as a priest in Central California, molested dozens of girls and boys, seduced a few of their parents and even abused an infant. Back home in Ireland after serving his prison sentence, the elderly pedophile spoke to director Amy Berg extensively on camera.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:26 AM

Bishop decides not to wait for Vatican before releasing names

MAINE
Sun Journal

By David Sharp , Associated Press Writer
Sunday, January 28, 2007
PORTLAND - The leader of Maine's 234,000 Roman Catholics on Saturday publicly identified six priests accused of sexual abuse out of concern that they could commit offenses while waiting for the Vatican to complete its investigation.

Bishop Richard Malone's original policy was to wait until a judgment from the Vatican before releasing the names of those accused of abuse before June 2002. But he became worried that there could be more victims during the drawn-out process.

"I am unsure how long it will be before all our cases are resolved," he said in a statement. "This being the case, I have become increasingly concerned about the possible risk of re-offense in the cases of those who have not been publicly identified."

Speaking at St. John Parish in Bangor, Malone released the names of 12 priests, six of whom he had not previously identified.

Of the six, the Vatican already ruled in the cases of Peter P. Gorham and Francis Kane. Both priests are 79 years old and in ill health. In both cases, the Vatican made their removal from the ministry permanent and assigned them to a "life of prayer and penance."

Malone identified the other four as:

• George W. Beaudet, 67, who was accused in 2000 and was removed from ministry that year because of alleged abuse dating to 1979. Beaudet resides in Maine.

• Frederick A. Carrigan, 72, who was first accused in 1991. He was removed from the ministry in 2002 after being accused of abuse dating to 1972. He lives out of state.

• Michael L. Plourde, 56, who was accused by two minors in 1994 and was removed from ministry that year. He lives in Maine.

• Ronald N. Michaud, 60, who was accused in 1989 of offenses that took place in Maryland. His last known address was in Maine.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:21 AM

Former N.H. priest defrocked over affairs

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Nashua Telegraph

Published: Sunday, Jan. 28, 2007

MANCHESTER (AP) – The pope has defrocked a former New Hampshire priest once accused of sexually assaulting a girl in Keene.

John Nolin also had admitted having affairs with several women, and church records say he moved two women into a home he owned in Keene at various times.

Nolin served in various communities, including Concord, Laconia, Salem and Woodsville. He was defrocked in November. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester announced the development Friday, with no comment on why there was such a delay.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:19 AM

Names of accused priests released

MAINE
Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram

By TREVOR MAXWELL, Staff Writer
Sunday, January 28, 2007

Maine Bishop Richard Malone on Saturday released the names of four Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse, whose cases are still pending with church courts in Rome.
The priests already had been removed from ministry prior to 2002, but their names and the allegations against them had not been disclosed.

Malone has recommended laicization for all four, meaning permanent removal of all rights and duties as a priest.

They are George Beaudet, 67, who served at nine parishes until being removed in 2000; Frederick Carrigan, 72, who served at seven parishes until removal in 2002; Michael Plourde, 56, who served at nine parishes until removal in 1994; and Ronald Michaud, 60, who served at five parishes until removal in 1989.

The announcement marked a change in church policy by Malone, who is head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland and spiritual leader of the state's 234,000 Catholics.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:15 AM

January 27, 2007

Priest accused of abuse defrocked

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Concord Monitor

By ANNMARIE TIMMINS
Monitor staff
January 27. 2007 8:32AM

The Diocese of Manchester announced yesterday that the Vatican has defrocked the Rev. John Nolin, a former Lakeport and Penacook priest removed from ministry in 1994 after allegations that he abused a Keene girl. Nolin is the third New Hampshire priest to be defrocked.

Nolin, 74, resigned his ministry in 1994 after he was accused of sexual assault, but he has been retired and collecting a retirement check from the diocese since 2000. As recently as 2005, Nolin was living in New Mexico with a woman he was romantically involved with during his time in Keene.

Bishop John McCormack warned Nolin in writing in 2002 to leave the woman and relocate to Manchester alone. If he did not, McCormack warned, the diocese would seek to have Nolin defrocked. By then, the diocese had a history of confronting Nolin about his sexual affairs with adult women, according to church records.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:24 AM

Priest defrocked; had served in NH

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Manchester Union Leader

By MARK HAYWARD
Union Leader Staff

John Nolin, once a New Hampshire priest who provided a home to two paramours and their families, was defrocked in November by Pope Benedict XVI, according to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester.

The diocese announced the action yesterday and said Nolin is no longer bound by the obligations of the priesthood and is returned to the lay state. He had been stripped of permission to function as a priest in June 1994.

Nolin, who is 73, no longer lives in New Hampshire, the diocese said in a two-paragraph statement. A spokesman would not say where Nolin lives and said he would not comment beyond the statement.

Nolin was never charged with any crimes because allegations fell outside the statute of limitations, said William Delker, a senior assistant attorney general who oversaw the investigation into the priest-sex scandal.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:57 AM

Driving force

MONTEREY (CA)
Sacramento Bee

By Jennifer Garza - Bee Staff Writer
Published 12:00 am PST Saturday, January 27, 2007

If you ask, Auxiliary Bishop Richard Garcia will say the best part of his job over the past nine years has been visiting parishioners.

Then he'll add that the worst part has been going to see all those parishioners.

"Oh, the driving. ... That's one thing I won't miss at all," says Garcia, laughing.

Garcia has served in the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento for nine years as assistant to Bishop William K. Weigand and has logged more than 265,000 miles on his odometer. Now he's leaving to become the bishop of the Diocese of Monterey, where he hopes to spend less time on the road. ...

Q: How has the clergy sexual-abuse scandal affected people locally?

A: People were upset. Angry. And I don't blame them. A lot of damage was done.

For me, personally, it has made me a better listener. I have met with many of the victims from this diocese. A lot of them have told me how grateful they are to have someone listen. It's been a very painful time in the Catholic Church for a lot of people.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:53 AM

Members of Churches Set to Close Seek Advice From Some Who Have Been There

NEW YORK
The New York Times

By MICHAEL LUO
Published: January 27, 2007
A week after the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York released its final list of 21 parishes to be closed as part of a broad reorganization, some parishioners are digging in for a battle, enlisting help from parishioners in the Boston Archdiocese who successfully resisted some church closings there with round-the-clock sit-ins.

Parishioners from Our Lady Queen of Angels in East Harlem plan to march today in their neighborhood to protest the archdiocese’s decision to shutter their parish. They have also invited Peter Borré, co-chairman of a group in the Boston Archdiocese called the Council of Parishes that fought church closings, to speak to them and offer advice on how to take on church authorities. ...

Ms. Villegas said she had been in touch over the past year with Francis Piderit, a New York-area leader of Voice of the Faithful, a national organization that was formed in the aftermath of the clergy sexual abuse scandal to press for more accountability and transparency from Roman Catholic leaders.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:35 AM

Minister guilty of molesting a 10-year-old boy

ODENTON (MD)
The Capital

By ERIC HARTLEY, Staff Writer
An Odenton minister was convicted yesterday of molesting a 10-year-old boy.

A Circuit Court jury in Annapolis found Enoch Jermaine Hill, 29, guilty of all three counts against him. He'll be sentenced in April and faces a maximum prison term of 25 years for the top count, sexual abuse of a minor.

His lawyer, Steven M. Sindler, said state guidelines will probably call for a sentence of five to 10 years.

Hill was a minister at House of God Church in Essex, but county police said he abused the boy, a family friend from Baltimore, at his apartment on Peaceful Way in Odenton.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:33 AM

Priest defrocked after rape conviction

BOSTON (MA)
Standard-Times

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
BOSTON — A Roman Catholic priest who's in prison for raping a teenage boy in the 1980s has been defrocked by the Vatican, the Boston Archdiocese said yesterday.

Paul William Hurley, of Sandwich, can no longer perform public ministry, except for offering absolution to the dying, and will not receive financial support from the archdiocese, the archdiocese said in a statement.

Hurley was placed on administrative leave in 2001 after the allegation of sexual misconduct. He was convicted in June of repeatedly raping a 15-year-old South Boston boy in 1987 and 1988 in the rectory of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Cambridge, where Hurley was assigned.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:30 AM

City councilor assails mayor's plan for church

NORTH ADAMS (MA)
North Adams Transcript

Saturday, January 27
NORTH ADAMS — City Councilor Christopher J. Tremblay is blasting the mayor's plan to save the Notre Dame steeple, but so far, he's the only councilor making waves.

Tremblay said Thursday night that he objects to any dealings with the Catholic Diocese of Springfield — including a option to purchase the Notre Dame du Sacre Coeur property on East Main Street.

"I don't think it's a good move," he said. "I don't think it's responsible." ...

Tremblay said he also opposes the move because the Catholic church "used the city as a dumping ground for pedophiles."

"For years, the Catholic diocese sent pedophiles to North Adams — priests that had been caught molesting children in more affluent communities," Tremblay said. "I believe they intentionally sent pedophile priests to the region because we were a mill town with more low-income residents."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:25 AM

Our view: Diocese deals honorably with ugly past

NORWICH (CT)
Norwich Bulletin

These are difficult times for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Norwich. Since November, the diocese has paid $3.1 million to settle sexual molestation cases and another case looms in May.

It is important to note the diocese today, led by Bishop Michael Cote, played no role in these cases, which date to the late 1970s, other than to attempt to do the right thing by those victimized.

Priest Bruno Primavera was a predator the church failed to treat as the criminal he was. Primavera was sent to the Norwich diocese in 1978 from Toronto, where he was known to have taken a deviant interest in teenage boys.

Primavera's assault of two boys here led to a settlement of $1.1 million in November and $2 million this month.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:23 AM

Diocese to settle sex abuse claims

CHARLESTON (SC)
Charlotte Observer

BRUCE SMITH
Associated Press
CHARLESTON - The Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston announced Friday that it will settle child sex abuse claims in South Carolina, designating as much as $12 million for damages.

"It is my fervent hope that this settlement will allow us, as the Catholic community of faith in South Carolina, to bring closure to an ugly period in our history," Bishop Robert Baker said.

The class-action settlement has been given initial approval by a state judge, said Larry Richter, an attorney for four victims whose claims were settled last summer.

Peter Shahid Jr., an attorney representing the diocese, said the church knows of at least eight other victims, although more may come forward.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:21 AM

Diocese to settle abuse suit

CHARLESTON (SC)
The Post and Courier

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Sexual abuse cases that have been festering within the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston for decades might finally be resolved by the courts, according to an announcement Friday.

Lawyers representing the diocese and the individuals who suffered abuse by priests during the 1960s and during the early 1980s said Circuit Judge Diane Goodstein gave preliminary approval Jan. 19 to a settlement agreement that would establish a funding pool of $5 million and a second pool of $7 million, to be distributed to victims and their spouses and parents.

The diocese is responsible for providing the funds, which will come from interest and investment income, insurance coverage and, if necessary, the sale of church properties, according to John Barker, the diocese's financial officer.

"Hopefully, this class settlement will bring to a close this sad and shameful chapter, and enable victims to have some closure, compensation and peace," said Lawrence Richter, lead attorney for the claimants. "These individuals can never be fully compensated, nor their suffering taken away. I anticipate they will find comfort in the hope that their actions may serve as a deterrent to future victimization by those who hold a public trust."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:18 AM

Perv priest may face more accusers

FLEMINGTON (PA)
The Express-Times

Saturday, January 27, 2007
By ANDREA EILENBERGER
The Express-Times
FLEMINGTON | More alleged victims could testify against former Milford priest and convicted child molester the Rev. John Banko.

They most likely would not be the accusers who testified in the 2002 trial, when Banko was found guilty of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old altar boy, Hunterdon County Assistant Prosecutor Dawn Solari said in court Friday.

Banko, 60, is facing new charges he allegedly sexually assaulted another boy younger than 13.

"It seems like it's headed towards a trial," defense attorney Peter Abatemarco said. "It's probably headed in that direction."

Abatemarco said he isn't yet aware of the allegations Solari might seek to introduce. He said he received the grand jury transcript in the case on Thursday and plans to review it with Banko via teleconference.

Banko is serving a 15-year sentence at the Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Avanel, N.J.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:15 AM

Vegas Priest Accused of Assaulting Woman

LAS VEGAS (NV)
Journal Gazette and Times-Courier

LAS VEGAS - Police were searching for a Catholic priest they believe may have sexually assaulted and struck a woman at a church.

Authorities said they were called to Our Lady of Las Vegas Catholic Church on Friday evening by someone who heard a woman in the church cry for help.

Officers found a church employee who said she had been assaulted and hit in the head with an object by a priest, said police spokesman Lt. Jack Owen.

Police closed the grounds of the church, which is about four miles west of the Las Vegas Strip, for about an hour while they searched for the man.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:12 AM

January 26, 2007

Anniversaries not needed for those who lived abuse crisis

UNITED STATES
Duluth News Tribune

Robin Washington Duluth News Tribune
Published Friday, January 26, 2007
Earlier this month, advocates for victims of sexual abuse by priests held protests across the country, including in Duluth, to mark the fifth anniversary of the explosion of the church scandal in Boston.

It’s a date I personally have trouble extending recognition to; Jan. 6, 2001, was when the Boston Globe first reported that the Archdiocese of Boston had shuffled a priest, John Geoghan, from parish to parish after having settled abuse claims against him. Then, I worked for the rival Boston Herald, and the Globe’s “revelation” about Geoghan belied the fact that six months earlier the Herald had proclaimed in a front-page story that Boston Archbishop Bernard Cardinal Law admitted in court papers receiving warnings about Geoghan nearly 20 years earlier.

The scandal didn’t start in the pages of the Herald, either. A decade before, Massachusetts and Minnesota were rocked by reports that James Porter, another defrocked priest, had abused perhaps hundreds of children in both states and elsewhere. And 10 years before that, freelance journalist Jason Berry exposed the church’s cover-up of crimes by the Rev. Gilbert Gauthe in Louisiana, with Berry later writing the seminal volume on priest abuse, “Lead Us Not Into Temptation.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:33 PM

S.C. Catholic diocese to settle claims

CHARLESTON (SC)
Houston Chronicle

By BRUCE SMITH Associated Press Writer
The Associated Press

Print Subscribe NOW
CHARLESTON, S.C. — The Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston announced Friday it has agreed to settle child sex abuse claims, designating as much as $12 million for damages.

The class-action settlement between the diocese and attorneys representing possible victims has been given initial approval by a judge, said Larry Richter, an attorney for four victims whose claims were settled last year.

The church knows of at least eight other victims, although others may come forward, said Peter Shahid Jr., an attorney representing the diocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:03 PM

Class Action Settlement for Priest Abuse

CHARLESTON (SC)
WCBD

Jenny Fisher
Crime Reporter

Victims of priest molestation now have a chance to get thousands of dollars from the Catholic Church. It's all from a class action settlement in Charleston. The settlement began with two priests and four sexual abuse victims. The victim's cases have been settled. As for the priests, one is dead and the other's in prison. Now, church leaders want other victims of priest molestation to come forward to heal---and to accept a monetary settlement.

$12 Million dollars...that's what the Catholic Diocese of Charleston has pooled together for victims who were sexually abused as children by members of the church. Bishop Robert J. Baker said during a press conference Friday, "Abuse of a child, including physical injury, sexual molestation or grave emotional damage will not be tolerated by anyone, especially by church personnel."

The Charleston Diocese and Richter and Haller, attorneys and counselors at law, have reached an agreement in a class action settlement. The church has set aside $5 Million dollars from interest and insurance money. When and if that runs out, $7 Million dollars is available for settlement distribution to two types of claimants.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:01 PM

Diocese: We meet standards for preventing child sex abuse

GREEN BAY (WI)
Press-Gazette

An independent audit has found the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay to be fully complying with U.S. bishops' standards for screening and education programs for preventing the sexual abuse of children involved in church activities.

It is the fourth consecutive year that the Green Bay diocese has met the national standards, Bishop David A. Zubik said today in a press release.

The audit was conducted by the Gavin Group, a non-church firm from Winthrop, Mass. Two auditors visited Green Bay for four days in November to review how the diocese communicates with abuse victims, handles allegations of abuse, conducts background checks and provides education programs.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:16 PM

Agreement reached in child sexual abuse case against Diocese of Charleston

CHARLESTON (SC)
The Post and Courier

Friday, January 26, 2007

This is a joint statement released today by the Diocese of Charleston and the attorneys for the claimants.

The Diocese of Charleston and Richter & Haller, Attorneys and Counselors at Law, are pleased to announce they have reached an agreement related to the resolution of child sexual abuse cases. A judge has signed the order giving preliminary approval to this agreement. A Fairness Hearing for final approval of the agreement has been scheduled for March 9 in the Dorchester County Court of Common Pleas.

Lawrence Richter, lead counsel for the claimants, said, “Hopefully this class settlement will bring to a close this sad and shameful chapter, and enable victims to have some closure, compensation, and peace. These brave and long suffering victims who have stood firm and demanded accountability should be applauded. These individuals can never be fully compensated, nor their suffering taken away. I anticipate they will find comfort in the hope that their actions may serve as a deterrent to future victimization by those who hold a public trust.”

In an open letter to the faithful of the Diocese of Charleston, Bishop Robert J. Baker said, “The demands of justice and the desire to heal the hurts of those abused by those sent to minister to them weigh heavily upon my heart. I deeply regret the anguish of any individual who has suffered the scourge of childhood abuse and am firmly committed to a just resolution of any instance in which a person who holds the responsibility of protector has become a predator. I believe that a proactive approach to healing the evil that has been done is not only constructive, but absolutely necessary.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:08 PM

Priest defrocked after sexual assault conviction

BOSTON (MA)
WPRI

BOSTON A Roman Catholic priest convicted of raping a teenage boy has been defrocked by the Vatican.

The Boston archdiocese says Paul Hurley can no longer perform public ministry, except for offering absolution to the dying. He also won't receive any financial support from the archdiocese.

Hurley was convicted last year of repeatedly raping a 15-year-old boy in 1987 and 1988 in the rectory of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Cambridge, where the priest was assigned.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:05 PM

Bill would lift statute of limitations in child sex abuse suits—

DOVER (DE)
WMDT

DOVER, Del. (AP) -

State lawmakers say they're working to remove the statute of limitations in civil suits against adults accused of sexually abusing children.

Senator Karen Peterson filed a bill known as the Child Victim's Act. It is similar to legislation last year which didn't pass.

The bill would allow civil lawsuits to be filed against an adult who committed sexual abuse against a child, regardless of how much time had passed. It also allows institutions -- such as churches or schools -- to be sued for abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:02 PM

Former Cambridge priest defrocked

CAMBRIDGE (MA)
Cambridge Chronicle

By Erin Smith/Chronicle Staff
Friday, January 26, 2007 - Updated: 01:29 PM EST

The Vatican defrocked former Cambridge priest and convicted child rapist Paul Hurley on Friday.

Hurley was convicted of two counts of child rape and sentenced to four years in prison in August. The judge also ordered Hurley to serve five years probation upon his release from prison and to register as a sex offender.

Hurley was convicted of raping a teenage boy at the now-closed Blessed Sacrament church in Central Square in the 1980s.

According to church officials, Hurley served as pastor at Blessed Sacrament from 1987-2001.

At this summer’s trial, the victim — a 33-year-old Everett man — told the jury that Hurley began abusing him at St. Peter and Paul's Church in South Boston when he was 12.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:55 PM

Charleston Diocese to settle sex abuse claims

CHARLESTON (SC)
MSNBC

CHARLESTON, S.C. - The Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston announced Friday it will settle child sex abuse claims in South Carolina, designating as much as $12 million for damages.

The class-action settlement between the diocese and victims has been given initial approval by a judge, said Larry Richter, an attorney representing four people claiming abuse.

It is not clear how many victims there are. In 2004, South Carolina diocese officials said there had been 45 credible abuse allegations in the state between 1950 and 2002 against 21 priests, one deacon and one deacon candidate.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:51 PM

McKnight Fall

CALIFORNIA
Orange County Weekly

Gary McKnight built an athletic empire at Mater Dei. Will his role in a pedophile’s return to campus destroy it?
By GUSTAVO ARELLANO
Thursday, January 25, 2007 - 2:00 pm

Mater Dei is Latin for “Mother of God,” but the Santa Ana Catholic high school’s mascot is the lion, and in gymnasiums around the nation, Mater Dei High School’s boys’ basketball team has displayed nothing of the Virgin Mother’s nurturing qualities—her meekness, mildness, mercy—instead mauling its opponents on the way to becoming a prep basketball dynasty.

Last Friday, before the team’s home game against JSerra, students inflated a tunnel resembling the King of Beasts 15 feet high and 30 feet long. The lights dimmed. Strobe lights twirled. The capacity crowd in Mater Dei’s new gym ($18 million, 3,200 seats) roared. Sort of: this being high school, the roar was more like a high-pitched scream built atop a modest basso profundo foundation. Then came an image that few seemed to have thought through with clarity, the synthetic feline belching up some of prep basketball’s best players: six-eight Taylor King, the top scorer in Orange County high school boys’ basketball history, now committed to Duke University! Arizona-bound center Alex Jacobson, seven feet of wiry resolve! Then followed the Wear twins, Travis and David, mere sophomores and already 6-foot-10! These giants of local basketball were trailed—joyfully, proudly—by young men who might have lettered anywhere else but who chose instead to warm the bench at MDHS.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:26 AM

Priest accused of sexual harassment is reinstated

ARIZONA
The Arizona Republic

Michael Clancy
The Arizona Republic
Jan. 26, 2007 12:00 AM

One of two Catholic priests who were suspended in June 2005 following allegations of sexual harassment has been reinstated.

The other says he has no interest in returning to the church.

The Revs. Michael Minogue and Ken Van de Ven, longtime friends, were accused of harassment by a young man who worked at Minogue's parish, Our Lady of Lourdes/Prince of Peace in Sun City West. The accuser never went public. advertisement

"I guess they did an internal investigation and could not find any substance" to the accusation, said Minogue. "I am just glad to be back serving the church I love."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:23 AM

Monsignor must give deposition

GENEVA (IL)
Kane County Chronicle

By DAN CAMPANA - dcampana@kcchronicle.com
and KELLEY CASINO - kcasino@kcchronicle.com

GENEVA – Monsignor Joseph Jarmoluk still must give a deposition in sex-abuse lawsuits against the Rockford Diocese relating to former priest Mark Campobello, a judge ruled Thursday.

The order by Circuit Judge Keith Brown came in response to a request by Jarmoluk’s attorney, Canice Timothy Rice Jr., for sanctions against attorney Michael Brooks, who represents Campobello’s victims.

In Jan. 16 court filings, Rice stated that Brooks violated a 2005 protective order in the cases, which barred release of sensitive information, when he told reporters that Jarmoluk was scheduled for a deposition.

Rice claimed that Brooks’ identification of Jarmoluk as a witness hurt the chances of finding a jury to hear the case and “serves to reinforce the public’s unfounded suspicions that [Jarmoluk] somehow failed to detect or to report Campobello’s crimes.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:20 AM

Gumbleton's role closes at St. Leo

DETROIT (MI)
Detroit Free Press

Detroit's internationally famous Catholic Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Gumbleton was replaced as administrator of St. Leo's parish on the west side after Sunday's mass, prompting complaints to Catholic officials this week by supporters of his efforts to assist the poor, gay Catholics and victims of sexual abuse.

For weeks, Gumbleton had denied that his removal as St. Leo's administrator, which was announced in December, was a punishment for his activism.

A video of Gumbleton's final Sunday morning talk with parishioners surfaced on a National Catholic Reporter Internet site.

In the video, Gumbleton tells parishioners: "I did not choose to leave St. Leo's. It's something that was forced upon me. And I apologize to all of you, because I'm sure it's because of the openness with which I spoke out last January on behalf of victims of sex abuse in the church."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:06 AM

Some victims oppose diocese settlement

SPOKANE (WA)
Spokesman-Review

John Stucke
Staff writer
January 26, 2007

A $48 million proposed settlement that would end the Catholic Diocese of Spokane bankruptcy doesn't go far enough to expose pedophile priests, a handful of victims said Thursday afternoon.

About 190 people have filed bankruptcy claims alleging they were sexually abused by Catholic priests over several decades. The settlement, which was announced in early January, begins to outline how much victims would be paid. It also requires Bishop William Skylstad to publish the names of priests – dead and alive – who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse.

But the deal is flawed, say some victims, whose attorneys hammered out the agreement during months of private mediation talks with the diocese and the Association of Parishes.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:03 AM

Bishop won't attend Sylvestre funeral

CANADA
London Free Press

Fri, January 26, 2007

By JANE SIMS, FREE PRESS JUSTICE REPORTER

The Roman Catholic Diocese of London is not involved in the funeral arrangements for disgraced priest Charles Sylvestre.

Diocese spokesperson Ron Pickersgill also said Bishop Ronald Fabbro will not attend the private service.

Sylvestre, 84, pleaded guilty last August to 47 counts of indecent assault involving girls who attended his parishes in Windsor, Sarnia, Chatham and Pain Court and Mount St. Joseph Academy in London over almost four decades.

He was sent to prison for three years in October.

Sylvestre died Monday in a Kingston prison hospital.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:58 AM

Norwich Diocese pours millions into abuse suits

NORWICH (CT)
Norwich Bulletin

By GREG SMITH
Norwich Bulletin


NORWICH -- For Leo Savoie of Norwich, news of another settlement in a priest molestation case by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Norwich is disheartening.

"I'm sure it's shaken the faith of some, but not mine," said Savoie, a devout Catholic and longtime parishioner at the Cathedral of St. Patrick in Norwich.

Since November, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Norwich has paid a total of $3.1 million to settle claims of molestation at the hands of visiting priest Bruno Primavera.

The latest settlement, $2 million, was the largest of its kind in the state, according to Robert I. Reardon Jr., who represented Michael Nelligan, 44, in the suit.

Nelligan, a former altar boy and member of the Catholic Youth Organization at St. Mark's Church in Westbrook, claimed Primavera repeatedly molested him in 1978, when he was 15.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:56 AM

Outspoken Catholic Pastor Replaced; He Says It’s Retaliation

DETROIT (MI)
The New York Times

By LAURIE GOODSTEIN
Published: January 26, 2007
In his last Mass as pastor at the inner-city parish in Detroit where he had served for 23 years, Auxiliary Bishop Thomas J. Gumbleton told his parishioners that he was forced to step down as pastor because of his lobbying efforts on behalf of the victims of sexual abuse by members of the clergy, a stance that put him in opposition to his fellow bishops.

Last weekend, the archbishop of Detroit, Cardinal Adam Maida, sent a letter to the parish, St. Leo, saying Bishop Gumbleton had to be removed because of church rules on retirement. But as Bishop Gumbleton, who turns 77 on Friday and had already retired last year as a bishop, told his parish last Sunday, there are many pastors even older than he who are allowed to continue serving.

“I’m sure it’s because of the openness with which I spoke out last January concerning victims of sex abuse in the church. So we’re all suffering the consequences of that, and yet, I don’t regret doing what I did because I still think it was the right thing to do,” he said, as the congregation rose and erupted in applause.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:52 AM

January 25, 2007

Jackson woman's suit against Catholic diocese rejected

MISSISSIPPI
The Clarion-Ledger

The Associated Press

The Mississippi Supreme Court has declined to hear the appeal of a Jackson woman who claimed the Catholic Diocese engaged in conduct to conceal her alleged abuse at the hands of two priests.

The state Court of Appeals last June ruled that the diocese did nothing to prevent Angie Phillips from discovering that she might have a lawsuit against the diocese.
Phillips appealed to the Supreme Court, which refused today without comment to take up the case.

The Appeals Court said Phillips waited too long to file the lawsuit. She claimed she was sexually abused by Priest Thomas Boyce and another priest in the 1970s. She filed the suit in July 2003.

The statute of limitations deals with the period within which a person must start a lawsuit.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:53 PM

Lionsgate's DELIVER US FROM EVIL Nominated for Best Documentary Feature Oscar(R), Latest Honor for Best Reviewed Documentary of 2006

CALIFORNIA
Yahoo!

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Jan. 25 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF - News), the leading independent filmed entertainment studio, capped the news that writer/director/producer Amy Berg's DELIVER US FROM EVIL has been nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Documentary Feature with the announcement that the film will have its international premiere at the upcoming 5th Jameson Dublin International Film Festival on February 17th. Ms. Berg, a two-time Emmy Award-winning producer for CBS News, will be on hand for the presentation of her critically acclaimed and controversial debut documentary feature about a pedophile Catholic priest whose serial sexual assaults were known to the American Church for over 30 years.

The Dublin premiere of DELIVER US FROM EVIL represents a significant chapter in the ongoing story of the film's success and impact. European audiences will have their first opportunity to see DELIVER US FROM EVIL in Ireland, where its central subject, Father Oliver O'Grady, was born and raised and where the Catholic Church is a tremendously powerful force. It is believed that O'Grady presently resides in Dublin. He is expected to begin receiving his Church pension in two years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:49 PM

Diocese settlement flawed, some victims say

SPOKANE (WA)
Spokesman-Review

By John Stucke
Staff writer
January 25, 2007

A $48 million proposed settlement that would end the Catholic Diocese of Spokane bankruptcy doesn’t go far enough to expose pedophile priests, a handful of victims said Thursday afternoon.

About 190 people have filed bankruptcy claims alleging they were sexually abused by Catholic priests over several decades. The settlement, which was announced in early January, begins to outline how much victims would be paid. It also requires Bishop William Skylstad to publish the names of priests – dead and alive – who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse.

But the deal is flawed, say some victims, whose attorneys hammered out the deal during months of private mediation talks with the diocese and the Association of Parishes.

They called the bankruptcy a cash cow for attorneys and a sham for victims.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:14 PM

Suit refiled against ex-priest

PEORIA (IL)
Lincoln Courier

BY MICHAEL MILLER
COPLEY NEWS SERVICE
Published Thursday, January 25, 2007

Defrocked Lincoln monsignor Norman Goodman is facing more litigation involving sexual abuse allegations.

Four lawsuits against the Catholic Diocese of Peoria, which includes Lincoln, and at least three Roman Catholic priests were refiled Wednesday in Peoria County Circuit Court by alleged victims of clergy sexual abuse.

In one of the refiled cases, Daniel Williams, now 42, is alleging sexual abuse by Goodman from 1975 to 1979 at the parish of Holy Family Catholic Church in Lincoln.

The remainder of nine lawsuits filed in late 2005 but withdrawn in February 2006 reportedly will be refiled, in addition to several new ones, in upcoming weeks, a source said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:40 PM

First Person: When a Pastor Protects a Pedophile

UNITED STATES
Ethics Daily

Rachel Ramah
01-25-07
We attended a typical church. Wednesday night prayer meeting was almost always the people you knew, and rarely were there visitors. But, after church for choir practice, the 40 choir members were all known by name and were supposed to abide by certain standards in order to be in the choir.

My beautiful 5-year-old child, who was still sleeping in footed pajamas holding his blankie, needed to go to the bathroom during choir practice. It was right around the corner. There was no one I would have termed a stranger in the church. Deacons were in the hallway, because they had had a meeting that night. My child darted off to the bathroom. He was anxious to get back and play with the other kids.

Unknown to us, there was a pervert, a predator, in the choir. He followed my young son to the bathroom. Because he was taking longer than we thought he should, my husband went to find our son. This pervert was in the stall with our son. When my husband called for our son, the twisted man said that he was helping him with his zipper. My husband didn't think much of it. He is not the suspicious type, and we did know this sick person.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:54 PM

S.N.A.P. PROTESTS

BIDDEFORD (ME)
WGME

Oranizers from a victim's rights group say a former priest with a history of abusing children has been living nearby in Biddeford without parents knowing about it.

Many parents aren't happy about members of

S.N.A.P. protesting at the entrance of Saint James School.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:51 PM

Author Exposes Controversies in Catholic Church

DETROIT (MI)
PR.com

Detroit author and school teacher announces the release of her autobiographical novel, Confessions of a Catholic Schoolgirl. Zeroing in on the Catholic Church controversy, author Michelle Kane reveals the kind of secrets the Catholic Church has been sweeping under the rug for years.

Detroit, MI, January 25, 2007 --(PR.COM)-- “Most people are too afraid to take on the Catholic Church, but not narrator Valerie Bernowski,” author Michelle Kane notes in reference to her latest book. “This is one protagonist who tells it like it is. Nothing and no one is off limits; including Valerie’s dead-beat dad, Ivan, and school pastor, ‘Father Fingers.’”

Based on Kane’s real-life experiences as a Catholic schoolgirl, protagonist Valerie Bernowski’s story unfolds through intertwining chapters of short stories. Readers will get a close-up look into real-life issues; such as domestic violence, divorce, rape, and the little discussed Catholic priest sex scandals.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:42 AM

Pedophile priest may spend more time in prison

CALIFORNIA
Los Angeles Times

By John Spano, Times Staff Writer
January 25, 2007

A pedophile priest could be kept in prison despite completing his sentence if he is found to be a sexually violent predator, prison officials said Wednesday.

Michael Edwin Wempe, 67, was convicted and sentenced to a maximum of three years in prison last year for molesting a boy in Los Angeles.

But Wempe spent 600 days in custody awaiting trial, and had been due for release Jan. 6. His release was delayed for 45 days to allow for an evaluation, according to Bill Sessa, a spokesman for state corrections officials.

Wempe's lawyer, Leonard Levine, said his client should not face additional punishment.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:40 AM

Former priest still in prison for evaluation

CALIFORNIA
Ventura County Star

January 25, 2007

The release from prison of a former Roman Catholic priest who served in Ventura County and was convicted of molesting a young boy has been put on hold while state officials evaluate whether he is likely to offend again.

Michael Wempe was due to get out of North Kern State Prison near Bakersfield on Jan. 6. He was sentenced in May to serve three years after a jury found him guilty of a single count of molestation but received credit for time served, prison work and good behavior.

Wempe's service as priest includes work at four Ventura County parishes from 1969 to 1987. He was at St. Rose of Lima in Simi Valley, St. Jude in Westlake Village, Sacred Heart in Ventura and St. Sebastian in Santa Paula.

Tim Fowler, a spokesman for the California Department of Correction and Rehabilitation, said Wempe would remain behind bars while undergoing 45 days of observation. State officials said they are required by law to hold Wempe until the Department of Mental Health completes an evaluation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:33 AM

Deal struck over Jeffs' evidence?

UTAH
Deseret Morning News

By Ben Winslow
Deseret Morning News
Federal prosecutors say they have struck a deal with Fundamentalist LDS Church leader Warren Jeffs over documents, letters and other evidence seized when he was arrested.

That deal voids any claims Jeffs has that the documents are privileged communications between the polygamist leader and his followers, the U.S. Attorney's Office for Utah said in a motion asking a federal judge to dismiss the evidence-dispute case in Nevada.

Jeffs' lawyers maintain the documents are protected under his First Amendment right to freedom of religion. Richard Wright, Jeffs' Nevada attorney, was out of town and did not return a call seeking comment Wednesday.

In court documents filed in federal court in Las Vegas, the U.S. Attorney's Office revealed that a deal was made with Jeffs in the days following his arrest.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:31 AM

Tucson Diocese makes final payments to abuse victims

TUCSON (AZ)
KVOA

January marks a milestone for the Tucson Roman Catholic Diocese.

It's been five years since the diocese settled a $14 million lawsuit with men who allege they were sexually abused by priests.

This month, the church's final payments to those victims will be made, but church leaders say it's not just about paying known victims, rather, it's about preventing future ones.

Irene Felix works in the office that handles criminal background checks for people who want to work at the Diocese of Tucson. The checks are required for clergy, staff and volunteers.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:16 AM

Diocese's bid to disqualify judge denied

BURLINGTON (VT)
Boston.com

January 25, 2007

BURLINGTON, Vt. --An administrative judge has rejected a second attempt by the Roman Catholic Diocese to disqualify a judge who is presiding over more than two dozen lawsuits alleged child sex abuse by Catholic priests.

Judge Amy Davenport ruled Wednesday that Chittenden County District Court Judge Ben Joseph could preside in sanctions hearing involving a longtime attorney for the Diocese accused of withholding church documents in a sex abuse case.

Church lawyer William M. O'Brien had sought to have Joseph dismissed from the hearing. His lawyer said that Joseph used the word "wrongdoing" during two court hearings, which he said raised doubts about whether Joseph can be impartial in deciding whether O'Brien should be sanctioned. Davenport disagreed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:13 AM

Diocese documents in dispute

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
The Republican

Thursday, January 25, 2007
By MARLA A. GOLDBERG
mgoldberg@repub.com
SPRINGFIELD - A major legal fight is brewing between the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield and several insurance companies that don't want to reimburse the diocese for settling with people who allege they were sexually abused by priests.

In a Jan. 18 filing in Hampden Superior Court, insurers accuse the diocese of destroying records involving sexual abuse claims over the last 30 years, an allegation the diocese denies.

The diocese, which settled 46 claims against priests for $7.7 million in 2004, filed suit in 2005 against its several insurance carriers who refused to pay, including Travelers Property Casualty Co., Centennial Insurance Co. and Colonial Penn Insurance Co. "They took our premium money and provided us with insurance ... to protect us from a variety of ... negligence risks, and these cases are suing us for negligent supervision (of priests)," said the diocese's lawyer, John J. Egan, yesterday. He said insurers should cover "a substantial portion" of the $7.7 million.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:11 AM

Judge rebuffs recusal request

VERMONT
Rutland Herald

January 25, 2007

By KEVIN O'CONNOR Staff Writer

The state's administrative judge has rejected the Vermont Catholic Church's second attempt to disqualify a lower-court judge who's presiding over more than two dozen priest misconduct lawsuits.

The statewide Diocese of Burlington sought the removal of Chittenden Superior Court Judge Ben Joseph on two occasions last year, most recently after Joseph was about to decide whether church lawyer William M. O'Brien of Winooski should be sanctioned for failing to share three decades of personnel records with accusers.

Vermont Administrative Judge Amy Davenport this week not only denied the church's latest request but also scolded the lawyers involved with it.

"The recusal and disqualification process is intended to help maintain high standards of ethics and professionalism," Davenport wrote in a seven-page decision. "It does not create an opportunity for attorneys to behave in an unseemly manner toward each other, the judiciary, and the profession generally."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:06 AM

Bid to disqualify judge in priest abuse cases rejected

VERMONT
Burlington Free Press

Published: Thursday, January 25, 2007
By Sam Hemingway
Free Press Staff Writer

An administrative judge has rejected for the second time an attempt to have Judge Ben Joseph removed as the presiding judge in court proceedings involving claims of long-ago child sex abuse by Catholic priests in Vermont.

Judge Amy Davenport, writing in a seven-page decision made public Wednesday, ruled that Joseph could preside in an upcoming "sanctions" hearing involving the conduct of William O'Brien, an attorney for the state's Roman Catholic Diocese.

O'Brien had sought to have Joseph disqualified from presiding at the hearing. O'Brien, through his attorney, claimed Joseph exhibited bias against O'Brien for remarking during an October court hearing that "wrongdoing" might have occurred in connection with the church's tardy discovery of 27 years of church personnel records.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:01 AM

We need a wise and gentle monk

UNITED KINGDOM
Telegraph

By Liz Hunt
Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 25/01/2007

For many Catholics of my generation, belief is diluted by a maddening mix of compromise and hypocrisy.

We have adopted an à la carte approach to our religion, rejecting fundamental teachings on premarital sex and birth control. We recoil from the Church's resolute stance on abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, IVF and embryo research.

We despise the hierarchy for the protection it gave to paedophile priests, and find it incomprehensible that it refuses to sanction condoms as some defence against the spread of HIV in the Third World.

And yet, deep down, we relish membership of a club with such hard-line doctrine. There is security in knowing the rules are there – even if we choose to break them. When one of our number makes a stand – and I refer to Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor's opposition to the adoption of children by gay couples – we cheer them on, cushioned by a certain moral smugness. Or do we?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:01 AM

Dakota Fanning's New Movie Causes Controversy

UNITED STATES
Newswatch 50

United Press International

The Catholic League called for an investigation into whether 'Hounddog,' shown at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, broke federal child pornography laws.

Several religious organizations have expressed concern about a scene in which the character played by 12-year-old actress Dakota Fanning is raped. ...

Donohue said he asked that the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section of the Department of Justice to investigate. He said he would try to enlist the help of First Lady Laura Bush.

"The Catholic Church has been criticized for allowing sexual abuse of minors to occur," he said.

"Let's see now whether Hollywood will be held to the same level of scrutiny."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:54 AM

Woodhull Pastor Indicted

WOODHULL (NY)
WETM

Last Update: 1/24/2007 10:25:49 PM

Posted By: Leigh Kjekstad

A Southern Tier church leader accused of having sexual contact with three children has been indicted on 10 charges.

New York State Police say the sexual contact took place at the Borden Baptist church in Woodhull, where David Troup was the pastor. Troup was arrested back in October.

A Steuben county grand jury handed up the indictments last week.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:49 AM

Film on O’Grady’s abuse nominated for Oscar

CALIFORNIA
Stockton Record

By The Record
January 24, 2007 6:23 PM
A film documenting sexual abuse against children by a priest who once worked at parishes in Stockton, Lodi, Turlock and San Andreas has been nominated for an Oscar in the category of documentary feature.

“Deliver Us From Evil” chronicles the scandal involving Oliver O’Grady, convicted and sent to prison in 1993 for molesting two children. The film delves into the mind of the defrocked priest through interviews with O’Grady in his native Ireland.

The film was nominated for an Oscar along with four other documentaries, including “An Inconvenient Truth,” in which former Vice President Al Gore explores the consequences of global warming.

The Oscars will be awarded during the Feb. 25 awards show.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:46 AM

Lawsuits refiled in Peoria priest abuse cases

PEORIA (IL)
Belleville News-Democrat

Associated Press
PEORIA, Ill. - Lawsuits were refiled Wednesday against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Peoria and several priests by alleged victims of sexual abuse by clergy.

