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December 31, 2008

Irish diocesan officials demanded government briefing on sex-abuse reports

IRELAND
Catholic Culture

December 31, 2008
Officials of the Diocese of Cloyne-- which is under heavy fire for mishandling of sex-abuse complaints-- reportedly demanded access to all information in government files about an incident reported earlier this year.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:34 PM

Conn. Catholic leaders accused under RICO

NORWICH (CT)
United Press International

NORWICH, Conn., Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Connecticut's Catholic Church is charged with racketeering in a suit that claims church officials covered up alleged sex abuse by priests, documents say.

The suit, brought by a New London, Conn., attorney, cites the leadership of the Norwich, Conn., Diocese with violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act -- more commonly known as RICO -- for allegedly conspiring to keep reported child sex abuse by priests quiet, The Hartford Courant reported Wednesday.

The suit names former Bishop Daniel Reilly and its current vicar general, the Rev. Thomas McBride, as culpable under RICO for alleged child sex abuse committed by the late the Rev. Thomas Shea, who was accused of sexually abusing at least 16 girls in the 11 parishes within the Norwich Diocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:03 PM

Suit claims Connecticut diocese conspired to cover up priest sexual abuse

CONNECTICUT
The Register Citizen

Wednesday, December 31, 2008 12:14 PM EST

HARTFORD — A Connecticut woman has filed a racketeering lawsuit accusing the Roman Catholic Diocese of Norwich of conspiring to cover up sexual abuse of children by priests.

The woman is known only as Jane Doe in the lawsuit pending in U.S. District Court in Hartford. She alleges she was sexually abused by the late Rev. Thomas W. Shea in 1976 when she was 13 and he was assigned to St. Joseph's Church in New London.

The lawsuit claims the alleged cover-up conspiracy involved diocese officials transferring Shea and several other priests to other parishes numerous times after they were accused of sexual abuse.

The woman's lawyer, Robert Reardon, said he believes the lawsuit is the first racketeering case brought against the Catholic Church in Connecticut. Similar lawsuits have been filed around the country, but nearly all have failed, in attempts to get around time limits for taking legal action.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:59 PM

Connecticut woman files RICO charge against diocese in sex-abuse case

CONNECTICUT
Catholic Culture

December 31, 2008
A Connecticut woman has filed a sex-abuse lawsuit against the Norwich diocese, using a federal law designed for use against organized-crime figures. The lawsuit cites RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) law in claiming that the diocese engaged in a criminal conspiracy to cover up evidence of priestly abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:57 PM

Ohio court rejects priest's appeal in nun killing

OHIO
WTTE

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) -- Ohio's highest court has turned down an appeal filed by a Toledo priest convicted of murdering a nun.

The Ohio Supreme Court said Wednesday that it is declining to hear the appeal of the Rev. Gerald Robinson.

Robinson was convicted in 2006 of killing Sister Margaret Ann Pahl.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:51 AM

St. Leo’s Church learns of ex-pastor’s abuse of minor

BALTIMORE (MD)
Examiner

Parishioners at St. Leo’s Catholic Church in Little Italy were shocked and saddened to learn at weekend Masses that an investigation confirmed their former pastor molested a 13-year-old boy in the late 1970s at a New York church.

Michael Salerno, known as “Father Mike,” was removed in November 2007 when allegations surfaced more than 30 years after the abuse occurred, leaving parishioners with little explanation until this weekend when they said they were given a letter dated Dec. 28 from the head of the Pallottine Fathers, the order that runs the church.

“I regret that the investigation took so long to complete, since I know it has been a painful process for many, especially those in the St. Leo’s community,” the Rev. Peter Sticco wrote.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:49 AM

Ohio Supreme Court declines to hear Robinson's appeal in murder conviction

OHIO
Toledo Blade

The Ohio Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal of Gerald Robinson, the Catholic priest convicted in 2006 of murdering a nun nearly 30 years ago.

In a brief notation released Wednesday, the high court listed the case under the heading, "Appeals not accepted for review." Justice Paul Pfeifer dissented with the decision and Justice Judith Ann Lanzinger recused herself. There was not explanation given by either justice for their decisions.

Robinson, now 70, was arrested in April, 2004, and convicted by a Lucas County Common Pleas Court jury on May 11, 2006. The Ohio 6th District Court of Appeals upheld the conviction in July.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:30 AM

Sex abuse lawsuit alleges racketeering by diocese

NORWICH (CT)
Newsday

December 31, 2008
HARTFORD, Conn. - A Connecticut woman has filed a federal racketeering lawsuit accusing the Roman Catholic Diocese of Norwich of conspiring to cover up sexual abuse of children by priests.

The woman is known only as Jane Doe in the lawsuit and alleges that she was sexually abused by the late Rev. Thomas W. Shea in 1976 when she was 13 and he was assigned to St. Joseph's Church in New London.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:51 AM

Church Dismisses Police Claims in Abhaya Case

INDIA
Indian Catholic

KOCHI (ICNS): Police say a nun and two priests they arrested in Kerala have confessed to murdering a nun 16 years ago, but Catholic Church officials say the three are being framed.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), India's top investigating agency, claimed in court on Dec. 2 that it has evidence the trio committed the murder to cover up their sexual relations, UCA News reported.

“We don’t believe this. The investigation is proceeding with a pre-planned script,” said Father Paul Thelakat, spokesperson for the Syro-Malabar Church (SMC) based in the southern Indian Kerala state.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:33 AM

Bishop says he felt threatened

PORTLAND (ME)
Sun Journal

Wednesday, December 31, 2008
PORTLAND (AP) - Roman Catholic Bishop Richard Malone says church officials obtained a police order and threatened church sanctions against an outspoken critic because he felt the man's words and actions were "threatening to me personally and harmful to my ministry."

Malone, leader of Maine's 215,000 Roman Catholics, issued a statement late Tuesday afternoon on the Diocese of Portland's Web site following news accounts of his actions against Paul Kendrick.

In his statement, Malone said he turned the other cheek for nearly five years as the Freeport man flooded the diocese office with e-mails and held vigils outside his residence, the chancery and the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, where Malone often celebrates Mass.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:22 AM

Former chaplain gets life for rape

LORAIN (OH)
The Chronicle-Telegram

LORAIN — A former chaplain at Lorain Catholic High School has been sentenced to life in prison for raping an 8-year-old boy.

Joseph N. Williams, of Akron, will serve life in prison without the possibility of parole, according to Ryan Miday, spokesman for the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office.

The 64-year-old raped the boy in 1992 at a nursing home in Warrensville Heights, where the boy was visiting a family member. Williams already had left the church at that point and was working as a lawyer.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:11 AM

Ex-priest gets life

OHIO
Ohio.com

CLEVELAND: A former priest and lawyer from Akron has been sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of raping a boy in the 1990s.

Joseph N. Williams was convicted last week of three counts of rape and one count of kidnapping.

He was sentenced by Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge John J. Russo. Williams had denied the charges.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:08 AM

Baltimore priest admits abuse

BALTIMORE (MD)
Catholic Culture

December 31, 2008
Pallottine Father Michael Salerno, who most recently served as a pastor in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, has admitted that he “did sexually abuse a boy who was approximately 13 years old at the time at the time of the initial abuse,” according a letter from his provincial dated Sunday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:05 AM

Supporters join priest on long walk of atonement

IRELAND
Irish Independent

By Ralph Riegel

Wednesday December 31 2008

A dozen people yesterday joined a priest on his protest march over the Catholic church's handling of child abuse claims.

Fr Michael Mernagh set off alone on Monday morning from St Colman's Cathedral in Cobh, Co Cork, to the Pro-Cathedral in Dublin.

It is hoped that dozens more will now join his 'walk of atonement' before the group reaches the capital.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:55 AM

Sect leader gets 10 years in sex case

NEW MEXICO
The Denver Post

By Barry Massey
The Associated Press
Posted: 12/31/2008 12:30:00 AM MST

LAS VEGAS, N.M. — The leader of an apocalyptic religious sect in northeastern New Mexico was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years in prison for sexual misconduct with teenage female followers.

Wayne Bent, 67, received the sentence for criminal sexual contact of a minor and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

State District Judge Gerald Baca imposed the maximum sentence of 18 years but suspended eight years. Under state law, Bent must serve 85 percent of the sentence before he can be released.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:51 AM

Norwich Diocese Faces Racketeering Lawsuit Over Abusive Priests

NORWICH (CT)
Hartford Courant

By ELIZABETH HAMILTON
December 31, 2008
A New London lawyer has brought what is believed to be the first racketeering case against the Catholic Church in Connecticut, alleging that the Norwich Diocese engaged in a conspiracy to cover up sexual abuse of children by priests.

The lawsuit says the Norwich Diocese, its former bishop, Daniel Reilly, and its current vicar general, the Rev. Thomas McBride, should be held accountable under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act — more commonly known as RICO — for conspiring to cover up the criminal conduct of abusive priests.

The complaint was brought by a Connecticut woman, identified only as "Jane Doe," who alleges that she was molested by the Rev. Thomas W. Shea, now deceased, in 1976. Shea has been accused of sexually abusing at least 16 girls in the 11 parishes he served in the Norwich Diocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:43 AM

December 30, 2008

Lawyer in Alamo case: Bible no defense for abuse

ARKANSAS
The Associated Press

By JON GAMBRELL

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Jailed evangelist Tony Alamo's right to religious freedom doesn't allow him to beat children, a lawyer suing the preacher over alleged abuse says.

In federal court filings this week, W. David Carter wrote that protecting the public trumps constitutional protections afforded to religion. Alamo's lawyer said in a court filing last week that the Bible requires spanking unruly children, and he suggested that Alamo had permission from church parents to discipline their children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:27 PM

Former priest faces life in prison for raping boy

AKRON (OH)
The Plain Dealer

Posted by Donna J. Miller/Plain Dealer Reporter December 24, 2008 06:37AM

Joseph N. Williams, of Akron, a former Catholic priest and attorney, will be sentenced Tuesday for raping an 8-year-old boy.

Williams, 64, was a priest from 1969 to 1976 and served as a chaplain at Lorain Catholic High School. He then left the church and became a lawyer in the 1980s. He retired in 1998, prosecutor's spokesman Ryan Miday said.

After a two-day trial in December, a jury found him guilty of all charges; kidnapping and three counts of rape. He raped the 8-year-old in 1992 at a nursing home in Warrensville Heights, where the boy's family had gathered to visit a family member. The maximum sentence is life in prison.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:23 PM

Former priest, 64, sentenced to life for raping 8-year-old boy

AKRON (OH)
The Plain Dealer

Posted by Sarena McRae/Plain Dealer Reporter December 30, 2008 18:13PM

A 64-year-old Akron man was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole Tuesday for raping an 8-year-old boy in 1992.

Joseph N. Williams, a former Catholic priest and attorney, was found guilty by a Cuyahoga County jury last week on kidnaping and rape charges following a two-day trial in December.

He raped the 8-year-old in 1992 at a nursing home in Warrensville Heights, where the boy's family had gathered to visit a family member. The maximum sentence is life in prison.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:19 PM

Former Priest Gets Life In Prison For Raping Boy

AKRON (OH)
NewsNet 5

AKRON, Ohio -- A former Akron Catholic priest was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the 1992 rape of an 8-year-old boy.

Joseph Williams, 64, was a priest from 1969 to 1976. The jury found his guilty of three counts of rape and kidnapping.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:17 PM

Diocese of Cloyne wanted to see State documents

IRELAND
The Irish Times

PATSY McGARRY, Religious Affairs Correspondent

THE DIOCESE of Cloyne demanded to see all documents the State possessed concerning an allegation of sex abuse made against one of its priests, before it would agree to meet HSE officials on the case earlier this year.

The relevant allegation concerned a priest referred to as “Father A” in the report by the National Board for Safeguarding Children (NBSC) of the Catholic Church in Ireland, published on December 19th last.

The report found child protection practice in the diocese to be “inadequate and in some respects dangerous”.

The allegation, by another priest, claimed he had been abused when a young boy by “Father A” and that this matter had not been properly dealt with by Cloyne diocese, particularly by Bishop John Magee.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:10 PM

Suspended Pedophile Priests Committing Subsequent Crimes Recently

UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

SNAP fact sheet – November 2008

Recently, and especially over the past year, more and more suspended pedophile priests have begun to commit more subsequent crimes. This proves what history, psychology and common sense have long indicated (and we in SNAP have long said): merely removing a child molesting cleric from ‘active duty’ doesn’t ‘cure’ him. These men remain dangerous.

Cases like these and dozens more, show that it’s irresponsible for church officials to do the bare minimum: suspend predatory priests but refuse to house and/or supervise them.

Consider just these publicly disclosed cases over the last few months:

In October:

-- A Chicago area Jesuit priest (Donald McGuire) was convicted in charged in federal court for taking a minor out of the country and molesting him, In, he was also convicted by a Wisconsin court for molesting two students in the 1960s. In between, he was jailed for violating conditions of his pre-sentencing release. ...

-- A Grand Rapids priest (Shamaun Beas) was sentenced for sexually molesting two girls six years ago. He was already serving six to 20 years in prison from a 2004 Internet sex sting in which police say he tried to solicit who he thought was a 14-year-old girl for sexual purposes.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:52 PM

Maine Bishop threatens to ban abuse victim advocate

MAINE
NECN

[with video]

(NECN: Amy Sinclair, Portland, Maine) - The leader of Maine's Roman Catholics is threatening to take extraordinary action against an outspoken supporter of abuse victims.

The doors of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland, Maine are now officially closed to sexual abuse victim advocate Paul Kendrick. Kendrick was asked to keep his distance from the cathedral and chancery after he wrote a letter to Bishop Malone says he planned to attend Christmas Mass "...in peace, but if you happen to look my way from time to time, you may see me shaking my head ever so slightly in disbelief, or my head in my hands as I pray for the tolerance to remain seated in spite of your hypocrisy."

Kendrick said he hoped to attend Mass to remind the bishop about a priest abuse case in Boothbay Harbor. He was frustrated because the bishop hadn't met personally with the victim's mother.

Diocese communications director Sue Bernard says Kendrick's advocacy work has crossed the line. She says leading demonstrations on behalf of sexual abuse victims is advocacy, but the personal attacks on the bishop's character is harassment. Kendrick was warned in the letter that if he tries again to contact Bishop Malone he risks losing any right "to participate fully in the sacramental life of the church."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:41 PM

Ex-Priest Allegedly Admits Molesting Teen

BALTIMORE (MD)
ABC 2

Reported by: Jeff Hager

The sign is gone now from the sidewalk in front of Isabella’s Restaurant calling on the people of Little Italy to “Keep Mike in Their Prayers”, but they are reminded of the former priest’s absence from nearby St. Leo’s Roman Catholic Church every day.

"You know... I go to church. Attendance is down. The events that he really used to push for, which brought the community together, they're just not happening any more," said Isabella’s co-owner, Daniel Stewart.

Father Michael “Mike” Salerno disappeared from St. Leo’s in November of 2007 amidst allegations that he had molested a 13-year old boy at a church in New York in the Seventies.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:37 PM

Facing Fears in the Orthodox Community

UNITED STATES
The Observer

Clara Hersh

In the film "Narrow Bridge," writer and director Israel Moskovits confronts the controversial issue of sexual abuse in the Orthodox Jewish world. Moskovits plays the protagonist, Daniel Schneider, a philosophy major attending secular college. He meets Rachel Goldberg (Samantha Leshin) in a philosophy class. The pair quickly forges a bond discussing philosophy and religion, enhanced by the fact that they are seemingly the two Jews on campus. While Rachel has not grown up religious, she is interested in learning more about her heritage. Daniel helps Rachel learn about Judaism and both grow to admire each other over the process, during which they begin dating and eventually become engaged.

Their relationship has its complexities. Rachel is quick to open up to Daniel and divulge her past, but Daniel is very elusive about his life before college. Whenever Rachel asks about his past, Daniel evades her questions and hastily changes the subject. A flashback reveals that the reason for Daniel's elusiveness is because when he was young, Rabbi Kaufman, a teacher whom he trusted and who had helped him in his struggle with Judaism, had one day offered him a ride home, then took a detour and sexually abused him.

When Rachel goes home with Daniel to meet his parents, Daniel is once again confronted with his childhood trauma, as well as Rabbi Kaufman himself. This throws Daniel into a state of panic. He starts to fight with his mother and fiancé and draws away from them. His behavior is so erratic that Rachel begins to question whether or not she made a mistake accepting Daniel's marriage proposal.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:34 PM

NM sect leader gets 10 years for molesting girls

NEW MEXICO
Fox 40

By BARRY MASSEY

LAS VEGAS, N.M. (AP) — The leader of a small religious sect was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years in prison for sexual misconduct with two teenage female followers.

