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February 28, 2007

Victims slam San Diego church bankruptcy filing

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Stuff

Reuters | Thursday, 1 March 2007

LOS ANGELES: Victims of sexual abuse by priests said the decision by the San Diego Catholic Diocese to file for bankruptcy was a bid by church leaders to hide the truth about "horrific clergy sex crimes and cover ups."

The diocese, which has nearly 1 million members, became the fifth and largest in the United States to file for bankruptcy in the face of dozens of lawsuits from people claiming they were abused by priests who were repeatedly transferred by bishops rather than reported to police.

Speaking to reporters in front of St Joseph's Cathedral in San Diego, David Clohessy, director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) said the decision "will only delay the truth coming out."

He said Bishop Robert Brom "claims he's concerned about church assets, but SNAP and others are convinced he wants to avoid embarrassing files and damaging testimony about his role in horrific clergy sex crimes and cover-ups."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:12 PM

Catholic school principal announces resignation

CALIFORNIA
The Orange County Register

By SAM MILLER
The Orange County Register
The principal of Santa Margarita Catholic High announced to parents this week he will resign at the end of the school year, a month after he was placed on a short leave of absence over his handling of allegations of staff misconduct.

Brother Lawrence Monroe has been principal at the private school since 2002, with a reputation as a strong-willed and visible leader. A month ago, he and teacher Eric Hansen were put on leave while the Diocese of Orange investigated unspecified accusations over an annual European trip Hansen led.

Monroe was allowed to return to work shortly after, and the diocese told parents he had shown poor judgment but not "malice or any intentional disregard for (diocesan) directives."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:55 PM

Filing likely to produce fight over San Diego diocese's worth

SAN DIEGO (CA)
The Mercury News

ALLISON HOFFMAN
Associated Press
SAN DIEGO - The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego's decision to file for bankruptcy protection rather than proceed with the first trial on allegations of sexual abuse by its priests is likely to set off a fierce battle over just how much the diocese is worth.

San Diego is the fifth U.S. diocese to enter Chapter 11 bankruptcy under the shadow of civil claims over sexual abuse. With nearly 1 million parishioners and holdings throughout San Diego County, it is by far the largest and, by all accounts, the wealthiest of the group.

Attorneys for more than 140 plaintiffs say they believe a fair settlement would be around $200 million, a record amount for such a case. It also is more money than the diocese is worth, according to documents church officials filed Wednesday with a federal bankruptcy court.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:51 PM

Warren County priest rejects plea deal in theft case

NEW JERSEY
The Star-Ledger

Posted by The Star-Ledger February 28, 2007 4:45PM

The Rev. Robert J. "Father Bob" Ascolese, a former Warren County pastor accused of misappropriating nearly $1 million through a scam in which fake winners were announced during a $100-a-ticket church lottery, today rejected a plea deal that would have put him behind bars for up to three years.

The move surprised prosecutors, who were expecting Ascolese to take a plea in which he likely would have been granted entry into an intensive probation program after a few months in county jail.

The former pastor of St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Washington Borough now faces up to 10 years in state prison on second-degree theft and deception charges and third-degree forgery and tampering with public records charges.

James P. Nolan of Woodbridge, Ascolese's lawyer, said his client sought a "second opinion" from another lawyer about whether to take the guilty plea.

"Since then, he has decided he wants to retain that attorney," Melvin Wright of the high-powered Baker Botts firm in New York City, Nolan said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:40 PM

Priest accused of theft rejects prosecutor's plea offer

NEW JERSEY
PennLive

Posted by Tom Quigley February 28, 2007 17:28PM
Categories: Breaking News, New Jersey
The former pastor of the St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Washington charged with stealing nearly $1 million from his church rejected a plea offer from the Warren County prosecutor's office today in Belvidere.

Warren County Prosecutor Thomas S. Ferguson has now withdrawn the plea offer to the Rev. Robert Ascolese, known to his parishioners as "Father Bob." Ascolese has selected a new attorney based in New York, and is now in the process of hiring him.

Authorities said the bulk of the stolen cash went to a failed attempt to save the parish's now-closed school and other church-related programs. It is alleged the priest stole about $650,000 from the annual St. Joseph's Powerball Raffle. He also allegedly obtained another $200,000 in matching grants from the Merck Partnership for Giving Program and $75,000 in matching grants from the Johnson & Johnson's Matching Gifts Program, officials say.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:38 PM

Sex Abuse Victims Ask Diocese to Reconsider Bankruptcy

SAN DIEGO (CA)
KPBS

Feb 28, 2007
Andrea Hsu

A day after the Catholic Diocese of San Diego announced it was declaring bankruptcy, victims of sexual abuse by clergy are calling on the Diocese to reconsider. KPBS Radio's Andrea Hsu has more.

The group Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests called a news conference outside St Joseph's Cathedral in downtown San Diego. In from Missouri was the group's national director, David Clohessy. He called on San Diego Bishop Robert Brom to continue negotiations in court on Friday -- per the request made earlier this week by the judge overseeing the case.

Clohessy: We ask that Bishop Brom honor that judge's order and show by his physical presence that he does want to see this resolved.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:36 PM

San Diego Diocese Seeks Bankruptcy Protection

SAN DIEGO (CA)
Zenit

SAN DIEGO, California, FEB. 28, 2007 (Zenit.org).- The Diocese of San Diego filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection shortly before it was to go to trial over a clerical sex-abuse lawsuit.

San Diego is the fifth U.S. diocese in the nation to file for bankruptcy protection.

The diocese's filing halted court proceedings that were scheduled for today in the first of 143 lawsuits leveled. Plaintiffs in the case had refused a settlement offer which the diocese made on Tuesday.

In a letter posted Feb. 21 on the diocesan Web site, Bishop Robert Brom advised the faithful that a bankruptcy filing could be necessary since "good stewardship demands that settlements not cripple the ability of the Church to accomplish its mission and ministries."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:35 PM

Vatican defrocks former local priest

MARBLEHEAD (MA)
Marblehead Reporter

By Kaitlin Melanson/marblehead@cnc.com
Wednesday, February 28, 2007 - Updated: 06:09 PM EST

A decade after allegations of sexual misconduct first surfaced against a former Star of the Sea priest, the Vatican officially dismissed 70-year-old George Rosenkranz from the priesthood last Friday.

Rosenkranz, who served as the assistant pastor of Star of the Sea Church from February 1965 until June 1970, had been placed on medical leave by the former leader of the Archdiocese of Boston Cardinal Bernard Law in 1989, just a year after allegations of sexual abuse of minors had surfaced. Since that time, Rosenkranz had been restricted from any public ministry, and was denied his request to return to active duty as a priest in 1993.

According to a timeline provided by archdiocese spokeswoman Kelly Lynch, Rosenkranz served six different parishes after leaving Star of Sea, including Blessed Sacrament in Saugus, St. Mary’s in Beverly and St. Joseph’s in Salem, his last parish before being placed on leave.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:33 PM

Ex-priest admits seeking sex from child

LONG ISLAND (NY)
am New York

BY JOHN MORENO GONZALES
john.gonzales@newsday.com

February 28, 2007, 4:11 PM EST

A 73-year-old defrocked priest who authorities said came to Long Island with the intention of having sex with a 14-year-old boy pleaded guilty Wednesday to a federal charge of enticing a minor, after his arrest by Nassau police could not be prosecuted under emerging definitions of internet sex crime.

Thomas J. Bender, a former Roman Catholic cleric who in court papers admitted he was banned from the church after his 1984 conviction in Allentown, Pa. for soliciting a minor, pleaded guilty to a single felony count and faces at least five years in prison.

Bender appeared befuddled as to the nature of his plea in U.S. District Court in Central Islip when Judge Sandra J. Feuerstein asked him to confess in his own words so she could formally accept the plea.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:29 PM

Web Site Documents a Crisis

WALTHAM (MA)
Bishop Accountability

By Chuck Colbert
National Catholic Reporter
March 3, 2007

http://ncronline.org/NCR_Online/archives2/2007a/030207/030207h.php

Waltham, Mass. - Five years ago, internal documents of the Boston archdiocese, forced into the open by court orders, showed a pattern of bishops protecting abusers, covering up crimes, and putting children at risk. Nationwide, documents and press coverage revealed a similar phenomenon from Long Island, N.Y., to Los Angeles, from Manchester, N.H., to Louisville, Ky., to Davenport, Iowa. Never before had so much information about the Catholic church come out in the open for public scrutiny.

Since June 2003, Terence McKiernan and Anne Barrett Doyle, codirectors of BishopAccountability.org and still practicing Catholics, have been archiving the once secret files of bishops. They also have collected and put online survivors’ accounts, attorneys general reports, depositions and review board records.

The documents not only preserve a rare look behind the chancery doors at the reasoning of church leaders in a time of crisis, but they have also proven a boon to prosecutors, investigators, abuse victims and those simply looking for answers to the question of how the scandal could have grown to such outsize proportions in an institution dedicated to spreading the Christian message.

BishopAccountability.org’s largest collections of documents are from Boston (40,000 pages), Manchester (9,000 pages, all posted online), and Orange, Calif. (4,500 pages).

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:57 PM

Former altar boy alleges abuse by priest

SANTA FE (TX)
KOBTV

Last Update: 02/28/2007 9:41:07 AM
By: Associated Press

SANTA FE (AP) - A former altar boy in the Archdiocese of El Paso alleges he was abused by a priest assigned to the archdiocese more than 30 years ago.

He’s identified only as John Doe I in a lawsuit he’s filed against the archdiocese.

He alleges the Reverend Manuel Perez Maramba sexually assaulted him while working at St. Genevieve’s Church in Las Cruces and at St. Francis Newman Parish in Silver City.

The lawsuit contends the archdiocese allowed the priest to molest him.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:49 PM

Victim speaks about healing

WEST ROXBURY (MA)
Transcript

By Jessica M. Smith
Wednesday, February 28, 2007 - Updated: 12:33 PM EST

It’s been more than 50 years since a Lynn priest abused Virginia King. But on Monday night, King shared her story with the hope of reaching out to others who may have suffered the same fate.

King, 66, spoke at a Voice of the Faithful meeting at St. John’s Chrysostom Church. VOTF is a Catholic group whose mission is to strengthen and renew the Church. The group was formed to address Church issues, including priest abuse.

At the age of 13, King recalled for an audience of about 50, a priest touched her inappropriately after he slid into an empty seat next to her in her parish’s dark movie hall.

“I was frozen, terrified and in total disbelief,” said King, who at the time thought she was the only victim of Father Boucher, who died in 2001.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:45 PM

Court puts foot down on priest

SOUTH AFRICA
IOL

February 28 2007 at 07:32PM

An interim interdict against a controversial Cape Town Catholic priest was made final by the Cape High Court on Wednesday, the church said.

The interdict prevents Father Fano Ngcobo from entering the precinct of St Anthony's church in the township of Langa in Cape Town, and from participating in protests on church property.

Ngcobo was suspended from his post at the church in 2006 after claims he had fathered a child with a young woman, had several girlfriends and had failed to account for church funds.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:43 PM

Rape ‘victim’ files kidnap charges vs nun, 3 priests

PHILIPPINES
ABS-CBN

By RONILO LADRIDO PAMONAG
The Philippine Star

ILOILO CITY – A 25-year-old woman, who earlier accused an assistant parish priest in Iloilo of rape, has filed charges of kidnapping and obstruction of justice against a nun and three other priests.

In a three-page affidavit, the woman alleged that Sister Serafica Tolentino and Fathers Robert Amalay, Neil Antenor Cruz and Ramon Masculino detained her in a religious school for five days and coerced her not to file rape charges against Fr. Martin Alarcon.

Talk of the alleged kidnapping cropped up last week when the woman filed two counts of rape against Alarcon, assistant parish priest in Carles town.

Cruz, however, denied kidnapping or preventing the woman from filing the rape case, saying that they merely offered assistance to her.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:27 PM

Ohio’s victims of clerical sexual abuse left frustrated by Senate Bill 17

OHIO
Toledo City Paper

by Todd Jarrett

published February 28th 2007

The Roman Catholic Church has been suspected of keeping secrets throughout its storied history. Some, like Father Thomas Doyle have written about this, and subsequently been censured, slandered or subjected to other retaliation from church hierarchy. According to Doyle, co-author of “Sex, Priests, and Secret Codes,” and advocate for victims of Catholic clergy sexual abuse, secrecy is literally written into the canon law.

The church in the state of Ohio and the Catholic Diocese of Toledo do not represent exceptions to this rule. For this reason, the claimed victims of sexual abuse by priests, where the statute of limitations for bringing their claim to court has expired, find themselves in dismay over Ohio’s recent passing of the civil registry, rather than the victim driven Senate Bill 17. The civil registry became law under the considerable influence of the Ohio’s Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Butchered bill

According to Claudia Vercelotti, founder and leader of the Toledo chapter of SNAP, (Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests), the lawmakers’ choice in 2005 was between the original Senate Bill 17, commonly referred to as “the Victim’s Bill,” and what was finally passed and signed by Governor Taft in May 2006, the amended SB 17.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:27 AM

Fr. Rodis's case shocks Filipino Americans in DC

WASHINGTON (DC)
The Manila Mail

WASHINGTON - The story of Rev. Rodney L. Rodis, who for 14 years led a double life as a family man and as priest in Virginia, has left Filipino Americans in the area shaking their heads.

The front page story of the Jan. 30 issue of “The Washington Post” said the church funds Rodis is accused of embezzling was about $600,000 to $700,000, possibly more," as more parishioners came up to account for their contributions through the years. The Manila Mail’s front page story (Jan. 31 issue) said the amount could rise up to $1 million because banks dispose of their records after several years.

“I was talking about this with a couple of friends, and we were like, ‘Oh my God, what was he doing?’" said a Filipino auxiliary member of the Legion of Mary in Ballston, Virginia who declined to give her name. “But my faith in the Catholic religion has not been shaken, no, of course not," she added. She said unfortunately, it was not good for the reputation of Filipinos and the Catholic faith.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:40 AM

CATHOLIC PRIEST ACCUSED: Tale of obsession

LAS VEGAS (NV)
Review-Journal

By BRIAN HAYNES
REVIEW-JOURNAL

It seemed like a harmless crush at first.

Michaelina Bellamy said she hoped it would go away, but over the next few months, it only grew stronger.

He confessed his love for her and showered her with gifts and meals. But for Bellamy, a successful singer who loved music and God, it was a romance that would never be. The man who yearned for her was a Catholic priest.

Soon, what appeared to be harmless love became an obsession, one that left Bellamy beaten and bloodied on the floor of a church office, fighting for her life as the man she once respected squeezed her throat.

"He tried to kill me," Bellamy said Tuesday from the stand in Las Vegas Justice Court.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:35 AM

With image flat-lining, it's time for spin doctor

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Los Angeles Times

Steve Lopez:
Points West

February 28, 2007

I opened my Sunday paper, and wham!

A monsignor smacked me with a stinging letter to the editor regarding my column about Cardinal Roger, who had offered my bosses a free crypt at the cathedral if they'd put me in it. In the same section, another detractor took a shot at me regarding the Grand Avenue project.

The next day, a website devoted to defending the Los Angeles Archdiocese against its critics called me clueless, arrogant and self-righteous.

Whether or not these people were right, I clearly had a career-threatening image problem on my hands.

So I did what countless others have done upon finding themselves in deep trouble.

I called PR guru Mike Sitrick, the king of crisis management.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:30 AM

Attorney quits client's case

COLORADO
Denver Post

By Kirk Mitchell
Denver Post Staff Writer
Article Last Updated: 02/27/2007 01:57:23 PM MST

A Florida attorney says he intends to withdraw from the case of an alleged sex assault victim who admitted in recorded phone conversations that he never was a victim.

"We've decided to withdraw from the case," Jeffrey Herman, attorney for Thomas Monroe, 53, said today.

Monroe filed a lawsuit in September 2005 against the Diocese of Pueblo and the Marianists Province of the United States, claiming band instructor William Mueller molested him during private trombone lessons when he was a freshman at Roncalli High School in 1968.

Monroe claimed that he was molested five times when he was 14. The lawsuit stated that during private music lessons Mueller had Monroe strip and then fondled his genitals while he played a trombone.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:27 AM

Doubts don't halt quest for lawsuit

COLORADO
Rocky Mountain News

By Jean Torkelson, Rocky Mountain News
February 28, 2007
A man with a sex abuse lawsuit against the Pueblo Catholic Diocese is looking for new representation after his lawyers said they would drop him as a client.

Thomas Roy Monroe, 54, said Tuesday he has asked the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) to help him pursue his claim.

David Clohessy, executive director of SNAP, said he talked with Monroe and "like any survivor who asks, I told him getting professional advice, whether therapeutic, medical or legal, never hurts."

Attorney Jeffrey Herman, of Florida, on Monday said he and other lawyers intended to withdraw from the case after The Denver Post reported that in a phone conversation recorded in September 2005, Monroe said he was not an assault victim.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:19 AM

Woman sues Jesuits of Oregon for $5 million

OREGON
KGW

02/28/2007

By JOSEPH B. FRAZIER / Associated Press

An Oregon woman has filed a $5 million lawsuit against the Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus, better known as the Jesuits, claiming she was molested by two priests as a young girl.

The unidentified plaintiff, now 48, accuses the Rev. James E. Poole and the late Rev. John Duffy of molesting her when she was 7 or 8 and a student at St. Mary of the Valley School in Beaverton.

Duffy died in 1992. Poole is in an assisted living center in Spokane, Wash.

The lawsuit alleges the Jesuits became aware in about 1960 of Poole "behaving in a sexually inappropriate manner" with minor girls at a boarding school in Alaska and transferred him to Portland in 1964 with no apparent restrictions on contact with minors or females and without telling parents or parishioners of his past.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:16 AM

Alaska priest involved in Oregon sexual abuse lawsuit

ANCHORAGE (AK)
KTUU

by Traci Holenport
Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2007

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- A $5 million lawsuit filed in Oregon today claims two catholic priests repeatedly molested a young girl there in the 1960s.

One of the priests charged is Father James Poole, who is accused of sexually abusing children while he worked in Alaska.

The suit against the Oregon province of the Society of Jesus claims Poole and another priest abused the girl during visits to her home.

It also claims the church moved Poole to Oregon even though they knew that he had sexual contact with several children in Alaska during the 1970s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:15 AM

Abuse critic apologizes to Baptists

TENNESSEE
Commercial Appeal

By James Dowd
Contact
February 28, 2007
The leader of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) acknowledged Tuesday that Southern Baptist leaders had responded to the group's initial concerns about pedophiles, but criticized the country's largest non-Catholic faith group for not doing more.

David Clohessy, executive director for SNAP, apologized for claims made last week that the Southern Baptist Convention ignored letters from the advocacy group calling for increased efforts to identify sexually abusive ministers.

It was later discovered that Baptist officials had replied to a letter sent by SNAP leaders last September, Clohessy said. The error was blamed on misplaced correspondence at the organization's Chicago headquarters.

"They did, in fact, write back to us," Clohessy said. "We apologize publicly and profusely for the mistake."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:08 AM

Bill to make child endangerment a felony

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Herald

By Jessica Van Sack
Wednesday, February 28, 2007 - Updated: 02:15 AM EST

Fifteen lawmakers outraged over the sentence given to a confessed sicko who ignored the cries of a little girl being raped have filed a bill to vastly stiffen the penalty for child endangerment.

Under the proposed legislation, child endangerment would become a felony with a 10-year maximum jail term. The crime is now a misdemeanor and prison time can’t exceed 2 1/2 years.

The chief sponsor of the bill, Assistant Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester), said he was moved upon learning from the Herald earlier this month of the one-year jail sentence handed to a Salem man who pleaded guilty to child endangerment and witness intimidation after having sex with two women as a crying 9-year-old was raped repeatedly in the bed beside him. Patrick Doyle, 42, is eligible for parole in six months.

In 2002, Sen. Marian Walsh (D-West Roxbury) pressed for the crime to become a felony as she led the charge to institute the current child endangerment law amid the Archdiocese of Boston’s sexual abuse scandal. Lawmakers who associated the crime with the church refused to support the felony law, she said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:06 AM

Former LDS Missionary faces sex abuse charges

UTAH
ABC 4

Story by:
Ross Becker
ross@abc4.com

It was Christmas Eve and a 12 year old boy wanted to do something special for the man who baptized him into the church, but a visit to do it may have turned into a opportunity for a that man to take advantage of a child.

The former missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is now in the Salt Lake County Jail, accused of aggravated sexual assault of a child. His name is Elder Kyle Saucier, 20, and he was serving in the East Mill Creek area when the Christmas visit took place.

Salt Lake County Sgt. Rex Mulholland told ABC 4's Ross Becker that the boy's mother reported the incident to police right after it happened. According to court documents, the boy says during the Christmas Eve visit, "The defendant gave the boy a hug and reached around and put his hand down his pants."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:03 AM

LDS missionary charged with aggravated sexual abuse of a child

UTAH
The Salt Lake Tribune

By Stephen Hunt
The Salt Lake Tribune
Article Last Updated: 02/28/2007 01:21:30 AM MST

A missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been charged with fondling a 12-year-old Salt Lake County boy he had recently baptized, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday in 3rd District Court.
Kyle Saucier, 20 - who was living in the Holladay area at the time - is charged with one count of first-degree felony aggravated sexual abuse of a child, which is punishable by 6, 10 or 15 years to life in prison.
One factor elevating the seriousness of the alleged crime is that Saucier "occupied a position of special trust in relation to the victim," according to the complaint.
The boy told a Salt Lake County sheriff's detective that on Christmas Eve, he and his mother went to Saucier's apartment - near 4200 S. Highland Drive - to give him a Christmas present, according to the complaint.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:01 AM

Victim won't testify; charges vs. polygamist dropped

KINGMAN (MV)
The Daily News

By JIM SECKLER/The Daily News

Tuesday, February 27, 2007 9:21 PM PST

KINGMAN - The trial for one of three remaining Colorado City polygamists charged with having a sexual relation with an underage girl suddenly ended Tuesday with his charges being dismissed.

Randolph J. Barlow's bench trial before Superior Court Judge Steven Conn resumed after a six-month delay. Barlow, 33, was charged with two counts of sexual conduct with a minor.

Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith dismissed the charges against Barlow saying the victim, who refused to testify when she first took the stand six months ago, still refuses to testify or even answer his questions.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:58 AM

Former Columbia pastor pleads guilty to abuse of 15-year-old congregant

COLUMBIA (MO)
Columbia Missourian

By JENNIFER ENG

A former Columbia pastor was sentenced to 14 years in prison Monday in connection with the sexual abuse of a 15-year-old girl.

Roberto Edgar Lopez, 37, pleaded guilty to second-degree statutory sodomy and second-degree statutory rape, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Nicole Gorovsky said. Judge Gene Hamilton sentenced Lopez to two consecutive seven-year sentences.

A jury trial had been scheduled for Tuesday morning, but attorneys were able to come to a plea agreement, Gorovsky said. According to Casenet, which is a database for Missouri civil and criminal cases, Lopez faced two sexual abuse charges and an additional charge of endangering the welfare of a child.

Gorovsky said the charge of endangering the welfare of a child was dropped as part of the agreement.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:55 AM

Pueblo man dropped by law firm suing diocese, Marianists

PUEBLO (CO)
The Pueblo Chieftain

By PATRICK MALONE
THE PUEBLO CHIEFTAIN
A Miami law firm will no longer represent one of the former Roncalli High School students who is suing the local Catholic diocese and a religious order over allegations of sexual abuse by a teacher.

Jeff Herman of Herman & Mermelstein said Tuesday that the firm is through representing Thomas Monroe. The announcement came on the heels of a Denver newspaper's revelation that a DVD recording of Monroe calls into question the validity of his allegations.

Monroe is one of 22 men who are suing the Catholic Diocese of Pueblo and the Marianist religious order. The men allege that Brother William Mueller sexually abused them while he was a teacher at the all-boys high school between 1966 and its closure in 1971.

Mueller faces similar allegations in Missouri and Texas. He voluntarily left the Marianist order in 1986 and now resides in San Antonio.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:51 AM

Deacon relieved of some duties

McALLEN (TX)
The Monitor

Kaitlin Bell
February 27, 2007 - 11:02PM
McALLEN — The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brownsville has temporarily barred the deacon of Holy Spirit church from delivering homilies during Mass, after complaints that he blamed parents for not keeping their children away from predatory priests.

Diocese spokeswoman Brenda Riojas said Tuesday that Bishop Raymundo Peña has asked Deacon Alvin Gerbermann to undergo additional training before he gives any more homilies, the remarks made during Mass that explain a selection of Bible passages.

The training will include a program about preventing sexual abuse called “Protecting God’s Children,” which the diocese created after revelations of child molestation within the Catholic Church. In addition, Gerbermann will be required to retake a course taught by the diocese on how to give homilies, Riojas said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:45 AM

On eve of trial, San Diego Diocese files for bankruptcy protection

SAN DIEGO (CA)
The Press-Enterprise

10:00 PM PST on Tuesday, February 27, 2007

By MICHAEL FISHER
The Press-Enterprise

On the eve of trial, the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego announced it is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Tuesday just hours after its final settlement offer was rejected by the attorneys for dozens of people who claim to have been sexually abused by priests.

The filing, which drew swift condemnation from victims' advocates, immediately halts the more than 140 lawsuits targeting the diocese, including a trial scheduled to start today in San Diego involving a longtime Inland priest. A Colorado woman accuses Monsignor Patrick O'Keeffe of sexually abusing her at St. Adelaide Church in Highland in the early 1970s.

Legal experts said Tuesday's bankruptcy filing will not stop litigation against the San Bernardino Diocese, named in at least 17 pending lawsuits, including some targeting the San Diego Diocese. It was unclear if Tuesday's filing will unravel the San Diego Diocese's pledge to indemnify the San Bernardino Diocese in cases alleging clergy sexual misconduct before 1978, when the San Diego Diocese managed Inland parishes.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:43 AM

Shrinking religion

MASSACHUSETTS
Berkshire Eagle

Wednesday, February 28

After celebrating the 8 a.m. Sunday Mass at St. Patrick's Church in West Stockbridge, the Rev. C.J. Waitekus takes a shorter route to Lenox so he has five minutes to spare before he begins the 9:45 a.m. Mass at St. Ann's Church.

Then he finishes his morning with an 11:15 Mass at St. Ann's. And that's just Sundays. There also are meetings, baptisms, funerals and daily Masses.

"I never dreamed I'd be a pastor of three parishes," said Waitekus, 45, who also oversees St. Vincent de Paul's in Lenox Dale. "It's doable, and it's definitely working, but I'm as busy as can be."

Eighteen priests manage the 29 Catholic churches still active in the Berkshires. Some, such as Waitekus, oversee multiple parishes because of the shrinking number of priests and churchgoers in the Diocese of Springfield, which oversees Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden and Hampshire counties in Western Massachusetts.

The diocese is struggling to support its 117 parishes amid a 26 percent drop in attendance between 1996 and 2006, the closure of four church buildings and the merger of two schools in the Berkshires in the past 2 1/2 years, and a $7.7 million lawsuit settlement in August 2004 involving 46 claims of clergy sexual abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:40 AM

Abuse bill faces struggle

OLYMPIA (WA)
Spokesman Review

Staff writer
February 28, 2007

OLYMPIA – Sen. Chris Marr is running into some political headwinds in his push to change the law so all sex crimes against children can be prosecuted until the day the abuser dies.

Consider:

•A week after Marr, D-Spokane, had more than half the state Senate signed on as co-sponsors, a couple of Republicans have yanked their names off it, apparently on the grounds that their party, not Democrats, had long pushed unsuccessfully for similar changes.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:38 AM

San Diego Diocese files for bankruptcy

SAN DIEGO (CA)
Los Angeles Times

By Tony Perry, Times Staff Writer
February 28, 2007

SAN DIEGO — The Catholic Diocese of San Diego announced Tuesday that it was filing for bankruptcy protection rather than face lawsuits from 150 people who alleged that they were sexually abused by priests. The first court case was set to begin today.

The diocese decision came despite a request Monday from a settlement judge to not file for bankruptcy until after a negotiating session set for Friday.

Bishop Robert Brom said in a statement that if the abuse cases went to court, monetary awards for those whose cases were first on the docket could "so deplete diocesan and insurance resources that there would be nothing left for other victims."

The Bankruptcy Court filing puts the cases, including the one set to begin today in San Diego County Superior Court, in abeyance as issues involving the diocese's assets are decided by a bankruptcy judge.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:36 AM

Two priests abused Beaverton girl in '60s, lawsuit claims

OREGON
The Oregonian

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

ASHBEL S. GREEN
A $5 million lawsuit filed Tuesday in Multnomah County claims that two Catholic priests repeatedly molested a Beaverton girl in the mid-1960s.

The suit against the Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus, also known as the Jesuits, names the Rev. James E. Poole and the Rev. Frank Duffy.

The plaintiff, who is not named in the suit, said the priests abused her during visits to her family home.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:34 AM

Complex legal issues will accompany filing

SAN DIEGO (CA)
Union-Tribune

By Greg Moran
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
February 28, 2007

By seeking shelter in bankruptcy court from scores of lawsuits alleging sexual abuse of children by priests, the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego takes an extraordinary step into largely uncharted legal territory.

As the case unfolds, both sides will battle over complicated legal questions dealing with civil law and church law, and whether constitutional claims of religious freedom trump the bankruptcy code.

For example, some rulings by the court that tell the diocese what to do in the bankruptcy proceedings could trigger a battle over how far the state can reach into the affairs of a religious organization, experts said.

“It opens a whole Pandora's box of issues,” said Charles Zech, an economics professor at Villanova University who has written about church finances.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:31 AM

S.D. Catholic diocese files for bankruptcy

SAN DIEGO (CA)
Union-Tribune

By Mark Sauer
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
February 28, 2007

After four years of legal wrangling in the clergy-abuse scandal, attorneys for Bishop Robert Brom filed for Chapter 11 protection last night, making San Diego the largest Roman Catholic diocese in the nation to declare bankruptcy.

In a brief electronic filing just before midnight, the diocese said it had assets of more than $100 million and estimated debts of more than $100 million.

Brom's action halts the first trial, set to start today, of about 150 lawsuits alleging sexual abuse of children by 60 priests in incidents dating back decades.

Brom said in a statement: “We put money on the table that would have stretched our financial capability to the limit, but demands were made which exceeded the financial resources of both the diocese and our insurance carrier.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:29 AM

Diocese files Chapter 11

SAN DIEGO (CA)
The Orange County Register

The Associated Press
SAN DIEGO -- The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego said Tuesday that it planned to file for bankruptcy protection to put off going to trial in more than 140 civil lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by priests.

In a letter posted on the diocese's Web site, Bishop Robert Brom wrote that the diocese had “decided against litigating our cases because of the length of time the process could take and, more importantly, because early trial judgments in favor of some victims could so deplete diocesan and insurance resources that there would be nothing left for other victims.”

Attorney Micheal Webb said the diocese planned to file for bankruptcy protection by midnight Tuesday, just hours before the first trial was scheduled to go forward in a San Diego courtroom. A Chapter 11 filing automatically halts court proceedings.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:26 AM

Abuse trials delayed as San Diego diocese files for bankruptcy

SAN DIEGO (CA)
The Lompoc Record

By ALLISON HOFFMAN

SAN DIEGO - The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection hours before it was scheduled to go to trial in the first of more than 140 lawsuits accusing priests of sexual abuse.

The filing automatically halted court proceedings scheduled for Wednesday.

In a letter posted on the diocese's Web site, Bishop Robert H. Brom said the diocese made its decision because any damage awards in the earlier trials could deplete "diocesan and insurance resources" and leave nothing for other victims.

The diocese claimed in the filing late Tuesday $95.7 million in property holdings and another $60.4 million in liquid assets, including stocks, bonds and operating accounts.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:24 AM

San Diego diocese files Chapter 11

SAN DIEGO (CA)
Charlotte Observer

By ALLISON HOFFMAN
Associated Press Writer

The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego said Tuesday that it planned to file for bankruptcy protection to put off going to trial in more than 140 lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by priests.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego filed for bankruptcy protection late Tuesday to put off going to trial in more than 140 civil lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by priests.

The petition was lodged with the federal bankruptcy court in San Diego at 11:55 p.m., just hours before the first trial was scheduled to go forward in a San Diego courtroom. A Chapter 11 filing automatically halts court proceedings.

San Diego is the fifth U.S. diocese to file for bankruptcy protection under the shadow of sex abuse claims. With nearly 1 million parishioners, it is also the largest.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:21 AM

February 27, 2007

Pastoral Statement on the Diocesan Reorganization

SAN DIEGO (CA)
Diocese of San Diego

Bishop Robert H. Brom's statement on the diocese's decision to file for bankruptcy can be found at this link.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:24 PM

Catholic Diocese of S.D. Filing for Bankruptcy

SAN DIEGO (CA)
KPBS

Feb 27, 2007
Andrea Hsu

The Catholic Diocese of San Diego is filing for bankruptcy. The announcement was posted on the Diocese's website this afternoon. KPBS Radio's Andrea Hsu has more.

In a pastoral statement, San Diego Bishop Robert Brom said settlement negotiations around cases of sexual abuse by clergy have been unsuccessful. He said the demands made by the plaintiffs exceeded the financial resources of the diocese and its insurance carrier.

Brom added that a Chapter 11 reorganization is the best way to compensate all the victims fairly and equitably... Within the resources of the Diocese. He said the Diocese will present to the court a statement of assets and a plan for compensating victims.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:16 PM

San Diego diocese to file bankruptcy protection on trial's eve

SAN DIEGO (CA)
Monterey Herald

ALLISON HOFFMAN
Associated Press
SAN DIEGO - The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego said Tuesday that it planned to file for bankruptcy protection to put off going to trial in more than 140 civil lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by priests.

In a letter posted on the diocese's Web site, Bishop Robert Brom wrote that the diocese had "decided against litigating our cases because of the length of time the process could take and, more importantly, because early trial judgments in favor of some victims could so deplete diocesan and insurance resources that there would be nothing left for other victims."

Attorney Micheal Webb said the diocese planned to file for bankruptcy protection by midnight Tuesday, just hours before the first trial was scheduled to go forward in a San Diego courtroom. A Chapter 11 filing automatically halts court proceedings.

San Diego would become the fifth U.S. diocese to file for bankruptcy protection.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:14 PM

Women accuse priest of sex abuse

ROCKVILLE CENTRE (NY)
Newsday

BY MICHAEL AMON
michael.amon@newsday.com

February 27, 2007, 8:44 PM EST

Two women have asked the Suffolk district attorney's office to investigate charges of sexual abuse against an embattled Diocese of Rockville Centre priest who was suspended last year during a church probe.

Terri Baumbach, of Center Moriches, and Mary Quigley, formerly of Sayville and now a Virginia resident, said they filed criminal complaints on Friday and Monday, respectively, against the Rev. William Logan, whom they accuse of inappropriate touching in the early 1970s.

The complaints were partly symbolic, the women said. The 5-year statute of limitations for sex crimes expired long ago.

"This is a protest," said Quigley, 49, who asked that her maiden name be used to protect her identity.

The district attorney's office declined to comment.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:13 PM

SD Diocese files for bankruptcy

SAN DIEGO (CA)
Union-Tribune

The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego announced today that it was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization after last-ditch negotiations to settle 150 lawsuits alleging sexual abuse failed.

In a statement Bishop Robert Brom said that the diocese tried to settle the cases by offering a settlement that "would have stretched our financial ability to the limit, but demands were made which exceeded the financial resources of both the diocese and our insurance carrier." He said filing Chaprter 11, where all claims are settled in one court rather than having many trials, was "the best way for us to compensate all the victims as fairly and equitably as our resources will allow."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:11 PM

Polish priest's book identifies clerics who helped, resisted secret police

POLAND
Catholic World News

Warsaw, Feb. 27, 2007 (CWNews.com) - A Polish priest’s book on clerical collaboration with the country’s Communist regime indicts two active members of the hierarchy, according to reports based on advance copies of the text.

The eagerly awaited 588-page book by Father Tadeusz Isakowicz-Zaleski, based on his combing of archives at the Institute for National Remembrance, names Bishops Kazimierz Gorny of Rzeszow and Wiktor Skworc of Tarnow as collaborators.

Father Zaleski also charges that Archbishop Juliusz Paetz-- who was forced to resign in 2002 after accusations of sexual misconduct-- worked with the secret police while he was stationed at the Vatican, in a minor post within the pontifical household. The collaboration evidently ended when Archbishop Paetz returned to Poland, the author says.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:59 PM

Much awaited Isakowicz book released

POLAND
Poland.pl

2007-02-26, 15:27
Eight Polish bishops named in documents proving that they collaborated with communist-era security services feature in a book to be published this week by priest and historian Tadeusz Isakowicz Zaleski.

The book, based on research taken from security police files, describes the histories of 130 Catholic priests, both those who became collaborators and those who did not.

Among others, the author lists Poznań Archbishop Juliusz Paetz, who in the 1970s was involved with agents in the Vatican. Some time ago Archbishop Paetz was also at the centre of a sexual molesting scandal.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:56 PM

Alleged sex assault victim records himself admitting lies

COLORADO
KOAA

Shocking developments concerning a man who claimed he was sexually assaulted by a catholic priest. Tom Monroe, 53, organized a news conference more than a year ago to announce with his attorney a lawsuit against the Pueblo Catholic Diocese. Monroe claimed he was sexually assaulted by Marianist Brother William Mueller while attending the former Roncalli Catholic High School. But Monroe's attorney has now announced that Monroe's been dropped from the lawsuit.

News First obtained several hours of home video that Monroe made, and on one tape he appears to be talking on the phone and admits he's not a victim of Mueller. "I feel worse being called a victim because I know I'm really not," said Monroe, "I know real victims who (are) not gonna get no help. But I guess what it is is, I'm being called a victim and I might get a million bucks. And these are real victims are getting nothing except more shame. And that's probably why I feel so bad about it."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:52 PM

Las Vegas Priest Will Stand Trial in Attempted Murder Case

LAS VEGAS (NV)
KLAS

A Catholic priest accused of attempted murder was ordered to stand trial after a church soloist testified Tuesday that he'd beaten her with a wine bottle, dragged her by the hair and sexually assaulted her in a parish office.

"I so trusted this person," the woman said at the preliminary hearing in a Las Vegas courtroom. "He's not a priest, he's a predator."

The woman says Rev. George Chaanine attacked her Jan. 26 at Our Lady of Las Vegas Catholic Church, where he served as an administrator and priest and she worked as a cantor.

Chaanine has not entered a plea on the charges, which include attempted murder, sexual assault, kidnapping and battery. He faces a sentence of life in prison if convicted.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:32 PM

Officials apologize for man on school panel

CALIFORNIA
The Orange County Register

By GWENDOLYN DRISCOLL
The Orange County Register
Officials at St. Mary and All Angels School in Aliso Viejo apologized to parents and pupils on Monday for any "concern" raised by the presence on a school panel of a man named in a $1.4 million child sexual-abuse settlement.

The man is John Merino, a former vice principal of Mater Dei High School. Merino served as one of four judges for St. Mary's "Legacy Awards," a ceremony that recognizes an exceptional student leader.

Parents whose children were interviewed for the award as well as the three other judges on the panel were sent a letter expressing "sincere apologies," according to Michelle Jordan, a New York-based crisis communications expert hired by the school.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:30 PM

Jesuits sued over alleged sex abuse by priests in Portland area

PORTLAND (OR)
KATU

By KATU Web Staff

Related Content
Read a copy of the lawsuit
Video

PORTLAND, Ore. - Despite knowing that a priest had a history of "deviant sexual interest in young girls," Jesuit officials allowed him to transfer to Portland in the 1960s, and he went on to molest a young girl, a lawsuit filed Tuesday claims.

The suit, filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court against the Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus, is asking for more than $5 million in damages. It claims the Jesuits are negligent for allowing the priest to be around young girls and are responsible for his conduct as well as the conduct of another priest accused of molesting the plaintiff.

Lawyers for the alleged victim announced the suit at a press conference Tuesday morning.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:47 PM

Judge Asks Catholic Diocese To Wait On Filing Bankruptcy

LOS ANGELES (CA)
10 News

LOS ANGELES -- A judge attempting to fashion a settlement between the San Diego Roman Catholic Diocese and plaintiffs who have alleged sexual abuse by priests asked the diocese not to file for bankruptcy before a session set for Friday, 10News reported.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Anthony Mohr made the request Monday after a negotiating session between lawyers for the diocese and the plaintiffs, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Bishop Robert Brom has said the diocese might file for Chapter 11 reorganization in the face of lawsuits by 150 people.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:53 PM

Two Jesuit priests named in $5 million sex-abuse suit

OREGON
OregonLive

Posted by Ashbel S. Green February 27, 2007 12:15PM

A $5 million lawsuit filed today in Multnomah County claims that two Catholic priests repeatedly molested a Beaverton girl in the mid-1960s.

The suit against the Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus, also known as the Jesuits, names the Rev. James E. Poole and the Rev. Frank Duffy.

The plaintiff, who is not named in the suit, said the priests abused her during visits to her family home.

The plaintiff, who was born in 1958, attended St. Mary of the Valley School and St. Cecilia Church at the time.

The suit claims that Jesuit officials moved Poole to Oregon without restrictions even though they knew that he had had numerous inappropriate sexual contacts with girls in an Alaskan boarding school.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:51 PM

Missionary Charged With Sex Abuse

HOLLADAY (UT)
KUTV

HOLLADAY A Mormon missionary accused in the sexual abuse of a young boy now faces charges.

On Monday, the 20-year-old man was charged with first-degree aggravated sexual abuse of a child.

Court documents say the alleged incident happened shortly after the man baptized a 12-year-old boy into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:36 PM

Minister sentenced to 14 years in rape

COLOMBIA (MO)
Columbia Tribune

By JOE MEYER of the Tribune’s staff
Published on columbiatribune.com Tuesday, February 27, 2007

A former Columbia minister was sentenced to serve 14 years in prison for sexually abusing a 15-year-old girl who attended his church services in Columbia.

Roberto Edgar Lopez, 37, of Monett pleaded guilty to second-degree statutory sodomy and second-degree statutory rape. Boone County Circuit Judge Gene Hamilton sentenced him to consecutive 7-year sentences.

“I’m going to pay for what I did,” Lopez told Hamilton during a brief testimony.

Lopez, whose jury trial was set for this morning, said he accepted the prosecutor’s plea bargain to avoid additional charges in the case.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:33 PM

Anglicans fire conservative Clay priest

ORANGE PARK (FL)
The Times-Union

By JEFF BRUMLEY, The Times-Union

An Orange Park priest and leading voice in the theologically conservative Anglican movement in America has been stripped of his clerical credentials after having "an inappropriate relationship" with an adult female church member, the parish's top lay leader said Monday.

The Rev. Samuel C. Pascoe was removed Feb. 10 from his position as senior rector at Grace Church (Anglican) and lost his ministerial license as a result of the relationship, said David Nelson, senior warden of the former Episcopal congregation.

Pascoe, who is married with three sons, said he couldn't comment on the situation and referred all questions to Nelson.

Pascoe, 56, for several years has been an outspoken critic of the Episcopal Church USA for what he and others see as the denomination's increasingly progressive interpretation of Scripture and its growing acceptance of homosexuality.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:19 AM

Letter by the vestry about removal of the Rev. Samuel C. Pascoe

FLORIDA
The Times-Union

The text of a letter the vestry of Grace Church (Anglican) wrote to parishioners about the removal of their priest, the Rev. Samuel C. Pascoe.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Dear Grace Church Family,

There are few challenges in ministry as difficult as being called upon to give painful and sad news. Such is our responsibility today as we inform you that the Rev'd Dr. Samuel C. Pascoe has engaged in an inappropriate relationship with an adult female parishioner. As a result, the Rt. Rev. Thomas Johnston, Bishop in the Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMiAs), has changed Sam's clerical status within the Anglican Mission to "inactive," revoked his license to function as a priest, and removed him as senior pastor of Grace Church (Anglican). Bishop Johnston, acting in his position as our spiritual authority, has followed Anglican Mission policy for such pastoral situations, and the vestry of Grace Church fully supports his decisions. We believe these actions are consistent with a Scriptural and pastoral model for faithful, responsible ministry and accountability within the church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:16 AM

priest plea is possible

LOUISA (VA)
The Free Lance-Star

Date published: 2/27/2007

BY BILL FREEHLING

A Catholic priest accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from two churches in Louisa County might plead guilty March 12, his attorney said yesterday.

Rodney Lee Rodis, 50, was in Louisa Circuit Court briefly yesterday to tell Judge Timothy K. Sanner he had hired Louisa attorney Jack Maus to represent him on the embezzlement charge. The judge set Rodis' arraignment for 2 p.m. March 12.

Maus spoke with reporters outside court after the hearing. He's been reviewing the evidence and said that Rodis "may be in a position to enter a plea on March 12."

Maus also addressed questions about a woman and children who had been living in Spotsylvania County with Rodis, a pastor at St. Jude and Immaculate Conception Catholic churches for 13 years before retiring for health reasons in May.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:04 AM

Priest Removed Amid Claims Of Relationship With Parishioner

ORANGE PARK (FL)
News4Jax

ORANGE PARK, Fla. -- A priest has been stripped of his clerical credentials for having an inappropriate relationship with an adult woman church member, parish officials said Monday.

The Rev. Samuel C. Pascoe, a senior rector of Grace Church, was stripped of his ministerial license by his Anglican bishop and removed from his position as a result of the relationship, said the congregation's senior warden David Nelson.

Pascoe declined to comment to The Associated Press when reached by telephone at his home. A telephone message left at the church was not immediately returned.

Parish officials do not know the identity of the female parishioner or when the relationship took place, Nelson told Jacksonville's The Florida Times-Union for Tuesday's edition. Other details, including the extent of the relationship, were not given.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:58 AM

Orlando Diocese Investigating Child Sex Abuse Allegations

ORLANDO (FL)
News 13

The Diocese of Orlando is now investigating new allegations of child sex abuse, dating back decades.

They all surround Thomas Sykes. The diocese says its received credible allegations of abuse against him.

Now, they want anyone who may have been a victim to come forward.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:44 AM

Catholic diocese could file bankruptcy today

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Union-Tribune

By Mark Sauer
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
February 27, 2007

LOS ANGELES – The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego could file for bankruptcy protection as early as today, despite the urging of a judge that both sides in the clergy-abuse lawsuits continue working toward a settlement.

Nearly six hours of negotiations yesterday failed to produce a deal to settle about 150 lawsuits brought by adults alleging they were molested by priests in incidents dating to the 1950s.