The lawsuits originally filed in 2005 were withdrawn in February 2006 for a number of reasons, including the initiation of mediation, according to Barbara Blaine, president after the Survivors Network for Those Abused by Priests.

Diocesan spokeswoman Elizabeth Smarjesse would not confirm whether mediation had been offered but said professional counseling was offered. In a Wednesday statement, the diocese said attorneys for the alleged victims will not accept its offer for counseling, but continue to make monetary demands to settle the cases.

Blaine claimed an independent source examined the alleged victims to determine the counseling each would need. A dollar amount was calculated, but the diocese wouldn't pay up front, instead offering to pay as counseling proceeded.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:43 AM

January 24, 2007

Proceedings postponed due to ice storm

MISSOURI
Neosho Daily News

By John Ford / Daily News Associate Editor
Published: Wednesday, January 24, 2007 4:40 PM CST

Several area court cases were postponed in the wake of the Jan. 12 ice storm which hit Neosho and Southwest Missouri.

Three Southwest Missouri church leaders were to have appeared in court on Jan. 16 for hearings related to child sexual abuse charges.

Raymond Lambert, his wife, Patty Lambert, and his uncle, George Otis Johnston, 63, were to appear for pre-trial conferences.

However, these proceedings have been reset for 10 a.m. Feb. 20 in the McDonald County Circuit Court. Fortieth Circuit Court Judge Timothy Perigo will preside.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:52 PM

Bishops advised to tighten financial oversight in parishes

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

By DANIEL BURKE
Religion News Service

The nation's 19,000-odd Roman Catholic parishes should tighten internal controls to protect against financial improprieties, according to a committee of experts that advises the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The lay-led committee, which recommended keeping a closer eye on the collection plate and "effective oversight by the bishop," has been discussing its proposals for a year, said Sister Mary Ann Walsh, a spokeswoman for the bishops' conference.

Eighty-five percent of Catholic dioceses responding to a recent survey experienced embezzlement during the past five years, according to a Villanova University report. (See NCR News, Dec. 21) Eleven percent reported internal thefts of more than $500,000 each.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:51 PM

Advocacy for sex abuse victims cost him his job, Gumbleton says

DETROIT (MI)
National Catholic Reporter

At his last Mass as pastor of St. Leo Parish in Detroit, Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Gumbleton told the parish that he was being forced out of the position. "I'm sure," he said, "that it's because of the openness with which I spoke out last January concerning victims of sex abuse in the church. We're all suffering the consequences of that and yet I don't regret doing what I did," he said Jan. 21. Watch a video of Gumbleton.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:49 PM

Priest at centre of allegations ‘never served’ in Elphin Diocese

IRELAND
Roscommon Herald

The priest at the centre of a new child abuse controversy was never a priest of the Diocese of Elphin, according to Bishop Christopher Jones.

Bishop Jones was responding to a national newspaper report over the weekend claiming that a priest who lived in the Diocese of Elphin was permitted free access to children for more than 14 years, despite a serious allegation of child abuse being made against him.

The report revealed that the priest, who has since retired and has not been named, was based overseas when the alleged abuse was perpetrated.

In 1993, a woman from his previous diocese, made an official complaint that she was abused as a child by the priest. The allegation was not investigated until 2002 and no charges followed.

In response to the newspaper article over the weekend, Bishop Jones this week said that the priest at the centre of the controversy “never sought or received an appointment to ministry in this Diocese”.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:20 PM

Release on Hold for Former Calif. Priest

LOS ANGELES (CA)
The Guardian

Wednesday January 24, 2007 4:46 PM

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Authorities have postponed the release of a former Roman Catholic priest convicted of molesting one young boy - his lawyers said he abused 13 total - pending an evaluation of whether he is likely to offend again.

Michael Wempe was due to get out of North Kern State Prison on Jan. 6. Initially charged with 42 counts, he was sentenced in May to three years after being convicted on one count of molestation, but received credit for time served, prison work and good behavior.

He remains behind bars while undergoing 45 days of observation by the Department of Mental Health, said Tim Fowler, a spokesman for the California Department of Correction and Rehabilitation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:54 PM

Creditors committee in diocese bankruptcy case seeks to hire law firm

DAVENPORT (IA)
KWWL

DAVENPORT, Iowa A creditors committee in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Davenport bankruptcy case has asked the court for permission to hire a California law firm.

The firm represented several sexual abuse victims in the diocese in Spokane, Washington, who were recently awarded 48 (m) million dollars.

The committee, which is comprised of people who claim they were sexually abused by priests, will help decide how the Davenport dioceses distributes its assets.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:19 PM

Film about Lodi pedophile priest O'Grady nominated for best documentary feature

HOLLYWOOD (CA)
Lodi News-Sentinel

By Tina Daunt
Los Angeles Times
Last updated: Wednesday, Jan 24, 2007 - 07:14:38 am PST

HOLLYWOOD — Lodi will have a presence at the Academy Awards on Feb. 25, with Tuesday's announcement that "Deliver Us From Evil" has been nominated for best documentary feature.

Amy BergThe movie profiles convicted pedophile priest Oliver O'Grady, who molested children while at St. Anne's Catholic Church during the 1970s. He later served at parishes in Stockton, San Andreas, Turlock and Hughson before serving seven years in state prison and being deported to his native Ireland.

The movie also features Ann Jyono, 40, who was sexually abused by O'Grady when she attended St. Anne's as a child. O'Grady confesses to abusing Jyono and others in the movie.

Jyono's parents, Bob and Maria Jyono, who still live in Lodi, are interviewed extensively in the movie, directed by Amy Berg.

The movie played at Lodi Stadium 12 for three weeks beginning Nov. 3.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:08 AM

Priest dies after just months of three-year sex abuse sentence

CANADA
Guelph Mercury

CHATHAM (Jan 24, 2007)

A notorious pedophile priest who assaulted girls in parishes across southwestern Ontario has died just months into his three-year prison sentence.

Retired priest Charles Sylvestre died of natural causes late Monday night after being hospitalized at Kingston Regional Hospital three days earlier, said Diane Russon, regional communications manager with Correctional Service Canada.

Sylvestre was sentenced on Oct. 6, 2006, after pleading guilty to indecently assaulting 47 girls while serving as parish priest in Chatham, Pain Court, Sarnia, London and Windsor.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:02 AM

Priest's death bittersweet for his abuse victims

CANADA
Vancouver Sun

TREVOR WILHELM, CanWest News Service
Published: Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Convicted pedophile priest Charles Sylvestre died Monday at a prison hospital, just months into his three-year sentence for abusing 47 girls.

Sylvestre - who abused children for nearly four decades under the noses of parents, teachers and officials within the Roman Catholic Church - spent the last three days of his life under guard at Kingston Penitentiary's prison hospital in Kingston, Ont.

The 84-year-old died late Monday after being questioned earlier in the day by several lawyers involved in the dozens of lawsuits filed by his victims.

Carol Ann Mieras, one of his victims, was there with her lawyer. She said she regrets she won't have the chance to hear Sylvestre tell about others, including teachers and church authorities, who knew he was abusing children and did nothing.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:00 AM

Victims display mixed feelings at priest's death

CANADA
London Free Press

Wed, January 24, 2007

By JANE SIMS, FREE PRESS JUSTICE REPORTER

Their sadness was not because of Rev. Charles Sylvestre's death, but for what he did during his life.

Some of his victims said yesterday they had mixed emotions upon hearing Sylvestre, 84, had died in prison.

The Roman Catholic priest was led out of a Chatham courtroom in handcuffs less than four months ago to begin his three-year sentence for 47 counts of indecent assault.

"I'm not in mourning," said Londoner Carolyn Jewell, who was abused when she was a student at Mount St. Joseph Academy in the 1950s. "I feel sorry for his family, though. They've had to endure a lot."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:54 AM

Judge dismisses abuse case against Diocese of San Diego

SAN DIEGO (CA)
Union-Tribune

By Mark Sauer
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
January 24, 2007

One of five clergy-abuse cases set for trial against the Diocese of San Diego has been dismissed by a judge who ruled there was no evidence that church officials were aware the accused priest may have been a pedophile.

Michael Shoemaker, who now lives in Kansas, filed suit in August 2002 alleging that the late Rev. John Daly molested him at St. Joseph Church in Holtville in 1977.

Shoemaker, then 16, said he and an 18-year-old friend were hitchhiking in the rain in El Centro when Daly picked them up and said they could spend the night at the church.
After awaking to find Daly orally copulating him, Shoemaker said, he and his friend fled the church. They reported the incident to Holtville police.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:52 AM

Lawsuits Will Continue

CANADA
CD98.9

Lawyers say the death of a former Port Dover area priest who sexually abused parishioners will not derail civil suits filed against him and the Roman Catholic diocese of London. Barbara Legate says the claims of her 28 clients will proceed without much change.
Legate says evidence is mounting that a large number of institutions, religious, educational, and police agencies knew about his sexual tendencies before children were hurt.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:50 AM

Baptist churches more vulnerable to clergy sex abuse, experts say

DALLAS (TX)
Associated Baptist Press

By Hannah Elliott
Published January 23, 2007

DALLAS (ABP) -- A recent sex scandal involving two North Texas pastors and the women who accused them of molestation is unusual because the victims -- by now beyond the statute of limitations for sex-abuse cases -- urged authorities and media to publish their names in conjunction with the case.

Typically, the names of sex-abuse victims are not publicized in an effort to spare the victim more emotional trauma. But Katherine Roush and Debbie Vasquez agreed to be identified in order to call attention to an increasingly prominent scathe of clergy sex-abuse cases in Baptist churches.

Larry Reynolds of Southmont Baptist Church in Denton, Texas, and Dale Amyx of Bolivar Baptist Church in Sanger, Texas, were accused in separate civil lawsuits of molesting Roush and Vasquez, respectively, during counseling sessions when the girls were 14 years old. The abuse continued for several years, according to charges.

Had the women, now adults, reported the molestation at the time of the crime, each man could have faced first-degree felony charges. In juvenile cases, victims can report a crime until 10 years after their 18th birthday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:44 AM

Priest fights to stay off sex offender list

ROCHESTER (NY)
Elmira Star-Gazette

January 24, 2007

By Gary Craig
Gannett News Service

ROCHESTER -- A Catholic priest and Elmira native now jailed for possessing computerized images of child pornography contends he should not be on New York's sex offender registry when he is freed in March from federal prison.

In court papers filed last week in state Supreme Court, the Rev. Michael Volino challenged any attempt by New York's Board of Examiners of Sex Offenders to register him as a sex offender. The board determines whether a convicted sex offender is eligible for the registry and what level of risk the offender poses to the public.

In May 2005, Volino pleaded guilty to possessing more than three images of child pornography. Prosecutors said that Volino actually had about 600 images of child pornography on a computer at the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester.

Officials at the diocese first discovered the pornography and reported it to federal authorities.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:37 AM

Hanley to face trial next month

NEW JERSEY
Daily Record

BY ROB JENNINGS
DAILY RECORD
Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A Hudson County prosecutor said a trial on threat and weapon charges will be scheduled next month for James T. Hanley, a former Catholic priest who has admitted to sexually abusing children decades ago while the pastor of a Mendham church.

Hanley, who was ousted from the priesthood, appeared in a Jersey City courtroom Monday on charges stemming from an incident in which he allegedly brandished a bat during an argument last year with a hotel manager.

Howard Bell, an assistant prosecutor for Hudson County, said afterward a trial will be scheduled Feb. 8 unless the case is resolved in a plea bargain.

Hanley, the former pastor of the Church of St. Joseph in Mendham, has been held in the Hudson County jail on $50,000 bail since being indicted on third-degree charges of making terroristic threats and possession of a weapon, law enforcement officials have said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:32 AM

Catholic fundraising suffers rare drop

DENVER (CO)
Denver Post

By Eric Gorski
Denver Post Staff Writer
Article Last Updated: 01/23/2007 11:37:02 PM MST

Donations to the Denver Roman Catholic Archdiocese's major fundraising campaign dropped more than 12 percent last year, only the second time in a decade the appeal hasn't built on the previous year's figure, church officials said Tuesday.

Despite challenges, the archdiocese is "fiscally sound," Archbishop Charles Chaput said in an annual financial report.

Net contributions to Chaput's annual Catholic appeal were $6.1 million in the fiscal year that ended in June - down from $7 million the previous year. ...

While pledges to the Boston archdiocese fell by half after its clergy abuse scandal broke in 2002, little evidence suggests the scandal damaged giving nationally, said Mark Gray, a researcher at the Georgetown center.

"Many people jumped to the conclusion it was sex abuse, but it was more related to people's personal financial well-being," he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:15 AM

Court dismisses case of ousted Jehovah's Witnesses

NASHVILLE (TN)
Tennessean

Associated Press

A court has dismissed the claims of a couple who accused the Jehovah's Witnesses of improperly ousting them from their congregation after the wife told NBC's Dateline the denomination covers up child sexual abuse.

The denomination's national organization, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York Inc., asked the court to dismiss a $20 million lawsuit brought by Barbara and Joseph Anderson, who claimed defamation, fraud and intentional infliction of emotional distress in their ouster from their congregation, Kingdom Hall in Tullahoma, Tenn.

On Monday, an appeals court ruled in favor of the defendants, saying the Andersons' ouster involved internal denomination matters.

In dismissing the case, Judge Patricia Cottrell, with the Tennessee court of appeals in Nashville, wrote the court did not have jurisdiction to hear it "based upon the First Amendment's protection of decisions of church tribunals on religious questions."

The lawsuit did not directly address the issue of sexual abuse within the Jehovah's Witnesses.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:13 AM

Secret suspicions at Mater Dei

CALIFORNIA
The Orange County Register

By RACHANEE SRISAVASDI and JENIFER McKIM
The Orange County Register

Mater Dei High School allowed an employee suspected of sexual abuse to resign in 1997 and did not warn other school officials or parents that the man may be a risk to children, according to a recent court affidavit.

Patrick Murphy, president of the Catholic school in Santa Ana, said in a deposition that he followed the policy of the Catholic Diocese of Orange in regards to Jeffrey Andrade: Ask an employee suspected of abuse to resign within 48 hours or risk termination.

Murphy's testimony was made public as part of the filings Friday in a lawsuit by a former Mater Dei student who says that, for two years starting in 1995, she was sexually abused by the school's former assistant basketball coach.

Murphy said in the deposition that Orange County prosecutors' decision not to hold Andrade criminally culpable after a five-month police investigation factored into the decision to let Andrade quietly resign.

"So in our eyes, we don't have a smoking gun. In my opinion, I have strong reasonable suspicion,'' Murphy said. "But I don't have an admission from him. I do not have a (district attorney) filing charges. ''

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:08 AM

Disgraced priest dies a prisoner

CANADA
London Free Press

Wed, January 24, 2007

By JANE SIMS, FREE PRESS JUSTICE REPORTER

The life of disgraced Roman Catholic priest Charles Sylvestre ended on a gurney in a stark Kingston prison hospital room.

Just three months after he was sentenced to three years for indecently assaulting 47 girls in Windsor, Sarnia, London, Chatham and Pain Court over almost four decades, Sylvestre, 84, died of natural causes shortly before midnight Monday.

Only hours before his death, a group of lawyers and one of Sylvestre's victims had gathered at the prison, hoping to interview the priest children called Father Feeler as part of preparations for the mounting civil actions.

He was lying in almost a fetal position and a deep congestion had filled his chest.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:05 AM

Prosecutor urges unified voice

CANADA
London Free Press

By JANE SIMS, FREE PRESS JUSTICE REPORTER

The prosecutor and the abusive priest saw each other the last time at a London jail just to talk.

Chatham-Kent Crown attorney Paul Bailey needed to know more about why Rev. Charles Sylvestre abused little girls.

Sylvestre agreed to meet him at the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre shortly before he was shipped to Kingston to start his prison sentence after he pleaded guilty in Chatham to indecently assaulting 47 girls.

Bailey, who has come out in strong support of the London diocese's efforts to stop sexual abuse, told Sylvestre he "was interested in his views about how we can prevent this abuse from happening in the future."

He heard the ramblings of a pedophile who blamed his victims and accused them of being conspirators.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:02 AM

January 23, 2007

Retired Canadian priest who pleaded guilty to numerous sexual assaults dies

CANADA
International Herald Tribune

The Associated Press Published: January 23, 2007

LONDON, Ontario: A retired Canadian priest who recently pleaded guilty to decades of sexual abuse has died at the age of 84, his diocese said Tuesday.

A statement posted by the southwestern Ontario Roman Catholic Diocese of London on its Web site said Father Charles Sylvestre died at midnight Monday. He had been ill for several days.

Sylvestre pleaded guilty in August to assaulting 47 girls over three decades while serving at parishes in Chatham, Paincourt, Sarnia, London and Windsor.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:30 PM

Ex-Del. priest's sex-abuse case put off

DELAWARE
The News Journal

By BETH MILLER, The News Journal

Posted Tuesday, January 23, 2007 at 3:19 pm
The case of Francis G. DeLuca, a former Delaware priest charged with child sexual abuse in Syracuse, N.Y., was postponed today in Onondaga County Court, a prosecutor assigned to the case said.

Today’s court date was not expected to produce a major development, Assistant District Attorney Kari Armstrong said. No new date had been set for the pretrial conference.

DeLuca, who ministered in the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington for 35 years, was arrested in October and charged with sexually abusing a Syracuse teen. The teen, now 18, told his parents DeLuca had molested him over a period of five or six years. Syracuse police say DeLuca confessed after they arrested him.

DeLuca was removed from ministry in 1993 by former Diocese of Wilmington Bishop Robert E. Mulvee and allowed to retire in Syracuse, his hometown, after similar allegations arose in Delaware.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:28 PM

Retired Ont. priest who pleaded guilty to sex assaults dies

CANADA
Ottawa Citizen

CanWest News Service
Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2007
WINDSOR, Ont. — Pedophile priest Charles Sylvestre died Monday night, after serving just a few months in prison for sexually abusing 47 girls over a period of 30 years in five parishes across southwestern Ontario.

"I knew he was in hospital," Chatham-Kent, Ont., Crown attorney Paul Bailey said Tuesday. "I was told his sister was able to visit him (Monday)."

Bailey said he didn't have any information about the cause of death, but Sylvestre, 84, had been suffering from a range of illnesses.

Sylvestre was sentenced in October to three years in prison after pleading guilty to nearly four decades of sexual abuse against 47 young girls between the ages of eight and 15.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:08 PM

Priest who preyed on young girls dies in jail

CANADA
London Free Press

Tue, January 23, 2007

By LONDON FREE PRESS STAFF

Rev. Charles Sylvestre, whose many young assault victims called him Father Feeler, has died in jail in Kingston.

Correctional Service Canada confirmed that Sylvestre died of natural causes shortly before midnight yesterday.

An internal investigation will take place, correctional officials said. And a coroner’s inquest will be scheduled, as is mandatory for any inmate who dies in jail.

The 84-year-old had pleaded guilty last year to 47 counts of indecent assault on girls who attended his churches in Windsor, Sarnia, London, Chatham and Pain Court.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:06 PM

Former priest convicted of sexual assault dies

CANADA
570 News

January 23, 2007 - 5:19 pm
By: 570 News

A former priest who admitted last summer to sexually assaulting dozens of young girls over a four-decade span has died.

Father Charles Sylvestre was 84 years old.

The Diocese of London through a posting on its website does not say how Sylvestre died, although he had been sick for sometime.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:03 PM

Salem man still feeling impact of 'Hand of God'

SALEM (MA)
Salem News

By Tom Dalton , Staff writer
Salem News

SALEM - Paul Cultrera, the general manager of a food cooperative in Sacramento, Calif., came home from work last Tuesday night planning to spend a quiet evening in front of the television.

He knew, of course, that it wasn't going to be an average night at home because he would be watching himself on TV. "Frontline," the PBS news documentary program, was showing "Hand of God," the story of Cultrera's abuse 40 years ago by a Salem priest. Surprisingly, by the time he got home, there were already messages on the answering machine from viewers who had just finished seeing the film on the East Coast and in the Midwest.

"The credits were rolling, and people were picking up their phones and somehow finding me," said Cultrera, 57. "It amazed me. I've never seen a film or watched something on TV and ... picked up a phone and called that person. But for some reason, something got to people."

One week later, the Salem native is still reeling from the powerful and largely positive impact of a film made by his younger brother, Joe, about Cultrera's abuse by the late Rev. Joseph Birmingham, who served at St. James Church in the late 1960s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:43 PM

Statement on the occasion of the death of Father Charles Sylvestre

CANADA
Roman Catholic Diocese of London

January 23, 2007

Father Charles Sylvestre died at midnight on Monday January 22.

Funeral arrangements have not yet been finalized. We expect that it will be a private ceremony.

We continue to feel grief and shock at the revelations of his actions, and we say again that we deplore all instances of sexual abuse and sexual impropriety, especially by clergy or anyone in the Church's employ, towards minors.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:40 PM

Retired Ontario priest who pleaded guilty to sex assaults dies at age 84

CANADA
Canada.com

Canadian Press
Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2007 Article tools

LONDON, Ont. (CP) - A former southwestern Ontario priest who recently pleaded guilty to decades of sexual abuse has died at the age of 84.

A statement posted by the Diocese of London on its website says Father Charles Sylvestre died at midnight. Funeral arrangements have not yet been finalized. The diocese says it expects it will be a private ceremony.

Sylvestre pleaded guilty in August to indecently assaulting 47 female victims over three decades while serving at parishes in Chatham, Paincourt, Sarnia, London and Windsor.

He was sentenced to three years in prison in October.

The diocese statement says it continues to "feel grief and shock at the revelations of his (Sylvestre's) actions." It further states that it "deplores all instances of sexual abuse and sexual impropriety, especially by clergy or anyone in the Church's employ."

Crown Attorney Paul Bailey, who prosecuted Sylvestre, says he was notified of the death at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:37 PM

List of 79th annual Academy Award nominations


HOLLYWOOD (CA)
Rutland Herald

January 23, 2007

By The Associated Press

Complete list of the 79th Annual Academy Award nominations announced Tuesday at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills, Calif.: ...

18. Documentary Feature: "Deliver Us From Evil," "An Inconvenient Truth," "Iraq in Fragments," "Jesus Camp," "My Country, My Country."


Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:16 AM

'Hand of John': A bishop's role revealed

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Manchester Union Leader

IF YOU SAW the documentary "Hand of God" on public television last week, you caught another chilling glimpse of Bishop John McCormack, the man tasked with leading the Roman Catholic Church in New Hampshire.

The film tells the story of Paul Cultrera, who as a boy in Salem, Mass., was abused by Father Joseph Birmingham in the mid-1960s. At the time, McCormack was a priest at the same parish, where several parents told him about Birmingham's abuse.

As Cultrera's story unfolds, McCormack's role becomes increasingly clear. It is not news, but it is worth retelling. McCormack knew that Birmingham was accused of abusing boys in Salem in the mid-1960s. He referred complaining parents to the pastor, and that was it.

For decades he watched Birmingham shuffled to seven other parishes and a juvenile court. When he was in a position to do something about those transfers, he did not.

Viewers of the documentary see McCormack dismissively walk past the camera and hear the conversation in which McCormack turned down the offer to explain himself. (They also see Bishop Richard Lennon call the filmmaker a "sad little man" for trying to expose the truth.)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:10 AM

Ex-bishop: 'no red flags' on priest

VIRGINIA
Richmond Times-Dispatch

BY ALBERTA LINDSEY
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER Jan 23, 2007

The Rev. Rodney L. Rodis just showed up at the doorstep of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond, says the bishop who hired the priest.

"He came in through Tidewater and had friends there," said the Most Rev. Walter F. Sullivan, who was bishop of the Richmond diocese in 1991 when Rodis was officially accepted as a priest in the diocese.

Sullivan, who retired in 2003, is now bishop emeritus of the diocese. "We were in need of priests at the time. He was well liked," he said.

Rodis, 50, a native of the Philippines, is charged with embezzling from Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Bumpass and St. Jude Catholic Church in Mineral, both in Louisa County. The diocese and state police estimates of the total range from $600,000 to more than $1 million. Rodis headed the two churches from 1993 until his retirement last year.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:08 AM

Priest: I won't go on list of sex offenders

ROCHESTER (NY)
Democrat & Chronicle

Gary Craig
Staff writer

(January 23, 2007) — A Catholic priest now jailed for possessing computerized images of child pornography contends he should not be on New York's sex offender registry when he is freed from federal prison in March.

In court papers filed in state Supreme Court last week, the Rev. Michael Volino challenged any attempt by New York's Board of Examiners of Sex Offenders to register him as a sex offender.

The board determines whether a convicted sex offender is eligible for the registry and what level of risk the offender poses to the public.

In May 2005, Volino pleaded guilty to possessing more than three images of child pornography. Prosecutors said that Volino actually had about 600 images of child pornography on a computer at the Catholic Diocese of Rochester.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:49 AM

Diocese: FBI, U.S. attorney altered it to 'hidden' account

GREENWICH (CT)
Hartford Courant

January 23, 2007
By Michael Dinan, Staff Writer

Diocese of Bridgeport officials said yesterday the FBI and U.S. attorney's office first flagged a Greenwich pastor's "hidden" bank account, a discovery that led to the Rev. Michael Moynihan's resignation last week from St. Michael the Archangel Roman Catholic Church.

"We were contacted in July by civil authorities, both the U.S. attorney's office and the FBI," said Joseph McAleer, a diocese spokesman.

"They came to us and asked if we were aware of the existence of an off-the-books account," he said. "It changed the dimension of what was going to be a routine but thorough review of St. Michael's into more of an investigation. You cannot receive information like that from federal authorities and not act on it."

It isn't clear how federal authorities learned of the pastor's financial dealings. Spokesmen from the FBI and U.S. attorney's office declined to comment, saying they couldn't confirm or deny whether there's an investigation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:46 AM

Priest's documentation of spending

GREENWICH (CT)
The Advocate

Published January 23 2007

Six months ago, the Diocese of Bridgeport hired a private accounting firm to audit St. Michael the Archangel Church.

A week later, federal authorities alerted the diocese to a "hidden" bank account, with parish funds and controlled solely by the Rev. Michael Moynihan, totaling $1.4 million.

Moynihan documented how $845,000 of that money was spent.

He wasn't able to document, but has tried to explain, how the rest of it -Ê $528,967 -Êhas been spent.

Here is a summary of the unaccounted spending:

* Checks written to 'cash' or to Moynihan: $44,200

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:42 AM

2 men sue Mormons, Scouts over abuse

PORTLAND (OR)
The Oregonian

Tuesday, January 23, 2007
PETER ZUCKERMAN
Two brothers filed a $6.5 million lawsuit Monday against the Mormon church and the Boy Scouts of America for alleged sexual abuse in the 1980s by a Portland church teacher and Scout leader.

The lawsuit, filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court, contends that Timur Van Dykes, 50, of Portland used positions of trust to molest the boys, who were not identified, in the years 1983 to 1985. During those years Dykes served as a leader of Boy Scout Troop 719, which was supervised by the Cherry Park Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Dykes, also known as Vandykes, has been convicted of at least 23 sexual crimes against boys since 1985, when he was indicted by a Multnomah County grand jury and later convicted of sexual abuse and sexual penetration with a foreign object.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:39 AM

Ore. sex-abuse lawsuit filed against LDS church, Boy Scouts

PORTLAND (OR)
Daily Herald

WILLIAM MCCALL - The Associated Press
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Two brothers filed a $6.5 million lawsuit against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Boy Scouts of America on Monday, alleging they were sexually abused as children in the 1980s by a Mormon "home teacher" who was also a Boy Scout leader.

The lawsuit filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court alleges the church and the Boy Scouts were responsible because Timur Dykes was an authorized representative of the groups. It also claims the church failed to report an abuse allegation against a third brother that could have led authorities to other victims -- a claim the church denied.

Dykes was convicted of child sexual abuse "on several different occasions," according to the lawsuit filed by Portland attorney Kelly Clark, who has represented victims of alleged abuse by Roman Catholic priests.

Clark provided a list indicating Dykes had been convicted in 1986, 1988, 1990, 1991 and 1994.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:38 AM

Ousted Jehovah's Witnesses' couple lose lawsuit

NASHVILLE (TN)
WHAS

06:57 AM EST on Tuesday, January 23, 2007

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A court has dismissed the claims of a couple who accused the Jehovah’s Witnesses of improperly ousting them from their congregation after the wife told NBC’s “Dateline” the denomination covers up child sexual abuse.

The denomination’s national organization, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York Inc., asked the court to dismiss a $20 million lawsuit brought by Barbara and Joseph Anderson, who claimed defamation, fraud and intentional infliction of emotional distress in their ouster from their congregation.

On Monday, an appeals court ruled in favor of the defendants, saying the Andersons’ ouster involved internal denomination matters.

In dismissing the case, Judge Patricia Cottrell, with the Tennessee court of appeals, in Nashville, wrote the court did not have jurisdiction to hear it “based upon the First Amendment’s protection of decisions of church tribunals on religious questions.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:35 AM

Bellevue ousts minister

MEMPHIS (TN)
Commercial Appeal

By James Dowd

January 23, 2007

Bellevue Baptist Church has fired longtime minister Paul Williams, following an internal investigation into what church leaders described as a "moral failure" that occurred nearly two decades ago.

Details have not been made public by the church and Williams has not been formally charged with any wrongdoing, but the incident allegedly involves sexual abuse of a child 17 years ago.

A statement issued Monday afternoon announced the church's personnel committee, acting on the recommendation of the investigation committee, voted for the termination. There is no severance package.

Williams, who could not be reached for comment Monday, had been employed at the 30,000-member Cordova church for 34 years. Most recently, he served as minister of prayer and special projects.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:32 AM

Parishioners welcome back priest cleared in abuse probe

CAIRO (NY)
Daily Freeman

By Ariel Zangla, Freeman staff 01/23/2007

CAIRO - Parishioners at Sacred Heart Church said they are delighted to see the Rev. Jeremiah Nunan reinstated after the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese found no reasonable grounds to believe an allegation of sexual misconduct against him.

Nunan, pastor of Sacred Heart in Cairo and Our Lady of Knock Mission in East Durham, was accused last year by the Rev. Mark Jaufmann, now a 50-year-old Catholic priest in California, of sexually abusing him multiple times when Jaufmann was a minor. The incidents were alleged to have occurred when Jaufmann was between the ages of 12 and 15 and a parishioner at St. Mary's Church in Hudson where Nunan had been assigned.

On Saturday, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany issued a press release saying it found "no reasonable grounds to believe an allegation of sexual misconduct" against Nunan.

"He's been reinstated and we're all really happy that he's back," parishioner Camille Thiesen said Monday. She said parishioners believed Nunan was innocent.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:25 AM

January 22, 2007

Ex-Choir Director Pleads Guilty To Possessing Child Porn

GREENWICH (CT)
Hartford Courant

12:45 PM EST, January 22, 2007
By JOHN CHRISTOFFERSEN, Associated Press Writer

BRIDGEPORT -- The former music director of a prominent church in Greenwich pleaded guilty Monday to possessing child pornography.

Robert F. Tate, 64, of Greenwich, admitted possessing between 150-300 pornographic images of children, some engaging in sexually explicit conduct. Prosecutors said some children in the images were younger than 12 years old.

"Yes, your honor. I regret to say I did it," Tate told a federal judge.

Tate was the longtime music director of Christ Church in Greenwich, where former President George H.W. Bush attended services while growing up. Funeral services for his parents, Prescott Bush Sr. and Dorothy Walker Bush, were held there.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:54 PM

CONNECTICUT: Ex-choir director pleads guilty to possessing child porn

GREENWICH (CT)
Episcopal News Service

Monday, January 22, 2007

[Episcopal News Service] The Associated Press (AP) reported January 22 that the former music director of Christ Church in Greenwich, Connecticut, pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography.

Robert F. Tate, 64, of Greenwich, admitted possessing between 150-300 pornographic images of children, some engaging in sexually explicit conduct, according to the AP. Prosecutors said some children in the images were younger than 12 years old.

Tate was the longtime music director of Christ Church, where former President George H.W. Bush attended services while growing up. Funeral services for his parents, Prescott Bush Sr. and Dorothy Walker Bush, were held there.

Tate oversaw the church's renowned choir programs, including those involving children. Tate traveled with the choir for performances around the country and in Europe.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:51 PM

Former Christian brother pleads guilty to abuse

AUSTRALIA
Catholic News

A former Christian brother yesterday pleaded guilty to five counts of abuse involving three boys at a Perth Catholic college more than 20 years ago, while denying charges involving a fourth boy.

ABC News reports that 56-year-old Graeme James Down admitted five charges of unlawfully and indecently touching three boys aged about 11 and 12, when he was a Christian brother teacher in the 1980s.

While Down admitted those offences, he pleaded not guilty to a further seven charges, which allege more serious offences against a fourth boy, and went on trial today.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:49 PM

LDS Church, Boy Scouts Accused In Sex-Abuse Suit

PORTLAND (OR)
KUTV

PORTLAND Two brothers who claim they were sexually abused as children by a "home teacher" filed a $6.5 million lawsuit Monday against the LDS church and Boy Scouts of America.

The lawsuit, filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court, alleges the Boy Scouts and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were responsible because Timur Dykes was their authorized representative in the mid-1980s.

Dykes was convicted of child sexual abuse, according to the lawsuit filed by Portland attorney Kelly Clark, who has represented victims of alleged abuse by Roman Catholic priests.

Dykes, also known as Timur Van Dykes, is listed on the Multnomah County Department of Community Justice Web site as a "predatory sex offender" who gains access to vulnerable boys and families through positions of trust.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:50 PM

Bellevue terminates accused minister

MEMPHIS (TN)
WMC

Jan 22, 2007 04:30 PM EST

The embattled minister at the center of a scandal that has garnered national attention has been terminated by Bellevue Baptist Church, according to a news release issued this afternoon.

According to the statement, the investigative committee formed to explore sexual abuse claims made against a longtime minister presented its report and recommendations to the Church's personnel committee yeseterday. The committee then decided to terminate that minister today.

A full report is still expected about the minister's "moral failures" at next Sunday's evening worship service.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:45 PM

Priest cleared of sex abuse charges

ALBANY (NY)
Capital News 9

Updated: 1/22/2007 10:45 AM
By: Web Staff

Sexual abuse charges dating back to the 1960s against a Greene County priest have been dropped.

The Albany Roman Catholic Diocese says there's no evidence to suggest Reverend Jeremiah Nunan molested Father Mark Jaufmann. Jaufmann accused Nunan last year of sexually abusing him several times when he was just 10-years-old. The attorney representing Jaufmann says the findings are outrageous.

"Bishop Hubbard has a very serious priest shortage, after removing 22 priests for pedophilia. He has now embarked on a strategy to try to clear guilty priests. The public knows the bishop has no credibility on these investigations that are conducted by Bishop Hubbard himself," said Attorney John Aretakis.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:38 PM

Total awareness beyond the news

UNITED STATES
The Tidings

By Christie Weeks

With increasing frequency, we see and hear news reports about children and young people who have been the targets of molestation. People are initially shocked or outraged; some even express disbelief. Because, as humans, we want to know why something this atrocious happens, a natural tendency may be to assign blame and look for a particular cause surrounding an abuse incident.

For example, we might think the behavior occurred because the perpetrator is a member of the clergy; the perpetrator is homosexual, or another "type." When we believe we can explain why such a dreadful event occurs and blame someone who is different from us, we can then distance ourselves from the category of persons we perceive to be the perpetrators.

There is no small danger in soothing our anxieties by convincing ourselves that "we just have to watch out for the particular kinds of people who are committing these acts." Such beliefs allow watchfulness to slip away as long as "those types" are not around. We cease being full-time protectors of children.

As caring adults, we can most effectively interfere with attempts to engage in inappropriate behavior with children and young people by eliminating the opportunity to molest. That means being constantly attuned to the behaviors of adults.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:28 PM

Archdiocese launches 'Touching Safety' to empower children

LOS ANGELES (CA)
The Tidings

Nearly 2,000 religious education catechists were recently trained in Touching Safety, an educational program to empower young people to recognize safe and unsafe touches and to seek help when they are in a vulnerable situation that could lead to abuse.

Touching Safety has been developed by VIRTUS®, which also developed the program used in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to train adults to recognize the characteristics and behavior patterns of potential child molesters. More than 40,000 adults working with or around minors in parishes and schools have been trained in child abuse prevention in that past four years.

The next phase is to empower children K-12 to recognize the warning signs that they may be in danger, to speak out on their own behalf, and to find the help necessary to prevent abuse from happening.

The program Good Touch/Bad Touch® already is being used in 100 Catholic schools. Touching Safety has been selected as an affordable, easy-to-teach program that will be implemented in parish religious education programs. It is fully bilingual, offers many materials online, and provides continuity between the VIRTUS® program for adults and the VIRTUS® program for youth.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:27 PM

Parishes, schools to track background checks for staff, volunteers

LOS ANGELES (CA)
The Tidings

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles is investing in new technology to assist parishes and Catholic schools to create safe environments for children. For the past two years, an archdiocesan background-tracking information system, Volunteer and Personnel Information Network (VPIN), has been in development.

VPIN will track assignment histories and compliance by parish clergy, religious, staff and volunteers of fingerprinting and confidential background check requirements and VIRTUS training in child sexual abuse prevention.

VPIN allows parishes and schools to adapt features of the system to fit their local needs and it will assist the archdiocese to complete its audit reports.

The system has been developed by the Santa Paula-based software system developer LOGOS Management Software in close collaboration with the archdiocese. LOGOS has experience working with 15 dioceses and 3,000 Catholic churches.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:24 PM

Internet provides resources on child safety, abuse prevention

UNITED STATES
The Tidings

The Internet can be a source of important information about child safety and abuse prevention efforts undertaken by the Catholic Church. Many of these websites are updated frequently, and bear revisiting on a regular basis.

The following list of sites is not comprehensive, but offers a snapshot of what types of information are available online. Many sites have links to other sites with related information. Content on some of these websites may not be suitable for young children, so parents and guardians may wish to consult the websites first in order to decide what information is appropriate for sharing with their children.

VIRTUS:
www.virtus.org
VIRTUS® programs exist in most parishes of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to assist the Church in creating a safe haven for children. Created by a private firm comprised mostly of Catholic professionals, VIRTUS programs seek to protect children and to greatly reduce the risk of child abuse by educating adults about the reality of sexual abuse and the warning signs of abuse; controlling access to children; and monitoring all programs. Awareness of the problem enables people within a community to discuss the reality of child sexual abuse openly. Breaking the silence about child sexual abuse is a critical first step to begin the process of education, prevention, and healing.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:23 PM

Financial controls tightened

MINERAL (VA)
The Free Lance-Star

Date published: 1/22/2007

By KELLY HANNON

St. Jude Catholic Church in Mineral has put tighter financial controls in place to monitor contributions following the arrest of a former priest on charges of embezzling at least $600,000 of church money.

Parishioners learned of the changes at Sunday Mass.

"We'll get over it," said the Rev. Michael Duffy in his homily, referring to the incident alternatively as an "embarrassment" and a "scandal." He asked the congregation to focus on the word of God.

Duffy did express anger, though. After learning about the theft, he said his reaction was: "Where's the check? Give us back our money." And given the amount of money cited in the police investigation, "We could've been building a decent building to teach in," Duffy said.

A week ago, the congregation was told former pastor Rodney Rodis of Spotsylvania, who oversaw St. Jude's and Immaculate Conception parishes from 1993 to 2006, had been charged with one count of felony embezzlement.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:22 AM

Church investigation clears Greene County priest of abuse

ALBANY (NY)
Albany Times Union

By ANNE MILLER, Staff writer

First published: Monday, January 22, 2007

ALBANY -- A priest accused of molesting a child 30 years ago has been cleared by an investigator working for the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese.

The Rev. Jeremiah Nunan of the Sacred Heart Parish in Cairo and Our Lady of Knock Mission in East Durham was granted an administrative leave when the diocese's Independent Mediation Assistance Program began its investigation 11 months ago. Nunan told his congregation that he was temporarily stepping down at a Sunday Mass in February.

On Saturday the diocese released a statement saying there were no "reasonable grounds" for the accusation against Nunan.

"The allegation contained in the complaint was thoroughly investigated but could not be substantiated," the statement read.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:19 AM

Former nun asks Supreme Court to hear appeal

ERIE (PA)
PennLive

1/22/2007, 8:53 a.m. ET
The Associated Press

ERIE, Pa. (AP) — A former nun is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear her appeal in a civil rights case against Gannon University.

Lynette Petruska claims she was forced to resign after helping to expose a priest's alleged misconduct.

But in September, a three-judge panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia ruled that the "ministerial exception" barred it from considering her claims. Under the exception, courts avoid deciding legal disputes between religious institutions and clergy to protect the rights of denominations to govern their affairs according to their beliefs.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:13 AM

Lesson for students at molester's parish

NORTH ATTLEBORO (MA)
The Sun Chronicle

BY AMY DeMELIA SUN CHRONICLE STAFF
Sunday, January 21, 2007 11:56 PM EST

NORTH ATTLEBORO - St. Mary-Sacred Heart School is introducing a sex awareness program to safeguard students in the wake of the priest sex abuse scandal, and another to help parents protect their children from predators on the Internet.

"Because of the sex abuse challenge in the Catholic Church, each school in the Catholic diocese has been required to offer a prevention program," said the Rev. David Costa, director of the school. "Our diocese has chosen the Child Lures prevention program."

The program has special relevance for the school because St. Mary's Church was the first parish of Father James Porter, a notorious child molester convicted of molesting dozens of students in the 1960s.