Wayne Bent, 67, who claimed the encounters were spiritual, not sexual, was convicted this month of criminal sexual contact with a minor and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Judge Gerald Baca imposed the maximum sentence of 18 years but suspended eight years. He will have to serve at least 8½ years before becoming eligible for release.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:31 PM

Suncoast priest accused of 1993 sex act with minor

HOLMES BEACH (FL)
WWSB

HOLMES BEACH, FL. - A priest at St. Bernard Catholic Church in Holmes Beach is under investigation for alleged sexual misconduct that happened 15 years ago.

The Diocese of Venice says the Rev. Jean Ronald Joseph is accused of sexual misconduct with a minor in 1993 while he was serving at St. Frances Xavier Catholic Church in Ft. Myers.

The priest denies the charges, however, Father Joseph has agreed to remove himself from active ministry while the diocese investigates the charges.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:42 PM

Former St. Leo pastor admits to abuse

BALTIMORE (MD)
Catholic Review

By Catholic Review Staff

Parishioners of St. Leo in Little Italy were informed Dec. 28 that Michael Salerno, their former Pallottine pastor, admitted to the sexual abuse of a minor in the 1970s and that his faculties to function as a priest have been permanently revoked.

In a letter to parishioners dated Dec. 28, Father Peter T. Sticco, provincial for the Pallottines of the Immaculate Conception Province, who staff St. Leo, said Mr. Salerno admitted to the sexual abuse during an investigation conducted by the Diocese of Brooklyn, N.Y., where he had served as a Pallottine brother.

“I regret that the investigation took so long to complete, since I know it has been a painful process for many, especially those in the St. Leo’s community,” wrote Father Sticco.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:51 AM

Bishop asked to confiscate passport of accused priest

FORT MYERS (FL)
The News-Press

By JANINE ZEITLIN • jzeitlin@news-press.com • December 30, 2008

The national Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests is calling on Bishop Frank Dewane to confiscate the passport of Rev. Jean Ronald Joseph, a priest who served in Fort Myers in the 1990s.

Dewane announced a sexual misconduct accusation involving a minor in 1993 at Masses last weekend at St. Frances Xavier Catholic Church, where Joseph once led Haitian ministries.

“We fear that Fr. Joseph may be tempted to jump on a plane and return home, instead of facing justice here,” wrote the organization in a letter apparently sent today to Bishop Dewane.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:48 AM

Order Says Abuse By Pastor Confirmed

BALTIMORE (MD)
WBAL

BALTIMORE -- The order that runs St. Leo's Catholic Church in Baltimore's Little Italy neighborhood has informed parishioners that an investigation has concluded former pastor Michael Salerno molested a boy in the 1970s while at a church in New York.

Known to many as "Father Mike," Salerno was a brother at All Saints Church in Brooklyn, N.Y., when the alleged abuse occurred.

The head of the Pallottine Fathers, the Rev. Peter Sticco, wrote in a letter Sunday that a final report by the Diocese of Brooklyn confirmed the abuse of the 13-year-old boy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:53 AM

Paul Kendrick

MAINE
WGAN

[audio presentation]

Paul Kendrick told us about his feud with the Catholic Church in Portland.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:49 AM

Finally, a minister who is a match for the Church

IRELAND
Herald

By Padraig O'Morain

Tuesday December 30 2008

Has the Catholic Church finally met its match in a junior minister -- Barry Andrews?

Let's hope so. Certainly, the behaviour of the Church's National Board for Safeguarding Children (NBSC) needs a strong political response.

That political response should be a national audit of child protection in every Irish diocese.

The fact is, we simply don't know how much has been learned by the Catholic hierarchy from the child abuse scandals of the 1980s and 1990s. Most dioceses are implementing sound child protection measures -- but are all?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:29 AM

Church critic told to keep his distance

PORTLAND (ME)
Portland Press Herald

BILL NEMITZ

December 30, 2008

By his own admission, he's long been a thorn in the side of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland. But in all the years he's spent lambasting the church hierarchy on behalf of those sexually abused by its priests, Paul Kendrick never thought it would come to this.

"Over the past years, it has become apparent that you are unwilling to cease from publicly slandering and defaming (Bishop Richard Malone's) character," stated a recent letter to Kendrick from the Rev. Andrew Dubois, the diocese's vicar general. "This is a cause of great scandal, which may impede (Malone's) effective ministry."

It was not an idle observation. Attached to Dubois' letter was a "canonical precept," or order, from Malone mandating that Kendrick "abstain from all verbal and written communication and physical contact with me."

Malone's precept also prohibits Kendrick from being "present in the same building with me (or) within 500 feet of me in public places."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:03 AM

Ex-pastor of St. Leo's abused boy in '70s, parish told

BALTIMORE (MD)
Baltimore Sun

By Julie Bykowicz | julie.bykowicz@baltsun.com
December 30, 2008
Parishioners at St. Leo's Catholic Church in Little Italy were informed at weekend Masses that their former pastor - who was removed suddenly more than a year ago - molested a 13-year-old boy in the late 1970s at a New York church. Michael Salerno, better known as "Father Mike," was a brother at All Saints Church in Brooklyn when the alleged abuse occurred.

When the allegation surfaced last November, Salerno left his post at St. Leo the Great Roman Catholic Church. Parishioners immediately protested, demanding answers.

In a letter dated Dec. 28, the head of the Pallottine Fathers, the order that runs St. Leo's, apologized for the delay. "I regret that the investigation took so long to complete, since I know it has been a painful process for many, especially those in the St. Leo's community," the Rev. Peter T. Sticco wrote.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:50 AM

Bishop silent as protest takes to the roads

IRELAND
Irish Independent

By Ralph Riegel

Tuesday December 30 2008

A priest set off on a long lonely walk of atonement from Cork to Dublin yesterday in response to the Church's handling of the Cloyne child abuse controversy.

Fr Michael Mernagh left St Colman's Cathedral in Cobh, Co Cork, at 9am for the Pro-Cathedral, Dublin -- and urged anyone wishing to join his walk en route to do so.

But as the walk began, the cleric at the centre of the controversy, Bishop of Cloyne, Dr John Magee, refused to give an indication of whether he would retire or resign over scathing criticisms in a National Board for the Safeguarding of Children (NBSC) report.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:45 AM

Maine diocese orders activist to keep away from bishop or face interdict

MAINE
Catholic Culture

December 30, 2008
Father Andrew Dubois, vicar general of the Diocese of Portland (Maine), has ordered Paul Kendrick, co-founder of the local Voice of the Faithful chapter, to stay 500 feet away from Bishop Richard Malone or risk the penalty of interdict, by which Kendrick would lose the ability “to participate fully in the sacramental life of the Church.” Kendrick, who has also received a criminal trespass order, has harassed the bishop for five years, according to a diocesan spokeswoman.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:39 AM

Ignore the spin: State raid on polygamists the right thing to do

TEXAS
The Dallas Morning News

12:00 AM CST on Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The state's raid on the West Texas polygamist compound has become a sacred touchstone, and not just for the peculiar sect that lived there.

It has mushroomed into a celebrated cause for those who mistrust "the government" in general and the state's child-welfare system in particular.

State-sponsored child snatchers seized shrieking babies from their desperate mothers' arms, they furiously recount in endless retellings via the Internet.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:34 AM

Sex abuse claim shakes Diocese of Venice

FLORIDA
The News-Press

By JANINE ZEITLIN • jzeitlin@news-press.com • December 30, 2008

The Diocese of Venice put out a public call Monday for potential victims to step forward in the wake of a sexual-abuse allegation against the Rev. Jean Ronald Joseph, a priest who served in Fort Myers in the 1990s.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane announced the sexual misconduct accusation involving a minor in 1993 at weekend Masses at St. Frances Xavier Catholic Church, where Joseph once led Haitian ministries.

“The Diocese of Venice remains committed to a zero tolerance policy for sexual abuse with a minor,” the statement read.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:26 AM

December 29, 2008

Diocese investigates sexual misconduct allegation against priest

FORT MYERS (FL)
Herald Tribune

[Diocese statement (PDF - 53kb)]

Staff Report

VENICE - The Diocese of Venice is investigating a sexual misconduct allegation against a priest.

According to reports, The Rev. Jean Ronald Joseph is accused of having sexual contact with a minor when he was at St. Frances Xavier Catholic Church in Fort Myers in 1993.

No specifics were given about the child’s age or gender.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:21 PM

Sexual misconduct allegations made against priest

FLORIDA
WINK News

By WINK News

FORT MYERS, Fla. - The Diocese of Venice is investigating sexual misconduct allegations made against a priest.

The allegation suggests sexual misconduct by reverend Jean Joseph in 1993, while he was a priest at St. Francis Xavier in Fort Myers.

The diocese says they are investigating this allegation under the church's "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People" adopted by US Catholic Bishops in 2002.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:18 PM

Priest in child abuse protest urges bishop to step down

IRELAND
The Irish Times

OLIVIA KELLEHER

A PRIEST who is walking from Cork to Dublin to show solidarity with victims of clerical sex abuse has met Bishop John Magee of Cloyne diocese.

Bishop Magee has been severely criticised over recent weeks following a report on the mishandling of allegations relating to clerical sex abuse in his diocese.

Fr Michael Mernagh (70), who yesterday said he believed Bishop Magee should step down from his post, also maintained a three-day vigil outside St Colman's Cathedral in Cobh over Christmas in protest at the Cloyne revelations.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:14 PM

Priest accused of sexual misconduct

FLORIDA
NBC 2

[full statement of the Diocese of Venice]

by Kara Kenney
Last updated on: 12/29/2008 6:24:35 PM

LEE COUNTY: The Diocese of Venice is investigating allegations of sexual abuse made against a priest of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Fort Myers. The alleged incident happened at St. Francis in 1993.

The priest, Reverend Jean Joseph, is accused of sexual misconduct with a minor.

Father Joseph now works for a church in Holmes Beach, just north of Sarasota.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:08 PM

Maine bishop threatens to punish vocal activist

PORTLAND (ME)
Daily Advance

[with photo]

By DAVID SHARP
The Associated Press

Monday, December 29, 2008

PORTLAND, Maine — The leader of Maine's Roman Catholics has taken the unusual step of threatening to punish an outspoken advocate for people who were sexually abused by priests, possibly by denying him communion. ...

Nicholas Cafardi, a canon lawyer and former dean of Duquesne Law School, said he had never heard of a bishop using church law, in this case the threat of an "interdict," against activists.

"It's extremely unusual," said Cafardi, who was an original member of the National Review Board, the lay panel the U.S. bishops created in 2001 to monitor their response to the abuse scandal.

The Rev. Tom Doyle, a Virginia priest and advocate for victims who is representing Kendrick, said the church has threatened to prevent Kendrick from receiving Holy Communion if he doesn't comply.

Doyle said he can't find any basis for the diocese's actions, but he said church leaders have been angered by the aggressive tactics of some activists. Doyle said his work with abuse victims cost him a promising career as a canon lawyer in the church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:04 PM

Maine bishop threatens to punish vocal activist

MAINE
Town Hall

By DAVID SHARP

The leader of Maine's Roman Catholics has taken the unusual step of threatening to punish an outspoken advocate for people who were sexually abused by priests, possibly by denying him communion.

Paul Kendrick of Freeport has been banned from the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland, and warned in a letter that if he tries again to contact Portland Bishop Richard Malone he risks losing any right "to participate fully in the sacramental life of the church." ...

"It's a not-so-subtle attempt to silence me," Kendrick said Monday. "My response is that it's not about me. It's about protecting children today and helping and supporting those who were abused. He will not silence me from speaking out on those issues."

Sue Bernard, a spokeswoman for the Diocese of Portland, said the bishop doesn't object to criticism but that Kendrick's actions have gone far beyond that.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:36 PM

Irish bishop accepts 'full responsibility' for mishandling abuse, but will not resign

IRELAND
Catholic Culture

December 29, 2008
Bishop John Magee of Cloyne has accepted "full responsibility" for the mishandling of sex-abuse cases in his diocese. "We made errors-- not intentionally," the bishop said in an emotional Christmas-eve address. But the bishop continued to reject demands for his resignation, saying that he was determined to supervise the implementation of new policies to eradicate clerical abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:27 PM

Nun attacked Sister Abhaya, says CBI

INDIA
The Times of India

30 Dec 2008, 0223 hrs IST, Ananthakrishnan G, TNN

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The CBI told a court hearing the Sister Abhaya murder case in Kochi on Monday that it was Sister Sephy, who was arrested along
with two priests, who hit the nun on the head with a hand-held axe.

CBI said Sister Abhaya was attacked because she saw Sister Sephy in a compromising position with the two priests at the Pius X Convent hostel in Kottayam district.

Sister Abhaya fell unconscious after the nun assaulted her, hitting her twice behind the ears and a third time on her head, CBI told the court of the chief judicial magistrate. The nun was afraid that Sister Abhaya would reveal her illicit relations with the priests - father Thomas M Kottur and father Jose Poothrikkayil, CBI said. Sister Abhaya, according to the investigating agency, witnessed the intimate acts when she came to drink water early in the morning.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:14 PM

Diocese releases statement on accused ex-Fort Myers priest

FLORIDA
The News-Press

Rev. Jean Ronald Joseph, a priest accused of sexual abusing a child during his time in Fort Myers in the mid-1990s, denies the allegation and has ceased active ministry, according to the Diocese of Venice.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:07 PM

A self-serving cover-up by the state of Texas

TEXAS
Newspaper Tree

Editor's note: The state issued a report Dec. 22 on its activities investigating allegations of child abuse at the Yearning for Zion (YFZ) Ranch in Eldorado. James C. Harrington, director of the Texas Civil Rights Project, issued the following statement. Previously, he wrote about the state's actions in a piece titled The Children of El Dorado: Suffering at the Hands of the State?, posted on April 21, 2008.

***
"The fact the Department of Family and Protective Services released the report right at the beginning of the holidays reflects the Department’s effort to cover up its gross misconduct that cost the taxpayers of Texas $12.5 million and severely disrupted the lives of 439 children without proper legal cause.

"Ultimately, the Department, after being chastised in the courts, brought a handful of cases, which together could never justify the wholesale raid it did and its unconscionable scattering of more than 400 children across the state. There are now only 15 children involved in cases; the other 424 cases were nonsuited and dismissed.

"The report ignores the sham anonymous call that the Department used to justify the Eldorado raid. It tries to gloss over the rulings against it by the Austin Court of Appeals and the Texas Supreme Court.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:08 PM

Judicial custody extended for three accused of Kerala nun's murder

INDIA
The Times of India

29 Dec 2008, 1449 hrs IST, IANS

KOCHI: In response to a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) petition, a court on Monday extended the judicial custody of the three people accused
of having murdered Sister Abhaya in 1992.

The CBI requested the court of the chief judicial magistrate not to grant bail to Father Jose Putarika, Father Thomas Kottor and Sister Seffi because it would affect the investigation of the case, which is in its closing stages.

The court extended the judicial custody of the three accused till Jan 12.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:06 PM

Sister Sephy hit Abhaya on head, says CBI

INDIA
The Hindu

KOCHI: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday informed Ernakulam Chief Judicial Magistrate P.D. Soman that it was the third accused, Sister Sephy, who thrice hit Sister Abhaya, who was staying at the Pius X Convent Hostel, Kottayam, on the head.

The CBI told the court that the third accused had hit Sister Abhaya with an axe (‘Kaikodali’) on the back of the head, near the right ear and on the top of the head.

In a report seeking to extend the judicial custody of the accused filed before the court, the CBI said that investigations revealed that Sister Abhaya woke up on March 27, 1992, the day she was killed, early in the morning, descended the staircase and went to the hostel kitchen for taking drinking water from the fridge. “The accused were found in objectionable circumstances” by Sister Abhaya, the agency said in the report.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:03 PM

Area priest investigated for alleged molestation

FLORIDA
Bradenton Herald

By NATALIE NEYSA ALUND - nalund@bradenton.com

A local Catholic priest is being investigated for alleged sexual misconduct, according to a statement released today by the Diocese of Venice.

The alleged sexual misconduct occurred in 1993 between the Rev. Jean Ronald Joseph, now a priest at St. Bernard Catholic Church in Holmes Beach, and someone who at that time was a minor, said Adela Gonzales White, communications director with the Diocese of Venice. The reported incident took place when Joseph worked at St. Frances Xavier Catholic Church in Ft. Myers.