Optimism was in short supply as the clock ticked toward tomorrow's scheduled start of the first trial from the lawsuits, most of which were filed in 2003.

“The judge seems to feel the gap is not that wide and can be narrowed or eliminated,” said Del Mar attorney Irwin Zalkin, who represents about 30 percent of the San Diego plaintiffs.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:38 AM

Ex-Steuben pastor pleads guilty to sex abuse charges

BATH (NY)
Star-Gazette

By Larry Wilson
lwilson@stargazette.com
Star-Gazette Corning Bureau

BATH -- A former Steuben County pastor faces up to 32 years in prison following his guilty plea Monday to felony sexual abuse charges.

David J. Troup, 39, of Frog Hollow Road, Painted Post, pleaded guilty Monday to all charges in a Jan. 18 indictment. The most serious charge, first-degree course of conduct against a child, carries a maximum sentence of five to 25 years in state prison.

Troup, former pastor of the Borden Baptist Church in the town of Woodhull, will be sentenced at 9:30 a.m. May 21 by Judge Marianne Furfure.

State Police arrested Troup in October following a report from the New York Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment. They identified the victims as two boys younger than 11 years old and said the incident occurred in the town of Woodhull in July 2005.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:35 AM

Judge asks diocese to hold off on bankruptcy

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Los Angeles Times

From Times Staff and Wire Reports
February 27, 2007

A judge attempting to fashion a settlement between the San Diego Roman Catholic Diocese and plaintiffs who have alleged sexual abuse by priests asked Monday that the diocese not file for bankruptcy before a session set for Friday.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Anthony Mohr made the request after a negotiating session between lawyers for the diocese and the plaintiffs. Bishop Robert Brom has said the diocese might file for Chapter 11 reorganization in the face of lawsuits by 150 people.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:28 AM

Ex-priest accused of sex abuse, diocese says

ORLANDO (FL)
Orlando Sentinel

Mark I. Pinsky | Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted February 27, 2007

The Catholic Diocese of Orlando announced Monday that it has received a credible allegation of child sex abuse by a former priest who served at two Central Florida parishes and a Catholic high school in the early 1970s.

At the time, the Rev. Thomas Sykes was a member of the Atonement Friars, a New York-based order. The Vatican eventually defrocked Sykes, according to diocesan officials, who say he has died, though they could not provide further dates or details.

Sykes served at St. Teresa in Titusville and at St. John Vianney and Bishop Moore High School in Orlando. The diocese has asked that anyone aware of other incidents involving Sykes or any other priest to call Sister Lucy Vazquez at 407-246-4825.

"That these allegations of abuse occurred more than 30 years ago does not lessen the gravity of this betrayal of trust and the harm caused to victims and their families," Bishop Thomas Wenski said in a statement.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:26 AM

February 26, 2007

Former Methodist leader convicted

NORTHERN IRELAND
One in Four

The Irish Times

The Methodist Church in Ireland has said it was "greatly saddened to learn" of the conviction of a former president of the church, Kenneth Best, of sex abuse. In a statement it also said it "deeply regrets any suffering caused by his actions".

At Belfast Crown Court last Friday, Best received an 18-month prison sentence for each of six charges, to run concurrently, and suspended for two years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:46 PM

Dallas Greek Orthodox Priest Suspended

DALLAS (TX)
Greek News

Dallas, TX.- Ending months of rumors, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese informed the Parish of Holy Trinity in North Dallas that its long time priest, who led the Greek Orthodox community of the area for 28 years, Rev. Nicholas Katinas, was suspended over allegations of child sexual abuse. He retired on July 1, citing illness and fatigue. Father Katinas is a married father and grandfather. One of his sons is a priest.

The devastating confirmation occurred Wednesday night, when Rev. Michael Kontogiorgis, assistant chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, informed a hushed crowd of about 400 parishioners that accusations of child sexual abuse were the cause of the suspension.

"There is no doubt that Father Nicholas engaged in serious moral transgressions," Father Kontogiorgis told the parishioners.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:37 PM

Embezzlement Hearing for Catholic Priest

LOUISA (VA)
WRIC

FROM 8NEWS

There are new developments in the case of Father Rodney Rodis, a Louisa priest accused of stealing up to a million dollars from his parishioners. For the first time, his lawyer addressed allegations that the Catholic priest had a wife and children.

Court documents obtained by 8NEWS show the Catholic priest, Rodney Rodis, lives in Spotsylvania County, with a wife named Joyce Rodis, and three children. After a brief court hearing Monday, when 8NEWS confronted Rodis' attorney Jack Maus, about the alleged family, this was his response:

"I can tell you very certainly that Father Rodney is not married, although, as we know in the Commonwealth today, marriage relationships are taking on different meanings than they were when we were growing up, but he definitely is not married," says Rodis' attorney Jack Maus.

8NEWS: "You're saying he's not legally married?

Attorney Maus: "I'm saying he's not married."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:29 PM

Book IDs Polish Priests As Informants

(02-26) 12:47 PST WARSAW, Poland (AP) --

A book released Monday has dredged up more painful allegations from Poland's Communist era, naming some 30 Roman Catholic priests, including several bishops, as registered informants with the secret police. ...

According to the author, the secret police registered Archbishop Juliusz Paetz of Poznan as an informant under the code name "Fero" in March 1978 when he worked at the Vatican.

The authorities broke off contact with Paetz after he returned to Poland in 1983 to become the bishop of Lomza, he adds. Paetz resigned as archbishop of Poznan in 2002 after being accused of making sexual advances to young clerics.

Late Monday, Paetz denied the allegations.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:08 PM

Lawyer: Rodis not married

LOUISA (VA)
Richmond Times-Dispatch

By CALVIN R. TICE
Times-Dispatch Staff Writer Feb 26, 2007

LOUISA -- The Catholic priest accused of embezzling money from two parishes is not legally married to the woman he lived with in Spotsylvania County, his lawyer said today.

Attorney John R. Maus, who made a brief appearance with the Rev. Rodney L. Rodis today in Louisa County Circuit Court, later declined to say whether Rodis is the father of the three children who lived with the couple.

The woman and children moved out of the home last week, Maus confirmed today after the hearing.

Police say Rodis, 50, may have taken as much as $1 million in donations made to St. Jude and Immaculate Conception Catholic churches in Louisa and used the money for other purposes. He led the churches for 14 years before retiring in May.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:30 PM

Arraignment date set for priest accused of embezzlement

LOUISA (VA)
WDBJ

LOUISA, Va. A Catholic priest accused of embezzling money from two Louisa County parishes will be arraigned in two weeks.

At a hearing today in Louisa, a judge set the arraignment date for March 12th for 50-year-old Rodney Rodis to enter a plea in the embezzlement case.

His attorney, John Maus, said today that Rodis is not legally married to the woman he lived with in Spotsylvania County.

Maus later declined to say whether Rodis is the father of the three children who lived with the couple. He said the woman and children moved out of the home last week.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:28 PM

Another Baptist minister arrested, charged with child sex exploitation

CAMDEN (SC)
Associated Baptist Press

By Greg Warner
Published February 26, 2007

CAMDEN, S.C. (ABP) -- Another Southern Baptist minister has been arrested on child sex-abuse charges, this time for sending pornographic photos of himself to what he thought was a 14-year-old girl.

Kevin Ogle, 42, pastor of Northgate Colonial Baptist Church in Camden, S.C., had an on-line relationship for three months with an undercover police officer in the Internet predator unit of the Loganville (Ga.) Police Department, a small town 200 miles west, police say.

“We knew he was a pastor and that he was from South Carolina, but he was very smart about being elusive and we had difficulty tracking him down,” Sgt. Mike Westbrooks of the Logansville Police Department, told the Loganville Tribune. “We eventually solicited the help of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division through the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, and that’s how we identified him.”

Ogle was arrested Feb. 20 and charged with 11 counts of sexual exploitation of a child. Police cited 13 on-line sexually explicit encounters between Ogle and the undercover officer. Police said he has chosen not to fight extradition to Georgia.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:20 PM

Troup pleads guilty to sexual abuse

BATH (NY)
Star-Gazette

Larry Wilson/STAR-GAZETTE

BATH — A former Steuben County pastor faces up to 25 years in prison following his guilty plea Monday to felony sexual abuse charges.

David J. Troup, 39, of Frog Hollow Road, Painted Post, pleaded guilty Monday to all charges in a Jan. 18 indictment. The most serious charge, first degree course of conduct against a child, carries a maximum sentence of 5 to 25 years in state prison.

Troup, former pastor of the Borden Baptist Church in the town of Woodhull, will be sentenced at 9:30 a.m. May 21 by Judge Marianne Furfure.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:18 PM

Lawyer: Priest may plead guilty

VIRGINIA
The Free Lance-Star

Date published: 2/26/2007
BY BILL FREEHLING

A Catholic priest charged with embezzling thousands of dollars from two small Louisa County churches may plead guilty next month, his lawyer said today.

Louisa attorney Jack Maus said today that the Rev. Rodney Lee Rodis may enter such a plea at his arraignment on March 12 in Louisa County Circuit Court.

At a brief hearing today, Maus told Judge Timothy Sanner that he had been retained by Rodis to represent him on the charges that he embezzled funds from St. Jude and Immaculate Conception Catholic churches.

Maus made his remarks about a plea outside the courtroom after the hearing.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:28 PM

Pervert priest could be jailed

UNITED KINGDOM
Evening Post

Former Caversham priest Tony Jones who downloaded child pornography while serving in the parish has been told he may face jail

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:20 PM

Catholic faithful asked to pray for sanctity of priests

PHILIPPINES
The News Today

By Maricar M. Calubiran

The integrity of the Catholic church has been put to test with the recent controversy pertaining to the alleged rape case involving one of its priests.

As a result, in every mass the Catholic faithful are requested to pray for the sanctity of priests.

Priests under the archdiocese are saddened by the controversy.

Rev. Fr. Philipp Niel Antenor-Cruz admitted that the controversy has affected the church which is why it is being taken “very seriously.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:53 AM

‘Secret’ Tribunal to decide on fate of priest in double-rape charge

PHILIPPINES
The News Today

By Florence F. Hibionada

Fellow priests of Fr. Martin Alarcon alongside a group of other lay ministers will decide whether he deserves another chance and continue to be part of the Clergy or cease to be one.

Named sole respondent in two counts of rape pending before the Iloilo Provincial Prosecutors’ Office, Alarcon has been ‘stripped’ of Pastoral assignments amidst the controversy generated by the sex charges. He may, however, say mass albeit on a “private capacity” while told not to report for Church duties.

This, as Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo disclosed the creation and ongoing investigation done by the Archdiocesan Tribunal, identities of the members withheld for propriety reasons. The Tribunal’s probe results will serve as basis for Archbishop Lagdameo to ultimately rule on Fr. Alarcon’s fate saying “I am waiting for its conclusion in order that I, as shepherd, may act in the best interest of truth and justice.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:51 AM

Lawyer: LA can't try cardinal

MEXICO
The Dallas Morning News

From Wire Reports Associated Press

MEXICO CITY – A Los Angeles court has no legal right to try Mexico's most prominent cardinal for complicity in the alleged rape of a child by a Mexican priest, the cardinal's lawyer said Sunday.

Bernardo Fernandez, who represents Cardinal Norberto Rivera, said only a Mexican court has the authority to rule on the lawsuit.

In a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court in September, Joaquin Aguilar Mendez alleges he was raped by priest Nicolas Aguilar in Mexico City in 1994 when he was 12 years old.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:49 AM

Sex Abuse Victims Oppose Church Bankruptcy Claim

SAN DIEGO (CA)
KFMB

Last Updated:
02-25-07 at 5:06PM

SAN DIEGO -- Members of a group critical of the way the Roman Catholic Church is handling sex abuse claims will pass out fliers in front of the San Diego diocese's cathedral, a representative said.

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests will be found outside of St. Joseph's Cathedral, 1535 3rd Ave, according to SNAP officials.

Between three and five sex abuse victims will pass out the fliers urging Bishop Robert Brom to let one child molestation trial set for Wednesday go forward before considering bankruptcy, said Mary Grant, western regional director of SNAP.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:33 AM

Accuser has said he's not a victim

COLORADO
Denver Post

By Kirk Mitchell
Denver Post Staff Writer
Article Last Updated: 02/26/2007 12:09:39 AM MST

A man who sued the Catholic Diocese of Pueblo claiming he was molested at a Catholic school as a teenager has been recorded saying he was not a victim.

"I feel worse being called a victim because I know I'm really not, and I know real victims who are not getting help," Thomas Roy Monroe, 53, of Pueblo said in a phone conversation recorded Sept. 22, 2005, the day his suit was filed.

"I may get a million bucks," he chuckled in the DVD recording, "and these real victims are getting nothing but more shame. That's probably why I feel so bad about it."

In an interview Tuesday, when Monroe was asked whether he made up the story about being molested, he said he was telling the truth. A former licensed counselor who often treated sex-assault victims, Monroe said that, like many sex-assault victims, he was in denial when he spoke during his recorded phone conversations.

"I stand by everything I said (in the lawsuit)," Monroe said. "Denial is a tactic of all kinds of victims. Any money I get (through the suit), I'll donate to charities."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:30 AM

Priest-abuse activists give leaflets at cathedral

SAN DIEGO (CA)
Union-Tribune

February 26, 2007

Activists who say they were sexually abused by Roman Catholic priests passed out leaflets yesterday to parishioners at St. Joseph's Cathedral.

Advertisement The protesters were from Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests. The group frequently hands out leaflets at churches across Southern California to draw attention to the clergy sexual abuse scandal.

The leaflet criticized San Diego Bishop Robert Brom's announcement last week that the diocese might have to file for bankruptcy protection if it can't reach a settlement in about 145 lawsuits alleging abuse by priests and church personnel. The first of those suits is scheduled to go to trial Wednesday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:28 AM

S.B. Diocese may pay for San Diego priests' sins

CALIFORNIA
Daily Bulletin

By Stacia Glenn, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 02/26/2007 12:00:00 AM PST

Emotional and financial shock waves likely will rip through the Inland Empire if the Diocese of San Diego declares bankruptcy.

Some people close to the situation believe it will place bigger financial burdens on local Catholics and prolong suffering for victims of sexual abuse by priests.

The Diocese of San Bernardino, which encompasses San Bernardino and Riverside counties, was part of the San Diego Diocese until 1978.

A diverse group, including former priests, both adult and child victims of sexual abuse, and lawyers close to the situation, say that the San Diego Diocese used the San Bernardino Diocese as a dumping ground for predator priests.

Several of the 143 cases of sexual abuse filed against the San Diego Diocese include priests who served in both areas.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:23 AM

February 25, 2007

Sex Abuse Victims Oppose Church Bankruptcy Claim

SAN DIEGO (CA)
KFMB

SAN DIEGO -- Members of a group critical of the way the Roman Catholic Church is handling sex abuse claims will pass out fliers in front of the San Diego diocese's cathedral, a representative said.

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests will be found outside of St. Joseph's Cathedral, 1535 3rd Ave, according to SNAP officials.

Between three and five sex abuse victims will pass out the fliers urging Bishop Robert Brom to let one child molestation trial set for Wednesday go forward before considering bankruptcy, said Mary Grant, western regional director of SNAP.

The diocese announced last week that it was considering filing for bankruptcy protection rather than paying up to $200 million in claims stemming from lawsuits alleging sex abuse by priests.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:15 PM

Bishops Contradict Each Other in Priest Sex Abuse Scandal

MEXICO
IPS

Diego Cevallos

MEXICO CITY, Feb 23 (IPS) - The Catholic Church's call for its bishops to be "teachers of the truth" seems to be wobbling in the case of cardinals Norberto Rivera of Mexico and Roger Mahony, archbishop of Los Angeles, California.

Defending themselves from legal charges that they covered up for a priest accused of molesting boys, the two bishops have provided contradictory versions.

"One of them is lying, or at least isn't telling everything he knows," Bernardo Barranco, a columnist with several media outlets in Mexico and a sociologist of religion, told IPS. "This is an interecclesiatic dispute, which is unusual," he added.

The mutually contradictory statements by cardinals Rivera and Mahony refer to the transfer to the United States of a priest, Nicolás Aguilar, a fugitive from justice who is charged with sexually abusing dozens of boys in the United States and Mexico in the 1980s and 1990s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:13 PM

Mexican cardinal: LA court has no legal right to try him

MEXICO
Mercury News

IOAN GRILLO
Associated Press
MEXICO CITY - A court in Los Angeles has no legal right to try Mexico's most prominent cardinal in connection with alleged child molesting and rape by a Mexican priest, the cardinal's lawyer said Sunday.

Bernardo Fernandez, who represents Cardinal Norberto Rivera, said only a Mexican court has the authority to rule on the lawsuit.

"The plaintiff is Mexican, complaining about alleged acts that happened in Mexico City in 1994, and the suit is against Mexicans," Fernandez told reporters after Rivera gave Sunday mass in the capital's metropolitan cathedral. "Mexican tribunals should oversee this case."

Rivera refused to talk to the media.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:11 PM

Priest admits porn charges

UNITED KINGDOM
ic Coventry

Feb 25 2007

by Marc Meneaud

A LEADING Catholic priest in Leamington has admitted down-loading child pornography.

Father Anthony Jones, who was parish priest at St Peter the Apostle Church, in Dormer Place, faced 17 charges of making indecent images of children.

He pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court.

He was alleged to have downloaded the images between January 2000 and November 2005 while he was based in Caversham, near Reading then Leamington.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:06 PM

Disgraced ex-pastor's photo keeps being stolen

BURTON (MI)
The Flint Journall

Sunday, February 25, 2007
By George Jaksa
gjaksa@flintjournal.com • 810.766.6332
BURTON - One of the Ten Commandments states "Thou shalt not steal," yet someone keeps removing a picture of a dishonored former pastor of Holy Redeemer Catholic Church from the wall outside the church office.

And every time the picture of the former Rev. Vincent DeLorenzo goes missing, the current parish administrator has another copy put in its place.

"I haven't a clue who is doing it," said the Rev. Paul Cummings. "Maybe they figure they are doing their thing for God."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:04 PM

Priest facing sex charges

CANADA
CKNW

Feb, 24 2007 - 3:40 AM

VANCOUVER/CKNW(AM980) - Vancouver Archbishop Raymound Roussin has released a statement in response to word of sex charges involving teenage boys laid against a downtown parish priest.

Roussin has revealed he first heard about the allegations against Father Edwin Budiman in June of 2005.

He says Budiman's interaction with minors was immediately restricted and a report was made to the Ministry of Children and Families.

But Roussin says the family involved didn't want to press charges.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:11 AM

Churches sharpen up sex abuse safeguards

ASHEVILLE (NC)
Citizen-Times

by Leslie Boyd, LBOYD@CITIZEN-TIMES.COM
published February 25, 2007 12:15 am

ASHEVILLE — Parents who drop off their children in the nursery at First Baptist Church of Asheville are given a numbered pager, which they must present before their child is released to them.

Across the street at First Congregational United Church of Christ, middle school and high school classes were combined one recent Sunday morning when one class had only one adult present.

In light of recent multimillion-dollar settlements for sex abuse that occurred decades ago, churches across the country are setting policies to keep children safe from predators, who might come from the ranks of clergy or volunteers. The policies include background checks of people who work with children, special training, a requirement that at least two adults be present during any activity involving children, and an open-door policy if an adult must be alone with a child.

“You want to think that someone who comes into your church and volunteers to work with children is OK, but, sadly, you can’t count on that,” said the Rev. Joe Hoffman, pastor of First Congregational.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:16 AM

Too early for parishes to tell what bankruptcy filing might mean

SAN DIEGO (CA)
North County Times

By: GARY WARTH - Staff Writer

While San Diego-area Catholics were surprised to hear last weekend that their diocese was considering filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, officials say it's still too early to tell how such proceedings might affect their parishes.

Bishop Robert Brom last week wrote in a statement to parishes that while the Diocese of San Diego is continuing to seek just settlements with plaintiffs in sexual-abuse cases, "good stewardship demands that the settlements not cripple the ability of the Church to accomplish its mission and ministries."

Protecting that mission may force the diocese to file a Chapter 11 reorganization in bankruptcy court, Brom wrote.

San Diego would be the fifth diocese in the nation to file for bankruptcy protection because of lawsuits seeking damages from sexual abuse. So far, the diocese has reached settlements with 43 people, but 143 lawsuits are still unresolved.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:13 AM

SNAP Members To Pass Out Fliers Sunday

SAN DIEGO (CA)
10 News

SAN DIEGO -- Members of a group critical of the way the Roman Catholic Church is handling sex abuse claims will pass out fliers Sunday in front of the San Diego diocese's cathedral, a representative said Saturday.

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests will be found outside of St. Joseph's Cathedral, 1535 3rd Ave, according to SNAP officials.

Between three and five sex abuse victims will pass out the fliers urging Bishop Robert Brom to let one child molestation trial set for Wednesday go forward before considering bankruptcy, said Mary Grant, western regional director of SNAP.

"We're urging parishioners for their help," Grant said. "One hundred fifty-five victims have been waiting for their day in court. If the diocese didn't cover up abuse, then why not let the trial go forward?"

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:11 AM

Negotiations in priest sex-abuse cases to resume this week

CALIFORNIA
North County Times

By: TERI FIGUEROA - Staff Writer

NORTH COUNTY ---- Lawyers representing the Catholic Diocese of San Diego and those representing alleged sex-abuse victims will huddle in a Los Angeles courthouse this week at a judge's order to try to settle dozens of lawsuits.

The alleged victims of abuse by clergy and other church workers are not suing the priests themselves, some of whom are dead, but rather are suing the diocese, claiming that it allowed the abuse to happen.

Some of the claims involve North County persons or allegedly took place in North County. A few of the suits involve abuse by a former priest, Edward Anthony Rodrigue ---- a man twice convicted of child molestation. He served as a priest in Encinitas 40 years ago.

Last month, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Haley Fromholz ruled that Rodrigue's victims can seek punitive damages from the Diocese of San Diego.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:08 AM

Tucson diocese's filing seen as model

SAN DIEGO (CA)
Union-Tribune

By Sandi Dolbee
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
February 25, 2007

SAN DIEGO – The Catholic Diocese of Tucson was in trouble. It had already paid out $14 million to settle lawsuits involving sexually abusive priests. Then came another wave that could cost millions more in damages.

“The diocese's resources were so depleted that had we tried to make another settlement, there probably would have been nothing left” for other victims, said Tucson Bishop Gerald Kicanas.

So three years ago, the Tucson diocese became the second of four in the nation to seek Chapter 11 reorganization in bankruptcy court, and last weekend the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego indicated it might become the fifth.

Last weekend, San Diego Roman Catholic Bishop Robert Brom told parishioners in a letter that if acceptable settlements can't be released in the roughly 150 pending lawsuits, the diocese might be forced to seek Chapter 11 reorganization in bankruptcy court.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:02 AM

February 24, 2007

“This Is What God Told Me to Do to You”

FORT WORTH (TX)
Dallas Observer

Eight women have now come forward alleging that Pastor Sherman Allen of Fort Worth beat them with a wooden paddle and, in several cases, sexually abused them, according to Stan Broome, one of the lawyers involved in a suit against Allen, his church and the Pentecostal denomination to which Allen belongs.

Davina Kelly, a 33-year-old married mother of three and a former member and employee of Allen’s Shiloh Institutional Church of God in Christ, filed suit against Allen on January 30, alleging that the prominent pastor and speaker paddled her numerous times over a four-year span for supposed transgressions such as failing to read assigned Scriptures. Kelly began seeing Allen in 2001 for counseling about her spiritual life, she says. At their very first meeting, Allen asked her to read Bible verses in Proverbs about physically disciplining a child. At a second meeting a week later, Allen ordered her to bend over and grasp her ankles, and he paddled her on the rear end for failing to complete a Bible-reading assignment he’d given her. Later, Kelly says, the paddlings and counseling sessions became sexual in nature. Kelly claimed in her suit and in an extensive interview with Unfair Park that in 2005 Allen raped her at his $1.6 million parsonage in Mansfield. One of Kelly’s responsibilities as a church employee was to clean Allen’s home.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:31 PM

Academy Awards' Turlock connection

TURLOCK (CA)
Turlock Journal

EDITOR'S NOTE: Diana Sai Farias is a former Turlock resident who attended Sacred Heart. She is now a fine arts reviewer, mother of four and is part of the St. Agnes Parish in Concord.

Amy Berg's documentary “Deliver Us from Evil” is a horrifying account of the life-long psychological and spiritual scars endured by sexual abuse victims of a former Roman Catholic priest, Oliver O'Grady.

It focuses in on the devastating betrayal and humiliation experienced by their parents and exposes the Roman Catholic Church authorities who apparently did nothing but cover it up.

How would you feel if you found out that on a day you sent your son to help trim the rectory bushes, he was sodomized by a trusted priest? Š that while your pre-teen daughter went to a priest for counseling, he molested her in his car? Š that a priest seduced your wife to gradually gain access to your children so he could use them as his sexual pawns?

This film brings us face to face with victims and their parents, revealing how they really felt about these tragedies.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:55 AM

Mexican Bishops assail sex offender law

MEXICO
Indian Catholic

MEXICO CITY (Zenit.org) -- Mexico's bishops have taken the country's Senate to task over a legislative measure that gives civil law the authority to suspend priests accused of child molestation.

In a press statement issued Wednesday, the country's episcopal conference said the reform had "errors and holes," and that it conflicts with the Law of Religious Associations and Public Worship, which governs the Churches in the country.

The law of religious associations prohibits the intervention of authorities in the internal affairs of the Church, such as appointing or disqualifying ministers of worship, stated the communiqué.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:34 AM

Church probes rape case vs. priest

PHILIPPINES
Daily Star

BY NESTOR BURGOS JR.
ILOILO CITY - The Archdiocese of Jaro has started its investigation of the case filed against one of its priests vowing to ferret out the truth.

Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo said the Church was saddened by the rape complaint and he has directed the Archdiocesan Tribunal to hear the allegations of the 25-year-old woman against Fr. Martin Alarcon.

"I am confident that the tribunal will investigate the matter according to the rules of Canon Law and our Pastoral Guidelines on Sexual Abuses and Misconduct of the Clergy," Lagdameo said in a statement read at a press conference by his spokesperson Fr. Excel Jaen.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:31 AM

Archbishop responds after priest charged with sex offences

CANADA
The Globe and Mail

DEBORAH JONES
Special to The Globe and Mail

VANCOUVER -- A Roman Catholic priest charged with two sex offences involving young boys was first investigated by church authorities in 2005 and removed last September from all religious duties, the Archdiocese of Vancouver said yesterday.

Rev. Edwin Budiman, the former pastor of Guardian Angels Church in downtown Vancouver, was charged Wednesday with invitation to sexual touching and touching a young person for sexual purposes, the Vancouver Police Department said.

"Two young males, who were 14 years old at the time, were involved in the incidents between 2003 and 2007," a police press release said.

Father Budiman, who is also known as Tjeng Bei Yo, turned himself in, police spokesman Constable Howard Chow said, "after we advised him there was a warrant to be put out for his arrest."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:28 AM

Parish priest charged

CANADA
Vancouver Sun

Neal Hall and Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun
Published: Saturday, February 24, 2007
A 64-year-old Vancouver priest charged with two sex offences involving teen boys had been involved in providing spiritual support for gay men and women in Vancouver's West End for many years.

Rev. Edwin Budiman, also known as Tjeng Bei Yo, has been released on bail after he was charged with two criminal counts of invitation to sexual touching and sexual touching of a young person.

Police said Friday the alleged incidents involved two 14-year-old males and occurred between 2003 and 2007.

Investigators want to speak with anyone who may have been in contact with Budiman or may have information that could assist the criminal investigation to call police at 604-717-2634 or contact Crime Stoppers.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:24 AM

Priest facing sex charges

CANADA
CKNW

Feb, 24 2007 - 3:40 AM

VANCOUVER/CKNW(AM980) - Vancouver Archbishop Raymound Roussin has released a statement in response to word of sex charges involving teenage boys laid against a downtown parish priest.

Roussin has revealed he first heard about the allegations against Father Edwin Budiman in June of 2005.

He says Budiman's interaction with minors was immediately restricted and a report was made to the Ministry of Children and Families.

But Roussin says the family involved didn't want to press charges.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:19 AM

Ex-Cleric, Teacher Testifies To Abuse

TAMPA (FL)
The Tampa Tribune

By VALERIE KALFRIN The Tampa Tribune

Published: Feb 24, 2007

TAMPA - Jorge Acosta spent Friday night onstage singing and dancing in the "Cigar City Chronicles," a musical that has earned him accolades.

But two lawyers in a downtown conference room this month witnessed the most startling revelation of his life: Acosta admitted in a sworn deposition to sexual relations with at least three teenage boys in 1983 as a cleric and teacher at Mary Help of Christians School in Tampa.

Before taking the stage at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center on Friday evening, Acosta talked about the statements he made under oath. He said he would ask the show's producer to fire him that night because his past was about to become public.

A local prosecutor said law enforcement should review the statements for possible criminal charges.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:16 AM

Trustee says diocese bill high

SPOKANE (WA)
Spokesman Review

John Stucke
Staff writer
February 24, 2007

Bankruptcy lawyers have overbilled the Catholic Diocese of Spokane, sometimes having multiple attorneys review the same documents and attend the same meetings and court hearings, according to the U.S. Trustee's Office.

Though the trustee hasn't yet recommended how much money should be trimmed from the millions in unpaid legal fees that have been accruing since the diocese filed for bankruptcy protection in December 2004, the amount could be significant.

So far, the diocese has paid $2.36 million in attorney fees. About $6 million more had accrued through the end of December. An additional $260,000 has been paid to appraisers and other professionals.

The trustee's objections to attorney fees, which ranged from about $250 to $400 an hour, were filed this week and aimed at four firms, including the diocese's own lawyers at Paine, Hamblen, Coffin, Brooke & Miller.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:09 AM

Accused molester dismissed from priesthood

MASSACHUSETTS
Salem News

By Mike Stucka , Staff writer
Salem News

A priest accused of sexually abusing Marblehead altar boys was formally kicked out of the priesthood by the Vatican, the Boston Archdiocese said yesterday.

George J. Rosenkranz, 70, has been restricted from public ministry since 1989 because of multiple allegations of sexual abuse of minors, according to a statement released yesterday by the archdiocese. The Vatican's decision to dismiss Rosenkranz from "the clerical state" means he will be barred from receiving any financial support from the archdiocese and cannot function as a priest except to offer deathbed absolution.

A federal worker, Peter Pollard, raised allegations in 1988 against Rosenkranz, saying he was abused by Rosenkranz at Marblehead's Our Lady Star of the Sea Church, where Rosenkranz worked as an assistant pastor from February 1965 to June 1970. Rosenkranz went on to work elsewhere in the area, including the Cardinal Cushing Academy in West Newbury from March 1971 to March 1972, St. Mary Star of the Sea Church in Beverly from June 1984 to February 1985 and St. Joseph Church in Salem from February 1986 to December 1989, according to research by archdiocese spokeswoman Kelly Lynch.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:01 AM

Man in sex-abuse suit part of children's panel

CALIFORNIA
Orange County Register

By GWENDOLYN DRISCOLL
The Orange County Register
ALISO VIEJO – A Santa Ana man named in a student sexual-abuse lawsuit that resulted in a $1.4 million settlement by the Catholic Diocese of Orange is on a panel that selects children who exemplify "the foundation principles of leadership" for a local school's awards ceremony.

John Merino, a former vice principal at Mater Dei High School, is on a judging panel at St. Mary and All Angels school in Aliso Viejo that evaluated pupils for the school's annual Legacy Awards.

Two awards, including one for the son of an Aliso Viejo City Council member, will be presented March 3 at the non-denominational Christian school's annual fundraising gala at the Hyatt Regency in Irvine.

Merino and school officials said that judges interviewed pupils in an off-campus location and that no judge was left alone with pupils.

"I was part of a panel," said Merino, adding there was "none whatsoever" reason for parents to be concerned.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:58 AM

Abuse Victims Demand More Than a Check From the Church

UNITED STATES
Washington Post

By Alan Cooperman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, February 24, 2007; Page A01

In life, Neal and Jean Evans were very close to their parish priest. In death, less than 20 feet of gently sloping grass separated their graves from his in the Roman Catholic section of Forest Lawn cemetery, just outside of Asheville, N.C.

The Evanses never realized that the priest, William J. Kuder, had serially molested three of their sons beginning when each turned 9. But the sons certainly knew; they found the sight of his tombstone so painful that for years they avoided visiting the cemetery altogether.

On Feb. 6, as part of a legal settlement with the Evans brothers, the Catholic Diocese of Raleigh unearthed the priest's remains and moved them to another cemetery five miles away.

"It was like desecrating my parents to have him there," said Jim Evans, 61, a general contractor in Greensboro, N.C. "Because they never knew in life. But you know that in the hereafter, they knew."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:54 AM

Vatican dismisses Boston area priest

BOSTON (MA)
Times Argus

February 24, 2007

Associated Press

BOSTON — The Vatican has barred a former Boston archdiocese priest accused of sexual abuse from all benefits and activities associated with the priesthood with the exception of offering last rites to the dying.

George J. Rosenkranz, 70, has been restricted from public ministry since 1989 because of multiple allegations of sexual abuse of minors, according to a statement released Friday by the archdiocese. The Vatican's decision to dismiss Rosenkranz from "the clerical state" means he will be barred from receiving any financial support from the archdiocese and cannot function as a priest except to offer deathbed absolution.

Between 1962 and 1989, Rosenkranz was a priest at churches and schools in Canton, Marblehead, Chelsea, West Newbury, Saugus, Beverly, North Reading and Salem, according Kelly Lynch, a spokeswoman from a public relation firm engaged by the archdiocese.

During that time, Rosenkranz was arrested on lewd behavior charges at least twice — in a mall restroom in 1981 and in a highway parking lot in highway parking lot in 1989.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:51 AM

February 23, 2007

Woman Sues Trinity Baptist, Claims It Knew About Sex Abuse

JACKSONVILLE (FL)
News4Jax

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A Westside church whose longtime pastor faces sexual battery charges is no longer a bystander after one of the women claming to be a victim files a lawsuit claiming the institution was negligent.

The Rev. Robert Gray, pastor of Trinity Baptist Church for more nearly 40 years and founder of the church's Christian school, is awaiting trial on four counts of sexual battery of young children.

A woman who attended Trinity Christian Academy more than 20 years ago has filed the suit, claiming that church leaders knew of the sexual abuse, but covered it up.

The woman said she was 6-years-old in the first grade when Gray called her into his office and molested her.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:24 PM

Lawsuit claims church hid allegations of sexual abuse

JACKSONVILLE (FL)
The Times-Union

By JEFF BRUMLEY, The Times-Union

Trinity Baptist Church in Jacksonville covered up multiple allegations of sexual abuse against former pastor Robert Gray to avoid legal liability, according to a negligence lawsuit filed Wednesday.

The civil action, filed in Duval County Circuit Court, was brought by an unidentified Hamilton County woman in her mid-30s who said she was molested by Gray several times when she was about 6 years old and a first-grader at the church's Trinity Christian Academy.

A Trinity spokesman referred all questions about the lawsuit to the congregation's attorney, Ed Trent.

Trent wouldn't comment on the specific allegations Thursday but noted that an investigation he conducted last year cleared the church of deliberately or inadvertently ignoring sex abuse complaints against Gray, who is now 80 and facing a criminal trial in November.

David Barksdale, an attorney defending Gray in his four-count criminal case, declined to comment because he hadn't seen the lawsuit.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:21 PM

Attorney Says Trinity Lawsuit Worth "Millions"

JACKSONVILLE (FL)
First Coast News

By Jeannie Blaylock
First Coast News

JACKSONVILLE, FL -- First Coast News has talked with the attorney who just filed the first civil lawsuit against Trinity Baptist Church in Jacksonville.

The lawsuit has been filed over the Bob Gray sexual abuse case and alleged cover-up by Trinity.

The suit alleges a "Jane Doe" was sexually molested as a child and Trinity did not protect her. What's more, the allegations say, the church "actively took steps to mislead parishioners as to Dr. Gray's fitness to serve in the ministry."

We talked with Adam Horowitz by phone from Miami. He's well known for his work in dozens of sex abuse cases, including those against the Catholic Church.

Horowitz believes the jury will be outraged over the evidence he has against Dr. Gray. Some of the evidence, according to Horowitz, goes back to the 70s showing Trinity "knew or should have known" Bob Gray was a serial child molester.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:19 PM

Vatican defrocks priest

BOSTON (MA)
WPRI

BOSTON The Vatican defrocks a priest from the Archdiocese of Boston who's been banned from public ministry since 1989.

George Rosenkranz had been accused of sexually abusing minors.

The move by the Vatican means the priest will not longer receive financial support from the Archdiocese. Rosenkranz is also banned from functioning as a priest, expect when offering absolution for the dying.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:21 PM

S-B-C head says background checks needed at churches

NASHVILLE (TN)
AL.com

2/23/2007, 7:49 a.m. CT
The Associated Press

NASHVILLE (AP) — The head of the Southern Baptist Convention says the denomination plans to teach churches how to conduct background checks.

President Frank Page says the denomination will also educate churches on requiring letters of recommendation for job candidates.

Earlier this week, a victims' advocate group that has spoken out against sexual abuse allegations in the Catholic Church turned its attention to the nation's largest Protestant denomination.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) says Southern Baptists have failed to root out molesters.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:18 PM

Southern Baptists Contest Clergy Sex Abuse Claims

NASHVILLE (TN)
Christian Post

By Audrey Barrick
Christian Post Reporter
Fri, Feb. 23 2007 08:31 AM ET

In response to an organization that called for Southern Baptists to crack down on sexual molesters among its clergy, an attorney with the denomination stressed that they condemn such behavior and have long been addressing the problem.

D. August Boto, attorney with the Southern Baptist Convention's Executive Committee, said in a statement Thursday that the recent claims by Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) that the SBC has been "unresponsive" to the sex abuse cases are "untrue," according to Baptist Press.

SNAP presented a letter to the committee on Monday, asking the group to adopt a zero-tolerance policy on sex abuse. SNAP member Christa Brown, who says she was sexually abused as a child by a Southern Baptist minister, alleged that the Southern Baptists "don’t' want to see this problem."

Boto argued that the SBC has responded to every communication that SNAP has sent to the denomination, which Brown recently determined was true. The organization issued an apology for claiming that the denomination was unresponsive, according to Boto.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:15 PM

'Deliver Us From Evil' -- And the Film

NEW YORK
Standard Newswire

NEW YORK, Feb. 23 /Catholic Newswire/ -- Catholic League president Bill Donohue commented today on the nomination of "Deliver Us From Evil" for best documentary at this year's Oscars:

"Had writer-director Amy Berg confined herself to recording the evil machinations of former priest and pedophile Oliver O'Grady, she would have distanced herself from all criticism. Alas, she hasn't been able to do so. That's because her real target was never O'Grady—it's been the Catholic Church all along.

"On October 4, when news of Congressman Mark Foley's sexual follies were made public last fall, Berg took the occasion to mock the Catholic Church: writing on the 'Huffington Post,' she ridiculed the idea that priestly sexual abuse was 'old news,' never once explaining why all the data show that the scandal was overwhelmingly a phenomenon of the 60s, 70s and early 80s. On October 27, she concurred with Rosie O'Donnell on 'The View' that Pope Benedict XVI was responsible for overseeing the investigation of sexual abuse charges in the Catholic Church over 'the last 20 years'; he allegedly did this while serving under Pope John Paul II. As a matter of fact, Cardinal Ratzinger (now the pope) was not appointed to deal with this problem until 2002—after the scandal hit the newspapers.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:03 PM

Priest Removed from Ministry for Sexual Misconduct Allegations

MICHIGAN
WPBN

The Bishop of the Diocese of Gaylord has announced a Northern Michigan Priest has been permanently removed from the ministry for allegations of sexual misconduct. Seventy-nine year old Reverend Raymond Pilarski denies the allegations against him, but the congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome agreed to remove him.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:01 PM

Priest removed, accused of abuse

GAYLORD (MI)
Record-Eagle

GAYLORD — A retired priest was permanently removed from ministry because of decades-old sexual misconduct accusations, said Bishop Patrick R. Cooney of the Diocese of Gaylord.

The Rev. Raymond J. Pilarski, 79, retired in 1998 after serving at various northern Michigan parishes, including both St. Augustine in Hillman and Jesus the Good Shepherd in Atlanta since 1983, as well as parishes in Alpena, Tawas City, Wilmot and Bay City.

Pilarski denied the accusations, but Cooney's decision to remove the priest was confirmed by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:59 AM

Pastor defends right to solicit rent boys

OKLAHOMA
Gay.com

Associated Press
Friday 23 February, 2007

In US state Oklahoma, the lawyer for a former Baptist church leader who had spoken out against homosexuality said Thursday the minister has a constitutional right to solicit sex from an undercover policeman.

The Reverend Lonnie W. Latham had supported a resolution calling on gays and lesbians to reject their "sinful, destructive lifestyle" before his January 3, 2006, arrest outside the Habana Inn in Oklahoma City.

Authorities say he asked the undercover policeman to come up to his hotel for oral sex.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:43 AM

Baptist churches face child sexual abuse condemnation

UNITED STATES
Pink News

23rd February 2007 13:09
Rachel Charman

America's largest Protestant denomination has come under fire over alleged child sexual abuse committed by its clergy.

A victims' advocates group, Survivors' Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), called on Monday for a zero-tolerance policy on sexual abuse within the Southern Baptist church.

Southern Baptist leaders have argued that, due to the lack of a rigid structure within the church, it is impossible to investigate molestation claims across the denomination.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:37 AM

Convicted Priest Pedophile Will Remain Behind Bars

JERSEY CITY (NJ)
My Fox

Last Edited: Thursday, 22 Feb 2007, 7:35 PM EST
Created: Thursday, 22 Feb 2007, 7:35 PM EST

Jersey City, N.J. -- A defrocked priest who admitted abusing young boys for years will remain behind bars.

In 2005, James Hanley admitted sexually abusing a dozen boys over an almost 15 year period.

The admission was part of a settlement between the Diocese of Paterson and a group of men who said they were abused by the priest.

But since the crimes occurred between 1968 and 1982, the statute of limitations had already expired, and Hanley couldn't be criminally charged with the crimes.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:01 AM

Bankruptcy trustee disputes billing by attorneys for Diocese, victims

SPOKANE (WA)
KXLY

Erik Loney / KXLY4 Reporter
Last updated: Thursday, February 22nd, 2007 09:02:27 PM

SPOKANE -- U.S. Trustee Gary Dyer filed four objections Thursday afternoon questioning the billing statements of attorneys for both the Spokane Diocese and alleged abuse victims.

Court documents say the Diocese attorneys, Paine Hamblin, billed for as many as four attorneys to review the same document. The firm is also being questioned for sending and billing for multiple attorneys to attend the same meetings.

Documents also raise issue with lead bankruptcy attorney Shaun Cross raising his hourly rate from $200 per hour to $250 per hour without notifying the court. Documents say he personally billed the Diocese almost $400,000 last year.

The trustee also criticizes billing statements by the victim’s bankruptcy attorneys, Pachulski and Stang, for the same things. He also says the victim’s attorneys were also billing for work on documents that were never filed. Dyer also alleges that Pachulski and Stang billed for improper and unjustified travel expenses that cost hundreds, and thousands, of dollars per day.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:58 AM

McKnight Out

CALIFORNIA
Orange County Weekly

By GUSTAVO ARELLANO
Thursday, February 22, 2007 - 3:00 pm
Last week was lovely for Mater Dei High School boys’ basketball coach Gary McKnight. The Monarchs finished their regular season by winning the tough Trinity League, and began their annual march through the California Interscholastic Federation playoffs by whipping Long Beach Wilson 75-51.

Oh, and McKnight narrowly avoided a deposition at the hands of Newport Beach attorney John Manly when an attorney for the Catholic Church’s Orange County Diocese suddenly ordered the coach not to testify.

Mater Dei High and former McKnight assistant Jeff Andrade are being sued by Manly—a Mater Dei alumnus—on behalf of a former student who claims Andrade sexually abused her during the mid-1990s. Andrade denied the accusations at the time, but Mater Dei officials forced him to resign and alerted Orange County law enforcement officials. The District Attorney’s office and Westminster Police Department investigated the matter, ultimately declining to file charges.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:53 AM

More pressure on Southern Baptist Church

SOUTH CAROLINA
WCNC

By NATALIE DICK / WCNC
E-mail Natalie: ndick@WCNC.com

Baptist leaders are speaking out against claims of sexual abuse inside the church.

One of the same groups that has been critical of cover-up scandals in the Catholic Church is now aiming its target at other denominations.

There are some serious allegations by a sexual abuse survivors group out of Chicago. They claim pastors at Baptist churches in more than five states have molested children and now they're demanding action be taken.

None of the reported cases occurred in the Charlotte area, but the group's push to create an independent review board to investigate such cases has congregations talking.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:45 AM

EC general counsel disputes group's child sex abuse claims in AP story

NASHVILLE (TN)
Baptist Press

Feb 22, 2007
By Staff
Baptist Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--The Southern Baptist Convention "deplores and condemns" child sexual abuse and provides resources for its member churches to battle it, an attorney with the SBC's Executive Committee said in a statement Feb. 22.

The statement by D. August Boto was in reference to an Associated Press story about a victims' group -- SNAP -- that is asking the denomination to launch an independent review board to look into cases concerning child sexual abuse. A SNAP coordinator, Christa Brown, was quoted in the story as saying Southern Baptist leaders "don't want to see this problem" as true. (SNAP is an acronym for Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests and other Clergy.)

Boto, though, in a 1,300-word statement, said the denomination is addressing the problem, and has long been doing so.

"Such criminal acts by those in ministerial positions are abhorrent -- they violate a myriad of biblical commands and principles and even the most basic standards of human decency -- and we believe such behavior should be prosecuted to the fullest," Boto wrote. "Our hearts are truly broken when we hear of such abuse and we will continue to encourage Southern Baptist churches to address this deplorable behavior."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:40 AM

Lawsuit claims church hid allegations of sexual abuse

JACKSONVILLE (FL)
The Times-Union

By JEFF BRUMLEY, The Times-Union

Trinity Baptist Church in Jacksonville covered up multiple allegations of sexual abuse against former pastor Robert Gray to avoid legal liability, according to a negligence lawsuit filed Wednesday.

The civil action, filed in Duval County Circuit Court, was brought by an unidentified Hamilton County woman in her mid-30s who said she was molested by Gray several times when she was about 6 years old and a first-grader at the church's Trinity Christian Academy.