Porter's case in the early 1990s brought the issue of priest sex abuse into the national spotlight.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:11 AM

Amid Accounting Inquiry, a Greenwich Pastor Resigns

GREENWICH (CT)
The New York Times

By RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA
Published: January 22, 2007
The pastor at St. Michael the Archangel Church in Greenwich, Conn., resigned after an investigation found that he had maintained secret bank accounts with church funds and could not document how he spent more than $500,000 from those accounts, church officials said yesterday.

Officials of the Diocese of Bridgeport said that the priest, the Rev. Michael R. Moynihan, violated rules for handling money and misled church officials about his actions. They are still investigating the matter.

Bishop William E. Lori asked for and received Father Moynihan’s resignation at St. Michael, though the priest remains employed by the diocese, officials of the diocese said. They said that they had not involved law enforcement in the matter. Father Moynihan could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The church inquiry involving Father Moynihan, first reported yesterday in The Advocate of Stamford and Greenwich Time, follows a scandal last year involving the Rev. Michael Jude Fay, a former pastor at St. John’s church in Darien. After an audit commissioned by the diocese, Father Fay was accused of spending $1.4 million in parish funds on himself. He resigned last May without publicly commenting on the claims.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:08 AM

Sexual abuse settlement announced too late by diocese

PATERSON (NJ)
Daily Record

Monday, January 22, 2007

Abe Koloff

Local church officials, in a statement released this past week, said they "deferred" talking about the latest allegations of sexual abuse made against Monsignor Ronald Tully until after the alleged victim's attorney went public.

So they said nothing for four months.

No, the Paterson Roman Catholic Diocese didn't exactly make a secret of the allegations. Church officials didn't exactly hide their monetary settlement with the accuser. They just didn't tell anyone -- at least until they were asked this past week by reporters.

This was no small omission, and certainly not the kind of openness some victims' advocates have been requesting of church officials. There are good reasons to make such allegations public, once church officials consider them credible.

"It's good for victims to know they're not alone," said Mitchell Garabedian, a Boston attorney who represents Tully's latest accuser.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:54 AM

Some defend ousted pastor: Diocese details financial mismanagement

GREEENWICH (CT)
The Advocate

By Michael Dinan
Staff Writer

Published January 22 2007

GREENWICH - Parishioners at St. Michael the Archangel Church say they're stunned that the Diocese of Bridgeport officials asked the Rev. Michael Moynihan to resign last week after auditors turned up more than $500,000 in unaccounted spending.

Moynihan, 54, St. Michael's pastor for 14 years, may need more time to explain the spending, said Declan Maguire, 56, a Stamford resident who has belonged to St. Michael for a dozen years.

"It's as if they've jumped to a conclusion without waiting for the evidence," Maguire said as dozens of teary and stern-faced parishioners began filing out after yesterday's 11 a.m. Mass. "I'm hearing a case for ousting someone based on very light evidence, in an investigation which is not complete."

Peggy Martino of Greenwich, a mother of four and church member for nine years who serves on the St. Michael Women's Association, said she's looking for greater accountability from Moynihan's superiors.

"First of all, there's not enough information yet for what appears to be a rush to judgment," Martino said. "More information is needed. Having said that, the leaders of this Catholic church need to take more direct responsibility. And that should not automatically translate into casting aside an underling such as a parish priest, but rather the leaders need to take the personal responsibility for their role. If Father Moynihan's strength is not financial management, then why can't the Catholic church leaders recognize that and put alternatives in place, like support services?"

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:52 AM

Resignation takes parish by surprise

GREENWICH (CT)
Hartford Courant

January 22, 2007
By Michael Dinan, Staff Writer

Parishioners at St. Michael Church say they're stunned that Diocese of Bridgeport officials asked the Rev. Michael Moynihan to resign last week after auditors turned up more than $500,0000 in unaccounted spending.

Moynihan, 54, St. Michael's pastor for 14 years, may simply require more time to explain the spending, said Declan Maguire, 56, a Stamford resident who has belonged to St. Michael for a dozen years.

"It's as if they've jumped to a conclusion without waiting for the evidence," Maguire said as dozens of teary and stern-faced parishioners began filing out after yesterday's 11 a.m. Mass. "I'm hearing a case for ousting someone based on very light evidence, in an investigation which is not complete."

Peggy Martino of Cos Cob, a mother of four and church member for nine years who serves on the St. Michael Women's Association, said she's looking for greater accountability from Moynihan's superiors.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:48 AM

FLOCK FLEECED OF 500G

GREENWICH (CT)
New York Post

By JOE MOLLICA in Greenwich, Conn., and DAN MANGAN in New York

January 22, 2007 -- A popular pastor in one of Connecticut's wealthiest Catholic parishes has resigned after spending more than $500,000 in church funds - without being able to document any of the expenditures, his bishop revealed yesterday.

The Rev. Michael Moynihan - who is being eyed by federal prosecutors in the case - used $185,000 of the money from St. Michael the Archangel in Greenwich to pay off his personal credit-card bills and make other payments to himself, Bridgeport Diocese officials said.

Included in that money was $32,000 for meals, nearly $19,000 for travel and another $13,000 allegedly spent on "equestrian training" bills at a parochial school that the priest helps oversee.

Another $44,000 was given to people who did not work for the parish.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:45 AM

New trial date set for polygamists

KINGMAN (UT)
The Daily News

By JIM SECKLER

Sunday, January 21, 2007 8:11 PM PST

The Daily News

KINGMAN - A new trial date has been set for a Colorado City polygamist charged with having sexual relations with an underage girl.

Rodney Holm's trial before Superior Court Judge Steven Conn has now been set for Feb. 21. Holm, 40, a former Colorado City police officer, is charged with three counts of sexual conduct with a minor.

Holm and seven other codefendants belong to a controversial polygamist sect of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Colorado City.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:32 AM

Case Of Abuse By Priest Settled

NORWICH (CT)
Hartford Courant

January 22, 2007
Associated Press

NORWICH -- The Diocese of Norwich has settled a lawsuit arising from abuse by a priest for $2 million, the Norwich Bulletin reported Sunday.

Michael Nelligan, 44, accused the Rev. Bruno Primavera, a visiting priest in the diocese from 1978 to 1980, of molesting him while Primavera was at St. Mark's Church in Westbrook.

Nelligan, an altar boy, was 15 at the time.

"Michael has struggled with this ordeal all his life," said Robert Reardon, Nelligan's New London lawyer. He said Nelligan decided to step forward when he saw others do so.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:22 AM

January 21, 2007

Frontline LIVE ONLINE with Filmakers and Producers of from the PBS Series

UNITED STATES
Washington Post

Joe Cultrera
Producer, Writer and Director
Wednesday, January 17, 2007; 11:00 AM

Producer, writer and director Joe Cultrera was online Wednesday, Jan. 17, at 11 a.m. ET to discuss the PBS Frontline film "Hand of God," a look at his family's experience with sexual abuse by a member of the Catholic clergy. ...

Scottsdale, Ariz.:1. It has always been a question in my mind how someone could be abused more than once. Where is their family, etc.? Here, strong family ties seemed to have worked against you. This still puzzles me. On the other hand (I do not mean to trivialize in any way what happened to you), I went from fifth grade to seventh needing glasses and unwilling to tell my parents because they had always told me not to hold books so close to my face or I will need glasses. That is, it was my "fault" that I needed glasses. So I can see the problem a little bit. Even so, this was not something you did but a terrible thing that was done to you. An unsettling documentary.

2. I hope that you can see your way to returning to the sacraments. The human side of the Church is often ugly. The divine side is not. Don't forget, there are two sides.

3. I recently published a book, one of the theses of which is that there is a priest shortage because there are no spiritual leaders. Without leaders, how can there be followers? Obviously, the book is a critique of the U.S. Catholic bishops. I found it interesting that you talk about the bishops not having the right to preach. In the book I mention that as a former catechist, each year I had to earn the "right to be heard" with my class and that the bishops have authority but not the right to be heard. They have not earned it.

Paul Cultrera:1) I can only answer your first question for myself. As the film hopefully portrays, the environment in which I grew up did not foster dialogue about sex, and the whole topic was taboo. Throw in the ambiguity brought on by the perpetrator having been a man and the confusion that would bring to an adolescent male and you have a little more of the reason why I stayed silent. Also there was the fact that I was in all my naivety at the time still under the influence of the teachings that I had received since age 5 that the sacrament of penance -- which was the pretext that Birmingham used to get to me -- was a private matter and what went on within it was to be kept in silence.

2) I believe there are many ways to the divine and that the Catholic church and its sacraments, while they may work for many (and I am glad for that), are not the only way to connect to it. I see more divinity in my garden than I ever did in the church and I'm not sure I could ever get past the associations that the scent of incense brings up for me.

3) I agree.


Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:42 PM

Stealing from God

UNITED STATES
Baltimore Sun

By Joe Burris
sun staff
Originally published January 21, 2007
The Second Epistle to the Corinthians says that those who give to the church must do so willingly and freely, for "God loves a cheerful giver."

Yet even the most generous contributor might turn tight-fisted after discovering that the person entrusted to collect contributions to the church is often also the one who takes them to the bank and files the financial statements.

And that often leads to widespread embezzlement.

Even in church, temptation and opportunity can lead to shocking levels of sin.

Just ask the authors of a recent study by researchers at Villanova University. They found that 85 percent of Roman Catholic dioceses had discovered embezzlement of church money over the last five years - with 11 percent suffering thefts of more than $500,000.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:19 PM

Norwich Diocese settles priest abuse lawsuit for $2 million

NORWICH (CT)
Newsday

NORWICH, Conn. (AP) _ The Diocese of Norwich has settled a priest abuse lawsuit for $2 million, the Norwich Bulletin reported Sunday.

Michael Nelligan, 44, accused the Rev. Bruno Primavera, a visiting priest in the diocese from 1978 to 1980, of molesting him while Primavera served at St. Mark's Church in Westbrook.

Nelligan, an altar boy, was 15 at the time.

Primavera also served at St. Mary Star of the Sea Church in New London.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:17 PM

Pastor resigns following allegations of financial mismanagement

GREENWICH (CT)
amNew York

GREENWICH, Conn. (AP) _ The pastor of St. Michael the Archangel Parish has resigned after a financial audit found hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent without proper documentation, the Bridgeport Diocese said Sunday.

Authorities informed diocese officials last July that the Greenwich parish had a second operating account "not reflected on the books of the parish" and not known to the diocese and the parish finance council, the diocese said.

Joseph McAleer, spokesman for the diocese, on Sunday would not identify the "civil authorities" who brought the matter to the diocese. He said fraud has not been uncovered.

The allegations were first reported on Sunday by The Greenwich Time and The Advocate of Stamford.

The parish finance council and the Rev. Michael Moynihan, who resigned Friday, said spending from the account was proper, but auditors said more documentation is required. It listed several "red flags," such as large reimbursements paid to Moynihan and other individuals without supporting documentation, the diocese said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:15 PM

Albany diocese clears upstate Catholic priest of abuse charges

ALBANY (NY)
Newsday

January 21, 2007, 10:42 AM EST

ALBANY, N.Y. -- A Greene County priest has been cleared of charges he sexually abused a 10-year-old boy in the late 1960s, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany announced Saturday.

The diocese said in a prepared statement that investigators found "no reasonable grounds to believe the allegation of sexual misconduct against the Rev. Jeremiah Nunan."

The Rev. Mark Jaufmann, now a priest in California, accused Nunan last year of sexually abusing him repeatedly when he was a young boy.

Nunan took a leave of absence as pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Cairo and Our Lady of Knock Mission in East Durham after the allegations last February. On Saturday, diocese spokesman Ken Goldfarb said Nunan "remains a priest in good standing" and he has "resumed his priestly ministry" at the two churches.

The diocese said Jaufmann's complaint could not be substantiated after an investigation by a former FBI special agent working for the Independent Mediation Assistance Program, or IMAP, a body created by the diocese in 2004 to review clergy abuse charges.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:14 AM

Questioning victims our national pastime

MASSACHUSETTS
Boston Herald

By Margery Eagan
Boston Herald Columnist

Sunday, January 21, 2007 - Updated: 12:29 AM EST

Why didn’t he escape? Why didn’t he call the cops? What’s the real story? What’s wrong with him?

America - and many in the media - spent last week asking those questions based on our armchair know-nothing analysis of the supposed mistakes of Shawn Hornbeck, the 15-year-old Missouri boy kidnapped at age 11 as he was riding his bike.

By week’s end we’d turned on his long-, long-suffering parents as well.

Why did they put him on Oprah? On Larry King? Why are they parading themselves and their son before the cameras, which we are all watching, by the way? What’s the real story? What’s wrong with them?

Here’s what I’ve not heard: What’s wrong with the pizzeria worker who allegedly spent his days and nights plotting to snatch little boys off school buses and bikes?

Yet this is so typical.

This is what we do, particularly with children and sex crimes. We criticize victims. We talk as if we, or our children, would know better. We have no idea what we’re talking about - though we should.

Remember priest abuse, the story both America and its media have grown tired of? Enough already. Move on. Don’t want to hear anymore.

You could call it church abuse fatigue. Or just a general aversion to these kinds of stories, a continued hesitance to believe them, a continued hostility to victims themselves and a vicious hostility to their attorneys.

This week Mitchell Garabedian and Carmen Durso, lawyers who’ve represented hundreds of church survivors, talked about the effects of our “enough already” attitude.

It means there’s almost no public pressure on the church to settle fairly anymore. It means that the Boston archdiocese employs full-time lobbyists to fight tougher legislation ending statutes of limitations on these crimes - and nobody’s screaming about it. (Want to? Call 617-722-2000 and tell your hometown rep you’re watching what they’re doing.)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:50 AM

Priest had knack for fundraising

LOUISA (VA)
Richmond Times-Dispatch

BY CALVIN R. TRICE AND KIRAN KRISHNAMURTHY
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITERS Jan 20, 2007

LOUISA -- The Rev. Rodney L. Rodis used his charm to spiritually inspire children and adults in two Catholic parishes he led in Louisa County.

That charisma also made him a first-rate fundraiser for capital campaigns totaling $875,000 for the two congregations.

Now Rodis is charged with embezzling from Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Bumpass and St. Jude Catholic Church in Mineral. Catholic Diocese of Richmond and state police estimates of the total range from $600,000 to more than $1 million.

Rodis had the knack of zeroing in on the deep pockets, said Patti Smogor, business manager for both churches.

"He courted large donors," Smogor said. "He visited people all over the place.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:33 AM

Norwich Diocese pays $2M in lawsuit

NORWICH (CT)
Norwich Bulletin

By BRIAN
WALLHEIMER
Norwich Bulletin

NORWICH -- The Roman Catholic Norwich Diocese has settled a priest molestation lawsuit for $2 million, the largest payment by a Connecticut diocese to a victim in the priest molestation scandal.

Michael Nelligan, 44, alleged the Rev. Bruno Primavera, a visiting priest in the diocese from 1978 to 1980, molested him while Primavera was serving at St. Mark's Church in Westbrook. Nelligan was 15 and an altar boy and member of the Catholic Youth Organization at the time.

Primavera also served at St. Mary Star of the Sea Church in New London.

"Michael has struggled with this ordeal all his life," Nelligan's attorney, Robert Reardon of New London, said. "These are the types of issues in people's lives you don't talk about. When (Nelligan) saw others come forward, he decided to do the same."

Joseph T. Sweeney, the attorney who represented the Norwich Diocese, said the diocese hopes Nelligan can use the money to get help for his mental anguish.

"Bishop (Michael) Cote is very concerned about this issue," Sweeney said. "Our hearts go out to Michael Nelligan."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:30 AM

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

ST. LOUIS (MO)
KOMO

By Associated Press

ST. LOUIS (AP) - The Archdiocese of St. Louis is being criticized 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 Thursday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:20 AM

Former youth minister convicted in Missouri

KENTUCKY
Georgetown News-Graphic

By DANIEL KELLEY
1/21/07

(Editor's note: The following contains information and descriptions that might be offensive to some readers.)

Shawn Davies, a former Scott County youth minister already serving time for child sex-abuse crimes in Georgetown, was sentenced to 20 years for similar crimes in Missouri.

"This man is a predator," said Detective Robert Leslie of the Greenwood, Mo., police department, in an interview with the Associated Baptist Press. "He is going to be a cancer to society unless he is locked up."

The ruling on Davies, 33, was handed down Jan. 12, in Greenwood. As part of a plea-bargain deal, he will serve the 20 years as concurrent sentences for both his Missouri and Kentucky crimes.

From 1998 to 1999, Davies served as the leader of a Scott County church's youth group. During that time, he played a pornographic movie and encouraged the young boys in attendance to masturbate while he also masturbated and watched.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:13 AM

Diocese clears accused priest

NEW YORK
Daily Freeman

Freeman staff 01/21/2007

THE ROMAN Catholic Diocese of Albany has cleared a Greene County priest who was accused of sexually abusing a 10-year-old boy in the late 1960s.

In a prepared statement issued Saturday, the diocese said it found "no reasonable grounds to believe the allegation of sexual misconduct against the Rev. Jeremiah Nunan."

Nunan, pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Cairo and Our Lady of Knock Mission in East Durham, was accused last year by the Rev. Mark Jaufmann, now a priest in California, of sexually abusing Jaufmann multiple times when Jaufmann was 10 years old.

The incidents were alleged to have taken place when Nunan was the pastor at St. Mary's Church in Hudson and Jaufmann, now 50, was a parishioner there.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:07 AM

Shake-up at St. Michael Pastor Moynihan resigns amid financial questions

GREENWICH (CT)
Greenwich Times

By Hoa Nguyen
Staff Writer

Published January 21 2007

The pastor of St. Michael Church resigned after a preliminary financial audit uncovered more than $500,000 in spending that the Archdiocese of Bridgeport is still trying to account for, officials announced yesterday.

Bishop William Lori told St. Michael's parishioners yesterday that he asked for and received the resignation of their pastor, the Rev. Michael Moynihan. Though the 54-year-old remains a "priest in good standing," Moynihan will likely never be the pastor of a diocese church again, Lori said.

"After a long and thorough process, I have reluctantly but firmly concluded that any new assignment cannot entail financial administration," Lori said. "To put it mildly, parish financial records were badly tangled and at points not yet well explained, intertwined with Father Michael's personal finances."

Moynihan is accused of keeping at least two "off-the-books" bank accounts, which only he knew about and had control of, Lori said. About $1.4 million in transactions passed through one account -- half a million of which auditors cannot account for because checks were used to pay for some of Moynihan's personal credit cards, various vendors and in some cases made out to cash. The diocese said that though the money may have been used for parish purposes, Moynihan had difficulty providing documentation proving that.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:05 AM

January 20, 2007

Ex-youth pastor given 13 years

RIVERSIDE (CA)
The Press-Enterprise

By PAIGE AUSTIN
The Press-Enterprise

RIVERSIDE - After almost four years of legal wrangling and testimony about the crimes, Friday's sentencing of a youth group pastor who committed sex crimes against two girls focused on the emotional toll on the victims and their families, and on the convicted man's supporters.

Joseph Mario Arredondo Jr., who had been a football coach at a high school in Corona and a youth pastor at a Norco church before his arrest, was sentenced Friday to the maximum possible sentence of 13 years and four months for sex crimes against two teenage girls who attended the church.

The two victims and their families told the court of the public suffering they've endured since the popular youth pastor was arrested.

One victim's grandmother told of seeing her granddaughter balled up on the floor, crying and suicidal. Self-doubt, verbal and physical attacks by Arredondo's supporters and seeing painful details of the crimes displayed in newspapers made life a constant torture for the girls, their families said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:14 PM

Little Talk on Missouri's Biggest Clergy Sex-Abuse Case

MISSOURI
Christian Post

By Audrey Barrick
Christian Post Reporter
Sat, Jan. 20 2007 10:48 AM ET

"It always hits the papers when a female teacher has sex with 14- or 13-year-old boys, but when a pastor sexually abuses … young boys, it's kept quiet," said Greenwood, Mo., detective Robert Leslie.

It's Missouri's biggest clergy sex-abuse case to date, Leslie said, according to the Associated Baptist Press, but accounts of a youth minister's sexual misconduct were low-key for years until he was convicted last week of 25 counts of abuse.

Shawn Davies, 33, was hired at First Baptist Church of Greenwood in 2003, serving as the music and youth minister. He had attended Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., with the senior pastor, Mike Roy.

Prior to working at First Baptist, Davies had worked at several other churches. And those past employers did not give Davies favorable job references, noting Davies' addiction to pornography and that he "didn't work well with children." Still, Davies was easily hired by churches.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:17 PM

Some Dissenters Quit the Church But Don't Stop Being Catholic

UNITED STATES
Washington Post

By Jeff Diamant
Religion News Service
Saturday, January 20, 2007; Page B09

She grew up Roman Catholic, but like millions of others, Rebecca Ortelli came to disagree with church teachings on contraception, communion and priestly celibacy, among other things.

Many Catholics drift away from the church or join other denominations. But Ortelli, 57, wanted to maintain both her Catholic identity and her worldview. And she didn't want to feel one was inconsistent with the other.

So 20 years ago, she did what a small number of defiant Catholics are doing. She joined a church with many lifelong Catholics of similar views, a church that borrows heavily from Catholic rituals even though it's not part of a Catholic diocese. ...

Still, in the aftermath of the clergy sex abuse scandal, these churches offer a different path from the one taken by most Catholic reformers, who have sought -- unsuccessfully, so far -- to change church rules and hierarchy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:52 AM

Strict rules set for finances

VIRGINIA
Richmond Times-Dispatch

BY ALBERTA LINDSEY
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER Jan 20, 2007

Strict rules keep the clergy honest, say some Protestant and Jewish leaders in the Richmond area.

Members of congregations demand accountability, said Rabbi Merrill Shapiro of Congregation Or Atid in western Henrico County. "If there's any uncertainty that money is not handled properly, people will stop giving."

Various religious leaders were asked about their management of funds after a Catholic priest was charged with embezzling at least $600,000 from two parishes in Louisa County. State police investigators estimate the amount missing could top $1 million.

The Rev. Rodney L. Rodis, 50, who until May was pastor of St. Jude Catholic Church in Mineral and Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in nearby Bumpass, was indicted on a felony embezzlement charge last week. Rodis, who retired in May citing health reasons, is free on $10,000 bond.

Authorities believe Rodis set up an account at Virginia Heartland Bank in Fredericksburg in a church name, deposited some donations there and used the money for other things.

Universal canon law in the Roman Catholic Church requires all parishes to have a finance council to ensure that sound financial accounting practices are in place, according to the Rev. Wayne Ball, pastor of St. John Catholic Church in Highland Springs and a member of Tribunal of the Diocese of Richmond.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:50 AM

Diocese settles with six victims

SPRINGFIELD (IL)
Springfield State Journal-Register

By DAVE BAKKE
STAFF WRITER
Published Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Springfield Catholic Diocese has agreed to pay $625,000 to six victims of sexual abuse by the late Rev. Alvin Campbell in the 1970s and early '80s.

Campbell was a priest at St. Maurice Church in Morrisonville when, in 1985, he pleaded guilty but mentally ill to charges of abusing at least seven teenage boys. He was sentenced to 14 years in prison and served almost seven years before being released in 1992. He moved out of Illinois after his release, was removed from the ministry and died in 2002.

"Those who have been harmed by this evil deserve our help," Bishop George Lucas told Catholic Times, the diocesan newspaper. "I pray that with God's grace this settlement will help promote healing for those who have been abused and their families."

Springfield attorney Fred Nessler, whose office represented the six victims, said this latest settlement brings to approximately $10 million the amount of damages his office has collected for clients in Illinois from priest sex abuse cases.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:44 AM

'Lost Boys,' other FLDS teens lobby lawmakers

UTAH
Deseret Morning News

By Ben Winslow
Deseret Morning News
They walked through the halls of power like high school students on a field trip.
The reality, though, is that most of these teens who left "the Creek" never made it past the eighth grade.
"We weren't allowed to go to the public schools," said "Sherrie," who ran away from the Fundamentalist LDS Church at age 16.
Teens who ran away or were kicked out of the polygamous enclaves of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz., came to the state Capitol complex Friday to share their heartbreaking stories and plead with lawmakers for money to help fund housing and to purchase clothing and food for other children in their situation.
"If we can get some help from the government, imagine the difference it can make in these kids' lives," said Kevin Black, who was kicked out of the FLDS Church at age 17.
Many of the children have been dubbed "Lost Boys" — teenage boys that have been kicked out of the FLDS Church for committing a "sin," such as wearing short-sleeved shirts. The girls are never ousted; they run away.
"The girls are considered a commodity," said Shannon Price, director of the Diversity Foundation, which helps children who leave the border towns. ...
The groups that help these children said they have heard more than 1,000 have either been ousted or have left. Most don't have a formal education. Price said that stopped when the Alta Academy, an FLDS private school run by Warren Jeffs, shut down in 1998.
Jeffs is now the leader of the FLDS Church and facing criminal charges in Utah and Arizona, which have accused him of arranging child-bride marriages. Price said Jeffs continues to create upheaval in families — even from jail.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:28 AM

Volunteer at Baptist camp faces child-pornography charges

COLUMBIA (IL)
Associated Baptist Press

By Michael Leathers
Published January 19, 2007

COLUMBIA, Ill. (ABP) – A volunteer camp leader arrested for child pornography and indecent solicitation of a child met both of his victims through a camp sponsored by the Illinois Baptist State Association, according to police.

While no crime is alleged to have occurred at the association’s Super Summer camp in June 2005, police are urging parents whose teenage children attended the camp to talk to their children and check their computers to see if the accused 20-year-old man, Aaron Niles of Waterloo, an Illinois suburb of St. Louis, had any contact with them. His screen names are loverboyniles and godrocks30.

“There may be no more victims; there may be 10 more victims,” Columbia Police Chief Joe Edwards said.

Niles allegedly made contact with the two 13- or 14-year-old girls at the IBSA-sponsored camp. Police say he communicated with the teens some time later on the Internet. He allegedly solicited the girls to pose for partially nude photos and to perform a sex act in April and May 2006, almost a year after the camp. All the abuse occurred over the Internet, police say; no sexual contact was involved.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:19 AM

Family settles youth pastor abuse case

YAKIMA (WA)
Yakima Herald-Republic

By CHRIS BRISTOL
YAKIMA HERALD-REPUBLIC

The parents of a teenager who was molested by her youth pastor have settled a federal lawsuit against a Yakima church.

The lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Yakima was settled for an undisclosed sum in November, according to court records. Attorneys involved in the case would not discuss the settlement Friday.

The case had been set for trial in April. It was filed a year ago against the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, a nonprofit religious corporation based in California and parent organization of West Valley Foursquare.

Also named as a defendant was William J. Hogan, a former West Valley Foursquare youth pastor, as well as his wife, Heather.

The lawsuit was sealed from the outset by U.S. District Judge Lonny Suko at the request of the church's lawyers.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:17 AM

No 'Hand of God' for you!

TEXAS
dotCommonweal

January 19, 2007, 2:07 pm
Posted by Grant Gallicho

If you live in the Rio Grande Valley, that is. The local PBS affiliate there decided not to show the Hand of God episode of Frontline on Tuesday night, although it was broadcast on all other PBS stations around the country save one. Instead, KMBH-TV ran last week's episode of Frontline, which focused on the Taliban. Why would they pull the plug on Hand of God, a documentary about clergy sexual abuse that had received national attention and critical praise?

Could it have anything to do with the fact that KMBH-TV is owned by the Diocese of Brownsville? The Brownsville Herald reports:

Gerald Brazier, a member of the church reform group Call to Action RGV, said people who called KMBH about the missing episode on Tuesday were told that the station’s general manager, Monsignor Pedro Briseño, wanted to watch “Hand of God” before it aired locally to see if it was appropriate for local viewers.

snip

Viewers who called KMBH on Thursday were told “Hand of God” did not air because PBS did not provide it to the station on time for the regular “Frontline” time slot Tuesday night.

Yet the senior director of prime-time publicity for PBS said that Hand of God was delivered to local stations on January 11 for review, and again at the show's regular time slot on Tuesday night--on time.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:14 AM

Archdiocese to Shut 21 N.Y. Parishes

NEW YORK
The New York Times

By MICHAEL LUO
Published: January 19, 2007

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York announced today that it is closing 21 parishes as part of a far-reaching reorganization plan, bringing to an end a decision-making process that has dragged on for more than five years and trapped many parishioners in uncertainty. ...

Cardinal Egan originally intended to plunge into the redrawing of parish lines soon after he became archbishop in 2000, but the scandal over sexual abuse by priests made him put it off.

Bishop Timothy A. McDonnell was initially put in charge of “realignment,” as it came to be called by archdiocesan officials, but he left to become the bishop of Springfield, Mass., in April 2004, leading to another long delay.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:08 AM

Suspect priest had access to schools

IRELAND
Irish Independent

A PRIEST was allowed free access to children over a 14-year period despite having a serious allegation of child abuse made against him.

The Irish Independent has also learned the Catholic Church failed to notify the HSE or the gardai about the allegation against the retired elderly priest - who now lives in a diocese in the West of Ireland - until last month.

This is despite the fact that the Bishop of Elphin, Dr Christopher Jones, was aware there was an allegation as far back as 1993 and had told some of his parish priests about it.

The allegation only came to light when a newly-appointed parish priest warned the principal of the local national school that the elderly priest should not be given access to children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:04 AM

Bishop: Appropriate steps taken

ORLANDO (FL)
Orlando Sentinel

Kristen Reed | Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted January 20, 2007

Orlando Bishop Thomas Wenski on Thursday defended his decision not to tell parishioners that a Deltona priest was removed because of a sex-abuse investigation.

The bishop's written statement was a response to a support group for victims of clergy molestation, which said the bishop deceived the public about the Rev. Carlos Bedoya.

Bedoya, the pastor at St. Clare Catholic Church, was removed from his post in November. Parishioners were told it was to deal with "personal issues." But diocesan leaders confirmed last week that the reason was an investigation into allegations that Bedoya assisted another man, who performed a sex act on a 35-year-old man against his will.

"Based on the information provided to me and the presumption of innocence, I believe that my actions have been appropriate," the bishop wrote to leaders at the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. "I will take future action based on the outcome of law enforcement's investigation and any other factors uncovered."

Bedoya has not been arrested or charged, and the State Attorney's Office is reviewing the sexual-battery case. A spokeswoman said prosecutors need to speak to more people and continue investigating before a decision is made about charges.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:00 AM

January 19, 2007

Sins of the Father

UNITED STATES
Entertainment Insiders

by Brian Hughes
reviewed: 2007-01-16

Let me just start off by saying that I applaud Joe Cultrera for having the balls to make this film. I only wish The Academy would have the same pair and nominate this picture in the Best Documentary category. With expert craftsmanship Cultrera and his two associates, Producer and Co-Editor Laura Corwin and Cameraman Hugh Walsh, not only lay bare the pain that has clouded over the life of his brother, Paul Cultrera, but also expose the hypocrisy and “corporate company” mentality of the Catholic Church. This is a film not made by some young, idealist, ultra liberal documentarian, but by a wise adult male who was raised in the Catholic environment, knows it in and out, and has the grace to realize that it is humanity that ruins religion, not the religion itself. That it is the ultimate in vanity for any man to think he is speaking for God. But, like any secret society, like any fraternity, like any big corporation, secrets must be kept within the family. And it is better to keep things quiet than to expose them. Well, thanks to Cultrera and company, the secrets of the Arch Diocese of Massachusetts are no longer a secret.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:51 PM

Pastor suspected of embezzlement

MICHIGAN
Press & Argus

The Livingston County Prosecutor's Office is reviewing a forensic accountant's report to determine whether to re-file charges against a Brighton pastor and his wife suspected of embezzling from Brighton Wesleyan Church.

Conspiracy and embezzlement charges against Ronald Walker and his wife Teri were dropped in May after prosecutors seized 39 boxes of documents from the church's district office.

At the time, Livingston County Prosecutor David Morse said the church's district office had been "extraordinarily uncooperative" and were trying to hide the
documents.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:35 PM

Bishop knocked for handling of abuse case

MICHIGAN
Muskegon Chronicle

Friday, January 19, 2007
FROM LOCAL AND WIRE REPORTS

A national advocacy group is taking Bishop Walter Hurley to task for his "reckless" handling of a 1971 sexual abuse case in Muskegon that led to the removal of a Caledonia priest.

In a letter sent to Hurley Thursday, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, calls on him to investigate why David LeBlanc was not removed after admitting to sexual abuse in 1993.

SNAP leaders also said Hurley was too slow to remove the former pastor of Holy Family Catholic Church in Caledonia after taking office in August 2005.

"A slow, casual process is reckless," stated the letter from SNAP President Barbara Blaine and National Outreach Director Barbara Dorris. Hurley owes the diocese "an apology and an explanation for this dangerous behavior," the letter stated.

Hurley has said he uncovered the abuse allegations while reviewing priests' files to ensure the diocese was complying with a national bishops policy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:52 PM

Bishop knocked for handling of LeBlanc sex abuse case

GRAND RAPIDS (MI)
The Grand Rapids Press

Friday, January 19, 2007
By Charles Honey
Press Religion Editor

GRAND RAPIDS -- A national advocacy group is taking Bishop Walter Hurley to task for his "reckless" handling of a sexual abuse case that led to the removal of a Caledonia priest.

In a letter sent to Hurley Thursday, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, calls on him to investigate why David LeBlanc was not removed after admitting to sexual abuse in 1993.

SNAP leaders also said Hurley was too slow to remove the former pastor of Holy Family Catholic Church in Caledonia after taking office in August 2005. Bishop Robert Rose was in charge of the diocese in 1993 and retired in 2003.

"A slow, casual process is reckless," stated the letter from SNAP President Barbara Blaine and National Outreach Director Barbara Dorris. Hurley owes the diocese "an apology and an explanation for this dangerous behavior," the letter stated.

Hurley has said he uncovered the abuse allegations while reviewing priests' files to ensure the diocese was complying with a bishops policy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:51 PM

Hawaii diocese settles to avoid sex-abuse trial

HONOLULU (HI)
Pacific Daily News

HONOLULU (AP) -- The Catholic Diocese of Honolulu has reached an out-of-court settlement with a Honolulu man to avoid a sex-abuse trial.

Elton Killion had accused Andrew Mannetta, a former pastor of St. Elizabeth Church in Aiea, of unwanted sexual misconduct from 1997 to 2001 when he was a minor.

Mannetta also served as a priest on Guam for about six years in the 1980s, according to Pacific Daily News files.

The church will give Killion $375,000, according to Killion's attorney David Gierlach.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:43 PM

Tighten financial controls on U.S. parishes, add bishops’ oversight, lay experts urge

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic Online

1/19/2007
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

WASHINGTON (Catholic Online) – Tighter internal financial controls, including oversight by bishops and diocesan fiscal offices, are needed for the 19,000 parishes throughout the United States, said an advisory group of lay Catholic experts.

The Accounting Practices Committee, which advises the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), offered the recommendations to improve existing diocesan policies on financial governance at the parish level, especially as it relates to the receiving of cash from the Sunday Mass collection plate.

The committee recommendations, released Jan. 18 by the USCCB, come one month after the release of a new study by Villanova University that found that 85 percent of Roman Catholic dioceses in the United States have discovered embezzlement during the last five years, with 11 percent having been embezzled out of more than a half-million dollars each and 29 percent reporting embezzlements of less than $50,000.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:39 PM

Priest appears in Louisa court

LOUISA (VA)
Richmond Times-Dispatch

BY CALVIN R. TRICE
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER Jan 19, 2007

LOUISA -- Outside, he walked through a gantlet of more than a dozen reporters and photographers.

Inside, more than 20 members of his former parishes waited to see the Rev. Rodney L. Rodis face a criminal charge that he stole their money for years.

Rodis, 50, retired pastor of St. Jude Catholic Church in Mineral and Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Buckner, walked alongside attorney John R. Maus, who fended off questions from the media as they entered Louisa County Circuit Court.

Rodis moved slowly and with the assistance of a cane. He did not use a cane last week when a Times-Dispatch reporter briefly interviewed him at the Spotsylvania home that, according to a court record and neighbors, he shares with a woman and three children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:45 AM

Priest's appearance in court is short

LOUISA (VA)
The Free Lance-Star

By BILL FREEHLING

Date published: 1/19/2007

Dozens of Catholic parishioners and numerous reporters filled three long rows of seats in Louisa County Circuit Court yesterday for an uneventful hearing in the case of Catholic priest Rodney Lee Rodis.

Rodis, 50, was before Judge Timothy K. Sanner to determine who will represent the priest on accusations that he embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from St. Jude and Immaculate Conception Catholic churches.

Walking with a cane, Rodis arrived at the courthouse just minutes before the 11 a.m. hearing. He was greeted by a throng of newspaper and television cameras but offered no comment.

Louisa attorney Jack Maus has been representing Rodis on a pro-bono basis up to this point and was with the priest yesterday. Maus told the judge that Rodis needs another two or three weeks to hire a lawyer. Maus himself may be retained in the case.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:42 AM

Keeping Up Appearances

FLORIDA
The Florida Jewish News

Written by Avi Frier
Friday, 19 January 2007
After the first installment of the JTA investigative series on sexual abuse in the Jewish community appeared in last week’s Florida Jewish News, I heard comments on the subject from numerous people, most of whom commended me for running the story.

One reader, however, had this to say: "You know, there was an important reason left out of the article as to why [in Orthodox circles] sexual abuse tends to get swept under the rug. It’s because people are afraid that if it is discovered that their child was sexually abused, it would ruin their chances of finding a shidduch."

A quick explanation for our non-Orthodox readers: Orthodoxy is by no means a homogenous movement within Judaism, especially with regard to how one searches for a mate. Modern Orthodox Jews date in a similar manner to the rest of Western society (with the exception that society’s acceptance of pre-marital cohabitation is not accepted in any Orthodox circles). In more right-wing circles (oft referred to as "black hat" or "Yeshivish"), although arranged marriages (a-la "Fiddler on the Roof") are pretty much a thing of the past, the process still utilizes the services of a matchmaker. Today, the role of the matchmaker is to "check out" each prospective mate on behalf of the other, and to serve as a go-between from before their first meeting until the couple is ready to get engaged. The word shidduch refers to the match; in Yeshivish circles, the question "How did you two meet?" would be replaced with, "So, who made the shidduch?"

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:39 AM

'Father Bob' facing deadline

BELVIDERE (PA)
The Express-Times

Friday, January 19, 2007
By TOM QUIGLEY
The Express-Times
BELVIDERE | The former pastor of St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Washington charged with stealing nearly $1 million from his church has a month to decide if he'll accept a plea bargain and face three years in prison.

Warren County Prosecutor Thomas S. Ferguson said Thursday the plea offered to the Rev. Robert Ascolese, known to his former parishioners as "Father Bob," would remain on the table until Feb. 21, when the priest is next scheduled to appear in court.

"It's fish or cut bait on the 21st of February," said Warren County Assistant Prosecutor Craig Barto, who is representing the state.

Ferguson said Ascolese and his attorney, James Nolan, of Woodbridge, N.J., requested more time to examine documents related to the charges. Superior Court Judge John Pursel granted the request.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:26 AM

Cops: Priest is husband & crook

LOUISA (VA)
Philadelphia Daily News

Associated Press
LOUISA, Va. - A retired Roman Catholic priest suspected of living a double life as a family man was in court yesterday, accused of embezzling thousands of dollars from two parishes.

The Rev. Rodney L. Rodis, 50, did not enter a plea.

He was indicted Jan. 8 on a count of embezzlement. He had been pastor at St. Jude, in Mineral, and at Immaculate Conception, in Bumpass, between 1993 and May 2006.

The Diocese of Richmond has said Rodis embezzled more than $600,000 from his two parishes, but a state police investigator said the sum could top $1 million.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:23 AM

Bishop takes heat in abuse case

ORLAND0 (FL)
Orlando Sentinel

Kristen Reed | Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted January 19, 2007

A support group for victims of clergy molestation is calling on Orlando's Roman Catholic bishop to apologize for "secrecy and deceit" by not telling parishioners that a Deltona priest was removed from his post because of a sex-abuse investigation.

Leaders at the Chicago-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests wrote Bishop Thomas Wenski on Thursday criticizing the way the diocese has informed parishioners and the public about the Rev. Carlos Bedoya.

Bedoya, the pastor at St. Clare Catholic Church, was removed in November, and parishioners were told it was to deal with "personal issues." They didn't learn until last week when it was reported in the Orlando Sentinel that Bedoya is being investigated on allegations he helped another man perform a sex act on a 35-year-old man.

Bedoya has not been arrested or charged, and the State Attorney's Office is reviewing the case. It is unknown how long the investigation will take.

"In the face of potentially very harmful criminal behavior, we have two choices: doing nothing or actively trying to help," said David Clohessy, the executive director of SNAP. "Wenski, in essence, chose a different path -- that is to deceive people, which is the worst possible course to take."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:16 AM

McMurry & Associates Win Ruling Against Vatican

LOUISVILLE (KY)
PR Newswire

LOUISVILLE, Ky., Jan. 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- William F. McMurry, attorney for three men who are seeking damages from the Vatican in a negligence lawsuit, was pleased with the ruling issued last week by a federal judge. U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II ruled that the plaintiffs could pursue their claim against the Vatican.

The plaintiffs claim that top church officials were negligent when they failed to warn local authorities of suspected and/or known cases of sexual abuse by clergy.

McMurry, a trial specialist in medical and legal malpractice says, "The primary purpose of the suit is to hold the Vatican accountable and this ruling gives us the opportunity to get a hold of church documents and take depositions of church officials."

McMurry successfully represented over 243 plaintiffs that settled a suit for $25.3 million against the Archdiocese of Louisville in 2003. He is currently seeking class action status in the suit against the Vatican.

For more information about this case visit http://www.courtroomlaw.com/. About McMurry & Associates

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:14 AM

Former Methodist president admits sex abuse

NORTHERN IRELAND
Belfast Telegraph

Friday, January 19, 2007

By Claire McNeilly

The Methodist Church in Ireland was left reeling last night after one of its former presidents confessed to a string of sex offences.