White did not release the minor’s age or gender nor give any specifics on the allegations.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:56 PM

Bishop Threatens To Punish Abuse Victim Advocate

PORTLAND (ME)
WCSH

Posted By: Mike Webster

PORTLAND (AP) -- The leader of Maine's Roman Catholics is threatening to punish an outspoken advocate for victims of priest sex abuse.

Paul Kendrick has been banned from the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland and warned in a letter that further attempts to contact Bishop Richard Malone could endanger his ability "to participate fully in the sacramental life of the church."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:52 PM

Dismissal Upheld in Crowley Priest Case

BATON ROUGE (LA)
KATC

A Baton Rouge appeals court has unanimously upheld the dismissal of a sexual abuse case against a former Crowley priest.

In March of 2003, a man identified only as "john doe" filed a suit against Rev. Joseph Pellettieri more than 30 years after the alleged incident.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:47 AM

I wanted to entitle this blog post “Catholic priests molest little girls” ...

Dammit Janet

... when unrepentant old hippie did her blogpost about the batshit craziness of Blob Blogging Wingnut. I felt that I should blog about priests who sexually abuse female children.

Pope Benny Ratzo recently pontificated upon the harm done to children. It was not an apology for the centuries of tacit complicity between the clerics who abuse children and those who don't. It was not an admission the Catholic Church and its refusal to be accountable for the actions of abusive priests, its hypocrisy that denies and evades responsibility, and its arrogance are morally bankrupt.

While the focus remains fixed on priests (men) who abuse boys, it is likely that more girls than boys have been subjected to sexual exploitation by members of the RCC clergy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:45 AM

Book Review: Vatican II, Homosexuality, and Pedophilia, by Atila Sinke Guimaraes

True Restoration II

Title: Vatican II, Homosexuality, & Pedophilia
Author: Atila Sinke Guimaraes
Publisher: Tradition in Action
Excellence: 4 stars
Why: much needed hard evidence of destruction in the Church
Summary in a sentence: A devastating dossier of deviancy.

The last book I reviewed by TIA was Previews of the New Papacy. I gave it only 2 stars because I thought it was not responsible to give such an extensive grouping of photographs with so little (con)textual commentary to guide the reader. But I will say that generally TIA, and Guimaraes in particular, are relentless when it comes to documentation. This was no exception, with 573 footnotes in just over 300 pages.

I certainly don't agree with TIA on everything, and they would certainly say the same about me, but I don't let that get in the way of endorsing and heartily agreeing with good work that they do.

Many of us don't remember where we were when we first heard of the sexual scandals plaguing the Church. There was no liminal event. We just started hearing bits and pieces on the news, punctuated with the names of Weakland or Bernadin or Law. It seemed at first a slow trickle that became a torrent. What Guimaraes does, with a flood of horrifying information, is show that the crisis is much, much worse than our worst nightmares.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:40 AM

Former church secretary jailed for theft

HAWAII
Star-Bulletin

By Paul Curtis
Special to the Star-Bulletin

POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 29, 2008

LIHUE » A former Kauai resident now living on Oahu was sentenced to 18 months in prison and five years' probation Friday for stealing more than $20,000 from two Kauai Catholic churches where she worked as a secretary.

She is free on bail pending appeal.

Daria Bruce, 62, was sentenced by Kauai Circuit Judge Randal G.B. Valenciano, who told Bruce that her apology was "not sincere as far as the court is concerned." For rehabilitation to occur, some feel there needs to be some remorse, or admission of guilt, and "you haven't crossed that bridge," Valenciano said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:17 AM

Pressure grows on Church for audit of child protection

IRELAND
Irish Independent

By Ralph Riegel and John Cooney

Monday December 29 2008

PRESSURE is mounting on the Catholic Church to concede to a nationwide audit of childcare protection in all Irish dioceses in the wake of the Cloyne controversy as a major protest march gets underway today.

Campaigning priest Fr Michael Mernagh will lead the march from Bishop John Magee's seat at St Colman's Cathedral in Cobh, Co Cork, to the Pro Cathedral in Dublin.

Fr Mernagh -- who has maintained a three-day Christmas vigil outside St Colman's in protest at what he termed "the inexcusable" Cloyne childcare protection revelations -- warned that it was now time for the Church to "walk the walk rather than talk the talk".

Incensed

The Augustinian priest -- who had just returned from working with the poor in South Africa -- was so incensed by the Cloyne revelations that he slept in his car for two nights outside St Colman's over Christmas as part of his protest vigil.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:37 AM

Abhaya: Accused produced before CJM

INDIA
Kerala Online

Kochi, Monday, December 29, 2008: All three accused in the Sister Abhaya murder case was produced before Ernakulam Chief Judicial Magistrate today since the remand period of the three accused Fr Thomas Kottoor, Fr Jose Puthrukayil and Sr Sephy ends today.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:27 AM

Bishop still fighting abuse cases despite 'admission'

IRELAND
Tribune

Justine McCarthy
Cloyne sex case victim accuses disgraced Magee of dragging High Court battle out 'to the bitter end'

The diocese of Cloyne is continuing to contest a number of civil legal actions by the victims it betrayed despite Bishop John Magee's admission of personal responsibility for mishandling complaints of child sex abuse.

In the six months since receiving the report of the National Board for Safeguarding Children (NBSC) on the diocese's "inadequate and in some respects dangerous" child protection policy, Cloyne has made no attempt to settle at least three High Court suits involving two diocesan priests.

Responding to the bishop's 'mea culpa' statement in Cobh Cathedral on Christmas night, one of the plaintiffs claimed that, at a meeting she attended with Magee and his vicar general, Denis O'Callaghan, to discuss her complaint nearly three years ago, the latter suggested to her: "There's always the civil route". She added: "He (Magee) is dragging this out to the bitter end. He's still abusing us and he's still abusing his position. I'm not surprised. It's typical of the way they behave."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:23 AM

Priest begins 9-day walk to Dublin

IRELAND
RTE News

Monday, 29 December 2008 11:12
A priest has set off on a walk from Cork to Dublin.

Fr Michael Mernagh is undertaking the hike as an act of atonement for all victims of child sexual abuse.

Fr Mernagh began his journey at 9am this morning at the Cathedral in Cork, and is due to arrive at the Pro Cathedral in Dublin in nine day's time - on the feast of the epiphany.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:16 AM

December 28, 2008

Former Fort Myers priest accused of sexual abuse on child

FORT MYERS (FL)
The News-Press

By Rachel Myers • rmyers@news-press.com • December 28, 2008

A Catholic priest who served in Fort Myers in the mid-1990s is accused of sexually abusing a minor during his tenure here.

In a statement read to the congregation at Masses throughout the weekend, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of the Diocese of Venice informed parishioners at St. Frances Xavier Catholic Church that the Rev. Jean Ronald Joseph, who for a time led the Haitian ministries there, is being investigated for allegations of sexual misconduct.

According to Dewane’s letter, read by the bishop himself at earlier Masses at the Heitman Street church and repeated at the Sunday evening Mass, the alleged abuse occurred in 1993 and involved Joseph and a person who at the time was a minor.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:41 PM

Catholic body sought unconditional indemnity over Cloyne abuse report

IRELAND
The Irish Times

PATSY McGARRY, Religious Affairs Correspondent

UNCONDITIONAL INDEMNITY from the State was sought by the National Board for Safeguarding Children (NBSC) in the Catholic Church, should its report on Cloyne diocese be published before it went to the Health Service Executive (HSE).

The board sought such protection as assurance against any likelihood of it being sued by persons named or parties referred to in the report.

It also told the office of the Minister for Children, Barry Andrews, that "on legal advice" it did not propose providing a copy of the report to the HSE.

A spokeswoman for the board said indemnity became an issue when its report was submitted to the Minister for Children and referred to a possible wider circulation of the document.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:46 PM

Rape crisis centre calls for bishop’s resignation

IRELAND
Irish Examiner

By Evelyn Ring
THE Bishop of Cloyne John Magee must resign over his mishandling of child abuse allegations, the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre (DRCC) insisted yesterday.

DRCC chief executive Ellen O’Malley-Dunlop said while it is important the bishop apologises, he must do more than that — he must go.

“The way in which he handled complaints of child sex abuse was absolutely unforgivable. We are surprised that he has not resigned,” she said. “Our culture has changed. We now have national guidelines for the protection and welfare of children, Children First, but he definitely did not put children first. ...

Ms O’Malley-Dunlop said the Cloyne abuse scandal would also trigger the memories of other people sexually abused as children.

“That is why we were particularly anxious to have our national helpline number (1800 77 88 88) widely published this Christmas,” she said. “The helpline is not just for people recently raped. Half of the people we see are victims of childhood sexual abuse.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:44 PM

Priest's long march: Cobh to Dublin

IRELAND
The Irish Times

A Dublin-based Augustinian priest will this morning begin a nine-day "walk of atonement" for all who have suffered clerical child sex abuse, from Cobh to Dublin's Pro-Cathedral.

Fr Michael Mernagh (70) has invited everyone to join him "if only for a few yards of the road". He leaves Cobh at 9am with the aim of arriving at Dublin's Pro- Cathedral on January 6th, the Feast of the Epiphany. His walk was prompted by the recent critical report by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:41 PM

Judge doesn't let nun withdraw guilty plea

NEBRASKA
World-Herald

BY TODD COOPER
WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER

The appeal of the embezzling nun is done — at least in Douglas County.

Douglas County District Judge Thomas Otepka has rejected Sister Barbara Markey's request to withdraw her guilty plea — a request Markey made after being sentenced to prison instead of probation.

Markey, 74, now is expected to appeal her prison sentence to the Nebraska Supreme Court.

Markey, a psychologist who developed a widely used Catholic marriage preparation course, was sentenced in July to three to five years in prison — a term that is cut to 18 to 30 months under state sentencing guidelines.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:20 PM

Child welfare officials say child abuse, neglect common at Texas polygamists' ranch

AUSTIN (TX)
The Dallas Morning News

[Download: Read the Child Protective Services report]

By ROBERT T. GARRETT / The Dallas Morning News
rtgarrett@dallasnews.com

AUSTIN — A dozen girls in a polygamist sect have been sexually abused in underage “spiritual marriages” performed with their parents’ consent, Texas Child Protective Services said Tuesday.

“The 12 girls were ‘spiritually’ married at ages ranging from 12 to 15, and seven of these girls have had one or more children,” CPS said in a report wrapping up a nine-month investigation in the largest-ever U.S. child welfare case.

Sect spokesman Willie Jessop called the report a “sensational” bid by state bureaucrats to win over public opinion after they rashly ordered a mass removal of children last spring and managed to keep only one girl in foster care.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:55 AM

Second thoughts about sect?

TEXAS
The Dallas Morning News

David Clohessy, national director, Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests,
St. Louis, Mo.

Re: "12 girls at ranch sexually abused, CPS says -- 'Spiritual' marriages cited; sect spokesman slams agency's report," Wednesday news story.

State officials who raided an insular, secretive, polygamous sect have been criticized for numerous alleged missteps.

But now comes the news that nearly two-thirds of the 262 children at the compound were abused or neglected.

Armchair quarterbacks with the benefit of hindsight can always find some fault in details about others' actions.

However, it's crucial to remember the big picture here: Some innocent kids were no doubt spared harm by the intervention of Texas authorities in this tragic situation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:52 AM

Robert Wilson, 76: Served as chancellor of Fort Worth Roman Catholic Diocese

FORT WORTH (TX)
The Dallas Morning News

From Staff and Wire Reports

The Rev. Robert Wilson, former chancellor of the Fort Worth Roman Catholic Diocese, died on Christmas Day at the age of 76.

Father Wilson was found unconscious at home and died later at a hospital, diocese spokesman Pat Svacina said.

Father Wilson, the pastor of Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Aledo, spent more than 50 years in the priesthood and served as the diocese chancellor until 2006.

In that position, he was the top aide to former Bishop Joseph Delaney and played a role in the church's response to sex-abuse scandals in the 1990s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:36 AM

Bishop defies resignation calls for child 'errors'

IRELAND
Irish Independent

By Ralph Riegel

Sunday December 28 2008

THE Bishop of Cloyne, Dr John Magee, has no intention of resigning over a child protection controversy and plans to lead the Easter ceremonies in his diocese next April.

Friends have insisted that the beleaguered Cork cleric -- a former private secretary to three Popes -- is now determined to personally supervise the implementation of child protection reforms in his diocese.

They also believe a special Christmas Eve message issued by Dr Magee will go a long way towards defusing the controversy over how the diocese mishandled clerical child abuse claims.

However, senior Church officials are worried that an imminent Health Service Executive (HSE) report on Cloyne's handling of the allegations could heap further damage onto the scathing criticisms contained in a report by Church watchdog, the National Board for the Safeguarding of Children (NBSC).

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:34 AM

A talk with The Rev. Richard P. McBrien

UNITED STATES
Boston Globe

By Michael Paulson
December 28, 2008

CATHOLICISM IN AMERICA is riven by internal debates - often about gender, sexuality, and authority - and seemingly unending controversies, about politics and parish closings and the handling of sexual abuse. Whenever one of these battles catches the attention of the evening news, one of the likely commentators is the Rev. Richard P. McBrien, a theologian at the University of Notre Dame who is one of the most visible interpreters of Catholicism to the American public. ...

IDEAS: You're so critical of the bishops, but you don't seem angry.

McBRIEN: I'm critical of the bishops not because I have any gripe against any one of them personally. John Paul II, in the 26 ?? years he was pope, did some good things. [But] the most serious deficiency the late pope had . . . was the poor quality of men he put in the hierarchy. And nowhere was this more obvious than at the height of the sexual abuse scandal in the priesthood. The truth be told, a significant number of bishops . . . including some high-ranking bishops at the time, were gay. I have no problem with people being gay, but the Catholic Church officially does, and it's constantly making statements that are hostile to gays, and they were compromised. They could not exercise leadership because they could not speak comfortably about issues relating to sexuality, because they were conflicted themselves.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:29 AM

Importing priests for U.S. Catholics

KENTUCKY
International Herald Tribune

By Laurie Goodstein Published: December 28, 2008

OWENSBORO, Kentucky: Sixteen of the Reverend Darrell Venters's fellow priests are running themselves ragged here, each serving three parishes simultaneously. One priest admits he stood at an altar once and forgot exactly which church he was in.

So Venters, lean and leathery as the Marlboro man, a cigarette in one hand and a cellphone with a ringtone like a churchbell in the other, spends most of his days recruiting priests from overseas to serve in the small towns, rolling hills and farmland that make up the Roman Catholic diocese of Owensboro. ...

But the pool of priests was shrinking, from retirements, deaths and a handful who were removed from the ministry after accusations of sexual abuse of young people. They were also growing elderly: Eight were older than 70.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:22 AM

Minister turns up heat on Magee

IRELAND
The Sunday Times (United Kingdom)

Mark Tighe
The children’s minister may refer the diocese of Cloyne to a special commission of investigation after last week’s statement by Bishop John Magee, in which he accepted responsibility for not acting on complaints of clerical sex abuse but refused to resign.

A spokesman for Barry Andrews said yesterday that the minister will ask for cabinet approval on January 7 to publish a Health Service Executive audit of church child-protection practices, which has raised concerns about the Cloyne diocese.

Andrews is also considering asking the cabinet to refer the Cloyne cases to the Dublin Archdiocese Commission of Investigation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:21 AM

Liam Fay: It’s time to clear out all of Ireland’s delinquent bishops

IRELAND
The Sunday Times (United Kingdom)

Liam Fay
One can tell a great deal about an organisation by the calibre of its top guns. With power comes responsibility, and the head that wears the crown should always be attached to a sturdy backbone. A true leader must place his followers’ welfare above his own.

Unfortunately for its faithful footsoldiers, however, the Catholic church is run by bishops rather than leaders, and few of these empurpled princes seem eager to stand up for anything other than the ritual kissing of their rings.

As if the church didn’t have enough trouble selling its message, its once-a-year best shot at securing a receptive audience was all but destroyed this Christmas by the dogged refusal of the Most Reverend John Magee, Bishop of Cloyne, to face the inevitable and resign.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:18 AM

Ex-priest loses appeal on child abuse charge

NEW JERSEY
The Star-Ledger

by Nyier Abdou /The Star-Ledger
Saturday December 27, 2008, 5:35 PM
A former priest serving a five-year prison sentence for molesting a 12-year-old boy has lost an appeal to reduce his sentence.