A Trinity spokesman referred all questions about the lawsuit to the congregation's attorney, Ed Trent.

Trent wouldn't comment on the specific allegations Thursday but noted that an investigation he conducted last year cleared the church of deliberately or inadvertently ignoring sex abuse complaints against Gray, who is now 80 and facing a criminal trial in November.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:35 AM

Holy Spirit deacon to apologize for homily

McALLEN (TX)
The Monitor

Kaitlin Bell
February 22, 2007 - 11:39PM
McALLEN — The deacon from Holy Spirit Church plans to issue a public apology this weekend for comments he made Sunday about priests and the sexual abuse of children.

Additionally, the Diocese of Brownsville plans to take “some action” against Gerbermann, although spokeswoman Brenda Riojas would not disclose Thursday what that would be.

Some parishioners had complained that a homily Deacon Alvin Gerbermann gave during Sunday Mass blamed parents for not keeping their children away from predatory priests.

Their complaints were followed by a small protest held against the deacon during Ash Wednesday evening services.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:33 AM

Results of sex abuse lawsuit settlement talks unclear

CALIFORNIA
The Press-Enterprise

By MICHAEL FISHER
The Press-Enterprise

Attorneys for the Roman Catholic dioceses of San Bernardino and San Diego spent Thursday afternoon negotiating with plaintiff lawyers in a last-ditch effort to settle more than 145 clergy sexual abuse lawsuits, including allegations against a former Highland priest set for trial next week.

Discussions lasted into the evening and it was unclear whether more talks are scheduled, if a deal was struck or an impasse declared. Similar 11th-hour negotiations led the Orange County Diocese to settle 86 clergy abuse lawsuits for $100 million in 2005.

"We are parties to the settlement talks, and we continue to pray for a fair and just resolution," the Rev. Howard Lincoln, spokesman for the million-member Diocese of San Bernardino, said Thursday.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Anthony Mohr had ordered the face-to-face talks in his courtroom "to force both sides to do everything possible to resolve the cases prior to the first trial," said Raymond Boucher, an attorney representing hundreds of people who claim to have been molested by priests.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:30 AM

PERV PRIEST STAYS IN JAIL

NEW JERSEY
Jersey Journal

Friday, February 23, 2007
By ALI WINSTON
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER
Victims of child molester and defrocked priest James Hanley never got the satisfaction of seeing him punished for sexually abusing 12 boys from 1968 to 1982.

But yesterday they did receive a measure of justice, as the former Roman Catholic priest - being held in the Hudson County jail in Kearny - was brought before a Superior Court judge handcuffed and in a prison jumpsuit.

"It's good to see him in cuffs at last," said Margee Cotton of Mendham, whose two sons were among Hanley's victims during Hanley's tenure at a Mendham church.

Hanley, charged with threatening employees of a Secaucus hotel with a bat in March, had his application to enter a pretrial intervention program - and get out of jail - rejected yesterday by Judge Sheila Venable in Jersey City.

The pretrial intervention program is most commonly offered to first-time offenders and would allow Hanley to leave jail and enter a rehabilitation program.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:27 AM

Priest abuse case lawyers meet for six hours in L.A.

SAN DIEGO (CA)
Union-Tribune

By Greg Moran
STAFF WRITER
and Matt Krasnowski
COPLEY NEWS SERVICE
February 23, 2007

Lawyers representing the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego and the dozens of plaintiffs suing the diocese over claims of sexual abuse by priests met for more than six hours yesterday in Los Angeles and said they will meet again Monday.

The session involved two dozen lawyers and at times included Bishop Robert Brom, head of the diocese, via speakerphone.

Diocese lawyers left the courthouse without commenting. The plaintiffs' lawyers were cautious in their comments after the session ended about 7:30 p.m.
“It's been a long day,” said lawyer Irwin Zalkin, who represents dozens of the plaintiffs.

“Things have not shut down,” said Andrea Leavitt, who represents several of the plaintiffs. “If there is good news today, the good news is nobody walked away from each other.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:23 AM

Bill would expand felony child sex abuse

KENTUCKY
The Courier-Journal

By Peter Smith
psmith@courier-journal.com
The Courier-Journal

Those who commit any sexual offense against a child under 16 -- and those who fail to report such abuse -- could be charged with felonies under a bill filed by Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, D-Louisville.

Making such actions a felony would allow prosecutions decades after the crimes occurred.

Victims of sexual abuse have sought this change because they say it often takes years for those traumatized as children to seek justice, beyond the statute of limitations.

Under current laws, some types of sexual offenses toward minors, such as rape and sodomy, are felonies -- but other types such as fondling are misdemeanors when children 12 and older are involved.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:19 AM

February 22, 2007

Johnston trial delayed

NEOSHO (MO)
Neosho Daily News

By John Ford / Daily News Associate Editor
Published: Thursday, February 22, 2007 2:13 PM CST

George Otis Johnston will not be going to trial next week as planned.

Johnston, 63, the pastor of Grandview Valley Independent Baptist Church in Granby, faces 17 counts of child sexual abuse in Newton County.

Jury selection was to have gotten under way Friday in Cass County, with jurors bused to Neosho Monday and sequestered for the duration of the trial.

The presiding judge in the case, Judge Timothy Perigo, said Thursday morning the trial was delayed because of a prosecution request for a continuance.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:32 PM

Trial delayed in Missouri church sex abuse case

NEOSHO (MO)
Times-Leader

Associated Press

NEOSHO, Mo. A trial has been postponed for a Neosho-area pastor who is one of five related church leaders accused of child sex abuse at two southwest Missouri church communes, prosecutors said.

George Otis Johnston, 63, had been scheduled to go on trial Monday. But a hearing this week resulted in a continuance until some time between mid-May and mid-June, Newton County Assistant Prosecutor Bill Dobbs said.

Circuit Judge Timothy Perigo ordered the change after a dispute over how long the jury will be sequestered, Dobbs said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:28 PM

Bill would make more child-sex crimes a felony

KENTUCKY
The Courier-Journal

By Peter Smith
psmith@courier-journal.com
The Courier-Journal

Those who commit any sexual offense against a child under 16 — and those who fail to report such abuse — could be charged with felonies under a bill filed by Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, D-Louisville.

Making such actions a felony would allow prosecutions decades after the crimes occurred.

Victims of sexual abuse have sought this change because they say it often takes years for those traumatized as children to seek justice, beyond the statute of limitations.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:47 PM

Allies could cause alarm for Rudy

WASHINGTON (DC)
Newsday

BY TOM BRUNE
tom.brune@newsday.com

February 21, 2007, 10:06 PM EST

WASHINGTON -- It had been a few years since Richard Tollner last publicly accused his former teacher Msgr. Alan Placa of groping him in high school, but Tollner recently repeated the charges -- raising an awkward issue for Rudolph Giuliani's run for president.

Tollner, now a mortgage banker, appeared at a Feb. 8 Manhasset meeting of Voice of the Faithful of Long Island, a Catholic group concerned about priest-abuse cases, and told how Placa used to corner him.

After the accusations first surfaced in 2002, the Diocese of Rockville Centre placed Placa on administrative leave, barring him from priestly duties and from wearing the collar. Placa, who insists he is innocent, has not been charged with a crime.

Yet despite the controversy, Giuliani gave his old friend Placa a job at Giuliani Partners, and Michael Hess, a partner at the firm and the ex-mayor's corporation counsel, handled Placa's legal matters.

Placa is one of several close allies of Giuliani who have faced trouble, controversies or even criminal convictions -- and experts say they could come back to haunt Giuliani's campaign for the White House.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:13 AM

Priest faces rape charges

PHILIPPINES
Daily Star

ILOILO CITY - A 25-year-old woman yesterday filed a criminal complaint for two counts of rape against a parish priest in Iloilo.

In her affidavit filed before the Iloilo provincial prosecutor's office, Nene (not her real name), claimed that the priest raped her twice this month after she tried to end their month-long relationship.

The woman, who teaches English to Korean students, was accompanied by her cousin and legal counsel Edeljulio Romero at the Hall of Justice where her complaint and affidavit were subscribed by Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Rodrigo Camacho.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:54 AM

San Diego Bishop Robert Brom Uses the Threat of Bankruptcy to Push for a Settlement in Consolidated Clergy Child Abuse Cases

SAN DIEGO (CA)
FindLaw

By MARCI HAMILTON

Thursday, Feb. 22, 2007

On Sunday, February 18, Roman Catholic Bishop Robert Brom distributed leaflets to the San Diego faithful in the pews. In the leaflets, he tried to make the case that the San Diego Diocese could be forced into Chapter 11 bankruptcy because of the 143 consolidated clergy abuse cases against the diocese for the hierarchy's role in the cover up of child abuse. . The leaflets tried to cloud the simple issue that the plaintiffs' suits really raise -- whether the Diocese and its hierarchy will take responsibility for their wrongs to children.

If the bankruptcy were filed, this would be the fifth U.S. diocese to declare bankruptcy. However, in the other four jurisdictions - Tucson, AZ; Portland, OR; Spokane, WA; and Davenport, IA-- the declaration of intent to file came on the eve of trial. Here, however, the declaration has come weeks before the trials are scheduled to begin, on February 28. It is thus geared toward setting the tone and context of ongoing pre-trial settlement discussions (which Bishop Brom specifically mentions)- pressuring plaintiffs to settle lower in order to avoid the inevitable delays of a bankruptcy filing.

The Triangulation Strategy - and Why It's Deceptive

Here is how Bishop Brom summarized the problem:

"We are painfully aware that the victims of abuse have suffered, and we want to treat all of them fairly and equitably. At the same time, good stewardship demands that settlements not cripple the ability of the Church to accomplish its mission and ministries. Consequently, we must consider how best to fairly compensate the victims while at the same time not jeopardizing our overall mission. If this cannot be done through settlement negotiations, the diocese may be forced to file a Chapter 11 reorganization in bankruptcy court."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:52 AM

Catholic priest to stand trial on abuse charges

UNITED KINGDOM
This is Lancashire

By Bury Times Reporter
A 61-year-old Catholic priest is to stand trial on a catalogue of child abuse charges against two schoolboys in Bury.

John McCollough appeared at Bury Magistrates' Court last Friday charged with 12 counts of indecent assault and gross indecency with two children, both aged under 16, during the 1980s and 1990s.

The offences are alleged to have taken place while McCollough was an Anglican rector at Christ the King with Holy Trinity Church in Spring Street.

advertisementMcCollough worked in Bury between 1985 and 1995, but left in 1997 to become a Catholic priest.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:49 AM

Ex-priest abused him, Augusta man says in suit

MAINE
Sun Journal

Thursday, February 22, 2007
AUGUSTA (AP) - An Augusta man filed a lawsuit Wednesday against a former priest and Maine's Roman Catholic diocese, claiming he was sexually abused as a boy.

William Picher, 33, alleged that he was repeatedly abused by the Rev. Raymond Melville between 1986 and 1989 when he was a student at St. Mary's School in Augusta.

The suit, filed in Kennebec County Superior Court, was the second to be brought against Melville, who has left the priesthood and now lives in Oklahoma.


Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:47 AM

Priest in court over sex offences

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC News

A Church of England priest has appeared before magistrates accused of the attempted rape of a child and six other sexual offences.

Father John Herve, vicar at St Agatha's in Sparkbrook, Birmingham, is alleged to have committed the offences in the 1990s and has since been suspended.

The 57-year-old, of Stanhope Street, Highgate, Birmingham, is due to appear at the city's crown court on 1 March.

The charges follow a year-long investigation by West Midlands Police.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:45 AM

Judge likely aims to prevent bankruptcy

SAN DIEGO (CA)
Union-Tribune

By Sandi Dolbee and Greg Moran
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITERS
February 22, 2007

Just days after San Diego Roman Catholic Bishop Robert Brom suggested the diocese may have to file for bankruptcy protection in the face of its clergy abuse lawsuits, a Los Angeles judge has ordered attorneys for both sides into court today.

Judge Anthony Mohr notified attorneys yesterday to be in his Los Angeles courtroom at 1:30 p.m. today. Mohr, who has been designated to try to bring the sides to a settlement, is likely trying to speed a resolution and head off the diocese from becoming the fifth in the nation to declare bankruptcy.

“If the diocese wants to settle these cases, this is the time,” said San Diego attorney Andrea Leavitt, who is representing several plaintiffs.
Rodrigo Valdivia, chancellor for the San Diego diocese, confirmed that settlement negotiations have been going on this week in Los Angeles. “We hope we will reach a settlement,” he said. “There is no settlement yet.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:43 AM

Judge orders diocese attorneys to court

SAN DIEGO (CA)
Union-Tribune

By Sandi Dolbee
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER

6:45 p.m. February 21, 2007

Just days after San Diego Catholic Bishop Robert Brom sent a letter to parishioners suggesting the diocese may file bankruptcy as it faces about 150 clergy abuse lawsuits, a Superior Court judge has ordered attorneys to come to court on Thursday.

The order, issued by a Los Angeles judge, is “to see if we can resolve our differences,” said San Diego attorney Andrea Leavitt. Leavitt is representing several of the plaintiffs who allege they were sexually abused by religious members when they were minors.

Advertisement Leavitt said attorneys are negotiating this week and there is still a chance for resolution before the first of the cases goes to trial next week.
“There is no settlement yet,” said diocese chancellor Rodrigo Valdivia late Wednesday. He confirmed that negotiations were under way in Los Angeles.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:39 AM

Cardinal says he warned Mahony

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Los Angeles Times

By Joe Mozingo, Times Staff Writer
February 22, 2007

A Roman Catholic cardinal in Mexico said he warned Cardinal Roger M. Mahony in 1987 about a priest then seeking employment with the Los Angeles Archdiocese, who was later charged with molesting eight boys before fleeing back to Mexico, court documents said.

Father Nicolas Aguilar, 64, continued to work as a priest in Mexico, where the abuse allegedly continued, according to a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles last year accusing the cardinals of conspiring to conceal the priest's conduct.

The plaintiff, Joaquin Mendez, alleges Aguilar raped him in a church rectory in 1994, when he was a 13-year-old altar boy in Mexico City.

At the time of the alleged rape, Aguilar was a fugitive from the United States, where he had been charged with sexually abusing 10 altar boys while assigned to Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in El Sereno.

The victims' advocacy group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests says he allegedly abused 60 more in Mexico.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:29 AM

Cardinal in Mexico responds to lawsuit filed against him

CALIFORNIA
Fresno Bee

02/22/07 04:29:31

A Roman Catholic cardinal in Mexico responded to a lawsuit filed against him, saying he warned Cardinal Roger Mahony 20 years ago about a priest who was later charged with molesting eight boys.

In a declaration filed recently, Cardinal Norberto Rivera of Tehuacan, Mexico, said he sent a letter to Mahony in 1987 suggesting the Rev. Nicolas Aguilar had "homosexual problems."

"I cautioned that the motivation for Fr. Aguilar's trip to Los Angeles was 'family and health reasons,'" Rivera said in his declaration. "The phrase 'family and health reasons' was used within the church to warn that a priest suffers from some sort of problem."

Tod Tamberg, spokesman for Mahony, said the cardinal never received a letter from Rivera.

"We've said this many times before, and Cardinal Rivera may very well have sent a letter, but nobody received it," Tamberg said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:27 AM

Archdiocese sets new rules in sex abuse cases

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Tribune

By Margaret Ramirez
Tribune religion reporter
Published February 21, 2007, 9:26 PM CST

Prompted by criticism surrounding the case of Rev. Daniel McCormack, the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago announced Wednesday that it has overhauled rules related to sexual abuse of children, including immediately removing any accused priest, reporting allegations to civil authorities and training church employees and volunteers.

Officials also said they are considering whether they should encourage men who have engaged in sexual misconduct to resign from the priesthood and acknowledged that procedures for supervising accused priests still need work.

The changes were detailed in a report prepared by law enforcement officials, judges and child welfare advocates serving on a nine-member advisory committee appointed by Cardinal Francis George after the arrest of McCormack, former pastor of St. Agatha Parish in Chicago.

McCormack was charged in January 2006 with abusing five boys at St. Agatha and Our Lady of the Westside School. But two audits by outside consultants later found a trail of abuse allegations dating to 1988 that the archdiocese had failed to investigate properly. They also found that although a priest had been assigned to monitor McCormack at St. Agatha, McCormack still had contact with children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:16 AM

Priest abuse claims led to suspension

DALLAS (TX)
The Dallas Morning News

12:00 AM CST on Thursday, February 22, 2007
By SAM HODGES / The Dallas Morning News
samhodges@dallasnews.com

Months of rumors ended with devastating confirmation Wednesday night that the longtime, beloved pastor of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in North Dallas was suspended over allegations of child sexual abuse.

The Rev. Nicholas Katinas led the church, a focal point of the local Greek community, for 28 years. He retired on July 1, citing illness and fatigue.

Officials of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America suspended him within days, meaning he could no longer serve as a priest, even on a fill-in basis.

But they waited until Wednesday night to inform the congregation that accusations of child sexual abuse were the cause of the suspension.

"There is no doubt that Father Nicholas engaged in serious moral transgressions," the Rev. Michael Kontogiorgis, assistant chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, told a hushed crowd of about 400.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:15 AM

Priest abuse claims led to suspension

DALLAS (TX)
The Dallas Morning News

12:00 AM CST on Thursday, February 22, 2007
By SAM HODGES / The Dallas Morning News
samhodges@dallasnews.com

Months of rumors ended with devastating confirmation Wednesday night that the longtime, beloved pastor of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in North Dallas was suspended over allegations of child sexual abuse.

The Rev. Nicholas Katinas led the church, a focal point of the local Greek community, for 28 years. He retired on July 1, citing illness and fatigue.

Officials of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America suspended him within days, meaning he could no longer serve as a priest, even on a fill-in basis.

But they waited until Wednesday night to inform the congregation that accusations of child sexual abuse were the cause of the suspension.

"There is no doubt that Father Nicholas engaged in serious moral transgressions," the Rev. Michael Kontogiorgis, assistant chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, told a hushed crowd of about 400.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:15 AM

Survivors Wait While Lawyers Squabble

CANADA
The Tyee

By Jacqueline Windh
Published: February 22, 2007

"Let me tell you what it's like at a hearing. I'm in a room, and there's my lawyer in front of me, an adjudicator to my right, two women from the government, and then one or two native counsellors at my side, who I've never met before and who are usually women. Each time, I'm telling this to four different women that I've never seen before, and to an adjudicator who I've never seen before, trying to tell them about things that happened to me way back in 1951."

Matthew Williams is a member of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation. His tribe's main village, Opitsaht, lies across the harbour from Tofino. Williams himself lives on an island off the main village. Opitsaht is just one of many native villages on Indian reserves where former Indian residential school students like Williams are waiting to be compensated for the unlawful confinements and physical and sexual assaults that took place decades ago in the schools.

"They ask me, 'What did it feel like when the priest stuck his penis up your ass for the first time? Did it hurt? Did it bleed? What did it feel like, having him breathing down your neck?' I was eight years old."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:12 AM

Archdiocese praised on sex abuse, monitoring questioned

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Sun-Times

February 22, 2007
BY CATHLEEN FALSANI Religion Reporter
After eight months of scrutiny, a committee of law enforcement agents, jurists, child welfare advocates and other civic leaders issued a report Wednesday praising the Chicago archdiocese for making strides in the handling of clergy sex abuse cases, but questioned whether more could be done to monitor priests who have been removed from ministry.

"We believe that the existing archdiocesan programs for supervision of these clerics, while far from perfect as noted by the evaluator, constitute a sincere and practical attempt to fulfill this moral responsibility," the report said. "Archdiocesan supervision programs far exceed that which is required of registered sex offenders under state law.

"We recommend that efforts should be made to encourage younger clerics determined to have engaged in clerical sexual misconduct to resign voluntarily. . . . Ways should be found to enforce more restrictive living conditions on those who will not resign."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:09 AM

New pastor aims to heal wounded congregation

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Tribune

By Margaret Ramirez
Tribune religion reporter
Published February 22, 2007

On his first Sunday at St. Agatha Catholic Church, Rev. Larry Dowling was feeling anxious. He worried about this new chapter of his life, taking over a congregation whose last pastor had been charged with sexual abuse of children. He knew the people were still hurting and feared he could not heal them.

But before the mass began on that frigid February morning, members of the West Side parish gathered around Dowling in a tight circle, laid their warm hands on him and silently prayed. In that powerful moment, Dowling recalled, he felt tears fall down his face and knew he was home.

"They prayed over me and it was probably one of the most moving experiences in my life. At that moment, I knew this is where God wants me to be," Dowling said. "On that day, I said my own prayer and asked God to please give me the strength to do what I need to do here. To love these good people."

It has been a year since Rev. Daniel McCormack was arrested and accused of abusing five boys at St. Agatha and Our Lady of the Westside School, where he taught and coached basketball. He has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:06 AM

Lawsuit against priest puts blame on diocese

MAINE
Portland Press Herald

By GREGORY D. KESICH, Staff Writer

Thursday, February 22, 2007

A second former student of St. Mary's School in Augusta has filed a lawsuit alleging that he was sexually molested by the Rev. Raymond Melville during the late 1980s, when Melville was serving in Augusta as a parish priest.
In the complaint filed Wednesday in Kennebec County Superior Court, William J. Picher, 33, of Augusta accuses Melville of sexual assault and battery and of intentional infliction of emotional distress.
He also accuses the Roman Catholic bishop of Portland of negligent supervision, claiming the church had a duty to protect children from Melville, especially after hearing other allegations of abuse.
"When they know that they have a pedophile here and they continually put him in a position of supervising children, they have a responsibility to act," said Walter McKee, Picher's lawyer. "You don't have to put the match to the gas here, you can put the match out."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:00 AM

Judge orders settlement talks in San Diego church abuse suits

SAN DIEGO (CA)
San Francisco Chronicle

(02-21) 19:51 PST SAN DIEGO, (AP) --

A judge overseeing settlement negotiations between the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego and more than 140 plaintiffs alleging sexual abuse by priests ordered the two sides into his courtroom Thursday for a final attempt to reach a deal.

Time is short for a breakthrough — the first trial is set to begin next week in San Diego Superior Court.

"I cannot say whether a settlement is in the offing," said Andrea Leavitt, who is representing a male client whose case is already released for trial. "But if we're going to do the dance, this is the time."

Rodrigo Valdivia, chancellor for the diocese, said "we hope the negotiations will be fruitful."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:05 AM

February 21, 2007

Minister accused of soliciting sex from teenager

CAMDEN (SC)
WIS

(Camden) February 20, 2007 - A Camden minister charged with cyber sex crimes is waiting for an extradition hearing.

The minister, 42-year-old Kevin Ogle, is accused of sending graphic pictures of himself over the internet to a teen girl.

The people he preached to on Sunday held a meeting about his arrest.

A man of God, he's now arrested and charged with cyber sex crimes. Kevin Ogle, 42, is accused of soliciting sex over the internet. Officers say he thought he was chatting with a 14-year-old girl, and instead it was an officer in Georgia.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:10 PM

Report urges church to immediately remove priests accused of abuse

CHICAGO (IL)
ABC 7

February 21, 2007 (CHICAGO) - The Chicago Roman Catholic Archdiocese released a report Wednesday afternoon that assesses its handling of priest sex abuse cases.

This report comes from an advisory committee appointed by Francis Cardinal George. Its work began after the case of Father Daniel McCormack became public. McCormack is accused of abusing three boys in his West Side parish and the cardinal admitted mistakes were made in not removing him immediately from ministry.

This report underlines that accused priests should be immediately removed from ministry. It recommends that the archdiocese hire trained investigators to look into allegations. And that open communication established with state's attorneys and the department of children and family services continue. It also urges the cardinal to persuade the Vatican to remove men permanently from the priesthood when a case of abuse is confirmed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:51 PM

Teen in Search of Family Sues Warren Jeffs

UTAH
KSL

(KSL News) A teen kicked out of the polygamous FLDS church is suing Warren Jeffs to help him find his family.

Eighteen-year-old Johnny Jessop hasn't spoken to his mother in almost two years. He believes Jeffs ordered his mother to cut ties with him after he was kicked out of the church. So he's asked a judge to make Jeffs tell him where she is.

Jessop is part of a group of boys kicked out of the church for being disobedient or because they were seen as competition for older men seeking younger brides.


Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:19 PM

Rector of Holy Innocents' relieved pending an audit

GEORGIA
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

By CYNTHIA DANIELS
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Published on: 02/22/07

The pastor of one of Sandy Springs' largest churches has been relieved of his parochial duties, according to the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta.

The Rev. David A. Galloway, rector of Holy Innocents' Episcopal Church, was "inhibited" or removed from his duties on Friday until questions about some of his financial transactions could be resolved through an internal audit.

Galloway "has neither resigned nor been dismissed," the Right Rev. J. Neil Alexander, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, said in a statement released on Wednesday. "Under the canons of the Episcopal Church, when a priest's ministry comes into question for any reason, the normal process is ... to inhibit the priest from his or her regular parochial duties."

Alexander warned "it is important not to jump to conclusions."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:15 PM

Former priest faces second lawsuit

MAINE
MaineToday

By News 8 WMTW report
February 21, 2007 11:27 AM

A man who said he was sexually abused as a boy by a Roman Catholic priest has filed a lawsuit against the priest and the Diocese of Portland.

William Picher claimed in the lawsuit that between 1987 and 1989, while he was a student at St. Mary's School in Augusta, he was repeatedly sexually abused by the Rev. Raymond Melville, who was assigned to St. Mary's parish at the time.

The suit is the second brought against Melville, who has been removed from the priesthood and is living out of state. Another man won a $500,000 judgment against him for abuse that he said occurred when he as a 13-year-old altar boy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:31 PM

Vatican rejects Call to Action appeal; bishop urges return to church

LINCOLN (NE)
Catholic Online

By S.L. Hansen
2/21/2007
Catholic News Service

LINCOLN, Neb. (CNS) – The Vatican's highest court said it has no jurisdiction over a decision by Bishop Fabian W. Bruskewitz of Lincoln that Catholics in his diocese who are members of a dozen organizations were automatically excommunicated.

In the wake of the ruling, Bishop Bruskewitz renewed his invitation to Call to Action Nebraska members to leave that organization and return to full communion with the church.

Rachel Pokora and Gordon P. Peterson of Call to Action Nebraska had asked the Apostolic Signature, the church's supreme court, to overturn Bishop Bruskewitz's 1996 decision and its affirmation last year by Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Bishops.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:28 PM

Supreme Court chief justice nominee took on cardinal

CONNECTICUT
Newsday

By JOHN CHRISTOFFERSEN
Associated Press Writer

February 21, 2007, 3:56 PM EST

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- Appellate Court Judge Chase T. Rogers, nominated Tuesday to become the next chief justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court, was not afraid to take on New York Cardinal Edward Egan.

Rogers ordered Egan to testify in the 2005 civil trial of a Roman Catholic priest accused of molesting an alter boy when Egan was bishop of the Bridgeport diocese. Her order came after an attorney for the alleged victim said he had repeatedly asked the Archdiocese of New York to make Egan available for a deposition.

Church officials settled the case after Egan was ordered to testify.

"The people in front of her are going to be treated equally, whether they're in a high position or an ordinary person on the street," said state Sen. Andrew MacDonald, D-Stamford, co-chairman of the Judiciary Committee, which will hold confirmation hearings within the next few weeks. "She's not timid and I think that's the kind of judicial moxie that's very important in a good jurist."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:26 PM

Ex-Sisters pastor gets 18 years for abuse

OREGON
KTVZ

Posted: 8:37 AM, Feb. 21, 2007
Last Updated: 8:41 AM, Feb. 21, 2007

By KTVZ.com news sources

Deschutes County Circuit Judge Michael Sullivan called Jeremy Shane Hall a "smooth-talking predator" without remorse Tuesday as he sentenced the former Sisters past to nearly 19 years in prison Tuesday for abusing a 13-year-old babysitter whose family attended his church.

Earlier this month, after a full day of deliberation, a jury found Jeremy Shane Hall, 35, guilty of all six charges - five counts of sex abuse and one of unlawful sexual penetration.

Sullivan imposed a sentence of 18 years and nine months - longer than the mandatory minimum prison term of just over six years, but shorter than the maximum possible sentence of 31-plus years sought by Deputy District Attorney Victoria Roe.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:23 PM

Johnston trial delayed

MISSOURI
Neosho Daily News

By John Ford / Daily News Associate Editor
Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2007 11:36 AM CST

George Otis Johnston will not be going to trial next week as planned.

Johnston, 63, the pastor of Grandview Valley Independent Baptist Church in Granby, faces 17 felony counts of child sexual abuse in Newton County.

Jury selection was to have gotten under way Friday in Cass County, with jurors bused to Neosho Monday and sequestered for the duration of the trial.

According to Bill Dobbs, Newton County assistant prosecutor, the case was continued after a request from the defense that sequestration be done as soon as a jury was selected Friday afternoon, continue over the weekend, and continue until Monday afternoon, when the trial was scheduled to begin in Neosho.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:22 PM

Vatican tribunal won't consider excommunication appeal

LINCOLN (NE)
Omaha World-Herald

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Call to Action-Nebraska will be consulting canon lawyers about how to press its appeal of an excommunication order issued by Lincoln's bishop in 1996.

The Signatura - a sort of supreme court for the Roman Catholic Church - has refused to hear the group's appeal of Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz's blanket excommunication, which included members of the group, several Masonic organizations and abortion-rights groups Planned Parenthood and Catholics for a Free Choice.

Bruskewitz said the groups contradict and imperil Catholic faith.

The excommunication order was put on hold while Call to Action members appealed.

Call to Action, which says it has more than 25,000 members nationwide, has long criticized how the church handled allegations of sexual abuse of children by priests and questions the church's tradition of a male-only, unmarried priesthood.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:20 PM

Baptists Asked to Crack Down on Abusers

NASHVILLE (TN)
Washington Post

By ROSE FRENCH
The Associated Press
Wednesday, February 21, 2007; 4:02 PM

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The victims' advocates who dogged the Roman Catholic Church over sex abuse by its clergy have now turned their attention to the Southern Baptists, accusing America's largest Protestant denomination of also failing to root out molesters.

The Chicago-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests has started a campaign to call attention to alleged sex abuse committed by Southern Baptist ministers and concealed by churches.

SNAP presented a letter Monday to Southern Baptist Convention executive committee members in Nashville, asking the group to adopt a zero-tolerance policy on sex abuse and to create an independent review board to investigate molestation reports.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:18 PM

Portland Diocese Facing Another Priest Abuse Lawsuit

MAINE
WCSH

Created: 2/21/2007 12:14:30 PM
Updated: 2/21/2007 2:55:38 PM

Another complaint alleging sexual abuse by a priest has been filed against the the diocese of Portland. 33-year-old William Picher says he was abused by Father Raymond Melville when he was a student at St. Mary's in Augusta in the late 1980's.

It's the second lawsuit involving Melville. Another case alleging sexual abuse was settled out of court a few years ago.

Attorneys for Picher say the diocese was well aware that Melville "had a propensity to sexually abuse young boys" when it assigned him to St. Mary's parish.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:15 PM

Commish lays down the law

CANADA
Ottawa Sun

By CP

CORNWALL — It will take a combined effort to ensure witnesses testifying about child sexual abuse at an inquiry probing the institutional response to allegations of systemic sexual abuse in the area are not revictimized, the commission’s judge said Tuesday.

In outlining how he expects witness testimony to flow in the coming weeks and months, Commissioner Normand Glaude said he intends to keep an eye on how counsel for all parties, including commission counsel, handle witness testimony and cross-examination.

“Their evidence is essential in order to fulfil this inquiry’s mandate,” said Glaude. “Not all witnesses will sail through their evidence, particularly cross-examination. “We must determine how to elicit evidence in a manner that is both effective and non-threatening.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:21 AM

Bishop fears diocese may file for bankruptcy

SAN DIEGO (CA)
The Universe Newsroom

Groups representing families involved in the on-going sex abuse scandal in San Diego have asked Bishop Robert Brom to think again about declaring the diocese bankrupt.
In a letter to parishioners in the diocese at the weekend Bishop Brom said that if fair settlements for the victims could not be reached “the diocese may be forced to file a Chapter 11 reorganisation in bankruptcy court.”
He added that the diocese was concerned “that settlements may cripple the ability of the Church to accomplish its mission and ministries.”
Writing just 10 days ahead of the first case is due to be heard in court, Bishop Brom said he was painfully aware of the harm that victims have suffered.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:15 AM

Mexico tightens jail terms for child abuse

MEXICO
IOL

February 21 2007 at 07:59AM

Mexico City - Mexico, one of many developing countries tarnished by a clandestine but thriving child sex industry, moved on Tuesday to tighten jail sentences for abusers of minors to up to 30 years.

The law, approved by the Senate on Tuesday after passing through the lower house last year, will lengthen prison terms and end the classing of sexual exploitation of children as a minor offence where convicts often get early release.

Priests, offenders charged with abusing underage family members and public sector employees like teachers or doctors who used their position to access children will automatically be given a double sentence, meaning up to 30 years.

Clergy convicted of abuse of minors will be defrocked.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:08 AM

Text of motion alleging bishop had slush fund

CLEVELAND (OH)
Renew America

Matt C. Abbott
February 20, 2007


The following is the text of a motion recently filed in a pending case in Cleveland.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:05 AM

Court dates set for leaders

PINEVILLE (MO)
Neosho Daily News

By John Ford / Daily News Associate Editor
Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2007 7:00 PM CST

PINEVILLE - Court dates have been set for several area church leaders facing child sexual abuse charges.

Raymond Lambert and his wife, Patty, have been ordered to appear at 10 a.m. June 5 for a trial setting pre-trial conference, 40th Circuit Court Judge Timothy Perigo ruled this morning.

The decision came after Robert Evenson, defense attorney, said he was not requesting a speedy trial in the case due to lengthy discovery. Both he and McDonald County Prosecutor Janice Durbin said they will be taking depositions from out-of-state witnesses.

Raymond Lambert, the pastor of Grand Valley Independent Baptist Church, faces a total of seven felony counts: Three Class C felony charges of second degree statutory sodomy; and four Class D charges of second degree child molestation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:55 AM

Remorse from jail

AUSTRALIA
Wimmera Mail Times

CONVICTED paedophile and former Wimmera Catholic Priest Gerald Ridsdale has written an apology to his victims from his Ararat prison cell.

Ridsdale, 72, has been charged with having molested 40 children throughout his 30-year career.

In his letter, which Ballarat Police will send to the families of 10 victims, Ridsdale apologised to those he molested, as well as their families, the church community, police and social workers.

A spokesman for Broken Rites, a church-related sexual abuse support group, said it was the first time Ridsdale had shown remorse for his actions.

"His remorse is very recent and quite belated," he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:51 AM

New Canaan judge named to lead high court

HARTFORD (CT)
The Advocate

By Brian Lockhart
Staff Writer

Published February 21 2007

HARTFORD -- A year after elevating former state Superior Court Judge Chase Rogers to the state Appellate Court, Gov. M. Jodi Rell has nominated the New Canaan resident as chief justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court.

"Judge Rogers has proven herself a compassionate and reasoned jurist as well as an effective administrator," Rell said in a statement issued yesterday. "As the state's highest court and the rest of the Judicial Branch continue to grapple with issues of transparency, accessibility and accountability, the Supreme Court needs thoughtful, dynamic leadership. I believe Judge Rogers brings the intellect, temperament and vision needed in this time of change." ...

In that capacity, she ruled in many high-profile cases. Her decisions included ordering Cardinal Edward Egan, of the Archdiocese of New York, to answer questions under oath in a sexual abuse case involving a former Stamford priest; confining Stephen Ferenz, a mentally ill Greenwich man who stabbed his mother to death on New Year's Eve 2003, to 40 years in a maximum security mental health facility; dismissing lawsuits opposing construction of Target department store in downtown Stamford; and allowing Norwalk to seize the Maritime Motors Chevrolet dealership along lower West Avenue for the Reed Putnam redevelopment.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:42 AM

February 20, 2007

Archbishop deposed in sex-abuse case

MIAMI (FL)
Bradenton Herald

BY JAY WEAVER
jweaver@MiamiHerald.com
After fighting his civil deposition for months, the Archdiocese of Miami on Tuesday praised Archbishop John C. Favalora for his openness in answering closed-door questions posed by an attorney for an alleged victim of sexual abuse by a former Catholic priest.

''The leader of the Archdiocese of Miami openly and honestly responded to questions from plaintiff's counsel regarding the archbishop's actions in response to allegations of sexual abuse by a priest in this case,'' according to a statement issued by church spokeswoman Mary Ross Agosta.

The statement said archdiocese lawyers ''welcomed'' the deposition ``as a way to admit into the court record the facts of this specific case, the inconsistent allegations and the actions taken by the church in response to the alleged incidents.''

The alleged victim's attorney, Jeffrey Herman, said Favalora's deposition marks the first time that a Florida archbishop has been deposed in the Catholic clergy sex-abuse scandal, which erupted nationwide in 2002.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:09 PM

Group Asks Southern Baptist Leaders to Address Clergy Sex Abuse

NASHVILLE (TN)
Ethics Daily

Bob Allen
02-19-07
A national support group formed amid the Catholic Church's cover-up of abusive priests planned today to canvass members of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee seeking action to protect children against sexual predators posing as Baptist ministers.

"No one wants to see a repeat of the Catholic sex-abuse and cover-up scandal, but unless Southern Baptists start dealing with the problem effectively and compassionately, that may happen," said Christa Brown of Austin, Texas. Brown runs a Web site called StopBaptistPredators.org. It contains numerous documented stories of abuse--including her own account of being sexually assaulted by a minister at the Southern Baptist church she attended as a child.

Adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse by clergy scheduled Monday sidewalk press conferences outside SBC Executive Committee headquarters and in front of the Renaissance Hotel, where members of the SBC's top decision-making body stay when they attend regular meetings twice a year in Nashville, Tenn.

The advocacy group, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), also planned to hand-deliver 80 copies of a letter to Executive Committee members urging creation of an independent review board to investigate and inform church members about incidents of clergy abuse and adoption of a "zero tolerance" policy on sexual abuse by Baptist preachers.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:27 PM

Minister accused of soliciting sex from teenager

SOUTH CAROLINA
WIS

(Kershaw Co.) Feb. 20, 2007 - The Kershaw County Sheriff's Department tells WIS News 10 that they have arrested a local minister who was soliciting sex from what he thought was a 14-year-old girl.

In actuality, authorities say he was communicating with an undercover officer.

Kevin Douglas Ogle, 42, was arrested on Tuesday afternoon.

Ogle, of Northgate Colonial Baptist Church in Camden, is accused of sending graphic pictures of himself over the internet.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:56 PM

Police arrest Camden pastor

CAMDEN (SC)
The State

Kershaw County sheriff’s deputies arrested a Camden pastor and charged him with 11 counts of sexual exploitation of children, a Loganville (Ga.) Police Department statement said.

Police say Kevin Douglas Ogle, 42, of Lugoff, unknowingly chatted online online over a three-month period with an undercover Loganville, Ga., officer, the statement said.

Ogle is accused of sending “pornographic depictions of himself” to whom he thought was a 14-year-old girl via webcam.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:50 PM

Abuse victims complain about grilling at Cornwall inquiry

CANADA
CBC

Last Updated: Tuesday, February 20, 2007 | 12:18 PM ET
CBC News
Sexual abuse victims have complained about harsh treatment by lawyers at the Cornwall public inquiry, prompting the commissioner to intervene.

Commissioner Normand Glaude was to tell lawyers Tuesday how far they should go when questioning the victims at the inquiry, after least one victim stormed off the stand in the middle of his testimony and another made a written complaint about how lawyers treated him.

The inquiry is examining how public and private institutions responded after dozens of people alleged they were sexually abused by prominent men in the eastern Ontario community over several decades.

Commission counsel Peter Engelmann warned lawyers on Monday that the inquiry is not a trial, and they should not aggressively cross-examine witnesses in order to pick apart fuzzy details in their testimony.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:10 PM

Brom's gambit

SAN DIEGO (CA)
Union-Tribune

February 20, 2007

Considered in isolation, San Diego Bishop Robert Brom's warning that his diocese might seek bankruptcy protection from lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by priests likely inspires sympathy for the diocese and the nearly 1 million Catholics it serves in San Diego and Imperial counties. After all, Brom paired his warning with another apology to abuse victims: “I am profoundly sorry for this betrayal of trust in your lives. ... [In] the name of the church, I beg your forgiveness.”

But there is a long history here. Brom's remarks cannot be considered in isolation. Instead, it is not cynical but painfully honest to assume that the bankruptcy warning is more of a legal and public relations tactic than anything else.

It is a matter of record that the diocese faces 150 lawsuits, which could force it to pay out claims of perhaps $200 million, based on precedent. But while this is a staggering sum, it is hardly beyond the means of the diocese, which could sell off some of its unusually diverse real estate holdings, including commercial projects, apartment buildings, condominium complexes and undeveloped land. When Brom says the lawsuits threaten the diocese's “overall mission,” is he suggesting that includes being a force in local real estate and development?

But our concerns go beyond questions about diocese assets. The fact is Brom's own actions raise repeated questions about his sincerity in making amends for priests' molestations and rapes.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:00 PM

Fort Myers youth pastor faces additional charge

FORT MYERS (FL)
Naples Daily News

Daily News Staff

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

An additional sex charge has been tagged on to a Fort Myers youth pastor who was arrested last week on multiple sex crimes against children.

Elantonio T.O. Gomez, 50, of 4790 South Cleveland Avenue, No. 1303, was arrested Feb. 12 and charged with molesting and raping two boys under the age of 15. A third child told Lee County Sheriff's detectives Saturday he also was molested in 2005. The boy, who is under 16, reported he was at Gomez' house playing video games and fell asleep. When he awoke, Gomez was fondling him, according to a press release from the sheriff's office.

One of the first victims who came forward, a boy under 15 years old at the time of the abuse, reported he was molested and raped a few times a week over the course of 11 months. The second boy, who was under 13 at the time, reported the abuse lasted over the course of a few years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:20 PM

Clergy meet as activists blast idea of bankruptcy

SAN DIEGO (CA)
Union-Tribune

By Mark Sauer
and Sandi Dolbee
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITERS
February 20, 2007

San Diego Bishop Robert Brom met behind closed doors yesterday with hundreds of priests, a session clouded by a possible bankruptcy filing as the first civil trials in the sex-abuse scandal loom.

Roman Catholic officials refused to be interviewed about the meeting, or whether the diocese plans to follow through on Brom's contemplation of bankruptcy reorganization, which would halt several trials set to begin Feb 28.

Arizona attorney Susan Boswell, who was the lead attorney for the Diocese of Tucson in its bankruptcy case, walked the priests through what would happen if the San Diego diocese filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in bankruptcy court, according to sources familiar with the meeting of priests, which was part of the previously planned winter assembly.

Brom reportedly gave no timeline for when a decision would be made but said the church was pursuing two venues – settlements or bankruptcy. Four regions have filed for similar protection: Tucson, Spokane, Portland, Ore., and Davenport, Iowa. Much of the information at the meeting was addressed in Brom's pastoral letter to parishioners, which was released during Mass over the weekend.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:49 AM

How much is too much for sex abuse 'victims'?

CANADA
Ottawa Sun

Tue, February 20, 2007

By CP

CORNWALL — Emotionally fragile witnesses should not be subjected to undue harm in order for the Cornwall Public Inquiry to get to the bottom of historic and systemic child sexual abuse, commission officials heard Monday.

A number of parties at the inquiry assessing claims of systemic sexual abuse in the area suggested victims and alleged victims should be questioned by lawyers who represent not only their abusers but also public institutions with whom the witnesses had some form of contact.

At the same time, parties suggested, witnesses should not be further victimized by the process.

“What works in a criminal courtroom may not be successful at this inquiry,” said David Bennett, an attorney representing an Ottawa-based victims group.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:57 AM

Pittsburgh diocese investigates Millvale allegations

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Tribune-Review

By Bobby Kerlik
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh is investigating allegations of financial abuses by a Millvale parish pastor who resigned last week.

Parishioners received a letter at weekend Masses stating that the Rev. John Nanz resigned as pastor of Holy Spirit Parish and diocesan officials are conducting an audit, as is done whenever a pastor leaves a church.

"The most serious allegations are with regard to finances," said the Rev. Ron Lengwin, spokesman for the diocese.

Police are not involved, he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:27 AM

Lawyer says San Diego diocese's bankruptcy threat is a ploy

SAN DIEGO (CA)
Mercury News

Associated Press
SAN DIEGO - An attorney representing people who claim they were abused by priests sharply criticized the Catholic Diocese of San Diego Monday, saying its threat to file for bankruptcy was an attempt to suppress full disclosure of the sex abuse scandal.

"It's a bad idea for the church," said attorney Irwin Zalkin, who represents 45 accusers. "It's nothing but a way to protect this bishop and his predecessors - to keep the truth from coming out."

In a letter to parishioners released Sunday, Bishop Robert H. Brom said the diocese is considering filing for Chapter 11 reorganization in bankruptcy court because of lawsuits filed on behalf of 143 people.

A message left at the San Diego Diocese after business hours Monday was not immediately returned.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:22 AM

San Diego Diocese Mulls Bankruptcy

SAN DIEGO (CA)
NBC San Diego

SAN DIEGO -- The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego said in a letter to parishioners this weekend that it is considering declaring bankruptcy to avoid going to trial on more than 140 lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by priests.

The pastoral statement, signed by Bishop Robert Brom, said if fair settlements can't be reached with abuse victims, "the diocese may be forced to file a Chapter 11 reorganization in bankruptcy court."

The diocese is concerned "that settlements not cripple the ability of the Church to accomplish its mission and ministries," the letter said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:18 AM

Diocese to sell three Davenport properties

DAVENPORT (IA)
Quad-City Times

By Dustin Lemmon | Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Diocese of Davenport is preparing to sell three Davenport properties as part of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy and has filed a motion with the court to hire local real estate agents.

The motion filed Friday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Iowa, lists the real estate as the bishop’s house at 2761 Scott St., a single-family house at 803 E. 39th St. and a 25-acre farm at 3718 Telegraph Road.

Deacon David Montgomery said the three properties and the chancery at 2706 N. Gaines St. will all be sold. The chancery, which has an assessed value of more than $2 million, was not named in the recent motion, and Montgomery is not sure why or when it will be placed on the market.

“We know it’s going to be included,” he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:01 AM

Polygamists' trials now on again

KINGMAN (NV)
The Daily News

By JIM SECKLER/The Daily News

Monday, February 19, 2007 9:07 PM PST

KINGMAN - Trials have now been set for the three remaining Colorado City polygamists charged with having sexual relations with underage girls.