Kenneth Best, who headed the church between 1996 and 1997, appeared at Belfast Crown Court where he pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a schoolboy in the Sixties.

The 62-year-old father of two admitted to six specific charges of sexual assault between January 1, 1963 and December 31, 1966.

The court heard he was 19 years old when he first interfered with the victim, then aged 14.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph last night, a church insider said the revelations were "shocking and very embarrassing" for Methodists here.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:12 AM

Robinson abuse suit's dismissal to be appealed

TOLEDO (OH)
Toledo Blade

By MARK REITER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A Lucas County Common Pleas Court ruling throwing out the civil lawsuit of a woman who accused Gerald Robinson of torturing and raping her in a satanic ritual when she was a child will be appealed, an attorney in the case said yesterday.

Mark Davis, the attorney for the plaintiff who filed the suit anonymously with her husband as Survivor Doe and Spouse Doe, said the decision of Judge Ruth Ann Franks will be appealed to the Ohio 6th District Court of Appeals within the next 30 days.

"In my opinion, Satan has won and God has lost," Mr. Davis said of the ruling, which was filed yesterday in Common Pleas Court. "I have absolutely no doubt, if given our day in court, that we would be able to prove that this cult existed and the victim was abused."

His client alleged in a civil complaint filed in April, 2005, that she was the victim of sexual abuse and torture during ritualistic ceremonies in the basement of a North Toledo Catholic church in the 1960s and 1970s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:10 AM

Missouri Baptist pastor sentenced to 20 years for child sex-abuse

GREENWOOD (MO)
Associated Baptist Press

By Hannah Elliott
Published January 18, 2007

GREENWOOD, Mo. (ABP) -- In what the detective investigating it described as Missouri's biggest clergy sex-abuse to date, Shawn Davies, a 33-year-old former music and youth minister, was sentenced Jan. 12 to 20 years in prison for molesting children at First Baptist Church of Greenwood, Mo.

Davies was convicted of 25 counts of abuse dating from 2003. Charges included statutory sodomy, furnishing pornographic material to minors, supplying liquor to minors, sexual misconduct with a child under the age of 14, use of a child in sexual performance and endangering the welfare of a child.

Under a plea-bargain deal, Davies will serve the 20 years as concurrent sentences for crimes committed in Missouri and Kentucky.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:08 AM

Dare to repair

BOSTON (MA)
The Pilot

Father Richard Erikson

My father loves to repair, renew and refurbish. He is a retired engineer, but at the age of 80 he continues to tackle every nook and cranny of his home. About six years ago my parents, due to my mother’s declining health, moved into a single-story home. My father devoted himself to my mother’s care and to transforming the house into a home for her. My mother passed to the Lord three years ago, but my father continues to repair, renew and refurbish.

When I visited my father last week, I thought of what he and I have in common these days. Both of us are daring to repair. As vicar general and moderator of the curia, Cardinal Seán has asked me to join him in the ministry of rebuilding Christ’s Church in the Archdiocese of Boston. I pray for the perseverance, perspective and wisdom my father has shown in making his house into a home. I try to take one day, and one step, at a time. ...

Coordination: The administration of the Archdiocese of Boston is large and complex. People in the archdiocese expect the central administration to be good stewards of our resources and effective administrators of the archdiocese. These have been challenging times for those who work and minister in the chancery not only because of the dark days of the sexual abuse crisis, but also because we have endured two major layoffs in the past few years. We are being asked to do and are being expected to do -- more with less. The size of the challenge is equaled only by our desire and commitment to serve the Church in Boston well and effectively. We are making changes and enhancements in the internal administration of the archdiocese that we hope and pray will bear fruit and be evident in the days to come

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:05 AM

KMBH pulls plug on documentary

HARLINGEN (TX)
The Brownsville Herald

By BRUCE LEE SMITH
Valley Morning Star

HARLINGEN — The “Hand of God” reached most of the United States Tuesday night, but not the Rio Grande Valley.

This week’s Public Broadcasting Service’s “Frontline” documentary, an episode called “Hand of God,” dealt with the child molestation scandal that rocked the Archdiocese of Boston. But the program did not air locally.

KMBH-TV, the local PBS affiliate that is owned by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brownsville, instead aired a repeat of the previous week’s “Frontline,” which was about the Taliban of Afghanistan, according to one viewer.

Another viewer, Gerald Brazier, a member of the church reform group Call to Action RGV, said people who called KMBH about the missing episode on Tuesday were told that the station’s general manager, Monsignor Pedro Briseño, wanted to watch “Hand of God” before it aired locally to see if it was appropriate for local viewers.

A KMBH staff member who refused to give her name said Briseño was on a previously scheduled annual religious retreat Thursday and was not available for comment.

Viewers who called KMBH on Thursday were told “Hand of God” did not air because PBS did not provide it to the station on time for the regular “Frontline” time slot Tuesday night.

Brownsville Diocese spokeswoman Brenda Nettles Riojas said Thursday she could not contact Briseño, but media questions about the “Hand of God” documentary could be sent by e-mail to him and he would respond today.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:03 AM

Criticized priest is transferred

NORTH RICHLAND HILLS (TX)
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

By TERRY LEE GOODRICH
STAR-TELEGRAM STAFF WRITER

NORTH RICHLAND HILLS -- The Rev. Tim Thompson, criticized for mishandling information about a priest accused of sexual abuse, has been transferred by the Fort Worth Catholic Diocese from St. John the Apostle in North Richland Hills to St. Mark Catholic Church in Denton.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, a national victims' group, has said Thompson and former diocese leaders did not report to police information they knew about the Rev. Philip Magaldi, who was accused of sexual abuse of a minor in the late 1990s.

SNAP had asked that Bishop Kevin Vann discipline Thompson.

Thompson and the Rev. Michael Olson, the diocese's vicar general, said the transfer had nothing to do with SNAP's criticism and is not a disciplinary measure.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:54 AM

Church 'pleased' abuse case over

HAWAII
Honolulu Advertiser

By Ken Kobayashi
Advertiser Courts Writer

A $350,000 out-of-court settlement with a man who claimed he was sexually abused by a priest enables the Catholic Church here to put the matter behind it and continue the church's mission in Hawai'i, Bishop Larry Silva of the Catholic Diocese of Honolulu said yesterday.

The church agreed late Wednesday to pay Elton Killion to settle his lawsuit contending that Andrew Mannetta, former pastor of St. Elizabeth Church in 'Aiea, engaged in unwanted sexual misconduct from 1997 or 1998 until December 2000.

The settlement was reached on the eve of what was expected to be a two-week civil jury trial on the lawsuit against the church and Mannetta.

"We are pleased that an opportunity to resolve this matter presented itself," Silva said in a statement yesterday. "The legal process is long and painful. Drawing this dispute out in a protracted court battle would not be in the best interests of the plaintiff, the Church or Andy Mannetta.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:53 AM

Catholic Church settles sex suit

HAWAII
Honolulu Star-Bulletin

By Debra Barayuga
dbarayuga@starbulletin.com
The Catholic Church has settled a lawsuit and agreed to pay $375,000 to a man who alleged he was sexually abused by a priest.

The settlement was reached Wednesday night on the eve of trial between Elton Killion, who alleged that the Rev. Andrew Mannetta massaged him and touched his genitals on several occasions in 2000, and the church, which made no admission of liability.

The settlement resolves the remaining claims in the lawsuit that also named the priest and the Capuchin Preaching Ministry, of which Mannetta was a member.

Killion, who was 18 at the time the sexual abuse started, is now 26 and lives in Honolulu.

"He's glad that it's over and hoping to be able to repair what happened in his life," said Killion's attorney, David Gierlach.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:43 AM

January 18, 2007

Screening candidates for entry into the seminary

CALIFORNIA
The Tidings

Forty-ninth in a series.

Psychological health as well as spiritual and academic aptitude is critical in determining a candidate's admission to St. John's Seminary in Camarillo.

In the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the screening process of candidates seeking entry into formation at St. John's is among the most sophisticated and thorough in the nation. Indeed, before a candidate can be considered for admission to the seminary, he must undergo a series of in-depth personal interviews, a mental status examination and psychological testing.

"We pay close attention to the human formation of the individual, both in the application process and in the admissions process, as well as here at St. John's," says Msgr. Helmut Hefner, president and rector of St. John's. "Pope John Paul II used the phrase 'affective maturity,' which he called 'the result of an education in true and responsible love.' We use the term 'psychosexual maturity,' but both reflect a stable, firmly grounded sexual life. That is what we seek to determine in the interview process of candidates before they even set foot in the door." ...

A candidate's sexual history is also discussed in the interview. Questions include those focused on the normal patterns of psycho-sexual development: falling in love, romantic relationships, dating experiences, etc. Inquiries are also made into any possible trauma or sexual abuse that might have been experienced by the candidate. Sexual orientation is also explored.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:29 PM

Darkness To Light

SOUTH CAROLINA
WCSC

In response to recent child abduction scares and the arrest of a Goose Creek pastor for sex abuse charges, concerned parents are taking action to protect their kids.

The nonprofit group Darkness to Light is holding training courses educating them about the facts of sex abuse.

One quarter of girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday.

In 90% of sexual abuse cases the child knows the abuser.

The training course organizers say teaching adults is a big step in protecting kids from sexual predators.

Some steps you can take right now to protect kids:

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:50 PM

Priest charged in embezzlement scheme appears in Va. court

VIRGINIA
WVEC

01/18/2007

By KRISTEN GELINEAU / Associated Press

A Roman Catholic priest accused of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from two rural parishes appeared in court Thursday as his former parishioners looked on grimly.

The Rev. Rodney L. Rodis, 50, appeared briefly in Louisa Circuit Court before Judge Timothy Sanner. He did not enter a plea and the judge continued the case until Feb. 26. Rodis is free on $10,000 bond.

Rodis, who did not respond to questions outside of court, wore a bulky green jacket and it was not apparent if he was wearing his cleric's collar. He shuffled into court with the aid of a cane.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Richmond has said Rodis embezzled more than $600,000 from his two parishes, but a state police investigator said the sum could top $1 million.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:56 PM

Longer limits needed to get child predators

MICHIGAN
Muskegon Chronicle

Thursday, January 18, 2007
Two sordid abuse cases involving local priests begs for a review of state limits on the prosecution of sex crimes against children, as we see it. In both instances, the law's reach is limited due to the period of time between the alleged incidents and their reporting to authorities.

Statutes of limitation, as these windows for prosecution are known, are grounded in sensible law. Often, if an unreasonable amount of time passes between the criminal act and the bringing of charges, witnesses may have died or moved, memories grow old and the need for justice is less keenly felt. Removing all statutes of limitation would quickly clog up the legal system.

Yet there are exceptions, such as the taking of another human life. And there should be others to cover cases such as the ones that have recently rocked the Muskegon Catholic community family. Among those exceptions should be any rape, molestation, torture or first-degree criminal sexual conduct cases where the victim is a minor child.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:44 PM

Another abuse accusation surfaces against local Catholic priest

MISSOURI
News-Leader

A second person has reported having been sexually abused by a local Catholic priest who died more than 25 years ago.

In a public statement issued Dec. 19 the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau said it received a credible accusation of sexual abuse of a minor occurring 40 years ago against one of its priests, Eugene Deragowski, who died in 1981.

Since that statement?s release, another credible accusation also taking place in the diocese in the 1960s has been received.

As required by the diocesan policy on sexual abuse, the additional accusation has been reported to the appropriate law enforcement authorities, according to a press release from the diocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:40 PM

Documentary details abuse by McCormack colleague

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Bishop Accountability

A news story on the documentary Hand of God appeared in today's print edition of the Manchester Union Leader. It is available at the Bishop Accountability site.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:24 PM

Bishop McCormack's sins will be televised tonight

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Bishop Accountability

An Op-Ed article by Carolyn B. Disco appeared in today's print edition of the Manchester Union Leader. It can be accessed at the Bishop Accountability site.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:19 PM

Priest's resignation draws concerns

ST. LOUIS (MO)
South County Journal

By Shawn Clubb
Tuesday, January 16, 2007 5:40 PM CST

The resignation of a priest from his assignment at St. Ambrose Parish has a group that fights clergy abuse condemning actions of the local archdiocese.

The Rev. Darell Mitchell resigned last week from his assignment at St. Ambrose Parish at 5130 Wilson Ave. on The Hill. Mitchell is a priest in the Diocese of Yakima, Wash. He has been living in St. Louis where Archbishop Raymond Burke gave him a pastoral assignment.

Monsignor John Ecker, vicar general of the Diocese of Yakima, said Mitchell was sent two years ago to a treatment center near St. Louis after facing allegations in Washington that he had inappropriate material on his computer.
Barbara Dorris, national victim's outreach director for the Survivors' Network of those Abused by Priests, said what Mitchell possessed in Washington was child pornography.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:38 PM

Ex-priest negotiates plea

OHIO
Cleveland Plain Dealer

A former priest accepted a plea deal Wednesday that gave him no jail time after he admitted stealing almost $20,000 from the church to pay hush money to a woman he had sex with. The Rev. Thomas Carolan, 75, was the pastor at now-closed St. Jude Catholic Church in Warrensville Heights from 1990 until last year, when he resigned amid scandal. His misdeeds surfaced after he told police he suspected two women of stealing and cashing checks from the parish. Investigators subsequently learned he had an affair with one of the women and she, her sister and another accomplice had blackmailed the priest.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:31 AM

Too many questions remain, alleged abuse victim says

CANADA
Ottawa Sun

Thu, January 18, 2007

By Canadian Press

CORNWALL — A witness at an inquiry into the institutional response to allegations of systemic sexual abuse in the Cornwall area says he’s leaving the hearings with more questions than when he began his testimony.

“It’s just eating me up,” said John MacDonald, who has accused a priest of sexually abusing him on a number of occasions in the 1970s when he was an altar boy.

“The last thing I wanted to do was leave here with any nagging questions.”

MacDonald’s comments came following testimony that revealed that a Crown attorney, Robert Pelletier, withheld a conflict of interest in the case for 21/2 years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:28 AM

Film criticizes how bishop handled abuse

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Concord Monitor

By DANIEL BARRICK
Monitor staff

January 18. 2007 8:00AM

A documentary film broadcast on New Hampshire Public Television this week revives a chapter from the charges of sexual abuse by priests in Massachusetts and is sharply critical of the role played by New Hampshire Bishop John McCormack.

The film, Hand of God, tells the story of Paul Cultrera, who as a child in Salem, Mass., was repeatedly molested by his parish priest, the Rev. Joseph Birmingham.

McCormack served with Birmingham in the same parish at the time of Cultrera's abuse. Birmingham died in 1989, but McCormack is a central figure in Cultrera's story. In the film, Cultrera accuses McCormack of ignoring evidence of his abuse in the 1960s and of lying when confronted by Cultrera with his story in 1994. McCormack ran the Boston Archdiocese's personnel office at that time.

"If there's one thing that's stuck for me and made me feel real bitter, it's the way that McCormack treated my case and, looking at the files, treated lots of them," Cultrera says in the film.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:26 AM

Diocese holds workshop after priest's conviction

CANADA
Guelph Mercury

COMBER, ONT. (Jan 18, 2007)

More than 165 people gathered in this small town yesterday afternoon for a sexual abuse workshop.

The workshop for priests, pastoral workers and victim support professionals was organized by the Catholic Diocese of London in the wake of the Father Charles Sylvestre scandal.

Sylvestre, an 84-year-old retired priest, pleaded guilty in August to indecently assaulting 47 female victims over three decades while serving at southwestern Ontario parishes in Chatham, Pain Court, Sarnia, London and Windsor.

He was sentenced to three years in prison in October.

Kelly-Anne Appleton, who was abused by Sylvestre while a student at St. Ursula's School in Chatham, said it was difficult for her to attend.

However, she called it important to confront her anguish head on.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:22 AM

Abuse Lawsuit Dismissed Against Priest Convicted Of Killing Nun

TOLEDO (OH)
WCPO

Reported by: A.P.
Web produced by: Neil Relyea
Photographed by: 9News
First posted: 1/17/2007 11:26:12 PM
TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) -- A judge on Wednesday dismissed a civil lawsuit in which a woman accused a Roman Catholic priest -- convicted in a separate case last year of killing a nun -- of taking part in ritual abuse ceremonies nearly 40 years ago.

Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Ruth Ann Franks granted a motion to dismiss the case filed on behalf of the Rev. Gerald Robinson, the Catholic Diocese of Toledo and others named in the suit, WNWO-TV reported on its Web site. ...

Robinson's attorney, John Thebes, told WNWO that the motion to dismiss the civil lawsuit was based on the statute of limitations that a suit must be filed within a specified number of years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:17 AM

Survivor remembers years of pain

CANADA
Prince George Free Press

By Arthur Williams
Free Press
Jan 17 2007

For Pearl Stelmacker, residential schools are not a part of the distant past but a significant and traumatic part of her life.

Stelmacker spent six years of her childhood at one of the most infamous residential schools in Canada – Alberni Indian Residential School in Port Alberni.

In 1995, Alberni Indian Residential School supervisor Arthur Henry Plint – who worked at the school from 1948 to 1968 – was convicted of 18 counts of indecent assault against aboriginal students. Plint was sentenced to 11 years in prison and is now out on parole.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:14 AM

Hand of God

PBS Frontline

Joe Cultrera's film Hand of God is available for download at this Frontline PBS Web site. It is available in QuickTime and Windows Media formats.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:11 AM

Secret identity

VIRGINIA
The Free Lance-Star

Date published: 1/18/2007

HOW CURIOUS is the case of the Rev. Rodney Lee Rodis, the Catholic priest accused of embezzling perhaps $1 million from two Louisa County churches while living a second life as a married-with-kids householder in Spotsylvania County. Put away that comic book. Batman has nothing on this mystery man with a clerical collar.

Father Rodis, 50, evidently sustained his suburban alter ego for at least 13 years, without even an Alfred to help him change duds, until November. Then a parishioner asked for a tax receipt on an earlier donation, putting diocesan officials onto a bank account into which police say the priest socked his boodle. While to the good folks of St. Jude and Immaculate Conception churches Father Rodis was a kindly padre, to his neighbors in Sheraton Hills East subdivision he was a happily hitched father of three girls, a personable neighbor ringing up the jack in the import-export business. Thirteen years. Most Broadway actors never have that kind of a run.

Diligent oversight can protect donations. Had deacons of the two churches insisted that all monetary gifts come through the parish council, no one individual would have been led into temptation. Institutions awash in love, no less than casinos or auto-body shops, need cold mechanisms of financial verification.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:09 AM

Priest Accused Of Leading Double Life, Embezzlement

VIRGINIA
NBC 4

LOUISA COUNTY, Va. -- Authorities said a Virginia priest who lived a double life may also have embezzled more than $1 million from two Louisa County churches.

Police said they have recently been flooded with reports from people who donated money to Rev. Rodney Rodis' church, saying he stole large amounts of cash.

Shocked parishioners at the two churches said it was not unusual for the priest to handle large amounts of money.

"I was standing in the vestibule, speaking to Father Rodney about something and one of the visiting visitors handed him a check for $10,000 for the building of the church," said one church member.

According to court documents, that check and hundreds more may have ended up in Virginia Heartland Bank in a hidden personal account set up by Rodis.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:06 AM

Louisa folks puzzled, but forgiving

MINERAL (VA)
The Free Lance-Star

Date published: 1/18/2007

By LAURA MOYER

MINERAL--A volunteer keeping an eye on visitors to the parish hall of St. Jude Catholic Church had nothing to say about the Rev. Rodney L. Rodis, accused of embezzling more than $600,000 during his tenure in Louisa County.

But parishioners' esteem for Rodis is evident. A sign on a roofed, open-sided picnic area near the church parking lot reads: Fr. Rodney Rodis Pavilion.

Rodis, 50, was pastor of St. Jude and Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Buckner from 1993 until he retired last year citing health reasons.

During his tenure, St. Jude underwent a building program and the priest was well-regarded, county residents said yesterday.

So news of Rodis' Jan. 8 indictment on a felony count of embezzlement from the two churches stunned parishioners and others in the community.

"It's disappointing, isn't it?" said David Whitlock, owner of Mineral Auto Parts.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:56 AM

Lawyer: Priests can open accounts

FREDERICKSBURG (VA)
Richmond Times-Dispatch

BY KIRAN KRISHNAMURTHY
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER Jan 18, 2007

FREDERICKSBURG -- Banking experts say documentation from a church's trustees or governing body -- not just the signature of a clergyman -- typically is required to open an account in a church's name.

But in the Catholic Diocese of Richmond -- where a retired pastor is charged with embezzling priests are empowered to open accounts in their church's name, a diocesan lawyer says.

"A Catholic pastor can do that. He's very much his own thing," said diocesan attorney William Etherington, adding that a parish's pastoral and financial councils serve only advisory roles.

"He will routinely get a letter from the diocese saying he is the bishop's agent for fiscal matters for the parish," Etherington said yesterday. "When he needs it, he takes it out of the file cabinet and shows it to the bank."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:54 AM

Catholics urged to take charge

BETHANY BEACH (DE)
The News Journal

By BETH MILLER, The News Journal

Posted Thursday, January 18, 2007

BETHANY BEACH -- Five years after child sexual abuse by priests became a national scandal, many Catholics still do not believe the abuses occurred, the president of Voice of the Faithful, a national lay Catholic reform group, said Wednesday night.

Speaking to about 70 members at a meeting of the South Coastal chapter of Voice of the Faithful, New Yorker Mary Pat Fox applauded the efforts of Delaware's two chapters to promote awareness, legislative change and lay participation.

Though the scandal caused many to leave the church, "those who have joined Voice of the Faithful said, 'This is my church. We are the church.' We can't pretend it didn't happen and go on as we did before. This must change."

Voice of the Faithful was formed in Massachusetts in response to the child sexual abuse scandal that emerged in 2002. Five years ago this month, The Boston Globe first published its massive report on how abusive priests were handled by the church, and revealed a labyrinthine pattern of secrecy and transfers used to keep the problem as quiet as possible.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:51 AM

Judge rules against S.D. diocese in 2 abuse cases

SAN DIEGO (CA)
Union-Tribune

By Mark Sauer
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
January 18, 2007

Diocese of San Diego officials, who knew for years that the Rev. Edward Anthony Rodrigue preyed on children sexually, should face punitive damages in addition to compensation requests for pain and suffering, according to legal arguments put forth by the plaintiffs' attorneys.

A judge this week agreed.

That means requests for punitive damages, which are rare in clergy-abuse cases, have now been granted in two of the five lawsuits against the Roman Catholic diocese set for trial beginning in mid-February. More than 150 such lawsuits are pending in San Diego.
Over strenuous denials from San Diego Bishop Robert Brom's attorneys, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Haley Fromholz ruled sufficient evidence existed that church officials for years knew of Rodrigue's lust for boys, yet failed to intercede.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:49 AM

Clergy misconduct

UNITED STATES
Washington Jewish Week

This article is the result of a three-month-long investigation by JTA News and Features of policies that have been drawn up over the past several years to rein in rogue rabbis and others who sexually exploit congregants, students or others.

The issue of clergy sexual abuse has gained increased attention in the 10 years since it was first investigated by JTA.

That earlier investigation, which focused primarily on rabbis who sexually coerce adult congregants, indicated that the problem was more widespread than had been assumed ‹ and that the Jewish establishment was beginning to grapple with it, but not always effectively.

For example, formal denominational policies governing rabbinic conduct were sometimes slow to develop. Although behavioral guidelines are now the norm, some other systemic problems uncovered in that earlier JTA series still persist.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:46 AM

Farewell to a pastor

MALTA
The Times of Malta

Archbishop Mgr Joseph Mercieca will today celebrate his farewell Mass at St John's Co-Cathedral, in Valletta, after 30 years at the helm of the Maltese diocese.

His appointment as successor to the controversial Archbishop Michael Gonzi came at a turbulent time in Malta's recent history. That year, Dom Mintoff had won his second term in office in a bitterly-fought election. Relations between Church and state were abysmal and Mr Mintoff was about to embark on aggressive policies to divest the Church of her property and force her to run her schools free of charge. ...

Matters were compounded by indiscipline in the clergy, inter-parish feuds and accusations of sexual abuse and paedophilia in the ranks of the clergy. These matters must have hurt Mgr Mercieca deeply. Also, he had to operate under the glare of a media that would not hesitate to expose embarrassing situations.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:43 AM

Mexican reporter says coverage of priest abuse case sparks threats

MEXICO
Committee to Protect Journalists

New York, January 17, 2007—The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by reports that Mexican reporter Sanjuana Martínez has been threatened for her coverage of allegations that a Catholic priest sexually abused dozens of boys in Mexico and the United States and that two cardinals sought to protect the priest.

Martínez told CPJ that she began receiving death threats in September 2006, when she began covering the case extensively for the Mexico City daily La Jornada and the daily news program “Hoy por hoy” on W Radio. Martínez also wrote a book about the case, Manto Púrpura (Purple Cloak), which was released in December.

Two lawsuits filed in California in 2006 accuse Cardinal Norberto Rivera of Mexico City and Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles of covering up charges of sexual abuse against the Rev. Nicolás Aguilar. The abuse allegations date back two decades. Last week, church leaders in Mexico asked the Vatican to defrock Aguilar, The New York Times reported.

In September, Martínez told CPJ, unidentified men began making nightly telephone death threats to her home in the northern city of Monterrey. The frequency of the calls lessened, she said, but the threats have continued.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:41 AM

OUR VIEW: Opening books enhances trust

FALL RIVER (MA)
Standard-Times

Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley set a wise example for Catholic bishops by releasing the results of a financial audit of the Boston archdiocese's financial operations.
After the clergy sex abuse scandal that shook the archdiocese, along with faithful priests and believers, Cardinal Sean was quick to recognize that the leadership of the church had to take every opportunity to restore its credibility with its believers by reaching out, opening up the inner workings of the archdiocese and making top clergy accountable to Catholics.
The Diocese of Fall River would be wise to follow the cardinal's example and similarly make known the results of its own financial audit.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:39 AM

Mexican reporter says coverage of priest abuse case sparks threats

MEXICO
Nieuwsbank

New York, January 17, 2007 --The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by reports that Mexican reporter Sanjuana Martínez has been threatened for her coverage of allegations that a Catholic priest sexually abused dozens of boys in Mexico and the United States and that two cardinals sought to protect the priest.

Martínez told CPJ that she began receiving death threats in September 2006, when she began covering the case extensively for the Mexico City daily La Jornada and the daily news program ...

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:36 AM

Life's underdogs always had a friend in Father Joe

TUCSON (AZ)
Arizona Daily Star

By Kimberly Matas
arizona daily star

Tucson, Arizona | Published: 01.18.2007
advertisementThe Rev. Joseph Baker was known in the Holy Family Parish north of Downtown as a man dedicated to feeding the body as well as the soul.

But he died Sunday leaving one friend hungry for more.

"He owed me two dinners," said his friend of nearly 40 years, the Rev. John Fahey. He knew Baker before the Holy Family pastor became a priest. Fahey is retired now.
The men often took turns buying each other dinner.

Baker, according to friends, was easygoing and had a sense of humor.
He likely would appreciate the irony of owing his friend a couple of meals.

Before succumbing to cancer-related complications at age 58, Baker had served as pastor of Holy Family Parish, 338 W. University Blvd., for more than a decade. In that time he made it his mission to feed the homeless and needy in his neighborhood.

But he didn't confine his good works to the homeless. Baker also was an advocate for victims of sexual abuse by Southern Arizona priests. In 2000, he provided sworn testimony about the abuse of boys in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:31 AM

Diocese settles sex-abuse case

HAWAII
The Honolulu Advertiser

By Rod Ohira
Advertiser Staff Writer

The Catholic Diocese of Honolulu and an O'ahu man last night reached an out-of-court settlement of a sex-abuse lawsuit on the eve of the scheduled start of trial.

Plaintiff attorney David Gierlach said his client, Elton Killion, will get $375,000 from the church to settle the lawsuit, in which Killion contended that Andrew Mannetta, former pastor of St. Elizabeth Church in 'Aiea, engaged in unwanted sexual misconduct toward him from 1997 or 1998 until December 2001.

Killion, now 25 or 26, was a minor during part of that time.

Killion and the New York-based St. Mary Capuchin Order, which supervised Mannetta, reached an earlier out-of-court settlement, details of which are protected under a confidentiality agreement, Gierlach said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:29 AM

Civil suit against Robinson dismissed

TOLEDO (OH)
Toledo Blade

By MEGHAN GILBERT and MARK ZABORNEY
BLADE STAFF WRITERS

The civil lawsuit filed against Gerald Robinson that accused him and others of repeatedly torturing and raping a young girl in ritual abuse ceremonies at a North Toledo church was dismissed yesterday.

Judge Ruth Ann Franks of Lucas County Common Pleas Court granted the defendants' motion to dismiss the suit and ordered the plaintiffs, listed as Survivor Doe and Spouse Doe, to pay court costs, according to court records.

The defendants listed in the suit, which was filed in April, 2005, included Robinson, a Toledo priest who was convicted last year of murdering a Roman Catholic nun on April 5, 1980; Gerald Mazuchowski, a former lay minister; the Catholic Diocese of Toledo; St. Adalbert Parish; the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales Inc., and 15 "John Does."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:27 AM

Pedophile priest thought confession would erase sins, conference hears

CANADA
Vancouver Sun

Roberta Pennington, CanWest News Service
Published: Thursday, January 18, 2007
WINDSOR, Ont. - Convicted pedophile Rev. Charles Sylvestre blames his victims, other clergy and a school principal for the abuse he caused more than 50 young girls, Ontario Crown Paul Bailey said Wednesday.

''What we have here is a man who minimized his own involvement, blamed others, showed no (remorse) whatsoever to the psychological carnage that he caused,'' Bailey said.

''This all just confirms in my mind that we're dealing with not mere moral fault, we're dealing with psychological pathology.''

Bailey told a crowd of about 200 priests, deacons and other religious staff gathered at a sexual abuse workshop that he recently met with Sylvestre in jail to try ''understand what made him tick.''

Sylvestre was under no obligation to speak to Bailey, but did so nonetheless, giving the attorney disturbing insight into the 84-year-old's distorted psyche.

''According to him, these eight-year-old girls planned the destruction of their own lives,'' Bailey said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:21 AM

January 17, 2007

Priest Admits To Stealing From Church To Pay For Prostitutes

OHIO
newsnet5

POSTED: 1:10 pm EST January 17, 2007
UPDATED: 1:38 pm EST January 17, 2007

WARRENSVILLE HEIGHTS, Ohio -- A priest, formerly of St. Jude's Catholic Church, resigned his post over allegations of sex and theft.

Father Thomas Carolyn pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of attempted theft. He received probation.

He appeared in court Wednesday using a walker.

Officials said he stole $19,693 between March 3 and 13 of 2006. Carolyn was having money extorted from him by two prostitutes.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:22 PM

Louisa priest case may have longer trail

VIRGINIA
The Free Lance-Star

Date published: 1/17/2007

By BILL FREEHLING

Investigators looking into a Louisa County priest accused of embezzling money from two rural churches believe the scheme goes back longer than the six years written on the indictment.

Rodney Lee Rodis, 50, was indicted on one count of felony embezzlement Jan. 8 by a Louisa Circuit Court grand jury. Rodis had been pastor at St. Jude Catholic Church in Mineral and Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Buckner between 1993 and May 2006.

The indictment accuses him of stealing from the two rural churches between September 2001 and October 2006. But state police Sgt. Kevin Barrick said investigators are “sure” that the thefts had been going on for longer.

Barrick said federal law allows banks to destroy records after six years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:18 PM

Diocesan budget comes up short in 2005-06

WORCESTER (MA)
The Catholic Free Press

By William T. Clew
The Diocese of Worcester finished the fiscal year with a deficit of $75,993 on revenue of $32,071,365 and expenditures totaling $32,147,358, according to the annual report released this week.

The fiscal year began Sept. 1, 2005 and ended Aug. 31, 2006.

The diocese has finished with a deficit in three of the last four fiscal years. Last year the diocese had a surplus of about $34,500 because of an anonymous gift of about $1 million. Without that anonymous gift the diocesan deficit in fiscal 2004-2005 would have been more than $900,000, according to figures published last year.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:14 PM

Santa Rosa diocese returns $9.4 million to parishes, schools

SANTA ROSA (CA)
The Press-Enterprise

The Associated Press

SANTA ROSA

The Catholic Diocese of Santa Rosa has returned $9.4 million to parishes and schools in a campaign to repay money lost through financial mismanagement and sex abuse scandal payoffs.

The diocese has been repaying parishes in six counties through quarterly installments, funded primarily through a $20 million capital campaign started by Bishop Daniel Walsh shortly after his arrival in 2000, according to the diocese.

To date, Walsh's "A New Millennium, A New Beginning" campaign has received $18.6 million in pledges.

"More than the actual restoration of the funds, it ought to be seen as a restoration of the trust in Bishop Walsh," said Rev. Gary J. Lombardi, pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Church in Petaluma.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:07 PM

State police: priest's embezzlement could top $1 million

FREDERICKSBURG (VA)
Daily Press

By the Associated Press
January 17, 2007
FREDERICKSBURG, Va. -- Funds allegedly embezzled by a Roman Catholic priest from two rural parishes could top $1 million, according to state police investigators.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Richmond has said the Rev. Rodney L. Rodis took more than $600,000 from two Louisa County churches since 2001.

State police, however, are still hearing from parishioners whose donations can't be accounted for and the total is "climbing every day," said Sgt. Kevin Barrick, a spokesman.

He said he "wouldn't be surprised" if the embezzled funds surpass $1 million.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:05 PM

Lawsuit claims abuse by late priest in Peoria diocese

CHICAGO (IL)
The Southern

By LAUREL JORGENSEN

CHICAGO - A 33-year-old man filed a lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Peoria on Tuesday, alleging a purposeful cover-up of pedophile priests and seeking more than $800,000 in damages.

In the lawsuit filed in Peoria County Court, Aaron Slaughter alleges the late Rev. William Harbert abused him daily during two separate periods that spanned a few weeks, once when he was eight or nine years old and again when he was 14.

Slaughter's attorney, Joseph Klest, said Tuesday that Slaughter repressed memories of his abuse until Harbert's name was in the news for an abuse case the diocese settled in 2005. He then started to have flashbacks of his own abuse, Klest said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:03 PM

Ruling on media ban request may hasten Cornwall abuse inquiry: lawyer

CANADA
CBC News

Last Updated: Wednesday, January 17, 2007 | 10:27 AM ET
CBC News
A lawyer for abuse victims at a public inquiry in Cornwall believes the latest ruling striking down a request for a publication ban on the identity of a priest, who was acquitted of sexual abuse, will help speed up the hearing.

Dallas Lee, who represents a group of sexual abuse victims, said he thinks Tuesday's Ontario Court of Appeal ruling will discourage other time-consuming publication ban requests that have frustrated victims.

"I think at least it's going to give people pause to consider and to take the [Ontario] Court of Appeal's words to heart when deciding whether they have a chance for success," said Lee, who was among several lawyers who argued against a ban on the name of the priest acquitted in 2001.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:00 PM

Man sues Peoria diocese over alleged sex abuse

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Contra Costa Times

Associated Press
LOS ANGELES - People who say they were molested by a now-defrocked priest can seek punitive damages from the Diocese of San Diego in a lawsuit alleging church officials knew the priest was abusive and failed to stop him.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Haley J. Fromholz ruled Tuesday that 20 plaintiffs have sufficient evidence to argue that the church acted maliciously in helping cover up abuse.

Edward Anthony Rodrigue, 69, was convicted of sexual abuse of children and has admitted to molesting five or six boys a year over 15 years, according to a copy of a 1997 San Bernardino County sheriff's report obtained by the Riverside Press-Enterprise.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:58 PM

Brothers Sue Cardinal George

CHICAGO (IL)
Windy City Times

2007-01-17

Two brothers who were sued for defamation last month by a Roman Catholic priest who they say sexually abused them more than 20 years ago have responded by suing Cardinal Francis George, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

The brothers, John Doe 1 and John Doe 2, claim the Rev. Robert Stepek abused them in the 1980s at St. Symphorosa Parish, 6200 S. Austin when they were about 9 and 16.

In November, acting on a review board’s recommendation, George removed Stepek as pastor of St. Albert the Great parish in Burbank. Then, George referred Stepek’s case to the Vatican for guidance about further action the archdiocese should take.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:57 PM

Catholic churches' losses to top $1 million?

SPOTSYLVANIA (VA)
Richmond Times-Dispatch

BY KIRAN KRISHNAMURTHY
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER Jan 17, 2007

SPOTSYLVANIA -- State police now say the Rev. Rodney L. Rodis may have stolen more than $1 million from two Louisa County churches.

The Catholic Diocese of Richmond has previously said Rodis took more than $600,000 from the parishes since 2001.

Virginia State Police Sgt. Kevin Barrick said yesterday that investigators are still hearing from parishioners whose donations can't be accounted for yet.

Federal law allows banks to destroy some records after six years, he said, so investigators are looking at parishioners' canceled checks to determine more accurately how much is missing.

Court records show that police last month seized from Rodis' home in neighboring Spotsylvania County bank records and other items, including a receipt for Lucky Money dated May 24, 2006, which is around the time he was retiring. It is the only receipt itemized on the search-warrant document.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:10 AM

Lampasas priest placed on administrative leave

TEXAS
KCEN

Updated: Jan 16, 2007 7:59pm
The Episcopal Diocese of Texas placed a Lampasas priest on administrative leave with pay after it found out about allegations he sexually assaulted a child.

Reverend Jim Wooldridge of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church was relieved of his duties about a week before his arrest last week.

Investigators said a child and its parents came forward December 1st claiming the abuse occurred over a period of time.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:07 AM

Vatican may deal with Louisa case

VIRGINIA
The Free Lance-Star

By BILL FREEHLING

Date published: 1/17/2007

The case against a priest accused of embezzling more than $600,000 from two Louisa County churches could make its way to Rome, an attorney for the Catholic Diocese of Richmond says.

Rodney Lee Rodis, a 50-year-old Spotsylvania County resident, is accused of stealing at least that much from St. Jude Catholic Church in Mineral and Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Buckner between September 2001 and October 2006.

Rodis was pastor at the two churches between 1993 and May 2006, when he retired citing health problems. He was indicted on one felony count of embezzlement Jan. 8 and is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in Louisa Circuit Court.

Rodis' faculties have already been suspended by the Catholic Diocese of Richmond, said the Rev. Mark Richard Lane, vicar for clergy at the diocese. He can't present himself publicly as a priest, although he can attend Mass.

The next possible disciplinary step within the Catholic Church would be defrocking, Lane said. That would mean Rodis would return to layman status.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:04 AM

New Developments in Local Priest Case

VIRGINIA
WRIC

FROM 8NEWS

Two big developments being reported today in the arrest of a local Catholic priest charged with embezzlement. In an article in the Free Lance-Star, according to the attorney for the Catholic Diocese of Richmond, all sacraments performed by The Rev. Rodney Rodis are still being ruled valid -- that includes marriages, baptisms and confirmations.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:58 AM

Catholic tradition of altar servers survives recent church scandals

BOYNTON BEACH (FL)
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

By Lois K. Solomon
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Posted January 17 2007

BOYNTON BEACH -- As they wait for the procession to begin, they try to remember their many responsibilities.

Walk with the proper gait: not too fast, not too slow. When the priest bows, you bow. Otherwise, stay still!

"As soon as you move, everyone has their eyes on you instead of the lector or the priest," the Rev. Sam Zebron told his charges, ages ranging from 10 to 13. ...

The vulnerable age of most altar servers, combined with the church's pedophilia scandals, has caused some Catholic parents to hesitate about whether to allow their children to serve. Recently, former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley said a priest molested him when he was an altar boy in Lake Worth in the 1960s. Several men have accused priests in the Archdiocese of Miami of molesting them when they were altar boys in the 1980s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:41 AM

Alleged abusers can be named at inquiry

CANADA
Toronto Star

January 16, 2007
Canadian press

Witnesses at the inquiry probing the institutional response to allegations of systemic child sexual abuse in the Cornwall, Ont., area can name their alleged abusers, even if they have been found innocent, Ontario's highest court ruled Tuesday.

Inquiry commissioner Normand Glaude had turned down a request by the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall that publication of the name of one of its employees be banned in relation to evidence given at the inquiry.

The employee was acquitted of historical sexual abuse charges in 2001.

The diocese contended that as the employee's innocence had been established in the criminal proceedings, his reputational and privacy interests outweighed any deleterious effects the ban would have on the parties and the public.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:35 AM

Sioux City Diocese settles five lawsuits

SIOUX CITY (IA)
Des Moines Register

By MEGHAN V. MALLOY
REGISTER STAFF WRITER

January 17, 2007

The Sioux City Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church has settled five more lawsuits involving allegations of sexual abuse by the diocese's most notorious priest.

The Rev. George McFadden has been accused of molesting more than two dozen children since the 1950s. The plaintiffs said McFadden sexually abused them when they were in their early teens or younger. They also accused the diocese of covering up McFadden's behavior by transferring him from parish to parish each time a new allegation was made.

Not including the recent settlements, the diocese said it has paid $2.6 million to settle sexual-abuse lawsuits and claims since 2004.

Insurance pays for the majority of the settlements, said Jim Wharton, director of communications for the diocese, with small percentages coming from the diocese and McFadden. That has been consistent in all 27 lawsuits handled by the diocese, Wharton said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:30 AM

Victims suing diocese can seek punitive damages

SAN DIEGO (CA)
Los Angeles Times

By John Spano, Times Staff Writer
January 17, 2007

Sexual abuse victims of a defrocked priest can seek punitive damages from the Diocese of San Diego in a lawsuit that alleges officials knew the priest was abusive and did not protect them, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Former priest Edward Anthony Rodrigue was convicted of sexual abuse of children and has admitted to molesting five or six boys a year over 15 years.