Eugene Corbesero, 75, of Franklin Township in Somerset County, pleaded guilty in June 2007 to second-degree charges of sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child as part of a plea deal with the state.

The charges stem from an incident in August 2006, when a 12-year-old who was attending a sleepover at Corbesero's house called 911 and reported the assault.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:16 AM

The paedophile vicar of Beguildy

UNITED KINGDOM
The Sunday Times

Amy Turner
Beguildy is a hamlet like any other in the valleys of mid-Wales. Sprinkled along the B4355, there are fewer than 100 homes here. It is so remote there is no mobile-phone reception; the public phone box contains only torn-out cables and rubbish.

There are ramshackle barns full of greying silage, empty, tumbledown farm cottages, a school, a post office and a pub. On a hill at the centre of the village is the church, St Michael’s. Beguildy is a tightknit community. In the village way, everyone knows everyone’s business. Or they thought they did until last January, when a terrible secret was revealed.

The reverend Richard Hart, 59, had been Beguildy’s vicar since 2001. His parish took in four other surrounding villages. He was chairman of governors at the village school, where his wife, Julia, 41, worked as a teaching assistant. They had five children; they ran a weekly toddlers’ group at the vicarage, as well as several Sunday-school and after-school church groups. He had christened many of the village children. In hindsight, say villagers, Hart was odd — socially awkward, and the family kept itself to itself. But he was the vicar. What reason could anyone have to distrust him?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:14 AM

December 27, 2008

Former Fort Myers priest under investigation

FORT MYERS (FL)
The News-Press

news-press.com • December 27, 2008

A former St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church priest is under investigation, according to a letter Diocese of Venice Bishop Frank Dewane wrote.

“Bishop Frank Dewane read a letter to the congregation about charges leveled again a former priest who was here in 1993,” said Mike Purdy, an information center employee of The News-Press, who attended today’s 4 p.m. mass at St. Francis Xavier in Fort Myers.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:45 PM

Where to next for our beleaguered Cabinet?

IRELAND
Irish Independent

By Fionnan Sheahan

Saturday December 27 2008

Who wants to be a Minister? In the present economic climate, it might be a blessing in disguise to be dropped from the Cabinet in the next year. Being a Minister in the midst of an economic meltdown is not an easy task. Ministers who rode the crest of a wave during the boom are now treading water in the bust. ...

Mr Cowen's other personalised admissions to the Cabinet room would have to be retained, although Batt O'Keeffe's authority has been damaged by cave-ins on the budget cuts he initially stood by and the gloss has worn off Barry Andrews, in the past week, with his failure to read a report commissioned on the handling of child abuse allegations in the Diocese of Cloyne.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:42 PM

FLDS attack Texas CPS report

TEXAS
Deseret News

By Ben Winslow
Deseret News

Published: Saturday, Dec. 27, 2008 2:55 p.m. MST

Members of the Fundamentalist LDS Church are attacking a report by Texas child welfare authorities, saying it is "as false and fraudulent as the original hoax telephone call that triggered the raid" on the YFZ Ranch.

In a statement sent to the Deseret News on Saturday, FLDS member and spokesman Willie Jessop criticized the Texas Child Protective Services report which claimed to have found a dozen girls from the Utah-based polygamous sect were confirmed victims of sexual abuse and neglect because they were married ages ranging from 12 to 15.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:38 PM

FLDS sect blasts Texas report, accuses officials of trying to drive polygamous group from state

TEXAS
The Salt Lake Tribune

By Brooke Adams
The Salt Lake Tribune

Posted: 12/27/2008

Four days after Texas officials released a report defending its raid on a polygamous sect's ranch, the sect has fired back with its own statement calling the event an unjustified "fishing expedition" aimed at driving them out of the state.

The seven-page statement says the raid on the Yearning For Zion Ranch in Eldorado left hundreds of children and adults traumatized, desecrated the sect's temple and reduced a self-sustaining community to poverty.

Now, the state has further damaged the community by releasing findings without giving the sect the right to respond in court and failing to offer an apology to more than a dozen families it determined had not abused or neglected their children, a sect spokesman said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:56 PM

Action against Thyagarajan in Abhaya case

INDIA
Kerala Online

Kottayam, Saturday 27 December 2008: Action will be taken against former CBI SP Thyagarajan for sabotaging the probe in the Sister Abhaya murder case.

Action will be taken against him as the report sent to the CBI headquarters in New Delhi was tampered with though there was enough evidence against the murderers.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:04 AM

Sexual abuse by spiritual leaders violates trust, devastates lives, and tears communities apart.

The Christopher Hansard Courant

by Anne A. Simpkinson

In the early 1980s, Jeanne Miller was a typical suburban mom. She did community work, served as PTA president, and helped produce plays in her school district just outside Chicago. She was also a devout Catholic. “My mother died when I was 14, and I went to boarding school,” she recalls. “For a critical time in my life, the Church — the nuns — raised me and was my family.”

This sense of family began to disintegrate in 1982 when another mother confided that one of the parish priests had, during a swim at a nearby lake, tried to strip off her son’s bathing trunks when he was in the water. Thinking the accusation unbelievable, Miller initially proceeded, she admits, “to disprove what this woman had said.” But instead of being reassured when she called the head of religious education at the parish, she was told that the church had a file of complaints against the priest. When she contacted the archdiocese, she was rebuffed by a chancery official, who told her that her motherly instincts were working overtime. She could not prove her allegations, he said; nothing was going to be done.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:06 AM

Sexual abuse by spiritual leaders violates trust, devastates lives, and tears communities apart.

The Christopher Hansard Courant

by Anne A. Simpkinson

In the early 1980s, Jeanne Miller was a typical suburban mom. She did community work, served as PTA president, and helped produce plays in her school district just outside Chicago. She was also a devout Catholic. “My mother died when I was 14, and I went to boarding school,” she recalls. “For a critical time in my life, the Church — the nuns — raised me and was my family.”

This sense of family began to disintegrate in 1982 when another mother confided that one of the parish priests had, during a swim at a nearby lake, tried to strip off her son’s bathing trunks when he was in the water. Thinking the accusation unbelievable, Miller initially proceeded, she admits, “to disprove what this woman had said.” But instead of being reassured when she called the head of religious education at the parish, she was told that the church had a file of complaints against the priest. When she contacted the archdiocese, she was rebuffed by a chancery official, who told her that her motherly instincts were working overtime. She could not prove her allegations, he said; nothing was going to be done.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:06 AM

CBI questions former Sub Divisional Magistrate

INDIA
Express Buzz

KOCHI: The CBI on Friday interrogated former Kottayam Sub Divisional Magistrate S G K Kishore in connection with the investigation of the Abhaya case. It is learnt that he was interrogated in connection with the tampering of evidence.

Kishore, who is now working with a construction company in Hyderabad, was called by the CBI to Kerala for questioning. He was questioned in connection with the permission given by him to the Crime Branch to destroy some important evidence in the case including the diary and the veil of Sister Abhaya based on a request by the Crime Branch.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:01 AM

Top religion stories of 2008 and what's ahead in 2009

UNITED STATES
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

By Tim Townsend

12/27/2008

In the last "Keep the Faith" column of 2008, let's look back to the top 10 religion stories of the last year, and forward to some religion stories that might make 2009's year-end list.

Each year, religion reporters at the nation's newspapers (including this one) vote on the top 10 religion stories of the year. The list is compiled and then published each December by the Religion Newswriters Association. Here's this year's list in descending order:

5. In his first U.S. visit, Pope Benedict XVI brings a message of hope during stops in Washington and New York. During the trip, he meets with victims of clergy sexual abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:41 AM

Suspicions inevitable after church's record on Cloyne

IRELAND
The Irish Times

People suspect there are dioceses around the country where bishops still practise, "whatever you say, say nothing", writes Breda O'Brien

THE ROMAN Catholic Church is being rocked by yet another scandal, in the shape of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church (NBSC) report on two priests who allegedly abused children in the diocese of Cloyne. It makes for profoundly depressing reading. Has nothing been learnt?

The report states bluntly that "any references to the need to protect vulnerable young people and to act in a timely and effective way to achieve this end" were "glaringly absent". Instead, the welfare of the priests seems to have been the priority.

Mind you, at least one of the priests (Fr A) is not happy with how he was treated, either. "His legal representative has raised as an issue with the diocese their failure to caution A about making an immediate response to the allegations when these were put to him by the bishop."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:38 AM

Bishop Magee admits 'errors' on handling of abuse claims

IRELAND
The Irish Times

MICHELLE McDONAGH and MARIE OHALLORAN

BISHOP OF Cloyne Dr John Magee has signalled he will not be resigning although he says he takes full responsibility for the "errors" made in relation to the management of child sexual abuse claims in his diocese. Speaking at Christmas Eve midnight Mass in Cobh Cathedral, he again apologised to all victims of clerical sexual abuse and particularly to those who were abused by priests in the Cloyne diocese.

He said he was determined to ensure that such abuse was unlikely to recur in the diocese. He also said he would report to the people of the diocese early in the new year on the implementation of changes.

But Cork East Labour TD Seán Sherlock, who has called for the bishop's resignation, asked: "If he has apologised, does that imply some guilt on their part and does that mean that justice will prevail and the victims of abuse will get redress?"

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:34 AM

Abuse suit dismissal OK’d

BATON ROUGE (LA)
The Advocate

By BILL LODGE
Advocate staff writer
Published: Dec 27, 2008

A Baton Rouge appellate panel this week upheld the dismissal of a civil court complaint of sexual abuse against a former Crowley priest.

A man identified only as “John Doe” filed his suit against the Rev. Joseph F. Pellettieri in March 2003, more than 30 years after the alleged incident.

The case file remains sealed. But on Tuesday, a three-judge panel of the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal unanimously upheld state District Judge R. Michael Caldwell’s dismissal of the suit.

According to the appellate court’s public decision, the unidentified plaintiff claimed that he may have been hypnotized and that he did not recall any incident until approximately February 2002.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:32 AM

Bishop takes blame for abuse 'mistakes'

IRELAND
Irish Independent

By Michelle McDonagh, Stephen O'Farrell and Fiach Kelly

Saturday December 27 2008

A BISHOP has finally accepted "personal responsibility" for the mishandling of sex abuse allegations in his diocese.

But beleaguered Bishop of Cloyne Dr John Magee remained defiant last night and continued to resist demands for his resignation.

The bishop is at the centre of an outcry after a Catholic Church report found his diocese failed to act on credible complaints of sex abuse by priests -- effectively putting children at risk of further abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:29 AM

Removed from reality

IRELAND
Irish Independent

Saturday December 27 2008

SINCE his appointment 12 years ago as Bishop of the Cork diocese of Cloyne, John Magee has conducted his business outside the spotlight of national attention. But last week, a damning Church report into his handling of child sexual abuse complaints against two of his priests shattered the calm and raised speculation that he must feel obliged to resign, as did the Bishop of Ferns, Brendan Comiskey, in similar circumstances, six years ago. However, Bishop Magee gives no indication that he has any intention of resigning.

His self-righteous stance suggests that he has no real understanding of the gravity of his position and the damage that he is inflicting upon his own Church.

In the absence of any positive gesture, the bishop's acceptance of "responsibility" which was read out at Christmas Eve Mass in Cobh, is no more than empty rhetoric. Even if we accept the bishop's definition of responsibility, his choice of words do nothing to dispel the suspicion that he does not fully understand his situation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:27 AM

Former chancellor of Fort Worth Catholic diocese dies

FORT WORTH (TX)
Star-Telegram

By DARREN BARBEED
Barbee@star-telegram.com

FORT WORTH -- The Rev. Robert Wilson, former chancellor of the Fort Worth Roman Catholic Diocese who sought to involve the laity in the church and was known for his compassionate ministry, died early Christmas morning. He was 76.

The Rev. Wilson, pastor of Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Aledo, was found unconscious at home and was taken to a hospital where he died, diocese spokesman Pat Svacina said Friday.

"He was a hardworking priest who helped me enormously my first year in Texas," Bishop Kevin W. Vann said. "He was considerate and kind to me and everyone with whom he had contact.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:24 AM

Former Missionary Faces Child Porn Charges

DELTONA (FL)
News 13

DELTONA -- A former missionary from Deltona is facing federal child porn charges after multiple law enforcement agencies found thousands of images of child pornography on his home computer.

Joel Price, 36, was indicted earlier this month on child porn charges following an 8-month investigation that began in his home on Balsam Street in May.

Price had been a member of the New Tribes Mission for five years and had served as a member in Venezuela as a maintenance man. He resigned from the mission in June.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:22 AM

Former Youth Pastor Charged In Child Porn Case

DELTONA (FL)
WESH

DELTONA, Fla. -- Thousands of images of child pornography, investigators said Friday, were found on the computer of a former local youth pastor.

Deputies found the images and said the suspect admitted he's addicted to child pornography.

Investigators said 36-year-old Joel Price worked as a youth pastor at New Tribes Mission in Sanford. They said he resigned after undercover agents busted him looking at and distributing more than 6,000 child pornography pictures and videos online.

"He was almost relieved to be caught and have this obsession stopped," said Gary Davidson, of the Volusia County Sheriff's Office.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:21 AM

Police: Former youth pastor faces child porn charges

DELTONA (FL)
Fox 35

DELTONA, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35, Orlando) -- Detectives with the Volusia County Sheriff's Office say a former youth pastor and missionary from Deltona is facing federal charges after investigators found thousands of images of child pornography on the man's computer.

Investigators wrapped up an eight-month investigation last week with the indictment of Joel Price, 36, on two counts of distribution of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography.

Price first came under suspicion back in April, when a Martin County Sheriff's investigator, who also is a member of the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, discovered child pornography being openly shared over the Internet.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:18 AM

Bishop says sorry to diocese over abuse scandal

IRELAND
Irish Examiner

By Claire O’Sullivan
A DEFIANT Bishop of Cloyne, John Magee, read out a short statement to the congregation before celebrating midnight Mass at Cobh Cathedral on Christmas Day.

Bishop Magee has faced an avalanche of calls for his resignation over his mishandling of child abuse allegations that came to light in the Church’s National Board for Safeguarding Children report.

Before Mass began, he stood at the pulpit before hundreds of families and reiterated his apologies to all victims of clerical sexual abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:15 AM

Ex-Franklin priest loses appeal of sentence in sex case

FRANKLIN (NJ)
Home News Tribune

By MICHAEL DEAK • Staff Writer • December 26, 2008

FRANKLIN (Somerset) —A 75-year-old former priest now serving a sentence for sexually assaulting a 12-year-old boy two years ago has lost his appeal to have his sentence reduced.

Township resident Eugene Corbesero, 75, was sentenced to five years in prison Oct. 5, 2007, by state Superior Court Judge Paul Armstrong after pleading guilty to sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a minor.

Corbesero, who is serving the sentence at the Mid-State Correctional Facility in Wrightstown, will be eligible for parole on Dec. 31, 2011.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:12 AM

December 26, 2008

"Doubt" Film Brings in Over $1 Million on Christmas Day

UNITED STATES
Playbill

By Andrew Gans
26 Dec 2008

During its first day in nationwide release, "Doubt," the film version of John Patrick Shanley's Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning play, brought in an estimated $1,425,000 at the box office, according to boxofficemojo.com.

That figure currently puts the film as the 11th highest-grossing film of Christmas Day.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:50 PM

Benedict's midnight Mass pleas for end to child abuse

UNITED STATES
Pam's House Blend

by: Pam Spaulding

This level of hypocrisy by Papa Ratzi, given the millions already shelled out because of the criminal priests the church allowed to run amok abusing children is mind boggling.How can he say these things with a straight face at this point?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:16 PM

D.4.9. - Rev. Richard Lavigne and Bishop Dupre

MASSACHUSETTS
Western Massachusetts Catholics

"I will never understand as long as I live how he is allowed to be paid by the diocese and remain a priest. . . . and I was abused and I have nothing. I am 34 and I feel afraid of people. I am afraid of sex. I can't hold onto a job."

- from Shawn Dobbert's press conference after he filed suit against the Rev. Richard Lavigne and the Diocese of Springfield (Springfield Republican, July 12, 2002).

Dobbert's turn of phrase – that he would never understand as long as he lived – proved only too true. He died in circumstances ruled accidental in North Adams only a few days after his claim against Lavigne was settled in late 2004. He was buried after a service in an Episcopal church.