Superior Court Judge Steven Conn set Randolph Barlow's one-day bench trial to begin Feb. 27. Barlow, 33, is charged with two counts of sexual conduct with a minor. A bench trial is where the judge not a jury decides the verdict.

Dale Evans Barlow's jury trial is now set to begin Feb. 28. Barlow, 49, is charged with one count of sexual conduct with a minor and one count of conspiracy to commit sexual conduct with a minor.

Rodney Holm's jury trial is now set for March 20. Holm, 40, a former Colorado City police officer, is charged with three counts of sexual conduct with a minor.

The codefendants belong to a polygamist sect of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Colorado City.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:59 AM

Bad Housekeeping

UNITED STATES
Commonweal

The Editors

Rev. Rodney Rodis had a reputation as a people-centered leader who was especially good with kids. This may have had something to do with the fact that-as his parishioners were stunned to discover last month-he lived in a subdivision with a “wife” and three children. Rodis, a fifty-year-old priest of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, apparently found it difficult to support his lifestyle on a cleric’s salary. According to police, he supplemented his income by stealing close to $1 million from his two parishes over the past five years. Police say the alleged theft was facilitated by his ability, as a parish priest, to open church bank accounts with just one signature: his own.

Unfortunately, stories like Rodis’s are all too common. With the Catholic Church still reeling from the sexual-abuse crisis, a new series of financial scandals is threatening to further erode the laity’s trust in their bishops. Even as some dioceses have gone bankrupt paying abuse-settlement claims, priests and laypeople alike have been exploiting the lax financial regulations in parishes across the country to line their pockets with church funds. A Villanova University survey released in January found that 85 percent of responding dioceses had uncovered embezzlement in the past five years. Eleven percent reported thefts of over half a million dollars, and one-third lost up to fifty thousand dollars. This means a minimum of $4 million has been pilfered since 2002.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:56 AM

Victims Gather at Catholic Diocese to Denounce Bishop's Letter

SAN DIEGO (CA)
KPBS

Feb 19, 2007
Andrea Hsu

A small group of victims of sexual abuse by clergy gathered today outside the San Diego Catholic Diocese Pastoral Center. They came to denounce a letter written by Bishop Robert Brom indicating the Diocese may declare bankruptcy. KPBS Radio's Andrea Hsu reports.

Bishop Brom's letter to parishioners came 10 days before the start of the first trial in San Diego over sexual abuse by clergy. In the letter, he writes that he's painfully aware of the harm that victims have suffered. But that good stewardship demands that settlements not cripple the mission of the church. Joelle Casteix of the organization Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests says she was deeply disappointed by the letter.

Casteix: We've been fighting long and hard to get the truth out in San diego and the fact that the bishop is now hinting at a bankruptcy is a real slap in the face to the survivors.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:54 AM

Congregation begins healing process

VAN WERT (OH)
Times Bulletin

By ED GEBERT
Times Bulletin news writer
egebert@timesbulletin.com

After an emotional weekend, the congregation of St. Mary of the Assumption Church is trying to continue the healing process following the removal of the Rev. Joseph Schmelzer as pastor three weeks ago.

Bishop Leonard Blair of the Toledo Catholic Diocese addressed the church at three weekend Masses and conducted a closed-door meeting with a group of parishioners in hopes of helping those who are hurting. Schmelzer was placed on administrative leave in January 2003 based on accusations of sexual abuse and molestation made by Jon Schoonmaker. Schmelzer resigned at the request of the Bishop Blair in January.

Speaking from his home in Michigan, Schoonmaker told The Times Bulletin he was relieved to learn that the diocese had finally disclosed that another person had made similar credible accusations against Schmelzer. "That's been a huge weight for me," he said. "So, to finally hear about it was a great moment of healing for me. I mean, I know there are others, I've talked to others, I've prayed with others. I've gotten on jets to fly around the country to meet with other victims. But no one would come forward."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:51 AM

San Diego Diocese's possible bankruptcy declaration decried

CALIFORNIA
The Press-Enterprise

10:00 PM PST on Monday, February 19, 2007

By MICHAEL FISHER
The Press-Enterprise

Victims' advocates lambasted a weekend announcement that the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego is considering declaring bankruptcy to avoid trial in almost 145 pending clergy sexual abuse lawsuits, some of which also name the San Bernardino Diocese.

With the first of the long-stalled lawsuits set to start trial next week, critics described the possible bankruptcy filing as an attempt by San Diego church leaders to further delay the cases and to prevent public disclosure of their role in protecting the priests.

The first case set for trial involves a woman who claims she was molested as a teenager in Highland in 1972 by Monsignor Patrick O'Keeffe, a longtime Inland priest.

The San Bernardino Diocese is not named in that lawsuit. Diocesan officials declined to say Monday whether the Inland diocese also is considering declaring bankruptcy to protect its assets from pending lawsuits.

"It is unfortunate that matters in San Diego have reached this point. We continue to pray for a fair and just settlement for all the parties involved," said the Rev. Howard Lincoln, spokesman for the San Bernardino Diocese. He declined to comment further.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:46 AM

Diocese's bankruptcy threat upsets abuse victims in San Diego

SAN DIEGO (CA)
Los Angeles Times

By Tony Perry, Times Staff Writer
February 20, 2007

SAN DIEGO — A threat by the Roman Catholic diocese to file for bankruptcy in the face of lawsuits by people alleging they were sexually abused by priests is an attempt to prevent disclosure about the diocese covering up for such priests, an attorney representing victims said Monday.

"It's a bad idea for the church," said attorney Irwin Zalkin. "It's nothing but a way to protect this bishop and his predecessors — to keep the truth from coming out."

In a letter to parishioners released Sunday, Bishop Robert Brom said the Diocese of San Diego is considering filing for Chapter 11 reorganization in Bankruptcy Court because the lawsuits on behalf of 143 people could, in effect, cripple the diocese.

The first of the lawsuits is set to begin trial next week. Filing for bankruptcy on the eve of trial is a strategy that has been used by some Roman Catholic dioceses faced with such lawsuits.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:43 AM

Hearing date set in church lawyer misconduct dispute

VERMONT
Burlington Free Press

By Sam Hemingway
Free Press Staff Writer

Judge Ben Joseph has set a March 12 date for an all-day hearing on the fate of a longtime attorney for the statewide Roman Catholic diocese accused of concealing church records in a pending priest sex abuse case.

Joseph scheduled the hearing date late last week after an administrative judge refused a request by the attorney, William O'Brien, to reconsider her Jan. 23 decision denying O'Brien's request to have Joseph removed from presiding over the upcoming hearing.

"This disqualification motion already has delayed this case for over two months," Judge Amy Davenport wrote in her latest ruling. "It is time to move forward."

O'Brien, through his attorney Ritchie Berger, accused Joseph of being biased against him and cited an instance where Joseph remarked in court that "wrongdoing" might have occurred in connection with the church's belated discovery of 27 years of church personnel records.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:41 AM

Parishioners say Deacon's comments blame parents for sex abuses

MCALLEN (TX)
The Monitor

Kaitlin Bell
February 20, 2007 - 12:27AM
McALLEN — Some members of Holy Spirit Catholic Parish are decrying a deacon’s comments on priests’ sexual abuse of children that he made during Sunday Mass.
The parishioners say church deacon Alvin Gerbermann told them parents — not the Roman Catholic Church — are to blame for any abuse their children suffer at the hands of priests.
They said they are angry and hurt by what they described as a yet another example of the Church failing to take responsibility for its role in the sexual abuse scandals that have rocked the institution in recent years.
“I think what we’ve been experiencing is that the diocese — and not only the Diocese of Brownsville, but other dioceses as well — seem to be projecting the reason for this on the people [who suffered the abuse], rather than on those who committed the abuse. And this homily seemed like just another attempt to do this,” said Harold Mosher, a longtime parishioner who heard the homily at Sunday’s Mass.
When reached by phone, Gerbermann refused to comment before he could even hear questions on the subject.
“In that case there’s no comment. Bye,” he said, abruptly hanging up.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:39 AM

February 19, 2007

Sins of the father?

COLORADO SPRINGS (CO)
The Gazette

By PAUL ASAY THE GAZETTE

John Murphy said he heard the priest snort and grunt. He felt his bulk push him deep into the mattress. He smelled his Vicks VapoRub cream.

John said he was terrified — scared the fleshy priest would suffocate him before he was done. He was 7 years old, he said, when the Rev. Leonard Abercrombie first molested him.

John, who lives in Colorado Springs, is 61 now, with gray hair, a grooved face and a raspy, tobacco-ravaged laugh. But the memories hold fast: the grunting, the weight, the smell of Vicks. To this day, he said, the scent makes him sick.

He’s one of three Murphy brothers who say they were abused by Abercrombie. For decades they kept their secret, even from one another. Now they want the Catholic Church to pay for what they say Abercrombie did to them.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:23 AM

Editorial: Proposed Jessica's Law requires caution

TEXAS
Waco Tribune

Monday, February 19, 2007

It would be easier to find a needle in a haystack than to find someone who didn’t want to do everything possible to protect children from sex offenders.

Texas lawmakers have filed more than 30 bills this legislative session to crack down on sex offenders.

All four candidates for governor this past election supported legislation to get tougher on child sex offenders.

The challenge is to find the best and most effective way to prevent children from becoming victims of sex offenders.

Legislation introduced by Sen. Bob Deuell, R-Greenville, and supported by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst would allow the death penalty option for repeat child predators.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:51 AM

Trial of vicar adjourned

UNITED KINGDOM
Hereford Times

THE trial of a Herefordshire vicar on child pornography charges has been delayed again. Reverend James Morrish, priest in charge of Kingstone, Thruxton and Clehonger parishes, denies 11 charges of making indecent images of children and two charges of possessing indecent images of children.

The trial was due to start this week. But at Worcester Crown Court last Friday (Feb 16) both prosecution and defence asked for more time to prepare their cases.

Morrish was first due to stand trial late last year, but that date was also put off because the prosecution and defence were not ready.

On Friday, the court heard that the latest delay occurred because prosectors had not served expert evidence on the defence and a prosecution expert had not yet analysed initial evidence from the defence.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:39 AM

Tarr seeks to increase penalty for child endangerment

SALEM (MA)
Salem News

By Julie Manganis , Staff writer
Salem News

SALEM - A North Shore lawmaker vowed to file legislation this week to increase the penalty for child endangerment, making it a felony punishable by up to 10 years in state prison.

The move by Sen. Bruce Tarr, a Gloucester Republican, comes in the wake of widespread criticism of a one-year sentence imposed last Monday on a Salem man who did nothing to stop a 9-year-old girl from being raped in the bed next to the one where he was having sex with the girl's mother and another woman. ...

The legislation would amend the 2002 child endangerment statute, a law enacted in response to the clergy abuse crisis, after reports of instance after instance of church administrators ignoring reported abuse by priests.

Tarr said the 2002 law envisioned a scenario in which abuse was brought to someone's attention and not a case in which someone witnessed abuse and failed to act.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:11 AM

Diocese of San Diego considers bankruptcy

SAN DIEGO (CA)
The Lompoc Record

SAN DIEGO - The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego said in a letter to parishioners this weekend that it is considering declaring bankruptcy to avoid going to trial on more than 140 lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by priests.

The pastoral statement, signed by Bishop Robert Brom, said if fair settlements can't be reached with abuse victims, "the diocese may be forced to file a Chapter 11 reorganization in bankruptcy court."

The diocese is concerned "that settlements not cripple the ability of the Church to accomplish its mission and ministries," the letter said.

The letter was included in the regular weekly bulletin handed out at services Saturday and Sunday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:06 AM

Rev. Edward J. Arsenault: Diocese of Manchester

NEW HAMPSHIRE
The Union Leader

By REV. EDWARD J. ARSENAULT

IN MANY WAYS, the Catholic Church in New Hampshire in 2007 is the same as it was in 2002 and for decades before, but in significant ways it is different.

The Diocese of Manchester is more than an institution. We are the Catholic faithful living as disciples of the Lord. We are over 324,000 people from all over New Hampshire. We are members of over 100 parishes and dozens of Catholic schools. Together, we worship, teach and serve others in Christ's name.

The practices of the Catholic Church in New Hampshire in 2007 are dramatically and measurably different than in 2002. We have learned difficult lessons about the abuse of minors and responded to hundreds of persons who were harmed in the past. Many of those we helped have expressed their gratitude to us. We changed what we do because it has been the right thing to do.

In 2002, only a few people recognized themselves as responsible for reporting the abuse of a minor by church personnel. Today, we all share responsibility for reporting suspicions to civil and church authorities.

Valley priest proves a hit on Web with online videos

YOUNGSTOWN (OH)
Vindicator

By LINDA M. LINONIS
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

THE REV. JEFFREY MICKLER OF Ellsworth doesn't look like a trendy Internet video star, but he's a hit in cyberspace.

The bespectacled 61-year-old Catholic priest of the Society of St. Paul with a white beard, receding hairline and teacherlike demeanor produced and starred in the fifth-most-watched video on Sharkle.com, a free online video-sharing service. He lives at the religious order's residence, commonly referred to as St. Paul's Monastery on U.S. Route 224, west of Canfield.

For his effort, he won a first prize of $2,500 for his video commenting on "Warren Jeffs' Arrest and the Limits of Religious Freedom," in the Get Political Contest on Friendster.com. The priest turned over the check to his religious order. ...

In the Jeffs video, he says that religious freedom isn't without boundaries. He notes that sexual abuse of children is against the law and he doesn't believe someone can claim it's part of their religion to escape being arrested.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:58 AM

Bishops look at fleecings of flocks

UNITED STATES
USA Today

By Alan Gomez, USA TODAY
James and Kathleen Pfeiffer were devoted to their parish and pastor, attending Mass every Sunday and helping pay for new bells at their church in southwestern Virginia.
So when their priest was charged in January with stealing $600,000 from the church, the couple was devastated.

"I would feel better about all this if he wasn't a priest and was just some con man who conned us," Kathleen Pfeiffer said. "He was loved by us. He knew everybody would do anything for him."

The past year saw several cases where clerics were accused of stealing from their faithful. Some churchgoers say the thefts result from putting too much trust in one person and say more oversight is needed to stop it.

Many religious denominations, especially the Roman Catholic Church, say thefts are rare and they are wary of imposing corporate-style regulations on clerics who need the freedom to address the needs of their flock as they and their teachings see fit.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:52 AM

McAllen theater shows controversial documentary Hand of God

MCALLEN (TX)
The Monitor

February 19,2007
Jeremy Roebuck
Monitor Staff Writer

It took him almost a month to find an audience in the Rio Grande Valley. But once he did, filmmaker Joe Cultrera discovered a receptive audience.

Cultrera, the director of Hand of God, a feature-length documentary detailing sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church, answered questions from an audience of nearly 300 on Sunday during a special screening of his film at Cine El Rey in McAllen.

"To me, this is a church," Cultrera said to the audience. "Church is a body of people gathering together for a common belief. Making this film is one of the most spiritual things I have ever done."

The filmmaker and his brother agreed to come to South Texas after the documentary — which ran as part of the Public Broadcasting System program Frontline — failed to air during its primetime Jan. 16 time slot on local affiliate KMBH. The local PBS station, which receives a major portion of its funding from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brownsville, eventually ran it late that night as part of PBS’ direct programming feed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:51 AM

San Diego diocese faces bankruptcy

SAN DIEGO (CA)
RTE News

Monday, 19 February 2007 09:23
The Catholic Diocese of San Diego has said in a letter to parishioners that it is considering declaring for bankruptcy.

The diocese is the subject of more than 140 lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by priests.

The statement, signed by Bishop Robert Brom, said 'the diocese might be forced to file a Chapter 11 reorganisation in bankruptcy court' if what he described as fair settlements could not be reached with abuse victims.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:48 AM

Catholic diocese weighs bankruptcy

SAN DIEGO (CA)
Union-Tribune

By Mark Sauer and Sandi Dolbee
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITERS
February 19, 2007

Catholics got a jolt at Mass this weekend when they opened their church bulletins and found a letter from San Diego Bishop Robert Brom warning that lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by priests could push the diocese into bankruptcy.

“I can't believe that it would come to such a horrible thing,” said Kathy Rolls, 61.

At Sacred Heart Church in Ocean Beach, Teofla Rich, 53, said bankruptcy “would certainly be devastating.”

Facing claims that could exceed $200 million, the diocese may choose this route rather than go to trial in about 150 lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by priests.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:47 AM

Diocese of San Diego considers filing for bankruptcy

SAN DIEGO (CA)
Canton Repository

Monday, February 19, 2007

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego said in a letter to parishioners this weekend that it is considering declaring bankruptcy to avoid going to trial on more than 140 lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by priests.

The pastoral statement, signed by Bishop Robert Brom, said if fair settlements can’t be reached with abuse victims, “the diocese may be forced to file a Chapter 11 reorganization in bankruptcy court.”

The diocese is concerned “that settlements not cripple the ability of the Church to accomplish its mission and ministries,” the letter said.

The letter was included in the regular weekly bulletin handed out at services Saturday and Sunday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:44 AM

Archbishop Kelly's Louisville tenure

LOUISVILLE (KY)
The Courier-Journal

1982: Thomas C. Kelly installed as archbishop at Cathedral of the Assumption.

1989: More than 1,000 Catholics celebrate conclusion of archdiocese's two-year Renew program, focused on rejuvenating the faith of local Catholics.

1994: Renovated Cathedral of the Assumption is rededicated, becomes a setting for many Catholic and interfaith activities.

1995: Kelly announces parish consolidation process that eventually results in a dozen churches closing or merging.

1996: Kelly enters treatment center for addictions to alcohol and painkillers.

2002: Archdiocese named in the first of more than 250 lawsuits, alleging sexual abuse by priests and others associated with the church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:41 AM

Reflections of an archbishop

LOUISVILLE (KY)
The Courier-Journal

By Peter Smith
psmith@courier-journal.com
The Courier-Journal

It was the "greatest heartbreak" he's ever known, and at its peak, he considered heeding the calls for his resignation.

But Archbishop Thomas C. Kelly said the sex-abuse scandal involving priests in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville, which peaked in 2003, was "his responsibility to address," so he stayed.

That decision came despite criticism over revelations that he had kept priests in ministry after learning they had abused minors.

"I know that probably offended some people and I regret that very much, but … looking back on it now, I feel that I should have stayed," he said.

"I hope I have been a good pastor. That's what I wanted to be."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:38 AM

Van Wert County parish defends accused priest

VAN WERT (OH)
Toledo Blade

By DAVID YONKE
BLADE RELIGION EDITOR

VAN WERT, Ohio - Bishop Leonard Blair traveled to a far corner of the 19-county Toledo Catholic Diocese yesterday to meet with members of St. Mary of the Assumption Parish who are reeling from their pastor's forced resignation last month over credible allegations of sexual abuse.

The Rev. Joseph Schmelzer, accused of molestation by two people, was placed on administrative leave in January, 2003, and appealed his case to the Vatican.

The Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith sent a letter to Bishop Blair dated Oct. 9 affirming Father Schmelzer's removal from ministry.

The bishop, who asked Father Schmelzer to resign last month, wanted to meet with parishioners "because they are hurting," said Sally Oberski, a spokesman for the diocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:35 AM

February 18, 2007

Ex-diocese official charged with diverting funds accuses bishop

CLEVELAND (OH)
The Beacon Journal

Associated Press
CLEVELAND - The former financial chief of Ohio's largest Roman Catholic diocese, who is facing federal charges accusing him of taking church funds, contends in court documents that the retired bishop kept his own secret fund.

In court papers, Joseph H. Smith, the former chief financial officer of the Diocese of Cleveland, accused former Bishop Anthony Pilla of writing checks and buying furniture from off-the-books church accounts. The diocese on Saturday denied Smith's allegation.

Smith, 50, pleaded not guilty in August in U.S. District Court to 23 counts, including making false personal income tax returns, money laundering, mail fraud and conspiracy. Anton Zgoznik, Smith's friend who once worked under him at the Cleveland diocese, pleaded not guilty to 15 counts, including conspiracy, money laundering and mail fraud.

Zgoznik, 40, joined Smith's motion, filed Friday, which asks the court to order the diocese or prosecutors to produce financial records that defense lawyers say would exonerate the two. Their trial is scheduled for April.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:33 PM

Brown Takes Aim At Daley's Work As State's Attorney

CHICAGO (IL)
NBC 5

CHICAGO -- In Chicago's mayoral race, candidate Dorothy Brown has taken aim at what Mayor Richard M. Daley did or didn't do when he was state's attorney.

Brown appeared Sunday with a group of victims of alleged priest sexual abuse.

The members claim they took their cases to the office of the state's attorney in the late 80s, when Daley held that post, and they claim nothing was done.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:29 PM

Former priest Ridsdale says sorry

AUSTRALIA
Catholic News

Saying he had finally realised the damage he had caused to hundreds of people, convicted pedophile former priest Gerald Ridsdale has apologised to his victims and their families.

The Herald-Sun reports that Ridsdale, 72, who concedes he'll probably spend the rest of his life in jail, is expected to send a letter of apology in coming months to many of his victims.

Cardinal George Pell and Ballarat Bishop Peter Connors said if the remorse was genuine, it was at least a small step towards healing.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:03 PM

Pastoral statement

SAN DIEGO (CA)
Union-Tribune

February 18, 2007

Over the past five years, the Diocese of San Diego has been responding to people claiming sexual abuse by priests and others in the Church. To this time, pastoral resolution has been acccomplished with 43 indiduals, of which 18 accepted professional counseling and 30 received financial compensation.

There are currently 143 people who have filed lawsuits against the diocese. To date, settlement negotiations with them have, unfortunately, been unsuccessful. While we are prepared to continue negotiations and would hope that they would be successful, we have to consider our alternative if they are not.

We are painfully aware of the harm that the victims of abuse have suffered, and we want to treat all of them fairly and equitably. At the same time, good stewardship demands that settlements not cripple the ability of the Church to accomplish its mission and ministries. Consequently, we must consider how best to fairly compensate the victims while at the same time not jeopardizing our overall mission. If this cannot be done through settlement negotiations, the diocese may be forced to file a Chapter 11 reorganization in bankruptcy court.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:00 PM

Diocese of San Diego eyeing bankruptcy

SAN DIEGO (CA)
Union-Tribune

By Mark Sauer and Sandi Dolbee
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER

12:31 p.m. February 18, 2007

Faced with claims that could exceed $200 million, the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego may be on the verge of declaring bankruptcy rather than proceed to trial on about 150 lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by priests.

In a letter to parishoners attending Mass Saturday and Sunday, Bishop Robert Brom said if abuse victims cannot be fairly compensated through ongoing settlement negotiations without “jeopardizing our overall mission, ... the diocese may be forced to file a Chapter 11 reorganization in bankruptcy court.”

If the San Diego diocese follows through, it would become the fifth in the nation to seek bankruptcy protection out of 196 diocese that have had clergy sexual abuse allegations made against them. The diocese includes a million Cathoics in San Diego and Imperial counties.

The bishop's “pastoral statement” expressed concern for the suffering of abuse victims: “I am profoundly sorry for this betrayal of trust in your lives. On behalf of those who caused you pain, and in the name of the church, I beg your forgiveness.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:57 PM

'Address Clergy Child Sex Abuse,' Victims Tell Attorney General

AUSTIN (TX)
Yahoo!

AUSTIN, Texas, Feb. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Victims of childhood clergy sex abuse are asking US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to prod top Southern Baptist officials to work harder to protect kids from child-molesting clergy. On Tuesday, Gonzales will speak to the highest decision-making body of the nation's largest Protestant denomination in Nashville.

Leaders of a support group called SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, want Gonzales to urge Baptists to move more quickly to oust clergy predators and set up an independent review panel to handle molestation charges.

"No one wants to see a repeat of the Catholic sex abuse and cover-up scandal, but unless Southern Baptists start dealing with the problem effectively and compassionately, that may happen," said Christa Brown of Austin, TX. She was sexually assaulted as a child by a Baptist minister and runs a website called StopBaptistPredators.org. "We hope that Attorney General Gonzales will convey this message to Baptist officials."

For months, clergy sex abuse victims have been frustrated by the refusal of key Baptist officials to respond to their requests for action to make churches safer. They want an independent panel for reviewing reports of clergy sex abuse and the implementation of a tough, nationwide zero-tolerance policy. Denominational officers, however, have ignored SNAP's requests.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:20 PM

Case against Christian Brother settled

IRELAND
One in Four

Irish Times

A man who claimed he was sexually assaulted while a pupil at a Christian Brothers school in Dublin has settled his High Court action for damages.

The 33-year-old man, who was a student at Oatlands junior school, Stillorgan, Co Dublin, between 1983 to 1986, had sued a former Christian Brother Patrick John Kelly and the congregation of Christian Brothers arising from the alleged assaults. Both defendants had denied the claims and the congregation pleaded it was not vicariously liable for the acts alleged against Kelly.

Kelly was the principal of Oatlands school at the time of the alleged assaults and is serving a sentence in Arbour Hill Prison after being convicted of sexual abuse charges relating to other people.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:17 PM

Former friar admits sex assault of girl

IRELAND
One in Four

Irish Times

A former Franciscan friar has pleaded guilty at Wexford Circuit Court to the sexual assault of a young girl. The 66-year-old, who has been laicised for 10 years, is charged with eight counts of indecent assault of a girl aged between nine and 12.

He pleaded guilty to the offences, which occurred between 1972 and 1974.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:15 PM

Abuse victims urged to take part in new Dublin inquiry

IRELAND
Unison

13:46 Thursday February 8th 2007
The One in Four support group is urging victims of clerical sex abuse in Dublin to come forward and participate in a new inquiry into the matter.

The group is also urging anyone with information on such abuse to get in touch with the Commission of Investigation into Clerical Sexual Abuse in the Dublin Archdiocese.

The body is due to examine allegations of abuse by Dublin priests dating back to 1975.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:13 PM

Children deleted from paedophile film

IRELAND
One in Four

Irish Examiner

SHOTS of Dublin schoolchildren have been deleted from a Oscar-nominated documentary featuring an Irish paedophile former priest before it is shown at the Dublin Film Festival on Saturday.

Deliver Us From Evil details 20 years of abuse former cleric Oliver O’Grady inflicted on children in the United States.

The documentary’s creator, Amy Berg, had included scenes filmed at a Dublin school without its permission and it had considered legal action against the filmmakers.

An Irishman involved in the shooting of the scenes has claimed the film’s producer Amy Berg was warned not to show anything that would identify the school or its pupils.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:11 PM

Irish priest subject of US sex lawsuits

IRELAND
One in Four

Irish Examiner

AN Irish priest who allegedly sexually abused at least three women in the United States is the subject of the first of 155 lawsuits which are being taken against two US diocese and which starts this month.

Monsignor Patrick O’Keeffe returned to Ireland in 2002, just days before a warrant was issued for his arrest over child sex abuse charges.

At that point he was wanted on 15 charges over claims that he repeatedly forced a teenager to engage in oral sex when he was serving in a parish near Los Angeles more than 30 years ago. Those charges were dropped because the statute of limitations had expired.

He also faces accusations of sexual abuse from three other women, including allegations he fondled a 14-year-old girl at a school in 1990.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:09 PM

Excommunicated "mystic" on trial over new abuse charges

AUSTRALIA
Catholic News

William Kamm, a self-proclaimed mystic known as the "Little Pebble", yesterday faced fresh charges in a Sydney court of beginning a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old follower selected as one of his "queens".

Mr Kamm is accused of having sex with the girl when she was living with her family in a religious community he established at Cambewarra, near Nowra, on the NSW south coast, The Australian reports.

The cult leader created the community, the Order of Saint Charbel, in the late 1980s and planned to take 12 queens and 72 princesses who would all conceive his children, the NSW District Court was told.

Mr Kamm refused to follow an order by the Holy See in 2002 to disband the community, saying that he operated on God's authority.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:44 AM

Pilla had hidden account, ex-CFO says

CLEVELAND (OH)
The Plain Dealer

Sunday, February 18, 2007
Mike Tobin Plain Dealer Reporter

Former Cleveland Catholic Bishop Anthony Pilla received $177,000 in money and furniture over a decade from an off-the-books church account set up to hide the transactions, a former diocesan official said.

The accusation came in a 40-page motion filed Friday in U.S. District Court by lawyers representing Joseph Smith, the former diocesan chief financial officer. Lawyers for Anton Zgoznik, a former diocesan employee, later joined the motion.

Smith and Zgoznik are accused of defrauding the Cleveland Catholic Diocese out of at least $784,000 over seven years in an elaborate kickback scheme. The two men maintain they simply followed orders from diocesan supervisors, including Pilla, and are taking the fall for the church's poorly managed finances.

A diocesan spokesman denied Smith's accusations.

"We are sorry that Mr. Smith has resorted to making false accusations against those associated with the diocese," spokesman Bob Tayek said in a written statement released Saturday.

"Any suggestion that those involved with the administration of the diocese knew or approved of the activities charged against Mr. Smith, or engaged in similar acts, is false," Tayek said. "We continue to pray for Mr. Smith and his family."

Smith, 50, and Zgoznik, 40, were indicted in U.S District Court last year on charges including conspiracy, money laundering, fraud and tax evasion. Both have pleaded not guilty.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:14 AM

Former priest being sued for child support

ANCHORAGE (AK)
KTUU

by Jill Burke
Saturday, Feb. 17, 2007

Anchorage, Alaska - A vow of obedience and chastity is broken. Decades later the fractured bonds of fatherhood become a matter for the courts of men to weigh. It's pitting an absentee dad and his call to God against his adult sons. Father James Jacobson, a now retired Jesuit priest, fathered two children during his stay in remote Alaskan communities. DNA tests two years ago proved he was the dad and now those sons are seeking child support from the man who never acknowledged what he did or who they were.

In 1963 James Jacobson renounced worldly pursuits to become a Jesuit priest, taking vows of chastity, poverty and obedience to God, but he faltered and those indiscretions are coming back to haunt him.

With separate women from remote Alaskan villages in which he served, Jacobson fathered two sons, who attorneys say grew up impoverished and unacknowledged.

"This is a very complex and difficult situation for them as it has been all of their lives," said Christopher Cooke, attorney suing Jacobson.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:41 AM

Richmond diocese seeks to guard cash

VIRGINIA
Richmond Times-Dispatch

From Staff and Wire Reports Feb 18, 2007

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Richmond has recommended offering-handling safeguards and distributed tamper-proof money bags to parishes to make sure parishioners' donations go to charities and programs as intended.

The security measures follow two recent financial scandals in the sprawling diocese: accusations that a retired priest embezzled more than $1 million from two Louisa County parishes and the arrest of a church secretary in Richmond shown on video allegedly slipping Sunday offerings into her purse.

John Barrett, the diocesan finance director, said he recommended the safeguards for all parishes after the incidents. He wants every parish in the diocese to hold money collected during Mass in the tamper-proof bags until the money can be counted and recorded.

The counting, Barrett said, should be done by teams that include at least two unrelated people. Then, after the money is banked, a bookkeeper should compare the deposit slip with the total tallied by the counters, he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:38 AM

A free crypt for the columnist from Cardinal Mahony?

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Los Angeles Times

Steve Lopez:
Points West

February 18, 2007

Journalists are not allowed to accept gifts from the people they write about, but I'm thinking of making an exception in the case of Los Angeles Cardinal Roger M. Mahony.

Mahony recently gave a tour of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels to my editor and publisher. In the mausoleum under the altar, where crypts are available for purchase, the cardinal offered my bosses a deal. He said he'd provide a final resting place, free of charge, if they promised to put me in it.

Imagine that. Me, lurking in the bowels of the Rog Mahal, into eternity.

My editor said this friendly chat took place in the vicinity of Gregory Peck's crypt, which sounds like a pretty good neighborhood to me. Besides, with crypts near the altar going for as much as a few hundred thousand dollars, this could save my survivors a small fortune.

It wasn't clear whether I would get a crypt or a mere cremation niche, but my guess is the latter. Something tells me Mahony would like to have my cremains in the basement, perhaps as soon as Ash Wednesday this week. In case it escaped your notice, I've written a column or two about his handling of the priest molestation scandal and the district attorney's harangues about "a pattern of obstruction."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:32 AM

Sex fiends see explicit DVDs

AUSTRALIA
Herald Sun

Geoff Wilkinson

February 19, 2007 12:00am

SEXUALLY explicit videos have been shown to some of Victoria's most notorious sex offenders in their cells at Ararat Prison.

Brian Jones, the pedophile known as Mr Baldy, male witch Robin Fletcher and Robert Lowe, the killer of Sheree Beasley, are among prisoners who have had access to the videos.
Two of the movies show naked children playing and include close-up pictures of children's genitals.

Another, says a former prisoner, is "a full-on rapist's handbook". ...

Other sex fiends believed to have watched the movies include pedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale and Kenneth Trotter, described by a judge as a callous, sadistic and most heartless human being.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:28 AM

Your turn: Abbey continues to put kids at risk

MINNESOTA
St. Cloud Times

By David Clohessy and Bob Schwiderski, SNAP

Published: February 15. 2007 12:30AM

Playing fast and loose with the truth and our kids, St. John's Abbey in Collegeville was exposed recently for allowing a registered sex offender to lead retreats at the Episcopal House of Prayer, which is on abbey grounds and run under the auspices of the Minnesota Episcopal Diocese.

Lynn Bauman, who runs a rural retreat center in Texas, admitted to molesting an 8-year-old boy on a campus trip in 1996 and was sentenced to 10 years of probation.

He also was defrocked as an Episcopal priest.

But he's continued to hold himself out as a spiritual authority, helped along by the abbey and the diocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:23 AM

OUR LADY OF LAS VEGAS: Troubles at church ongoing

LAS VEGAS (NV)
Review-Journal

By BRIAN HAYNES
REVIEW-JOURNAL

Long before the Rev. George Chaanine was accused of attacking a church singer and spent a week on the run, he was tapped to heal a simmering rift among the flock at Our Lady of Las Vegas Catholic Church.

Bishop Joseph Pepe, the head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Las Vegas, named Chaanine administrator at the church, hoping Chaanine could bring parishioners together after months of acrimony and infighting over the previous pastor, who had resigned amid accusations of financial misconduct and physical abuse against two boys.

Chaanine seemed to be on the right track, until the evening of Jan. 26, when singer Michaelina Bellamy emerged from the church offices, bloodied and dazed.

She told police she was attacked, hit in the head with a wine bottle, sexually assaulted and nearly choked to death. She told them the attacker was Chaanine.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:15 AM

Lawyer seeks leads for sex suit on priest

TERRE HAUTE (IN)
Journal Gazette

Associated Press
TERRE HAUTE – An attorney is running newspaper ads seeking information about possible victims of a Roman Catholic priest who’s accused in a lawsuit of sexually abusing a young female parishioner in the early 1970s.

A Seymour law firm representing Gretchen Mayerhofer in her claim against the Archdiocese of Indianapolis began running ads Tuesday in the Terre Haute Tribune-Star seeking information about other alleged victims of the Rev. Germain Belen while he was at St. Benedict’s Catholic Church in Terre Haute, 1968-76.

Belen died in 2004, a year after Mayerhofer, who now resides in Placerville, Calif., filed a lawsuit in Marion County accusing him of repeatedly molesting and raping her while she was between the ages of 5 and 10.

Seymour attorney Roger Pardieck said soliciting information through ads is common and has been done in many other cases nationwide to locate similar such victims.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:12 AM

February 17, 2007

Richmond Roman Catholic Diocese seeks 'tamper-proof' collections

VIRGINIA
Daily Press

By the Associated Press
February 17, 2007
NORFOLK, Va. -- Parishioners at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church can load up the collection plate Sunday with confidence their money will support the charities and program for which it is intended.

Stung by financial scandals, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Richmond has distributed tamper-proof money bags to Blessed Sacrament and other parishes throughout the sprawling diocese to ensure donations go where they are intended.

The security measure follows accusations that a retired priest in central Virginia embezzled more than $600,000 from two parishes and the arrest of a church secretary in Richmond shown on video allegedly slipping Sunday offerings into her purse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:43 PM

Group wants N.H. diocese to release names of accused priests

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Foster's Daily Democrat

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) _ A national advocacy group wants the Diocese of Manchester to publish the names of all its priests accused of sexually abusing minors. A diocese spokesman said that isn't going to happen.

Barbara Blaine, the president and founder of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, visited Manchester on Thursday to push the diocese to release the names of 52 accused priests. She said it's the only way to protect the diocese's children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:41 PM

Pedophile priest film debuts in Ireland

LOS ANGELES (CA)
United Press International

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- A critically acclaimed U.S. documentary about a pedophile priest debuted this weekend in Ireland where the disgraced clergyman now lives.

Oliver O'Grady was deported back to his native Ireland after he was arrested in 1993 in California and is now the subject of "Deliver Us From Evil," which has been hailed by critics and nominated for an Academy Award.

"Deliver Us From Evil" was on the bill at the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival Saturday and has been the topic of extensive media coverage in Ireland since the film's release last summer.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:40 PM

Bishop's statement on sex abuse lawsuits

CANADA
Sootoday

By David Helwig
SooToday.com
Saturday, February 17, 2007

The following statement was issued today by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie.

SooToday.com is currently reviewing 60 pages of court documents and is preparing a further report on the sex-abuse accusations they contain.

Four priests are named in these lawsuits.

One, Father Roy J. McParland of Sault Ste. Marie, is still alive.

The others, Father Magnus J. Fedy of Scollard Hall in North Bay, Father John Fisher of North Bay's Assumption Pro-Cathedral, and Father Jean-Claude Etienne of St-Thomas Apôtre Parish and St. Thomas Separate School in Warren, Ontario, are all dead.

*************************
Sudbury, February 17, 2007 – The following will be read to the parishioners at weekend masses on February 17 and 18 in all churches of the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie, at the personal request of Bishop Jean-Louis Plouffe.

The bishop has declared that he did not want to avoid his pastoral duties.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:37 PM

Court: Priest sentenced for child porn to be on sex offender registry

ROCHESTER (NY)
WSTM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. A priest who has been imprisoned for more than a year for the possession of child pornography will be listed on the state's sexual offender registry.

State Supreme Court Justice Harold Galloway has rejected Michael Volino's argument that he should be exempt from the registry because of a discrepancy between New York laws and the federal laws under which he was convicted.

The 42-year-old Rochester man admitted in May 2005 to having more than three images of child pornography on a computer. Authorities say the number totaled nearly 600, and that Volino said in an F-B-I interrogation that he had a desire to view sexually explicit images of boys younger than 18.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:56 AM

Sex offender list will include priest

ROCHESTER (NY)
Democrat and Chronicle

Gary Craig
Staff writer

(February 17, 2007) — The Rev. Michael Volino's bid to stay off New York's sex offender registry has failed.

Volino has been imprisoned for more than a year for the possession of child pornography. His lawyer had argued in court that Volino should be exempt from the state's registry because of a discrepancy between New York laws and the federal laws under which he was convicted.

State Supreme Court Justice Harold Galloway did not buy the legal argument, however, and in a ruling issued Wednesday — and released publicly Friday — determined Volino is eligible for the registry.

Volino, 42, admitted in May 2005 to having more than three images of child pornography on a computer. Authorities said the number totaled nearly 600 and that Volino said in an interrogation by the FBI that he had a desire to view sexually explicit images of boys younger than 18.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:53 AM

Priest yet to go to prison

LONG ISLAND (NY)
Newsday

BY ZACHARY R. DOWDY
zachary.dowdy@newsday.com

February 17, 2007

It's been more than two years since a Suffolk mother sat in a Riverhead courtroom and watched a Catholic priest admit forcing her 5-year-old son to perform sex acts on him.

The priest, Barry Ryan, 58, of Palm City, Fla., told Suffolk County Court Judge Ralph Gazzillo in December 2004 that the acts occurred over many weeks, all under the woman's roof.

Ryan was ill at the time with what was diagnosed as terminal cancer, and he seemed barely able to speak as he sat in a wheelchair in the courtroom. Doctors thought he'd be dead in a few months.

So, hoping to spare her son what she said would be the trauma of a trial, and assured that Ryan would not live long, the mother agreed to a 2-year sentence for the priest, a term that would begin in July 2005. After all, everybody thought Ryan would be dead by the time his term was to begin.

But he wasn't dead - and he still isn't.

Ryan resides now in the St. Luke Institute, a church-run facility in Maryland that specializes in caring for wayward priests, and he still hasn't served a day of his prison term.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:38 AM

Ex-priest accused of sexual abuse in ’70s

TERRE HAUTE (IN)
The Tribune-Star

By Howard Greninger
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — A former priest at St. Benedict’s Catholic Church is accused in a Marion County lawsuit of sexual abusing a girl in Terre Haute in the early 1970s.

A Seymour law firm representing Gretchen Mayerhofer is using a Tribune-Star advertisement to seek information about the Rev. Germain Belen.

Belen served at St. Benedict’s from 1968 to 1976. He died in 2004, a year after Mayerhofer, of Placerville, Calif., filed a lawsuit accusing him of repeatedly molesting and raping her in the Terre Haute church and its rectory when she was between age 5 and 10.

The lawsuit names the Archdiocese of Indianapolis as defendant. The ads in the Tribune-Star began Tuesday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:26 AM

Film keeps focus on pedophile priest

CALIFORNIA
Los Angeles Times

By Gina Piccalo, Times Staff Writer

"Deliver Us From Evil," a documentary about pedophile priest Oliver O'Grady and his devastating California legacy, has earned its filmmaker multiple awards and an Oscar nomination. Now the film is kicking up new controversy and litigation from L.A. to Ireland, where O'Grady now lives.

Released in the U.S. last fall, "Deliver Us From Evil" details the 20-year swath of abuse that Irish native O'Grady cut through the Stockton area from 1971 to his arrest in 1993, and it concludes that Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, then the bishop of Stockton, knew of the molestations but transferred and promoted O'Grady anyway.

The film features O'Grady giving director Amy Berg what he calls "the most honest confession of my life." Its cinematic success is not only calling renewed attention to Mahony but also motivating more victims in the U.S. and Ireland to come forward with civil lawsuits as well as criminal allegations that could land O'Grady in prison in Ireland, where there is no statute of limitations on child sexual abuse. The film has already turned him into a national pariah there, recognized on the street, hounded by reporters and well-known to police.

"Deliver Us From Evil," which has been front-page news in Ireland since Lionsgate Films premiered it in Los Angeles last summer, will gets its first major Irish screening today at the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:24 AM

New leader named for Greenwich's St. Michael

GREENWICH (CT)
The Advocate

By Neil Vigdor
Staff Writer

Published February 17 2007

GREENWICH - Shaken by a financial scandal that took down its pastor, St. Michael the Archangel Roman Catholic Church is getting a new leader, albeit a familiar face.

Monsignor J. Peter Cullen, the church's temporary administrator for the past three weeks, will celebrate his first Mass at 5 p.m. today as the permanent pastor of the North Street parish and St. Timothy Chapel. He also will take over as president of Greenwich Catholic School next door.

A former Riverside resident and longtime clergyman with ties to New Canaan and Stamford, Cullen assumed the pastoral duties at the church after the resignation of the Rev. Michael Moynihan.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:21 AM

Kin suspect letter fueled monk's bid at suicide

DES MOINES (IA)
Des Moines Register

By SHIRLEY RAGSDALE
REGISTER RELIGION EDITOR

February 17, 2007

An anonymous letter that threatened to expose Brother Patrick Harris as a child-murderer may have triggered the Des Moines monk's suicide attempt, his family believes.

"I saw and read the letter," said Holly Kruger of Dike, Harris' sister. "It threatened to go to the press and expose him if he didn't get out of Des Moines. The letter is what brought it all about; it brought everything back."

Harris, 63, was seriously injured Feb. 6 when he stepped in front of a train in Elkhorn, Neb. Harris survived because he lay down between the rails before the train struck him.

When police inquired about why he might want to harm himself, Harris' relatives confided a piece of his past.

In 1976, Harris, then known as Dallas Harris, was embroiled in a custody battle and divorce. He suffocated his 3-year-old daughter in Pine County, Minn., and then tried to commit suicide.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:13 AM

February 16, 2007

Local Jesuit priest sued by children for unpaid child support

SPOKANE (WA)
KHQ

Feb 16, 2007 03:51 PM EST

SPOKANE, Wash. - The children of 83-year-old Father James Jacobson, a retired Jesuit priest living at the Regis House on the Gonzaga campus, are suing him for almost $600,000 in unpaid child support.

Attorneys are also suing the Oregon Province of Jesuits which employed Father Jacobson. The suit alledges the Jesuits knew "Jacobson repeatedly violated his vow of celibacy" and that they "ignored or condoned this wrongful behavior."

Lawyers say because Father Jacobson took a vow of poverty, he can't pay. However Father Jacobson spent his last 25 years of service as a prison chaplain in Oregon, where officials say he made nearly one million dollars. KHQ tried talking to Jacobson Thursday after his deposition but he refused.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:04 PM

Priest pleads guilty in embezzlement case

OMAHA (NE)
World-Herald

BY JOHN KEENAN AND KRISTIN ZAGURSKI
WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITERS
The former pastor of St. Patrick Catholic Church had taken $127,000 from the time he started at the church in 2001 until his actions were discovered in January, a prosecutor said today.

After the hearing, Gutgsell's attorney, James Schaefer, offered a brief comment on his client's behalf.

"He'd just like to say that he's ashamed of his conduct," Schaefer said. "He knows he was wrong, and he's asking forgiveness from the parishioners and the church."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:54 PM

DIOCESE HERE THIS WEEKEND

WICHITA FALLS (TX)
KFDX

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth will be in Wichita Falls this weekend, and they encourage anyone who might have been a victim of a former priest at Sacred Heart Catholic Church to come forward. The Diocese says a man, who in 2004 reported abuse by the late Priest James Fitzpatrick at the church in the late 60s, has re- contacted them.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:52 PM

Ex-priest says his accusers' stories differ on vidoetapes

FRANKFORT (KY)
The Kentucky Post

Associated Press

FRANKFORT - The attorney for a former priest convicted of sexually abusing two Bullitt County boys told the Kentucky Supreme Court a videotape shows the two accusers contradicting their stories.

The attorney for Daniel C. Clark asked for a new trial Wednesday so he can present a videotape to a jury.

Clark, 58, is serving a 10-year sentence after being convicted on charges of abuse in 2003. Clark was charged with abusing the two boys from 1999 - when one boy was 8 years old and the other was 9 - until 2002.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:50 PM

Priest Pleads Guilty To Embezzlement

OMAHA (NE)
KETV

OMAHA, Neb. -- The Omaha priest charged with embezzling $100,000 from his church pleaded guilty to the crime on Friday.