Twenty people claim in a lawsuit against the San Diego diocese that Rodrigue, 69, abused them in the 1960s and 1970s.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Haley J. Fromholtz found Tuesday that the accusers have evidence to argue that the church helped cover up Rodrigue's conduct and acted out of malice. The case will be heard in San Diego.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:27 AM

Lawsuit claims abuse by late priest in Peoria diocese

PEORIA (IL)
Northwest Herald

CHICAGO (AP) – A 33-year-old man filed a lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Peoria on Tuesday, alleging a purposeful cover-up of pedophile priests and seeking more than $800,000 in damages.

In the lawsuit filed in Peoria County Court, Aaron Slaughter alleges the late Rev. William Harbert abused him daily during two separate periods that spanned a few weeks, once when he was eight or nine years old and again when he was 14.

Slaughter’s attorney, Joseph Klest, said Tuesday that Slaughter repressed memories of his abuse until Harbert’s name was in the news for an abuse case the diocese settled in 2005. He then started to have flashbacks of his own abuse, Klest said.

“What most people don’t understand is that victims of sexual abuse don’t initially feel like victims,” Klest said. “They feel like they did something wrong themselves. A lot of them force the memory aside as a way to cope.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:23 AM

January 16, 2007

Priest loses appeal for identity ban at Cornwall inquiry

CANADA
CBC News

Last Updated: Tuesday, January 16, 2007 | 4:47 PM ET
CBC News
A third bid by a Catholic diocese for a publication ban on the identity of a priest, acquitted of sexual abuse, when he's named at the Cornwall public inquiry has been struck down by an Ontario judge.

Judge Robert Sharpe of the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld on Tuesday the rulings of Commissioner Normand Glaude and that of a divisional court judge.

Both had ruled the identity of the priest should remain public.

Glaude, however, decided Tuesday that a ban should remain in place for 10 days to give the diocese a chance to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court of Canada — its last chance to get a publication ban.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:24 PM

The good abuse-scandal documentary.

NEW HAMPSHIRE
dotCommonweal

Posted by Carolyn Disco
on January 15, 2007, 2:41 pm

I am pleased to see this review of Hand of God, given my contacts with the survivor, Paul, and his brother, Joe, who made the documentary. They sent me documentation of Bishop John McCormack's contacts with the abuser, Fr. Joseph Birmingham.

I did additional research and remembered a meeting I had with McCormack that touched on the Cultrera case. Here is the result of that meeting and of my research, as penned in an unpublished op-ed:

PBS Hand of God film exposes Bishop McCormack’s record

“Do you believe the survivors or do you believe me?” The question left me in stunned silence, coming as it did from my bishop, John McCormack of Manchester, NH, some two years after the sexual abuse scandal unfolded. I had just presented McCormack, late of Boston, with a statement by Paul Cultrera, a survivor of Joseph Birmingham, about McCormack’s lies to him.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:29 PM

A STATEMENT TO "BISHOP" JOHN B McCORMACK

Bishop Accountability

I have flown across the country from Sacramento, California, the town where I now live to Salem, the town where I was born and grew up, to ask John McCormack some questions. I hope you will all understand why I do not address John as "father". My father is here in the audience, and John McCormack does not deserve to share that title with him. Nor can I refer to John as "bishop" because based on my experience with him, I don't believe that he merits that title either.

When I went to the archdiocese of Boston in 1994 to report that 30 years before at St James parish in Salem Joseph Birmingham had used the confessional to lure me into his world of sexual molestation, I was in the dark as to Birmingham's history, and in fact still thought I may have been his only target. At that time, only two years had passed since I had talked for the first time to anyone about what had been my most tightly kept 30 year secret. I was resolved to obtain help to pay for the psychotherapy that I was finally becoming able to admit that I needed. I had no intention of making a legal complaint about Birmingham's abuse, or about the archdiocese's handling of him. I actually believed that seeking monetary damages from the church might distract me from getting the emotional healing I needed. When I went to the archdiocese, I was directed to Sister Rita McCarthy. I reported the abuse to her and I mentioned that there had been another priest at St. James, a John McCormack, who was friendly with Birmingham and who might be able to provide her with relevant information. I assumed that the other priests who were at St James when I was abused were by then dead, as they were in their 50's or 60's back in 1964. She asked me if the priest I was referring to was John B. McCormack, who was in fact her supervisor. When I said yes, she got him on the line and told me he would be interested in talking with me.

Lawsuit alleges sexual abuse in Peoria diocese

PEORIA (IL)
WJBC

01/16/2007 12:53:32

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) -- A lawsuit alleges the Roman Catholic Diocese of Peoria allowed a pedophile to serve as a priest decades ago. The suit filed by Aaron Slaughter also says the diocese has done little to help victims of clergy sexual abuse. Slaughter's attorney, Joseph Klest, says his client repressed memories of alleged abuse by the late Father William Harbert until 2005.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:05 PM

'Hand of God' airs on TV tonight

SALEM (MA)
Salem News

By Tom Dalton, Staff writer
Salem News

SALEM - A documentary film about a priest's sexual abuse of a Salem altar boy will be shown tonight on "Frontline," the public television news program.

"Hand of God," which airs at 9 p.m. on Channel 2, is the story of Paul Cultrera's abuse by the late Rev. Joseph Birmingham, who served at St. James Parish in Salem in the late 1960s. The film was made by Paul's younger brother, Joe, a New York City filmmaker. Birmingham, who died in 1989, was accused in lawsuits of abusing dozens of young boys in Salem, Gloucester, Lowell and other communities where he served.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:58 PM

How sure can you be that you're right?

CHICAGO (IL)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

By DAMIEN JAQUES
Journal Sentinel theater critic
Posted: Jan. 15, 2007
Chicago - Writing a play in the early part of the decade about the priest pedophilia problem in the Catholic church might seem obvious and perhaps a little too easy.

The ethical issue is black and white, good vs. evil, and not a subject that attracts credible conflicting opinion.

But in the Broadway hit "Doubt," veteran playwright and screenwriter John Patrick Shanley shrewdly used the national scandal as a canvas on which he painted a bigger picture that raises complex and difficult moral questions.

Black and white is seen only as the colors of the clerical garb worn by the nuns and priests at St. Nicholas Church in the Bronx.

Shanley's dramatic palette consists of subtle shadings and tones.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:31 AM

Rites by priest are valid

VIRGINIA
The Free Lance-Star

Date published: 1/16/2007

By BILL FREEHLING

Sacraments performed by a priest accused of stealing more than $600,000 from two churches in Louisa County remain valid, an attorney for the Catholic Diocese of Richmond says.

Diocese attorney William Etherington said the recent embezzlement charge against Rodney Lee Rodis doesn't affect parishioners who were married, baptized or confirmed by the now-suspended priest.

"You're not going to undo a wedding or baptism because the priest may be a sinner," Etherington said yesterday.

Representatives from the Richmond diocese went to mass Sunday at St. Jude in Mineral and Immaculate Conception in Buckner to speak with parishioners in the wake of the news that Rodis had been charged with embezzlement and was living with a woman in Spotsylvania County.

Etherington said yesterday that it was the church's understanding that Rodis isn't married. He said Rodis would have been excommunicated had he been married.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:29 AM

Accused priest 'uninterested in money'

VIRGINIA
Richmond Times-Dispatch

BY CALVIN R. TRICE
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER Jan 16, 2007

The Catholic priest accused of stealing at least $600,000 from two Louisa County churches showed no interest in money when he arrived in America, a Virginia Beach parishioner recalls.

"He had nothing to do with finances and didn't want anything to do with finances," Jim Burke said yesterday of the Rev. Rodney L. Rodis, who is from the Philippines.

Rodis served as parochial vicar at St. Mark Parish in Virginia Beach soon after he arrived in the United States in 1991.

Burke, a member of St. Mark, said he was stunned by the embezzlement charges.

He recalled Rodis as being well-liked and a great theologian.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:27 AM

Deltona priest accused in sexual battery

DELTONA (FL)
Daytona Beach News

By SARA KIESLER
Staff Writer

DELTONA -- A shock wave is rippling through the close-knit Deltona family at St. Clare Catholic Church in the wake of a complaint that its pastor participated in sexual battery against a man.

According to a complaint filed with the Volusia County Sheriff's Office, the Rev. Carlos Bedoya, 44, invited a 35-year-old man to his home on church grounds to have lunch and "cocktails." He proceeded to restrain the man while David Estrada, a 24-year-old priest-in-training, performed an oral sex act on the man, the complaint states.

Bedoya has not performed services at the church since late last year, according to parishioners.

No one has been arrested or charged, said Sheriff's Office spokesman Gary Davidson. The State Attorney's Office is reviewing the case.

Gareth Felix, a member of St. Clare, said she finds it hard to believe that a man like Bedoya who works so well with children and brought the community together could have participated in such an act. Bedoya spoke English and Spanish, and also organized a Creole-language Mass for Felix and the rest of the Deltona Haitian community.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:24 AM

Church insurer wants to probe abuse claims, too

VERMONT
Burlington Free Press

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2007
By Sam Hemingway
Free Press Staff Writer

The statewide Roman Catholic Diocese's bid to get its one-time insurer to pay the costs of litigating 27 lawsuits alleging child sex abuse by a former priest has hit a snag: The insurer wants to probe the diocese's conduct in the cases.

In papers on file in federal court in Burlington, Minnesota-based United States Fidelity & Guaranty Co. says it wants to examine what the diocese knew of claims that former priest Ed Paquette had molested boys in two states before he came to Vermont in 1972.

Lawyers for the diocese initially refused to cooperate with the insurer's request, court records show, but last week signed off on an order approved by federal Judge William Sessions that will allow USF&G to conduct its review, as long as it's done confidentially.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:22 AM

Paterson Diocese settles with accuser

PATERSON (NJ)
NorthJersey.com

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

By MAYA KREMEN
STAFF WRITER

A Catholic priest, transferred to a Dover parish after being accused of molesting two Passaic schoolchildren almost 30 years ago, has been accused of molesting another boy in Dover a few years after his move, a church spokeswoman said Monday.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Paterson paid a settlement in September to the alleged victim of Monsignor Ronald J. Tully, former pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Dover, according to the spokeswoman.

The victim, now 37, claims Tully molested him six times from 1983 to 1984, touching his genitals and performing oral sex on him on one occasion in the church's rectory, said his lawyer, Mitchell Garabedian of Boston.

At the age of 14, the Massachusetts boy had been brought to visit Tully by two Boston priests, Garabedian said. Tully promised the boy gifts, he said. On one occasion, Tully became irate when the boy refused to give him oral sex, said Garabedian.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:19 AM

Accused Priest Not Interested in Money

VIRGINIA
WRIC

FROM 8NEWS

New information is being released in the Richmond Times Dispatch about a local priest accused of embezzling $600,000 from two local churches. According to this article, "Accused Priest Said Uninterested in Money,"before attending church in Louisa County, The Rev. Rodney Rodis first lived in Virginia Beach after arriving in America from the Philippines.

According to a Virginia Beach parishoner, at that time, Rodis did not want anything to do with finances, and news of his arrest has shocked former congregation members who described him as well-liked.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:17 AM

Deltona Priest Complaint

FLORIDA
News 13

We are learning that the State Attorney's Office is investigating a claim of sexual assault against a Volusia County priest and a priest-in-training.

Our partners at the Daytona Beach News-Journal report 44-year-old Reverend Carlos Bedoya and 24-year-old David Estrada are under investigation.

After a 35-year-old man says Estrada performed a sex act on him while Bedoya restrained him.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:15 AM

Church insurer wants to investigate abuse allegations

VERMONT
WCAX

BURLINGTON, Vt. -- An insurance company for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington wants to investigate the church's conduct in 27 cases of alleged child sex abuse by a former priest before paying the costs of litigation associated with them.

The state's Roman Catholic church has sued its insurer demanding it pay its legal fees.

In court papers filed last week, the Minnesota-based United States Fidelity and Guaranty Co. requested a review of how much the diocese knew about allegations that former priest Ed Paquette had sexually abused alter boys in two states before he came to Vermont.

The Diocese agreed to permit the investigation as long as the information remained confidential.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:11 AM

A Painful Account of Abuse and a Celebration of Family

The New York Times

By ALESSANDRA STANLEY
Published: January 16, 2007
Sadly, there is little the public doesn’t know about pedophile priests and the pastors, bishops and cardinals who covered up for them. The scandal that engulfed the Roman Catholic Church peaked in 2002, when Cardinal Bernard F. Law resigned as leader of the Archdiocese of Boston. Other cases have come up, and the church has made many more settlement payments, but that first white-hot fury has eased, replaced by other scandals and disasters.

And that might make the “Frontline” documentary “Hand of God,” about one man’s 30-year struggle to confront his past, seem poorly timed: so many books, movies, documentaries and talk shows have gone over this same painful material before.

The story of Paul Cultrera, a former altar boy in Salem, Mass., which will be shown on PBS tonight, provides a different public service. The documentary, made by his younger brother, Joe Cultrera, a filmmaker, is a bracing antidote to former Representative Mark Foley.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:09 AM

"Hand of God" on PBS

The Albuquerque Tribune

January 15, 2007
"Hand of God," the fascinating look at former Albuquerque resident Paul Cultrera's struggles with his long-ago abuse at the hands of a Catholic priest, finally comes to the Duke City, courtesy of PBS.

The documentary (shortened a bit from the version that was shown last month at the Santa Fe Film Festival) will air under the "Frontline" umbrella at 9 p.m. Tuesday (1/16) on KNME-Channel 5.

Here's our mini-review from the Santa Fe Film Festival. It includes a comment from the filmmaker, Joe Cultrera (Paul's brother), and a link to our original preview in the Tribune. That preview featured an interview with Paul Cultrera.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:06 AM

Diocese settles in sex assault claim

PATERSON (NJ)
Daily Record

BY ABBOTT KOLOFF
DAILY RECORD
Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Paterson Roman Catholic Diocese officials said Monday that they paid a monetary settlement to a Boston area man who said he was sexually assaulted decades ago, when he was 14, by a priest at Sacred Heart parish in Dover.

Msgr. Ronald Tully, the subject of the charges, already had been removed as Sacred Heart's pastor three years ago when other allegations of child sex abuse were made public. Local church officials said Monday that Tully is expected to have a church trial on the most recent charges along with previous allegations made by two other men.

Paterson Diocese officials indicated they have paid about $750,000 in settlements to Tully's three accusers -- saying each man received "less than $275,000."

Mitchell Garabedian, a Boston attorney, said his client, now 37, had been brought to Dover from Boston by another priest who shared him sexually with Tully.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:53 AM

A safe church: Abuse, but no scandal

NEW HAMPSHIRE
The Union Leader

ON NEW Year's Day, Peter Barton of Concord was charged with two counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault on an 8-year-old girl. Barton was a leader in New Life Fellowship church in Concord.

In case your mind is turning to the Catholic Church sex abuse scandals and thinking "here we go again," hold on.

Upon learning of the charges, New Life Fellowship officials immediately alerted every member of the congregation that an alleged sexual predator was in their midst, the Concord Monitor reported yesterday. Church officials did this even though the alleged abuse took place at Barton's home, not at the church or in the context of any church-related event.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:50 AM

Trials set for remaining Colorado City polygamists

UTAH
The Daily News

By JIM SECKLER

Monday, January 15, 2007 8:49 PM PST

KINGMAN - Tuesday's sentencing for a Colorado City polygamist charged with having sexual relations with an underage girl has been delayed indefinitely.

Vergel Bryce Jessop, 47, pleaded no contest Dec. 18 to an undesignated charge of child abuse.

He had been charged with sexual conduct with a minor and conspiracy to commit sexual conduct with a minor.

Jessop and seven other codefendants who face charges in Mohave County Superior Court belong to a controversial polygamist sect of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Colorado City.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:48 AM

New Book Explores Role Of Catholic Church Throughout The World

UNITED STATES
Newswise

Newswise — A new book co-edited and co-authored by Chris Reardon, associate professor of political science at the University of New Hampshire, examines the political, religious and diplomatic actions – both admirable and regrettable – of the Catholic Church that have profoundly shaped our world.

“The Catholic Church and the Nation-State” paints a rich portrait of a complex and paradoxical institution whose political role has varied historically and geographically. The collection of essays covers 16 countries and five continents. Among the scholars who have contributed pieces are Reardon, UNH assistant professors Alynna Lyon and Mary Malone, and professors Christine Kearney and Paul Manuel of St. Anselm College in Manchester. Manuel, professor of political science, and Clyde Wilcox, professor of government at Georgetown University, also are co-editors.

“The Catholic Church, from its origin, always has been a transnational actor and had a global presence in individual lives, within the nation-state and in collaboration with nonprofit institutions. This book is a testament to the enduring nature of religion, not only its importance in the United States but its great importance around the world,” said Michele Dillon, professor of sociology at UNH who is an international expert about the Catholic Church in society.

The initial idea for the book was developed by scholars in response to ongoing problems of child sexual abuse in the American Catholic Church and pursued because of a general lack of academic study about the subject. “Before Sept. 11, there was very little discussion about religion and politics. After Sept. 11, people realized that religion does play a significant political role in society. Still, I was surprised that there had not been a major comparative study about the Catholic Church and its political role throughout the world,” Reardon said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:46 AM

Sioux City Diocese Settles Sex Abuse Lawsuits

SIOUX CITY (IA)
Keloland TV

The Sioux City Diocese has settled five lawsuits involving allegations of sexual abuse by at least one former priest. The settlement terms were not released.

Former priest George McFadden, accused of molesting more than two dozen children since the 1950s, is involved in most of the lawsuits. The plaintiffs say McFadden sexually abused them when they were in their early teens or younger. They also accused the diocese of covering up McFadden's behavior by transferring him from parish to parish each time a new allegation was made.

Not including the recent settlements, the diocese says it has paid more than 2.6 million dollars to settle sexual abuse lawsuits and claims since 2004.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:42 AM

The embezzlement plate

UNITED STATES
Palm Beach Post

Palm Beach Post Editorial

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

It is counterintuitive for faith-based organizations to need safeguards against breaches of faith. That's probably part of the reason religious leaders of all denominations still are looking for ways to ensure that the donations of the faithful go where they're intended.

Villanova University researchers just surveyed the nation's 174 Roman Catholic dioceses and found that 85 percent of the 78 that responded had discovered embezzlement of church funds during the past five years. In 93 percent of those cases, church officials filed police reports, 11 percent of which involved more than $500,000 missing.

Embezzlement isn't exclusively a Catholic problem, but the Diocese of Palm Beach had three cases surface last year. The most egregious scandal was in Delray Beach, where police accused two former priests, Francis Guinan and John Skehan, of misappropriating $8.6 million and spending much of it on trips to Las Vegas, vacations and personal investments. Bishop Gerald Barbarito responded with a plan to strengthen financial accountability and give parishioners more oversight.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:40 AM

Diocese settles five sex abuse lawsuits

SIOUX CITY (IA)
Sioux City Journal

By Nick Hytrek Journal staff writer

Five sexual abuse lawsuits against the Diocese of Sioux City and a former priest have been settled.

Three suits involving unnamed men referred to as John Doe were dismissed Thursday.

A suit brought by Steven Bean was dismissed Dec. 29 and another filed by Kathleen Ryan was dismissed Jan. 5.

Settlement amounts are confidential, said Sioux City attorney Scott Rhinehart, who represented Bean and Ryan.

Alan Olson of Des Moines, who represented the three anonymous plaintiffs, was out of the office and unavailable for comment.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:34 AM

'Hand of God' story needs few extras

Boston Globe

By Janice Page, Globe Correspondent | January 16, 2007

Reprinted from a movie review on Sept. 21, 2006

Ever been to a concert where production values and background noise are so over-amped you find yourself longing to remind the artist that he/she doesn't need all this junk, because he/she actually has decent material? Minus the earplugs, that's how I felt watching "Hand of God."

Written and directed by Massachusetts filmmaker Joe Cultrera , this documentary about sexual abuse by Catholic clergy focuses on a personal history that didn't need a lot of dressing up. At its center is the filmmaker's brother, Paul , who was molested while a teenage altar boy in 1960s Salem, and who later battled church hierarchy to find some measure of justice for the lasting damages he says he suffered while entrusted to the spiritual care of the late Father Joseph Birmingham .

Paul's experiences are a tiny part of what was later revealed to be a hugely scandalous local, national, and international story, of course. But "Hand of God" is committed to keeping the spotlight mainly on this one very intimate tale told in the victim's own words, which stretch out over the film's 96 minutes and only really pause for interviews with his family members or bits of stiffly scripted narration by the filmmaker.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:30 AM

Abuse victim shares his story on 'Frontline'

Albany Times Union

By KEVIN McDONOUGH, United Features Syndicate
First published: Tuesday, January 16, 2007

"Frontline" (9 p.m., WMHT Ch. 17) presents "Hand of God," a remarkably powerful and personal film about a victim of sexual abuse by a Catholic priest.

Raised in a large and tight-knit Italian-American family in Salem, Mass., filmmaker Joe Cultrera uses home-movie footage and interviews to chronicle his brother Paul's story of abuse and its effect.

Given his past, Paul is surprisingly frank and at times even funny about his grim experiences. Both brothers have every reason to be outraged and angry, but this film is not defined by bitterness. Cultrera puts special emphasis on the important and all-encompassing nature of the Roman Catholic church in their family and neighborhood and how his elderly parents still cling to their faith. And it is this aspect of the film that makes the church's betrayal of the Cultreras -- and hundreds of families with similar stories -- seem all the more brutal, indifferent and truly evil.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:25 AM

Initial trial in S.D. church-abuse cases is delayed

SAN DIEGO (CA)
Union-Tribune

By Mark Sauer
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
January 16, 2007

The first trial of approximately 150 lawsuits filed against the Diocese of San Diego alleging sexual abuse by clergy has been postponed for a month at the request of a plaintiff's attorney.

Advertisement A lawsuit filed by Nikki Rister, who claims the Rev. Patrick O'Keeffe coaxed her into having sex when she was 17, was to have started tomorrow. It was pushed back to Feb. 14 by Superior Court Judge John Einhorn.
Rister's claim involves incidents from 1972 at St. Adelaide Catholic Church in the San Bernardino suburb of Highland, which was a part of the San Diego diocese at the time.

Lawyers for Rister, who now lives in Colorado, requested the delay in order to review documents from O'Keeffe's personnel file that were just released by the diocese following a judge's order, her chief attorney, Katherine Freberg, said.

The documents, which won't be made public until trial, bolstered her client's case, said Freberg, who is based in Irvine. She noted that O'Keeffe several years ago fled to Ireland – where he was deposed last year – rather than face criminal sex-abuse charges in San Bernardino County in a case dating to 1990.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:22 AM

Brothers create powerful first-person story of abuse, betrayal

Lawrence Journal-World

By Kevin McDonough

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

“Frontline” (8 p.m., PBS) presents “Hand of God,” a remarkably powerful and personal film about a victim of sexual abuse by a Catholic priest.

Raised in a large and tight-knit Italian-American family in Salem, Mass., filmmaker Joe Cultrera uses home-movie footage and interviews to chronicle his brother Paul’s story of abuse, its effect on his personality and psyche, and Paul’s efforts to find out more about his abuser and fellow victims.

Given his past, Paul is surprisingly frank and at times even funny about his grim experiences. Both brothers have every reason to be outraged and angry, but this film is not defined by bitterness. In fact, Cultrera puts special emphasis on the important and all-encompassing nature of the Catholic Church in their family and neighborhood and how his elderly parents still cling to their faith. And it is this aspect of the film that makes the Church’s betrayal of the Cultreras — and hundreds of families with similar stories — seem all the more brutal, indifferent and truly evil.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:20 AM

Effects of priest sex abuse portrayed

South Bend Tribune

CLAUDIA BAYLISS
Tribune Staff Writer

At the beginning of "Hand of God," viewers see a now middle-age Paul Cultrera and his elderly father shuffling through a basket containing old home movies in the basement of the family home. Paul's voice overlays the camera's next shot: a photo of him as a young altar boy.

"I remember places where it happened. I remember smells. I remember the sun coming through the rectory window."

The note of personal memories is struck again and again throughout "Hand of God," which airs on "Frontline" at 9 p.m. tonight on PBS.

The 2006 documentary examines the priest sex abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church through the eyes of what was once a seamlessly devout Catholic family.

In "Hand of God," Paul -- with the help of his younger brother, Joe, the film's writer, director and producer -- reflects on his past, when he was a boy and young man, and on the man he is today. The film makes clear that the older brother's identity was profoundly marked by the molestation he says he suffered at the hands of the Rev. Joseph E. Birmingham, now deceased, at the age of 14 in Salem, Mass.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:18 AM

Sioux City diocese settles more abuse lawsuits

SIOUX CITY (IA)
Des Moines Register

ASSOCIATED PRESS

January 16, 2007

The Sioux City Diocese has settled five lawsuits involving allegations of sexual abuse by at least one former priest.

The settlement terms are confidential, said Sioux City attorney Scott Rhinehart, who represented two of the plaintiffs.

Former priest George McFadden, accused of molesting more than two dozen children since the 1950s, is involved in most of the lawsuits. The plaintiffs said McFadden sexually abused them when they were in their early teens or younger. They also accused the diocese of covering up McFadden's behavior by transferring him from parish to parish each time a new allegation was made.

Not including the recent settlements, the diocese said it has paid more than $2.6 million to settle sexual abuse lawsuits and claims since 2004. Diocese officials could not immediately be reached for comment Monday on the latest settlements, which were reached late last month and in early January.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:09 AM

January 15, 2007

Men more likely than women to hide past victimization

CANADA
The Gazette

DEBBIE PARKES, The Gazette
Published: Monday, January 15, 2007
Findings from a survey commissioned by a Quebec organization working to prevent child abuse indicate Quebec men who were sexually abused as children are twice as likely as their female counterparts to keep their victimization a secret.

Nearly one in 10 male respondents reported having been sexually abused in childhood. Of those, about 34 per cent said they had never told anyone prior to being interviewed for the survey.

By comparison, between 20 per cent and 25 per cent of female respondents said they had been sexually abused as a child. Of those, nearly 16 per cent said they had never told anyone other than the surveyor.

In about 60 per cent of cases, the victimization began when the child was under age 12.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:06 PM

Sioux City diocese settles sex abuse lawsuits

SIOUX CITY (IA)
Sioux City Journal

Five sexual abuse lawsuits against the Diocese of Sioux City and a former priest have been settled.

Three suits involving unnamed men referred to as John Doe were dismissed Thursday.

A suit brought by Steven Bean was dismissed Dec. 29 and another filed by Kathleen Ryan was dismissed Jan. 5.

Settlement amounts are confidential, said Sioux City attorney Scott Rhinehart, who represented Bean and Ryan.

Alan Olson, of Des Moines, who represented the three anonymous plaintiffs, was out of the office this week and unavailable for comment.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:01 PM

Court ruling may end confidentiality of abuse victims’ documents

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
The Observer

By Father Bill Pomerleau
Observer staff

SPRINGFIELD – Despite its being hailed by their attorney as a “significant repudiation” of the position of the Diocese of Springfield, a ruling last week by a Superior Court judge may end the confidentiality of counseling and other records of many victims of sexual abuse by the clergy, said a lawyer for the diocese.

“The issue here is the commitment the diocese made, most often in writing, to keep records given to us confidential, as much as legally possible,” said Attorney John J. Egan, reacting to a multi-part ruling by Superior Court Associate Justice John A. Agostini.

Judge Agostini, who is handling all pending legal matters connected to clergy sexual abuse in western Massachusetts, ruled Jan. 3 that at least some of the 7,686 pages of records withheld by the diocese should be made available to a group of insurance companies being sued by the church.

The diocese is seeking insurance compensation for $7.7 million it paid to abuse claimants in 2004. The insurers have balked at reimbursing the diocese, saying they should not have to pay if it is determined that the diocese mishandled past clergy abuse by recklessly keeping priests it knew to be abusive in active ministry.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:17 PM

The good abuse-scandal documentary.

dotCommonweal

January 15, 2007, 12:36 pm
Posted by Grant Gallicho

Tuesday night, PBS will air a Frontline documentary, Hand of God (9 p.m. Eastern, but check local listings, or watch online). I watched a screener on the flight home for the holidays--nothing says Christmas like a sexual-abuse documentary--and intended to blog on it much sooner, but the holiday swing took hold, and I'm only getting to it now. Here's the preview that's been running on PBS:

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:11 PM

Rodis Defends Accusations of a Secret Life

VIRGINIA
WCAV

Reporter: Lindsey Ward
Email Address: lindsey.ward@wcav.tv

January 15, 2007

An investigation of Rodis began in November after donations made to his churches in Louisa County were not recorded.

Allegedly he opened a separate banking account in the churches name where he was able to access the money freely

“I was totally shocked when I heard about father Rodney Rodis,” said Father Gregory, for Church of the Incarnation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:03 PM

Gadfly Ohio priest challenges mandatory celibacy

UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS (OH)
Coshocton Tribune

By ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS
Associated Press Writer

UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, Ohio - A former seminary president who drew national attention to the number of gay Roman Catholic priests tackles mandatory celibacy in a new book, calling it burdensome and unnecessary.

The Rev. Donald Cozzens says the requirement is hurting the church at a time of priest shortages.

"Many, if not most, of the inactive priests would be serving in our parishes if it were not for the law of celibacy," Cozzens writes in "Freeing Celibacy." ...

Cozzens also says that ending mandatory celibacy could help weed out candidates for the priesthood who have an underdeveloped and immature understanding of their own sexuality.

"I don't think it's fair to say that mandatory celibacy is a clear cause of clergy abuse, but it may be a factor in a number of cases," he said.

In 2004, the National Review Board, a Roman Catholic lay watchdog panel investigating the church abuse scandal, concluded that celibacy did not cause the crisis but the church did not effectively screen out "many sexually dysfunctional and immature" priests or properly train seminarians for the celibate life.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:52 PM

Catholics left with questions after priest is accused of theft

BUCKNER (VA)
Richmond Times-Dispatch

BY CALVIN R. TRICE
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER Jan 15, 2007

BUCKNER -- The sacraments performed by a priest who has been accused of embezzlement are still valid, a church official told Louisa County Catholics yesterday.

The Rev. Mark R. Lane said Mass for two rural parishes that police suspect were robbed of at least $600,000 by the priest who served them. Their former pastor, the Rev. Rodney L. Rodis, also was found to be living in Spotsylvania County with a woman he told neighbors is his wife.

Lane, vicar for clergy with the Catholic Diocese of Richmond, said Mass for hundreds at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Buckner and St. Jude Catholic Church in Mineral.

In Buckner, he gave a homily about dealing with the pain from embarrassment, and he urged prayers for Rodis and his loved ones.

After each service, Lane and other diocesan representatives remained to field parishioners' questions on a broad range of spiritual, organizational and financial issues.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:29 AM

Accused priest gets ovation

FRESNO (CA)
Fresno Bee

By Vanessa Colón / The Fresno Bee 01/15/07 03:21:28

A popular Fresno priest accused in a civil lawsuit of molesting an altar boy nearly two decades ago was welcomed back by his Fresno parish on Sunday.

Parishioners at Holy Spirit Catholic Church gave the Rev. Eric Swearingen a standing ovation in the packed church in north Fresno. They clapped loudly. Someone shouted: "We love you!"

Swearingen, wearing a green robe, bowed his head as a gesture of thanks. He hadn't celebrated Sunday Mass since his civil trial began. His trial ended in a mistrial Dec. 20.

"It's good to be home. I want to thank all of you for the prayers. ... It's all been so influential. ... I appreciate it so much," Swearingen said to the churchgoers before Mass.

Churchgoers said they would continue to support him if Swearingen has a new trial later this year.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:21 AM

Double life of 'priest' accused of embezzlement

VIRGINIA
Irish Independent

Monday January 15th 2007

A CATHOLIC priest accused of embezzling more than US$600,000 (€464,000) from two churches in Virginia has been living a secret double life as a family man in a neighbouring county.

For at least eight years, the Rev Rodney Rodis has shared a home in Fredericksburg with his "wife", Joyce, and three children.

He explained his frequent absences to neighbours by saying he worked in the import-export business.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:18 AM

Priest Led Double Life, Embezzled $600K

VIRGINIA
The New York Sun

By TOM LEONARD
The Daily Telegraph
January 15, 2007

A Catholic priest accused of embezzling more than $600,000 from two churches in Virginia has been living a secret double life as a family man in a neighboring county.

For at least eight years, the Reverend Rodney Rodis has shared a home in Fredericksburg with his "wife," Joyce, and three children.

He explained his frequent absences to neighbors by saying he worked in the import-export business.

In fact, Rev. Rodis, 50, had spent the past 14 years as pastor of the parishes of St. Jude and Immaculate Conception, both in nearby Louisa County.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:16 AM

Spotsy 'family' had neighbors fooled

FREDERICKSBURG (VA)
The Free Lance-Star

Date published: 1/15/2007

By PAMELA GOULD

Neighbors of Rodney L. Rodis and Joyce F. Sillador say they had no reason to suspect the pair was anything but a nice couple with three daughters.

The two invited people into their home for parties at Christmas and on the girls' birthdays.

They sent out Christmas cards signed, "Love, Rodney, Joyce and girls."

They even had printed address labels reading "Rodney and Joyce Rodis" with their street address on Watson Lane in the Sheraton Hills East community of Spotsylvania County.

It would all seem completely unremarkable except for one thing--Rodney Lee Rodis was a Catholic priest.

His double life--as a family man in Spotsylvania County and a Catholic priest in Louisa County--came to light over the past week following his indictment on a felony charge of embezzlement.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:14 AM

Brothers tell abuse story on 'Frontline'

SACRAMENTO (CA)
Sacramento Bee

By Jennifer Garza - Bee Staff Writer
Published 12:00 am PST Monday, January 15, 2007
Story appeared in SCENE section, Page E1

If Paul Cultrera was going to get the answers he needed to move on with his life, he had to ask the right question. He finally came up with one.

"Do you remember Father Birmingham?"

In 1994, Cultrera placed ads with this seemingly simple question in several Massachusetts newspapers in small towns where the priest had served decades earlier.

Two days after the ads ran, a letter arrived. The next day, three more. Within 10 days, Cultrera had received 15 letters. The people who responded remembered Birmingham -- and all said they had been sexually abused by him.

The response Cultrera received led him to confront the Boston Archdiocese -- about predatory priests and the church's practice of moving them from parish to parish -- nearly a decade before it became a national scandal.

Now a Sacramento resident and general manager of the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op in midtown, Cultrera is the subject of a "Frontline" documentary. "The Hand of God," produced by Joe Cultrera, Paul's brother, airs at 10 p.m. Tuesday on Channel 6 (KVIE).

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:06 AM

US victim of sex abuse set to appeal damages ruling

IRELAND
Irish Independent

A LANDMARK abuse case is to be brought before the California Court of Appeals.

The US victim of former priest Oliver O'Grady is attempting to make an Irish diocese financially liable for the abuse he suffered.

The move came after the Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly last month successfully sought to have the lawsuit against it dismissed on jurisdictional grounds.

The case has been fought by the Catholic Church amid fears that, if it is successful, it will create a nightmare scenario whereby church bodies would be financially responsible for events that occurred in other jurisdictions.

But now the Irish Independent can reveal that:

* The US victim has lodged papers with the California Court of Appeals against the ruling in the California Superior Court.

* A second case was filed against the archdiocese and the paedophile cleric, Fr Oliver O'Grady, involving a new victim.

* The details of the abuse will be passed on to the gardai.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:55 AM

Kevin's TV tips

Palm Beach Post

Frontline: Hand of God (9 p.m., PBS): Filmmaker Joe Cultrera tells the personal story about his brother's sexual abuse as a teen by a Catholic priest.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:53 AM

Sex-abuse workshops set

CANADA
London Free Press

By JONATHAN SHER, FREE PRESS REPORTER

Priests, deacons and other leaders in the London Catholic Diocese must attend workshops on sexual abuse where they will hear from the victims, the diocese says.

The workshops, to be held this month and in March, were announced by Bishop Ronald Fabbro, who pledged last year to fight abuse in the church after a disgraced priest pleaded guilty to 47 counts of indecent assault.

"This workshop will be a key component in fulfilling my commitment to eradicate all forms of abuse in our diocese," Fabbro said in a news release.

"It will give us the opportunity to talk openly about this issue and the steps we need to take," Fabbro wrote.

Anyone who might be in a position of authority over children must attend sessions scheduled Jan. 17 and 31, diocese spokesperson Ron Pickersgill said during the weekend.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:50 AM

CONCERTS, THEATER AND MORE

Wichita Eagle

TUE. "Frontline: Hand of God": For one Massachusetts man, the sexual abuse scandal that recently rocked the Catholic Church is a personal one. Filmmaker Joe Cultrera chronicles the story of his brother Paul, who said he suffered serial abuse at the hands of a priest in the Boston archdiocese. 8 p.m. Tue., PBS and KPTS, Channel 8.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:44 AM

January 14, 2007

WGA nominates documentaries

UNITED STATES
Variety

By DAVE MCNARY

The Writers Guild of America has selected "Deliver Us From Evil," "The Heart of the Game," "Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos," "Who Killed the Electric Car?" and "Why We Fight" as finalists for its documentary award.

"Deliver Us From Evil," which centers on a former priest and convicted pedophile, is the only entry on the short list of 15 docus eligible for an Oscar.

The WGA, which made its announcement Friday, said the nominees were chosen from 35 submissions. The credited writers of these docs are required to join the WGA West Nonfiction Writers Caucus or WGA East Nonfiction Writers Committee in order to be considered, but the scripts do not have to be written under WGA jurisdiction.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:44 PM

Priest indicted for embezzlement denies he is married

FREDERICKSBURG (VA)
Daily Press

By the Associated Press
January 14, 2007
FREDERICKSBURG, Va. -- A priest suspected of stealing more than $600,000 from two churches denies accusations in court documents that he was living a double life as a family man in a neighboring county.

The Rev. Rodney L. Rodis, 50, acknowledged that there is a woman and three girls that live at the home, but denied he was married and declined to comment if the children were his daughters, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported Sunday. Rodis also said the woman he lives with knew he was a Catholic priest.

Rodis was indicted Monday on a felony embezzlement charge. A document included in papers committing Rodis to jail listed him as living with a wife and three children in Fredericksburg. It wasn't clear from the documents whether Rodis is the children's father.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:41 PM

Sikh community 'stunned' by sex charges against priests

CANADA
CBC News

Last Updated: Saturday, January 13, 2007 | 12:59 PM ET
CBC News

The Sikh community in Winnipeg is reacting with shock to news that police have formally charged three Sikh priests with a variety of sexual assault charges.

All three teach at the Gurdwara Nanaksar temple in the St. Vital area.

The priests are alleged to have abused a Winnipeg man when he was a boy, over a period of more than five years from June 1990 to January 1996.

"The community is totally stunned by this," said Tej Bains, a retired social worker and activist.

"We are still in shock and there's a number of factors. First of all, we just don't talk about sexuality and … we really honour our priests."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:00 AM

Court papers allege US priest indicted for embezzlement was married

FREDERICKSBURG (VA)
International Herald Tribune

The Associated Press
Published: January 13, 2007

FREDERICKSBURG, Virginia: A Catholic priest suspected of stealing more than $600,000 (€465,000) from two churches was living a double life as a family man in a neighboring county, according to court documents.

The Rev. Rodney L. Rodis, a 50-year-old from the Philippines, was indicted earlier this week on a felony embezzlement charge.

A document included in papers committing Rodis to jail listed him as living with a wife and three children in Fredericksburg, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported Saturday. It was not clear whether Rodis is the children's father.

"It's not a crime for someone to be married, but I imagine there might be some people mad at him over that," Louisa Commonwealth's Attorney R. Don Short told The Associated Press on Saturday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:48 AM

Court papers: Priest indicted for embezzlement was married

FREDERICKSBURG (VA)
WDBJ

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. Court documents show a priest suspected of stealing more than 600-thousand dollars from two churches was living a double life as a family man in a neighboring county.

The Reverend Rodney Rodis was indicted Monday on a felony embezzlement charge.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that a document included in papers committing the 50-year-old to jail listed him as living with a wife and three children in Fredericksburg. It is NOT clear whether Rodis is the children's father.

Officials say the Catholic Diocese of Richmond was surprised to hear about Rodis' living arrangements, as were neighbors in the subdivision where the family had lived in a two-story brick home for at least eight years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:47 AM

Accused priest denies he is married

FREDERICKSBURG (VA)
Richmond Times-Dispatch

BY KIRAN KRISHNAMURTHY
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER Jan 14, 2007

FREDERICKSBURG -- The Rev. Rodney L. Rodis yesterday denied that he is married. But he said the woman he lives with knew he was a Catholic priest before he was accused of embezzling funds from two churches.

Rodis, who answered the front door of his Spotsylvania County home last night, declined to comment on whether any of the three girls who have lived in the home are his daughters.

Rodis, 50, confirmed that Joyce Sillador lives at the home, but he said, "No," when asked if they are married. Asked if she knew he was a priest before an investigation into more than $600,000 missing from two Louisa County parishes, he replied, "Yes, she did."

Documents in Louisa Circuit Court indicate that Rodis was living with a woman referred to as a "wife" and with three children, without tying the children to Rodis. Neighbors say he referred to a woman named Joyce as being his wife, but they say they did not know he was a priest.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:36 AM

Moral failures thrive in silence

MEMPHIS (TN)
Commercial Appeal

January 14, 2007

Wendi C. Thomas

When Bellevue Baptist minister Paul Williams asked Beth to describe the sexual abuse she endured as a girl, she wondered why he needed to know.