The two-year delay for his claim was not unusually long by Diocesan standards, but it was perhaps harder to take than most. The delay was caused in large part because his suit was used by the Diocese as a test case. Since Dobbert's suit wanted to examine the bishop/priest relationship, the Diocese worked to have it dismissed – on the grounds that such suits were a violation of church/state separation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:10 PM

CLERGY ABUSE AND CHRISTMAS Part Two: The Humiliation of Silence

UNITED STATES
Macsinclair's Blog

From my previous post concerning the loneliness victims of clergy abuse suffer on the holidays, Mike Ference, a fine individual with an incredible story replied, and attached a news article on his efforts to open up the Church’s continuing efforts at stonewalling that surrounds the problem of clergy abuse.

Ference is right in that Catholic clergy childhood sexual abuse and cover-ups were seldom discussed before the Boston Archdiocese scandal broke around Cardinal Bernard Law’s mishandling of pedophile priests. According to Mike Ference, silence was, and is, a large part of the problem.

Abuse continues because too many people remain silent, look the other way, or, worst of all, actively engage in a cover-up concerning victims and abusers. The problem extends from Church authority into individual parishioners, law enforcement officials, politicians, and journalists. Ference claims that the civil liberties of abused children and their families often fall prey to the Catholic hierarchy’s ability to lure individuals into silence, influence law enforcement authorities, and manipulate the justice system.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:02 PM

Catholic diocese in USVI lost $2 million through Madoff investment

VIRGIN ISLANDS
Caribbean Net News (Cayman Islands)

By Oscar Ramjeet
Caribbean Net News Special Correspondent
Email: oscar@caribbeannetnews.com

ST THOMAS, USVI: The Catholic Diocese of St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands has lost close to $2 million by investing with prominent Wall Street investor Bernard Madoff, who is accused of defrauding his clients of some $50 billion.

Bishop Herbert Bevard said the money that had been invested with Madoff included the diocese's savings account and endowment fund for St Mary's and St Patrick’s elementary schools on St Croix.

The Virgin Islands Daily News reported that Bevard said that the loss of these funds should not have a great impact on the current operations of the diocese or the schools.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:14 AM

Pope apeals for end to child abuse

VATICAN CITY
Philippine Star

VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Christmas Midnight Mass early yesterday by sending out an appeal for children who are abused, forced to live on the street or serve as soldiers.

He also called for peace in the Middle East – ahead of a possible trip to the region next year – telling the faithful at the traditional birthplace of Jesus the silent night of Christmas overpowers the voice of guns.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:34 AM

Woman allegedly silenced by Mennonite church

CANADA
Niagara This Week

By Eddie Chau, Staff
Niagara-on-the-Lake

Dec 26, 2008

A former Virgil resident claims that a Mennonite conspiracy of silence had forced her to remain tight lipped about years of alleged sexual abuse at the hands of her father.

But now 56-year-old Anne Klassen is breaking her silence about the decades of sexual assaults allegedly committed by her now-deceased father, Martin Klassen, and is on a self-imposed water fast until the Mennonite church community acknowledges its role into pushing her into silence about the years of abuse, which Klassen said occurred between the ages of two until her early 20s.

Klassen broke her silence at a press conference Dec. 16 at Ryerson University in Toronto. Klassen said she came out to speak against what she called the "Mennonite conspiracy."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:31 AM

January marked start of long strike

CANADA
The Sudbury Star

By HAROLD CARMICHAEL, THE SUDBURY STAR

January was one tumultuous month in Greater Sudbury.

The weather was extremely erratic. Temperatures were cold, but there was also a mild spell that produced flooding and ruined the hopes of snowmobilers, skiers, skaters and tobogganing lovers alike. ...

Six men announced Jan. 28 they were coming forward and suing the Roman Catholic Church's Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie for $4.5 million each for sexual abuse they allegedly suffered from priests employed by the diocese decades ago.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:24 AM

December 25, 2008

Fairbanks Catholic diocese receives complaints

ALASKA
Juneau Empire

By Mary Pemberton | The Associated Press
FAIRBANKS - The Diocese of Fairbanks, which is under bankruptcy protection, received 288 claims from people who said they had been molested by Roman Catholic clergy.

A Dec. 2 deadline for claims was imposed when the diocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this year. The number of claims was reported by Catholic News Service.

The diocese said it sought bankruptcy protection this past February because it could not reach a financial settlement over the 150 or so abuse claims it had received at the time. The claims related to cases largely dating between the 1950s and 1980s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:15 PM

Bread of Life, Baked in Rhode Island

GREENVILLE (RI)
The New York Times

By KATIE ZEZIMA
Published: December 24, 2008
GREENVILLE, R.I. — To the Cavanagh family, the product they make at a nondescript plant here is just bread and water. But to millions at churches around the world, it is a sacred offering.

From a purely economic point of view, it is something that is almost as rare: a seemingly recession-proof business.

With the exception of a decline during recent Roman Catholic Church priest scandals, the Cavanagh Company’s business of making communion bread has been growing steadily for the last 65 years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:12 PM

CLERGY ABUSE VICTIMS AND CHRISTMAS EVE: The Loneliest Time of the Year.

Macsinclair's Blog

I will post a Merry Christmas blog later. But for a Merry Christmas Eve post, I feel compelled to write a reminder that there are tens of thousands of individuals out there today who suffered at the hands of clergy abuse in not just the Catholic Church, but also in many other churches in the world. I searched Google, but I could not find a statistic of how many have come forward as of today, but I know the figure is staggering. And there are perhaps just as many, if not more, who have not come forward, and who struggle with the horror of secrecy.

I am a victim of clergy abuse.

For many victims, like me, Christmas can bring back some of the worst memories. I used to dread the Midnight Mass as much as I dreaded Easter. From middle school and through high school, I was an altar boy and a lector. McShefferey, the priest, would ply me with gin before mass, as usual, and after mass, as usual. Because the holidays were lonely and stressful for him, the abuse in his rectory, both sexual and physical, would be particularly violent on these nights.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:27 AM

D.4.8. - Enough Already About The Misconduct Commission

MASSACHUSETTS
Western Massachusetts Catholics

[court documents]

We've already seen that the role of the commission was ambitious. They were supposed to help the bishop, the victims, accused priests, district attorney, laity, and general public. In hindsight, there was probably no way that they could have done it all.

But, their role was also increasingly ambiguous. The commission was created in 1992 to provide recommendations for action to the bishop, with a decided emphasis on the "Improper Conduct of Diocesan Personnel". But, over time, there was more than a hint that its members saw themselves as a sort of Swiss Army knife, ready to dispense justice, therapy or recommendations, depending on what was needed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:19 AM

Ten Minutes With...Metropolitan Jonah

UNITED STATES
Pokrov

Author: Nicole Neroulias
Date Published: 12/23/2008
Publication: Religion News Service

As the new leader of the New York-based Orthodox Church in America, Metropolitan Jonah has inspired the group's estimated 100,000 adherents to hope for a brighter future after years of financial mismanagement and scandal at the highest levels of their church.

Born James Paffhausen, the 49-year-old convert who had only served as bishop for a few weeks, succeeds Metropolitan Herman, who retired in September after a critical report alleged the misuse of millions of church dollars. ...

Q: You've preached forgiveness for your predecessors, but questions have been raised concerning your actions as the abbot of a monastery in California, when you gave refuge to Michael Rymer, a defrocked priest accused of having a homosexual relationship with a mentally-challenged parishioner. Isn't there a danger that, as we saw with the Catholic sex abuse scandal, forgiveness could excuse and protect criminal behavior?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:07 AM

Pope makes Christmas appeal for peace in Holy Land

VATICAN CITY
Reuters

By Phil Stewart

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict said on Thursday he hoped Christmas would bring hope to those suffering from war, terrorism, injustice and poverty and appealed for peace in the Holy Land.

In his "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world) Christmas Day message, the Pope also turned his thoughts to some of the world's wealthiest countries, which have been hard hit by the world financial crisis. ...

"Let us think of those children who are victims of the industry of pornography and every other appalling form of abuse, and thus are traumatised to the depths of their soul."

Benedict said Catholics had to "do everything in our power to put an end to the suffering of these children."

In the past year the Pope has repeatedly addressed the issue of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy, but did not raise it in his Christmas homily.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:49 AM

When a nation's thinking gets trapped by institutions

IRELAND
The Irish Times

Behind recent failures of Ireland's key establishments lurks one primary fear: that of autonomous thinking, writes Elaine Byrne

'THE LONGER I live, the more I think; and the more I think for myself." When Conor Cruise O'Brien wrote those words in his 1984 Irish Times column, he could have been referring to the intellectual development of the Irish nation. O'Brien turned accepted norms on their head and pioneered new ways of thinking. This made him intellectually dangerous to established consensuses on traditional nationalism and political ethics.

Ireland has allowed institutional authority to do the thinking. The character of authority has now since changed, changed utterly. Irish citizens have lost confidence in the integrity and capability of public life. In the last week alone, specific instances have contributed to a further undermining of trust in the pillars of banking, the church and politics.

On Thursday, Seán FitzPatrick, chairman of Anglo Irish Bank, resigned when it emerged he had transferred €87 million in loans in and out of the bank over an eight-year period to avoid public disclosure. To add insult to injury, FitzPatrick also moved personal funds from Anglo to Bank of Ireland in advance of the Government's decision to guarantee deposits and debts at Irish-owned banks. On Friday, the Bishop of Cloyne, Dr John Magee, apologised to victims of clerical abuse after an independent report found that his diocese had put children at risk of harm because of its inability to respond.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:45 AM

Top 10 neglected Catholic stories of 2008

National Catholic Reporter

All Things Catholic by John L. Allen, Jr.

For most media outlets in the United States, there were really only two big Catholic stories in 2008: Pope Benedict XVI’s April 15-20 visit to Washington and New York, and the fate of the “Catholic vote” in the November elections.

Both, of course, were important tales to tell, and for the most part church officials have no right to complain. Saturation coverage of the pope’s trip alone probably meant the Catholic church drew more positive notice in ’08 than in most years, especially recently. ...

9. O’Brien and the Legionaries of Christ

In June, Archbishop Edwin O’Brien of Baltimore demanded greater transparency from the Legionaries of Christ and their lay arm, Regnum Christi, and barred them from one-on-one spiritual direction with anyone under 18. The fact that O’Brien, who is no one’s idea of a doctrinal liberal, took those steps suggested that controversy surrounding the Legionaries is not merely about the usual left/right tensions. The story raised larger questions about how to balance the zeal and missionary spirit of some of the “new movements” against the need for proper oversight and accountability.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:42 AM

Area priests disappointed after meeting with Bishop Braxton

BELLEVILLE (IL)
News-Democrat

BY GEORGE PAWLACZYK - News-Democrat

BELLEVILLE -- During sessions aimed at healing a rift between Bishop Edward Braxton and diocesan priests, criticism was thwarted and open discussions on controversial subjects were discouraged, some members of a priests' association say.

The sessions, held Sept. 15-18 at a St. Louis hotel and organized by a consulting group, did little to bring about progress, according to Rev. James Voelker, who kept a journal he titled "Notes and Observations on Convocation."

Voelker, a member of the Southern Illinois Association of Priests, which has been critical of Braxton, said the bishop dodged questions and alleged that the moderators from the Reid Group of Seattle quashed criticism. One example, Voelker said, involved trying to take a microphone from him while he was speaking.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:39 AM

Ada pastor accused of lewd acts with child

OKLAHOMA
KXII

[with video]

PONOTOC COUNTY, Okla. ― An Ada pastor is out of jail Wednesday afternoon after he was arrested accused of lewd acts with a child.

Officials say 60-year-old Kenneth Wayne Honeycutt is charged with four felony counts of lewd acts with a child under the age of twelve.

Investigators say it was a joint effort by the multi-disciplinary team that lead them to the pastor of New Home Baptist Church in Ada.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:34 AM

December 24, 2008

New clergy sex abuse settlement is reached

SANTA ROSA (CA)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

A support group for clergy sex abuse victims is disclosing a recent $215,000 settlement of a child molestation report against an ex-California priest who’s never been publicly accused of sex crimes before.

According to leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, Santa Rosa Bishop Daniel Walsh made the payment in August to a man who says he was molested as a child by Fr. Thomas Parker. ...

In September 2007, Parker admitting abusing the boy in a conversation with church officials. The crimes took place in 1988-89 at St. Apollinaris parish in Napa, California, when the boy was a member and Parker was on the staff.

Church officials say Parker has been defrocked.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:41 AM

Catholic priest David Taylor in court on child sex charges

UNITED KINGDOM
The Journal

Dec 24 2008 by Chris Robinson, The Journal

A CATHOLIC priest yesterday appeared in court charged with a string of sex offences against young boys.

Fr David Taylor, 59, is alleged to have committed five counts of indecent assault in the Holy Island and Seaham areas during the 1980s.

Taylor, of Northumberland Avenue, Bedlington, spoke only to confirm his name, age and address and did not enter a plea.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:37 AM

Report: Cloyne only Irish diocese not to follow child-protection procedures

IRELAND
Catholic Culture

December 24, 2008
An audit conducted by Ireland’s Health Services Executive has reportedly found that the Diocese of Cloyne was the only Irish diocese not to follow child-protection procedures. The audit was commissioned two years ago, but its results have not been made public.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:35 AM

Alamo seeks removal of religious language in suit

ARKANSAS
The Associated Press

By PEGGY HARRIS

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A lawyer for jailed evangelist Tony Alamo asked a federal court Tuesday to remove religious references from a lawsuit against his client, saying they have the potential to draw the court into theological debate to decide the case.

John Hall of Little Rock said in a court filing that claims made by two former members of the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries were based on religious beliefs and not matters for argument in a court of law.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:32 AM

Child Protective Services says 12 girls in polygamy sect abused

TEXAS
The Dallas Morning News

By ROBERT T. GARRETT / The Dallas Morning News
rtgarrett@dallasnews.com

AUSTIN – A dozen girls in a polygamist sect have been sexually abused in underage "spiritual" marriages performed with their parents' consent, Texas Child Protective Services said Tuesday.

More than one of every four pubescent girls at the Yearning for Zion ranch near Eldorado was married at an inappropriate age, CPS found. The agency removed children en masse from the ranch in an April raid.

"The 12 girls were 'spiritually' married at ages ranging from 12 to 15, and seven of these girls have had one or more children," CPS said in a report concluding a nine-month investigation in the largest-ever U.S. child welfare case.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:24 AM

Ada preacher charged in child sex case

ADA (OK)
Tulsa World

By The Associated Press
Published: 12/23/2008 9:20 PM
Last Modified: 12/23/2008 9:29 PM

ADA -- A Baptist preacher was charged with child molestation in Pontotoc County District Court Monday.

Kenneth Wayne Huneycutt, 60, pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in Ada, is charged with four counts of lewd molestation. According to court documents filed by Undersheriff Joe Glover, Huneycutt allegedly molested two children under the age of 12.

Glover said he was called to Ada CARE Cottage Dec. 12 in reference to the alleged molestations. During a child forensic interview, the children claimed Huneycutt touched their private parts and made them touch his.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:21 AM

Rape Crisis Centre warning to revellers: watch for predators

IRELAND
Irish Independent

Wednesday December 24 2008

Caitrina Cody

THE number of people attending sexual assault units in hospitals escalates during the festive period, the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre (DRCC) has warned.

Chief executive Ellen O'Malley-Dunlop said yesterday people should be extra vigilant at Christmas, and urged revellers to look after friends, keep an eye on their drinks and to travel in groups. ...

Ms O'Malley-Dunlop emphasised that the helpline service is also there for those who suffered child abuse, as well as for older victims of sexual assault.

She said she expected that the recent high-profile reports of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Cloyne might trigger memories of childhood sexual abuse for people.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:17 AM

Archbishop rounds on HSE and Government

IRELAND
Irish Independent

By John Cooney and Ralph Riegel

Wednesday December 24 2008

The national system of child protection was close to collapse last night after the country's most senior churchman openly questioned the ability of the Government, the HSE and his fellow Catholic bishops to implement a single policy that safeguards children from clerical sexual abuse.

In his first public comment on the consequences arising from a church report into the failure of the Bishop of Cloyne John Magee to apply proper standards, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin said he was "extremely concerned" at the fact that, within a purported "one-Church-policy", a wide diversity existed in the interpretation and application of agreed procedures.