The Rev. Stephen Gutgsell was charged with theft by deception after more than $100,000 was reported missing from St. Patrick's Parish. Gutgsell turned himself in to police this week after reaching a plea deal with prosecutors.

Gutgsell pleaded guilty in Douglas County Court and faces one to 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:46 PM

Judge: Priest must go on sex offender registry

ROCHESTER (NY)
Democrat and Chronicle

Gary Craig
Staff writer

(February 16, 2007) — A judge has ruled that a Catholic priest who admitted to possession of child pornography must go on the state’s sex offender registry when freed from federal prison in March.

The Rev. Michael Volino, 42, had argued that he was not eligible for the state registry because of a discrepancy between the state and federal child pornography laws — namely, that New York laws set younger ages for those pictured in the pornographic images to qualify as child pornography.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:37 PM

Priest charged over child offence

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC News

A parish priest has been charged with the attempted rape of a child.

Father John Herve, vicar at St Agatha's church in Sparkbrook, Birmingham, has also been charged with five counts of indecent assault on a person under 14.

He also faces a charge of indecent assault on a person under 16. The charges relate to incidents going back to the 1990s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:08 AM

Pedophile priest sorry

AUSTRALIA
Herald Sun

Mark Dunn and Mark Buttler

February 17, 2007 12:00am

VICTORIA'S most notorious pedophile has written a belated letter of apology to dozens of victims as he contemplates dying in prison.

Former priest Gerald Francis Ridsdale, 72, concedes he'll probably spend the rest of his life in jail, but says he's finally realised the damage he caused to hundreds of people.

His victims, many of whom are expected to receive the letter in coming months, have given mixed reactions to the apology.

Most said it meant little in comparison with the lives he has ruined.

But Cardinal George Pell and Ballarat Bishop Peter Connors said if the remorse was genuine, it was at least a small step towards healing.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:07 AM

Judge's sentence for Patrick Doyle drawing controversy

SALEM (MA)
The Salem News

By Julie Manganis , Staff writer
Salem News

SALEM - The one-year jail sentence meted out this week to Patrick Doyle - the man who ignored the cries of a 9-year-old girl being raped repeatedly in the bed next to him - has been fueling outrage on talk radio, TV stations and even the corridors of the Statehouse.

Superior Court Judge Leila Kern sentenced Doyle on Monday to five years of probation - but no jail time - for child endangerment. She also sentenced him to 21/2 years in jail for intimidating a witness in the case but suspended all but a year of it. Doyle will be eligible for parole in six months. ...

Under the law - created less than five years ago in response to the priest sexual abuse crisis - the maximum penalty for child endangerment, a misdemeanor, is 21/2 years in jail.

"I'm not sure it ever contemplated this circumstance," said Tarr, who said the statute was responding to administrative or bureaucratic failures to respond to child abuse - not a situation in which the defendant helped create the abuse, as another judge found last year in the Doyle case.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:03 AM

Priest on child sex charges

UNITED KINGDOM
ic Birmingham

Feb 16 2007

A parish priest who was a former chairman of governors at a city school was yesterday charged with the attempted rape of a child.

Honorary Canon Father John Herve, will appear before magistrates in Birmingham next Thursday accused of one count of attempted rape of a person under 16.

He was also charged with five counts of indecent assault on persons under 14 and one count of indecent assault on a person under 16.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:08 AM

Group wants church to name accused clergy

OMAHA (NE)
Sioux City Journal

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- Frustrated by the Catholic Church's handling of its own nationwide sexual abuse scandal, a victim's advocate group on Thursday called on Nebraska church officials to publicly name accused clergy members and admonish a Lincoln bishop whom they say has snubbed reform efforts.

David Clohessy, the national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, also urged sexual assault victims to contact the group and law enforcement -- but avoid coming forward to the Church.

"We believe that bishops recruit, educate, ordain, employ and eventually cover up for and transfer abusive priests, and they can't therefore simply suspend the priest and say, 'OK, we're done," Clohessy said. "They have an affirmative, civic and moral duty, we believe, to warn families about and protect kids from these priests."

Group members spoke with reporters in front of the chancery office of the Omaha Archdiocese. Clohessy said SNAP did not contact Nebraska's church officials to arrange a visit, but said he has been trying to reach church officials -- including Lincoln Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz -- for years without reply.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:52 AM

Priest's lawyer wants new trial

FRANKFORT (KY)
Lexington Herald-Leader

ASSOCIATED PRESS
FRANKFORT - The attorney for a former priest convicted of sexually abusing two Bullitt County boys told the Kentucky Supreme Court a videotape shows the two accusers contradicting their stories.

The attorney for Daniel C. Clark asked for a new trial Wednesday so he can present a videotape to a jury.

Clark, 58, is serving a 10-year sentence after being convicted on charges of abuse in 2003. Clark was charged with abusing the two boys between 1999 -- when one boy was 8 years old and the other was 9 -- until 2002.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:48 AM

February 15, 2007

Pilfering Priests

UNITED STATES
Time

Thursday, Feb. 15, 2007 By TIM PADGETT / DELRAY BEACH

Until two years ago, the Roman Catholic diocese of Palm Beach, Fla., ran audits of its parishes only when they changed pastors. It was a risky, even foolhardy policy when you consider that a parish like St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church, in Delray Beach, hadn't changed pastors in 40 years. In September 2003, upon the retirement of St. Vincent's pastor, the Rev. John Skehan, diocesan accountant Denis Hamel dutifully showed up to inspect the books and the procedures for counting Sunday collections. The new pastor, the Rev. Francis Guinan--a close buddy of Skehan's--told him to beat it. But the new bishop, Gerald Barbarito, eventually ordered Guinan to comply--and by Easter 2005, after parish staff had come forward with what they knew about St. Vincent's slippery bookkeeping, Hamel was left dumbfounded. "I called the bishop," says Hamel, now the diocese's financial administrator, "and I told him we had a tiger by the tail."

It was an especially ravenous beast if the allegations are true. Forensic auditors estimate that Skehan and later Guinan misappropriated $8.6 million over 42 years. They allegedly diverted St. Vincent collection money to secret slush-fund accounts while living as hedonistically as Renaissance Popes. The police report says Skehan, 79, gave a "girlfriend" $134,000, made a rare-coins purchase for $275,000 and owned an oceanfront condominium worth $455,000. It says Guinan, 63, whom Barbarito removed as St. Vincent's pastor in 2005, spent his take on expensive vacations to Las Vegas and the Bahamas; a $220,000 renovation of his parish residence; and payments to his own "paramour," the bookkeeper of his former parish, whom he gave $47,000 for credit-card bills and her child's tuition. Both priests were arrested by Delray Beach police last September--after Guinan returned from a South Pacific cruise--and were charged with grand theft. (They pleaded not guilty.)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:26 PM

Allegations of Sexual Misconduct Against Four Priests

CANADA
Soonews

On Friday, February 16th, 2007, commencing at 10:00 am at the Radisson Hotel Sudbury, located at 85 Ste Anne Road, Sudbury, Ontario (705-675-1123) a Press Conference will be hosted by the law firm of Ledroit Beckett Litigation Lawyers.

The Conference will announce the commencement of a number of civil lawsuits against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie related to the sexual abuse of minors by clergy.

The lawsuits name four priests and include allegations of sexual misconduct in the communities of Sault Ste. Marie, Warren and North Bay, all of which are located within the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie. Along with the Diocese a Religious Order is also named in one of the actions.

Present at the Press Conference will be a number of victims of clergy sexual abuse along with their legal counsel. Also present will be the Northern Ontario representative of SNAP (Survivor’s Network of those Abused by Priests).

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:22 PM

Friend saw signs of abuse in church leader's victim

FLORIDA
NBC 2

Maggie Newland
Last updated on: 2/14/2007 6:20:47 PM

LEE COUNTY: A church youth leader accused of repeated sexual assaults on two teenage boys now has a $300,000 bond after his first court appearance. The judge ordered a mental health evaluation and ordered him not to have contact with minors if he bonds out of jail. NBC2 spoke to a woman who knows Elantonio "T.O." Gomez and the boys.

It's a story one woman says will haunt her for a long time - a story she says leaves her so heart-broken, she only agreed to talk if she could remain anonymous. She fears if her name or face were used, it could bring even more pain to a child who has already been through so much.

A bible verse greets all who arrive at Gomez's front door - a symbol of his job as a church youth leader.

But people who know Gomez say he didn't just work with young people on Sundays. They say his door was always open to kids.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:41 AM

Notes on a scandal: NH clergy abuse five years on

NEW HAMPSHIRE
The Union Leader

On Feb. 11, 2002, Bishop John McCormack's delegate for sexual misconduct by church personnel, Rev. Edward Arsenault, assured then-Attorney General Philip McLaughlin that there were no problems with New Hampshire priests and that the diocese had complied with state law requiring the reporting of sexual abuse.

Four days later, on Feb. 15, the diocese removed seven priests from active ministry and released the names of 14 in all who had been accused of sexual abuse. To see how well the church complied with the statutes requiring the reporting of suspected sexual abuse, consider that one of the priests dismissed on that day was Father John Poirier.

The diocese was aware of Poirier's addictive and compulsive desire for sex with boys and his attempts to fulfill that desire dating as far back as 1975 and recurring through at least 1991. Yet it was not until 2002, when the state attorney general came poking around, that Poirier was removed from ministry.

In Poirier's file was this 1991 note from Chancellor Francis Christian: "As part of our discussions I once again reminded Father Poirier that any public notoriety involved with his compulsive behavior would be the end of his priestly ministry here in the Diocese of Manchester."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:39 AM

Diocese under fire for not naming accused priests

MANCHESTER (NH)
The Union Leader

By KATHRYN MARCHOCKI
New Hampshire Union Leader Staff

MANCHESTER – In the five years since Bishop John B. McCormack first publicly released the names of 14 Roman Catholic priests credibly accused of sexually abusing minors, the list has grown to 52 and should be posted in its entirety on the diocese's web site, the leader of a national support group for survivors of clergy abuse said yesterday.

"We believe he should reveal the names of all the predator priests. We think he has a moral and civic duty to do that because there are children who could be exposed to those individuals today and they could be needlessly hurt," said Barbara A. Blaine of Chicago, founder and president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP.

Blaine was in Manchester to mark the fifth anniversary of McCormack's first disclosure of the names of allegedly abusive priests on Feb. 15, 2002.

Since then, Blaine said SNAP and other groups have tallied a total 52 priests from the Manchester diocese who have been credibly accused of child sexual abuse. She said the group counts 10 others who were "apparently from outside the diocese but were working here temporarily."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:36 AM

Video is cited in ex-priest's appeal

FRANKFORT (KY)
The Courier-Journal

By Peter Smith
psmith@courier-journal.com
The Courier-Journal

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- A videotape that jurors never saw has become a point of contention in the appeal of a former priest's conviction on sexual-abuse charges.

A lawyer argued before the Kentucky Supreme Court yesterday that Daniel C. Clark deserves a new trial where jurors can see the videotape, which allegedly shows his young accusers contradicting themselves.

But in oral arguments, an assistant attorney general said Clark's lawyer never made a case for the videotape to be shown.

Clark, 58, is serving a 10-year sentence following his 2003 conviction on charges that he sexually abused two Bullitt County boys between 1999 -- when one was 8 years old and the other 9 -- and 2002. The Vatican removed Clark from the priesthood in 2004.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:34 AM

Activists protest near church meeting

PALM SPRINGS (CA)
The Desert Sun

Nicole C. Brambila
The Desert Sun
February 15, 2007

Many times, it's the ordinary, everyday life things that trigger the memory - like brushing her teeth - Esther Miller told passers-by on Wednesday.

She and five other members of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, carried quilts with the pictures of alleged clergy sex-abuse victims in downtown Palm Springs. All the 125 photos - about half female - were of Southern California residents.

"This is a crime that they committed against me," the 48-year-old Huntington Beach resident said. "He took my mind, my body and my soul.

"I am a survivor."

Miller has a pending lawsuit against St. John's Seminary in Camarillo, accusing former priest Michael Nocita of molesting her at 16.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:30 AM

February 14, 2007

Priest sex-abuse case postponed

SYRACUSE (NY)
The News Journal

By BETH MILLER, The News Journal

Posted Wednesday, February 14, 2007 at 4:42 pm
A pretrial conference in a child sexual-abuse case against a former Delaware priest was postponed Wednesday in Syracuse, N.Y., and rescheduled for March 5, court officials said.

Francis G. DeLuca, 77, who was a priest in the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington for 35 years, was arrested in October and charged with sexually abusing a Syracuse, N.Y., teen over a period of five or six years.

Syracuse police say DeLuca confessed after they arrested him.

After DeLuca’s arrest, Wilmington Bishop Michael Saltarelli released the names of 20 priests against whom the diocese had substantiated allegations of child sexual abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:43 PM

Roman Catholic clergy will continue convention

PALM SPRINGS (CA)
Orange County Register

City News Service

PALM SPRINGS -- Roman Catholic clergy will continue a four-day convention today as they discuss ways to deal with issues facing the church.

Members of a group concerned about victims of sexual abuse will "have a presence" outside the convention hotel, saying the gathering inside should focus more on the abuse issue.

The 34th annual National Organization for Continuing Education of Roman Catholic Clergy starts each day with a prayer service, and then works to build "dialogue" around contemporary "pastoral needs and realities," according to organizers.

A number of bishops and other church leaders are scheduled to speak at the convention at the Hotel Zoso in downtown Palm Springs.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:36 PM

Sex Offender Sentenced For Not Notifying State

WISCONSIN
Wisconsin State Journal

Saturday, February 3, 2007
DOUG ERICKSON derickson@madison.com 608-252-6149

A former Episcopalian pastor and convicted sex offender who moved from Milwaukee to Fort Atkinson and opened a "monastic community" without notifying the state's sex offender registry was sentenced to 10 days in jail Friday.

The punishment was far less than the nine months in jail sought by Jefferson County District Attorney David Wambach.

William J. Smith, 55, was convicted in December of one felony count of violating the state's sex offender registry for failing to provide his new address. A second felony count of using an alias -- Father Abbot Joseph -- was dismissed as part of the plea agreement.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:31 PM

SNAP offers help to possible victims, witnesses

PHILLIPS (WI)
The-Bee

Patti Wenzel, patti.wenzel@mx3.com
THE-BEE
Wednesday, February 14th, 2007 09:20:34 AM

David Schauer, a victim of clergy abuse while a child in Green Bay, led a small group of SNAP members while they left informational leaflets with parishioners or on their cars during Sunday mass at St. Therese of Lisieux in Phillips.

“We are in Phillips to reach out to any possible victims and/or witnesses to the misconduct of this priest,” Schauer said. “We want to remove the feeling of isolation that victims often feel.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:31 PM

There is no excuse

ALASKA
Anchorage Daily News

Published: February 10, 2007
Last Modified: February 10, 2007 at 12:42 AM

Sometimes, an excuse comes around that is so insulting, so offensive that it surprises even the most cynical among us.

Such is the case with the Rev. James Jacobson, who served in Alaska in the 1960s and 1970s, and his Jesuit order. Two grown men fathered by Mr. Jacobson in 1966 and 1975, and one of the mothers, are suing the Roman Catholic priest and the Jesuits for child support. Though he worked as a paid chaplain in an Oregon prison from 1979 to 2005, Mr. Jacobson never paid any child support, according to the lawsuit.

The excuse offered by the priest and the Jesuits is that Mr. Jacobson took a vow of poverty when he joined the order and turned over all income to the Jesuits. And the Jesuits said in court papers that they don't have to pay child support for their priests.

Since when does a vow of poverty provide any moral or legal protection to block child-support responsibilities? And even if such a ridiculous shield does exist, shouldn't Mr. Jacobson's obvious violation of his vow of chastity render his poverty protection null and void?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:21 PM

'You see the world in a different light'

CANADA
Anglican Journal

Marites N. Sison
staff writer
Feb 14, 2007

“This has been the most difficult piece of work that God has called me to do.”
The church volunteer was speaking to a room full of sympathetic colleagues, all representatives of the Anglican Church of Canada at the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) hearings on Indian residential schools.

At the very first hearing that she attended, the claimant had lashed out at her while telling a painful story of abuse at an Anglican-run school. “It was devastating to be seen as the face of evil. I was shaking and tears were streaming down my face,” she said. “I remember thinking, ‘why are you angry at me? I didn’t do it.’”

At the end of the hearing, she recalled taking a long walk to regain her composure. “I had no one to talk to and no one asked how it went,” she said. After much reflection, she felt that having been at the receiving end of the rage had a purpose. “I guess the claimant needed to do that for the poison to leave her soul. For most of them, this is the first opportunity to talk about something they’ve held for 35 to 40 years. So this is a release for them.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:17 PM

Former priest's sex-abuse appeal before court

By Peter Smith
psmith@courier-journal.com
The Courier-Journal

The state’s highest court today will for the first time hear an appeal of a criminal conviction stemming from the sexual-abuse in the Archdiocese of Louisville.

The Kentucky Supreme Court will hear the appeal of Daniel C. Clark, who was convicted in 2003 on charges that he sexually abused two boys in Bullitt County.

Clark’s attorney, David Lambertus, said in his written appeal that his client deserves a new trial, claiming that Bullitt Circuit Judge Thomas Waller excluded evidence that he should have allowed and allowed testimony from another victim of Clark that he should have excluded.

Lambertus also argues that Waller failed to instruct the jury correctly.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:46 AM

Priest charged with stealing cash from collections

NEW JERSEY
Lambertville Beacon

LAMBERTVILLE — A priest from the Roman Catholic parish of St. John the Evangelist made his first appearance in Hunterdon County state Superior Court Friday after his arrest on charges of stealing more than $10,000 from the church.
The Rev. Marian Drozd, 42, was charged with one count of third-degree theft. He was not required to enter a plea and was released without bail.
He is scheduled to return for his next court appearance March 22.
He took the money "for his own personal consumption," or personal use, according to Detective Dan Hurley, spokesman for the Hunterdon County prosecutor's office.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:33 AM

Priest to plead guilty to theft by deception

OMAHA (NE)
Sioux City Journal

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- A Catholic priest will plead guilty to felony theft by deception for embezzling more than $100,000 from his parish, his lawyer said Monday.

The Rev. Stephen J. Gutgsell turned himself into police Monday as part of a deal reached with prosecutors, said Jim Schaefer, Gutgsell's lawyer. He was released on 10 percent of a $10,000 bail, Schaefer said.

Schaefer said the plea could come this week but more likely the week of Feb. 23.

The Class III felony carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years and a $25,000 fine, Schaefer said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:24 AM

Local Catholics React to Faith Being Tested

LAS VEGAS (NV)
KLAS

Local Catholics have experienced plenty lately, including the arrest of Father Chaanine, and another priest at another Catholic Church accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from an elderly parishioner.

For the first time since Father Chaanine was on the run, and the Reverend William Kenny was removed from his duties, the leader of Catholic Diocese is speaking out.

Charlie Gopez goes to church everyday to pray. But in the last few weeks, finger pointing over the recent turmoil in the Catholic Church bothers Gopez.

"They generalize it. Oh the Catholic Church, they do this, they do that. In every jungle there's a snake. My faith in the church has always been strong," said Gopez.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:22 AM

Bishop of Las Vegas Catholic Diocese speaks out on recent controversy

LAS VEGAS (NV)
KVBC

The bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Las Vegas is speaking out about the latest scandals within the Catholic Church, including the one involving Father George Chaanine.

On Tuesday, Father Chaanine faced a Las Vegas judge for the first time. He was caught in the Phoenix area after being on the run for almost a week.

Bishop Joseph Pepe is asking parishioners to keep their faith in the church. It's certainly been a difficult time for the Catholic Church. Bishop Pepe says like in any large organization, there are going to be a few people who will act irresponsibly, but the Catholic Church is doing its best to address the problems.

"There are 600,000 Catholics in southern Nevada. These days, their faith in the Catholic Church is being tested," said Pepe.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:19 AM

Accused priest appears in Nevada court

LAS VEGAS (NV)
Akron Farm Report

2007/2

By KEN RITTER, Associated Press Writer Tue Feb 13, 4:58 PM ET

LAS VEGAS - A Roman Catholic priest accused of beating and sexually assaulting a female employee at a southern Nevada parish office made his initial court appearance in Las Vegas on Tuesday.

Chaanine was not asked to enter a plea on charges including attempted murder, sexual assault, kidnapping and battery that could result in a sentence of life in prison if he is convicted.

He did not immediately seek bail. His court-appointed lawyer, Jeff Banks, said he would do that in writing later. The judge set a preliminary hearing for Feb. 27.

Banks said the priest, arrested Feb. 1 near Phoenix, was "ready to face these charges."

Chaanine remained suspended with pay from his role as administrator at the parish, in a neighborhood northwest of the Las Vegas Strip. He has declined requests for interviews at the Clark County jail.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:16 AM

Alleged abuse victims rally near clergy meet

PALM SPRINGS (CA)
The Desert Sun

Nicole C. Brambila
The Desert Sun
February 14, 2007

Six quilts with more than 150 pictures of alleged clergy sex-abuse victims will be on display today in downtown Palm Springs.

The quilts will be held up for the public and attendees of a local clergy conference to see at 11 a.m. at the corner of Tahquitz Canyon Way and Indian Canyon Drive.

Alleged victims also are expected to share their stories.

Outside Hotel Zoso, where Catholic clergy were having a conference Tuesday, members of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, passed out fliers about the event.

"All we want to do is help educate people," said Joelle Casteix, a SNAP regional director in Southern California.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:10 AM

Too close for comfort

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Sun-Times

February 14, 2007
BY CATHLEEN FALSANI Religion Reporter
A former Roman Catholic priest who's a registered child sex offender has been living in a condominium above a day care center and next to an elementary school in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood since his parole last year.

John M. Furdek, 54, has lived in the 12th-floor condominium at 4343 N. Clarendon since last fall, according to public records. The Teach 21 Day Care Center is on the first floor of that building, and Joseph Brennemann Elementary School is just south of the condominiums.

The Illinois Department of Corrections, which was responsible for monitoring Furdek while on parole, approved his residence on North Clarendon before he moved in. But after the Sun-Times inquired about the former priest's living situation, the agency began planning to relocate him.
While Furdek was within his legal rights living in the Uptown condominium, "when our administration discovered that he was living in a unit with a day-care center in the same building, that was unacceptable," said Sergio Molina, executive assistant to the department's director. "I've given immediate orders to remove him from that site."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:01 AM

£100,000 church theft probe

UNITED KINGDOM
icLiverpool

Feb 14 2007

EXCLUSIVE by Luke Traynor, Liverpool Echo

THE former treasurer of a Liverpool church is being investigated over accusations that she stole up to £100,000.

Janet Crossett, 36, was arrested on suspicion of theft after officials realised the finances of St Michael’s, the parish church of Garston, were in disarray.

She is on bail until April 11 while the investigation continues.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:59 AM

Youth pastor charged with sexual assault

FORT MYERS (FL)
NBC 2

FORT MYERS: A Fort Myers youth pastor is charged with sexually assaulting two children - in one case several times a week for 11 months.

Elantonio Gomez, 50, of 4790 S. Cleveland Avenue, was arrested on two counts of Custodial Sexual Battery on Monday.

Sunday, a woman called deputies to report her son was being sexually assaulted by Gomez. She also told authorities about the abuse of a second boy, a 15-year-old, who was living with Gomez after losing his home in Hurricane Katrina.

The 15-year-old told them Gomez would routinely come into his room at night, strip and then perform sex acts on the boy. That abuse occurred three to four times per week for 11 months.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:55 AM

Mentor accused of sex abuse

FORT MYERS (FL)
The News-Press

By Rachel Myers
rmyers@news-press.com
Originally posted on February 14, 2007

To anyone on the outside, Elantonio Gomez was a respected role model and trusted advisor for teens.

He spent every Sunday morning conducting youth services at Safe Harbor Community Church in Fort Myers. He put on puppet shows, counseled them and even took in a Hurricane Katrina survivor after the boy’s mother reportedly abandoned him.

Monday, Gomez, 50, was arrested by Lee County sheriff’s deputies, accused of repeatedly sexually abusing two teen boys, ages 13 and 15.

One of the boys was a church member, and the other a Hurricane Katrina survivor who had been living with Gomez for the past 11 months. Gomez is charged with two counts of sexual battery on a victim younger than 18, and his bond has been denied.
Church spokesman Steve Scott said there was no inkling of what was going on until the younger boy, who reportedly said the abuse began when he was 12, revealed the abuse to his parents Sunday night. His parents contacted church leaders, who then called authorities.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:52 AM

AUGUSTA: Diocese opposes bill to allow more abuse lawsuits

MAINE
Portland Press Herald

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland and the American Tort Reform Association spoke out Tuesday against a bill to create a two-year window for certain victims of sexual abuse to file lawsuits.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Ethan Strimling, D-Portland, and supported by advocates for victims of abuse by clergy members, would affect people who were abused before the statute of limitations was lifted. In 1999, the Legislature removed the statute of limitations for cases of child sexual abuse that occurred after 1992.
The diocese and the tort reform association questioned the constitutionality of retroactively abolishing the statute of limitations.
Michael Poulin, a lawyer speaking for the diocese, said there is a strong societal interest in finality and closure provided by statutes of limitations.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:49 AM

Sex abuse survivors back lawsuit measure

AUGUSTA (ME)
Bangor Daily News

By Judy Harrison
Wednesday, February 14, 2007 - Bangor Daily News

AUGUSTA — Survivors of sexual abuse urged members of the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee on Tuesday to endorse a bill that would open a window for civil lawsuits that are now time barred.

The bill, LD 178, sponsored by Sen. Ethan Strimling, D-Portland, would create a two-year window in which people who claim to have been sexually abused decades ago could file lawsuits seeking damages.

The Legislature in 1999 passed a bill that removed the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse cases occurring in 1993 or later. Maine was the first state to pass such a law, but it doesn’t help those who were abused before 1993, supporters claim.

Many of those who spoke in favor of the bill during a hearing Tuesday said they had been abused by Catholic priests.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland and the American Tort Reform Association, a Washington-based organization, opposed it.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:47 AM

Convention of Catholic priests sparks action from abuse victims

PAL SPRINGS (CA)
KESQ

By Nathan Baca
NewsChannel 3

A Catholic priest convention is underway in downtown Palm Springs tonight. And one group that's not allowed to speak at the convention is a sexual abuse victim's group. NewsChannel 3 has more on the convention at Hotel Zoso.

The overwhelming majority of Catholic priests do not abuse anybody, but it is the few that have and how to deal with the damage they've caused that's sparked a controversy in Palm Springs.

Joelle Castex meets people in front of Hotel Zoso in Palm Springs, handing out fliers to those who will listen to her story.

"I was abused at a Catholic high school in Orange County named Mater Dei. I was sexually abused by a choir teacher there, not a priest, but this teacher was protected by the same environment and network that also protected the priests."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:43 AM

'Hollow statement'

CANADA
London Free Press

By JANE SIMS, SUN MEDIA

Victims of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests from the London diocese want more action on their civil suits -- not more publicity about selling off assets.

Victims contacted yesterday wished the church had announced protracted litigation had been settled rather than the sale of Bishop Fabbro's stately residence on Central Avenue.

"If they want to do something that is proactive and is about the victims, then come up with settlements and say you are going to settle this fairly with everyone now," said Carol Ann Mieras.

She was one of 47 girls abused by Rev. Charles Sylvestre, who died in prison last month after he was convicted of 47 counts of indecent assault.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:40 AM

February 13, 2007

9 judges set to formally approve school deal

CANADA
CBC News

Last Updated: Tuesday, February 13, 2007 | 10:19 AM CT
CBC News
Judges from across Canada will gather in Calgary next month for an unprecedented sitting to deal with the Indian residential schools settlement, CBC News has learned.

The nine provincial and territorial superior court judges will be holding a special two-hour joint-session in Calgary on March 8.

Sources have told CBC the goal is to issue formal approval orders for the settlement package.

The nine courts have already provided written reasons that support the deal, which is designed to provide compensation to some 78,000 aboriginal people who attended the schools in the 20th century.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:02 PM

Pastor pleads no contest to sex abuse of teen cousin

WEST VIRGINIA
The Charleston Gazette

A 63-year-old Putnam County pastor pleaded no contest Monday to first-degree sexual abuse, after police said he forced his 17-year-old cousin to strip naked so he could photograph and abuse her in front of her 2-year-old nephew.

Paul E. Casto of River Street South in Hometown was arrested and indicted last year. He was both a pastor and a taxidermist, police said.

According to a criminal complaint, Casto invited the girl to his home. After she arrived with her nephew, she and the toddler were locked in the garage.

Casto told the girl to take off her shirt, bra and pants, according to officials. She refused, and Casto forced her clothing off, then photographed her before abusing her in front of the toddler, according to State Police.

“The victim advised that she was instructed to smile or ‘she would be in trouble,’” investigators wrote in court filings. “The juvenile victim advised that she believed if she did not comply with the suspect’s demands, that he would hurt her.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:57 PM

Youth pastor charged with sexual assault

FORT MYERS (FL)
NBC 2

FORT MYERS: A Fort Myers youth pastor is charged with sexually assaulting two children - in one case several times a week for 11 months.

Elantonio Gomez, 50, of 4790 S. Cleveland Avenue, was arrested on two counts of Custodial Sexual Battery on Monday.

Sunday, a woman called deputies to report her son was being sexually assaulted by Gomez. She also told authorities about the abuse of a second boy, a 15-year-old, who was living with Gomez after losing his home in Hurricane Katrina.

The 15-year-old told them Gomez would routinely come into his room at night, strip and then perform sex acts on the boy. That abuse occurred three to four times per week for 11 months.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:55 PM

Priest Appears in Las Vegas Court on Attempted Murder, Sex Assault Charges

LAS VEGAS (NV)
FoxNews

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

LAS VEGAS — A Roman Catholic priest accused of beating and sexually assaulting a female employee at a southern Nevada parish office made his initial court appearance in Las Vegas on Tuesday

The Rev. George Chaanine stood shackled, wearing gray-blue jail scrubs, as he was represented by a Clark County public defender during his brief appearance in Las Vegas Justice Court.

Chaanine was not asked to enter a plea on charges including attempted murder, sexual assault, kidnapping and battery that could result in a sentence of life in prison if he is convicted.

The 52-year-old priest answered just one question, telling Justice of the Peace Douglas Smith he could not afford to hire a lawyer.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:24 PM

Cape Coral youth pastor arrested for sexual battery

CAPE CORAL (FL)
NaplesNews


Originally published — 10:15 a.m., February 13, 2007
Updated — 11:18 a.m., February 13, 2007

A Cape Coral Youth Pastor was arrested Monday and charged with sexual battery on a child.

Elantonio T.O. Gomez, 50, of 4790 South Cleveland Avenue, No. 1303, is accused of molesting and raping two boys who were under 15 at the time of the assault, according to sheriff's reports.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:24 PM

Pastor in Putnam County Pleads No Contest to Sexual Abuse Charges

WINFIELD (WV)
WOWK

Posted Monday, February 12, 2007 ; 05:38 PM

Suspect will be sentenced in April.
WINFIELD -- An interim pastor pleaded no contest Monday to a charge of sexual abuse in Putnam Circuit Court.

Paul E. Casto, 62, of Hometown was accused of on engaging in sexually explicit acts with a minor and filming those acts. He was arrested last February on the charges.

He pleaded no contest to one count of first degree sexual abuse.


Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:04 AM

Pastor pleads no contest to sex abuse of teen cousin

WEST VIRGINIA
The Charleston Gazette

A 63-year-old Putnam County pastor pleaded no contest Monday to first-degree sexual abuse, after police said he forced his 17-year-old cousin to strip naked so he could photograph and abuse her in front of her 2-year-old nephew.

Paul E. Casto of River Street South in Hometown was arrested and indicted last year. He was both a pastor and a taxidermist, police said.

According to a criminal complaint, Casto invited the girl to his home. After she arrived with her nephew, she and the toddler were locked in the garage.

Casto told the girl to take off her shirt, bra and pants, according to officials. She refused, and Casto forced her clothing off, then photographed her before abusing her in front of the toddler, according to State Police.

“The victim advised that she was instructed to smile or ‘she would be in trouble,’” investigators wrote in court filings. “The juvenile victim advised that she believed if she did not comply with the suspect’s demands, that he would hurt her.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:02 AM

Vermont judge faces high praise, harsh criticism

VERMONT
Times Argus

February 13, 2007

Associated Press

MONTPELIER — A judge best known for presiding over lawsuits accusing Roman Catholic Diocese priests of sexual abuse is winning both strong praise and stinging criticism as he seeks reappointment to another six-year term.

Judge Ben Joseph has a reputation for prodding suspects to accept plea bargains and of closely watching over cases to keep the court docket moving. Now, some of the people who have appeared before him are passing judgment on his performance.

Judges need to win approval of a joint session of the House and Senate every six years to retain their posts. A joint committee that recommends whether to retain the judges has begun taking evidence on the bid by Joseph and six other judges to keep their jobs.

The file for Joseph, 64, who was appointed in 1998, contains 47 pages of handwritten critiques from lawyers, as well as a statistical breakdown of his performance based on a survey of legal professionals. Joseph currently presides over District Court in St. Albans and Superior Court in Chittenden County.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:59 AM

Sex-abuse bill would expand victims' ability for civil suits

MAINE
Portland Press-Herald

By ANN S. KIM, Staff Writer

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

AUGUSTA - A bill supported by advocates for the clergy's sexual-abuse victims would open the door to civil lawsuits by those whose molestation took place before the statute of limitations was lifted.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Ethan Strimling, D-Portland, would create a two-year window for people to file lawsuits over the sexual abuse of minors. The measure would have no effect on the criminal statute of limitations.
"For those who need this opportunity, we need to provide it to them. And for those who commit these crimes, we need to hold them accountable," Strimling said.
A public hearing on the bill, "An Act Regarding the Reporting of Sexual Abuse," will be held today. The Judiciary Committee hearing is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. in Room 438 of the State House.
In 1999, the Legislature removed the statute of limitations for child sexual-abuse cases that took place in 1993 or later, said Paul Kendrick, co-founder of the Ignatius Group, one of the organizations in the Coalition to Reform Sex Abuse Laws. But the 1999 law doesn't help those abused before 1993, he said. Many people who suffer sexual abuse as a child don't talk about it until they are in a safer phase of their lives, usually middle age, he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:56 AM

Families of Murderous Priests To Speak Out

CHICAGO (IL)
EarthTimes

Posted on : Tue, 13 Feb 2007 03:10:00 GMT | Author : SNAP

CHICAGO, Feb. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Clergy abuse victims will hear from families of three individuals who allegedly lost their lives to murderous abusive Catholic clerics at a conference in Chicago later this month.

The three day regional event will be held February 16-18 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel - Chicago Metro (733 W Madison). It is sponsored by a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

Loved ones of victims who were allegedly murdered by priests in Wisconsin and Massachusetts and a nun in New York will hold a panel discussion and a news conference. It is the first time the families have come together to speak about their losses and these crimes.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:54 AM

Documents Show Church Knew About Abuse

MILWAUKEE (WI)
TMJ4

Charles Benson
MILWAUKEE - Stunning new details in secret court documents tell a chilling story of a local priest who was allowed to molest young boys again and again.

The documents suggest Catholic Church leaders in Milwaukee tried to cover up Father Siegfried Widera's shameful past. They detail an alleged pattern of sexual abuse and how the church failed to protect other children from Widera.

By all accounts, Fr. Siegfried Widera was a pedophile priest. But you will never hear church leaders use that term in court documents. A few years ago, Widera's alleged victims told us they still struggle with what happened and why.

"How can someone just slip through the system like that?" asked Eric Paino, an alleged victim.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:53 AM

San Diego diocese wants abuse trials postponed

CALIFORNIA
The Press-Enterprise

10:00 PM PST on Monday, February 12, 2007

By MICHAEL FISHER
The Press-Enterprise

With trial set to begin this month in the first of the long-stalled Southern California clergy-abuse lawsuits, the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego has asked a state appellate court to dismiss some of the pending claims.

Attorneys for the diocese also requested the 2nd District Court of Appeals to postpone the trials.

The first clergy-abuse case poised to reach a Southern California courtroom involves a Colorado woman who claims she was sexually abused as a teenager by Monsignor Patrick O'Keeffe at St. Adelaide Catholic Church in Highland in the early 1970s.

State legislation approved in 2003 created a window for those claiming to have been molested as children to sue the Catholic Church decades later. But the law limited the scope of those claims, such as cases where church leaders knew about an abusive priest but failed to take steps to prevent future sexual misconduct, diocesan attorneys wrote in court documents filed last week.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:50 AM

Sex cases prompt sale of bishop's home

CANADA
London Free Press

Tue, February 13, 2007

By JOE MATYAS, SUN MEDIA

A core-area residence that's been home to London's Roman Catholic bishops for more than 90 years is being sold to provide compensation to victims of sexual abuse.

The nine-bedroom home at 90 Central Ave., near Talbot Street, has been listed for sale at $850,000 since Dec. 14 and will remain on the market until sold, a spokesperson for the Diocese of London said yesterday.

"The proceeds from the sale will be tied to a fund that will be used for sexual abuse settlements," Ron Pickersgill said.

He said Bishop Ronald Peter Fabbro decided to sell his home, where three priests also live, to help meet the diocese's commitment to compensate persons abused by priests.

Fabbro is exploring options for his living quarters, including the possibility of living in a church rectory, Pickersgill said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:47 AM

Diocese to be open about abuse

NORWICH (CT)
Norwich Bulletin

By GREG SMITH
Norwich Bulletin

NORWICH -- Diocese of Norwich Bishop Michael Cote notified his parishioners this weekend the church is using a wealth of resources to prevent sexual abuse in the church and plans to "be open and forthcoming regarding allegations."

His letter, dated Feb. 11, acknowledged a recent court settlement in which the Diocese of Norwich paid $2 million to settle allegations of abuse by Bruno Primavera, a visiting priest in the 1970s who has been at the center of lawsuits totaling $3 million.

"While allegations and settlements receive a lot of publicity, something you will seldom find mentioned publicly is the amount of time, energy and resources the diocese has expended in recent years to help ensure safe environments for children, teenagers and adults in Eastern Connecticut," Cote wrote.

A program of child advocates has been created and established in almost every parish and school in the diocese, Cote said. Since January 2004, the diocesan screening policy was implemented and 7,000 employees and volunteers were given background checks.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:45 AM

London Diocese To Sell Bishops Home

CANADA
CD98.9

The Roman Catholic Diocese of London is selling the bishop's residence, with the money going into a fund to pay victims of sexual abuse. The six-thousand square foot residence with nine bedrooms, seven bathrooms and four fireplaces is on the market for 850-thousand dollars. Spokesman Ron Pickersgill says they are not selling the home to specifically pay lawsuits from the victims of Father Charles Sylvester.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:35 AM

February 12, 2007

Berrien County pastor arrested on multiple child pornography charges

MIGHIGAN
WWMT

BERRIEN COUNTY (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A Berrien County pastor has been arrested and faces multiple charges including possession and distribution of sexually abusive material involving children.

Thirtyfour-year-old Randy A. Doyle was taken into custody following a joint investigation involving the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency and the St. Joseph City Police Department.

The Berrien County Prosecutor's Office has charged Doyle with nine counts of possessing and one count of distributing Child Sexually Abusive Material. He is also faces an additional charge of using a computer to commit a crime. In all, Doyle could face up to twenty years in prison if convicted of these crimes.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:13 PM

Reaction To Priest's Cancelled Visit To Reading Parish

READING (OH)
WCPO

Reported by: 9News
Web produced by: Neil Relyea
Photographed by: 9News
First posted: 2/12/2007 12:05:52 AM
It was peaceful outside a Reading church this Sunday after plans to invite a priest accused of sexual misconduct were cancelled.

But not everyone is glad Father James Kiffmeyer didn't come.

Our Lady of the Sacred Heart had invited the former Fenwick High School teacher, who was accused of sexually abusing two students over the age of 18-year-olds.

There was a settlement, but no charges were ever filed and Kiffmeyer maintains his innocence.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:18 AM

Sunshine, Departed take Writers Guild Awards

UNITED STATES
RTE News

Road trip comedy 'Little Miss Sunshine' and Martin Scorsese's 'The Departed' were winners at Sunday's Writers Guild of America Awards. ...

The Documentary Screenplay Award went to writer-director Amy Berg for 'Deliver Us From Evil', a film - shot partially in Ireland - that tells the story of a Catholic priest's sexual abuse of children and efforts by church officials to shield the priest.

'Deliver Us From Evil' is nominated for an Oscar in the Best Documentary category.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:14 AM

Church at logger-heads with priest

SOUTH AFRICA
IOL

Fatima Schroeder
February 12 2007 at 11:17AM

The Catholic Church is embroiled in a legal conflict with a priest who has been accused of fathering a child with a poor young woman, having several girlfriends and failing to account for church funds.

The Archdiocese of Cape Town has asked the Cape High Court to grant it an interdict against former Langa parish priest Father Fano Ngcobo to prevent him from entering the church in Langa and to stop him organising protests against it there.

For his part, Father Ngcobo has accused colleagues of racist motives for moving him to Claremont to isolate him from the Langa community.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:09 AM

'PERV'-PRIEST AX SHOCKS FLOCK

NEW YORK
New York Post

By DAN MANGAN and JANA WINTER
February 12, 2007 -- The pastor of a Queens church has been fired and barred from working as a Catholic priest after superiors found that he likely molested a boy decades ago, The Post has learned.

Parishioners at St. Nicholas of Tolentine in Jamaica were told of the Rev. Robert McConnin's stunning removal during weekend Masses.

"It's been like a wake in here all day," said a parishioner who would not give her name. "Everyone's shocked. It's crazy."

McConnin, 59, had been a priest for more than 30 years. Last year, someone phoned the Brooklyn Diocese claiming McConnin had engaged in "inappropriate behavior with a minor," said diocese spokesman Frank DeRosa. "It happened some two decades ago . . . but not in this . . . parish," he said.

The allegation was investigated by the diocesan review board and "it was determined that the allegation was considered credible," said DeRosa.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:58 AM

Priests’ trust shaken: Clergy say mismanagement left pension funds in pinch

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Herald

By Laura Crimaldi/ Special Report
Sunday, February 11, 2007

Hundreds of distraught Boston-area priests are facing stark cuts in their retirement benefits as the Archdiocese of Boston scrambles to shore up its teetering pension system after decades of poor fiscal management.

“I see all of this as unjust and a failure to observe our canon law,” said the Rev. Richard Craig, 71, who retired four years ago as pastor of St. John the Evangelist in North Chelmsford. “It leads me to wonder, are we, the senior priests, becoming objects of elderly discrimination?”

Church documents show that as of April 2006, the pension plan - the Clergy Retirement/Disability Trust - faced an $85.4 million gap between the money on hand and what it is expected to have to spend for hundreds of priests, active and retired. ...

The group says at least $70 million in donations collected between 1986 to 2002 from parishioners -who were often told the money would fund priests’ retirements - went instead to other purposes, notably a fund drawn on extensively by former Cardinal Bernard Law before he left Boston.

That fund - the Clergy Benefit Trust - was used to pay millions of dollars for legal bills, psychological treatment and other expenses associated with dozens of priests accused of sexual abuse, according to church documents, interviews, letters and memos signed by Law.

“The archdiocese has never explained what was done with this money,” said Peter Borre, co-chairman of the Council of Parishes, which has been documenting pension fund troubles and demanding the release of audited financial statements of the two trusts set up to pay for the priests’

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:54 AM

Judge emerges as polarizing figure as retention looms

VERMONT
Burlington Free Press

Published: Monday, February 12, 2007
By Adam Silverman
Free Press Staff Writer

MONTPELIER -- He has prodded suspects to accept plea bargains, kept strict watch over cases moving through his courtroom and presided over contentious lawsuits involving allegations of sexual abuse against former priests and the state's Roman Catholic Diocese.

Now, Judge Ben Joseph is asking the Legislature to appoint him to another six-year term, and that has opened floodgates for lawyers to pass judgement on the judge. A thick file folder of feedback at the Statehouse in Montpelier shows that Joseph, 64, has become one of Vermont's most polarizing figures on the bench.

Joseph's file includes a stack of 47 pages of handwritten critiques from lawyers who know and work with the judge, and a statistical breakdown of his performance based on a survey of legal professionals.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:49 AM

February 11, 2007

Some say Clergy Abuse around the country continues to be a problem.

WISCONSIN
WJFW

Newswatch 12's Rebecca Solomon spoke with victims of clergy abuse and tells us why some say clergy abuse is a problem right here in Northern Wisconsin.

It's a small town of about 1,700 people...but in the small town of Phillips, some people say a preditor once lived and worked at the St. Theresa's Catholic Parish. Members of 'The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests,' also known as, 'SNAP,' say they want abuse by clergy to end.

Member, Connie Ross, says "When you've been abused, you feel like you're the only one"

Ross says that for every one victim who comes out and tells their abuse story...there's 100 other people who don't tell....Ross and other members of SNAP, say they want to help those vicitms of clergy abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:27 PM

Rector charged with sexual assault of teen

LAMPASAS (TX)
Lampasas Dispatch Record

By JIM LOWE
Staff Writer - The Rev. Jim Carlton Wooldridge, 61, longtime rector of St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Lampasas, has been charged with two counts of sexual assault and one complaint of indecency with a child, all second-degree felonies.

Also arrested was John Christian Wood, 20, of Lampasas for sexual assault, indecency with a child and unlawful possession of a firearm. While the sexual assault and indecency complaints are second-degree felonies, the firearm offense is a third-degree felony.

The arrests were spurred by a report to police on Dec. 1 that a male juvenile had been sexually assaulted by Wooldridge and Wood on multiple occasions last year.

An investigation followed over the next six weeks, which resulted in arrest warrants being issued last week for the two men by Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Andrew Garcia.

The office of Lampasas County Attorney Larry Allison contacted Wooldridge's attorney, Eddie Shell of Burnet, and asked that the local church official turn himself in to authorities. Wooldridge did so on Thursday, surrendering to police at 4:04 p.m. at the Lampasas County Jail.

Earlier in the day, at 10:12 a.m., Wood was arrested by Lampasas police during a traffic stop. In addition to his other charges, Wood was charged with possession of marijuana under two ounces, a Class B misdemeanor.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:09 PM

Vatican rejects initial pleas to keep N.H. churches open

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Concord Monitor

The Associated Press

February 10. 2007 9:30AM

The Vatican has rejected a state lawmaker's appeal of the merger of three Roman Catholic parishes.