After all, Beth (not her real name) was simply there for the one-on-one counseling that abuse survivors undergo before they can volunteer in the church's nursery.

"I've always heard that people who abuse were abused," Beth said, so she shrugged off the icky feelings, assuming the questions were part of the church's measures to protect kids from predators.

Williams wanted to know if the molestation happened one time or if the abuse was ongoing. Was it a relative or a stranger? And what, he wanted to know, happened?

That session was more than two years ago. Beth, in her 30s, and her husband filed it away as an odd but insignificant incident -- until now.

Last month, Bellevue's senior pastor Steve Gaines told the church that Williams had confessed to a "moral indiscretion" that occurred 17 years ago. It allegedly involves the sexual abuse of a child.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:33 AM

Around the Remote

Contra Costa Times

Chuck Barney's TV picks for Jan. 14-20.

TUESDAY: "Hand of God" is the latest installment in the "Frontline" documentary series. It has filmmaker Joe Cultrera telling the poignant story of his brother, Paul, who says he was molested in the 1960s by their parish priest. The program examines how the Cultrera family coped with a scandal that continues to rock churches across America. 10 p.m., Channels 6 and 9 (PBS).

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:30 AM

Level 3 sex offenders on the job

MASSACHUSETTS
Milford Daily News

By Peter Reuell/Daily News Staff
Saturday, January 13, 2007 - Updated: 11:33 PM EST

Though many concerned parents make a point of checking up on where sex offenders live, it's unlikely those parents spend much time contemplating where or how the ex-cons make a living.

They may soon start, though.

A Daily News review of Sex Offender Registry Board information found level 3 sex offenders - those deemed by the state most likely to re-offend - working in MetroWest nursing homes, hotels, restaurants, clothing stores, pharmacies and even churches. ...

Such is the case for Richard Odell.

While using and selling drugs in the late 1980s, Odell began selling to several teenagers, and eventually wound up having sex with teens. He was eventually convicted of several charges, including rape of a child with force, indecent assault and battery on a child under 14, drugging a person for sexual intercourse and three counts of indecent assault and battery on a person over 14.

By the time he was released from prison, though, Odell had gotten clean, and with help from family members, he found a job at the First Presbyterian Church of Waltham.

Odell today cleans the community day center located at the church, and has made a point of avoiding the sort of situations that led to his offenses years earlier, Pastor Jean Southard said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:25 AM

Is the pope signaling a new age of openness?

UTAH
The Salt Lake Tribune

By Peggy Fletcher Stack
The Salt Lake Tribune
Article Last Updated: 01/14/2007 01:36:36 AM MST

By all accounts, Bishop John C. Wester, the newly appointed leader of Utah's 200,000 Catholics, is fair-minded, pragmatic, nurturing and - here's the key fact - not overly ideological.
Archbishop George H. Niederauer of San Francisco, Wester's boss, called him "one of the kindest-hearted persons I have ever met. He's solicitous of people's welfare. He has a good sense of humor and sees the inherent silliness in things."
"Oh, and I think he likes fishing," says Niederauer, well-known to Utahns as the head of the Diocese of Salt Lake City from 1995 to 2006.
Observers say Wester, who assumes his new position March 14 after serving as an auxiliary bishop in San Francisco, will not likely threaten to excommunicate Catholic politicians who support abortion rights, or attack gay activists or academics who challenge doctrinal interpretations. They do not think he will be rigid or authoritarian, and certainly not impervious to the needs of abuse victims.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:19 AM

Fall River Diocese still in dark ages of financial disclosure

NEW BEDFORD (MA)
Standard-Times

By STEVE URBON, Standard-Times senior correspondent

NEW BEDFORD — The Diocese of Fall River may have been a decade ahead of most of the nation in dealing with sexual abuse by priests, but it lags well behind many others nationally — and all of the others statewide — in making its financial statements accessible to parishioners and the public.
The Archdiocese of Boston, under Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley, former bishop of Fall River, as well as the dioceses of Springfield and Worcester, post their annual audit reports on their Web sites in the spirit of full disclosure.
But the Diocese of Fall River, led by Bishop George Coleman, does not. Asked to provide a copy of its audit report, the diocese refused.
The issue of financial accountability dovetails with the massive legal settlements many dioceses, including Fall River, have made with the victims of sexual abuse by priests. (As of 2004, the Diocese of Fall River reported it had paid $16 million to settle 216 claims, mostly to victims of the late former priest James Porter.)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:17 AM

JEFFERSON CITY | Teacher license revocation sought

MISSOURI
Kansas City Star

The attorney general’s office wants the teaching license revoked for a man accused of sexual misconduct. James Beine has a lifetime certificate to teach English and Latin in seventh to 12th grades, and a lifetime counseling certificate. Beine, a former priest, was convicted in 2003 of sexual misconduct involving a child by indecent exposure. But the Missouri Supreme Court overturned the conviction. He also has faced lawsuits alleging sexual abuse. Beine was also convicted of possessing child pornography, but that conviction was dismissed in December 2003. The attorney general’s office said Beine lives in Las Vegas, but it wants to make sure he can’t return to teach in Missouri.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:16 AM

Florangela Davila's TV picks

The Seattle Times

By Florangela Davila
Seattle Times staff reporter

As if we didn't already know that J.D. and Turk, the doctor buddies on "Scrubs," are the bestest of friends. True, years ago J.D. was ready to christen Turk his cruddy bud. But theirs is a snuggly-cuddly bond. Turk is, and forever will be, J.D.'s chocolate bear. ...

An entirely different set of feelings — fury, revulsion — are prompted by Frontline's latest documentary, "Hand of God" (10 p.m. Tuesday on KCTS) about sexual abuse and the Catholic church. It's a very personal documentary: Filmmaker Joe Cultrera tells the story of his brother Paul who was molested in the 1960s by the parish priest in Salem, Mass. The film is as much about betrayal and cover-up as it is about faith, family and survival. There's no shortage of material here to make you squirm. Unfortunately, some of the film's power gets lost when the filmmaker veers into near-campiness with some of his footage: photos of priests set amongst fallen leaves; religious statues trimmed in spider webs. The documentary feels long at first but halfway through it becomes a detective story and the ending, in which a bishop tries to prevent Cultrera from shooting footage, is downright maddening.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:11 AM

January 13, 2007

Judge orders abuse case to trial

CALIFORNIA
The Press-Enterprise

10:00 PM PST on Friday, January 12, 2007

By MICHAEL FISHER
The Press-Enterprise

SAN DIEGO - Saying he will allow no more delays, a judge on Friday ordered trial to start next month in a lawsuit accusing a Catholic priest of molesting a teenager in Highland 34 years ago, making the case the first of Southern California's 850 pending clergy abuse lawsuits poised to reach a jury.

"Whether it's agreeable or not, a firm trial date in February will occur," San Diego County Superior Court Judge John Einhorn told attorneys on the case, adding that the Feb. 14 trial date "assures (this) case will be the first of the San Diego cases to go to trial, which has been the court's hope."

In the lawsuit, a Colorado woman accuses a longtime Inland priest, Monsignor Patrick J. O'Keeffe, of sexually abusing her in 1972, when she was a 17-year-old parishioner at St. Adelaide Catholic Church in Highland.

Her lawsuit names the church and the Diocese of San Diego, of which Inland parishes were a part before the San Bernardino Diocese was formed in 1978.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:04 PM

Charges shock priest's neighbors

FREDERICKSBURG (MD)
Richmond Times-Dispatch

BY KIRAN KRISHNAMURTHY
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER Jan 13, 2007

FREDERICKSBURG -- Rodney L. Rodis' neighbors were shocked yesterday to learn the person they knew as a family man is actually a father of a different kind: a Catholic priest.

And one who is accused of stealing more than $600,000 from two churches in neighboring Louisa County.

"Totally dumbfounded," said Bev King, a former neighbor in the Sheraton Hills East subdi- vision in Spotsylvania County.

A court document listed Rodis as living with a "wife" and three children, without tying the children to Rodis. Louisa Commonwealth's Attorney R. Don Short declined to comment on why the word "wife" was on the document, but he confirmed that the court document was filled out accurately.

Neighbors say Rodis, a woman he referred to as his wife, and three children have lived together in the two-story brick home on Watson Lane for at least eight years.

They estimate the ages of the three girls as early 20s, early teens and between 5 and 8. Rodis told neighbors he was in the import-export business, they say, and he was often gone for days or weeks at a time.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:47 AM

Claim reviewer for bankruptcy agreed on

SPOKANE (WA)
The Spokesman-Review

John Stucke
Staff writer
January 13, 2007

A former U.S. attorney from Seattle will be hired to scrutinize and put a price on about 140 sex-abuse claims in the Catholic Diocese of Spokane bankruptcy.

In court records filed Friday, attorneys working on the case unanimously agreed that Kate Pflaumer should be appointed the "tort claims reviewer." She will be given broad power to establish the truthfulness of sex-abuse claims and how much individual claimants should be paid.

Her hiring will fulfill part of a $48 million settlement agreement announced Jan. 4 that's expected to end the long-running bankruptcy case this spring.

Pflaumer was a Clinton appointee and retired after the election of President Bush. Her eight-year term as Washington's top federal prosecutor ended in 2001 after the successful, nine-count conviction of Ahmed Ressam, an Algerian who smuggled bomb-making materials into Port Angeles, Wash.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:41 AM

Crack sold at priest's house

COVINGTON (KY)
Cincinnati Enquirer

BY CINDY SCHROEDER | CSCHROEDER@NKY.COM
COVINGTON - The drug case involving a Roman Catholic priest on medical leave from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati keeps getting stranger.

Three days after authorities say they found drug paraphernalia and what they believe to be crack cocaine in the Rev. Thomas M. Gaeke's rental car, they say a man was dealing crack from a house Gaeke owns in West Covington.

On Thursday, Covington police executed a search warrant at property Gaeke owns at 226 W. Fifth St. They removed "numerous items of (drug) paraphernalia, including a Chore Boy, baggies and a 'push rod' that's used when you smoke crack," according to court documents.

The tenant, James Robert Agrue, who has a criminal record dating to 1989, was charged with second-degree possession of drug paraphernalia. Agrue, 38, remained in the Kenton County jail Friday under $2,500 bond.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:39 AM

Defrocked priest's victim wants apology

MICHIGAN
Muskegon Chronicle

Saturday, January 13, 2007
By Dave LeMieux
CHRONICLE STAFF WRITER
Rage welled up inside him when Jack Wentzlof saw the photo of the Rev. Michael McKenna sticking out of a stack of dog-eared Muskegon Chronicles on Christmas Day.

The one-time altar boy at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Muskegon Heights was visiting his mother's winter home in Tucson, Ariz., for the holiday.

Wentzlof's anger grew as he read the Dec. 12 story detailing McKenna's recent removal from public ministry because of substantial evidence that he had sexually abused several boys in the 1970s.

"I told my mom, 'It's about time the son-of-a ... got it,' " Wentzlof said.

His mother listened in stunned silence as Wentzlof told her how McKenna had given him a "back rub" that went too far during an overnight stay at the priest's Muskegon-area residence during the mid-1970s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:36 AM

Mexico: Vatican Punishment Asked for Priest

MEXICO
The New York Times

By JAMES C. McKINLEY Jr.
Published: January 12, 2007
The leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in Mexico have asked the Vatican to defrock the Rev. Nicolás Aguilar, a priest with a long history of sex-abuse allegations who has evaded prosecution for nearly two decades. Cardinal Norberto Rivera, the archbishop of Mexico, along with two other high-ranking bishops, sent the request in late December to a special ecclesiastical committee in the Vatican charged with investigating sexual abuse by priests.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:30 AM

National leader speaks at Voice of the Faithful

BETHANY BEACH (MD)
The Daily Times

BETHANY BEACH -- Mary Pat Fox, national president of Voice of the Faithful, will address the Coastal Delmarva Chapter on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the South Coastal Library, 43 Kent Ave. in Bethany Beach. Her topic will be "Working for Truth: The Role of the Laity in the Guidance and Governance of the Catholic Church."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:25 AM

Let us prey

SALEM (MA)
The Pueblo Chieftain

By MARVIN READ
THE PUEBLO CHIEFTAIN
It was a scenario repeated thousands of times during the history of the American Catholic Church: A devout family, rooted in its faith and a popular priest taking special interest in their son, an altar boy.

In this case, as in so many others, the priest, the Rev. Joseph Birmingham, took too special an interest in Paul Cultrera, a 14-year-old boy and a member of St. James Parish in Salem, Mass.

What began in the mid-1960s in the church as a teenager confessing typical transgressions became personal visits and heavy molestation in the priest's rectory and bedroom, in his shiny, black Ford Galaxie and hotel rooms.

Unaware that anything was amiss, Cultrera's devoutly Catholic parents were proud of the relationship (“It was a beautiful thing," his mother had once said) between the assistant pastor and their son, even as his confused psyche deteriorated in guilt, shame, revulsion, confusion and, eventually, outright anger.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:16 AM

Man charged in sex assault was church leader

CONCORD (NH)
Monitor

By ANNMARIE TIMMINS
Monitor staff

January 13. 2007 8:00AM

Peter Barton, the Concord man charged New Year's Day with sexually assaulting an 8-year-old girl, was a leader in the New Life Fellowship church on Dunklee Street. The arrest did not relate to Barton's church work, but the church's leaders immediately notified their nearly 85 members of the allegations.

"Our first concern was maintaining the safety of the church," said the Rev. Bob Jeffers, administrative pastor. "Everyone we talked to was very appreciative that we got to them so quickly."

The church is also ministering to Barton, who has resigned his leadership role, and his family. The alleged victim is related to Barton, and the church has ministered with that in mind.

"We at the New Life Fellowship are deeply grieved for the immediate family," Jeffers wrote in an e-mail, explaining the church's response to the allegations. "Our fellowship is in prayer regarding these events and we know that our God will comfort, heal and restore. We understand that the authorities are involved, and our hope is for the complete reconciliation and restoration of the family."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:15 AM

Lampasas rector charged with sexually assaulting a child

LAMPASAS (TX)
American-Statesman

By Miguel Liscano
AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Police have arrested a Lampasas rector and another man who they say sexually assaulted a teen on multiple occasions last year.

Jim Carlton Wooldridge, 61, rector at St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Lampasas, turned himself in to authorities on Thursday, they said. He was charged with two counts of sexual assault and a charge of indecency with a child, both second-degree felonies punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Police also charged John Christian Wood, 20, with sexual assault and indecency with a child, along with unlawful possession of a firearm and a misdemeanor charge of possession of marijuana.

Wooldridge was released from the Lampasas County Jail on Thursday night after posting $8,500 in bail.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:11 AM

Camden Diocese spokesman discusses abuse issue

CAMDEN (NJ)
Cherry Hill Courier Post

Saturday, January 13, 2007

By KIM MULFORD

Andrew Walton, spokesman for the Camden Diocese, recently responded to questions about the church's position on sexual abuse reforms during a lengthy phone interview. Here is a condensed version of the interview.

Q. The Frontline documentary Hand of God details the case of one man's abuse and the Boston Diocese's response to his allegations. The church has changed how it deals with sex abuse cases in recent years. What are some improvements in the Camden Diocese?

A: The measures (taken by) the church have been effective. The last known instance of abuse in the Diocese of Camden was 12 years ago, in 1995. There have been no new cases of abuse in over a decade. That is, in part, due to the measures put into place in this diocese: the criminal history background checks that are conducted on clergy and nonclergy who work with minors, the safe environment programs the diocese has put into place which have been attended by clergy, teachers, volunteers, parents and students, as well as the screening of candidates for ordination, as well as screening of employees.

These preventative measures have had a real impact. Also, the policy of the diocese is one of zero tolerance. That means that anyone that the church reasonably believes has engaged in abuse is permanently removed from ministry and may not return. There is no one in any type of ministry in the Diocese of Camden who is known to have abused a minor.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:08 AM

Catholic reformers pondering next steps

UNITED STATES
Winston Salem Journal

By Daniel Burke
RELIGION NEWS SERVICE

In 2003, Jim Post, a co-founder of Voice of the Faithful, a Catholic reform group, asked a scholar whether the group might merit a footnote in the 2,000-year history of the church. "Maybe even a paragraph," Post recalls the scholar telling him with a smile.

Five years after Voice of the Faithful took root in the basement of a church near Boston, the group's place in Catholic history remains unclear.

Voice leaders say they have 120 affiliates and 35,000 members. The lay-led, grassroots group says it has achieved significant feats - tougher sex-abuse laws, increased transparency in some dioceses, and more lay involvement in parish governance.

But Voice also promised to promote "structural change" in the Catholic church - an institution that takes pride in standing firm on shifting cultural sands. Some Voice members, frustrated with the pace of reform, want to confront the Catholic hierarchy with broader demands and sharper criticism. Others counsel patience and cooperation, said the current Voice president, Mary Pat Fox.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:02 AM

In world awash in lies, religion and journalism hold key to truth

UNITED STATES
Indianapolis Star

Tom Ehrich

Balmy days in January, a snowless winter in the Northeast, a polar ice cap crumbling, predictions of the hottest year in Earth's recorded history -- sounds like "global warming" to me.

But what do I know?

Exactly. Is anyone telling us the truth?

With the petroleum industry engaged in disinformation and the auto industry resisting change; with politicians rewarding friends at the expense of truth about human-caused greenhouse gases; and with religion focused on issues of disturbing triviality, who will help the public make informed decisions about global warming?

Or, for that matter, any issue? Every day, one more lid is lifted and a pattern of deceit revealed.
From the handling of post-Katrina relief funds to sexual abuse by clergy to the state of affairs in Iraq to stock options awarded to titans of industry, we are awash in lies. It's as if leaders in government, athletics, industry, finance and education all concluded that staying ahead justifies pathological dishonesty.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:59 AM

Silent no longer

SALEM (MA)
Cherry Hill Courier Post

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The newspaper ads were simple: Do you remember Father Birmingham? There was a New York address. That was it.

That was enough. Dozens of letters arrived, enough to back Paul Cultrera's allegations of sexual abuse by a priest during private counseling sessions in a rectory bedroom in Salem, Mass., 30 years earlier.

It was December 1994, before allegations of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church became numbingly familiar and well before the church began making sweeping changes in how it would respond to the complaints.

Cultrera's story was turned into a Frontline documentary and will air Tuesday on PBS. Shot by his filmmaker brother, Joe Cultrera, Hand of God takes a detailed look at how sexual abuse affected one man, his family and their faith. It is shared matter-of-factly as if to a family member, through scenes shot while cooking dinner, flipping through photo albums or wandering through the old homestead.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:56 AM

Diocese facing 3 new lawsuits

STOCKTON (CA)
The Record

By Scott Smith
Record Staff Writer
January 13, 2007 6:00 AM
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Stockton has drawn three new lawsuits accusing a deceased priest and an already convicted child molester deported to Ireland of sexually abusing former students at a Lodi parochial school.

The civil lawsuits, filed in San Joaquin County Superior Court, come five years after charges of sexual abuse by clergy surged across the country. An attorney and a victims' advocate said the suits show that clergy abuse continues to resonate today.

One suit alleges the Stockton Diocese failed to prevent the Rev. Murty Fahy from molesting a girl for three years beginning in the second grade at St. Ann's Elementary School in Lodi. Fahy died five years ago.

Two other suits claim defrocked priest Oliver O'Grady abused a boy and a girl who were students at the Lodi school, which is operated by the Diocese of Stockton.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:55 AM

Deltona priest removed after sex allegation

DELTONA (FL)
Orlando Sentinel

Kristen Reed | Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted January 13, 2007

A Deltona priest was removed from his post late last year because of sex-abuse allegations that prosecutors are now investigating.

Volusia County sheriff's investigators filed the complaint, which alleges that the Rev. Carlos Bedoya participated in sexual battery against a man, 35, invited to lunch at the priest's house.

The pastor of St. Clare Catholic Church in Deltona has not been arrested or charged, and prosecutors are reviewing the allegations to determine whether to charge him, officials said.

The man, whose name was withheld because of the sexual nature of the allegations, told investigators that on Oct. 4, the priest helped get him drunk and held him down while another man performed a sex act on him, the report states.

David Estrada, who the report says was studying to become a priest and performed the act, is being investigated on a charge of sexual battery, officials said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:51 AM

Personal story to be told to millions

SALEM (MA)
Toledo Blade

By DAVID YONKE
BLADE RELIGION EDITOR

Paul Cultrera has a story to tell, one that in the last few years has become all too familiar.

But his way of telling it is unusual: in a documentary made by his brother that will be seen by millions of television viewers.

Mr. Cultrera’s struggle to find peace and resolution after being sexually abused as a child by his parish priest is the subject of Hand of God, a 90-minute film premiering at 9 p.m. Tuesday on PBS. Locally, it will be shown on WGTE-TV, Channel 30, and WBGU-TV, Channel 27.

“Everybody has a story to tell, but not everybody has a brother who’s an excellent filmmaker,” Mr. Cultrera, 57, told The Blade this week in an interview from his home in Sacramento.

His younger brother, Joe, has produced a number of documentaries, including three fund-raising videos for the Catholic Archdiocese of Newark, N.J., that helped raise $100 million.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:48 AM

January 12, 2007

Former Pastor's Trial On Sex Charges Still Pending

JACKSONVILLE (FL)
News4Jax

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A once prominent and long-serving pastor was back in court Friday for a pretrial hearing on charges he molested four children at his Westside church decades ago.

The Rev. Robert Gray is accused of molesting three girls and a boy more than 30 years ago while he was pastor of Trinity Baptist Church. Gray has pleaded not guilty to four counts of capital sexual battery.

His trial was originally scheduled to begin in November, but due to motions and a rotation of judges in the criminal division, no new trial date is scheduled. The next pretrial hearing is set for Feb. 7.

Gray was pastor of Trinity for nearly 40 years, and also headed its primary school and college. He retired from Trinity in 1992, but remained active in revivals and Bible conferences across America and in Europe until his arrest in May.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:53 PM

Nun Appears in Court

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Fox 28

A 78-year-old nun from Illinois who has been charged with indecent behavior with a child made her initial court appearance Tuesday in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Milwaukee County Circuit Court Commissioner Cedric Cornwall set a personal recognizance bond of ten-thousand dollars for Norma Giannini.

Giannini is accused of sexually abusing two boys at a Catholic grade school in Milwaukee in the 1960s where she taught and was principal.

Sister Betty Smith, regional president for the Sisters of Mercy in Chicago, has said the nun received counseling at a St. Louis facility after the order learned of the situation during the 1990s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:35 PM

Nun Charged With Sex Abuse

MILWAUKEE (WI)
TMJ4

MILWAUKEE - A 78-year-old nun pleaded not guilty Tuesday on charges of sexually abusing two boys at an elementary school where she served as principal during the 1960s.

Milwaukee County Circuit Court Commissioner Cedric Cornwall set a personal recognizance bond of $10,000 for Norma Giannini during her initial appearance. A scheduling conference was set for Feb. 12.

Two counts of indecent behavior were filed last month against Giannini concerning alleged incidents while she served at St. Patrick's grade school on Milwaukee's near south side from 1964 to 1969.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:18 PM

Catholic clergy abuse lawsuit against Vatican can go ahead, judge rules

LOUISVILLE (KY)
Catholic Online

By Jerry Filteau
1/12/2007
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) – A federal judge in Louisville, Ky., has denied a Vatican request to dismiss a sex abuse lawsuit seeking damages from the Holy See.

U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II ruled Jan. 11 that U.S. bishops and priests are employees of the Vatican within the terms of the Federal Sovereign Immunity Act.

The act generally exempts other sovereign states from the jurisdiction of U.S. courts, but it allows U.S. courts to adjudicate lawsuits seeking monetary damages from a foreign country for personal injury caused in the United States by an employee of that country "while acting within the scope of his office or employment."

The lawsuit, brought by Louisville attorney William McMurry on behalf of three clients who claim they were abused by priests when they were minors, is believed to be the first clergy sexual abuse suit that names the Holy See as the sole defendant.

McMurry described Heyburn's decision as "historic."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:02 PM

Lampasas priest charged with sexual assault

LAMPASAS (TX)
NBC 6

Updated: Jan 12, 2007 6:32pm
Two Central Texas men are charged with sexual assault of a child, and one of the men is a priest at a local church.

The charges against father Jim Wooldridge of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Lampasas and a man living with him have members of the community talking.

Resident Dorothy Darnell said, "I’m shocked. There’s so much of that going on, it's hard to believe. I really am devastated."

Father Jim Wooldridge, 61, and John Christian Wood, 20, were arrested on sexual assault and indecency with a child charges Thursday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:59 PM

Abuse lawsuits filed against Diocese of Stockton

STOCKTON (CA)
CBS 47

Last Update: 1/12/2007 3:02:30 PM

STOCKTON, Calif. (AP) - The Roman Catholic Diocese of Stockton has drawn three new lawsuits focused on a deceased priest and an already convicted child molester who has since been deported to Ireland.

One of the suits alleges the Stockton diocese failed to prevent the Reverend Murty Fahy from molesting a girl for three years beginning in the second grade at Saint Anns Elementary School in Lodi.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:41 PM

Pastor Of Historic Central Texas Church Arrested On Sexual Assault Warrants

LAMPASAS (TX)
KWTX

(January 11, 2007)—Jim Carlton Wooldridge, 61, the rector of the 123-year-old St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Lampasas, was free on bonds totaling $8,500 Thursday night after he was arrested earlier Thursday on warrants charging sexual assault and indecency with a child.

A press release issued Thursday evening by the Lampasas Police Department says the arrest warrants issued earlier in the day by Justice of the Peace Andrew Garcia for Wooldridge and a second man, John Christian Wood, 20, of Lampasas, stemmed from an investigation of a report “that a juvenile had been sexually assaulted” in the city.

Garcia issued two warrants charging sexual assault and a third charging indecency with a child naming Wooldridge and warrants charging sexual assault, indecency with a child and unlawful possession of a firearm naming Wood.

Wood, police said, was arrested during a traffic stop just after 10 a.m. Thursday, after which he was also charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:33 PM

Arrest Of Prominent Pastor Shocks Residents

LAMPASAS (TX)
KWTX

(January 12, 2007)—Lampasas residents were shocked Friday by news of the arrest of Jim Carlton Wooldridge, 61, the rector of the community’s landmark St. Mary’s Episcopal Church on warrants charging sexual assault and indecency with a child.

Lampasas County Justice of the Peace Andrew Garcia issued arrest warrants Thursday for Wooldridge and a second man, John Christian Wood, 20, of Lampasas after an investigation of a report “that a juvenile had been sexually assaulted” in the city.

Wood, police said, was arrested during a traffic stop just after 10 a.m. Thursday.

Wooldridge was arrested after he surrendered to Lampasas police just after 4 p.m. Thursday at the Lampasas County Jail. He was later released on bond.

Wooldridge was charged with two counts of sexual assault and one count of indecency with a child.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:28 PM

Lampasas Priest Accused Of Sexual Assault

LAMPASAS (TX)
KXAN

An episcopal priest faces child sex abuse allegations in Lampasas. Father Jim Wooldridge is charged with sexual assault and indecency with a child.

St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Lampasas has stood in the community for 123 years, and now allegations of child sex abuse have shaken its foundation and raised doubts about a priest who runs its parish.

Police have also connected 20-year-old John Christian Wood to the case. The two men are accused of molesting a teenage boy.

Lampasas police won't say where the alleged incident took place. Wooldridge works with children through a Boy Scout program and community garden at the church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:21 PM

Despite Reforms, Scars Remain from Clergy Abuse

UNITED STATES
NPR

by Rachel Martin

All Things Considered, January 12, 2007 · On a recent Thursday evening, John and Maryellen Rogers arrive at St. Francis Cabrini Catholic Church in Situate, Mass. They walk into a small makeshift bedroom off the sanctuary. The room is furnished with an air mattress and a couple of pillows.

This is where the couple has slept every Thursday night for the past two years. There's a sign-up sheet in the lobby. Dozens of other people volunteer for different times, but someone is always at the church, keeping vigil. On this night, a small group of faithful has gathered to pray in the lobby of the church.

These parishioners have been occupying the church since 2004, when the Boston Archdiocese decided to shut it down, along with dozens of others, as part of a restructuring plan.

But John Rogers is convinced his church is a casualty of the sex-abuse crisis that has cost the Catholic church hundreds of millions of dollars.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:45 PM

What to Do with a Former Communist Informant

POLAND
Christianity Today

Susan Wunderink | posted 1/12/2007 08:38AM

The Mass intended to celebrate Stanislaw Wielgus' appointment as archbishop of Warsaw couldn't have been more awkward. Outside the cathedral, supporters and detractors grappled in the rain. Wielgus, instead of celebrating his appointment, resigned from the front of the church. The congregation began shouting. Polish President Lech Kazynski stood to applaud the announcement, but faltered when he realized that most within the cathedral were against it.

As a priest, Wielgus had collaborated with the Communist Sluzba Bezpieczenstwa secret police. His role in the secret police came to light recently as his promotion approached. After Gazeta Polska published its exposé, dug out of old KGB records, he issued a series of denials, each denying less than the one before it, and finally a last-minute resignation. ...

Richard John Neuhaus, editor in chief of First Things, draws a parallel between bishops' rigorless examinations of priests accused of collaboration in Poland and of those accused of sexual abuse in the United States. "Bishops said they were establishing a commission to address this issue, and as far as most people can see, it has done nothing," he says. "Mendacity in the church and the corrosive effect leads to a major block to the gospel."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:54 PM

Police seek information in Sikh priest sex abuse allegations

CANADA
The Winnipeg Free Press

City police are asking the Sikh community for more information in connection to an historic sexual abuse investigation involving three Sikh priests.

Const. Jacqueline Chaput said Friday despite the three men being charged with multiple sexual abuse charges the investigation continues with the possibility of more arrests.

Bakhshish Singh, 47, Kuljit Singh, 43, Dalbag Singh, 37, are scheduled to appear in a Winnipeg court next month. They were first arrested Dec. 23.

All three are priests at the Gurdwara Nanaksar temple in St. Vital. Gurdwara Nanaksar is one of only 17 temples of its kind worldwide - it is affiliated with a specific Sikh sect, Nanaksar Satsang Sabha. There are about 300 members in Winnipeg.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:44 PM

Abuse lawsuits filed against Diocese of Stockton (11:13 a.m.)

STOCKTON (CA)
The Record

By The Record
January 12, 2007 2:09 PM
STOCKTON – Several years after charges of sexual abuse by clergy first gained national attention, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Stockton has drawn three new lawsuits focused on a deceased priest and an already convicted child molester who has since been deported to Ireland.

One of the suits alleges the Stockton diocese failed to prevent Rev. Murty Fahy from molesting a girl for three years beginning in the second grade at St. Ann’s Elementary School in Lodi. Murty died five years ago.

Two other suits also filed in the San Joaquin County Superior Court claim the defrocked priest, Oliver O’Grady, abused a boy and a girl who were students at the Lodi school, which is under the Diocese of Stockton.

These new lawsuits number among an estimated 2,000 clergy abuse cases pending in courts across the country.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:41 PM

Richmond Diocese has set audits

RICHMOND (VA)
Times-Dispatch

BY ALBERTA LINDSEY
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER Jan 12, 2007

Parishes and schools in the Catholic Diocese of Richmond receive an internal audit every three years.

The diocese has a full-time auditor and soon will hire a second, said Steve Neill, diocesan spokesman.

The audit program, part of the diocese's Office of Finance, was started by the Most Rev. Francis X. DiLorenzo, bishop since May 2003.

The auditor does an internal finance compliance audit of the diocese's 135 parishes and approximately 20 schools every three years, Neill said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:29 AM

Diocese theft called largest in years

LOUISA (VA)
Richmond Times-Dispatch

BY CALVIN R. TRICE
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER Jan 12, 2007

LOUISA -- An embezzlement case in which a priest is accused of stealing more than $600,000 from two parishes has no comparison in recent memory, a lawyer for the Catholic Diocese of Richmond said.

"We've had people take a few hundred bucks out of the plate, but nothing of this magnitude," attorney William Etherington said yesterday.

The Rev. Rodney L. Rodis, 50, who until May was pastor at St. Jude Catholic Church in Mineral and Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in nearby Bumpass, was indicted on a charge of felony embezzlement Monday.

Rodis appeared in Louisa General District Court yesterday morning where he agreed to surrender his passport as part of an agreement in which his bond was reduced from $100,000 to $10,000.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:25 AM

Report of St. Ambrose Parish Meeting

ST. LOUIS (MO)
KMOX

This is the link to an audio report on the meeting at St. Ambrose Church held Thursday night to discuss the Rev. Darell Mitchell. Rev. Mitchell is accused of having inappropriate photos.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:19 AM

Priest at church here leaves under a cloud

ST. LOUIS (MO)
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

01/12/2007

A priest previously accused of possessing inappropriate photos left his position as an associate pastor at St. Ambrose Catholic Church in St. Louis Thursday for personal reasons, according to the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

The Rev. Darell Mitchell is a priest of the Yakima, Wash., diocese, but has lived in St. Louis in recent years and has been assigned to local parishes since 2004 by Archbishop Raymond Burke. Mitchell will be leaving the archdiocese.

Members of St. Ambrose attended a meeting about Mitchell Thursday night. Some called the meeting positive, with parents allowed to express concerns and focusing on the safety of children at the parish and moving forward.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:18 AM

Archdiocese may eliminate parish bookeeping and centralize accounting

ST. LOUIS (MO)
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

By Tim Townsend
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
01/12/2007

St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke is considering taking over bookkeeping for all 197 parishes in the archdiocese, modernizing a structure that's lasted for centuries.

His challenge will be to make the accounting of church money more efficient without giving the impression of a power grab.

"This is not about trust, it's not about Big Brother looking over their shoulders," said Frank Chauvin, chief financial officer for the archdiocese. "It's about making sure things are done right, and it's about accountability with parishioners."

New technology and mounting pressure from the laity since the beginning of the clergy abuse scandal five years ago — which has cost the church millions of dollars — has spurred leaders to update financial controls, according to scholars and financial consultants.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:15 AM

Priest accused of theft

VIRGINIA
The Free Lance-Star

Date published: 1/12/2007

By BILL FREEHLING

Bond was reduced yesterday for a Catholic priest accused of stealing at least $600,000 from two small churches in Louisa County during the past five years.

Rodney Lee Rodis, 50, was indicted Monday by a Louisa grand jury on one felony count of embezzlement. He's accused of stealing from St. Jude Catholic Church in Mineral and Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Buckner. He was pastor at both churches for more than a decade.

Rodis faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted. William Etherington, an attorney for the Catholic Diocese of Richmond, said they hope restitution will be part of any possible sentence.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:08 AM

Paulk plaintiffs want church foreclosure halted

ATLANTA (GA)
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

By GAYLE WHITE
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Published on: 01/12/07

Lawyers for two former members of Chapel Hill Harvester, a south DeKalb County megachurch also known as the Cathedral at Chapel Hill, asked a judge on Thursday to prevent foreclosure on several pieces of undeveloped property owned by the church.

BB&T, the bank that financed $755,000 in loans on the property near the church, advertised the land for sale this month because the church is months behind in interest payments and has paid nothing against the principal. With unpaid interest and fees, the church's debt now totals about $1 million, said BB&T attorney Martin Quirk.

Louis Levenson, lawyer for Bobby and Mona Brewer, asked DeKalb Superior Court Judge Mark Anthony Scott to force the church to pay its debt so that the land will be available to help settle any judgment his clients might win.

The Brewers, longtime members and employees of the church, ask for unspecified damages in a suit accusing church founder Bishop Earl Paulk of coercing Mona Brewer into a 14-year-long affair. Dennis Brewer (no relation), an attorney for Paulk, has admitted that his client had a brief sexual relationship with Mona Brewer, but said she was the initiator.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:46 AM

Priest who left Yakima resigns St. Louis post

YAKIMA (WA)
Yakima Herald-Republic

By JANE GARGAS
YAKIMA HERALD-REPUBLIC

A Catholic priest who was investigated in Yakima on suspicion that he viewed child pornography resigned Thursday from the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

The Rev. Darell Mitchell decided to leave both his pastoral assignment in St. Louis and the archdiocese, according to a statement from the archdiocese.

"It's a tragedy," said Monsignor John Ecker, vicar general of the Catholic Diocese of Yakima. "There was no need for it."

Ecker said that Mitchell told him he wasn't sure what he would do next.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:41 AM

Jack Bauer Returns

UNITED STATES
Wall Street Journal

By DOROTHY RABINOWITZ
January 12, 2007; Page W4

The new season of Fox's "24," which begins with a back-to-back splurge of double episodes both Sunday and Monday, 8-10 p.m. EST, has returned with a hero more than half-dead, and in far from triumphant circumstances best left unrevealed here. Like so much else in those first four hours. This much can be said, though -- CTU's master of the impossible, returned to the U.S. for reasons grim to contemplate, after being held captive by the Chinese, looks, for the first time in memory, a spirit seriously broken. ...

A word about Frontline's "The Hand Of God" by filmmaker Joe Cultrera, airing Tuesday, 9-10:30 p.m. EST, on PBS (check local listings). This story about the filmmaker's brother, sexually molested by a priest in the 1960s, is that rare thing when it comes to works on this theme -- a film informed by passion without histrionics, and a sober and moving family saga.


Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:38 AM

Diocese getting handle on serious budget deficit

WORCESTER (MA)
Telegram & Gazette

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

WORCESTER— The Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester faced a financial crisis in 2003, as church leaders scrambled to cover a deficit of nearly $794,000.

But three years later, church money managers have come close to balancing the books, the diocese’s annual report shows.

According to an audit by O’Connor, Maloney & Co. P.C. that was commissioned by the church, the diocese lost only $75,993 for the fiscal year that ran from Sept. 1, 2005 though Aug. 31, 2006.

“We have made significant strides toward balancing our budget, but the challenge continues,” said Bishop Robert J. McManus, in a statement that accompanied yesterday’s release of the report.

The documents show the diocese garnered $32,071,365 in revenues while paying out $32,147,358 in expenses.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:34 AM

Diocese facing financial woes

SCRANTON (PA)
Times Leader

By MARK GUYDISH
mguydish@timesleader.com
SCRANTON – The Diocese of Scranton released audit information that, it said, shows the diocese “is facing serious financial challenges,” including a $1.3 million deficit last fiscal year, $5.5 million owed by parishes for annual assessments, and $12 million in loan payments due from “financially troubled parishes and schools.”

The diocese printed extensive information for the fiscal year from July 1, 2005, to June 30, 2006, in the Thursday edition of its newspaper, The Catholic Light. In a letter accompanying the report, Bishop Joseph Martino noted that the basic numbers look deceptively healthy, with the diocese taking in slightly more than the roughly $26.3 million it spent. But he insisted “there are other factors” that create the $1.3 million deficit.

Among them, he cites $70,403 in “bad debts.” In fact, the report cites what it calls “a troubling trend” of parishes and schools seeking more loans from the diocese for day-to-day operations rather than for the traditional uses of such loans: long-term construction or renovation projects.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:17 AM

Trial for polygamist delayed

KINGMAN (NV)
Mohave Daily News

By JIM SECKLER

Thursday, January 11, 2007 7:10 PM PST

KINGMAN - Wednesday's trial for a Colorado City polygamist charged with having sexual relations with an underage girl has been postponed indefinitely.

Rodney Holm's trial before Superior Court Judge Steven Conn was postponed with no new date scheduled.

Holm, 40, a former Colorado City police officer and one of eight defendants who belong to a controversial polygamist sect of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Colorado City, is charged with three counts of sexual conduct with a minor.

Another codefendant, Randy Barlow, 33, is charged with two counts of sexual conduct with a minor. He had also been charged with two counts of sexual assault but those charges were dismissed. No trial date has been set in his case.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:13 AM

KY: JUDGE SAYS ABUSED MEN CAN SUE VATICAN

LOUISVILLE (KY)
Free Market News Network

Friday, January 12, 2007 - FreeMarketNews.com

Finding the root cause for abuse from someone else may not be important to some, but for three Kentucky men, there may be at least a day in court. According to wire services reports posted at Raw Story, the trio of Louisville survivors of alleged sexual abuse by their childhood priests have been granted the right to pursue a negligence lawsuit against the Vatican.

The ruling was made by U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II, and involves the men's claim that "top church officials" should have warned the public and local authorities about suspected child sex abuse by priests within the Archdiocese of Louisville. Their attorney, William McMurry, reportedly said the ruling might lead to deposing Vatican officials and obtaining copies of church records and documents.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:10 AM

Prominent Missouri church reaches settlement in sexual assault suit

INDEPENDENCE (MO)
Associated Baptist Press

By Robert Marus and Bill Webb
Published January 11, 2007

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (ABP) -- A prominent Missouri Baptist church has settled a sexual assault lawsuit that a former intern filed against the pastor's son, who was a staff member at the time of the assault.

The Missouri 16th Judicial Circuit Court dismissed the suit against Mark Brooks, his father Paul Brooks and the First Baptist Church of Raytown, Mo. Raytown is a suburb of Kansas City.

S.R. Prewitt, a former church intern, had filed a civil suit against the younger Brooks -- naming his father and the church -- in 2005. It accused Mark Brooks, who is married, of several accounts of sexual assault, unlawful imprisonment and infliction of emotional distress over a period of several months in 2003-2004. It also accused the church and Paul Brooks, its longtime pastor, of negligence in failing to prevent the abuse.

In court papers, Prewitt -- who was a third-generation member of the congregation -- claimed that, beginning in September 2003, he assaulted her sexually on multiple occasions, claiming that "it was God's will" that they be together. After a January 2004 encounter, the plaintiff became pregnant. Sometime thereafter, the suit said, Mark Brooks left the church's staff to become a student at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary but remained on the church's payroll until September 2004.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:07 AM

Vatican faces compensation claim

LOUISVILLE (KY)
Al Jazeera

Three men who have accused Catholic priests of sexually abusing them in childhood have been granted the right to pursue damages from the Vatican in a negligence lawsuit, a US federal judge has ruled.