The archbishop revealed he had already warned the Irish Bishops' Conference and the Church's National Board for Safeguarding Children that if serious doubts persisted concerning the coherence and consistency of approach, he would implement his own system of accountable child protection.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:13 AM

The arrogance of a prelate in denial

IRELAND
Irish Independent

By John Cooney

Wednesday December 24 2008

IT is a tale of two Irish churchmen who made their names as Vatican officials before their promotion as pastoral bishops to head dioceses in the land of their birth.

As private secretary to three Popes, Newry-born Fr John Magee became one of the best-known faces on television from coverage of his world trips with Pope John Paul II.

When Fr Magee was appointed Bishop of the Cork diocese of Cloyne it was widely thought that he was being groomed for higher office. But since his appointment 12 years ago he has remained in relative national obscurity in his rural diocese.

That was until last week, when a damning Church report into his handling of child sexual abuse complaints against two of his priests catapulted him into the limelight amid mounting speculation that he will fall on his crozier, as did the Bishop of Ferns, Brendan Comiskey.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:09 AM

Cloyne 'was only diocese not to follow procedures'

IRELAND
Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

A state investigation has reportedly found that the Diocese of Cloyne was the only diocese in Ireland that failed to adequately adhere to child protection procedures.

The Bishop of Cloyne, Dr John Magee, is coming under increasing pressure to resign after a church report found that he failed to properly handle allegations of clerical child sex abuse.

The report from the Church's National Board for Protecting Children found that the Diocese of Cloyne was inadequate and in some respects dangerous in protecting children from sexual abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:07 AM

Churches are ready to serve in challenging times ahead

IRELAND
Belfast Telegraph

By Alf McCreary, Religion Correspondent
Wednesday, 24 December 2008

The Christmas period is traditionally a time when the Churches attract large congregations from all backgrounds as they celebrate the birth of Jesus, but the new year is also a time for taking stock of the challenges which are ever on the horizon

The Catholic Church has again been making the wrong headlines with yet another apology for some of the sins of the Reverend Fathers and its appalling record on child sexual abuse.

At the end of last week, Bishop John Magee of Cloyne in the Republic apologised to victims of sex abuse after an independent report found that the diocese had put children at risk of harm through an inability to respond appropriately to allegations of abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:01 AM

December 23, 2008

HSE probe: Cloyne only diocese to raise ‘red flag’

IRELAND
Irish Examiner

By Paul O’Brien and Conor Ryan
A STATE investigation has found that all Catholic Church dioceses with the exception of Cloyne adhered adequately to child protection procedures, the Irish Examiner has learned.

Cloyne was the only diocese “to raise a red flag” in the Health Service Executive audit, due to be published next month by Children’s Minister Barry Andrews.

Officials in Mr Andrews’ office revealed details of the audit last night after the Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland Diarmuid Martin queried why it had not been published.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:46 PM

Archbishop concerned by child protection policy

IRELAND
The Irish Times

PADDY AGNEW, PATSY McGARRY and HARRY McGEE

EXTREME CONCERN at a possible diversity in child protection procedures in Irish Catholic dioceses has been expressed by the Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin.

The archbishop yesterday made the only public intervention to date of any senior Irish Catholic Church figure in the ongoing controversy over child protection practices in Cloyne diocese.

He said he was "extremely concerned at the fact that within a purported 'one-Church-policy' there may in fact be a wide diversity in the interpretation and application of agreed procedures".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:42 PM

Church's reputation set back years by Cloyne

IRELAND
The Irish Times

ANALYSIS: Bishop Magee's claim that children's safety is his priority is not borne out by church report, writes PATSY McGARRY

WHAT EMERGED last Friday about the handling of clerical child sex abuse allegations in Cloyne diocese has set public perception of the Catholic Church's commitment to child protection back years.

Following publication of the Church's National Board for Safeguarding Children (NBSC) in Ireland report, you would imagine that it was still the late 1980s, where this devastating issue is concerned. At least in Cloyne.

It is as if the Church's 1996 guidelines, updated in 2000 and again in 2005, never existed. It is as if child protection measures put in place in all dioceses, including Cloyne, was just so much window dressing. It is as if the Ferns Inquiry never took place.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:39 PM

The position of Bishop Magee

IRELAND
The Irish Times

CHRISTMAS IS a time for goodwill. It is also a time for celebrating and renewing a society's commitment to children. Sadly, in the case of the Bishop of Cloyne, John Magee, these two imperatives are at odds with each other. Distasteful as it is to call for the resignation of a senior and distinguished churchman during one of the church's great festivals, Bishop Magee's position is not tenable.

His complete mishandling of two cases of alleged abuse by priests in his diocese is compounded by his apparent lack of understanding of the gravity of his failure. He is undoubtedly sincere in his stated wish to restore public confidence in the child protection procedures of his diocese. The most effective way for him to fulfil that wish is to leave office with grace and dignity, but also with due promptness.

The bishop's failings, as disclosed in the excellent report of the head of the church's own National Board for Safeguarding Children, Ian Elliott, are particularly egregious because they span the period in which child abuse scandals came to the fore and from which lessons were supposedly learned. The two cases examined by Mr Elliott are not small, isolated mistakes, but form a pattern of dreadful inaction over a period of more than a decade.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:37 PM

Ada preacher accused of child molestation

ADA (OK)
Ada Evening News

Randy Mitchell Staff Writer

Ada — A Baptist preacher was charged with child molestation in Pontotoc County District Court Monday.

Kenneth Wayne Huneycutt, 60, pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in Ada, is charged with four counts of lewd molestation. According to court documents filed by Undersheriff Joe Glover, Huneycutt allegedly molested two children under the age of 12.

Glover said he was called to Ada CARE Cottage Dec. 12 in reference to the alleged molestations. During a child forensic interview, the children claimed Huneycutt touched their private parts and made them touch his.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:49 PM

Accused pedophile Paul St. Charles lost his priesthood. But that didn't stop Na

TENNESSEE
Nashville Scene

By Caleb Hannan
Published on December 23, 2008 at 1:31pm

The first thing you have to understand is this: Things back then were different. For Frayser, Tenn.'s Catholics in the early '70s, the list went God, Pope, then priests. And they weren't a distant third. So when someone like Paul St. Charles—a man of good humor, a man of the cloth—asked you to go to the drive-in on a Friday night, you just said yes.

That's what John did. As an altar boy at Our Lady of Sorrows, he had as much reason as anyone to trust St. Charles. It wasn't just that he was different from the other priest—a taciturn ex-boxer who mysteriously cut Mass short during football season. He was different from every other adult John knew. St. Charles didn't talk down to him. And if he had a problem with girls, grades, whatever, the priest was always there.

"It seemed like he took an interest," says John. "I realized why later on."

New sex-abuse scandal divides Irish Catholics

IRELAND
The Associated Press

By SHAWN POGATCHNIK – 12 minutes ago

DUBLIN, Ireland (AP) — Ireland's most prominent Roman Catholic leader, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, questioned Tuesday whether all of his fellow bishops adequately protect children from sexually abusive priests.

Martin became the first Irish Catholic leader to break silence over a new report into allegations that two priests molested several teenagers, chiefly in the 1990s, in southwest Ireland — and the local bishop, John Magee, didn't tell police quickly and fully about it as he was supposed to do. ...

One priest, who was accused of molesting a younger priest when he was just a boy, was encouraged by Magee to resign. But the investigation found that the bishop shielded the abuser's identity from police — and considered such concealment "the normal practice" for the church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:10 PM

Priest jailed for sex assault

UGANDA
The New Vision

Tuesday, 23rd December, 2008

By Rwambuka Mugisha
in Ntungamo

An Anglican priest is to serve 12 months in prison for criminal trespass and sexual assault.

The Rev. Charles Turyahaabwa of Kitwe Church of Uganda assaulted Zepher Ntwirenabo, the wife of a junior layleader at the same church.

In her judgment, magistrate Lillian Margaret Buchana said the accused’s lawyers failed to convince the court that the allegations were concocted and that the defence witnesses’ testimonies had contradictions.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:07 PM

Dublin's top Catholic questions whether Irish bishops protect kids from abusive priests

IRELAND
Los Angeles Times

By Associated Press
11:25 AM PST, December 23, 2008
DUBLIN, Ireland (AP) — Ireland's most prominent Catholic leader is questioning whether all of his fellow bishops adequately protect children from sexually abusive priests.

Archbishop Diarmuid (DER-mit) Martin of Dublin is the first Irish Catholic leader to break silence over a new report into allegations that two priests molested several teenagers in southwest Ireland, chiefly in the 1990s.

A church-authorized investigation found that local bishop John Magee placed children in potential danger because he failed to tell police quickly and fully about abuse reports he received.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:02 PM

Texas CPS releases FLDS report, claims 12 girls married underage

TEXAS
Deseret News

By Ben Winslow
Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2008 8:32 a.m. MST

Texas child welfare authorities claim 12 girls from the Fundamentalist LDS Church's YFZ Ranch are confirmed victims of sexual abuse and neglect because they were married at ages ranging from 12 to 15.

Those are among the conclusions reached in a final investigation into the raid that resulted in hundreds of children from the Utah-based polygamous sect being placed in state protective custody. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services released its long-anticipated report on the raid on the YFZ Ranch early Tuesday after a public records request by the Deseret News.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:58 PM

Pressure mounts on bishop to resign

IRELAND
Press Association

Beleaguered Bishop of Cloyne John Magee faced growing pressure to resign amid the damning scandal over his mishandling of clerical sex abuse allegations.

The senior cleric, patron of national schools in east Cork, has refused to step down even though the Catholic Church's own watchdog branded his child protection policies inadequate and dangerous. Children's Minister Barry Andrews repeated calls for the former Vatican aide to consider his position.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:30 PM

Report alleges abuse, neglect in polygamist group

TEXAS
Houston Chronicle

By MICHELLE ROBERTS Associated Press Writer
Dec. 23, 2008, 10:58AM
SAN ANTONIO — Nearly two-thirds of the families involved in the April raid of a polygamist sect's west Texas ranch had children who were abused or neglected, said Texas child welfare officials in a report released Tuesday.

The Department of Family and Protective Services concluded there was evidence that 12 girls, ages 12 to 15, were "spiritually" married to adult men in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which runs the Yearning For Zion Ranch in Eldorado. Seven of them had one or more children, the report says.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:19 PM

Texas officials: FLDS raid about child abuse, not religion

TEXAS
Houston Chronicle

By R.G. RATCLIFFE Austin Bureau
Dec. 23, 2008, 10:38AM

Texas child welfare officials in a report today defended this year's raid on a West Texas polygamous compound as being about child abuse, not religion.

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services was criticized by leaders of the Yearning for Zion Ranch outside Eldorado as being overzealous in a raid on the compound because the group believes in polygamous marriages, and leaders held that "spiritual marriages" for underage girls were godly.

"The Yearning for Zion case is about sexual abuse of girls and children who were taught that underage marriages are a way of life," officials state in the final investigative report on the April raid. "It is about parents who condoned illegal underage marriages and adults who failed to protect young girls — it has never been about religion."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:16 PM

Our Children, Our Church

IRELAND
National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church

This links to Child Protection Policies and Procedures for the Catholic Church in Ireland which was published in 2005.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:29 AM

STATEMENT OF THE ARCHDIOCESE OF DUBLIN ON CHILD PROTECTION

IRELAND
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin notes that as a result of an investigation carried out by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church a situation has been reached in relation to a specific diocese in which the National Board now feels that agreed procedures regarding child protection are adequately in place with the full cooperation of that diocese.

The Archbishop is however extremely concerned at the fact that within a purported “one-Church-policy” there may in fact be a wide diversity in the interpretation and application of agreed procedures. This is of particular concern for the Archdiocese of Dublin where hundreds of priests from outside the diocese – from other dioceses and religious congregations - play an active role in many aspects of Church life in the Archdiocese of Dublin.

Having regard to that, the Archdiocese is aware of and appreciates the unique role that a single, independent National Office can play, as is evident in the current situation. For example, a single diocese would not have the same ability to elicit conformity of practice from a wide range of Church bodies.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:09 AM

Martin 'extremely concerned' at child protection practices

IRELAND
The Irish Times

AOIFE CARR and PATSY McGARRY

The Archbishop of Dublin Dr Diarmuid Martin said he is extremely concerned that some dioceses may not be adhering to agreed procedures regarding child protection.

In a statement this afternoon, Dr Martin said he was waiting for written assurance from the National Board for Safeguarding Children (NBSC) in the Catholic Church that all dioceses and religious congregations have “committed themselves to a common system of accountable child protection and are applying it in a uniform way.”

The statement comes in the wake of the publication of a highly critical report into child-protection practices in the Diocese of Cloyne by the NBSC.

The report found child protection practices in the diocese to be "inadequate and in some respects dangerous".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:06 AM

Bourgeois has long drawn inspiration from women

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

By LINDA COOPER AND JAMES HODGE
Published: December 23, 2008

Humbled and privileged. That’s how Maryknoll Fr. Roy Bourgeois feels as he waits for the Vatican to excommunicate him.

Humbled by the torrent of support he’s received after refusing to disavow his belief that God calls women to the priesthood.

Privileged to be a small voice for women inside what he sometimes calls the clerical “boys’ club.” ...

Some — like a woman who wrote him about being sexually abused by a bishop — are livid that the church, while finding women unworthy for ordination, protects pedophile priests and never threatens to excommunicate them.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:01 AM

Monastery Asked GOA to Allow Rymer to Remain a Priest?

UNITED STATES
Pokrov

Author: Pokrov

Date Published: 12/5/2008

Publication: Pokrov

Related Document: Doe v. Metropolis of San Francisco: Deposition of Metropolitan Gerasimos Michaleas

During the deposition of Metropolitan Gerasimos Michaleas, a portion of which was filed with the San Francisco Superior Court in the case of Doe v. Metropolis of San Francisco, the hierarch was questioned concerning a letter from the Monastery of St. John of San Francisco. According to the transcript of the deposition, which was given on November 1, 2007, the letter was sent to Archbishop Demetrios Trakatellis of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese (GOA) in New York.

The Monastery of St. John, located in Manton, California, belongs to the Orthodox Church in America (OCA). Until recently, the abbot was Archimandrite Jonah Paffhausen. Paffhausen was selected as metropolitan of the OCA on November 12, 2008.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:24 AM

Sidebottom Complaint Settled

UNITED STATES
Pokrov

Sources close to the case report that late last week the OCA has reached a settlement with Paul Sidebottom, former Acting Dean of Students at St. Herman’s Seminary in Kodiak, Alaska. The settlement came after months of investigation and mediation of Sidebottom’s formal complaint filed with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in February 2008. The complaint alleged sexual harassment by former Alaskan Chancellor, Archimandrite Isidore (Brittain), and retaliatory discharge by the former OCA Bishop of Alaska, Nikolai (Soraich).

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:22 AM

OCA issues a Statement concerning Sidebottom case

UNITED STATES
Pokrov

SYOSSET, NY [OCA Communications] -- On Wednesday, December 10, 2008, the Orthodox Church in America issued the following statement.

”The Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America, a New York religious corporation (the 'OCA'), has concluded an investigation into the allegations made by Paul Sidebottom regarding actions by Archimandrite Isidore (Brittain) which took place in Kodiak, Alaska on May 16 – 17, 2007. While the OCA does not admit liability for any of the matters involved in Mr. Sidebottom’s allegations of sexual harassment, those allegations have been found to be credible by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ('EEOC') in its investigation of Mr. Sidebottom’s allegations, and the Holy Synod recognizes that the consequences of the protracted investigation have been a source of much distress to Mr. Sidebottom.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:20 AM

Statement by SNAP on Bishop Braxton

BELLEVILLE (IL)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

We’ve asked Braxton to meet with us.

We’ve asked Braxton to warn people about Fr. Bourque.

We’ve asked Braxton to not appeal the Fr. Kownacki case.

We’ve asked Braxton to not appeal the Fr. Roberts case.

We’ve asked Braxton to post names of predators on his website.

We’ve asked Braxton to put them in treatment centers.

Now, we’re asking Braxton to do something even simpler, easier and cheaper: just disclose their whereabouts.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:18 AM

Bishop Magee should resign

IRELAND
Irish Independent

Tuesday December 23 2008

It is frankly outrageous that the publication of the report by the National Board for Safeguarding Children into clerical sex abuse allegations in the Diocese of Cloyne was not accompanied by the immediate and contrite resignation of the Bishop of Cloyne, John Magee.

While he points out that the allegations are unproven, the process of investigation into them under his direction was diabolical.