In July 2006, Bishop John McCormack announced that St. Agnes Church in Ashland, St. Timothy in Bristol and St. Matthew in Plymouth would be merged to form Holy Trinity Parish. The Diocese of Manchester said the churches in Ashland and Bristol would close and all congregations would meet in Plymouth. A month later, Rep. Fran Wendelboe sent a letter of appeal to the Vatican linking the merger to a loss of respect for the state's Roman Catholic leaders because of the priest sex abuse scandal.

Wendelboe, a parishioner at St. Agnes, argues that McCormack and Auxiliary Bishop Francis Christian "are widely held in contempt" because of the scandal, and that their staying in office has led to a dramatic drop in donations, hurting parishes, the Diocese of Manchester and New Hampshire Catholic Charities.

The Vatican recently rejected that appeal, but Wendelboe, a Republican from New Hampton, said she isn't giving up. She hopes to raise $10,000 to take the matter to the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the Roman Catholic Church's highest court.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:05 PM

Funeral services set for priest who was barred

DETROIT (MI)
Detroit Free Press

The Rev. Peter Van der Linden, a local Catholic priest barred from ministry amid sexual abuse allegations, died Wednesday, the Archdiocese of Detroit said Friday.

Van der Linden was ordained in 1955 and served churches throughout southeast Michigan, including Detroit, Westland, Roseville and Port Huron, the archdiocese said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:53 AM

Bill would end statute of limitations on rape

SACRAMENTO (CA)
Inside Bay Area

By Mike Zapler andEdwin Garcia, MEDIANEWS STAFF
Article Last Updated: 02/11/2007 02:39:59 AM PST

SACRAMENTO — Most accused rapists and other serious sexual offenders can't be prosecuted in California if it's been 10 years since their crime. This week, Assemblywoman Sally Lieber, D-Mountain View, announced legislation to scrap that time limit — a nod to victims, she said, who are too traumatized to come forward earlier.

The bill could trigger an odd alliance between Lieber, a staunch liberal on most issues, and tough-on-crime Republicans in the Legislature. But its passage is far from certain: A similar measure stalled in the state Senate two years ago without so much as a vote.

Lieber's Assembly Bill 261 would eliminate the 10-year statute of limitations for the most serious sexual crimes: rape, sodomy, child molestation, oral copulation, continuous sexual abuse of a child, forcible acts of sexual penetration and fleeing the state to avoid prosecution for a sex offense.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:51 AM

Records recount moves of Wis. priest with history of abuse

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Pioneer Press

Associated Press
MILWAUKEE - Long before his transfer to California, leaders of the Milwaukee Roman Catholic Archdiocese knew of a priest's sexual abuse of young boys, yet they advised church officials there he would be "no great risk" doing pastoral work, according to court documents.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said in a story on its Web site Saturday night that the disclosures are in court records it obtained from Jeff Anderson, a Minneapolis lawyer who has represented victims of abuse by members of the clergy in Wisconsin, California and other states.

The case of Siegfried Widera, who committed suicide while being chased by authorities four years ago, is important to Wisconsin Catholics because it could only be pursued in California.

Under Wisconsin law, the church cannot be held responsible for actions of priests, but the law is being challenged, and a victory on the part of victims could open the church to legal action here as well.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:44 AM

Las Vegas Priest Accused in Assault Back In Clark County

LAS VEGAS (NV)
KLAS

A Las Vegas priest accused of a violent crime is back in Clark County and has been booked into the detention center.

Father George Chaanine was booked into the detention center early Saturday afternoon. Chaanine is accused of attacking a woman parishioner last month.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:06 AM

Johnston trial set to begin soon

MISSOURI
Neosho Daily News

By John Ford / Daily News Associate Editor
Published: Saturday, February 10, 2007 11:18 PM CST

Several days have been set aside toward the end of the month for the trial of a Granby pastor accused of 17 charges of felony child sexual abuse.

On Friday, Newton County Assistant Prosecutor Bill Dobbs traveled to Harrisonville, Mo., in Cass County to check into the availability of a courtroom for jury selection in the case against George Otis Johnston.

Johnston, 63, is the pastor of Grandview Valley Independent Baptist Church in Granby. He's accused of a variety of child sexual abuse charges involving two victims, now ages 20 and 17.

A jury will be selected from Cass County residents, then transported to Neosho for the four-day trial. While in town, they will be sequestered and ordered not to have contact with local media, nor watch television, read newspapers or listen to radio reports regarding the trial.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:53 AM

No more residential school cover-ups

CANADA
Cowichan Valley News Leader

Feb 10 2007

Kuper Island residential school survivor Elmer James suffered repeated sexual, physical and emotional abuse as a child at the school. He remembers being given extra treats from the abusers — payment for keeping quiet.

You can imagine how a federal gag order preventing him from speaking about his out-of-court settlement with the government must sit.

Residential schools are Canada’s greatest shame of the 20th century. They are the greatest shame of the churches that operated them and the governments that sanctioned them.

It’s time to stop hiding.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:49 AM

Church knew of abuse by priest

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

By MARIE ROHDE
mrohde@journalsentinel.com
Posted: Feb. 10, 2007
From Siegfried Widera's earliest days as a Roman Catholic priest in the Milwaukee Archdiocese, church officials and others acting on the church's behalf knew he was sexually abusing young boys and continually placed his well-being above that of parishioners' in various dioceses, according to newly released court documents.

The documents describe a man for whom molesting boys was like breathing air or eating food, yet who was sent to California by an archbishop who said he was "no great risk" doing pastoral work and was dealing merely with "legal complications" as a result of a "moral problem."

Obtained by the Journal Sentinel, the documents show through the church's own records how someone such as Widera, who killed himself in 2003, was protected. They offer the first inside glimpse of words and decisions from decades ago that still haunt the victims and the church.

The case is especially important to Wisconsin Catholics because it could be pursued only in California; Wisconsin law says that the church cannot be held responsible for the actions of its priests. The Milwaukee Archdiocese agreed in the fall to pay $16.65 million to 10 Widera victims in California - a settlement that was particularly galling to his Wisconsin victims, some of whom were molested after he was convicted in 1973 of sexually assaulting a young boy here.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:46 AM

Church exodus slows in Austria

AUSTRIA
Washington Times

February 11, 2007

VIENNA, Austria (AP) -- Significantly fewer Austrians left the Roman Catholic Church in 2006, the Archdiocese of Vienna announced recently -- 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 persons 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 frustrated by scandal and a chronic shortage of priests.
Many cited disgust over the discovery of as many as 40,000 lurid images at a seminary in St. Poelten, 50 miles west of Vienna, including child porn and photos of young candidates for the priesthood fondling each other and their older religious instructors.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:38 AM

February 10, 2007

No bail reduction for ex-pastor accused of assault

PENNSYLVANIA
Carlisle Sentinel

By Tatiana Zarnowski, Sentinel Reporter, Feb. 10, 2007

Last updated: Friday, February 9, 2007 11:58 PM EST

Lane Hurley won't get a bail reduction from Cumberland County Court while he appeals for a new trial in connection with the 1997 molestation of his niece.

But he could apply for the same relief from the state Superior Court, said one of his attorneys. Karl Rominger said Friday he wasn't sure whether Hurley, 56, a former Virginia minister convicted of sexually assaulting the then-10-year-old girl, will ask the higher court for lower bail.

Judge J. Wesley Oler on Friday denied Hurley's motion to reduce the $1.25 million bail Oler set when he sentenced Hurley to 5 to 10 years in state prison in December.

Hurley argued in a motion to Oler that he is not able to pay his lawyers because all of his assets are tied up with a bail bondsman and his and his wife's incomes are needed for "daily necessities." Hurley now works for H&R Block after resigning as a minister following the charges.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:42 AM

Lawsuit accuses pastor of abuse

FORT WORTH (TX)
Star-Telegram

By MELODY McDONALD
STAR-TELEGRAM STAFF WRITER
FORT WORTH - She believed he was a prophet, a man who received instructions from God.

Because of that, Davina Kelly said, she thought the punishment administered by the Rev. Sherman Clifton Allen was justified.

Kelly said Allen began paddling her -- first with pants on, and later with them off -- for not reading assigned Scriptures or for disobeying orders. Later, she said, Allen made her exercise to the point of exhaustion, running laps around the church sanctuary or doing lunges across the living room of his Mansfield home.

Finally, she said, the abuse turned sexual.

"There are certain types of figures you trust," Kelly said. "I gave that trust to him as my pastor. I honestly thought of him as a spiritual father."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:40 AM

Subject of documentary to attend McAllen screening

MCALLEN (TX)
The Brownsville Herald

Cine El Rey to show ‘Hand of God’

By BRUCE LEE SMITH
Valley Morning Star

February 10, 2007 — Paul Cultrera, the subject of the controversial documentary “Hand of God” will attend a screening of the film on Feb. 18 at the Cine El Rey in McAllen.

“Hand of God” tells the story of Cultrera’s sexual abuse at the hands of a parish priest in the Boston area, its long-term effects on his life and the efforts of the Roman Catholic Church to cover it all up.

“Hand of God” is directed by Paul’s brother Joe Cultrera, who will also attend the screening. Both will be available for questions and discussion after the film.

The 4:30 p.m. screening is being offered at no charge by Call to Action Rio Grande Valley, the local branch of a nationwide organization seeking accountability — financial and otherwise — within the Catholic Church.

“This is a very personal story about Paul and what happened to him and the impact of that on the whole family,” said CTARGV member Gerald Brazier. “To have the subject of the documentary be able to reflect on the experience with people face to face could be a very powerful experience for the audience.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:34 AM

Priest's RICO Claims Over Firing Rejected

NEW YORK
Law.com

Anthony Lin
New York Law Journal
February 12, 2007

A Manhattan federal judge has thrown out a Roman Catholic priest's racketeering lawsuit against the church and sanctioned his lawyer for bringing a "scurrilous" suit.

The Reverend Robert Hoatson sued the Archdiocese of New York, Cardinal Edward Egan and a host of other Catholic organizations and leaders in 2005, alleging a conspiracy to fire him from his position as a Catholic school administrator in retaliation for publicly speaking about sexual abuse by clergy he both witnessed and experienced.

The priest, represented by Albany lawyer John A. Aretakis, claimed the actions of the named defendants violated both the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) statue and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act barring employment discrimination.

But Southern District Judge Paul Crotty on Thursday dismissed both claims with prejudice. He said the RICO claims failed on "every single" pleading requirement of the statute.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:32 AM

Adult education: Combating the social ill of child sexual abuse

LOS ANGELES (CA)
The Tidings

Fifty-second in a series.

The national statistics are overwhelming. It is estimated that one in every three girls is molested before she reaches her 18th birthday. For young men, the figures are almost as grim --- one in six boys is molested as minors --- and in 90 percent of the cases, the abuser is known to the victim.

These statistics point up the breadth and depth of the social ill of child sexual abuse in our society. How can we address this problem? Specifically, what can we as a Church do to combat these horrendous crimes against our children and youth? What resources do we have available to fight this evil?

The Church has historically been committed to education. Education, therefore, is the greatest force the Church can use to confront the evil of child abuse.

Since 2003, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles has aggressively implemented educational programs at all levels --- for priests, deacons, parish ministers, principals, teachers, directors of Religious Education, catechists, Confirmation directors, youth ministers, music ministers, coaches, parents and volunteers.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:27 AM

February 9, 2007

Former priest of SOC convicted of pedophilia

SERBIA
Makfax

Novi Sad /09/02/ 17:27

A former high priest of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC) has been sentenced to one year in prison for pedophilia.

A court in Novi Sad pronounced the verdict today to Ilarion, a former head of the Hopovo Monastery in Frushka Gora.

Ilarion, whose secular name is Jovan Mishic, has been found guilty for committed sexual abuse on as many as ten boys aged 7 to 11.

The court, which had ordered a closed trial in order to protect the minors, announced it won't reveal any further details.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:43 PM

Judge fines NY attorney over ``baseless'' church abuse cases

NEW YORK
Newsday

By DAVID B. CARUSO
Associated Press Writer

February 9, 2007, 6:04 PM EST

NEW YORK -- A federal judge has fined an attorney $8,000 for repeatedly bringing lawsuits accusing Roman Catholic leaders of conspiring to cover up sexual abuse by priests.

In a harshly worded ruling made public Friday, U.S. District Judge Paul A. Crotty took New York lawyer John A. Aretakis to task for bringing a series of "utterly baseless" suits claiming the church's actions amounted to racketeering.

Each of those lawsuits were subsequently thrown out by judges who said the allegations, even if true, didn't violate racketeering laws designed to deal with criminal enterprises like the Mafia.

"No reasonable attorney would have believed these claims were warranted under existing law," Crotty wrote in a Thursday decision that was posted Friday on a court Web site.

The sanctions came as part of a ruling in which Crotty tossed out yet another racketeering lawsuit filed on behalf of one of Aretakis' clients. This one involved a priest in Newark, N.J., the Rev. Robert Hoatson, who claimed he was forced out of a parochial school job for being critical of the church's handling of abuse cases.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:37 PM

Serbian priest sentenced to jail for sexual abuse of boys

SERBIA
International Herald Tribune

The Associated Press Published: February 9, 2007

BELGRADE, Serbia: A Serbian Orthodox Church priest has been jailed for a year after being convicted of sexually abusing boys in 2001, a court announced Friday.

Jovan Misic, also known by his church name Ilarion and the former abbot of the Hopovo monastery in the northern Vojvodina province, was found guilty of "lewd behavior and sexual abuse" of several underage boys in monastery grounds, the court said.

The boys were aged between seven and eleven years old.

No furthers details were revealed because of the need to protect the victims and their families.

There was no immediate comment from Misic or his lawyer.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:32 PM

Request for Priest to Stay Off Sex Offender Registry

ROCHESTER (NY)
WHAM

(Rochester, N.Y. - A lawyer has asked a judge that a Roman Catholic priest jailed for possessing child pornography should not be placed on New York's sex offender registry when he is released.

The Rev. Michael Volino pleaded guilty to having computerized images of child pornography on a computer.

He could be freed from prison within a month.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:13 AM

Parishes key to diocese settlement

SPOKANE (WA)
Insurance News Net

Source: TheDeal.com

Dioceses and their attorneys have steadfastly maintained that parishes own their own property, but as a unique and complex loan structure embedded in the reorganization plan of the bankrupt Roman Catholic diocese of Spokane, Wash., shows, parishes can be pivotal to the head office's effort to get back on its financial feet.

The Spokane diocese, driven to seek bankruptcy because of sexual-abuse lawsuits filed against it, has come to a $48 million settlement with the litigants.

While that settlement is at the core of a consensual reorganization plan filed in January and amended last week, what is so novel about it is the financial role that the Spokane diocese's parishes will play in its execution.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:37 AM

Cardinal meets with sex abuse commission

IRELAND
Irish Independent

CARDINAL Desmond Connell has agreed to give evidence in private to the Government-appointed Commission of Investigation into clerical sexual abuse in the Dublin archdiocese.

The Irish Independent has learned that the Cardinal (80), who is retired on Dublin's northside, is to be called in the next few weeks before the Commission headed by Circuit Court Judge Yvonne Murphy.

Cardinal Connell, who stepped down as Archbishop of Dublin almost three years ago after public criticism of his handling of abuse cases and complaints, is due to give his evidence next month or in April.

This will be the first time since the foundation of the State in 1921 that 'a Prince of the Church' has been brought before a Government body to account for his response to allegations of child abuse by priests when he was Archbishop of Dublin from 1988 to 2004.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:19 AM

I-Team: Cleveland Bishop Controversy

CLEVELAND (OH)
MyFox Cleveland

The I-Team looks into a growing controversy surrounding comments made by Cleveland's new Bishop Richard Lennon. The comments were made to a filmmaker who was working on a documentary about a priest who sexually abused his brother. I-Team Reporter Bill Sheil shares with us two tapes, one that has been aired and one that has never been shown before.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:11 AM

Diocese asked to help catch fugitive priest

SACRAMENTO (CA)
Sacramento Bee

Published 12:00 am PST Friday, February 9, 2007
Story appeared in METRO section, Page B2

Local Catholic church officials should do more to bring a fugitive priest to justice, a victims support group said Thursday.

Gerardo Beltran, who served in the Sacramento diocese from 1982 to 1991, fled to his hometown in Mexico after he was charged with four counts of lewd or lascivious acts with a child under the age of 14, according to the affidavit. In 1992, an arrest warrant was issued for the priest.

Beltran is reportedly serving as a priest in Mexico, and victims' rights supporters say Sacramento Catholic officials should ask church leaders for help.

"They all answer to the same power. It doesn't make sense when they say they can't do more," said Nancy Sloan of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, at a press conference in front of Sacramento diocesan headquarters. "Children are at risk."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:05 AM

Buddhist priest busted for molesting girl under guise of dispelling evil spirit

JAPAN
Mainichi Daily News

AKKESHI, Hokkaido -- A Buddhist priest has been arrested for molesting a 17-year-old girl at a temple he owns last year under the guise of dispelling an evil spirit from her, police said.

Teikan Akiyama, 56, a resident of Yakumo, Hokkaido, repeatedly made unclear statements during questioning, investigators said.

Akiyama told the unemployed victim to lie down in the temple he owns in Akkeshi in early August last year, saying he would dispel an evil spirit from her. He then molested her, local police said.

The girl had visited Akiyama's temple at the introduction of an acquaintance asking him to dispel an evil spirit from her.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:57 AM

Priest accused of stealing parish cash

NEW JERSEY
The Express-Times

Friday, February 09, 207
By ANDREA EILENBERGER
The Express-Times
FLEMINGTON | A Lambertville priest has been arrested for stealing more than $10,000 from his church between August and January.

The Rev. Marian Drozd, the parochial vicar of St. John the Evangelist Parish, previously admitted to taking the money and has paid most of it back, according to Metuchen Diocese spokeswoman Joanne Ward.

Church staff members noticed a significant dip in the collections generated from Masses, which had previously been fairly consistent from service to service, said Dan Hurley, spokesman for Hunterdon County Prosecutor's Office.

He credits them with noticing the suspicious change and handling it properly.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:55 AM

Hearing held for jailed priest

ROCHESTER (NY)
Democrat and Chronicle

Gary Craig
Staff writer

(February 9, 2007) — A Catholic priest currently imprisoned for possession of child pornography did not intend to visit Internet sites containing pornographic images of youths, according to his attorney.

Instead, the Rev. Michael Volino thought he was being directed to adult-oriented sites, said Rochester lawyer Michael DiPrima.

"The sites he went to indicated (the youths in the images) were all over 18," DiPrima said after a court hearing Thursday at which he argued Volino should not be placed on the state's sex offender registry.

When freed from prison in early March, Volino shouldn't be required to register as a sex offender because of a discrepancy between state and federal laws, DiPrima said at the hearing.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:39 AM

Official: Ex-Mendham priest, molester homeless

NEW JERSEY
Daily Record

BY ABBOTT KOLOFF
DAILY RECORD
Friday, February 9, 2007

A former Morris County priest and admitted child abuser would be homeless if he were released from the jail where he's being held on charges of making terroristic threats against hotel workers, authorities said on Thursday.

James T. Hanley, a former pastor of St. Joseph's parish in Mendham, was indicted last year on charges of making terroristic threats and possession of a weapon. Police said he brandished a bat during an argument over payment of a hotel bill in Secaucus.

A Hudson County judge reduced his bail from $50,000 to $20,000 on Thursday, authorities said, after Hanley asked that it be reduced to $5,000. During the hearing, it came out that Hanley, who has been in the Hudson County jail since the end of October, would have no place to go once he gets out of jail, authorities said.

"At this point, he's homeless," said Howard Bell, a Hudson County assistant prosecutor.

Hanley had told the court he could return to a Garfield rooming house where he had been living, Bell said, but the court determined that the rooming house wouldn't let him back. Bell said a nephew of Hanley also would not take him.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:19 AM

Church sex abuse scandal, 5 years later

BOSTON (MA)
In Newsweekly

by Chuck Colbert
February 08, 2007

Five years ago, newspaper headlines exposed a scandal of unimaginable proportions in the Boston Archdiocese. It was the story of widespread abuse of children and vulnerable young adults, the sins of wayward Catholic priests, their sexual misconduct and a widespread cover-up by bishops and even the cardinal.

Indeed, the local church's very own documents showed a deliberate pattern of protecting abusers, covering up crimes, and putting more children at risk.

Sure enough, homosexuality and gay priests figured in the unfolding saga locally and worldwide, as prelates near and far sought an easy scapegoat for their own moral and spiritual failings.

But survivors' tales told a much different story. Time after time, at rallies and in private conversations, I heard from women and men, gay and straight. They were courageous people who dared to break a silence demanded of them by their abusers and enablers.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:15 AM

Sex offender status argued in priest's case

ROCHESTER (NY)
Star-Gazette

February 9, 2007

By Gary Craig
Gannett News Service

ROCHESTER -- A Catholic priest currently imprisoned for possession of child pornography did not intend to visit Internet sites containing pornographic images of youths, according to his attorney.

Instead, the Rev. Michael Volino thought he was being directed to adult-oriented sites, said Rochester lawyer Michael DiPrima.

"The sites he went to indicated (the youth in the images) were all over 18," DiPrima said after a court hearing Thursday at which he argued Volino should not be placed on the state's sex offender registry.

Volino is an Elmira native and his home church is St. Anthony's in Elmira.

When freed from prison in early March, Volino shouldn't be required to register as a sex offender because of a discrepancy between state and federal laws, DiPrima argued at the hearing.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:08 AM

Crisis in the Polish Church

The Tidings

Father Richard P. McBrien

The crisis in the Polish Church, involving the reported collaboration of 10-15% of its clergy with the security forces of the former Communist government, bears an unpleasant resemblance to the sexual-abuse scandal that erupted in the United States five years ago almost to the day.

In both cases, it was the media which first exposed the corruption that church officials had been covering up to avoid scandal and damage to the reputation of the Church and its priesthood. Initial denials were later refuted by the disclosure of evidence to the contrary.

As that evidence began to dribble out piece-meal, the story grew "legs," to use a term common among journalists. Instead of being a one- or two-day story, it developed into a full-blown mini-series.

Accusatory fingers were pointed in various directions. The media were blamed first. Then homosexual priests. Then bishops who covered up their crimes and transferred the perpetrators from parish to parish, thereby exposing other children and young people to further harm.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:06 AM

Vatican rejects Wendelboe appeal

NEW HAMPSHIRE
The Citizen

By JOHN KOZIOL
jkoziolcitizen.com
jkoziol@citizen.com

The Vatican has rejected Rep. Fran Wendelboe's initial appeal to stop the merger of three Roman Catholic churches in the Newfound and Pemi-Baker Region.

The six-term Republican representative from New Hampton was not surprised by the answer but said she isn't giving up just yet, announcing efforts to raise $10,000 in order to appeal the denial, and, ultimately, to keep the doors of her parish, St. Agnes in Ashland, open. ...

Wendelboe, in a letter to Cardinal Dario Castrillon-Hoyos, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy at the Vatican — under canon law, the first entity to which diocesan administrative decisions must be appealed — wrote last August that McCormack's judgment and that of Auxiliary Bishop Francis Christian were suspect given their roles in the scandal over sexual abuse of children by priests in the Archdiocese of Boston and in the Diocese of Manchester.

"Had our bishops been true to their calling and acted in a manner worthy of their offices, it is virtually certain that the need to merge parishes would be greatly reduced if not eliminated entirely," Wendelboe said in asking that the Congregation for the Clergy invalidate McCormack's plans for establishing Holy Trinity Parish.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:02 AM

Suspected abuser returned to school, some testify

CALIFORNIA
Los Angeles Times

By Dave McKibben, Times Staff Writer
February 9, 2007

Mater Dei High School basketball coach Gary McKnight, whose record of success spans a quarter-century, quietly allowed an assistant who'd been fired over an alleged sexual relationship with a student to return to campus, according to court records.

McKnight ignored the orders of school officials not to let the former assistant boys' basketball coach, Jeff Andrade, set foot on the Santa Ana campus again, according to depositions in a lawsuit filed by the student. The girl was 15 when the relationship, which Andrade has admitted, began.

Patrick Murphy, president of the Roman Catholic school, testified that the basketball coach was "less than truthful" when he first presented a contract to school administrators that paved the way for Andrade's return to the campus, according to the depositions.

Years before, McKnight was chastised after he burst into an office where Andrade and the girl were being interviewed by school officials investigating the nature of their relationship.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:59 AM

A priest has been charged with sexual abuse

SPAIN
Typically Spanish

By m.p.
Thu, 08 Feb 2007, 22:01

The Archbishopric of Granada has temporarily removed public duties from a semi-retired priest in La Zubia who is accused of sexually abusing a teenage boy.

They added in the press release informing of their decision that the accusations have not been proved, and ask for respect for the presumption of innocence.

The 72 year old priest, who has not been named, was arrested on Monday following an official complaint by the 14 year old boy’s parents. He has now been released with charges, and must report back to the courts when called to do so.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:54 AM

Editorial: Openness at long last

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

From the Journal Sentinel
Posted: Feb. 8, 2007
California Superior Court Judge Peter Lichtman got it exactly right when he noted that the release of Catholic Church documents he ordered in the case of pedophile Siegfried Widera was necessary and of "no less import or significance" than a monetary settlement.

The public deserves to see the paper record in the case of Widera, once a priest in Milwaukee and California. Hiding such papers doesn't protect Widera's victims; it serves only to protect those who failed to protect victims from Widera's predations.

Lichtman said the documents, which the Milwaukee Catholic Archdiocese fought vigorously to keep secret, support the common theme of abuse victims: "Priests with known sexual proclivities have been handed off from one location to another without regard to the potential harm to the children of the church as well as the family members of those children."

Among the many sad things in the case of Widera - who, facing 42 counts of child molestation, committed suicide in 2003 - is that this release of information had to be ordered by a California court. The Wisconsin Supreme Court in the mid-1990s essentially gave church officials protection from lawsuits not accorded to anyone else.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:52 AM

Bill Proposed To Lift Rape Statute Of Limitations

CALIFORNIA
ABC30

By Nannette Miranda
02/08/2007 - There's a move in Sacramento to lift the statute of limitations on rape. Current state law allows for charges to be brought up to 10 years after an assault occurs, but a victim's rights group says the crime is so serious it should garner the same prosecutorial time frame as murder.

Workers at the offices of the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault say it's time to abolish the statute of limitations for rape, which is 10 years.

They're sponsoring a bill by Democratic Assemblywoman Sally Lieber to change the law.

Suzanne Brown-McBride, CA Coalition Against Sexual Assault: "The statute of limitations doesn't serve to promote justice. It merely keeps some people out of the system who should have a fair hearing."

If they have DNA samples , prosecutors have been getting around the statute of limitations law by filing cases against a "John Doe" who had a specific genetic sequence.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:49 AM

Cardinal Stafford speaks at St. John’s Seminary

BRIGHTON (MA)
The Pilot

BRIGHTON -- Cardinal J. Francis Stafford, head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, spoke to laity, priests and seminarians on the nature of penance and reconciliation between the Catholic Church and her people in addresses sponsored by St. John’s Seminary in Brighton on Feb. 3 and 5.

The Apostolic Penitentiary is a Vatican court dealing with matters of conscience. ...

Because of his position in the Church, Cardinal Stafford said it was important for him to come to Boston in the wake of the scandal of sexual abuse by priests.

He said he was struck by a homily he heard the previous day in which a priest told his parishioners, regarding life after the scandal: “If forgiveness is not part of the process, I don’t want anything to do with it.”

The priest was right, he said. There has to be forgiveness, but first there must be tears.

“Tears of sorrow, tears of anger and finally tears of joy as we realize that God is calling us together again,” he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:45 AM

Bankruptcy sidesteps trial for diocese

IOWA CITY (IA)
Ely Times

Staff and agencies
09 February, 2007

By TODD DVORAK, Associated Press Writer 48 minutes ago

IOWA CITY, Iowa - The Roman Catholic Diocese of Davenport is in bankruptcy.

But for all the hardship the diocese is undergoing as result of molestation claims, bankruptcy may be better than what the church in Iowa could have faced — the civil trial of a former bishop from a neighboring diocese.

"When the bankruptcy was declared ... it was like hitting a brick wall for so many who were following the Soens case and looking for answers," said Dorothy Whiston, a coordinator of Concerned Catholics of the Davenport Diocese, a group of parishioners and priests focused on church reform. "And for laity, most of them just don‘t want to hear any more about priests or Bishop Soens."

Fifteen plaintiffs — all male — stepped forward.

Soens denies the charges, and a diocese internal investigation into a complaint filed in 2002 found that while Soens‘ behavior may have been inappropriate, it was not sexual in nature.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:41 AM

Whitbourne abuse cases can't be tried together: court

CANADA
CBC News

Last Updated: Friday, February 9, 2007 | 9:36 AM NT
CBC News
The Newfoundland Supreme Court has ruled that a string of civil lawsuits involving physical and sexual abuse at a boys' correctional facility cannot be tried together.

Twenty-two former residents of the former Whitbourne Boys Home are suing over abuse they said happened decades ago.

The suits name various parties. The Newfoundland and Labrador government is named in all of them. Most suits name now-deceased Roman Catholic priest Ronald Bromley and the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corp. of Grand Falls, which supervised Bromley.

One suit is against the Salvation Army, while two actions name two former employees at the Whitbourne Boys Home.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:33 AM

February 8, 2007

Clergy Child Molesters Should Not Be Kept Secret: Are We Clear?

ATLANTA (GA)
OpEd News

by Christa Brown

Last Sunday, I stood in the cold with three other women outside the First Baptist Church of Atlanta. It's a flagship Baptist church with pastor Charles Stanley at the helm. He's a two-term president of the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in the country.

We were there to distribute a flyer as people left the morning service. It told about the church's prior children's minister who was reported to have sexually abused a kid in a Dallas church. He then worked at FBC-Atlanta for 19 years, up until about five years ago.

Two things we know by now: Clergy child molesters often have multiple victims, and the victims often stay silent for many years.

In SNAP, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests and other Clergy, we have seen this pattern many times. So whenever we know about a perpetrator, we also know the importance of reaching out to other possible victims. We always hope this effort may allow some abuse survivors to get help sooner rather than later.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:13 PM

Priest shouldn’t be on sex offender list, lawyer says

ROCHESTER (NY)
Democrat and Chronicle

Gary Craig
Staff writer

(February 8, 2007) — A lawyer for Rev. Michael Volino, who admitted to possessing child pornography, argued in court today that the Catholic priest should not be on the state sex offender registry when freed from prison next month.

Lawyer Michael DiPrima maintained in court arguments that a discrepancy between state and federal child pornography statutes should preclude Volino from being required to register as a sex offender in New York.

The federal statutes design child pornography as images of youth under 18, while state statutes set a younger age.

Assistant Attorney General Emil Bove responded that the state legislature clearly intended for people convicted of federal child pornography to also be eligible for the state sex offender registry.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:07 PM

Award-winning play 'Doubt' makes its Boston premiere

BOSTON (MA)
The Eagle-Tribune

By Rosemary Ford , Staff Writer
Eagle-Tribune

Despite the Tony Awards, the Pulitzer Prize and countless spoilers about the play "Doubt," star Cherry Jones just doesn't want to weigh in on the central question at the heart of the story.

Jones plays Sister Aloysius, a nun who worries a priest she works with is abusing one of her students. The eight-time Tony-winning play comes to Boston's Colonial Theatre this week for a limited run.

"It's amazing that anyone can go home absolutely certain," the 50-year-old actress said in a phone interview during the play's recent run in Chicago. "Certainty is so much more comfortable than uncertainty. It's more comfortable and comforting to know you are right; we just can't always."

She's played Sister Aloysius more than 500 times (and won a Tony for her portrayal), and each time she never really answers the question - even in her own mind - about what really happened. It's up to the audience: to believe, to not believe or to stay in doubt themselves.

"(The play) really is about doubt and uncertainty, and how we judge and how we make our decisions," Jones said. "Honestly, the play is less about what we are doing on stage and more about what the audience is putting themselves through watching it. It's an intensely personal play for everyone in the audience, because they have to look at how they make judgments."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:10 PM

Jury Selection Set for Pastor Accused of Molestation

JACKSONVILLE (FL)
First Coast News

JACKSONVILLE, FL -- A judge Wednesday set a date to start jury selection in the trial of former pastor Bob Gray.

Gray, a former leader at Trinity Baptist Church, is accused of molesting three girls and a boy several decades ago.

More than twenty women have come forward with molestation claims since First Coast News began working with JSO sex crimes investigators and the State Attorney's office last year.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:06 AM

Statute of limitations on suing child Molesters

BOISE (ID)
Fox 12

Boise, Idaho -- Idaho lawmakers are again considering a change in the statute of limitations as it relates to sexual abuse of children.

Last year the criminal statute on child sex abuse was removed. Now, a current bill proposes increasing the statute as it relates to civil cases.

Currently people who sexually abuse kids must be tried civilly by the time the victim turns 23.

But that age limit could be increased to whatever the age is of the victim when discovering the abuse occurred, plus five years.

"We feel that too many people have not discovered that they were abused or that they're not in a position where they can report abuse by age 23. They may be in an environment that is still controlling of them -- they don't have the independence to report the abuse. Perhaps it's someone close to them, and so they need some time," said Mack Shirley, (R) Rexburg.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:04 AM

Deadline sought for abuse claims

DAVENPORT (IA)
Des Moines Register

By ERIN JORDAN
REGISTER IOWA CITY BUREAU

February 8, 2007

Victims of clergy sex abuse in the Davenport Diocese would have to come forward by July 16 to be compensated as part of the diocese's bankruptcy proceedings, according to a proposal from attorneys for the diocese and victims.

Claim deadlines are common in bankruptcy proceedings, but advocates for sex abuse victims said setting such a deadline in this type of case is wrong because victims often take years to realize they have been abused and have legal options.

"To force deeply wounded individuals to somehow 'expedite' this process for the convenience of complicit church officials is outrageous," said David Clohessy, national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

Richard Davidson, bankruptcy attorney for the diocese, said that without a deadline, "there would never be a distribution because you wouldn't know how many claims you have."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:46 AM

Secrecy's dangerous side effects

UNITED STATES
Los Angeles Daily News

By Richard Zitrin, RICHARD ZITRIN practices law in San Francisco and teaches at UC Hastings College of the Law. He is also the founder of the Center for Applied Legal Ethics at the University of San Francisco.
February 8, 2007

DRUG GIANT Eli Lilly & Co. recently settled 18,000 lawsuits brought by people claiming they were injured by the side effects of its biggest-selling drug, Zyprexa, which is used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. But the $500 million in settlements says less about the dangers of the drug than the dangers of secrecy.

About 18 months earlier, Lilly had settled 8,000 other Zyprexa cases for $700 million. But those settlements required the plaintiffs to return all sensitive documents obtained through the legal discovery process to Lilly — a requirement that kept the strongest smoking-gun evidence out of public view. The plaintiffs also had to agree "not to communicate, publish or cause to be published, in any public or business forum or context, any statement, whether written or oral, concerning the specific events, facts or circumstances giving rise to [their] claims." ...

Some intrepid plaintiffs and their lawyers refuse to play the secrecy game. In Northern California, plaintiffs in dozens of Catholic Church sexual abuse cases have banded together and refused to keep the names and whereabouts of molesters secret. And recently, Eva Rowe, who lost her parents as the result of an explosion at a Texas oil refinery in 2005, refused to settle with BP unless the oil company agreed to release the millions of documents obtained as evidence. Rowe and her lawyer hope that the documents, which they say show how BP's under-funding and lackadaisical attitude created significant safety problems, will serve as an industry blueprint on how refinery safety should, and shouldn't, be handled.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:30 AM

Lieber wants to end time limits on sex crimes

CALIFORNIA
Palo Alto Daily News

By Mike Zapler and Edwin Garcia / MediaNews

SACRAMENTO - Most accused rapists and other serious sexual offenders can't be prosecuted in California if it's been 10 years since their crime. On Wednesday, Assemblywoman Sally Lieber, D-Mountain View, announced legislation to scrap that time limit, a nod to victims, she said, too traumatized to come forward earlier.

The bill could trigger an odd alliance between Lieber, a staunch liberal on most issues, and tough-on-crime Republicans in the Legislature. But its passage is far from certain: A similar measure stalled in the state Senate two years ago without so much as a vote.

Lieber's Assembly Bill 261 would eliminate the 10-year statute of limitations for the most serious sexual crimes: rape, sodomy, child molestation, oral copulation, continuous sexual abuse of a child, forcible acts of sexual penetration and fleeing the state to avoid prosecution for a sex offense.

"The current statute of limitations is not long enough for victims who may be too traumatized to come forward," Lieber said. "These are very serious crimes; they're second only to murder in terms of their seriousness. The impact on victims is profound and lifelong."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:24 AM

More clergy abuse files turn up in FW

FORT WORTH (TX)
The Dallas Morning News

08:23 PM CST on Wednesday, February 7, 2007
By BROOKS EGERTON / The Dallas Morning News
begerton@dallasnews.com

The Fort Worth Catholic Diocese acknowledged Wednesday the existence of more clergy sexual abuse files that its officials failed to surrender under a civil court order.

The disclosure outraged Dallas lawyer Tahira Khan Merritt, who was supposed to have received documents in late 2004 on all accused priests who had worked in the diocese. She was suing at the time over the actions of one priest but alleged a broader pattern of cover-up – a cover-up that has since been borne out by documents The Dallas Morning News obtained in November, after a 19-month court fight.

"I would hope that judges and criminal prosecutors see this for what it is – an abuse of our judicial process – and take action now," Ms. Merritt said. "I would urge the Tarrant County district attorney to arrive at the diocese offices with a search warrant."

The diocese's No. 2 official, the Rev. Michael Olson, said he did not know why his predecessors failed to surrender the files.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:22 AM

Records of pedophile priest to become public

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

By MARIE ROHDE
mrohde@journalsentinel.com
Posted: Feb. 7, 2007
Some 3,000 pages of records on a notorious pedophile priest that the Milwaukee Catholic Archdiocese fought to keep secret will be released by a California court within the next 30 days.

Buy a link hereAttorneys for the victims and the judge have long had full access to the documents; the decision forces the public release, a move the church had vigorously fought.

In his decision, California Superior Court Judge Peter D. Lichtman noted that other documents on the same priest, Siegfried Widera, had earlier been released by the Diocese of Orange (County) in California. The Milwaukee documents, he said, support the common theme recounted by abuse victims: "Priests with known sexual proclivities have been handed off from one location to another without regard to the potential harm to the children of the church as well as the family members of those children."

Kathleen Hohl, spokeswoman for the Milwaukee Archdiocese, said the church would not appeal the decision and is in the process of concealing the names of victims in the documents, as ordered by the court.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:07 AM

Diocese updates priest investigations

FORT WORTH (TX)
Bradenton Herald

The Associated Press
FORT WORTH - The Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth, reeling after a judge last year released about 700 pages of previously secret files relating to six priests accused of abusing minors, said Wednesday it had contacted the appropriate police departments in all of the cases and was still reviewing the allegations.

The documents detailed allegations against six clergymen: the late John Hanlon, William Hoover and James Reilly; and John Howlett, Philip Magaldi and Rudolph Renteria. Files for a seventh priest, the Rev. Joseph Tu Ngoc Nguyen, a Dominican order priest, had been sealed because he appealed their release.

Magaldi, who is retired from the ministry, and Tu, who stepped down, have maintained their innocence. Renteria was removed from priestly duties in 2002. A telephone number listed as Renteria's was busy Wednesday night. Howlett lives in Ireland under the supervision of his religious order, according to court documents.

The documents had been sealed as part of a sexual abuse lawsuit settled in 2005 and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, The Dallas Morning News and some of the accusers asked a judge to release the files.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:04 AM

Play on church sex scandal casts ‘Doubt’ on truth

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Herald

By Margery Eagan
Boston Herald Columnist

Thursday, February 8, 2007 - Updated: 12:48 AM EST

Cardinal Law would love this play. It helps you better understand, if not condone, the expedient denials that let him and so many others sweep the whole nauseating sexual abuse mess under the rug.

But “Doubt,” which opened Tuesday at the Colonial Theater and has won a zillion awards, including the Pulitzer Prize, is so much more than some dreary examination of the church scandal and who, in this case, is right: the battle-ax authoritarian nun who runs a grammar school, or the charismatic and caring young priest she accuses of molesting a troubled boy.

“It is about uncertainty,” said its star, the Tony-award winning Cherry Jones, in an interview yesterday. It’s about “rushing to judgment” and how we decide what and who to believe and how we are thoroughly convinced of one person’s version of the facts, up until we are thoroughly convinced of the other person’s tale.
It’s a play for those who’ve felt that sickening drop in their stomach when first suspecting betrayal by someone trusted - a spouse, a boss, a politician, a president. It’s about the awful compromises then made to get by, to keep going on. “I still long for shared certainty, an assumption of safety, the reassurance that others know what’s for the best,” says playwright John Patrick Shanley.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:01 AM

Jesuits seek sex abuse victims of former priest

BALTIMORE (MD)
Baltimore Sun

Ron Cassie, The Examiner

Feb 8, 2007 3:00 AM (4 hrs ago)

BALTIMORE - The Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus said Wednesday that it is looking for possible additional victims of a former local priest.

The Rev. H. Cornell Bradley, who worked and lived in Baltimore from 1979 to 1989, was recently accused of abusing a minor in 1973 while at Gonzaga College High School in Washington.

Jesuit organization spokeswoman Kate Pipkin said an investigation last year confirmed that Bradley, 69, committed sexual misconduct with a man in Baltimore in the early 1980s.

Criminal charges were not pursued in that case, and the statute of limitations has expired.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:59 AM

Lingering 'Doubt'

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Globe

February 8, 2007

America, by and large, doesn't do fatalism. In courts and public discourse, it is presumed that problems can be foreseen, or at least fixed; that situations work themselves out for the better; that all lingering questions are answered in the end. This is not the world that John Patrick Shanley describes in "Doubt, " a fine play that opened Tuesday for a two-week run at the Colonial Theatre.

In a way, it's surprising that "Doubt" took as long to arrive here as it did. The plot is set in the Bronx in 1964 and centers on Sister Aloysius , a nun who fears that a priest is molesting her school's first black student. Given its subject, Shanley's play has attracted intense interest in Greater Boston, which was riven five years ago by revelations of sexual abuse by clergy. Sister Aloysius's fierce protection of her schoolchildren will resonate locally, as will her frustration over her lack of recourse within the church hierarchy.

For the most part, though, the play isn't a commentary on the abuse scandal. Instead, it's a study in how a person's inability to know the unknowable -- or prove the unprovable -- reverberates in the wider world.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:57 AM

More allegations against priest

FORT WORTH (TX)
Star-Telegram

By TERRY LEE GOODRICH
STAR-TELEGRAM STAFF WRITER
In response to the Fort Worth Catholic Diocese's public appeals in November, two men, parents of four other men and a woman have brought new allegations of sexual misconduct with minors against the late Monsignor James C. Reilly, former pastor of an Arlington church.

The abuse is alleged to have occurred in the mid-1960s and early 1970s, officials with the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth reported Wednesday.

The diocese, which has urged victims to report misconduct, received the allegations from November through January, said the Rev. Michael Olson, the diocese's vicar general and overseer of its conduct review board. Reilly, who served at St. Maria Goretti Catholic Church of Arlington, died in 1999.

Two women, each with two adult sons, told the diocese that they suspect Reilly sexually abused their sons when they were minors. The men have not approached the diocese, Olson said. The diocese has offered to pay for counseling of the parents and the four men but has not yet received a response, Olson said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:53 AM

February 7, 2007

Former Phillips priest named in federal lawsuit

WISCONSIN
The-Bee

Patti Wenzel, patti.wenzel@mx3.com
THE-BEE
Wednesday, February 07th, 2007 09:10:02 AM

A Chicago man filed a civil lawsuit Jan. 29 alleging that Fr. Terrance Fitzmaurice, who had served at Our Lady of the North Catholic Church in Phillips (St. Patrick’s and St. Mary’s), raped him 30 years ago.

Perry Collins, along with his mother Doris Thomas, also alleges that the city of Chicago, Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago, St. Procopius Abbey and the Order of St. Benedict in Lisle, Ill., conspired to cover up the priest’s actions because he is an African American.

During an interview with FOX News Chicago, Collins attorney Phillips Aaron also alleged that 15 boys had filed complaints against Fitzmaurice while he was assigned to St. Patrick’s, St. Mary’s and Our Lady of the North parishes in Phillips.

The Catholic Diocese of Superior previously said there have been no reports of misconduct by Fitzmaurice while serving in Phillips. Calls to the diocese concerning the latest accusations were not returned prior to press time.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:15 PM

In the open

COUNCIL BLUFFS (IA)
The Daily Nonpareil

02/07/2007

Our Position: Diocese, school react properly to alleged abuse.

A Catholic priest who has served the St. Albert Catholic School System in Council Bluffs for the past 12 years was placed on leave late last week in the wake of allegations of sexual abuse by a former St. Albert student.

Bishop Joseph Charron of the Diocese of Des Moines announced the action against the Rev. Phillip Hobt on Friday. Hobt, who has been with the school since the fall of 1995, taught religion and delivered Mass for the junior high and high schools. The priest also delivered some weekend Masses at St. Patrick's and St. Peter's Catholic churches in Council Bluffs. Hobt is not allowed to function as a priest while on leave.

While such allegations are not unheard of and have been mishandled in other dioceses in the past, we think the handling of this unfortunate situation by both the diocese and local school officials has been exemplary.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:06 PM

CBS13 Continues To Investigate A Fugitive Priest

SACRAMENTO (CA)
CBS 13

Sam Shane
Reporting

(CBS13) SACRAMENTO Investigators were closing in on father Gerardo Beltran. It was 1991. The allegations were serious, that he was molesting young girls in Sacramento. Beltran fled Sacramento for Mexico. Never to return.

For more than ten years Beltran has been living in Igualita, Mexico, a small village of nearly 700 people. When we arrived we found Beltran's name engraved on the front of the village's rundown church. Beltran is the village priest here who says mass every Sunday.

Sam: He was charged with molesting young girls in the United States, would you ask them if they know that?

When our translator posed that question to the police chief of Igualita he shook his head, no. In this remote village of Southern Mexico they are not aware that in the 1980's father Gerardo Beltran, then a priest in Sacramento, admitted to the Catholic Diocese that he had sex with a woman of limited mental capacities. That in 1992 the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office charged Beltran with a felony for molesting two girls, ages six and fourteen. And that the FBI has listed Beltran as a federal fugitive for fleeing Sacramento for Mexico.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:02 AM

Ex-Student Accuses Jesuit Of Misconduct

MARYLAND
Washington Post

By Michelle Boorstein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 7, 2007; Page B06

A Maryland Jesuit has been removed from the ministry and is under close supervision after being accused of sexual misconduct involving a student when the priest was an assistant principal of Gonzaga College High School in the 1970s.