The decision to allow the men to claim compensation is seen as a move towards transparency for a string of abuse accusations that have rocked the Catholic church in the US, and could lead to the top of the organisation in Rome.

William McMurry, the plaintiffs' solicitor, said on Thursday that the ruling could open the way to take depositions of Vatican officials and to obtain copies of church records and documents.

"Our whole purpose is to hold the Vatican accountable," McMurry said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:04 AM

Judge OKs sex-abuse lawsuits vs. Vatican

KENTUCKY
Boston Herald

By Marie Szaniszlo
Friday, January 12, 2007 - Updated: 12:13 AM EST

A federal judge in Kentucky yesterday ruled that three men who claim they were abused as children by priests may sue the Vatican for negligence.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II could have broad implications for others who say top church officials should have warned the public or police about priests who were known or suspected child molesters, said Mitchell Garabedian, the Boston attorney whose clients blew the lid off the clergy sexual abuse scandal in the United States.

“A door has been opened,” he said, allowing victims’ attorneys to depose Vatican officials in the United States. Many victims’ lawsuits have named the pope, the Vatican and high-ranking clerics as defendants but have failed because the Holy See is typically immune from the jurisdiction of U.S. courts under the U.S. Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act.

The Kentucky case may prod more U.S. bishops to settle out of court because as far as the Roman Catholic Church is concerned, “the only thing worse than damaging diocesan secrets being revealed is damaging Vatican secrets being revealed,” said David Clohessy of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:02 AM

Judge allows sex abuse lawsuit against Vatican to go forward

LOUISVILLE (KY)
The Florida Times-Union

By BRETT BARROUQUERE
Associated Press Writer

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A federal judge's ruling allowing three men to pursue damages from the Vatican in a negligence lawsuit looks like a victory for the plaintiffs.

But the appearance may be deceiving - and it could take some time before the full impact of the ruling is known, attorneys say.

U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II ruled Thursday that the men may pursue their claim that top church officials should have warned the public or local authorities of known or suspected sexual abuse of children by priests in the Archdiocese of Louisville.

But because Heyburn dismissed portions of the case and the appeals afforded to the Holy See, it could be years and a hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court before the men get an opportunity to try and prove their case, said their attorney, William McMurry.

"That is in all likelihood where this will end up," McMurry said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:58 AM

Three priests face sex charges

CANADA
Winnipeg Sun

Fri, January 12, 2007

By PAUL TURENNE, POLICE REPORTER

Winnipeg police formally laid charges yesterday against three Sikh priests arrested last month amid allegations of sexual abuse, and were therefore able to release their names publicly.

Bakhshish Singh, 47, Kuljit Singh, 43, and Dalbag Singh, 37 -- all priests at the Gurdwara Nanaksar temple in St. Vital -- have been charged with sexual assault, invitation to sexual touching, sexual interference and sexual exploitation. Kuljit and Dalbag Singh are each additionally charged with anal intercourse.

The priests are alleged to have abused a Winnipeg man when he was a boy at the temple over a period of more than five years, from June 1990 to January 1996.

None of the allegations has been proven in court. Sheldon Pinx, the lawyer representing all three men, said last month that his clients maintain their innocence and deny all charges.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:55 AM

Diocese attorney in priest abuse case withdraws

VERMONT
Burlington Free Press

Published: Thursday, January 11, 2007
By Sam Hemingway
Free Press Staff Writer

A longtime attorney for the statewide Roman Catholic diocese has withdrawn from the team of lawyers representing the church in a priest sex abuse case pending in Chittenden Superior Court.

William O'Brien, legal counsel to the diocese for more than 16 years, notified the court Monday that he was withdrawing from the litigation because he could not adequately represent the diocese in the face of misconduct claims being leveled at him by Jerome O'Neill, the lawyer for the alleged victim in the case.

"The unfortunate and personal attacks by plaintiff's counsel ... have made it increasingly difficult for me to properly represent my client," O'Brien wrote in his withdrawal notice.

O'Neill, in an interview Tuesday, disputed O'Brien's reasons for withdrawing.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:53 AM

Judge okays suit against Vatican

LOUISVILLE (KY)
Spero News

Friday, January 12, 2007
by William Donohue

The same judge, John G. Heyburn II, who ruled on October 7, 2005 that the Holy See is a foreign state that enjoys certain immunities now says that the same lawsuit can go forward. That's because a few technicalities that stopped him from initially dismissing the suit altogether are no longer relevant. There's an odor to this and it stinks.

The lawyer, William McMurry, won a $25.7 million settlement with the Archdiocese of Louisville in 2003 and managed to cream $10.3 million off the top for himself and his legal team.

What motivated him to continue his pursuit was the revelation in 2003 that a 1962 Vatican document, leaked to the press, allegedly shows how the Vatican planned to cover up cases of sexual abuse.

But the document, as we've pointed out many times before, not only does not implicate the Vatican -it proves how serious it took cases of alleged abuse. For example, it prescribed penalties for any priest who 'whether by words or signs or nods of the head' might convey a sexual advance in the confessional. (My italics.) It also prescribed penalties for the penitent if he or she didn't report such conduct. In other words, the 1962 document is a model of excellence.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:49 AM

Suit against Vatican can proceed

LOUISVILLE (KY)
The Courier-Journal

By Jason Riley
jriley@courier-journal.com
The Courier-Journal

A federal judge in Louisville issued a "historic" decision yesterday by refusing to dismiss a lawsuit against the Vatican that alleges a cover-up to protect priests who molested American children.

"This is the first and only case which has as its sole objective holding the Vatican financially accountable for all of the childhood sexual abuses committed in the U.S.," said Louisville attorney William McMurry, who filed the suit in 2004 on behalf of three men who allege abuse dating as far back as 1928.

If U.S. District Judge John Heyburn II's decision stands, it could open the door for attorneys to take depositions of Vatican officials -- including Pope Benedict XVI -- obtain copies of church records and documents and ultimately determine "what prompted all of the bishops to keep quiet, hide these pedophiles and refuse to report child abusers," McMurry said. He called the decision "historic."

But Jeffrey Lena of Berkeley, Calif., counsel for the Vatican, known legally as the Holy See, said Heyburn's decision rejected portions of McMurry's lawsuit and left the case hanging on a "fairly weak linchpin" -- that U.S. Catholic clergy are employees of the Vatican.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:46 AM

Winnipeg police charge 3 Sikh priests with sexual assault

CANADA
CBC News

Last Updated: Friday, January 12, 2007 | 5:54 AM CT
CBC News
Winnipeg police on Thursday charged three Sikh priests with assaulting a child during the 1990s.

Const. Jacqueline Chaput says the victim alleges the abuse started when he was eight years old at the Gurdwara Nanaksar temple in St. Vital, spanning June 1990 to January 1996.

He came forward with his complaint last month, said Chaput.

Bakhshish Singh, 47, Kuljit Singh, 43, and Dalbag Singh, 37, all face charges of sexual assault, sexual exploitation, sexual interference and invitation to sexual touching. Kuljit and Dalbag Singh are each additionally charged with anal intercourse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:44 AM

Louisville sex abuse lawsuit against Holy See okayed

LOUISVILLE (KY)
WHAS

07:06 AM EST on Friday, January 12, 2007

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- A federal judge ruled yesterday that three men who claim childhood sexual abuse by priests can pursue damages from the Vatican in a negligence lawsuit.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge John Heyburn The Second lets the men pursue their claim that top church officials should have warned the public or local authorities of known or suspected sexual abuse of children by priests in the Archdiocese of Louisville.

Plaintiffs’ Attorney William McMurry says the ruling could open the way to take depositions of Vatican officials and to get copies of church records and documents.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:41 AM

January 11, 2007

Judge: Abuse suit against Vatican can proceed

LOUISVILLE (KY)
The Courier-Journal

By Jason Riley
jriley@courier-journal.com
The Courier-Journal

A federal judge issued a “historic” decision Thursday by refusing to dismiss a lawsuit against the Vatican that alleges a cover-up to protect priests who molested American children.

“This is the first and only case which has as its sole objective holding the Vatican financially accountable for all of the childhood sexual abuses committed in the U.S.,” said Louisville attorney William McMurry, who filed the suit in 2004 on behalf of three men alleging abuse as far back as 1928.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II allows the men to pursue negligence claims against the Vatican over allegations of sexual abuse by priests in the Archdiocese of Louisville.

McMurry, who in 2003 represented 243 abuse victims in reaching a $25.7 million settlement with the Archdiocese of Louisville, said in an interview that he expects the ruling would be appealed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:12 PM

First Things on the Wielgus scandal

POLAND
Beliefnet

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Rod Dreher

Powerful stuff on the First Things blog regarding the Wielgus scandal. I had not realized that Abp Wielgus, in his resignation, told the congregation that he had come clean to the Pope before -- before -- he accepted the promotion to archbishop. So the Vatican knew what they had on their hands at the time, and they went ahead with the appointment anyway. How astonishingly foolish, to take that risk! Even if the Pope forgave Wielgus, you simply do not entrust a man who formally collaborated with communist oppressors to a paramount position of spiritual headship of a people who were terribly oppressed by the communists. Not if you want to keep the trust and obedience of the people. And now Cardinal Re in the Vatican is saying that Rome actually didn't know about Wielgus. Which has got to be a lie. Thank God for a free press. Here's an excerpt from Robert Miller's post:

More important, in both the sex scandals in the United States in 2002 and in the spy scandals in Poland in 2007, the press—regardless of its motives—is doing what the bishops and the Holy See ought to have been doing—that is, ensuring that men unfit to be priests or bishops cease to function as such. By accepting his resignation, the Vatican has conceded that Wielgus’ past activities make him unsuitable to be archbishop-metropolitan of Warsaw.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:06 PM

Vatican Can Be Sued Over Bishops' Conduct, Judge Says (Update2)

KENTUCKY
Bloomberg

By Steven Church

Jan. 11 (Bloomberg) -- The Vatican can be sued over claims that U.S. leaders of the Roman Catholic church failed to warn parishioners about pedophile priests, a Kentucky judge ruled.

In the second decision of its kind, Chief U.S. District Court Judge John G. Heyburn II in Louisville said the Holy See itself must face a sexual-abuse lawsuit. Most victims have sued their local diocese in state and federal courts without directly naming the Vatican because of restrictions laid out in the U.S. Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act, or FSIA.

``We are attempting to hold the ultimate responsible party liable for what happened here,'' said William F. McMurry, a Louisville lawyer representing a people who contend they were sexually abused by priests. ``It's unfair to hold the parishioners of Catholic parishes financially responsible for what their bishops did at the behest of their superiors in the Vatican.''

Thousands of lawsuits have been filed against individual priests, bishops and other church leaders across the U.S. since the sexual abuse scandal became national news in 2002. Defending those cases have placed financial burdens on America's 194 dioceses, which operate semi-independently from the Vatican.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:59 PM

Judge opens door to Vatican priest records

LOUISVILLE (KY)
UPI

LOUISVILLE, Ky., Jan. 11 (UPI) -- A federal judge in Kentucky Thursday ruled that a lawsuit against the Vatican alleging cover-ups of predator priests could go forward.

The Louisville Courier-Journal reported that the ruling by U.S. District Judge John Heyburn allows the alleged victims of sexual molestation by the priests to pursue information -- and the deep pockets of the Vatican -- in the lawsuit filed in 2004 on behalf of three men.

Heyburn refused to dismiss the case, which alleges negligence on the part of the church leadership in alleged acts dating as far back as 1928.

"This is the first and only case which has as its sole objective holding the Vatican financially accountable for all of the childhood sexual abuses committed in the United States," said Louisville attorney William McMurry, who filed the suit.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:57 PM

Popular priest accused of embezzling $600,000

VIRGINIA
Fredericksburg.com

Date published: 1/11/2007

Bond was reduced yesterday for a Catholic priest accused of steal ing at least $600,000 from two small churches in Louisa County during the past five years.

Rodney Lee Rodis, 50, was indicted Monday by a Louisa grand jury on one felony count of embezzlement. He's accused of stealing from St. Jude Catholic Church in Mineral and Immacu late Conception Catholic Church in Buckner. He was pastor at both churches for more than a decade.

Rodis faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted. William Etherington, an attorney for the Catholic Diocese of Richmond, said they hope restitution will be part of any possible sentence.

Etherington said the total loss is estimated at $600,000. Louisa Commonwealth’s Attorney Don Short said only that the amount of money was “considerable.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:35 PM

Priest once accused of possessing nude photos of boys steps down

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

By BETSY TAYLOR
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER

ST. LOUIS -- A Roman Catholic priest once accused of possessing nude photos of boys in Washington state is leaving his pastoral assignment in St. Louis for personal reasons, the Archdiocese of St. Louis said Thursday.

The Rev. Darell Mitchell was in Yakima, Wash., in 2003 when he was accused of having nude pictures of boys on his computer. No charges were ever filed.

Monsignor John Ecker, Vicar General for Yakima's diocese, said Mitchell left his Missouri post "just because he's been hounded so much." He said allegations had been thoroughly investigated in the past, no legal action was taken, and church officials believe Mitchell fit for ministry.

Ecker said the priest would go to his mother's home for a time, but declined to specify where he would be staying.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:33 PM

Davenport Diocese extends abuse reporting pledge by four years

IOWA
KWWL

IOWA CITY, Iowa The Roman Catholic Diocese of Davenport has extended for another four years its pledge to local authorities to report allegations of sexual abuse between minors and clergy.

Church officials announced the extension of the Memorandum of Understanding today. It's signed by Bishop Martin Amos and Scott County Prosecutor William Davis.

The original agreement was signed last year by Davis and then-Bishop William Franklin, who has retired.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:00 PM

Diocese acts to protect assets, seek judge's withdrawal

VERMONT
Burlington Free Press

Published: Thursday, January 11, 2007
By Sam Hemingway
Free Press Staff Writer

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington has unveiled a two-pronged strategy to deal with potential fallout from a recent $965,000 settlement in the first of 19 priest sex abuse cases it is faces in Chittenden Superior Court.

In a letter written by Bishop Salvatore Matano and read to attendees at Mass over the weekend around the state, Matano said he has placed the diocese's 128 parishes in individual charitable trusts "to protect the vested interests of our parishes.

"In such litigious times, it would be a gross act of mismanagement if I did not do everything possible to protect our parishes and the interests of the faithful from unbridled, unjust and terribly unreasonable assault," Matano wrote in his letter.

Monday, court officials also confirmed the diocese has filed a motion seeking to have Judge Ben Joseph, the presiding judge in the abuse cases, withdraw from overseeing the remaining priest abuse cases pending in the court.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:58 PM

The Aftermath: The Church Responds

UNITED STATES
NPR

by Rachel Martin

NPR.org, January 11, 2007 · In the wake of the national furor that followed revelations of clergy abuse and attempts at a cover-up in the Boston Archdiocese, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops enacted changes to its national policies designed to address the crisis. The so-called Dallas Charter was adopted in June 2002 and included a range of new rules. Here, an overview of the Church's response and the results so far.

Issue: Assistance for Victims

Church Response: Establish counseling offices for victims of sexual abuse and their families.

Result: Many major dioceses have opened counseling offices that serve victims of clergy sexual abuse. Others have initiated special ministries within dioceses and parishes to help victims and congregations.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:52 PM

Exposing Scandal in the Church: Key Players

UNITED STATES
NPR

by Thomas Pierce

NPR.org, January 11, 2007 · The pivotal trial that shook the world's faith in the Roman Catholic Church changed the lives of many of those involved in the case.

Almost five years have passed since Boston-area priest John Geoghan was convicted of sexually abusing a 10-year-old boy at a swimming pool. Evidence presented at trial demonstrated that cases of clergy sexual abuse were not isolated incidents, as Roman Catholic Church officials had argued before, during a similar scandal (see James Potter, below). In fact, as more reports surfaced in the wake of the Geoghan trial, clergy abuse was revealed to be a systemic problem in the Church — especially in the Boston Archdiocese.

Repercussions from the trial continue to be felt. Some Catholic dioceses have filed for bankruptcy after doling out millions of dollars in civil-lawsuit settlements. Due to budget crunches, the Boston Archdiocese consolidated some parishes and closed others. Alleged victims, most from the 1970s and '80s, are still coming forward with their stories.

Here's an update on the key personalities from the trial that started it all.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:49 PM

Abuse Scandal Still Echoes Through Catholic Church

UNITED STATES
NPR

by Rachel Martin

January 11, 2007 · Five years ago this month, The Boston Globe published a series of reports exposing widespread allegations of sex abuse by clergy in Boston and efforts by the Catholic Church hierarchy to cover it up.

According to the Globe, 130 people claimed to have been sexually abused by Father John Geoghan, and church officials had known about the abuse and covered it up. The scandal triggered a chain reaction. Thousands of victims of clergy sex abuse around the country went public and filed suit, creating a scandal that rocked American Catholicism and has cost the Catholic Church more than $1 billion.

Clergy sexual abuse was a story that had been around for a long time, but had never caught fire. So why did things happen so differently in 2002?

Dark, Family Secret

A small wooden cross still hangs above the kitchen door in Maryetta Dussourd's home in the Boston suburb of Jamaica Plain; it's the only visible remnant of her Catholic faith. Three of her sons and four of her nephews were molested by Father John Geoghan in the 1970s. Family is everything to her, and back then, so was the Catholic Church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:48 PM

Victims of Clergy Abuse Wrestle with Faith, Past

UNITED STATES
NPR

by Rachel Martin

January 11, 2007 · The sex-abuse scandal that rocked the Catholic Church in January 2002 first gained attention in Boston – a city that, for many, is the symbolic center of American Catholicism. But new victims soon emerged in other parts of the country. Now, five years later, many of these people are still speaking out.

Finding Strength in Coming Forward

"I battled the largest institution in the world," says Christy Miller, a fiery red-headed mother of two in Cincinnati, Ohio. "And I'm OK. I survived. I'm better and I'm stronger."

I sat down with Miller in the kitchen of her home in an upscale suburb of Cincinnati. She showed me handwritten letters from the priest who abused her when she was in high school in the 1980s. She taped the notes onto yellow poster board that she's used in press conferences and courtrooms. Some of the earlier letters are addressed to "Christy, Student," signed from "Father Tom, Teacher."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:34 PM

Wenceslao: Priest’s accuser needs understanding

PHILIPPINES
Sun.Star

By Bong O. Wenceslao
Candid Thoughts

I PITY the girl who accused former Maslog, Danao City parish priest Jose “Joey” Belciña of rape. Ridiculed by the priest’s fans early on, she is now being condemned by those who frowned on her decision to call for the dismissal of the child abuse rap filed against the priest so she can “move on.” She has thus become a victim many times over.

What is unfortunate there are the rumors, like the one about her getting P300,000 in exchange for agreeing to a settlement.

That resurrected speculations that the girl may not have been raped after all. Overnight, she has become to the eyes of her critics a girl with loose morals. And yet these pompous souls have never even seen the girl in person.

Lost in the rumor-mongering and speculation spree was Belciña’s statement made in December in front of Maslog parishioners. While the priest was vague, probably intentionally, his asking for forgiveness for whatever wrongs he did spoke volumes. I understand that episode was part of the settlement terms the protagonists agreed on.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:05 PM

Malilong: Let the girl and the priest be

PHILIPPINES
Sun.Star

By Frank Malilong Jr.
The Other Side

ONE of the most celebrated cases in Cebu in the ‘70s was the complaint for adultery that a businessman filed against his wife and her alleged paramour. All the parties came from prominent families: I have never seen so many mestizos and mestizas seated on the front row of the courtroom; and the lawyers were among the best in the country.

As in all sensational trials, the courtroom was always packed not only with relatives and supporters but mostly with curiosity seekers wanting to listen to salacious details of the supposed extra-marital affair. I enjoyed a vantage view through an open door from the judge’s chamber because his sheriff, who was a friend, explained to him that I was a law student trying to learn trial technique, which was, of course, only half true.

At one point during the direct examination of the prosecution’s star witness, she was asked if there were other trysts that she knew other than those that were the subject of the case. The defense counsel jumped to his feet. “Evidence that one did or did not do a certain thing at one time,” he thundered, “is not admissible to show that he did or did not do the same thing at another time.”

But His Honor waved him off. “Never mind,” he said, “the Court would like to hear more.”

Many people are dismayed that the complainant in the Danao rape case (which the prosecutors downgraded to child abuse) against Fr. Joey Belciña has chosen not to pursue it any further. Now, they moan, we will never be able to know the truth.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:03 PM

Judge: Men can seek damages from church

LOUISVILLE (KY)
Houston Chronicle

By BRETT BARROUQUERE Associated Press Writer
The Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Three men who claim childhood sexual abuse by priests can pursue damages from the Vatican in a negligence lawsuit, a federal judge ruled Thursday.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II lets the men pursue their claim that top church officials should have warned the public or local authorities of known or suspected sexual abuse of children by priests in the Archdiocese of Louisville.

William McMurry, the plaintiffs' attorney, said the ruling could open the way to take depositions of Vatican officials and to get copies of church records and documents.

"Our whole purpose is to hold the Vatican accountable," McMurry said.

Vatican officials declined to comment.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:58 PM

Louisa priest faces theft charge

LOUISA (VA)
Richmond Times-Dispatch

BY CALVIN R. TRICE
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER Jan 11, 2007

LOUISA -- A Catholic priest is accused of embezzling more than $600,000 from two Louisa County churches over five years.

The Rev. Rodney L. Rodis, 50, was pastor of St. Jude Catholic Church in Mineral and Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Bumpass until he retired for medical reasons in May.

Church officials learned of the alleged thefts in November, when a donation was not acknowledged and the parish could find no record of it, said William Etherington, an attorney for the Catholic Diocese of Richmond, who estimated the loss at more than $600,000.

Church officials contacted the Louisa commonwealth's attorney, who then brought state police into the investigation. Rodis was indicted on a charge of felony embezzlement by a Louisa County grand jury Monday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:25 AM

Former priest arrested

VIRGINIA
Daily Progress

By Rob Seal / rseal@dailyprogress.com | 978-7265
January 11, 2007

A former Louisa County priest accused of stealing more than $600,000 in church donations has been arrested and charged with embezzlement, authorities said Wednesday.

The Rev. Rodney Lee Rodis, 50, served at St. Jude parish in Mineral and Immaculate Conception parish in Buckner for more than 12 years.

A three-month investigation culminated Monday when a Louisa grand jury indicted Rodis on the embezzlement charge. He was arrested later that day at his home in Spotsylvania County, according to state police spokesman Sgt. Kevin Barrick.

Church bookkeepers caught wind of the missing money in October, when a man who had donated $1,000 to the church contacted them, said William Etherington, an attorney representing the Diocese of Richmond.

“The donor called up and said, ‘Hey, I didn’t get an acknowledgement [of the gift]’ and the church finance council said, ‘Well, we can’t find your donation,’” Etherington said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:18 AM

Virginia Priest Charged With Embezzlement

VIRGINIA
WTKR

A Catholic priest is accused of embezzling more than $600,000 from two Louisa County churches over five years.

According to the Catholic Diocese of Richmond, the Reverend Rodney Rodis was pastor of two churches in Mineral and Bumpass until he retired for medical reasons in May. Diocese attorney William Etherington says church officials learned of the alleged thefts in November and contacted authorities.

Rodis, who's 50 years old, was indicted Monday on a charge of felony embezzlement by a Louisa County grand jury. Louisa Commonwealth's Attorney Don Short said Rodis was being held at the Central Virginia Regional Jail in Orange last night under $100,000 bond.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:03 AM

Exiled priest still claims innocence

WORCESTER (MA)
Telegram & Gazette

Dianne Williamson
dwilliamson@telegram.com

T&G STAFF

It’s hard to miss the Rev. James J. Aquino when he won’t go away.

The former pastor of Our Lady of Loreto Church, removed from active ministry and soaking up the sun in Florida, recently penned a rather poignant letter to parishioners, just as they’re due to hear the results of a diocesan audit that may make them wonder whether they, too, have been soaked.

“I am retired from active ministry and live the life of leisure at the Cape and in Florida,” the Rev. Aquino wrote from his condo in Naples in a holiday form letter to selected parishioners. “I do miss ministry, but am learning to like the life of leisure more and more each day.”

I’ll bet. Meanwhile, the Diocese of Worcester is putting the finishing touch on an audit of the church that will be made public to parishioners this weekend, and let’s just say it raises the possibility Rev. Aquino rolled the dice with church finances as cavalierly as he jetted off to his beloved Las Vegas.

“As a parishioner, I’m not pleased,” said Michael Sacco, an accountant and chairman of the finance committee of Our Lady of Loreto. “I don’t think anyone is going to be happy.”

While no one was willing to disclose many specifics about the audit, it will reportedly reflect a church saddled with debt due partly to unpaid bills and delinquent diocesan obligations that weren’t addressed by the Rev. Aquino when he served as pastor of the parish on Massasoit Road until he was removed in November 2005 because of a Las Vegas indiscretion.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:49 AM

Removal of priest protested

DENVER (CO)
Rocky Mountain News

By Jean Torkelson, Rocky Mountain News
January 11, 2007
The attorney for Episcopal priest Don Armstrong plans to raise concerns with the diocese over harsh restrictions imposed on his client while it investigates an allegation of possible misapplication of funds.

"Persons in the parish are extremely upset about the action taken here," said Denver attorney Daniel Sears, adding that he will raise the concerns "at a time we deem appropriate."

He said that many parishioners of Armstrong's 2,400-member Colorado Springs church have contacted him to protest their rector's removal, which was announced during church services on New Year's Eve.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:47 AM

Attorneys ask for venue changes

PINEVILLE (MO)
Neosho Daily News

By John Ford / Daily News Associate Editor
Published: Wednesday, January 10, 2007 4:58 PM CST

PINEVILLE - A change of venue is in the works for three McDonald County church leaders facing child sexual abuse charges.

According to McDonald County Assistant Prosecutor Dan Bagley, attorneys for Raymond Lambert, Patty Lambert and Laura Epling have requested changes of venue, as their clients' cases have received too much news coverage to get a fair trial in McDonald County.

All three have pleaded not guilty to child sex abuse charges. Raymond Lambert, 51, the pastor of Grand Valley Independent Baptist Church, faces four felony counts of second degree statutory sodomy and four counts of second degree felony child molestation. His wife, Patty Lambert, 49, faces one felony count of second degree child molestation and a felony charge of endangering the welfare of a child as part of a ritual or ceremony. Laura Epling, the wife of a church deacon, faces a Class C felony charge of second degree statutory sodomy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:34 AM

Insurers win access to church documents

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
The Republican

Thursday, January 11, 2007
By MICHAEL McAULIFFE
mmcauliffe@repub.com
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield, seeking coverage for dozens of claims of sexual abuse by priests, suffered a major setback in its lawsuit against several insurance carriers with a judge's decision that the diocese must turn over most of nearly 7,700 pages in church documents.

Superior Court Associate Justice John A. Agostini, in an 11-page decision, rejected that documents were protected from disclosure under several arguments, including the First Amendment, priest-penitent privilege, religious autonomy and psychotherapist-patient privilege. Agostini, who heard arguments in Berkshire Superior Court in December, did rule in favor of the diocese in arguing some documents were protected by attorney-client privilege.

Greenfield lawyer John J. Stobierski, who represents more than 20 people with abuse claims, said the decision was "a significant repudiation" of the positions taken by the diocese in its efforts to keep documents secret.

"There were a lot of creative legal arguments that were made and not accepted by the court," he said yesterday.

Adam Simms, a lawyer for one of the carriers, North Star Reinsurance Corp. of Stamford, Conn., had positive words for Agostini's decision.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:31 AM

Diocese tells police of abuse

FORT WORTH (TX)
Star-Telegram

By TERRY LEE GOODRICH
STAR-TELEGRAM STAFF WRITER
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth has reported to police a 38-year-old woman’s allegations of abuse by a priest who is a former pastor of churches in Bedford and Arlington, diocese officials said Wednesday.

“We filed a complaint and advised her to do so,” said Vicar General Michael Olson, overseer of the Conduct Review Board. The board will meet Jan. 18 to review the woman’s allegations and make a recommendation to Bishop Kevin Vann on what the church should do.

Diocese officials would not reveal the name of the woman, who reported that she was abused as a pre-teen in the late 1970s by the Rev. Joseph Tu Ngoc Nguyen, former pastor of St. Michael Catholic Church in Bedford and St. Matthew Catholic Church in Arlington.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:29 AM

Judge orders Springfield Diocese to release documents to insurers

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
Boston.com

January 11, 2007

SPRINGFIELD, Mass --A judge has ordered the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield to release thousands of pages of documents in a dispute between the church and seven of its insurance carriers over settlements with clergy sex abuse victims.

The diocese sued the insurance companies to get them to cover the claims of 57 people who allege they were sexually abused by priests.

The insurers argued in court that more than 7,500 pages of documents from the church will enable them to see how diocese handled allegations of sexual abuse by priests and whether it fulfilled its obligation to protect the public.

In his ruling, Berkshire Superior Court Associate Justice John A. Agostini rejected the diocese' arguments that documents were protected from disclosure under the First Amendment, priest-penitent privilege, religious autonomy and psychotherapist-patient privileges, The Republican newspaper of Springfield reported Thursday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:25 AM

77 year old won't serve jail time for molestation charges

CANADA
570 News

January 06, 2007 - 9:16 am
By: 570 News

A 77 year old man has been put on probation for 2 years for molesting a young girl while he was spreading religious word.

Claude Martin was a well respected Jehovah's Witness who was going door to door and inappropriately touched a 10 year old girl at a kitchener home in 2000 or 2001.

He was acquitted after a five-day trial of a second count involving a girl who was about the same age during an alleged incident in the late 1980s.

It wasn't included as evidence, but the court was also told about a statement Martin made to police in 2003. He claimed to have had a problem with sexual fantasied involving young girls.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:23 AM

January 10, 2007

21 months in prison for Catholic priest Pichette

CANADA
CBC News

Last Updated: Wednesday, January 10, 2007 | 9:50 PM ET
CBC News

Roman Catholic priest Daniel Pichette will serve 21 months in prison after pleading guilty in Quebec Wednesday to several counts of sexual assault involving Duplessis Orphans more than half a century ago.

The 80-year-old was sentenced in a courtroom in a Sherbrooke after his lawyer reached a deal with the Crown prosecutor over the holidays.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:57 PM

Nun Accused Of Sexual Assault To Stand Trial

MILWAUKEE (WI)
TheMilwaukeeChannel.com

MILWAUKEE -- A nun accused of sexually abusing two boys at a Milwaukee school in the 1960s was ordered to stand trial Tuesday.

Forty years after the alleged abuse, Sister Norma Giannini, 78, pleaded not guilty to two counts of indecent behavior with a child.

Her two alleged victims said she took sexual advantage of them when they were only 12 and 13 years old at St. Patrick's Church and School on Milwaukee's south side.

In her initial court appearance Tuesday afternoon, Giannini waived her right to a preliminary hearing.

The statute of limitations on the charges would've expired long ago, but Giannini was moved by the Sisters of Mercy to Illinois in the late 1960s. That meant she could still be charged.

Giannini was booked and released on a $10,000 bond to await trial.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:47 PM

What did JP2 know? When did he know it?

POLAND
Beliefnet

Rod Dreher

The clerical crisis in Poland deepens. A Catholic priest, Fr. Tadeusz Isakowicz-Zaleski, plans to publish a book next month naming names of priests who collaborated -- including three active bishops. The most explosive aspect to these new revelations is how they go directly to the questions of what did John Paul know about the collaborators, and when did he know it? Did he know that men he appointed as bishops had been secret police informers back in the day? Or was John Paul kept in the dark? Or, as seems plain from his mishandling of the clerical sex abuse scandal, did he know but refuse at some level to accept it because the truth was too hard to bear? You might recall the case of the Polish archbishop, Juliusz Paetz, who resigned under pressure over allegations that he was sexually harrassing seminarians; John Paul, a personal friend, had protected him for some time, but finally was pressured by Polish church officials into relenting. John Paul apparently could not bear the ugly truth in these cases. Which is no excuse, no kind of way.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:12 PM

Cover-up in Poland

POLAND
dotCommonweal

January 10, 2007, 2:11 pm
Posted by John McGreevy

More today in the New York Times about Polish priests and bishops serving as informers for the secret police during the era of Communist control. (The just-about-to-be installed archbishop of Warsaw resigned this week because of such revelations.) The Times, Richard John Neuhaus and others are comparing these revelations to the sex abuse that rocked the U.S. church, beginning in Boston five years ago .

The comparison strikes me as dubious in one sense: the grey areas surrounding cooperation with, threats by and manipulation of the secret police in a dictatorship are surely more vast than those surrounding sexual relations by vowed celibates with minors or students under their supervision. I recommend Timothy Garton Ash's smart book, "The File", which details Ash's uncovering his own secret police file in East Germany.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:06 PM

Inside the eruv: Are some Orthodox discreet or closing their eyes?

NEW YORK
JTA News

By Eugene L. Meyer and Richard Greenberg
January 10, 2007

NEW YORK (JTA) — Within Jewish circles, much of the focus on sexual predators has centered on the Orthodox community, particularly its more fervently religious precincts, where some contend that clergy sex abuse is more hidden — and possibly more widespread — than elsewhere.

Whether or not those contentions are true, the problem in that community was spotlighted by two recent episodes. They are among several incidents, emanating from across the denominational spectrum, that JTA examined in this six-part investigation of the Jewish community´s response to clergy sex abuse.

The first of two episodes that JTA tracked in the fervently Orthodox, or haredi, community involved a fierce debate over remarks by a haredi rabbi who reportedly suggested that his community sweeps the issue "under the carpet." The second involved the arrest of a haredi rabbi and teacher, who was charged with sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a minor.

On Thanksgiving, at the annual national convention of Agudath Israel of America, a haredi advocacy organization, Rabbi Matisyahu Salomon, a featured speaker, ignited a controversy with his discussion of the haredi response to clergy sex abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:00 PM

Awareness Center a clearinghouse of concern — and controversy

NEW YORK
JTA News

By Eugene L. Meyer
January 10, 2007

NEW YORK (JTA) — There is no unabridged database of rabbinic sexual abusers. But there is the Awareness Center.

It´s not a physical place, but a Baltimore post-office box, cell-phone number and Web site — www.theawarenesscenter.org — where online surfers can find a listing of scores of Jewish clergy and hundreds of other Jewish officials in positions of trust or authority who are alleged to be sexual predators. Some of them have been convicted of crimes; some have not even been charged or sued. A roster of them can be found on the Web site at: www.theawarenesscenter.org/clergyabuse.html.

Vicki Polin, 47, is the nonprofit organization´s executive director and only full-time staffer. A licensed clinical professional counselor and an art therapist, she founded the Awareness Center in 2001 after becoming fed up over what she deemed to be inaction in bringing perpetrators to justice and protecting the public.

Her biggest weapon: exposure of alleged wrongdoers.

Polin’s efforts have won her loyal supporters and harsh critics.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:55 PM

In jurisdictional jungle, where does the buck stop in misconduct cases?

NEW YORK
JTA News

By Richard Greenberg
January 10, 2007

NEW YORK (JTA) — American Judaism is not a monolith, and that may have implications in the fight against clergy sexual abuse.

On one hand, the mainstream rabbinic organizations have established in-house panels to handle cases of suspected sexual misconduct and other ethics violations by their members. On the other hand, Judaism is highly decentralized, which means individual congregations are largely free to decide how to police themselves in this area.

Consequently there is no guarantee that misconduct cases arising at the synagogue level will find their way to the ethics committees´ dockets. Even so, several sources said they were confident that serious cases would probably be brought to the attention of denominational-level officials, or the police if necessary.

Whether or not that is actually the case, reactions varied widely to the notion of congregants deciding a sexual misconduct case involving their own rabbi.

That uncomfortable prospect was one of several examined by JTA in this three-month-long investigation of policies that have been drawn up over the past several years to rein in rogue rabbis and others who sexually exploit congregants, students or others.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:52 PM

Clergy sexual misconduct: What´s being done to squelch it?

NEW YORK
JTA News

By Eugene L. Meyer and Richard Greenberg
January 10, 2007

NEW YORK (JTA) — The rabbi in a mid-sized Pennsylvania city was eager to share his congregation´s wrenching experience — but no names, please.
It´s been nearly five years since the synagogue´s cantor pleaded guilty to sexually molesting two girls he was preparing for their bat mitzvahs. He was sentenced to 15 to 30 months in prison and is now on Pennsylvania´s sexual offender list.

Still, the rabbi wanted the name of his synagogue and of the abuser, whose crimes are a matter of public record, kept confidential.

"We are mindful of not causing additional trauma to those who suffered here," he wrote in an e-mail.


Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:48 PM

The aftermath of sexual abuse: How one synagogue coped

NEW YORK
JTA News

By Richard Greenberg
January 10, 2007

NEW YORK (JTA) — As an attorney representing several victims of sexually predatory Catholic priests, Mark Itzkowitz has witnessed the church´s pedophilia scandal from an almost too-close-for-comfort vantage point.

"Some of the details are absolutely horrifying," said Itzkowitz, 49, who lives in the Boston area. "I´ve seen things that have made my blood run cold."

Not long ago, Itzkowitz´s life took a surreal turn when he found himself confronting clergy sexual abuse from a different perspective: The problem had come home to roost in his own synagogue.


Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:40 PM

Wayward clergy by the numbers: Is it rampant or an aberration?

NEW YORK
JTA News

By Eugene L. Meyer and Richard Greenberg
January 10, 2007

NEW YORK (JTA) — How extensive is the problem of clergy sex abuse in the Jewish community?

It depends which criteria are used as a yardstick.

One possible gauge is the volume of abuse complaints that have been adjudicated by the ethics panels of the major religious denominations.

Judging by the tiny caseload, the problem appears to be negligible — unless, of course, wrongdoing by rabbis and other clergymen is underreported, as some observers maintain.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:37 PM

Public pressure puts teeth in church abuse policy

GRAND RAPIDS (MI)
The Grand Rapids Press

Wednesday, January 10, 2007
By Charles Honey
Press Religion Editor

GRAND RAPIDS -- A policy passed by U.S. Catholic bishops to remove sexually abusive priests has no teeth to penalize bishops or dioceses that fail to do so, church experts say.

However, public pressure and the potential for Vatican discipline help ensure that bishops enforce the zero-tolerance policy and related norms for the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, first approved by bishops in Dallas in 2002.

"There's nothing in the charter that would penalize a bishop" for not enforcing it, said Nicholas Cafardi, former chairman of the National Review Board charged with overseeing application of the policy. "The real structure of the Dallas norms was not to make it a crime to reassign (abusive) priests, (but) to provide a mechanism of public pressure whereby they would not do it."

Grand Rapids Bishop Walter Hurley said he removed the Rev. David Le Blanc last week, stemming from a 1971 incident, in accordance with provisions of the charter.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:22 PM

Church has much to do to restore trust, ensure child safety, Boston cardinal says on sex-abuse scandal’s 5th

BOSTON (MA)
Catholic Online

1/9/2007
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

BOSTON, Mass. (Catholic Online) – The Catholic Church has much to do to restore trust among the faithful and ensure the safety of children five years after the clergy abuse scandal broke here, said the archdiocese’s current prelate.

In a Jan. 7 feast of the Epiphany “op-ed piece” that ran in the Boston Globe, Cardinal Sean O’Malley said that the abuse scandal “shook the Archdiocese of Boston and the wider community,” but the exposure of the “truth of the abuse had to be confronted.”

“God came into the world in the person of Jesus Christ to lift us out of the darkness of sin,” he said. “Only with the truth of clergy sexual abuse exposed could we again seek to walk fully in his light.”

In the column entitled “Rebuilding faith, five years on,” the cardinal apologized to those then-young people who were abused by Catholic clergy and asked for their forgiveness.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:16 PM

Boy not touched, priest's letter says

CALEDONIA TOWNSHIP (MI)
The Grand Rapids Press

Wednesday, January 10, 2007
By Charles Honey
Press Religion Editor

CALEDONIA TOWNSHIP -- The recently removed pastor of Holy Family Catholic Church admitted in a letter to parishioners he sexually abused a young boy, but insisted he did not touch him.

In a letter sent Tuesday, David Le Blanc said he was "ashamed" that he abused a boy in his care for one night in 1971.

"I was immodest with him and embarrassed him," wrote Le Blanc, who was Holy Family's pastor since 1996. "Although there was no physical contact or physical coercion, my act would still constitute sexual abuse because it violated the sixth commandment."

He referred to the commandment forbidding adultery, which Jesus said includes looking lustfully at someone.

Le Blanc also expressed sorrow at the loss of his ministry, which he compared to the loss of a spouse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:14 PM

Accused Priest Hits Back With Lawsuit

ILLINOIS
National Catholic Register

BY SUE ELLIN BROWDER
REGISTER CORRESPONDENT

January 14-20, 2007 Issue

Posted 1/10/07 at 8:00 AM

BURBANK, Ill. — Calling sex-abuse allegations against him “false” and “defamatory,” a Chicago priest is suing his accusers for intentionally inflicting emotional distress and injuring his reputation.

Last May, two brothers claimed that Father Robert Stepek, pastor of St. Albert the Great parish in Burbank, Ill., had abused them at another parish some 20 years ago.

The Chicago Archdiocese’s independent review board looked at the allegations. The case has been sent to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for further review, which could take a year. Meanwhile, Father Stepek is living in a private setting away from the parish.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:56 AM

Churchgoers support ousted priest

CALEDONIA TOWNSHIP (MI)
The Grand Rapids Press

Wednesday, January 10, 2007
By Rick Wilson
The Grand Rapids Press
CALEDONIA TOWNSHIP -- About 500 members of Holy Family Catholic Church filled their sanctuary Tuesday to express support for a former priest forced from the ministry after admitting to sexually abusing a boy 35 years ago.