How could Bishop Magee countenance anything other than his immediate resignation against this background?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:04 AM

'Beauty in their gravel roads'

CHICAGO (IL)
Renew America

By Matt C. Abbott

From Rochelle Brancato, wife of clergy abuse survivor Bob Brancato:

"I'd like to share some Christmas wishes with your readers. You'll see attached a photo we had taken in October of this year. Pictured are Bob, myself and our baby girl.

"Behind us are storm clouds, symbolizing the storm our family has made it through — as well as storms certain to come.

"The gravel road and gate represents the tougher, less traveled road we've taken. We like the Highwaymen song that says, 'True love travels on a gravel road.'

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:58 AM

Irish bishop reportedly ignored canonical, bishops’ procedures in dealing with abuse

IRELAND
Catholic Culture

December 23, 2008
Bishop John Magee of Cloyne, under increasing pressure to resign because of his handling of the clerical abuse scandal, did not follow procedures envisioned by canon law for dealing with abuse allegations, according to a report in the Irish Independent.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:50 AM

Russell back in court Wednesday

NEOSHO (NO)
The Neosho Daily News

By Staff reports
Neosho Daily News
Mon Dec 22, 2008, 12:49 PM CST

Neosho, Mo. -
A rural Neosho self-proclaimed pastor will be back in court on Christmas Eve.

Randall “Danny” Russell is expected to appear at 10 a.m. Wednesday in Newton County Division II Associate Circuit Court for pre-trial conferences on six Class D felony charges of possession of child pornography and one misdemeanor count of second-degree child molestation.

Russell, 49, the pastor of Acts II Church in rural Neosho, could face up to four years in prison on each of the Class D felony charges, and a year and jail and / or a $1,000 fine on the misdemeanor charge.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:42 AM

The law can sometimes be an ass

IRELAND
Westmeath Independent

The State paid the salary of Cork National School principal Leo Hickey. Now despite the fact he was sentenced to three years in jail for sexual abuse, the State continues to pay his pension.

Recently, the High Court and Supreme Court have both ruled that the State is not vicariously liable for sexual assaults on young girls by Hickey, at the school near Kinsale in the 1970s.

Why?

Because Hickey was employed by the school patron and Board of Management and not by the State, despite the fact he was being paid by the Department of Education and implemented a curriculum devised by the department. ...

The four-judge court was careful not to give any indication as to whether the church authorities bore liability for what happened to Ms O’Keeffe.

But if, in the general instance, the State does not have liability, the spotlight surely falls on the patrons – which in most Irish catholic national schools has traditionally been a representative of the local Catholic Church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:39 AM

Father of abused girl tells of 'horror and disgust'

IRELAND
Irish Independent

By Caitrina Cody

Tuesday December 23 2008

A DISTRAUGHT Cloyne father yesterday spoke about his disgust at the treatment his daughter's sexual abuse complaint received at the hands of Bishop John Magee.

"I feel such horror and disgust about the whole thing," said the man, who remains anonymous to protect his child's identity.

The Cork man's daughter was 14 when a trusted Cloyne priest began to abuse her.

"She was very innocent, even for her age," he said. He added that the priest, known only as Father B, was idolised by the family. "We all looked forward to going to Mass to hear his homilies, because they were both entertaining and sincere."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:34 AM

Clerics distance themselves as bishop under pressure to quit

IRELAND
Irish Independent

By John Cooney and Caitrina Cody

Tuesday December 23 2008

The Vatican and senior Irish bishops expect beleaguered Bishop of Cloyne John Magee to resign over an internal Church report's indictment of him for failing to properly investigate two priests accused of raping children.

"There is little sympathy for Bishop Magee from his colleagues, because he has let them and Rome down," a senior Church source told the Irish Independent last night. "He is on his own."

Senior churchmen fear that if Bishop Magee continues to cling to office, his loss of credibility will damage the spirit of Christmas.

There are growing fears among Church leaders that if he stonewalls into the New Year, he will come under further threat in January when Children's Minister Barry Andrews puts recommendations to the Government arising from a second report from the Health Service Executive.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:31 AM

Andrews defends handling of Cloyne report

IRELAND
RTE News

[with audio]

Minister for Children Barry Andrews has defended his handling of a report that criticised how complaints of child sexual abuse in the Diocese of Cloyne were dealt with.

The minister received the report earlier this year, but passed it on to the Health Service Executive without reading it.

Minister Andrews has said the Bishop of Cloyne, Dr John Magee, must reflect on the findings of the report.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:29 AM

Area priests disappointed after meeting with Bishop Braxton

BELLEVILLE (IL)
News-Democrat

BY GEORGE PAWLACZYK - News-Democrat

BELLEVILLE -- During sessions aimed at healing a rift between Bishop Edward Braxton and diocesan priests, criticism was thwarted and open discussions on controversial subjects were discouraged, some members of a priests' association say.

The sessions, held Sept. 15-18 at a St. Louis hotel and organized by a consulting group, did little to bring about progress, according to Rev. James Voelker, who kept a journal he titled "Notes and Observations on Convocation."

Voelker, a member of the Southern Illinois Association of Priests, which has been critical of Braxton, said the bishop dodged questions and alleged that the moderators from the Reid Group of Seattle quashed criticism. One example, Voelker said, involved trying to take a microphone from him while he was speaking.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:26 AM

Bishop, minister criticised over Cloyne report

IRELAND
The Irish Times

AOIFE CARR and PATSY McGARRY

There is growing criticism of the Catholic Bishop of Cloyne, the Most Rev John Magee, and Minister for Children Barry Andrews in the wake of the publication of a highly critical report into child-protection practices in the diocese.

The report by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland, an independent body set up by the Church, found child protection practices in the diocese to be "inadequate and in some respects dangerous".

Labour TD for Cork East Sean Sherlock this morning called on the Bishop to resign and criticised Mr Andrews on his handling of the report.

“Nothing that anyone can ever do will ease the damage done to a number of young people in this area either through the original acts of sexual abuse by some members of the clergy or the failure of the Diocese of Cloyne to properly act on complaints made to them,” he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:22 AM

December 22, 2008

Minister questions bishop's role as patron

IRELAND
The Irish Times

PATSY McGARRY, Religious Affairs Correspondent

PRESSURE ON the Catholic Bishop of Cloyne, the Most Rev John Magee, to resign is mounting after the Minister for Children Barry Andrews last night questioned his suitability to be patron of national schools in the diocese. His comments came following publication of a highly critical report into child protection practices in the diocese.

Mr Andrews said: "I can't really look into whether or not he should be in charge of that diocese, but I have a concern in relation to his role as patron of all national schools in Cloyne and whether or not we have a role to consider in that regard."

In relation to the report into child protection practices in Cloyne, Mr Andrews said on RTÉ News: "The bishop has to reflect on those findings because they are very serious."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:00 PM

'Difference in understanding' may have delayed abuse report

IRELAND
The Irish Times

PATSY McGARRY, Religious Affairs Correspondent

A SIGNIFICANT "difference in understanding" over who commissioned the report by the National Board for Safeguarding Children (NBSC) in the Catholic Church in Ireland, on child protection practices in Cloyne diocese, appears to have delayed its publication by months.

This "difference in understanding" was how NBSC chief executive Ian Elliott described the situation in a letter to the office of the Minister for Children Barry Andrews on September 9th last. He was replying to a September 3rd letter from that office which said it had not commissioned the report.

In the report published last Friday, Mr Elliott said that on February 15th last he met two senior officials from "the Department of Health and Children" to update them on initiatives the board was taking where best practice for safeguarding children in the church was concerned.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:58 PM

Renewed pressure on Magee to resign

IRELAND
Irish Examiner

By Jennifer Hough and Claire O’Sullivan
THE Bishop of Cloyne is under renewed pressure to step down after the Minister for Children expressed concern about Dr John Magee remaining in his position as patron of all national schools in his diocese.

Barry Andrews also called on Bishop Magee to “reflect” on the findings of the damning report which found he mishandled child abuse allegations and subsequently put children at risk.

On a day when the Church’s hierarchy was accused of “closing ranks” following the abuse allegations, Mr Andrews increased the pressure on Dr Magee to resign or be sacked.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:55 PM

Alamo lawyer seeks changes in federal suit

ARKANSAS
Arkansas News

By TOM PARSONS
Associated Press Writer

LITTLE ROCK (AP) — Embattled evangelist Tony Alamo’s lawyer has asked that “immaterial, impertinent or scandalous” language be removed from a civil lawsuit targeting Alamo in federal court.

The language was included in the suit only in an attempt “to stigmatize the defendant,” Alamo lawyer John Wesley Hall of Little Rock said in a filing last week. Hall also asked in a Sunday filing that one claim made in the lawsuit be dismissed altogether.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:51 PM

National group asked to force bishop to meet with local groups

BELLEVILLE (IL)
News-Democrat

BY GEORGE PAWLACZYK - News-Democrat E-Mail

BELLEVILLE -- Members of two metro-east groups critical of the handling of child sex abuse cases involving priests on Monday called upon a national organization to force Bishop Edward Braxton to meet with them regarding child safety.

David Clohessy, director of the St. Louis chapter of the Survivor's Network of Those Abused By Priests (S.N.A.P.), said a letter was sent to the National Review Board in Washington, D.C., set up by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, asking that Braxton be required:

• To post the addresses of 15 priests removed from active ministry mostly during the 1990s by a diocesan review board after allegations they sexually molested minors.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:32 PM

FINANCE: Crisis Pits Vatican Against Offshore Bankers

VATICAN CITY
IPS

NEW YORK, Dec 22 (IPS) - The financial crisis has the U.S. swirling with charges about the immoral greed of some corporate executives who recklessly bet their companies' futures to line their own pockets. The popular fix for this international calamity stops at the nation's borders: decouple top-line salaries and bonuses from stock prices and institute more transparency and regulation.

However, last month, the Vatican, in a groundbreaking statement, linked the financial crisis to a much deeper problem largely ignored in discussions of the crisis here. It underlined the need to consider carefully "the hidden but crucial role of the offshore financial system in light of the emergence of the global financial crisis". ...

The Vatican came to its knowledge of offshore painfully. Italy's Banco Ambrosiano, of which the Vatican was the main shareholder, collapsed in 1982. Its CEO Roberto Calvi, in collaboration with Bishop Paul Marcinkus, the U.S. national who headed IOR, the Vatican Bank, had siphoned off multi-millions of dollars to offshore accounts.

Ambrosiano lost 3.5 billion dollars of customers' deposits. Calvi, who fled Italy, was murdered and found hanging from Blackfriars Bridge in London. Marcinkus was protected from Italian indictment by the Church and later returned to the U.S. where he lived until his death in 2006.

A few years later, in a 1985 essay on morality and economics, Cardinal Ratzinger -- the future Pope Benedict XVI -- warned that the decline of ethics "can actually cause the laws of the market to collapse".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:45 PM

The McGurk

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
The McGurk

The McGurk is a novel about the many cultural facets of Catholicism within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in the 19th, 20th and 21st Centuries. We read about a small aspect of that very large story as it plays out primarily in the lives of bishops, priests and nuns who are struggling with their Faith, their loyalties and their sense of 'church'. Many aspects of historical Jesus research are integral to the storyline. The Irish in Philadelphia and Irish Catholicism as it existed there is the nucleus of the story. ...

Topics portrayed include clerical sexual abuse of children, Satanism within the Church, the loss of Faith and its eventual return and the overall influence of Irish Catholicism and its paradigms on the formation of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:38 PM

Press Release: Support Group Wants Greek Bishop To Apologize

UNITED STATES
Pokrov

A top Greek Orthodox church official is being harshly criticized for claiming that five men who reached a multi-million dollar child sex abuse settlement actually made up allegations.

Leaders of a support group for survivors of abuse in the Orthodox Churches are writing to Archbishop Demetrios Trakatellis and the other members of the ruling body of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (GOA). They want that group to discipline Metropolitan Isaiah Chronopoulos and force him to apologize for accusing the five men of lying.

In October, the men settled their lawsuit against Fr. Nicholas Katinas and numerous church entities. But two weeks ago, Chronopoulos publicly accused these victims of making false charges in that action. He made his allegations in a letter sent to all members of his Denver-based diocese, as well as posting them on the diocesan website.
Protocol 08-27

“Chronopoulos should explain and apologize for his hurtful claims,” said Melanie Jula Sakoda of Moraga, California. She is a co-founder of a San Francisco-based support group called Pokrov.org. “Church officials can’t have their cake and eat it too. They can’t pay millions to avoid an embarrassing public trial which will expose their complicity in child sex crimes, yet afterwards pretend the victims are lying.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:18 PM

Number of sex abuse claimants reaches 288 in Fairbanks Diocese

FAIRBANK (AK)
The Catholic Review

By Catholic News Service

FAIRBANKS, Alaska – The number of people claiming to have been sexually abused by Catholic priests and other church workers in the Fairbanks Diocese over the past six decades more than doubled after the diocese filed for bankruptcy protection in March.

The diocese said 288 people have made abuse claims against more than 40 individuals, with most of the cases relating to childhood sexual abuse. Because of the bankruptcy, victims had faced a Dec. 2 deadline to be included in the group that will be compensated by the diocese for the abuse.

When the diocese announced in February that it would seek bankruptcy protection, it said it was unable to reach a financial settlement with 140 people who had filed about 150 claims against the diocese. The most recent abuse asserted in a claim took place in the 1980s, although some cases go back to the 1950s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:11 PM

Irish bishop resists pressure to resign after critical report on sex-abuse handling

IRELAND
Catholic Culture

December 22, 2008
An Irish bishop has rejected calls for his resignation in the wake of a report detailing his failure to address reports of sexual abuse by priests in his diocese. Bishop John Magee of Cloyne came under fire after the release of a report by the independent National Safeguarding Board for Children, which said that the diocese had put children at risk by failing to confront clerical abusers.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:10 PM

Bishop appeals to Vatican in ex-priest's sex abuse case

MAINE
KeepMeCurrent

By Ann Fisher
Reporter – The Reporter

LYMAN (Dec 22, 2008): Bishop Richard J. Malone has appealed to the Vatican a church court decision that ruled sexual abuse accusations against former priest Thomas Lee were not proven.

The church court, which has special expertise in the area of church law, acknowledged that Lee's actions, which took place in the early 1980s, were "imprudent."

"I am stunned and disappointed at the outcome of this case and frustrated that the process has taken so long. It has undoubtedly been difficult for the families involved," said Malone in a news release.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:07 PM

One in Four calls for resignation of Bishop of Cloyne

IRELAND
Belfast Telegraph

Monday, 22 December 2008

One in Four is adding its voice to calls for the Bishop of Cloyne to resign after a report found that child abuse allegations in the Cork diocese were not dealt with properly.

The National Board for the Safeguarding of Children's Report found that child protection practices in the dioceses of Cloyne were inadequate and in some respects dangerous.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:49 PM

OC Reg to OC Bishop: Heckuva Job, Brownie

ORANGE COUNTY (CA)
Orange County Weekly

Posted by Gustavo Arellano in Ex Cathedra
December 22, 2008 6:51 AM

Sorry for not noticing this earlier: in November, Orange County Register reporter Teri Sforza wrote a puzzling post on the Reg's OC Watchdog blog noting that the Catholic Diocese of Orange had nicely recovered from all the payouts courts forced them to give to the victims of its rapin' employees over the years. "What is it they say about confession being good for the soul? Perhaps it's good for the bank account as well," Sforza wrote, adding, "We commend the Diocese for this startling bit of financial transparency" for allowing people to comb through their financial statements, making it seem as if it's a new development.

All together now: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Orange Bishop Tod D. Brown must be working overtime burning votive candles for some good words--any good words--in the press. Sforza calls the diocese's financial rebound "heavenly" but somehow didn't get around to interviewing parents at St. Mary's, St. Boniface, and Our Lady of the Pillar in SanTana, who had their parish schools shuttered because Brown was whining about there not being enough money 'cause of those pesky sex-abuse victims.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:46 PM

Trauma can empower a person, as PTSD symptoms are also skills. More hope for 2009

City of Angels

By Kay Ebeling

We are signing off until next year at City of Angels and in 2009 our ongoing coverage of the pedophile epidemic in the Catholic Church will be at http://cityofangels5.blogspot.com/ .

The word at the top of the page next year is "Hope," in part because of Obama’s election, in part because there have been thousands of lawsuits against the Catholic Church for its pandering to pedophiles, in part because of this paragraph in a book about surviving with PTSD.