The Rev. H. Cornell Bradley could not be reached for comment, and a spokeswoman for the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus said his superiors have instructed him not to speak to the media. But a province statement said that Bradley, 69, "has said he is unable to deny the allegations."

The allegations, province spokeswoman Kate Pipkin said yesterday, do not involve fondling or genital touching but rather "asking someone to do something that makes them uncomfortable."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:44 AM

Priest faces lawsuit for child support

ALASKA
Anchorage Daily News

By LISA DEMER
Anchorage Daily News

Published: February 7, 2007
Last Modified: February 7, 2007 at 02:35 AM

An Alaska child support case winding its way through court offers a new twist on an old scandal: The accused deadbeat father is a Roman Catholic priest.

The two "kids" suing him and the Jesuits for support are now grown men with children of their own.

Jesuit leaders have known for nearly 40 years that Father James Jacobson had children here and eventually kept him out of Alaska to avoid "any possible scandal for the Church in Alaska," according to a new legal filing on behalf of his two sons. The mother of one of the men also is suing Jacobson for child support and damages. The other mother has died.

Messages left for Jacobson and his attorney on Tuesday were not returned. Efforts to reach the Jesuits and their attorneys were also unsuccessful.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:38 AM

Brazil Church Leaders Plead Not Guilty

MIAMI (FL)
The New York Times

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: February 6, 2007
Filed at 11:40 a.m. ET

MIAMI (AP) -- A Brazilian couple accused of plundering millions of dollars from their evangelical church pleaded not guilty Tuesday to federal charges that they illegally smuggled $56,000 in cash into the United States.

Estavam Hernandes-Filho, 52, and his 48-year-old wife, Sonia Haddad Moraes Hernandes, each stood silently in the courtroom while their lawyers entered not guilty pleas to charges of bulk cash smuggling, conspiracy and making false statements. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

The couple was then hustled out of the downtown courthouse by supporters. They refused any comment, as did their attorneys.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:36 AM

Defendant Requests Second DNA Test

HARTFORD (CT)
Hartford Courant

February 7, 2007
By TINA A. BROWN, Courant Staff Writer

A Hartford pastor charged with sexually assaulting and impregnating an 11-year-old parishioner asked a Superior Court judge Tuesday for a new DNA test he thinks would show he is not the father of a baby the girl delivered last year.

Modesto Reyes has maintained his innocence, although previous tests showed with 99 percent certainty he is the baby's father, and even as his lawyer discusses a possible plea bargain with prosecutors.

"They have false DNA," Reyes said during a pretrial appearance attended by about 20 of his supporters in Hartford. "I've been asking for DNA tests, and I'm still in jail," Reyes said.

Judge Thomas P. Miano told Reyes he should discuss the DNA issue with his lawyer. "I've been asking for eight months," the minister insisted.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:31 AM

Priest wanted on assault charge waives extradition

PHOENIX (AZ)
Mohave Daily News

By CHRIS KAHN

Tuesday, February 6, 2007 8:55 PM PST

Associated Press

PHOENIX - A Roman Catholic priest facing charges of beating and sexually assaulting a female employee at his Las Vegas parish will not fight extradition from Arizona.

The Rev. George Chaanine, 52, agreed not to fight his return to Las Vegas during a brief extradition hearing in Maricopa County Superior Court on Tuesday. He is being held on $1 million bail.

Chaanine was arrested Thursday in Apache Junction, about 30 miles east of Phoenix. No gun was found in Chaanine's car, Las Vegas police Lt. John Bradshaw said in an e-mail response to questions Tuesday.

He had been on the run since Jan. 26, when he allegedly attacked the female church worker. He faces charges of attempted murder, sexual assault, kidnapping and battery with a deadly weapon in the incident.

Chaanine, an administrator at Our Lady of Las Vegas parish, could face life in prison if he is convicted of the most serious charges, Clark County prosecutors have said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:28 AM

Talks bring back bad memories

CANADA
The Chronicle Herald

By STEVE BRUCE Staff Reporter

Mi’kmaq Grand Chief Ben Sylliboy says he has a selective memory when it comes to the four years he spent at the Shubenacadie Indian Residential School as a youngster.

"There’s what I want to remember and what I don’t want to remember," the 65-year-old resident of the Waycobah reserve in Cape Breton said Tuesday.

"Even today, I can black out the bad things and just remember the good comradeship I had with the boys, the play fighting and stuff like that."

Mr. Sylliboy was in Dartmouth on Tuesday for an Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nation Chiefs information session on a class-action lawsuit seeking federal compensation for as many as 80,000 former aboriginal residential school students across Canada.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:22 AM

Suicidal monk has wrestled with past

ELKHORN (NE)
World-Herald

BY CHRISTOPHER BURBACH
WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER

The Catholic monk who stepped in front of a train Tuesday in Elkhorn had joined the Benedictine order partly to atone for a dark past: He murdered his 3-year-old daughter in 1976.

A westbound train passes over the spot where an eastbound train struck a man early Tuesday morning.Tuesday wasn't the first time that Brother Patrick Harris, 63, of St. Gabriel Benedictine Priory in Des Moines tried to kill himself. He made a suicide attempt more than 30 years ago after murdering his child in Minnesota.

About 6 a.m. Tuesday, he stepped in front of an eastbound Union Pacific train near Main Street and Railroad Avenue, near downtown Elkhorn. He lay down before the train hit him but was injured as about a dozen train cars passed over him.

Harris, who was bleeding from the head, was flown to Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha, where he was being treated in the intensive care unit. A hospital spokeswoman said she could not release his condition.

Elkhorn police tried to interview Harris, but he said he did not remember the incident, said Tim Dempsey, Elkhorn police chief.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:13 AM

Retreat facilitator's past as sex abuser resurfaces

COLLEGEVILLE (MN)
Star Tribune

By Pamela Miller, Star Tribune
Last update: February 06, 2007 – 9:47 PM

A group representing clergy sex-abuse victims criticized an Episcopal retreat center in Collegeville, Minn., on Tuesday for inviting a registered sex offender -- the brother of the center's director -- to lead a retreat this weekend.

Lynn Bauman, 64, admitted to molesting an 8-year-old boy on a camping trip in 1996 and was sentenced to 10 years' probation, according to the Texas Department of Corrections. He said Tuesday night that he admitted to wrongdoing and has not reoffended, and that it is "not germane" to his work now.

Bauman is scheduled to lead this weekend's $310-per-person "Wisdom School Introduction" retreat, which focuses on fact and fiction about Mary Magdalene and related topics, from Thursday to Sunday at the Episcopal House of Prayer. The center can accommodate 24 people per retreat.

The center, which is associated with the Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota, is built on land leased from St. John's Abbey, according to diocese spokesman Joe Bjordal and abbey spokesman the Rev. William Skudlarek.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:09 AM

Fans upset that retired bishop not given OK to talk here

TUCSON (AZ)
Tucson Citizen

By RYN GARGULINSKI
Tucson Citizen
Some were disappointed. Others were disgusted. One had to leave, she said, so she wouldn't get sick because she was so angry.
Those were just a few reactions from the more than 100 people who showed up at First Christian Church on Tuesday evening to hear retired Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Gumbleton of Detroit speak.
The strong reactions were not because of what Gumbleton said, but because he wasn't there.
Known for speaking about homosexuality and his own childhood sexual abuse at the hands of a priest, Gumbleton instead spoke via a recorded speech shown on a DVD after Bishop Gerald Kicanas of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson refused to give permission to Gumbleton to visit Tucson last month.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:56 AM

Judge orders release of church files on molester priest

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Los Angeles Times

By Peter Y. Hong, Times Staff Writer
February 7, 2007

A Los Angeles judge Tuesday ordered the release of secret church files on a late Orange County priest convicted of molesting children, ruling the documents show that "priests with known sexual proclivities have been handed off from one location to another without regard to the potential harm" to children.

Superior Court Judge Peter D. Lichtman ordered the Archdiocese of Milwaukee to produce the records involving Siegfried Widera, a priest who was convicted of child molestation in Wisconsin in 1973, then sent to Orange County three years later.

As part of an August 2006 settlement in which the Milwaukee diocese agreed to pay eight California victims $13.3 million, the church agreed to produce records so "transparency, accountability and responsibility can and could be assessed with the hope of providing closure to the settling plaintiffs."

But the diocese contended some records were privileged.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:54 AM

Jesuits seek to contact those priest might have abused

BALTIMORE (MD)
Baltimore Sun

Originally published February 7, 2007

The regional Jesuit institution is looking for any people who might have been abused by a priest who lived at Loyola College from 1979 to 1981.

The Rev. H. Cornell Bradley was removed from ministry in January 2006 after an investigation confirmed allegations of sexual misconduct with a man in Baltimore in the early 1980s, said Kate Pipkin, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus, which includes eight Mid-Atlantic states. Province officials then received another accusation in 2006, this time involving a minor in 1973 at Gonzaga College High School in Washington, Pipkin said.

"That immediately led us to great concern that there might possibly be other victims," Pipkin said.

Criminal charges were not pursued in that case, and the statute of limitations has expired, she said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:52 AM

Child molester walks free after conviction is quashed

IRELAND
Kilkenny People

A paedophile who was convicted of 25 counts of child abuse in Kilkenny walked from prison earlier this week after the Court of Criminal Appeal in Dublin quashed a separate conviction for abuse.

David Murray was freed on Monday after the court ruled that Murray's convictions in connection with a 14-year-old boy were "unsafe".

The convictions were in connection with alleged wrong doing during a camping trip in Glendalough in Wicklow in 1980.

Murray was convicted in 2001 and sentenced to ten years in jail. The prosecution did not contest the arguement that the conviction was unsafe.

Judge Fidelma Macken ordered that a re-trial take place but that will not happen because it would be difficult for Murray to get a fair trial after all these years.

Kilkenny link
Murray was given a ten-year sentence in 1997 for crimes committed while he was employed in St Joseph's orphanage in Kilkenny.
Murray pleaded guilty to 34 sample charges, including 25 relating to ten boys who lived in the city which was under the control of the Sisters of Charity.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:48 AM

Judge rules church must release files it has on notorious priest

LOS ANGELES (CA)
The Desert Sun

The Associated Press
February 7, 2007

LOS ANGELES - A judge Tuesday ordered the Roman Catholic Church to release insurance records and confidential files related to a notorious priest who had been convicted of molestation before being transferred to California.

Superior Court Judge Peter D. Lichtman ordered the Archdiocese of Milwaukee to make public 3,000 pages of insurance records and hundreds of pages from the secret disciplinary files of Siegfried Widera.

Lichtman wrote that Widera's files prove that "priests with known sexual proclivities have been handed off from location to another without regard to the potential harm to the children of the Church."

Kathleen Hohl, a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, said it would abide by the ruling but declined further comment. The documents will not be released for at least 30 days.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:45 AM

February 6, 2007

Diocese appealing judgment on sexual abuse compensation

CANADA
CBC News

Last Updated: Tuesday, February 6, 2007 | 2:27 PM NT
CBC News
A Roman Catholic diocese is appealing a Newfoundland Supreme Court ruling that could see four men become eligible for compensation for sexual abuse at the hands of a priest.

The St. George's diocese, which covers western and southern Newfoundland, is not commenting on its appeal while it is before the courts.

In a ruling filed in January, Supreme Court Justice Fonse Faour found that four claimants — who came forward after the diocese had reached a $13-million settlement — should be considered for compensation.

Almost all of the men involved in the settlement had been molested by priest Kevin Bennett, while he worked in parishes on Newfoundland's south coast.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:22 PM

AP NewsBreak: Judge rules that priest files must be released

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Chippewa Herald

By GILLIAN FLACCUS

LOS ANGELES - A judge Tuesday ordered the Roman Catholic Church to release insurance records and confidential files related to a priest who had been convicted of molestation before being transferred to California from Wisconsin.

Superior Court Judge Peter D. Lichtman ordered the Archdiocese of Milwaukee to make public 3,000 pages of insurance records and hundreds of pages from files on Siegfried Widera.

Lichtman wrote that Widera's files prove that "priests with known sexual proclivities have been handed off from location to another without regard to the potential harm to the children of the Church."

Kathleen Hohl, a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, said it would abide by the ruling but declined further comment.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:20 PM

Roots of Abuse

NEW YORK
National Catholic Register

BY WAYNE LAUGESEN
REGISTER CORRESPONDENT

February 11-17, 2007 Issue

Posted 2/6/07 at 8:00 AM

NEW YORK — The U.S. bishops are undertaking a second study of the priest abuse scandal. Those conducting the research say hot button issues such as homosexuality and dissent will be part of the study.

The first phase of the study, conducted in 2004 by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, was considered a landmark in its field.

John Jay’s first report called for a more searching examination of the effects of homosexuality on the priesthood. It stated, “For those who choose to ordain homosexuals, there appears to be a need for additional scrutiny and perhaps additional or specialized formation to help them with the challenge of priestly celibacy.”

The bishops in November allocated funding for a follow-up on causes and context. It’s expected to be similarly groundbreaking.

Teresa Kettelkamp, executive director of the Office of Child and Youth Protection of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, pointed out that in the first phase of the study John Jay proved its “open, objective, thorough, impeccable and professional.”

She said the follow-up wouldn’t pull any punches when it comes to tough issues like homosexuality.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:02 PM

The benefit of doubt

UNITED STATES
Boston Globe

By John Patrick Shanley | February 6, 2007

THERE ARE two predominant ways of dealing in this country. There is the culture of doubt, and there is the culture of dogma. Both are remedies to the problem of choice. It is indicative that one of the most incendiary and divisive issues of the last many years swirls around the word choice. Should a woman have the right to choose? Are you pro-life or pro-choice? How would you respond?

For the majority of you, you've already been asked many times if you're pro-life or pro-choice and you already have your answer. Most people know that pro-life is code for one thing, and pro-choice is code for its opposite. When you're asked if you're pro-life or pro-choice, you are being asked to declare yourself politically. It is a political question that defines reality as an either/or proposition. And it's a bit of a trick. My impression is that people still answer when asked, but they've grown weary of the question; it's inhuman. We know instinctively there's more to life. ...

How did the church scandals happen? How could they have been so extensive? Why were the victims treated as culprits, and the culprits protected? Well, people made up their minds. They made a choice. People decided who to trust and what to believe. And anything they saw or heard that did not conform to those choices, those facts simply were not allowed to exist.


Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:01 AM

Witnesses not on trial: Truth inquiry judge

CANADA
Ottawa Sun

By Canadian Press

CORNWALL — A lawyer for a priest accused of sexually abusing young boys in the 1960s and 1970s has been told that an inquiry probing the institutional response to allegations of systemic sexual abuse in the Cornwall area isn’t the forum to prove his client’s innocence.

Rev. Charles MacDonald was charged in 1996 with a number of sex-related offences, but following six years of delays, those charges were stayed in 2002 when a judge determined it had taken too long to bring the matter to trial.

On Monday, Dominic Lamb continued his cross-examination of David Silmser, a man who says he was abused by MacDonald while serving as an altar boy at St. Columban’s Church.

Lamb was asking Silmser about problems with his memory regarding specific details about the alleged abuse when Commissioner Normand Glaude stepped in and suggested the lawyer was out of bounds in his questioning.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:20 AM

Priest Accused Of Sexual Misconduct With Minors

WASHINGTON (DC)
WBAL

WASHINGTON -- A priest, who once taught at Gonzaga High School in Northwest Washington, is accused of sexual misconduct going back to the 1970s.

The Rev. Cornell Bradley, a Jesuit priest, has not been charged in the case. He allegedly had inappropriate sexual conduct with a man, woman and three minors. Two of the allegations center around then-15-year-old boys who attended Gonzaga about 30 years ago.

Bradley taught at Gonzaga from 1962 to 1965 and from 1972 to 1979.

The Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus acknowledges that there were allegations made against Bradley years ago but said he received psychiatric treatment in 1993 and was returned to the ministry.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:49 AM

Gonzaga Priest Accused Of Sexual Misconduct With Minors

WASHINGTON (DC)
NBC 4

WASHINGTON -- A priest, who once taught at Gonzaga High School in Northwest Washington, is accused of sexual misconduct going back to the 1970s.

The Rev. Cornell Bradley, a Jesuit priest, has not been charged in the case. He allegedly had inappropriate sexual conduct with a man, woman and three minors. Two of the allegations center around then-15-year-old boys who attended Gonzaga about 30 years ago.

Bradley taught at Gonzaga from 1962 to 1965 and from 1972 to 1979.

The Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus acknowledges that there were allegations made against Bradley years ago but said he received psychiatric treatment in 1993 and was returned to the ministry.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:02 AM

Former Gonzaga Teacher Accused of Misconduct

WASHINGTON (DC)
WJLA

Philadelphia - Monday February 05, 2007 7:54 pm

A Jesuit priest who once taught at Gonzaga High School in Washington has been accused of sexual misconduct.

The allegation against the Reverend H. Cornell Bradley is being investigated by the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus.

Bradley taught at Gonzaga from 1962 to 1965 and from 1972 to 1979. The latest allegation is from 1973. The Maryland Province says Bradley is "unable to deny" it.

Churches and schools where he taught in Baltimore, North Carolina, Philadelphia and India have also been notified.

Investigators say Bradley has acknowledged previous misconduct allegations. He was removed from the ministry in 1993 and later returned. He was removed again last year and now lives "under supervision" in a Jesuit community.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:59 AM

Controversial bishop forced by church to cancel Arizona appearances

ARIZONA
The Arizona Republic

Michael Clancy
The Arizona Republic
Feb. 5, 2007 05:45 PM

The Vatican has silenced an outspoken Catholic bishop, forcing him to cancel two planned talks in Arizona, organizers of the talks said Monday.

Bishop Thomas Gumbleton of Detroit is required to seek permission from local bishops anywhere he wishes to speak, by order of the Papal Nuncio, the Vatican's ambassador to the United States, according to local leaders of Call to Action.

Normally, clergymen need permission only to conduct religious services.

Bishops Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix and Gerald Kicanas of Tucson refused to grant the permission, citing Call to Action's positions that conflict with church policy.

A source close to Gumbleton in Detroit confirmed the nuncio's action. But a man who declined to identify himself at the nuncio's office in Washington, D.C., said the office would not talk about any such order.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:45 AM

Local Catholic finances 'stretched'

CLEVELAND (OH)
The Plain Dealer

Tuesday, February 06, 2007
David Briggs
Plain Dealer Religion Reporter
Nearly half of the 231 parishes in the Cleveland Catholic Diocese operated in the red last year.

Overall, the diocese is in the black, with revenues increasing $6.4 million to $269.2 million in 2006, according to a financial report released Monday.

Area Catholics placed a record $106.1 million in collection baskets, the highest since 2002 when the church first began to feel the impact of the clergy sex abuse scandal on parish giving. ...

In some other dioceses, costs related to the sexual abuse crisis prompted mass school and parish closings or bankruptcy filings. But the Cleveland diocese has been able to pay its abuse-related expenses, including $2.4 million in 2006, from emergency reserve funds, the report said.


Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:32 AM

Woman claims two Ore. nuns abused her as a child

PORTLAND (OR)
KGW

02/06/2007

Associated Press

A woman is suing the Society of Holy Names, Jesus, a religious order, claiming she was sexually abused by two nuns who taught in two Portland schools then run by the order.

The lawsuit identifies the plaintiff only as a female born in 1948 with the initials B.G.J. It claims the abuses took place beginning in about 1958 by one nun and in about 1962 by another at Holy Child Academy and St. Rose's Catholic School, both in northeast Portland.

Holy Child closed in 1973. The building now houses the Southeast Asian Vicariate of Portland.

The religious order left St. Rose's in 1979 after more than 60 years. It now is Archbishop Howard Elementary School.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:29 AM

Clerical abuse probe widens

NORTHERN IRELAND
Belfast Today

The PSNI are still considering a Ferns-style inquiry into clerical sex abuse across Northern Ireland dating back to the 1960s, it has been confirmed.

In October 2005, after an official Irish Government inquiry, the Ferns Report concluded bishops had covered up sexual abuse of children by 21 priests since 1966 to 2002 in the Ferns diocese.
The PSNI and Department of Health then met with the Roman Catholic Church two months later about the implications for Northern Ireland.

More than six formal meetings took place, with police meeting Church legal representatives in January, 2006.

In March last year, it is understood the Church provided statistics on allegations of child abuse within Northern Ireland and a summary of every allegation has been handed over to police.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:22 AM

February 5, 2007

Diocese reports losses of $2.3 million

SPRINGFIELD (IL)
Springfield Journal-Register

By BRUCE RUSHTON
STAFF WRITER
Published Monday, February 05, 2007

The Catholic Diocese of Springfield recently reported more than $2.3 million in operating losses during the fiscal year ending June 30, continuing a trend that goes back at least four years.

Since 2002, the diocese has recorded more income than expenses just once. That was in 2005, when the church had a net operating gain of just $12,251.

By contrast, the diocese reported $1.8 million in operating losses in 2003 and more than $400,000 in losses in 2004 and 2002. All told, operating losses since 2002 total more than $5 million.

"Money is tight," Kathie Sass, diocese spokeswoman, said last week.

The diocese has cut travel expenses but also has reduced the amount of money that it collects from parishes, which also are experiencing hard times, Sass said.

In a recent message to parishioners published in Catholic Times, the diocesan newspaper, John J. Maxwell, director of finances for the diocese, attributed the most recent losses to a decline in investment revenue. In addition, the church spent $1 million on construction at Effingham St. Anthony High School, according to a summary of audited financial statements released by the diocese.

Keeping a promise made last summer, Bishop George J. Lucas told parishioners in the same issue of Catholic Times that the diocese has spent $175,000 investigating allegations of clergy misconduct during the past three years. The investigation, led by former U.S. attorney Bill Roberts, culminated in an August report that concluded eight church officials had engaged in sexual and financial misconduct.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:11 PM

Des Moines Diocese suspends priest after allegation

IOWA
Radio Iowa

Saturday, February 3, 2007, 8:57 AM

A Council Bluffs priest ordained fifteen years ago is suspended today from his duties at St Albert Catholic Schools. Ann Cox with the Des Moines Catholic Diocese says the action followed a protocol in place to handle any charges of priest abuse.

An allegation came in this week about sexual abuse of a minor involving Father Phillip Hopt. After the complaint was made, the diocese followed a policy it has in place and first contacted law enforcement, then the chair of the Diocesan Allegation Review Committee.

Based on those conversations and a written report of the allegation, Bishop Charron has placed Father Hopt on leave and for now, he cannot serve as a priest. Cox says so far the diocese has not determined whether Father Hopt if guilty or innocent, but has taken the measures spelled out in its policy designed to protect children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:07 PM

Judge Approves First Step of Portland Archdiocese Reorganization

PORTLAND (OR)
Insurance Journal

February 5, 2007

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Portland, Ore., can expect nearly $52 million in insurance money after a federal bankruptcy judge approved the first step in the proposed reorganization plan for the church.

The archdiocese can now sell its insurance coverage back to its insurers for $51.75 million in cash. In exchange, the insurers walk away with no further liability for any claims by alleged victims of priest sex abuse.

The insurance money is the bulk of the funding for the bankruptcy reorganization plan, allowing the archdiocese to pay victims without encumbering the assets of its 124 parishes, 42 elementary schools, 10 high schools, two colleges and charitable funds.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:04 PM

SNAP Protests Planned Visit Of Accused Priest

READING (OH)
WCPO

Reported by: 9News
Web produced by: Neil Relyea
Photographed by: 9News
First posted: 2/4/2007 9:34:00 PM
Last Updated: 2/4/2007 11:45:33 PM
It appears handing out these fliers in the cold this Sunday has paid off.

Members of SNAP, or Survivors' Network of Those Abused by Priests, withstood the cold and passed out fliers outside Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in Reading today.

They were trying to put a halt to the church's plans to have a priest, accused of sexual misconduct, say mass there next weekend.

"This is a church that is literally surrounded by a school," said Christy Miller, of SNAP.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:49 AM

Priest suspected of assaulting Las Vegas parish worker is arrested in Arizona

PHOENIX (AZ)
Jackson Hole Star-Tribune

By AMANDA LEE MYERS
Associated Press Writer Monday, February 05, 2007

PHOENIX (AP) -- A Roman Catholic priest accused of sexually assaulting a female worker at his Las Vegas parish before fleeing to Arizona could soon be extradited to Nevada, an FBI official said.

The Rev. George Chaanine, 52, was arrested without incident Thursday by FBI agents in Apache Junction, about 30 miles east of Phoenix, said Deb McCarley, a spokeswoman for the FBI office in Phoenix.

Chaanine was being held Friday in a county jail in Phoenix on a federal charge of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution. McCarley said that charge would most likely be dropped so Chaanine can be quickly extradited to Las Vegas, where he is wanted for attempted murder, sexual assault, kidnapping and battery with a deadly weapon.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:45 AM

Richmond Woman Accused of Stealing From Church

RICHMOND (VA)
WRIC

A Richmond church secretary is facing embezzlement charges after police say church officials videotaped her stealing church donations.

Sixty-year-old Bernadine Brown is charged with felony embezzlement in connection with the thefts at Saint Peter Catholic Church.

Stephanie Cimillo is the parish bookkeeper. She says she became suspicious when there was nothing but one-dollar and five-dollar bills in the collection plates.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:40 AM

Did Bishop Gumbleton obstruct justice?

DETROIT (MI)
Renew America

Matt C. Abbott
February 5, 2007

Retired Detroit Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, who for some time has been a favorite among dissenting Catholics, was recently shunned by Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson.

Catholic journalist Jay McNally said the following in a recent e-mail:

You may have noticed in the last few days that Bishop Gumbleton is being hailed as an 'outspoken advocate' for the victims of sex abuse by priests.

Having spent five years (1990-1995) in the Archdiocese of Detroit, where I watched the local scandal unfold, I have no recollection whatsoever of Gumbleton doing anything but being part of the cover-up. Indeed, in one instance, I believe he obstructed justice, as he did not comply with archdiocesan policy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:31 AM

Paedophile sex ring must be exposed: Whistleblower warns Tasmanians

AUSTRALIA
The Advocate

A whistleblower who helped expose child sex abuse cover-ups in the Anglican Church, triggering a major State inquiry, has aired concerns about unresolved "connections" within a paedophile "network" linked to the North- West Coast.

Former South Australian Anglican clergyman, Reverend Don Owers AM, says he was convinced a network, which primarily involved a string of convicted paedophiles, had operated on the Coast and between states.

"I don't know the connection was ever fully investigated," Dr Owers AM told The Advocate.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:29 AM

Abuse victims propose monument on grounds of Portland archdiocese

PORTLAND (OR)
KGW

02/04/2007

Associated Press

Archbishop John G. Vlazny, the spiritual leader of Catholics in Western Oregon, has been asked to back a proposed monument to victims of priest sex abuse — preferably on the grounds of the Portland archdiocese.

The monument would help victims of sexual abuse heal, said Bill Crane, the leader of the Oregon chapter of the Survivors Network of Those Abused By Priests, or SNAP, the nation's largest support group for clergy-molestation victims.

"Money brings no healing and no reconciliation," Crane said. "By putting a monument in place, I think it's an everyday remembrance of what has taken place. We're initiating something that is going to be tangible."

Crane and other monument proponents delivered a letter Thursday to the Archdiocese of Portland, asking Vlazny to allow a memorial to be erected on the grounds of the archdiocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:23 AM

Their struggle put a face on clergy abuse

FLORIDA
St. Petersburg Times

By SHERRI DAY
Published February 5, 2007

For thousands of people, the memories came flooding back five years ago when John Geoghan, a defrocked Boston priest, was accused of serial child molestation. Geoghan's trial - he was convicted and imprisoned - shed light on one of the worst scandals in the history of the Catholic Church. It also freed many victims of clergy sexual abuse from the bonds of silence. Today, the victims of clergy sexual abuse call themselves survivors. Among them are Chris McCafferty of St. Petersburg and Diane McKenzie of Palm Harbor. He still embraces the church. She wants to but does not yet feel she can.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:19 AM

February 4, 2007

No end in sight for Catholic diocese's troubles over abuse

BURLINGTON (VT)
WCAX

BURLINGTON, Vt. -- The number of lawsuits accusing priests in Vermont's Roman Catholic Diocese of sexual abuse continues to grow, as do the church's financial worries.

The church faced 16 lawsuits about alleged sex abuse _ much of it dating back decades _ when it reached a $985,000 settlement of one of the suits last April. Now it faces 26 civil cases and is following the case of a priest facing a current criminal charge.

Rev. Stephen J. Nichols, 47, is scheduled to go on trial in April in St. Albans for felony lewd and lascivious conduct for allegedly fondling a naked 18-year-old man in 2005.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:58 PM

Father Chaanine Arrested

ARIZONA
KTNV

Father George Chaanine is in FBI custody. He was picked up in Apache Junction, Arizona near Phoenix Thursday afternoon.

Reports indicate, police chased Chaanine's cream colored Buick for about half an hour before making the arrest.

Police in Monterey, California say someone spotted Chaanine's car at a Bank of America two days ago.

Chaanine was tracked nearly 700 miles to Apache Junction. Global positioning satellites played a role in his capture.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:05 AM

Las Vegas Priest to Have Court Hearing Tuesday

PHOENIX (AZ)
KLAS

The hunt for a fugitive priest wanted on attempted murder and sexual assault charges is over and he'll face an extradition hearing on Tuesday at 8 a.m. at Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix.

Father George Chaanine is in federal custody as of Thursday night. He is accused of violently attacking a local singer nearly a week ago and taking off.

He is being held on a $1 million bond on a charge of being a fugitive of justice.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:01 AM

Extradition hearing set for Nevada priest

PHOENIX (AZ)
Mohave Daily News

By AMANDA LEE MYERS/Associated Press

Saturday, February 3, 2007 9:04 PM PST

PHOENIX - A Roman Catholic priest must decide Tuesday whether he will fight extradition to Nevada, where he faces charges of beating and sexually assaulting a female employee at his Las Vegas parish.

The Rev. George Chaanine, 52, is scheduled for a fugitive of justice hearing at 8 a.m. Tuesday in Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix.

Chaanine was arrested Thursday in Apache Junction about 30 miles east of Phoenix. He is wanted in Las Vegas on charges of attempted murder, sexual assault, kidnapping and battery with a deadly weapon in the Jan. 26 incident.

Chaanine is being held in a Phoenix jail on a $1 million bond on a charge of being a fugitive from justice. FBI Special Agent David Staretz said a federal charge of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution would be dropped so Chaanine could be extradited to Las Vegas to face the more serious Nevada charges.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:58 AM

Missionary, church sued over abuse

BEATTYVILLE (KY)
The Deseret Morning News

BEATTYVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints missionary who was accused of sexually abusing three people in 2005 while on his mission 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 LDS Church asked last week that the case be moved to federal court.
The mother, who is from Lee County, is seeking unspecified damages in the case, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported Tuesday. The newspaper does not identify alleged victims of sexual assault.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:43 AM

Why Would a Baptist Church Hire an Accused Child Molester and Adulterer as Counselor?

JACKSONVILLE (FL)
NewsReleaseWire

Don Boys, Ph.D.

It seems that wolves in sheep’s garb have frequently stalked Trinity Baptist Church in Jacksonville, and few seem to be outraged by their attacks upon the innocent ones.

After a music and youth director left a NC church staff in 1985 to pastor his own church in another NC city, it was revealed that he had abused a 12-year-old girl, two 14-year-old girls, two 15-year-old girls, and an 18-year-old. In addition, two adult women. He was very busy, what with running the youth department, his musical tasks, and his “extracurricular activities.”

None of the victims knew others were being abused and all were lifetime friends except the two married women. All the abuse took place simultaneously during a nine-year period. When two girls finally reported to their pastor what happened, that pastor confronted the abuser and he resigned his church and fled to Jacksonville. Can you guess where he landed? Right, Trinity Baptist. About this time, another girl come forward and revealed her abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:37 AM

Legal legacy

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Globe

By Timothy D. Lytton | February 4, 2007

THIS YEAR MARKS the fifth anniversary of The Boston Globe's Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of clergy sexual abuse. The Pulitzer citation praised the Globe for its "courageous, comprehensive coverage of sexual abuse by priests, an effort that pierced secrecy, stirred local, national, and international reaction and produced changes in the Roman Catholic Church." Yet while the news media have received well-deserved recognition for their part in exposing the abuse and focusing attention on the need for institutional reform, little attention has been paid to the underlying role played by lawsuits. There's an unsung hero in this story: the plaintiff's lawyer.

Although the tort system is more often maligned than celebrated, it was the work of plaintiffs' lawyers that brought the scandal to light in the first place. Pleadings, discovery documents, and depositions in hundreds of cases during the course of more than two decades have provided most of the information underlying media coverage of the scandal. Lawsuits have fed journalists a steady supply of compelling stories of both personal suffering and official wrongdoing, and they have provided a defense against potential libel claims and political cover to criticize powerful church officials.

It was lawsuits that first publicly pointed a finger at church officials and focused attention on the need for institutional reform. Unlike criminal law, with its narrow focus on individual wrongdoing, tort law -- which allows individuals to sue for harm done to them by others -- often looks beyond the immediate cause of an injury to uncover the role of institutional leaders, such as corporate executives, or in this case, bishops, who failed to do what they should have to prevent harm. This is in part because institutional defendants have deeper pockets and are therefore capable of paying damages if they lose. But thanks to tort claims, we now understand that clergy sexual abuse is not only a problem of individual priests who molest children but also of church officials who failed to report abuse and, in some instances, even facilitated it.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:30 AM

Lawyers to get half of church abuse cash

SPOKANE (WA)
OregonLive

Sunday, February 04, 2007JOHN K. WILEY
SPOKANE -- About half of a proposed $48 million settlement would go to victims of clergy sexual abuse while lawyers get the rest, according to a bankruptcy plan filed by the Catholic Diocese of Spokane.

The diocese's 92-page disclosure statement in U.S. Bankruptcy Court said bankruptcy lawyers are owed about $7 million, leaving a $41 million pool to pay victims and their lawyers.

The diocese, led by Bishop William Skylstad, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, is one of four in the United States, including Portland, that have filed for bankruptcy protection in the face of a growing number of lawsuits and claims of sexual abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:27 AM

Diocese continues its evasions

CALIFORNIA
The Orange County Register

STEVEN GREENHUT
Sr. editorial writer and columnist
The Orange County Register
sgreenhut@ocregister.com

Some readers can't understand why I have remained so frustrated with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange and the Orange County District Attorney's Office with regard to the child-rape scandal that for years has festered within the church. To many observers, the church has come clean by announcing new zero-tolerance and other policies in 2004 and has paid 90 victims a record-setting $100 million in compensation in 2005. The D.A.'s office claims to be tough on the issue.

What more do people such as me want?

Yet I'm left with the sinking feeling one gets whenever there is a miscarriage of justice. Most of those priests and teachers who committed abuse have paid no penalty for it. Many of the same church leaders who protected the abusers and stonewalled the public are still in influential positions within the diocese. The D.A.'s office has far more excuses than convictions. And the diocese is still fighting to keep matters quiet, apparently having kept secret several alleged abuse cases even as it was championing its new policies and financial settlement.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:25 AM

Diocese lawsuits, deficit climb

VERMONT
Rutland Herald

February 4, 2007

By KEVIN O'CONNOR Staff Writer

When Vermont's Catholic Church settled the first of a string of priest misconduct lawsuits for almost $1 million last spring, parishioners questioned how quickly — and at what cost — the diocese would resolve the rest of the cases.

A year later, they're still wondering.

The state's largest religious denomination, which faced 16 more cases after last April's record $965,000 settlement, has seen the number rise to 26. A diocesan deficit of $127,947 at the start of the last fiscal year has ballooned tenfold because of the lawsuits. And a longtime church lawyer has just launched a third attempt to disqualify the judge who is hearing the cases.

It was five years ago this month that the statewide Diocese of Burlington, shortly after news of a clergy misconduct scandal hit Boston, received complaints that several of its priests had sexually abused children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:17 AM

February 3, 2007

Former youth minister convicted of murdering pregnant teen

SAN ANTONIO (TX)
ABC 13

(2/03/07 - SAN ANTONIO, TX) - A former youth minister was convicted Friday of murdering his 17-year-old pregnant girlfriend and their unborn child.

A Bexar County jury took a little more than an hour to convict Adrian Estrada, 24, of capital murder in the December 2005 choking and stabbing death of Stephanie Sanchez.

Estrada, a former youth pastor at El Sendero Assembly of God church, could receive the death penalty. The punishment phase of his trial was set to begin Tuesday.

Sanchez was found dead on the kitchen floor of her family's home. She was three months pregnant at the time of her death, and DNA evidence showed Estrada was the father.

Estrada admitted to police that he choked and stabbed the teen.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:46 AM

Ex-Delco pastor arrested in Arizona

PENNSYLVANIA
Philadelphia Inquirer

By Michael Matza
Inquirer Staff Writer
Residents of Springfield, Delaware County, were privately abuzz but publicly mum this week after a local detective traveled to Arizona to make an arrest in a 30-year-old case of alleged sexual abuse by an assistant pastor formerly affiliated with the town's First Presbyterian Church.

Gerald L. Klever, 75, was arrested in Tucson on Wednesday. The arrest followed an investigation initiated in the spring after 12 women contacted Springfield police to say Klever had raped or sexually assaulted them - in his church office or on church trips - between 1977 and 1983.

A church member said last night that the entire congregation had received an e-mail asking that all inquiries be directed to the current pastor, Byron Leasure, who could not be immediately reached for comment yesterday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:22 AM

Woman settles lawsuit against archdiocese

ALABAMA
Press-Register

Saturday, February 03, 2007
By BRENDAN KIRBY
Staff Reporter
A woman who sued the local Catholic Church trying to win payment for counseling services she sought after what she described as sexual harassment by a priest has settled her claim out of court.

Linda Ledet accused the Archdiocese of Mobile, Archbishop Oscar Lipscomb and the Very Rev. Michael Farmer in 2004 of reneging on their promise to pay for the counseling sessions.

The archdiocese denied the allegations and prepared for a potentially embarrassing court battle at a time when priestly indiscretion has been a sensitive issue. The case was supposed to have gone to trial last month, but the parties came to terms over the past few weeks, attorneys said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:07 AM

Fugitive priest arrested

LAS VEGAS (NV)
DailyIndia

LAS VEGAS, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- A Roman Catholic priest is being held in Phoenix on charges that he assaulted a woman who worked at his Las Vegas church.

A hearing is scheduled for Tuesday in Maricopa County to determine whether the Rev. George Chaanine will waive extradition from Arizona to Nevada. Clark County District Attorney David Roger told KLAS-TV that Chaanine could remain in Arizona for months if he fights extradition.

Chaanine was arrested Thursday when police near Phoenix pulled him over, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. He is being held in lieu of $1 million bail.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:56 AM

Church of convicted pastor owes thousands in tax bills

ARLINGTON (TX)
The Dallas Morning News

08:58 PM CST on Friday, February 2, 2007
By JEFF MOSIER / The Dallas Morning News
jmosier@dallasnews.com

ARLINGTON – The church founded by convicted rapist Terry Hornbuckle owes tens of thousands of dollars in property taxes and could lose half its land if the debts aren't paid.

Tarrant County and the city of Arlington filed a lawsuit last month against Agape Christian Fellowship Church for failing to pay about $13,850 in back taxes from 2005. Penalties and interest bring the amount owed on the vacant land next to the church to more than $20,000. Tarrant County tax office records show that Agape owes $47,363.11 to all taxing entities in the county.

Terry Hornbuckle Charles Richardson, president of the church board of directors, said he believed that the property taxes had been paid, but he was not sure about when the payment was made.

Mr. Richardson said the church has been working for the last year on getting a religious exemption for a future nonprofit project. He said that a church financial adviser had talked to the county as recently as last week and that they were told the exemption process is ongoing. Despite the debts, he said the church isn't in danger of closing.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:43 AM

Priest suspended over abuse allegations

COUNCIL BLUFFS (IA)
Des Moines Register

By SHIRLEY RAGSDALE
REGISTER RELIGION EDITOR

February 3, 2007

A Council Bluffs priest has been suspended by the Des Moines Catholic Diocese following allegations that he sexually abused a child.

The Rev. Phillip Hobt is a religion teacher at Saint Albert Catholic High School in Council Bluffs.

The allegation was made this week by a former Saint Albert student, according to the diocese. A criminal investigation is under way, said Anne Cox, a diocese spokeswoman.

Hobt could not be reached for comment Friday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:39 AM

Ex-pastor arrested here in Pa. sex-assault case

TUCSON (AZ)
Tucson Citizen

- DAVID L. TEIBEL,
Tucson Citizen
A former assistant pastor at a Pennsylvania church accused of a variety of sex crimes against young girls there has been ordered held in the Pima County Jail in lieu of $500,000.
Gerald Leroy Klever, 75, was arrested without incident at his Catalina Foothills home Wednesday afternoon by a team of detectives from the multi-agency Fugitive Investigative Strike Team, the Pima County Sheriff's Department sex crimes detail and the Springfield Township, Pa., Police Department.
He is charged in Pennsylvania with three counts of rape, three counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and one count each of indecent assault, indecent exposure and corruption of minors, according to a statement by the township.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:37 AM

Former assistant pastor of Pa. church arrested on rape charges

PENNSYLVANIA
The News Journal

Associated Press

Posted Saturday, February 3, 2007 at 6:39 am
A former assistant pastor of a Presbyterian church was arrested in Arizona on charges of having sexually assaulted girls in Pennsylvania nearly three decades ago, authorities said.

Gerald L. Klever, 75, who served as an assistant pastor at the First Presbyterian Church in Springfield Township, Pa., Delaware County, from 1977 to 1983, was taken into custody by Pennsylvania authorities Wednesday at his home in Tucson, Ariz.

A dozen women have contacted the church alleging sexual misconduct by Klever on church property and on church trips, according to police from Springfield Township who opened an investigation in the spring.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:28 AM

Priest at local parish charged with disturbing the peace

ST. LOUIS (MO)
KMOV

10:27 PM CST on Friday, February 2, 2007

(KMOV) - The St. Louis Archdiocese is promising disciplinary action against a priest accused of disturbing the peace.

A city police report states that the priest grabbed a woman after getting upset over a demonstration outside a church.

Sunday morning Barbara Dorris was handing out flyers on the sidewalk outside St. Ambrose Catholic Church on the Hill, leafleting is something Dorris has been doing since 1992 with other members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

Sunday's flyer expressed concerns about two priests who served briefly at St. Ambrose. Dorris says Father Andrew Pinsent spun her around and stole her leaflets.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:23 AM

Woman Sues Reverend, Claims Sexual Abuse

FORT WORTH (TX)
NBC5i

A woman is suing a Fort Worth reverend, saying he physically and sexually abused her.

Davina Kelly, 33, said that she worked as a housekeeper at the Shiloh Institutional Church of God and the Rev. Sherman Allen’s home and began seeing Allen for counseling in 2001. She said he spanked her as part of her spiritual counseling and later coerced her into a sexual relationship.

“It was something I had never heard of before, but for the most part, because I trusted him, because I believed him, because I saw him as a man of God, I believe -- as odd as it sounded -- he was hearing from God and I really didn't question it because of that,” Kelly said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:18 AM

A Study of Memory Looks at Fact and Fiction

The New York Times

BENEDICT CAREY
Published: February 3, 2007
The beautiful and deeply religious Madame de Tourvel is so distraught after cheating on her husband in the 1782 novel “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” that she blacks out the betrayal altogether, arriving at a convent with no idea of what had brought her there. Soon the horror of the infidelity rushes back, in all its incriminating force.

More than two centuries later, she has become part of a longstanding debate about whether the brain can block access to painful memories, like betrayals and childhood sexual abuse, and suddenly release them later on.

In a paper posted online in the current issue of the journal Psychological Medicine, a team of psychiatrists and literary scholars reports that it could not find a single account of repressed memory, fictional or not, before the year 1800.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:14 AM

Teaching about sexual abuse

BURBANK (CA)
Burbank Leader

By Rachel Kane

Mary Ann Madden gives an introduction to the film that will be shown in students classrooms, "Teaching Touching Safety," Tuesday at St. Francis Xavier School.

The projector was set to go in Holy Cross Hall at St. Francis Xavier School on Tuesday night as a crowd of 30 or so parents trickled in.

They had come to watch video, listen and talk about one of the most taboo subjects in American life — and, more recently, in the Catholic Church — child molestation.

"This is a very important meeting," said Mary Ann Madden, one of the designated teachers of a new, Archdiocese of Los Angeles-mandated sexual abuse class.

"Teaching Touching Safety," the program children in kindergarten to 12th grade will undergo, is part of a larger archdiocese program to educate their teachers, students, parents and anyone else involved with the religious organization about sexual abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:12 AM

Victim of Clergy Abuse Empowers Readers to Take Action

UNITED STATES
PR Web

Phoenix, AZ (PRWEB) February 3, 2007 -- In Vatican Conspiracy Theory author Eric Bepots reveals alarming information about the high rate of HIV and Pedophilia found within the Catholic Clergy and shares statistics that lend credibility to the various claims of abuse that have come into the limelight. However, if the Clergy is truly so corrupt that they are perpetuating the spread of a deadly virus and preying on young victims, why hasn't this crisis led to a public outcry?

According to Bepots, who has conducted considerable research on this issue, personal injury attorneys have been conspiring with the Catholic Church by misrepresenting victims of the infected predators and keeping these instances out of the courtroom.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:08 AM

Ex-Sisters pastor convicted on abuse charges

OREGON
KTVZ

By KTVZ.com news sources

After one full day of deliberation, a Deschutes County jury found a former Sisters pastor guilty on all six charges Friday in the sexual abuse of a 13-year-old girl whose family worshiped at the church.

Deschutes County Circuit Judge Michael Sullivan set a Feb. 20 sentencing date for Jeremy Shane Hall in the September 2005 fondling of the teen.

The former pastor of Christ Church of New Beginnings was convicted of five counts of sex abuse and one count of unlawful sexual penetration. Hall now faces a mandatory minimum sentence of six years and three months in prison.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:05 AM

More sex abuse accusations against former Brother

SAN ANTONIO (TX)
KENS

Web Posted: 02/02/2007 01:18 AM CST

James Muñoz
KENS 5 Eyewitness News

Self-proclaimed victims of sexual abuse say Colorado church officials knew of accusations of abuse against a former Brother, but did nothing about it.