They also expressed anger at Bishop Walter Hurley, who did not attend. Many accused him of "railroading" their priest out of public ministry.

Emotions were raw with many choking back tears as they expressed frustration with the lack of details on the circumstances of a 1971 incident in which their former priest, the Rev. David Le Blanc, admitted to sexual abuse of a minor.

In a letter to parish members, Le Blanc wrote that he was "immodest" with a boy in his care, but that there was no physical contact or coercion.

Descriptions offered by Le Blanc and the Diocese of Grand Rapids left most uncertain whether their priest was being punished too harshly for a single incident long ago for which his victim reportedly has forgiven him.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:54 AM

Convicted priest served in Ballagh

IRELAND
Roscommon Herald

A priest and former De La Salle Brother who was, in recent weeks, convicted of child sexual abuse served as principal of the former De La Salle National School in Ballaghaderreen in the 1970s, the Roscommon Herald can reveal.

Fr Con Desmond, a priest attached to the Diocese of Killaloe in County Clare, was in recent weeks given a three-year suspended sentence after he pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a ten-year-old boy at a Waterford school in the early 1980s.

The offences occurred when he was Principal of the De La Salle boys’ primary school on Stephen Street in Waterford city. The case also spurred controversy last week involving the Bishop of Killaloe, Most Rev. Dr. Willie Walsh who defended the handling of Fr Desmond’s case.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:35 AM

Sharp decrease in number of Austrians leaving Catholic church

AUSTRIA
North County Times

By: WILLIAM J. KOLE - Associated Press

VIENNA, Austria -- Significantly fewer Austrians left the Roman Catholic Church in 2006, the Archdiocese of Vienna said Tuesday -- a sign that a mass exodus of believers triggered by priest sex scandals and the nation's unpopular church tax is slowing.

Across the overwhelmingly Catholic country, 36,645 people formally withdrew from the church last year, a nearly 18 percent drop from the 44,609 believers who canceled their memberships in 2005, the archdiocese said.

The exodus peaked in 2004, when 45,000 Austrians left a church bedeviled by scandal and a chronic shortage of priests.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:06 AM

Priests ask Vatican to punish Mexican cleric accused of child abuse

MEXICO
North County Times

By: Associated Press -

MEXICO -- Several Roman Catholic priests in the central Mexican state of Puebla have asked the Vatican to strip a fellow cleric accused of child abuse of his priestly privileges, church officials said Tuesday.

The Vatican has yet to rule on the request filed two weeks ago by Puebla priests against Rev. Nicolas Aguilar, said the Rev. Eugenio Lira, a spokesman for the archdioceses of Puebla.

Aguilar was charged in California with 19 felony counts of committing lewd acts on a child in 1988 after he worked as a priest there for nine months. Aguilar then fled to Mexico, working as a priest in various parishes.

Last year, he was named in two lawsuits filed in California against Cardinal Norberto Rivera of Mexico City and Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:59 AM

Removed priest gives his side of story

CALEDONIA (MI)
WOOD

Updated: Jan 9, 2007 11:37 PM EST

by Marc Thompson

CALEDONIA-- Parishioners flocked to Tuesday's special prayer meeting at Holy Family Catholic Church in Caledonia where last week, the Grand Rapids Diocese stripped father David LeBlanc of his position as priest. This happened after LeBlanc admitted to an incident of sexual abuse involving a pre-teen boy back in 1971. The incident took place when LeBlanc was assigned at Saint Jean Baptiste parish in Muskegon. The victim in that case came forward in the early 90's, but Bishop Walter Hurley didn't discover the charges until recently.

"Now that we have the charter it's very clear, there's only one way I handle it, and that way is to remove the priest from the ministry," said Hurley, who leads the Diocese of Grand Rapids.

24 Hour News 8 obtained a copy of a letter Father LaBlanc wrote to parishioners at Holy Family. In part LaBlanc says.

"I am ashamed that in 1971 I was involved in sexual abuse with a young boy who was in my care for one night. I was immodest with him and embarrassed him. Although there was no physical contact or physical coercion, my act would still constitute sexual abuse because it violated the sixth commandment."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:52 AM

Former priest, the Rev. David Le Blanc, letter to members of Holy Family Catholic Church.

CALEDONIA (MI)
The Grand Rapids Press

January 10, 2007

Dear Parishioner(s),

By now, either through this letter, the bishop's letter, the weekend Masses or through the media, you know that I can no longer be your pastor because of an abuse of a youngster.

I am ashamed that in 1971, I was involved in sexual abuse with a young boy who was in my care for one night. I was immodest with him and embarrassed him. Although there was no physical contact or physical coercion, my act would still constitute sexual abuse because it violated the sixth commandment.

In 1993, the victim reported to the Diocese what had happened to him. I was called in and admitted that what he said was true. I felt terrible that the abuse might have long-term effects. I asked and was granted a meeting with the victim. We met in the chancery in the presence of a professional therapist. I was able to express my sorrow and he forgave me. Although it was awkward at first, we resumed a normal conversation talking about the old days. The therapist asked if he felt he needed any therapy and he said no. We embraced and, except for a couple of phone calls, we parted never to see each other.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:48 AM

Priest's letter says he was 'ashamed' of abuse

CALEDONIA (MI)
The Grand Rapids Press

Wednesday, January 10, 2007
By Charles Honey
Press Religion Editor

CALEDONIA -- The defrocked pastor of Holy Family Catholic Church admitted in a letter to parishioners he sexually abused a young boy, but insisted he did not touch him.

In a letter sent Tuesday, David Le Blanc said he was "ashamed" that he abused a boy in his care for one night in 1971.

"I was immodest with him and embarrassed him," wrote Le Blanc, who was Holy Family's pastor since 1996. "Although there was no physical contact or physical coercion, my act would still constitute sexual abuse because it violated the sixth commandment."

He referred to the commandment forbidding adultery, which Jesus said includes looking lustfully at another.

Le Blanc also expressed sorrow at the loss of his ministry, which he compared to the loss of a spouse, and regretted the hurt he has caused parishioners.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:44 AM

Priest removed after admitting sexual abuse

CALEDONIA (MI)
WWMT

January 9, 2007 - 10:53PM
CALEDONIA (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – The Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids has removed another priest from active ministry for sexually abusing young boys.

Father David LeBlanc admitted to the incident in the early 1990's but until now has served at a church in Caledonia.

The Holy Family Parish canceled Monday night's activities because of the startling news.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:41 AM

January 9, 2007

Is there a double standard for clergy?

Naples Sun Times

By: Les Wicker 01/10/2007

The recent intensification of sexual abuse by members of the clergy has brought to the surface that age-old question of a double standard of morality, one for clergy and another for laity. Put another way, should more be expected from a person of the cloth than the general population within faith communities?

The double standard issue is not limited to sexual abuse, but may surface in such common stories as a pastor caught with Internet pornography on his office computer, or one found to have been engaged in an adulterous relationship, or one guilty of embezzlement. Certainly, compared with the general population, pastors are in the minority when it comes to impropriety. Their given roles as moral leaders does, however, bring undue exposure when misconduct becomes known.

The question of double standards is nothing new, even though recent settlements of clergy abuse cases have brought the issue once again into the limelight. The fact that young Timothy was admonished to "be an example to believers in speech and conduct," would lead one to conclude that even in the infancy of the church the question of exemplary behavior by those set aside for pastoral leadership was at issue (I Timothy 4:12). The Reformation itself was not so much about theology, but morals among clergy or lack thereof. Some priests were living in open relationships with women and some church historians believe the pope himself may have fathered children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:20 PM

One in Four defends Killaloe bishop

IRELAND
One in Four

The Irish Times

Bishop of Killaloe Dr Willie Walsh has been defended in his handling of clerical child sex abuse issues by the director of the victim support group, One in Four.

Colm O'Gorman said yesterday: "Our experience of Bishop Walsh is that he has shown tremendous courage in how he has approached these issues in the past."

He added: "In 2002 he became the first bishop to publicly acknowledge that bishops had placed the protection of the institution of the church ahead of the protection of children.

"In any case of which we have knowledge involving a priest from the diocese of Killaloe, Bishop Walsh has behaved with considerable compassion and honesty."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:19 PM

Court to weigh venue change for Missouri church sex trials

PINEVILLE (MO)
Belleville News-Democrat

MARCUS KABEL
Associated Press
PINEVILLE, Mo. - Three church leaders facing trial on charges of abusing young girls from their southwest Missouri commune will seek a change of venue or ask for a jury from another county to hear their case, the lead prosecutor said Tuesday.

McDonald County Assistant Prosecutor Dan Bagley said the three are likely to be successful in a court hearing next week because Missouri law makes it easier for criminal defendants in smaller counties to move their trials or have jurors from another part of the state hear their cases.

Attorneys for the Rev. Raymond Lambert; his wife, Patty Lambert; and Laura Epling, the wife of a church deacon, have filed motions saying their cases have received too much news coverage to get a fair trial in this rural county of about 22,800 people.

All three have pleaded not guilty to a variety of felony counts including statutory sodomy, child molestation and rape in the alleged abuse of young girls over several years at their McDonald County farm community, the Grand Valley Independent Baptist Church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:17 PM

Diocese removes priest over sexual abuse allegations

MICHIGAN
Grand Haven Tribune

BY AMY FOX
WZZM -TV

GRAND RAPIDS — A West Michigan priest has been removed from his post after the Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids said he abused a minor more than 30 years ago.

The diocese removed the Rev. David LeBlanc from his role as priest at Holy Family Parish in Caledonia late last week. Bishop Walter Hurley says he removed LeBlanc from the ministry for a case of sexual abuse that happened in 1971. At that time, LeBlanc served at St. Jean Baptiste Parish in Muskegon.

LeBlanc was ordained in 1961 and served at several parishes in Michigan. Since 1996, he has served at Holy Family Catholic Church in Caledonia. Many members of Holy Family received a letter Monday explaining the bishop's actions.

Hurley says a charter of the Roman Catholic Church requires any priest who abused a minor be removed from the ministry.

Allegations against LeBlanc first arose in 1993. Some action was taken by the diocese at that time, but Hurley did not elaborate on what that was. Hurley said LeBlanc confirmed to him that the abuse did occur.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:40 PM

Another priest removed after 1971 sex abuse

MICHIGAN
Muskegon Chronicle

Tuesday, January 09, 2007
FROM LOCAL AND NEWS SERVICE REPORTS

For the second time in a month, a former Muskegon priest has been forced out of the clergy following allegations of sexual abuse while serving a parish here.

The Rev. David LeBlanc, who was most recently a priest at Holy Family in Caledonia, admitted to sexually abusing a pre-teen boy in Muskegon in 1971, according to Bishop Walter Hurley. Hurley said the victim in the latest case came forward in 1993, and that LeBlanc had acknowledged the abuse at that time, but the bishop couldn't explain why no action was taken at the time.

LeBlanc was serving at St. Jean Baptiste Catholic Church at the time of the abuse, but Hurley said the alleged incident did not happen at the church.

In December, the Rev. Michael Mc-Kenna, who served at Muskegon Heights' Sacred Heart Catholic Church in 1976 and 1977, was removed from public ministry due to substantial evidence he sexually abused several boys in the 1970s.

Information in both cases were turned over to Muskegon County Prosecutor Tony Tague, but the statute of limitations -- the maximum number of years following an act that the law says prosecution can take place -- has long since run out when it comes to pursuing a criminal case. In the case of McKenna, Tague said, "based on our review, if we had been able, we would have issued a warrant."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:37 PM

Kent County parish loses 4th priest to sex abuse allegations

MICHIGAN
mlive.com

1/9/2007, 12:59 p.m. ET
The Associated Press

CALEDONIA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Four priests connected to a Roman Catholic church in Kent County have been removed from their duties over the past five years because of sexual misconduct allegations.

Parishioners at Holy Family Catholic Church in Caledonia Township were sent letters Saturday announcing the removal of the Rev. David LeBlanc. He acknowledged sexually abusing a preteen boy in Muskegon in 1971, said Bishop Walter Hurley.

"We're all very sad about it," said Ellen Lehnert, a member of the pastoral council for the 1,200-family parish. "It is a very big shock. He's just a super good guy and a very good priest."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:36 PM

Police search for priest wanted for embezzling money

RICHMOND (VA)
WBDJ

A Virginia priest is wanted by Virginia State Police for embezzling money from the Catholic Diocese of Richmond.

A grand jury indicted Rodney Lee Rodis today with illegally taking money over a span of five years. According to the Catholic Virginian Newspaper, Rodis retired as pastor of St. Jude Parish and Immaculate Conception Parish in Louisa County for medical reasons in May.

Police say there is also evidence the 50-year-old was living a bit of a double life. However, they would not provide details.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:41 AM

Utah's new Catholic bishop: 'Gifted, zealous' pastor

UTAH
The Salt Lake Tribune

By Peggy Fletcher Stack
The Salt Lake Tribune
Article Last Updated: 01/09/2007 01:19:18 AM MST

The Rev. John C. Wester may be distracted when he takes his seat as the ninth bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City on March 14.

Though the San Francisco born-and- bred Wester had been to Utah only a couple of times before Monday, he said he is dazzled by the region's beauty. And the new spiritual leader to Utah's 200,000 Catholics loves to hike. ...

Utah's distractions may be a relief to the 56-year-old Wester, who was the point man on the clergy sexual abuse for the Archdiocese of San Francisco, which had about 175 lawsuits filed against it since 2002. Salt Lake City has had only one.

"He spent hours and hours of time with victims . . .he's an excellent listener," said Monsignor Harry Schlitt, another San Francisco priest who has known Wester since 1976.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:37 AM

Priest removed as sexual allegations surface

CALEDONIA (MI)
The Grand Rapids Press

Monday, January 08, 2007
By Barton Deiters and Charles Honey
The Grand Rapids Press
Parishioners at a Catholic church in Caledonia are shocked by allegations that a priest connected to the parish has been forced out of the clergy following allegations of sexual abuse of a child.

Holy Family priest David LeBlanc admitted to sexually abusing a preteen boy in Muskegon in 1971, according to Bishop Walter Hurley.

LeBlanc was serving St. Jean Baptiste Catholic Church at the time, but Hurley said the alleged incident did not happen at the church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:14 AM

Caledonia priest removed after admitting sexual abuse

CALEDONIA (MI)
WOOD

Updated: Jan 8, 2007 11:36 PM EST

by Dan Bewley

CALEDONIA-- Father David LeBlanc, 71, has resigned his position as Pastor of Holy Family Parish in Caledonia. Grand Rapids Bishop Walter Hurley says Father LeBlanc admitted he sexually abused a pre-teen boy in 1971, the boy came forward in the early 90's. Bishop Hurley says he learned of the case while going through church files as part of the procedure called for in the charter dealing with allegations of sexual abuse.

The policy calls for Father LeBlanc to be removed permanently from the ministry, he can't present himself publicly as a priest, he can't wear a roman collar, and will not be allowed to go to another diocese.

Until this week, Father David LeBlanc was the pastor at Holy Family, The sexual abuse happened in 1971 when LeBlanc was at St. Jean Baptiste in Muskegon. The victim now lives out of the country, but Bishop Hurley says he's exchanged several e-mails with the man.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:09 AM

Nun Accused Of Sexual Assault To Return To Milwaukee Tuesday

MILWAUKEE (WI)
TheMilwaukeeChannel.com

MILWAUKEE -- A nun accused of sexually assaulting two boys over four decades ago will return to Milwaukee Tuesday for booking.

An initial hearing before a court commissioner is also expected.

Sister Norma Giannini, who now lives in Chicago, was charged with two counts of indecent behavior with a child last month. Police said she sexually assaulted the boys while working at St. Patrick's Elementary School back in the late 1960s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:08 AM

January 8, 2007

Catholic Church Says Group's Claims Not True

KNOXVILLE (TN)
WVLT

Knoxville (WVLT) - A self help group called SNAP, the survivors network of those abused by priests, made their voice heard in Knoxville and across the country Sunday, the fifth anniversary of the sex abuse scandal in the catholic church.

Volunteer TV's Stacy McCloud sat down with a leader from the Knoxville Diocese who says some of the groups' claims are totally false.

On Sunday the group SNAP stood holding signs in front of the Diocese of Knoxville with a strong message.

"We're here, a small group, standing to represent hundreds and hundreds of victims of clergy sexual abuse across the state of Tennessee," SNAP Coordinator Susan Vance told WVLT Sunday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:43 PM

Priest on extended leave returns to ministry after Vatican action

CINCINNATI (OH)
Catholic Online

1/8/2007
Catholic News Service

CINCINNATI (CNS) - Father James Kiffmeyer, a priest of the Cinncinnati Archdiocese, has been returned to active priestly ministry as a result of a recent action by the Vatican. He has been on leave for more than four years.

Father Kiffmeyer took personal leave from the priesthood in April 2002 after an allegation of sexual misconduct was made against him. Cincinnati Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk later put him on administrative leave, which meant that he was unable to celebrate the sacraments, wear clerical garb or in any other way function as a priest.

There were two allegations of sexual misconduct made against Father Kiffmeyer. Both involved drinking, and both accusations came from students at Fenwick High School who were 18 or older at the time of the alleged events.

The first allegation from 1990 was brought to the attention of the archdiocese in 1997. Father Kiffmeyer reached a four-figure settlement with the accuser.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:11 PM

Youth Pastor Arrested In Connection With Alleged Sex Assault On Teens

DENVER (CO)
TheDenverChannel.com

DENVER -- A youth pastor in Craig was arrested Monday in connection with the alleged sexual assault of two teen girls he had worked with at First Christian Church, authorities said.

John Graler, 53, is being held without bond at the Moffat County Jail, facing charges of sexual assault, sexual assault on a child and sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust.

Moffat County Sheriffs Office and the Craig Police Department said their investigation has identified two alleged victims, who were between the ages from 13 to 18 when the alleged assaults occurred.

Several people have come forward and provided information to investigators that relates to the investigation, but anyone who has additional information, or who may feel that they have been victimized, is encouraged to call Craig police or the Moffat County Sheriff's Office.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:55 PM

Missouri AG wants former teacher's license revoked

JEFFERSON CITY (MO)
Belleville News-Democrat

Associated Press
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - The attorney general's office wants the teaching license revoked for a former priest and teacher accused of sexual misconduct.

James Beine has a lifetime certificate to teach English and Latin in seventh to 12th grades, and a lifetime counseling certificate.

Beine, also a former priest, was convicted in 2003 of sexual misconduct involving a child by indecent exposure. But the Missouri Supreme Court overturned the conviction, finding the state law was unconstitutionally broad. He also has faced lawsuits alleging sexual abuse.

Beine was also convicted of possessing child pornography, but that conviction was overturned in December 2003, with an appeals court ruling that investigators illegally seized key evidence against Beine.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:52 PM

Forty years later, former altar boys settle lawsuit against Diocese

CALIFORNIA
Santa Cruz Sentinel

By PEGGY TOWNSEND
SENTINEL STAFF WRITER
Kim Allyn had waited more than 40 years for that September day.

"I just thought, 'OK, this is the moment,' " says the muscled, 6-foot-5 deputy sheriff of the day last year when he and five co-defendants sat around a long table and signed documents settling their lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Monterey.

The suit alleged the diocese had known Irish-born Father Patrick McHugh, who was assigned to St. John's Catholic Church from 1963 to 1979, was a serial pedophile and that he had been transferred from the Central Valley to the quiet town of Felton where he could basically be forgotten.

Only, the men charged, Father McHugh, who died in 1979, did things there they will never forget.

The men, all former altar boys now in their late 40s and early 50s, say the priest fondled them as they studied Latin, as they lay sick in their bedroom and when they spent the night at the rectory so they could serve Mass early the next day.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:13 AM

Study: Embezzlement occurs in 85% of dioceses

CONNECTICUT
Stamford Advocate

By Donna Porstner
Staff Writer

Published January 8 2007

A new Villanova University study found that, in a five-year period, money was embezzled from 85 percent of Roman Catholic dioceses surveyed.

In 11 percent of the cases, the amount stolen exceeded $500,000.

Researchers found police reports were filed in 93 percent of the cases and insurance claims were filed in 91 percent.

The report mentions the Rev. Michael Jude Fay, former pastor of St. John Roman Catholic Church in Darien who left in disgrace last May amid allegations he stole $1.4 million from his parish. But the case was not included in the statistics because the Diocese of Bridgeport did not participate in the survey.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:45 AM

Sex Abuse Vigil

CALIFORNIA
KEYT

Parishioners going to Sunday mass as Santa Barbara's Old Mission were met by protesters.
A small group carrying signs said they were against sexual abuse by priests within the church.
The demonstrators said the church was not strong enough against priests who have committed violations, and some have been allowed to be near young boys again.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:40 AM

Advocates propose sex abuse reforms

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Globe

By Christine McConville, Globe Staff | January 8, 2007

About 60 people, most alleged victims of clergy sex abuse, unveiled a bill yesterday designed to provide relief for victims of childhood sexual abuse, while making abusers more accountable and letting the public know how pervasive this abuse is.

After a solemn midday march yesterday from the Archdiocese of Boston's Cathedral of the Holy Cross to the front doors of a nearby law school, they outlined a plan to more fully address what some called a "silent, violent epidemic."

"All of us can't fix what happened to us, but we universally want to protect future generations from going through this," Ann Hagan Webb of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests told a cheering crowd in Boston's Chinatown after the legislative package was detailed.

Jetta Bernier, cochairwoman of the Coalition to Reform Sexual Abuse Laws, said the Comprehensive Protection from Childhood Sexual Abuse Act of 2007 aims to lay the groundwork for future reforms.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:38 AM

2006: A year of hurt, hope and healing

CHICAGO (IL)
Catholic New World

By Michelle Martin
STAFF WRITER

Catholics in the Archdiocese of Chicago donated more money to the church in 2006, but slightly fewer of them attended Mass.

The faithful kept giving in a year bookended by publicity about allegations of clerical sexual abuse, starting with the arrest of Father Daniel McCormack in February.

The former pastor of St. Agatha Parish on Chicago’s West Side was eventually charged with sexually abusing three boys, although many more have since brought allegations against him to the archdiocese.

The archdiocese and Cardinal George came in for blistering criticism when reporters learned that McCormack had been held for questioning by Chicago Police last August after the family of one accuser had gone to them. He was released because of a lack of evidence and stayed at his parish post, even continuing to teach algebra and coach basketball at Our Lady of the Westside School’s St. Agatha Campus.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:36 AM

Victims' vigil testifies to clergy sex abuse scandal

LANSING (MI)
Lansing State Journal

By Susan Vela
Lansing State Journal

Diane Ruhl braved Sunday's cold to hand out leaflets reminding parishioners at a Lansing church of the sexual abuse committed by Catholic clergy.

Departing from Mass at St. Mary Cathedral, most people accepted the fliers, which highlighted the 2002 Boston Globe stories regarding defrocked priest John Geoghan, who was transferred from parish to parish, despite evidence he was sexually abusing children.

The fliers named some priests who have been accused of abuse and also urged parishioners to lobby against the church keeping clergy sex crimes secret.

Advertisement

"That's very encouraging," said Ruhl, after one Catholic told her she would pray for Ruhl and other victims.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:34 AM

Top 10 stories read online

MALTA
Times of Malta

Massimo Farrugia

Stories with an international flavour and religious controversies were among the most popular items among those visiting the online version of The Times - timesofmalta.com - last year.

An issue which drew a great deal of interest internationally and made it to the top 10 stories, dealt with sexual abuse allegations made by disgraced United States Congressman Mark Foley in October 2006. Mr Foley, a 52-year-old Republican who resigned from Congress after his suggestive e-mails to young male assistants surfaced, claimed he was molested as a boy by a Gozitan priest who was then serving in the US.

Foreign and local media hounded the house of Fr Anthony Mercieca, 72, in Victoria as the world's spotlights turned on Gozo. By the time the Archdiocese of Miami named the priest, he had already spoken to the Maltese and international media.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:33 AM

Survivors of clergy sex abuse hold vigil

ALBANY (NY)
Albany Times Union

By DAN HIGGINS, Staff writer

First published: Monday, January 8, 2007

ALBANY -- A national vigil marking the anniversary of the first news reports about the Catholic church sex abuse scandal included Albany this weekend.
About a dozen victims of clergy abuse gathered outside Holy Cross Church Sunday morning.

The event, held by Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, included requests for bishops to disclose the names of clergy sexual predators. It also called for the church to stop its attempts to prevent cases from going to civil trials, which SNAP describes as "hardball legal tactics."

Saturday marked the five-year anniversary of the Boston Globe's first article on what would ultimately become 850 stories about priests who abused children, and church leaders who covered up the abuse. The stories sparked accusations against hundreds of priests, including many who were removed from the priesthood and some who were jailed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:30 AM

Victims of abuse call on church to name names

NEWARK (NJ)
NorthJersey.com

Monday, January 8, 2007

By MATTHEW VAN DUSEN
STAFF WRITER

NEWARK -- Victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests gathered Sunday at Newark's Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart to mark the fifth anniversary of reports exposing accused clergy and to ask for the release of more names.

"Secrecy is still the priority, more than protecting the flock," sexual abuse victim Mark Crawford said.

Crawford and nine other members of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) and Voice of the Faithful, a group founded during the clergy scandal in Boston in 2002, handed out fliers to churchgoers and held candles to remember abuse victims who committed suicide.

The event in Newark was one of 54 vigils nationwide calling attention to what SNAP believes are secretive church practices that expose children to risk.

In a statement, SNAP called on Archbishop John J. Myers of Newark to follow the example of Bishop Michal Saltarelli of Wilmington, Del., and release the names of "all credibly accused diocesan priests." The statement cited a study by John Jay College of Criminal Justice that found about 150 members of the clergy in five New Jersey dioceses were credibly accused of abusing minors from 1950 to 2002.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:28 AM

Victim fights abuse by church

OREGON
Statesman Journal

ALAN GUSTAFSON
Statesman Journal

January 8, 2007

Molested during childhood by a Catholic priest in New Jersey, Bill Crane now is an outspoken advocate for Oregon victims of clergy sexual abuse.

Crane, 40, leads the Oregon chapter of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, the nation's largest support group for clergy-molestation victims.

Crane recently spoke with the Statesman Journal about a $75 million plan for the Archdiocese of Portland to pay off more than 150 priest sex-abuse claimants and get out of bankruptcy. He also talked about his personal struggles with emotional pain caused by childhood sexual abuse.

Question: You have said that coping with sexual abuse is a lifelong process. How do you cope?

Answer: I'm very thankful to have my family. I'm very thankful that I'm not addicted to drugs and alcohol. I'm into cycling, and that has really helped me cope by regulating the pain. I ride 300 miles a week on average year-round. That's been very effective for me, just taking the edge off and allowing me to vent my anger and frustration. It's also very healing to be an advocate for victims, just to speak out. It's rewarding to have our voices heard.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:26 AM

January 7, 2007

Vigils Support Victims Abused By Priests

CHICAGO (IL)
CBS 2

(AP) CHICAGO People in 56 cities, including Chicago, held vigils today supporting victims who have been abused by priests.

Events were hosted by groups including The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).

Chicago's SNAP leader Mike Fenske says abuse by priests continues to affect victims and their families.

At a vigil outside of Chicago's Holy Name Cathedral, about 20 people held up signs and photos of victims to commemorate the five year anniversary of stories in the Boston Globe that exposed the clergy sex abuse crisis in the Boston Archdiocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:24 PM

Group passes out fliers for clergy abuse victims

SAN BERNARDINO (CA)
The Press-Enterprise

04:55 PM PST on Sunday, January 7, 2007

By MICHAEL FISHER
The Press-Enterprise

A half-dozen members of a national self-help group for clergy abuse victims gathered Saturday outside the Roman Catholic cathedral in San Bernardino as part of a nationwide vigil to increase awareness of the ongoing scandal.

The events staged by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, mark the fifth anniversary of revelations in Boston about clergy sexual abuse that have since rippled through Catholic dioceses nationwide.

SNAP members distributed fliers Saturday outside Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Cathedral in San Bernardino. Most parishioners heading into the 4 p.m. Mass politely accepted the fliers that urged bishops to publicly name priests accused of sexual abuse. The note also asked parishioners who have experienced, witnessed or suspect abuse to call authorities or SNAP.

"It's been nice to have a good reception," said Pat Olivas, who formed SNAP's Inland chapter last year.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:20 PM

Victims of Abuse, Murder Remembered

GREEN BAY (WI)
WBAY

Jan 7, 2007 07:25 PM EST

The turnout was small, but their purpose was anything but.

Alice Hodek and three other parents stood outside Saint Francis Xavier Church Sunday morning to remember.

They held posters with pictures of Daniel O'Connell and James Ellison.

The Funeral Director and Intern were found dead at a Hudson funeral home in 2002. Officers called it murder, and Father Ryan Erickson of the Diocese of Superior committed suicide after being questioned about the crime. A judge later decided there was enough evidence to suggest Father Erickson murdered them both.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:14 PM

Vigil Held on Five Year Anniversary of Priest Sex Abuse Scandal

KNOXVILLE (TN)
WVLT

9:27 PM Jan 7, 2007
Reporter: Kim Bedford
Knoxville (WVLT) - A Knoxville group took part in a nationwide vigil Sunday, honoring the five year anniversary of the Priest sex abuse scandal.

Volunteer TV's Kim Bedford shows us what some east Tennesseans are doing to get answers from the Catholic Diocese

Five years ago this weekend, the news broke about the hundreds of Catholic priests admitting to child molestation across the United States.

"We're here, a small group, standing to represent hundreds and hundreds of victims of clergy sexual abuse across the state of Tennessee," says Susan Vance, Tennessee SNAP Coordinator.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:11 PM

Abuse prevention programs outdated

TOLEDO (OH)
Toledo Blade

By DAVID YONKE
BLADE RELIGION EDITOR

In 2002, when the U.S. Catholic Church was first hit by the clerical sexual abuse crisis, American bishops ordered all dioceses to implement programs to prevent child abuse.

Now the Catholic Medical Association is asserting that the programs put in place generally are “ineffective and potentially damaging to children and families.”

Church leaders, looking to act quickly in the wake of the abuse scandal that was affecting virtually all dioceses, adopted programs that already had been developed and were being used elsewhere, primarily in public schools, said John Brehany, executive director of the 1,000-member CMA.

But about 80 percent of the child-abuse-prevention programs used by schools had been developed in the late 1970s or early 1980s and were based on a model used by feminists to avoid sexual abuse. While “empowerment” programs can be effective for women, they are not suitable for young children, according to the Catholic doctors’ report.

When dioceses began implementing these programs, some parents or pastors who objected and raised questions were told that they had no choice, the programs were mandated by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Mr. Brehany said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:25 PM

Vigil To Be Held For Catholic Church Abuse Victims

CALIFORNIA
CBS 2

(CBS) LOS ANGELES People who support the victims of clergy sexual abuse will hold vigils outside Roman Catholic cathedrals in Los Angeles and Orange Sunday morning.

The vigil outside Our Lady of Angels Cathedral, located in downtown Los Angeles, begins at 9 a.m. The gathering at Holy Family Cathedral, located at 566 South Glassell St. in Orange, starts at 8:30 a.m.

Vigils will be held in 52 other cities across the country. The event is organized by SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, to observe the fifth year since the Boston Globe broke the clergy abuse story. Those taking part will pass out fliers to parishioners entering or leaving mass.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:24 PM

Priest abuse group marks anniversary

ALBANY (NY)
Capital News 9

Updated: 1/7/2007 3:59 PM
By: Web Staff

Sunday marks the fifth anniversary of the first story written about a priest sexually abusing a child.

Ever since, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests say 850 stories regarding clergy sexual abuse have been told.

To mark that milestone, more than 50 vigils were held nationwide, including one in Albany outside Holy Cross Church. SNAP's regional co-director says his mission is to make sure victims of clergy sexual abuse are not forgotten.

"We want to make sure that the predators are exposed and that the catholic church takes responsibility for the clergy sexual abuse scandal..more importantly and most importantly that we want to protect children..that's why we're here...we want to make sure this never, ever happens again," said Mark Lyman.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:17 PM

Vigil protesting abuse by Catholic priests

PEORIA (IL)
WHOI

By Kim Carollo
Posted: Sunday, January 07, 2007 at 3:40 PM

PEORIA -- A protest was held outside St. Mary's Cathedral in Peoria and in dozens of other cities across the country Sunday.

Some of the protesters claim to have been victims of sexual abuse at the hands of priests, and now want to bring attention to the issue.

One man says he was abused by a Peoria priest more than 40 years ago.

They chose this weekend because it's the fifth anniversary of the first news article exposing sexual abuse by a priest.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:15 PM

Abuse Survivors, Attendees Clash Over Clergy

LOS ANGELES (CA)
CBS 2

(CBS) LOS ANGELES A group of self-proclaimed sex abuse victims and their supporters gathered outside Our Lady of Angels Cathedral in Los Angeles on Sunday morning to protest what they called the church's continued cover-up of a systemic problem.

"Innocent kids and vulnerable adults are still at risk," said Joelle Casteix, southwest regional director for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. "Because church officials are still reckless and secretive. Because there always have been and always will be sexually abusive clergy. Because bishops are working harder than ever at public relations, but fundamentally, they still protect their secrets more than they protect their flocks."

The vigil was held in recognition of the upcoming fifth anniversary of the Boston Globe reporting the clergy scandal. It was situated outside the church entrance in plain view of parishioners. Fifty-four other cities also held demonstrations.

Participants passed out leaflets and displayed photos of victims’ families -- one of which they said died as a result of the inflicted abuse. Dan O'Connell, was shot and killed by Wisconsin priest Ryan Erickson in 2002 after O’Connell confronted him with molestation allegations. Erickson hung himself in 2004.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:14 PM

Clergy abuse survivors hold march, panel talk

BOSTON (MA)
WLNE

BOSTON (AP) January 7,2007
The clergy sexual abuse crisis is being discussed today by victims-rights groups and lawyers who have represented them.

A mile-long march is planned from the Holy Cross cathedral, which is the home parish of the Boston Archdiocese, to the New England School of Law downtown, where a panel discussion will be held.

The march is designed to remind people that the "crisis isn't over." It is being organized by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP.

It was five years ago this week that published reports exposed the scope of the clergy sex abuse crisis in the Boston Archdiocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:53 PM

Rebuilding faith, five years on

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Globe

By Seán P. O'Malley | January 7, 2007

THE FEAST of the Epiphany makes fully manifest the joy of the Christmas season. With the Magi and the shepherds, we worship and adore the Christ Child -- the manifestation of God's love for all humanity. Five years ago, as we marked the feast on Jan. 6, 2002, the devastating revelations that Catholic clergy had sexually abused children shook the Archdiocese of Boston and the wider community. The contrast between the feast, which celebrates the light of Christ, and the dark and unremitting truth of clergy sexual abuse seemed, at first, impossible to accept.

But the truth of the abuse had to be confronted. These crimes against children were all the more heinous because they were committed by men who vowed themselves to emulate Christ, and were further enabled by the failure of the Church leadership to respond appropriately.

God came into the world in the person of Jesus Christ to lift us out of the darkness of sin. Only with the truth of clergy sexual abuse exposed could we again seek to walk fully in His light.

The Catholic community has worked diligently in recent years to put in place programs and policies to ensure the safety of children. We must, and will, continue our vigilance and improve on these efforts. Nothing less is acceptable. Our responsibility to children and families is paramount. It is our hope and prayer that such protections will be in place in all settings in society where children depend upon the care of adults.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:13 AM

Using the Victims Yet Again

BRIDGEPORT (CT)
The New York Times

Published: January 7, 2007
For nearly five years, the Diocese of Bridgeport has been fighting to keep secret thousands of documents that detail how it handled 23 sex-abuse cases settled in 2001. Several newspapers, among them The Times, have gone to court repeatedly to argue that the documents involved should be public. Last month Judge Jon Alander of the Superior Court dismissed the diocese’s latest attempt to keep the cases sealed. The diocese announced it would appeal Judge Alander’s ruling on 19 different grounds.

In a democracy, any person or institution can appeal almost anything, so this case may not be resolved for years. But the diocese’s sanctimonious statement in reply to Judge Alander’s decision is so outrageous it should not go unanswered.

In that brief response, the diocese justified its campaign to keep the records closed on the basis of promoting the privacy and well-being of the victims. It also said, “reopening and exposing long-settled cases, extensively covered by the media, to renewed public scrutiny is not a productive way to achieve the healing and resolution that the community seeks.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:56 AM

Trust -- Questions renewed about diocese's seeming secrecy

YAKIMA (WA)
Yakima Herald Republic

By JANE GARGAS
YAKIMA HERALD-REPUBLIC

It's the answer as well as the question.

Trust.

Faith relies on it.

But how much trust should there be?

The subject of trust has become a matter of intense debate among some parishioners in the Catholic Diocese of Yakima concerning decisions made about clerics and their conduct.

Trust forms the underpinnings of the church, but when nuances exist, and rumor meets rancor, questions arise. The clergy sex scandal that erupted nationally in the Catholic Church in 2002 has left some local congregants contemplating how candid their church should be.

In particular, they wonder how much a bishop should disclose to churchgoers when allegations are leveled against a cleric, and how much, if any, oversight should be given to the attendant diocesan decisions.

Yet, any questioning clashes against a fundamental understanding that parishioners should have inherent faith in their bishop.

"It's always, 'Keep your mouth shut and just trust the bishop,'" said an ex-diocesan employee who asked not to be named.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:06 AM

Trust -- Local settlements pale in comparison to Spokane

YAKIMA (WA)
Yakima Herald Republic

In light of the multimillion-dollar agreement reached Thursday in the Spokane Catholic Diocese over sexual molestation cases, the settlement numbers in the Catholic Diocese of Yakima -- both financial and in terms of victims -- have been significantly less substantial.

The Spokane Catholic Diocese agreed to pay at least $48 million to people molested by priests as a part of a deal to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. About 150 claims were filed against the diocese as part of the bankruptcy.

The plan must still be approved by a bankruptcy judge and the victims.

The Spokane diocese is among four nationwide filing bankruptcy protection to seek relief from abuse claims. The others are Portland, Tucson, Ariz., and Dallas.

In the Yakima diocese, the most recent statistics available on sexual abuse claims against clerics are from 2004. At that time, the diocese said it had paid out $1.02 million to 14 abuse victims dating to 1950.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:04 AM

Trust -- The unsettling saga of a suspicious deacon

YAKIMA (WA)
Yakima Herald Republic

Editor's note: Although the Yakima Herald-Republic routinely withholds the names of people suspected of crimes unless they are formally charged, Aarón Ramírez is identified here because his name has been published in public documents.

By JANE GARGAS
YAKIMA HERALD-REPUBLIC

On a balmy summer night seven years ago, a 35-year-old man studying to be a Catholic priest invited a 17-year-old boy to spend the evening with him in a trailer on the grounds of Resurrection Catholic Church in Zillah.

The aspiring priest, officially known as a deacon, gave the teen two bottles of Budweiser and a bottle of wine, according to a police report. When those bottles were empty, the deacon, who was drinking very little, brought over more wine from the church.

Nauseous, the teen passed out on the porch of the trailer. According to his account, he said he woke up several hours later, with no clothes on, lying next to the deacon, also naked, in bed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:03 AM

NEWS FORUM: Edward Cardinal Egan

NEW YORK
WNBC

NEW YORK -- Interview: Edward Cardinal Egan

DAVID USHERY, host:

Two weeks ago, Edward Cardinal Egan celebrated midnight Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral. Was it his last? As shepherd of the estimated two and a half million Catholics in the New York Archdiocese. The cardinal turned 75 in April and is required to submit his resignation to the pope, who can either accept or reject it. Does the cardinal want to stay? And will a scathing letter attributed to an anonymous priest have an impact? In a rare sit-down interview, we will ask Cardinal Egan about retirement, controversy, and a spiritual message for 2007. Next, on a special edition of NEWS FORUM. ...

Cardinal EGAN: The lows, I would say would be for me, I wish that our vocations were growing faster. We're doing well in comparison with others, but our need is tremendous and I'm very happy this is the first year class of theology, the finally four years, is big. I'm happy that the numbers going into pretheology is also growing, but I would just beg families and young men to think about handing their lives over to the Lord and the church and joining us in our seminary. We have a wonderful, wonderful seminary system. We need priests, and I would say the lowest of the low of the year was that I didn't have more to ordain. I think we had one of the largest classes in the country, but still, nowhere near what we need. Another
low, I'm sure, is one that you want to mention, that was mentioned in the introduction. Somebody, maybe a layman, wrote an anonymous letter and put it on a blog in Philadelphia. And the news media in New York obsessed on it for a week. And they even bring it up again in Newsweek a month later and so forth. I regret that it was treated that way. I don't think that that kind of thing would've been treated that way for any other institution. Maybe I'm wrong. But even that's behind us. The priests were wonderful, as you know. They immediately came in, the Priests Council, which is an elected council and supported me completely. And I'm very, very happy that we can now put this behind us. An anonymous letter on a blog in Philadelphia and we obsess on it, it's not good.

USHERY: You responded in Catholic New York, and it was seen as an intense response. And you also felt that the priests who had gone through this process thought it might have been attributed to a priest who might have been accused of or charged with sexual abuse. They--they're somewhat shielded, the archdiocese can respond, and you said you were going to institute a new policy on that. Are you...

Cardinal EGAN: Anybody that feels that he's been unjustly treated, come forward, make your case before three vicars and three members of the Priests Council, and then we'll tell the story as we know it. And no one has come forward. There's been no injustice of any kind.

USHERY: All right, Cardinal. Well, we have to take a break. When we come back, we'll talk about other issues. There's also a little follow-up on this and the cardinal's relationship with the media, and also, retirement, that word that we keep hearing. Stay with us.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at