One victim said he reported the abuse in 1965, but the accused Brother, who lives in San Antonio, was allowed to work around children for 21 more years.

William Mueller, the former Brother, was never brought up on formal charges. Now, 22 victims are suing the Diocese of Colorado.

"Here locally, people are afraid and people are still coming forward about William Mueller and they are local," said Barbara Garcia-Boehland, a member of SNAP, the Survivor Network of Those Abused by Priests. "Many people have called telling about how he would make them pass out."

Up to 50 people in the San Antonio called SNAP with complaints against Mueller.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:58 AM

St. Albert priest placed on leave

COUNCIL BLUFFS (IA)
The Daily Nonpareil

ROONEY, Staff Writer
02/03/2007

A Catholic priest has been placed on leave from his duties with St. Albert Schools and the diocese after allegations of sexual abuse of a former St. Albert student were made.

Bishop Joseph Charron of the Diocese of Des Moines announced the action against the Rev. Phillip Hobt Friday. Both men were in attendance during a Mass on Thursday at the high school that was part of Catholic Schools Week. A news release from the diocese did not indicate if a male or female student made the allegation.

"The victim had asked for confidentiality and we don't want to do anything in any way to identify the person who filed the report," said Anne Cox, a spokeswoman for the Diocese of Des Moines. She would only say that the claim was made "recently."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:54 AM

Outspoken ex-bishop cancels talks as dioceses shun his visits

TUCSON (AZ)
Arizona Daily Star

Stephanie Innes
Arizona Daily Star
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 02.03.2007
advertisementAfter finding out he wouldn't be welcomed by Roman Catholic dioceses in Tucson and Phoenix, a retired bishop from Detroit has canceled plans to speak in Arizona.
The Rev. Thomas J. Gumbleton, a retired auxiliary bishop from the Archdiocese of Detroit, was scheduled to speak about homosexuality and the church Tuesday in Tucson.
Gumbleton is known for advocating more inclusion for lesbians and gays in the church and for speaking out about the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:49 AM

February 2, 2007

Former youth minister convicted of murdering pregnant teen

SAN ANTONIO (TX)
KGBT

SAN ANTONIO A jury in San Antonio today convicted a former youth minister of killing his pregnant 17-year-old girlfriend and their unborn child.

Twenty-four-year-old Adrian Estrada was found guilty of capital murder in the December 2005 choking and stabbing death of Stephanie Sanchez.

Estrada, who's a former youth pastor at El Sendero Assembly of God church, could receive the death penalty.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:42 PM

Spokane abuse victims eligible for half of $48 million

SPOKANE (WA)
KNDO/KNDU

SPOKANE, Wash. After seven (m) million goes to pay bankruptcy lawyers, the Spokane Catholic Diocese will make about 41 (m) million dollars available to victims of clergy sex abuse.

But advocates for abuse victims today say that amount will shrink by about half after they pay their own lawyers. They say about 22 (m) million dollars will be available for claimants to split.

The diocese submitted its disclosure statement and bankruptcy reorganization plan yesterday, detailing how it plans to pay victims and emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:40 PM

Oregon jury gets case of ex-pastor accused of abusing baby sitter

OREGON
KGW

02/02/2007

Associated Press

The case of a former pastor of a Sisters church charged with sexually abusing a 13-year-old baby sitter has gone to a jury.

Jeremy Hall, 35, acknowledged getting into bed with the teen and his two young children who were sleeping in his room in September 2005, but denied that he had abused the girl.

The girl's family attended Christ Church of New Beginnings, where Hall was pastor, said Deschutes County Deputy District Attorney Victoria Roe.

He was charged with sex abuse and unlawful sexual penetration.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:59 PM

Appeals court upholds preacher's sexual abuse conviction

ALABAMA
Times Daily

The Associated Press

Last Updated:February 02. 2007 2:55PM
Published: February 02. 2007 2:55PM Print · Email · Discuss

The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals has upheld the conviction and 23-year prison sentence of a Mobile County preacher in the sexual abuse of a father and son in incidents that occurred 20 years apart.

The appeals court upheld the conviction of the Rev. Dennis Lamar Fields, 53, who was pastor of Bethel Holiness Church in Irvington in south Mobile County at the time of his arrest in 2005. The court's opinion was not released to the public because it contained the names of minor sexual abuse victims.

The appeals court Friday, without comment, declined to rehear the case of Fields, who is currently among Alabama inmates incarcerated at a private prison in Louisiana.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:56 PM

SNAP protests abusive priest

BIDDEFORD (ME)
Old Orchard Beach Courier

By Molly Lovell
Staff Writer

Two men staged a quiet protest outside of St. James School in Biddeford last Thursday, Jan. 25 handing out leaflets and holding up signs claiming that a priest accused of child sexual abuse is living in the neighborhood.
Paul Kendrick and Harvey Paul were from the Survivors Network for Those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, the nation’s largest advocacy group for people abused by religious authority figures. The pair handed out 60 leaflets early Thursday morning and their signs read, “Pedophile Priest Lives Nearby.”
Paul, SNAP’s Maine coordinator, grew up in Biddeford and said that while attending St. Mary’s School he was sexually abused by a Catholic seminarian.
During a phone interview on Friday, he said the priest who was the focus of Thursday’s protest was removed from the parish ministry 10 years ago after being accused of molestation and has been living nearby since.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:53 PM

SNAP Plans Protest Against Priest At Reading Church

READING (OH)
WCPO

Reported by: 9News
Web produced by: Laura Hornsby
Photographed by: 9News
First posted: 2/2/2007 4:48:24 PM
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests is trying to stop a local priest from saying mass at a Reading church.

Father Jim Kiffmeyer is scheduled to say mass at Our Lady of Sacred Heart later this month.

Kiffmeyer, who was accused of sexual misconduct but never charged, was reinstated as a priest in December, but hasn't been reassigned.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:04 PM

Judge approves first step of Portland archdiocese reorganization

PORTLAND (OR)
News-Register

Published: February 2, 2007

The Associated Press

PORTLAND — The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Portland can expect nearly $52 million in insurance money after a federal bankruptcy judge approved the first step in the proposed reorganization plan for the church.

The archdiocese can now sell its insurance coverage back to its insurers for $51.75 million in cash. In exchange, the insurers walk away with no further liability for any claims by alleged victims of priest sex abuse.

The insurance money is the bulk of the funding for the bankruptcy reorganization plan, allowing the archdiocese to pay victims without encumbering the assets of its 124 parishes, 42 elementary schools, 10 high schools, two colleges and charitable funds.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:01 PM

Community In Shock After Reverend Arrested In Child Porn Raid

CANADA
City News

Friday February 2, 2007
For the second straight day, a man of the cloth has been accused of a terrible crime involving children.

Toronto Police have arrested a reverend who represents the St. Andrew's Parish of the Ontario Old Roman Catholic Church, after allegedly discovering child pornography in his possession.

Cops contend they found a series of disturbing videos and pictures involving youngsters at 65-year-old Frederick Dunleavy's Bleeker St. residence on Thursday.

"Members of the Toronto Police Service received information that Frederick Dunleavy was in possession of child pornography," relates Det. Cst. Amy Bjerknes. "Further to this allegation, we commenced an investigation."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:56 PM

Extradition hearing set for Nev. priest in assault case

ARIZONA
KVOA

PHOENIX -- A Roman Catholic priest must decide Tuesday whether he will fight extradition to Nevada, where he faces charges of beating and sexually assaulting a female employee at his Las Vegas parish.

The Rev. George Chaanine, 52, is scheduled for a fugitive of justice hearing at 8 a.m. Tuesday in Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix.

Chaanine was arrested Thursday in Apache Junction about 30 miles east of Phoenix. He is wanted in Las Vegas on charges of attempted murder, sexual assault, kidnapping and battery with a deadly weapon in the Jan. 26 incident.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:03 PM

Outspoken retired bishop cancels Tucson speaking engagement

TUCSON (AZ)
Arizona Daily Star

By Stephanie Innes
ARIZONA DAILY STAR
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 02.02.2007
After finding out he wouldn't be welcomed by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson, a retired bishop from Detroit has canceled plans to speak here.
The Rev. Thomas J. Gumbleton, a retired auxiliary bishop from the Archdiocese of Detroit, had been scheduled to speak in Tucson on Tuesday about homosexuality and the church.
Gumbleton is known for advocating more inclusion for lesbians and gays in the church and for speaking out about the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests.
Tucson Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas said last week that he would not be welcoming Gumbleton to the local diocese because of the identity of the group hosting him - the Tucson chapter of Call to Action - a group that Kicanas 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'd written to Gumbleton and made it clear that Gumbleton will not be in Tucson at the invitation of the local diocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:49 PM

Sins of Thy Neighbor

MINNESOTA
My Fox Twin Cities

Last Edited: Thursday, 01 Feb 2007, 10:25 PM CST
Created: Thursday, 01 Feb 2007, 8:40 PM CST

by Trish Van Pilsum

Produced by John Michael
with photojournalists Spencer Driskill and Bradley Swagger

Web Produced by Michael Durkin

If a sex offender had been convicted of a crime, the information usually comes to light. That isn't the case with many priests, even though they've had many victims.

Tom Adamson's past is about to catch up with him. Priest and pedophile, his case was one of the first to break open the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal in Minnesota.

For the past two decades he has been quietly hiding his past in Wisconsin.

One would think that a man whose worst transgressions have already been laid bare would have learned that when you keep secrets, you do so at your own peril.

But Tom Adamson's credentials have hinged for two decades on a deception.

He's living a lie.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:26 PM

SNAP Offers Help To Parishioners

LAS VEGAS (NV)
KTNV

It is an emotional and confusing time for many at Our Lady of Las Vegas. A group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abuses by Priests, is offering help.

SNAP has been standing in front of Our Lady of Las Vegas Catholic Church trying to reach out in case there are other victims afraid to come forward.

A small group is handing out flyers. A sentence on the flyer says "when victims stay silent, the innocent remain at risk". It is asking for anyone who may have noticed odd behavior from Chaanine to come forward.

But there are many parishioners that feel Chaanine did not commit the horrible act he has been charged with.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:26 PM

Polish prelate who resigned in 2002 meets with Pope Benedict

ROME
Catholic World News

Rome, Feb. 2, 2007 (CWNews.com) - Archbishop Julius Paetz, the Polish prelate who resigned in March 2002 amid sexual-abuse allegations, met quietly with Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) after the Pope’s weekly audience on January 31, observers report.

Archbishop Paetz relinquished his leadership of the Poznan archdiocese after he was accused of making sexual overtures toward seminarians. After insisting that the charges were false, Archbishop Paetz submitted a letter of resignation to Pope John Paul II (bio - news) on March 28, 2002. The Pope immediately accepted the resignation, thereby fueling speculation that Archbishop Paetz had stepped down on orders from the Vatican.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:03 PM

Connecticut Parishioners Still Admire Ousted Priest

GREENWICH (CT)
The New York Times

By MATTHEW J. MALONE
Published: February 2, 2007
GREENWICH, Conn., Feb. 1 — The Rev. Michael R. Moynihan’s taste for the good life was an open secret.

To book a trip to the Breakers, a luxury resort in Palm Beach, Fla., in the late 1990s, Father Moynihan reserved two first-class plane tickets and a room through a local travel agent. He cruised the Long Island Sound in a $200,000 yacht and the streets of Greenwich in a $59,000 black Infiniti sedan. Employees at expensive restaurants knew him by name.

Until Jan. 19 — when Father Moynihan was forced to resign as pastor of St. Michael the Archangel Church after an investigation found that he had maintained two secret bank accounts with church funds and could not document how he had spent more than $500,000 — few parishioners or his superiors in the Bridgeport Roman Catholic Diocese openly questioned whether the priest should indulge in such luxuries or how he paid for them.

In fact, many congregants in the wealthy parish — including more than 100 who took out a half-page ad on Sunday in a local newspaper expressing their support for him — say his good works, not his good taste, are what matters.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:55 PM

Former Wheeling Priest Arrested In Arizona

WEST VIRGINIA
The State Journal

Story by Steve Mazure Email | Bio

A Catholic priest who once served in Wheeling has been arrested in Arizona.

Father George Chaanine, 52, was taken into custody in Apache Junction, a town east of Phoenix.

He has been wanted since Jan. 26 in connection with the beating of a woman inside a church.

Father Chaanine served for about 18 months as pastor of Our Lady of Lebanon.

Over the weekend, police in Las Vegas believed Father Chaanine had barricaded himself inside Our Lady of Las Vegas, but he had already made his escape by car.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:01 PM

Priest suspected of assaulting parish worker arrested in Arizona

PHOENIX (AZ)
Las Vegas Sun

By AMANDA LEE MYERS
ASSOCIATED PRESS

PHOENIX (AP) - A Roman Catholic priest accused of beating and sexually assaulting a female employee at his Las Vegas parish and fleeing to Arizona could soon be extradited to Nevada to face charges, an FBI official said.

The Rev. George Chaanine, 52, was arrested without incident Thursday in Apache Junction, about 30 miles east of Phoenix, said Deb McCarley, a spokeswoman for the FBI office in Phoenix.

He was being held in a county jail in Phoenix on a federal charge of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution. But that charge most likely would be dropped so Chaanine can be quickly extradited to Las Vegas, where he is wanted for attempted murder, sexual assault, kidnapping and battery with a deadly weapon, McCarley said.

After fleeing Las Vegas, Chaanine went to California, where he withdrew a large amount of money from his bank and later left for Arizona, according to a probable cause statement filed in Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix. The court document released Friday didn't say how much money he withdrew.

Chaanine had an initial appearance in Superior Court late Thursday night. Court spokeswoman Karen Arra said she didn't know if he'd had a hearing yet to address extradition.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:58 PM

Extradition red tape stalls hunt for fugitive priest Ochoa

CALIFORNIA
The Press Democrat

By MARTIN ESPINOZA
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

It has been nine months since the Rev. Francisco Xavier Ochoa slipped across the U.S.-Mexico border after admitting he had sexual contact with three boys, an admission that led to 10 felony charges.

A federal warrant for his arrest was issued, but the effort to bring in the fugitive priest has been stalled in red tape at the Justice Department and the search has yet to begin.

Is anyone looking for Ochoa?

"I don't believe so ... because there's a process that needs to be completed first," Sonoma County Chief Deputy District Attorney Joan Risse said Thursday.

The District Attorney's Office said further details about the extradition process could not be released for fear of jeopardizing the investigation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:53 PM

Woman details case against Haddad

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Globe

By Liz Kowalczyk, Globe Staff | February 1, 2007

A woman who worked for the state's largest Catholic hospital chain for 20 years has filed a sexual harassment complaint against the organization and a former chief executive, Dr. Robert Haddad, detailing behavior that she said occurred over 15 months and ended when she was laid off, allegedly in retaliation for complaining to hospital executives.

Haddad was forced to resign in May after four other women made similar accusations of sexual harassment. Judith Ann LaBelle, 52, who was director of security and communications at Caritas Holy Family Hospital in Methuen until March 2006, filed a complaint with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, which is investigating her charges. She also alleged age discrimination.

Her complaint provides the first detailed account of the harassment allegations against Haddad and depicts LaBelle's fear of losing her job if she confronted him.

She alleges that Haddad began harassing her at a meeting of executives in November 2004, when he repeatedly complimented her in front of the group.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:28 PM

Portland church deal clears hurdle

PORTLAND (OR)
The Register-Guard

By Bill Bishop
The Register-Guard
Published: Friday, February 2, 2007

PORTLAND - A federal bankruptcy judge on Thursday approved the first step of a proposed reorganization of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Portland, a deal among insurance carriers and the church that generates more than $51 million for the church to pay to victims of sexual abuse by priests.

The 34-minute hearing carried an air of celebration among two dozen lawyers representing the archdiocese and eight insurance companies who had been fighting over liability and coverage issues for more than two years.

The deal essentially allows the archdiocese to sell its insurance coverage back to its insurers for $51.75 million in cash. In exchange, the insurers walk away with no further liability for any claims by victims of abuse by priests of the archdiocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:25 PM

Priest on leave during sex abuse investigation

COUNCIL BLUFFS (IA)
World-Herald

BY TOM SHAW
WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER

COUNCIL BLUFFS - A priest and religion teacher at St. Albert Catholic High School in Council Bluffs has been placed on leave after he was accused of sexually abusing a minor - a former student.

The Rev. Phillip Hobt left the school Thursday after the allegation was made Monday to the Diocese of Des Moines. The diocese contacted the Council Bluffs Police Department and the head of the Diocese's Allegation Review Committee, according to the diocese. The review committee system was set up by U.S. bishops in 2002 following the rash of priest abuse scandals.

Based on those conversations and a written report on the allegation, Hobt was placed on leave by Bishop Joseph Charron. A call to the home number listed for Hobt was not returned this morning.

The allegation does not involve a current St. Albert student, said School President Brian Osborne.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:21 PM

Council Bluffs priest accused of abuse

DES MOINES (IA)
Des Moines Register

BY SHIRLEY RAGSDALE
REGISTER RELIGION EDITOR

February 2, 2007

The Des Moines Catholic Diocese on Friday announced it has placed a Council Bluffs priest on leave following allegations of sexual abuse of a child.

Before being ordered to cease his priestly duties, the Rev. Phillip Hobt has since 1995 served at Saint Albert Catholic Schools. The allegation of abuse was made by a former Saint Albert student, according to the diocese.

Following diocesan policy, the allegation was first reported to police. Based on a written report of the abuse, Bishop Joseph L. Charron took action to bar Hobt from functioning publicly as a priest.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:19 PM

Former St. Albert's Student Alleges Abuse By Priest

DES MOINES (IA)
KCCI

DES MOINES, Iowa -- The Bishop of the Diocese of Des Moines has placed a priest on leave amid allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.

Bishop Joseph L. Charron put the Rev. Phillip Hobt on leave, making him unable to function publicly as a priest. The allegation was made by a former student at St. Albert Catholic Schools, where Hobt began working in 1995, according to a news release.

The allegation currently rests with the Diocesan Allegation Review Committee, the release said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:17 PM

Breaking news: St. Albert priest on leave pending investigation

IOWA
The Daily Nonpareil

PHIL ROONEY, Staff Writer
02/02/2007

A Catholic priest has been placed on leave after allegations of sexual abuse by a former student at St. Albert Schools.

Bishop Joseph Charron of the Diocese of Des Moines announced the action against the Rev. Phillip Hobt today. The two were in attendance during a Mass on Thursday at the school that was part of Catholic Schools Week.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:14 PM

Principal put on leave

CALIFORNIA
The Orange County Register

By SAM MILLER
The Orange County Register
RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA – The principal of the private Santa Margarita Catholic High School has been placed on leave for failing to respond appropriately to concerns about a religion teacher, officials for the Diocese of Orange said.

An investigation into the actions of Principal Lawrence Monroe and teacher Eric Hansen continues, said Ryan Lilyengren, a spokesman for the diocese. He wouldn't comment about what is being investigated, when the inquiry began or whether law enforcement is involved.

"We can't comment further until the effort is complete. … We're trying to get it done as quickly as possible," he said.

An e-mail sent to parents of students at the school referred only to "concerns" related to European tours led by Hansen, who this year taught courses on art history, philosophy and applied spirituality. It asked parents with questions or information about the tours to contact a private investigator hired by the diocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:06 PM

Teacher, principal at O.C. Catholic school are suspended

CALIFORNIA
Los Angeles Times

By Seema Mehta, Times Staff Writer
February 1, 2007

A teacher at a Roman Catholic high school in south Orange County was placed on leave this week after unspecified concerns were raised about student trips to Europe that he led.

The principal of Santa Margarita Catholic High School in Rancho Santa Margarita also was suspended for failure to disclose the allegations to the diocese, church officials said.

Faculty, parents and students learned of the investigation of Brother Lawrence Monroe, the principal, and Eric Hansen, a religion and art history teacher, in a letter sent Tuesday by Father Gerald M. Horan, vicar for faith formation and superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Orange.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:01 PM

Winona bishop to celebrate Mass for sexual abuse victims

WINONA (MN)
Winona Daily News

By Daily News staff
.
Winona Bishop Bernard J. Harrington will celebrate a special Mass on Saturday for the healing of sexual abuse survivors.

“When Jesus walked the earth, He touched and healed the leprous, the blind, the lame, all who were brought to Him,” Harrington said in a news release Thursday. “Through the celebration of the Eucharist, the sacrament of the Lord’s Body and Blood, we will ask Jesus to reach out and touch all who have been victims of sexual abuse and heal them of their pain.”

In recent years, Harrington and other U.S. Catholic bishops have celebrated these Masses in which they lead the congregation in prayers for healing.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:56 AM

Lebanese Priest Accused of Beating Soloist at Las Vegas Church Arrested

LEBANON
Naharnet

A Roman Catholic priest originally from Lebanon who is accused of beating, groping and choking a soloist at his Las Vegas church has been arrested , authorities said.

The Rev. George Chaanine, 52, was taken into custody in Apache Junction, Arizona, about 50 kilometers east of Phoenix, said Deb McCarley, a spokeswoman for the Phoenix office of the FBI.

Chaanine had been a fugitive since the alleged assault on Jan. 26 at the Our Lady of Las Vegas parish office. A judge issued a felony warrant Tuesday charging him with attempted murder, sexual assault, kidnapping and battery with a deadly weapon.

'News 3' channel reported on its website that the arrest report says the priest "fought in a Lebanese war" and that the only way to get out of Lebanon was to become a Catholic priest.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:44 AM

Thoughts on abuse by clergy, abuse of Jewish law

UNITED STATES
Cleveland Jewish News

BY: RABBI MELVIN GRANATSTEIN Special to the CJN

I commend the Cleveland Jewish News for the two-part series on sexual abuse by clergy (“Reining in abuse,” CJN, Jan. 19, 26).

Surely it should be possible to establish a wall-to-wall community policy on zero tolerance for both child sexual abuse and violent sexual imposition regardless of who the perpetrator may be.

If religious or educational institutions shield abusers, those institutions should be defunded. By shielding dangerous criminals, such institutions lose their raison d’être.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:42 AM

Las Vegas Priest Arrested On Attempted Murder Charges

ARIZONA
All Headline News

February 2, 2007 8:43 a.m. EST

Mary K. Brunskill - All Headline News Staff Writer
Phoenix, AZ (AHN) - A Roman Catholic priest of a Las Vegas parish was arrested Thursday in Arizona on charges of attempted murder, according to Las Vegas police. The Rev. George Chaanine, 52, is accused of beating, groping and choking a female employee in the parish office of Our Lady of Las Vegas church.

The alleged assault occurred on Jan. 26, and Chaanine has been a fugitive since that time. On Tuesday a judge issued a warrant for his arrest on attempted murder charges.

Chaanine was arrested without incident by FBI agents Thursday in Apache Junction, located about 30 miles east of Phoenix, AP reports Phoenix FBI spokeswoman Deb McCarley said.

The woman who claims the assault said Chaanine broke a full bottle of wine over her head while she was sitting at her desk, grabbed her by the hair and dragged her down a hallway toward his office.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:37 AM

Priest arrested in assault

LAS VEGAS (NV)
Buffalo News

By KEN RITTER
ASSOCIATED PRESS
2/2/2007

LAS VEGAS - A Catholic priest accused of beating, groping and choking a soloist at his Las Vegas church was arrested Thursday in Arizona, Las Vegas police said.
The Rev. George Chaanine, 52, was taken into custody in Apache Junction, about 30 miles east of Phoenix, according to a statement.

Chaanine had been a fugitive since the assault last Friday in the Our Lady of Las Vegas parish office. A judge issued a felony warrant Tuesday charging him with attempted murder, sexual assault, kidnapping and battery with a deadly weapon.

According to a Las Vegas police report obtained Thursday by the Associated Press, the woman, who works in the parish office, told investigators she was sitting at her desk when Chaanine broke a full bottle of wine over her head, grabbed her hair and dragged her down a hall toward his office.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:35 AM

Witness bolts from sex abuse inquiry

CANADA
Ottawa Sun

Fri, February 2, 2007

By TERRI SAUNDERS, CANADIAN PRESS

CORNWALL -- A key witness at the public inquiry into the institutional response to allegations of systemic sex abuse in the Cornwall area stormed off the stand yesterday.

David Silmser had only begun to answer questions put to him by Dominic Lamb, an attorney representing Rev. Charles MacDonald, when he suddenly stood up and announced he was leaving.

"I'm taking a break now," Silmser said.

Commissioner Normand Glaude attempted to stop him, but Silmser kept going.

"They can put me in jail. I'm taking a break," he said. "How do you like that, Mr. Callaghan?"

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:18 AM

ASSAULT SUSPECT: Fugitive LV priest caught

ARIZONA
Las Vegas Review-Tribune

By BRIAN HAYNES
REVIEW-JOURNAL ON THE TRAIL OF A FUGITIVE

The Rev. George Chaanine's time as a fugitive ran out Thursday after his car was pulled over on an Arizona highway.

The priest surrendered to local authorities about 3 p.m. near Apache Junction, roughly 30 miles east of Phoenix, ending a six-day manhunt that began with an attack on a church worker at Our Lady of Las Vegas Catholic Church.

Chaanine was stopped in his cream-colored 2005 Buick LeSabre. He was wearing glasses, a dark flannel shirt, leather jacket and blue jeans as he was handcuffed and driven away in a patrol car.

The arrest came within hours of a tip to Las Vegas police that Chaanine might be in the Phoenix area, said Lt. John Bradshaw, head of the sexual assault detail.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:14 AM

Louisa priest solicited money for retirement

LUISA (VA)
Richmond Times Dispatch

BY CALVIN R. TRICE
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER Feb 2, 2007

The Louisa County priest accused of embezzling as much as $1 million from two parishes solicited special collections for his retirement months before authorities discovered money was missing.

The Rev. Rodney L. Rodis raised about $27,000 around the time he retired as pastor of two Catholic churches last year, Patti Smogor, business manager for both parishes, said yesterday.

"People loved him," Smogor said of Rodis, 50. "People wanted to take care of him."

Rodis solicited the money in special collections at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Bumpass and at St. Jude Catholic Church in Mineral, she said. He received additional money from a party that parishioners and friends threw for his cause, Smogor said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:11 AM

Former pastor charged with '70s, '80s rapes

TUCSON (AZ)
Arizona Daily Star

By Stephanie Innes and Dale Quinn
ARIZONA DAILY STAR
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 02.02.2007

A former Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) pastor from Pennsylvania was arrested in his Foothills home this week on charges that he raped a dozen young women who attended his church in the 1970s and '80s.
Gerald L. Klever, 75, is being held in the Pima County jail on a $500,000 bond, facing charges of rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, indecent assault, indecent exposure and corruption of minors, according to the Springfield Police Department in Delaware County, Pa., where Klever once lived.
Klever has not been named as a suspect in any local abuse cases.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:01 AM

Former Delco. Pastor Charged With Assaulting Four Women

TUCSON (AZ)
NBC 10

TUCSON, Ariz. -- The former associate pastor of a Delaware County church has been arrested on sexual abuse charges, some of which date back three decades, authorities said.

Gerald Klever, 75, was arrested Wednesday at his new home in Tucson on charges from Springfield Township.

Klever appeared in court in Tucson on Wednesday.

He was charged with sexual assault and other related offenses involving four women in Springfield Township.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:59 AM

Preacher gets split sentence in teen sex case

CROSSVILLE (TN)
Crossville Chronicle

By Michael R. Moser / mmoser@crossville-chronicle.com

A Crossville part-time preacher and trucking company dispatcher/driver dodged a prison sentence in Fentress County Criminal Court this week when a judge gave him a split sentence for having sex with a teenage girl who was a member of his church.

Another Crossville pastor attacked the 14-year-old victim while testifying on behalf of the preacher who was at one time under his charge and who pleaded guilty to one of four sex charges.

Benji Dale Persinger, 28, received a four-year suspended sentence which will be served as a split-sentence under the law. Fentress County Criminal Court Judge Shayne Sexton sentenced Persinger to four months in the county jail followed by six years probation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:56 AM

Opinion by Ernesto Portillo Jr.: Downtown adobe needs lifesavers

TUCSON (AZ)
Arizona Daily Star

Tucson, Arizona | Published: 02.02.2007

Opinion by Ernesto Portillo Jr.

Every day when I go Downtown, I see a decaying building and lament its slow, public death.

It is the three-story, 92-year-old Marist College, which anchors the northwest corner of the St. Augustine Cathedral square. It is probably the only multi-story adobe building in Arizona, and it's eroding at South Church Avenue and West Ochoa Street, behind the cathedral, across from the Tucson Convention Center.

A gray tarp covers the gaping wound like a cheap bandage. But there is no bandage to help heal the wound in Tucson's soul if the building is lost. ...

The Tucson Roman Catholic Diocese, which owned the Marist College for most of its history, is coming out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The diocese paid more than $22 million to settle claims of child sexual abuse by priests.

The diocese's priorities are buildings and churches in use, like the 88-year-old Santa Cruz Church on South Sixth Avenue, which requires a new ceiling and supporting trusses.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:53 AM

Marianist order to examine transfer after abuse claims

COLORADO
The Denver Post

By The Denver Post Staff
Article Launched: 02/02/2007 01:00:00 AM MST

The Marianist religious order said it will look into how a former brother accused in more than 20 lawsuits of subduing former students with ether before sexually abusing them was transferred to Colorado from Missouri in the 1960s.

The Pueblo Chieftain reported in Thursday editions that a 56-year-old St. Louis man filed a police report in Kirkwood, Mo., in 2005, alleging that William Mueller sexually assaulted him while he attended Vianney High School from 1965 to 1969.

According to the report, the man told a school administrator about Mueller's activities in late 1965 and early 1966. The man told police that he was gassed by Mueller on three occasions. The former student said he did not suspect sexual assault until the third incident.

Mueller was transferred to Pueblo in 1966, where he taught at Roncalli High School until it closed in 1971. Twenty-two former students there have filed lawsuits against the Marianist order and the Pueblo Catholic Diocese, which operated the all-boys school.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:51 AM

Religious order vows to study man's move

COLORADO
Rocky Mountain News

By Associated Press
February 2, 2007
The Marianist religious order said it will look into how a former brother accused in more than 20 lawsuits of sexual abuse was transferred to Colorado from Missouri in the 1960s.

The Pueblo Chieftain reported in its Thursday editions that a 56-year-old St. Louis man filed a police report in Kirkwood, Mo., in 2005, alleging that William Mueller sexually assaulted him while he attended Vianney High School from 1965 to 1969.

According to the report, which was obtained by the newspaper, the man told a school administrator about Mueller's activities in late 1965 and early 1966. The man told police that Mueller used ether on him - a tactic alleged in the Colorado lawsuits - on three occasions. The former student said he did not suspect sexual assault until the third incident.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:46 AM

Proposed law would remove time limits on sex crime charges

WASHINGTON
KXLY

Karina Shagren / KXLY4 Reporter
Last updated: Thursday, February 01st, 2007 08:09:10 PM

SPOKANE -- It sounds ideal for victims. A bill in the Washington Legislature would allow the state to prosecute sex crimes decades after they occurred.

The idea has been considered before, but has never been passed in Washington. State Representative John Ahern of Spokane has pushed for the law for years. Now, State Senator Chris Marr is sponsoring a bill to lift the statute of limitations on sex crimes.

Many victims say it takes years to fully understand what happened to them. Victim advocates argue that reliving the past could be damaging.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:43 AM

Abuse story takes turn

WICHITA FALLS (TX)
Times Record News

By Ann Work Times Record News/ and Trish Choate/Scripps Howard News Service
February 2, 2007

The sexual abuse allegation that prompted Fort Worth Catholic Diocese Bishop Kevin Vann to oust Rev. Gilbert Pansza from a Wichita Falls parish is more serious than previously reported, according to Father Michael Olson, the vicar general who also oversees the Diocese's Conduct Review Board.

Pansza's offense was not a one-time incident but a recurring relationship that continued in San Antonio for several years in the early 1970s when Pansza was in his 20s, Olson told the Times Record News in an interview Thursday.

That account conflicts with a Dec. 14 press release from Vann that accompanied a news conference on Pansza's removal from the church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:41 AM

Judge approves first step of Portland archdiocese reorganization

PORTLAND (OR)
OregonLive

2/2/2007, 12:31 a.m. PT
The Associated Press

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Portland can expect nearly $52 million in insurance money after a federal bankruptcy judge approved the first step in the proposed reorganization plan for the church.

The archdiocese can now sell its insurance coverage back to its insurers for $51.75 million in cash. In exchange, the insurers walk away with no further liability for any claims by alleged victims of priest sex abuse.

The insurance money is the bulk of the funding for the bankruptcy reorganization plan, allowing the archdiocese to pay victims without encumbering the assets of its 124 parishes, 42 elementary schools, 10 high schools, two colleges and charitable funds.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:37 AM

Jury rejects lawsuit against Green Bay diocese

MEDFORD (WI)
Appleton Post-Crescent

By Andy Nelesen
Gannett Wisconsin Newspapers

MEDFORD — A Taylor County jury deliberated for two hours Thursday before turning away a priest abuse victim's civil lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay.

After three days of testimony, a seven-man and five-woman jury found that it didn't believe David Schauer was present during a March 1990 meeting in which he alleged diocese officials threatened him and his family with a defamation lawsuit if they went public with their accusations against then-Rev. Donald Buzanowski.

The jury's decision ends Schauer chance of pursuing a civil case against the diocese, pending post-verdict motions by Schauer's attorney.

Schauer, now 29, claimed the threats of a lawsuit against him — as a 12-year-old boy — and his family are what prevented him from filing a lawsuit before the statute of limitations expired.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:35 AM

Archbishop's support for memorial sought

OREGON
Statesman Journal

ALAN GUSTAFSON
Statesman Journal

February 2, 2007

The spiritual leader of 400,000 Catholics in Western Oregon was asked Thursday to support a proposed monument to victims of priest sex abuse in the state.

Archbishop John Vlazny can't publicly comment about the proposal, said Bud Bunce, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Portland.

He said that's because Vlazny and other church officials remain muzzled by a gag order imposed by a federal judge in connection with a proposed bankruptcy settlement plan for the archdiocese.

A monument, preferably on the grounds of the Portland archdiocese, would help victims of sexual abuse heal, said Bill Crane, the leader of the Oregon chapter of the Survivors Network of Those Abused By Priests, or SNAP, the nation's largest support group for clergy-molestation victims.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:31 AM

February 1, 2007

Former pastor gets new trial in sex case

TEXAS
Express-News

Web Posted: 02/01/2007 12:19 AM CST

Express-News

A former pastor convicted of having sex with an underage choirgirl will get a new trial, a local appeals court decided Wednesday.

Overturning the conviction of Duane Hammons, the 4th Court of Appeals said the prosecutor's case against the former pastor at the Church of God in Christ relied on hearsay testimony that shouldn't have been admitted into evidence.

Hammons was sentenced to 10 years' probation in 2005 after a jury found him guilty of having repeated sexual encounters with a parishioner when she was not yet 17, the age of consent.

At trial, Hammons claimed the teenager was 17 when the encounters began. The girl said she was 15 when the alleged abuse began, but the defense had pointed to possible inconsistencies in the details of her chronology.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:57 PM

Questions raised over Catholic teacher's transfer to Pueblo

PUEBLO (CO)
Belleville News-Democrat

Associated Press
PUEBLO, Colo. - The Marianist religious order said it will look into how a former brother accused in more than 20 lawsuits of subduing former students with ether before sexually abusing them was transferred to Colorado from Missouri in the 1960s.

The Pueblo Chieftain reported in Thursday editions that a 56-year-old St. Louis man filed a police report in Kirkwood, Mo., in 2005, alleging that William Mueller sexually assaulted him while he attended Vianney High School from 1965 to 1969.

According to the report, which was obtained by the newspaper, the man told a school administrator about Mueller's activities in late 1965 and early 1966. The man told police that he was gassed by Mueller on three occasions. The former student said he did not suspect sexual assault until the third incident.

Mueller was transferred to Pueblo in 1966, where he taught at the church-run, all-boys Roncalli High School until it closed in 1971. Twenty-two former students there have filed lawsuits against the Marianist order and the Pueblo Catholic Diocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:54 PM

Jury deliberating civil claim against Green Bay diocese

MEDFORD (WI)
Green Bay Press-Gazette

MEDFORD -- A Taylor County jury has begun deliberating whether church leaders' threats of a defamation lawsuit kept David Schauer from filing a timely claim against the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay.

The jury of seven men and five women began their work about 3:25 p.m. after three days of testimony -- including two witnesses today -- all hinging on a legal axiom of equitable estoppel, the idea that the diocese's actions stopped Schauer from filing his civil lawsuit before the statute of limitations expired.

Schauer, now 29, was molested by then Rev. Donald Buzanowski, who was working as a counselor at Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic School in Green Bay in the fall of 1988. Buzanowski, who has since been defrocked, was convicted in July 2005 of two counts of sexual assault of a child and is currently serving a 32-year prison term.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:52 PM

Jury rejects Schauer lawsuit against Green Bay Diocese

MEDFORD (WI)
Green Bay Press-Gazette

By Andy Nelesen
anelesen@greenbaypressgazette.com

MEDFORD — A Taylor County jury found that David Schauer did not meet with church officials in March 1990 and shot down his chance at pursuing a civil claim against the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay for being molested by a priest.

Schauer, now 29, was fondled by then-Rev. Donald Buzanowski, who was working as a counselor at Green Bay’s Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic School in fall 1988. Buzanowski, who has since been defrocked, was convicted in July 2005 of two counts of sexual assault of a child and is serving a 32-year prison term.

Schauer sued the Green Bay diocese, Ss. Peter & Paul School, Buzanowski and several insurance companies in 2003, but had the case dismissed later that year because Brown County Judge Mark Warpinski believed the time limit to file a lawsuit had expired.

In September 2004, the state Court of Appeals sent the case back to Warpinski’s court and the issue of threats and their effect became a matter for a jury to decide.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:21 PM

Civil suit involving abusive priest in court

MEDFORD (WI)
WBAY

MEDFORD, Wis. A civil suit involving a former Green Bay priest and the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay is in Taylor County Circuit Court today.

At issue is how the diocese handled reports of abuse by Donald Buzanowski. He was convicted of sexually assaulting David Schauer and is serving 32 years in prison. Buzanowski has also been removed from the priesthood.

Schauer sued the former priest and the diocese. The issue in court this week is the timing Schauer's lawsuit and if the diocese did anything that affected when he filed the civil suit.

If the jury rules against Schauer, the case is over. If it sides with Schauer, a trial on the abuse will go forward.


Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:31 PM

Testimony ends in civil case against Green Bay diocese

MEDFORD (WI)
Green Bay Press-Gazette

MEDFORD -- Testimony is complete in David Schauer's civil lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay and a Taylor County jury could begin deliberating early this afternoon.

At issue is whether 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.


Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:28 PM

Report: Fugitive Priest Threatened Suicide

LAS VEGAS (NV)
Fox 5

LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- A church soloist who claims she was badly beaten and choked by a Roman Catholic priest told police she was praying for her life when her attacker suddenly stopped.

A Las Vegas police report stated Father George Chaanine muttered he was going to kill himself and left the injured woman in the parish office at Our Lady of Las Vegas Church. Chaanine has not been found, but reports indicated he may have been spotted Wednesday outside a bank in the Northern California coastal city of Monterey.

The Rev. George Chaanine is accused of hitting the woman in the head with a wine bottle and of fondling her in the Friday incident. Chaanine remains a fugitive a day after prosecutors obtained a warrant for his arrest.
The warrant charges the fugitive priest with attempted murder, kidnapping and battery with intent to commit sex assault.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:59 PM

Davenport Diocese Wants More Time in Bankruptcy Case

DAVENPORT (IA)
KCRG

DAVENPORT (AP) - The Roman Catholic Diocese of Davenport and a creditors committee in its bankruptcy case have asked for more time for people to file claims.

The diocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last fall as protection against allegations of sexual abuse by its priests.

The dioceses and the committee want the current deadline of February 6th extended to mid-July to provide more time to find others who claim they were sexually abused.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:12 PM

Another accuser files lawsuit against diocese

PUEBLO (CO)
The Pueblo Chieftain

By PATRICK MALONE
THE PUEBLO CHIEFTAIN
Another lawsuit has been filed in district court alleging sexual abuse by a former Roncalli High School teacher, according to court records made public on Wednesday.

Lawsuits against the Catholic Diocese of Pueblo and the Marianist religious order over alleged sexual abuse by former Brother William Mueller now number 22. Settlement negotiations in the previous suits reportedly have reached a stalemate.

The latest suit was filed by a plaintiff identified in court records as “John Doe No. 18,” a 52-year-old man who now lives in Arapahoe County.

The suit alleges that Mueller convinced the student to participate in an experiment while the boy was a sophomore. He attended the school until it closed in 1971.

After a junior varsity basketball game, Mueller allegedly led the student to the school's band room, where the boy sat in a chair. Mueller allegedly placed a cloth soaked in ether over the boy's mouth and nose, making him unconscious.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:10 PM

Lawmakers support bill to drop sex crime deadlines

OLYMPIA (WA)
Spokesman-Review

January 31, 2007

OLYMPIA - A year after a similar proposal died quietly in the Statehouse, more than half the state Senate is co-sponsoring a local lawmaker's bill to do away with all deadlines for prosecuting child sex crimes.

Under current law, the statute of limitations generally bars prosecution of child sex crimes after three to 10 years, depending on the crime.

Sen. Chris Marr, D-Spokane, said society shouldn't diminish the trauma of child rape and molestation "by saying 'Oh, you missed the magic deadline' " for charging someone with a crime. Under his Senate Bill 5817, pedophiles - no matter how old - could face charges until the day they die.

Victims of child sex abuse, including many from Spokane, have for years tried to get state lawmakers to do this.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:29 AM

PRIEST ACCUSED: Victim feared for her life

LAS VEGAS (NV)
Las Vegas Review-Journal

By BRIAN HAYNES
REVIEW-JOURNAL

Michaelina Bellamy felt her life slipping away.

She was pinned on the floor of the church offices as the Rev. George Chaanine's hands squeezed her throat, she told police. She was losing consciousness and thought the end was near.

Then she started to pray. Suddenly, Chaanine stopped, stood up and walked to the door.

"I am over the edge," the priest muttered. "I am going to kill myself. Wait for fifteen minutes. I will get you an ambulance."

He walked to his car and drove away. Las Vegas police have been hunting for him ever since.

Bellamy's account of the Friday afternoon attack was included in a police report released Wednesday. The report details interviews Las Vegas police detectives conducted with Bellamy after the attack at Our Lady of Las Vegas Catholic Church, 3050 Alta Drive, near Rancho Drive.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:11 AM

Clergy should be mandatory reporters

DAVENPORT (IA)
Des Moines Register

February 1, 2007

It was recently reported that the Roman Catholic Diocese of Davenport has extended for another four years its pledge to local authorities to report allegations of sexual abuse of minors by clergy.

On Jan. 11, church officials announced the extension of a Memorandum of Understanding, signed by Bishop Martin Amos and Scott County Prosecutor William Davis. The pledge states the diocese will report allegations against living priests without prior screening by church officials.

One wonders if the head of the Davenport school district signs a similar pledge to report allegations of child abuse by their employees. How about the heads of the various social-service systems, health-care facilities or other professionals who regularly come into contact with children? The answer is no, these professionals do not sign agreements with the county attorney because they are all mandatory reporters of child abuse. They have no choice but to do the right thing or face the consequences of not obeying the law.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:04 AM

Members concerned about priest

TEXAS
Times Record News

By Ann Work/Times Record News
February 1, 2007

Some church members at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church are concerned about the welfare and whereabouts of Rev. Gilbert Pansza - "Father Gil" - after several of them learned that he was "essentially kidnapped" from his home in mid-December and committed to a psychiatric facility by Fort Worth church leaders.

Pansza had been abruptly removed Dec. 14 from his duties at the church, less than four months after he had been installed at the parish by Bishop Kevin Vann of Fort Worth.

At the time, a news release explained that Vann was acting to remove Pansza in response to discovery of a file that included an incident involving Pansza's sexual abuse of a minor in the 1970s, before Pansza entered seminary,.

Parishioners were told then by diocese leaders that Pansza had been taken "to a safe place."

Jeff Hensley, communications director of the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth, promised to try to provide the Times Record News with an update Wednesday on Pansza, but did not.

Some parishioners have since learned from Pansza himself that the bishop and two priests forcefully took him from his residence on the same morning that he was relieved of his church duties, flew him to Maryland and admitted him to Saint Luke Institute of Silver Spring, Md., a psychiatric facility serving people in church ministry.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:59 AM

Priests hear from victims about clergyman's abuse

CANADA
CBC News

Last Updated: Thursday, February 1, 2007 | 1:25 AM ET
CBC News
Women who were sexually abused by an Ontario priest shared their stories Wednesday with more than 100 priests at a workshop about abuse in the church.

The women were all abused as girls by Charles Sylvestre, a Roman Catholic priest from Belle River, Ont.

Sylvester, convicted in October 2006, died last week at the age of 84, having served just three months of his three-year sentence in a Kingston jail.

One of his victims, Tammie McKay, described the pain of her memories at the workshop in London, Ont.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:56 AM

Priests hear from abuse victims

CANADA
London Free Press

Thu, February 1, 2007

By JANE SIMS, SUN MEDIA

Rev. John Sharp bows his head as he listens to Gladys Charbonneau recount how Rev. Charles Sylvestre’s abuse of her two daughters affected her family. She spoke at a workshop organized by the Diocese of London at St. Justin’s parish to raise awareness of sexual abuse of minors by clergy.

The image of a smiling little girl on a family vacation towered over the crowded room at London's St. Justin's Roman Catholic church.

At the podium below was that little girl now grown up -- a mother, wife and teacher at St. Ursula's school, next to her childhood parish in Chatham. Kelly Ann Appleton was a victim of childhood sexual assault by Rev. Charles Sylvestre.

Yesterday, she spoke to a hushed room of priests, lay pastoral ministers and Diocese of London employees, describing how the abuse by a trusted priest scarred her life and lingers with her today.

She was part of a workshop organized by the diocese and spearheaded by Bishop Ronald Fabbro to raise awareness surrounding sexual abuse of minors by clergy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:53 AM

Victims Talk About Abuse

CANADA
CD98.9

A former Port Dover priest who abused children throughout southwestern Ontario is dead, but the fight to stop sex abuse continues. A hushed room of priests, lay ministers and employees of the Roman Catholic Diocese of London listened yesterday to victims tell their horrific stories of abuse by Charles Sylvestr. Kelly Ann Appleton told a crowd of 300 in London the abuse by a trusted priest scarred her life and lingers with her today.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:48 AM