“Although Frannie was disabled by her traumatic experience, she was also, in certain ways, empowered by them. Frannie was a natural at using imagery and the altered state to help herself heal. The trance state was her powerful ally, and she was adept at achieving it, rapidly and deeply, thanks to a trauma-induced intensification in her brain’s visual, sensorimotor, and emotional centers.”

In other words, use your skills at dissociation to get you out of a bad place.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:14 AM

Ave Maria’s Pass for Pederast Priests

UNITED STATES
AveWatch

According to Ave Maria University’s website (screen capture), the AMU Founder’s Club hosted a visit from the President of “Opus Bono Sacerdotii” (OBS), Joseph Maher, one year ago this past Friday (December 19). IRS records show that the self-described exempt purpose of OBS is to offer “outplacement services for Roman Catholic priests and religious men and women for the purpose of providing a transition from one position to another”.
(Click below for more.)

***
The University Founders Club, started by Tom Monaghan (NY Times, 2/10/2003), advertised that the purpose of OBS was “to find solutions to sensitive situations confronting priests and religious in accordance with the authentic teaching of the Church.”

“Outplacement services” for “sensitive situations”?
Translation: OBS helps to quietly shuffle around pederast priests.

According to the OBS website, Joseph Maher helped start the organization in Detroit in 2002 after “he received much public attention for his staunch support of a priest from his parish who was accused of rape. Today, over 2,000 priests have contacted Opus Bono Sacerdotii for assistance, with more calling on a weekly basis.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:36 AM

MN SNAP Director Statements 12-21-08

UNITED STATES
YouTube

Robert Schwiderski, Minnesota director of Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, discusses "Sexual Abuse and the Catholic Church" in this video presentation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:47 AM

Madoff and the folly of blind faith

UNITED STATES
Asia Times

By Julian Delasantellis

My wife was born and raised in one of those old, insular industrial towns of the US northeast, one of those places that headed off down the road to extinction following the 1973 oil embargo. Growing up among Irish-Americans, Polish-Americans, Italian-Americans, Portuguese-Americans and others, there was a remarkably high degree of respect for all manners and forms of diversity, all the various rainbow colors of race, creed and faith - as long as that creed was Roman Catholic.

My wife's family had her totally onboard with the program, from baptism through confirmation to high-school graduation from St Patrick's. She's told me that following graduation she had no knowledge of such historical personages as Cicero, Tom Paine or Archduke Franz Ferdinand, but she was absolutely, positively sure that Martin Luther was still down there roasting away in the hottest circle of hell.

When the sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests scandal germinated in Boston in 2002 and then metastasized across North America, I asked her if she was surprised by the revelations of perfidious ecclesiastical pederasty. "Not really," she told me.

She said that it was pretty common knowledge among the kids at school that some of the private "spiritual instruction" conferences with a few specific priests in the parish involved some pretty strange doings. When I asked her if the kids protested or complained to their parents, she said that was unthinkable.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:36 AM

State must do the right thing in sexual abuse case

IRELAND
Herald

By Padraig O Morain

Monday December 22 2008

It is wrong that Louise O'Keeffe, sexually assaulted by her school principal in the 1970s, faces costs of up to €750,000 after losing an appeal in the Supreme Court.

The Minister for Education, Batt O'Keeffe, can remove this wrong by waiving the State's right to costs.

What happened at Dunderrow National School, Co Cork, in the 1970s was indecent assault on a wide scale. Louise O'Keeffe was one of many girls indecently assaulted by their school principal, Leo Hickey. She was eight years old. Hickey was jailed in 1998 for three years. He had pleaded guilty to 21 sample charges of indecent assault against 21 girls. The sample had been drawn from 386 counts. ...

She lost in the High Court on the basis that Hickey had been appointed not by the State but by the school manager, Canon Stritch. The school was under the patronage of the Bishop of Cork and Ross and, in rejecting her claim, the High Court said that she might have had a more successful result if she had brought proceedings against the Catholic diocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:31 AM

Vt. Catholics Optimistic, Despite Adversity

VERMONT
WCAX

[with video]

Burlington, Vermont - December 21, 2008

Sunday's snow storm made it hard for devoted worshipers to get to and from church, but snow is the least of the problems for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington.

On December 17th, Bishop Salvatore Matano told reporters, "I apologize to all the victims of sexual abuse."

Last Wednesday, a Burlington jury decided a former altar boy should receive more than 3 million dollars for molestation he suffered at the hands of Father Edward Paquette in the 1970s. The Church now owes more than 12 million dollars to victims in sex abuse lawsuits, some of which are under appeal. The church still faces at least 26 more cases.

Christ the King Parishioner Eve Dubois says, "We have a lot of people who firmly believe in the Catholic faith. We're going to keep on believing. It's unfortunate what happened. Nothing we can do can change the past. All we can do is keep moving toward the future, and hopefully a better future."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:27 AM

Church needs to learn from its past mistakes

IRELAND
Irish Independent

By David Quinn

Monday December 22 2008

The diocese handled these complaints more or less as they would have in 1988

The Bishop of Cloyne, John Magee, can consider himself a very lucky man that the economy and the banking scandals are deflecting public attention away from his appalling management of two clerical sex abuse allegations recently brought to his attention.

Were it not for this fact, the pressure on him to resign would be almost irresistible. As it is, the pressure was sufficient to force him to make public a report into his handling of the two allegations conducted by the Church's National Board for Safeguarding Children (NBSC). The report makes for extremely damning reading. It catalogues how the diocese failed to cooperate properly with the board.

It states that the diocese accepts "that 'lacunae' existed in their child protection policies and practice", and it recognises "the need to ensure that all information relating to an allegation of abuse is conveyed to the appropriate authorities fully and in a timely way", and that this "has not happened in these two cases".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:24 AM

Catholic group calls for bishop to resign

IRELAND
Irish Independent

By John Cooney Religion Correspondent

Monday December 22 2008

A radical lay Catholic group has called for the immediate resignation of the Bishop of Cloyne, Dr John Magee, in the wake of a damning sex abuse report.

The 'Voice of the Faithful' lobby, which campaigns for more accountability in the Irish Catholic Church, said that if Bishop Magee fails to step down, Pope Benedict should exercise his supreme authority by demanding his resignation.

The pressure on Bishop Magee (72) to quit follows the publication of an internal church report that found child protection practices in the Co Cork diocese were inadequate and dangerous, thereby potentially exposing vulnerable young people to further harm.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:22 AM

Jury foreman: Vt. bishop showed 'no real remorse'

VERMONT
Times Argus

Associated Press - Published: December 22, 2008

BURLINGTON - The foreman of a jury that last week awarded a Maryland man $3.6 million in a case of sexual abuse by a priest says the current Vermont Catholic bishop's attitude during a videotaped sworn statement may have hurt the church's case.

In the Oct 2 deposition of Bishop Salvatore Matano, the bishop "showed no remorse. He showed no emotion, no real regret over what the victims had gone through," said Andrew Pearson, foreman of the jury that heard the latest lawsuit against the diocese alleging priest sex abuse.

Pearson said the jury reached an "easy consensus" that the diocese was at fault for hiring retired priest Edward Paquette while knowing he had had a history of abusing children and allowing him to work in parishes in Rutland, Montpelier and Burlington before dismissing him.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:20 AM

John Patrick Shanley discusses his Doubt

UNITED STATES
The Huffington Post

Marshall Fine

The timing may have been fortuitous, with the explosion of complains and lawsuits about sexual abuse against the Catholic Church.

But writer-director John Patrick Shanley insists that Doubt, his 2005 Pulitzer Prize-winning play just released on film, isn't about the Catholic Church's sexual abuse scandal. Despite the fact that it's set in and around a Bronx parochial school, it's barely about the Catholic Church, per se, he maintains.

"The sexual topic comes up maybe once," Shanley says in a telephone interview. "And obviously it's not about the Catholic Church and abuse. Rather, it's about living with doubt. It's about having your assumptions and prejudices exploded and having to live in the present tense. When your assumptions are overturned, what are you left with to look at?"

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:17 AM

Magee rejects resignation calls

IRELAND
RTE News

[with audio]

Monday, 22 December 2008
The Bishop of Cloyne, Dr John Magee, has rejected calls for him to resign over his handling of child sexual abuse by clergy in his diocese.

The calls have come from a number of quarters, including from the father of an alleged victim, a former priest of his diocese and a victims' support organisation.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio's Morning Ireland, the father of an alleged victim called for the Church to 'kick out' Dr Magee.

AdvertisementA report by the National Safeguarding Board for Children in the Catholic Church (NBSCCC) published last week found the Catholic Church had not responded properly to abuse allegations.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:13 AM

December 21, 2008

Abuse Victims Seek Court Date With Vatican

UNITED STATES
NPR

by Barbara Bradley Hagerty

[Audio for this story will be available at approx. 9:00 a.m. ET]

[Watch Rev. Louis Miller's Testimony]

[With copy of the 1962 Vatican Document: Instruction on the Manner of Proceeding in Cases of Solicitation]

Morning Edition, December 22, 2008 · Michael Turner's ordeal, it turned out, was not remarkable. About 90 other boys were abused by Father Louis Miller, a priest in the Archdiocese of Louisville in the 1960s. The priest is in prison and the archdiocese settled for more than $25 million with Turner and others five years ago.

But after the settlement, Turner couldn't shake his anger.

"I was not truly mad at the right person," he says. "I kept going up a ladder, and I was looking at cardinals and even the Pope knew, you know, that this was this bad. That's what truly upset me."

Now Turner is in court again — suing the Vatican. [PDF] Until recently, no federal court has allowed a case to proceed against the Vatican — and few really believed the Holy See would ever be open to lawyers or its treasury subject to money damages. It is considered a foreign state with sovereign immunity. ...

In the meantime, lawyers across the country are watching these cases, and several are preparing similar lawsuits.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:34 PM

Lay group calls on bishop to resign

IRELAND
The Irish Times

ALISON HEALY

THE REPORT on serious allegations of abuse in the diocese of Cloyne must raise fears that other dioceses are not meeting their child safety obligations, the lay Catholic organisation Voice of the Faithful has said.

The organisation called "urgently" for the publication of the results of audits of child protection provision in all Irish dioceses.

Voice of the Faithful, which began in the US in response to clerical sex abuse scandals, describes itself as a grouping of "the people in the pews".

On Friday, the Bishop of Cloyne, Dr John Magee, apologised to victims of clerical abuse after an independent report found that his diocese had put children at risk of harm because of its inability to respond appropriately to abuse allegations.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:26 PM

Ex-Cloyne priest joins calls for bishop to resign

IRELAND
Irish Examiner

By Claire O’Sullivan
A PRIEST who left the Diocese of Cloyne nine years ago over his deep disgust at how child sex allegations were being covered up has joined the growing number of people calling for Bishop John Magee to resign, saying it is in the best interests of the Church.

Father Matthew Ring stood down from the diocese in 1999 due to his “utter disillusionment and deep disgust” with its handling of sex abuse complaints. He called on the Minister for Children, Barry Andrews, to ask the Dublin Archdiocese Commission of Investigation to further examine practices in Cloyne.

“I posed the question to Bishop Magee at the time of my resignation: how can I baptise innocent children into a system when they run the risk of being abused and never see justice? What I got was a stoney silence,” he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:24 PM

U.S. Case Against Holy See May Go Forward, Court Rules

KENTUCKY
National Catholic Register

BY JEFF GARDNER
REGISTER CORRESPONDENT

December 21, 2008-January 3, 2009 Issue | Posted 12/12/08 at 8:03 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Could Pope Benedict XVI be deposed?

That’s a legal term, of course, for having to answer questions posed by lawyers as part of a “discovery” process in a lawsuit.

One lawyer in the United States feels confident that he will be able to ask the Pope certain questions during a deposition, now that a federal appellate court has ruled that a Kentucky district court may consider jurisdiction over the Holy See.

The case involves three men who claim to have been sexually abused in Kentucky. Attorney William McMurry brought a class action lawsuit on their behalf in June 2004, naming the Holy See as the defendant. The suit alleged “deliberate failure … to take effective action to prevent childhood sexual abuse by its priests, bishops, archbishops, cardinals, agents and employees.” McMurry alleged that “the Holy See has mandated that all allegations of childhood sexual abuse be kept under a cloak of complete secrecy.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:10 PM

BISHOP OF CLOYNE: DPP Was Sent 4 Files On Priests But No Charges Brought

IRELAND
Alliance Support Group

Irish Examiner

by Eoin English, Irish Examiner, December 20, 2008

DESPITE extensive Garda probes, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) decided that two priests in the Cloyne diocese accused of child abuse should not face criminal charges.

Gardaí confirmed that "full and thorough" investigations were carried out into each of the allegations levelled against Fr A and Fr B, both priests in the Cloyne diocese.

But after examining one substantial Garda file in relation to Fr A and three files in relation to Fr B, the DPP directed that neither priest should face criminal prosecution. The DPP's decisions were not made public.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:57 AM

Pressure builds on bishop after damning report

IRELAND
Irish Independent

By Ralph Riegel

Sunday December 21 2008

PRESSURE is mounting on the Bishop of Cloyne Dr John Magee to "review his position" in light of damning criticisms in a Catholic Church watchdog report over childcare protection systems in his diocese.

The bishop -- a former secretary to Pope John Paul 11 -- has privately told friends and colleagues that he has no intention of retiring. He wants to personally ensure that the report's recommendations are fully implemented.

"There can be no place in the Church, or in wider society, for those who have perpetrated such vile acts and who have betrayed the sacred trust placed in them," the bishop declared.

The report by the National Board for Safeguarding Children (NBSC) was ordered earlier this year into how two cases of alleged clerical sex abuse were dealt with by the Diocese of Cloyne.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:54 AM

Catholic gadfly pushed church to modernize

COLORADO
The Denver Post

By Virginia Culver
The Denver Post

Tom Kerwin, a Catholic gadfly who constantly prodded his church to modernize, died on Nov. 14. He was 78.

A service is planned at 11 a.m. Saturday at Church of the Risen Christ, 3060 S. Monaco Parkway. ...

After the priest pedophile scandal broke earlier this decade, he said in a 2002 Denver Post story that "only a church that is led by the ordained and the unordained can be the cure for the pathology, secrecy, patriarchy and privilege" that he believed permeated the Catholic church.

"The church is God's people, not a corporation of executives or a medieval fiefdom. Only a church that is out of touch with the Gospel would boast that it is not a democracy," he told The Post.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:14 AM

Sex ring arrest shocks friends

CANADA
Calgary Herald

By Andrew Burke; with files from Stephane Massinon and Sherri Zickefoose, Calgary Herald.December 20, 2008

At a nondescript house in an unremarkable corner of Bangkok called Peekmai Village number 1, the sign nailed to the front door said "Home Sweet Home." But inside, two women were sitting on a worn rosewood lounge and shaking their heads. "Did you say John had been arrested?" asked Sukontha Klaisud, a middle-aged Thai woman and the owner of the house. "Why? By who? What has he done?"

Sukontha has spent at least seven years living in the same house as John Charles Wrenshall, 62, a former Calgarian arrested in London on Monday and accused of masterminding a Bangkok pedophile ring.

Wrenshall was detained at Heathrow International Airport after leaving Bangkok for Canada. According to the U. S. Justice Department, the man described as quiet, generous and hardworking by his colleagues was also a serial abuser of young boys.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:11 AM

Lawyer returns to work after probation

GREENWICH (CT)
Greenwich Time

By Debra Friedman
Staff Writer
Article Launched: 12/21/2008 02:34:45 AM EST

After a year spent barred from practicing law, Greenwich Attorney Philip Russell is back in the game and looking straight ahead.

"It's as natural as breathing," Russell said of returning to state Superior Court in Stamford last week. Russell, 50, of Stamford, was reinstated Wednesday after finishing 12 months of probation for destroying a computer containing child pornography owned by a former Christ Church Greenwich choir director Robert Tate.

Russell, who represented the church, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Bridgeport in September 2007 to one count of misprision of a felony, which means having knowledge of a felony but not reporting it. A lawyer representing Russell called his action an impulsive act in an otherwise law abiding career, according to the Associated Press. Russell's law license was taken away during the course of his probation after coming to an agreement with the Judicial Branch's Statewide Bar Counsel. Russell's sentence also included six months of electronically monitored home confinement, 240 hours of community service and a $25,000 fine.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:00 AM

Diocese may revise court strategy

VERMONT
Burlington Free Press

By Sam Hemingway, Free Press Staff Writer • December 21, 2008

When it comes to clergy sexual abuse lawsuits, no Roman Catholic diocese in the United States has been more willing to let such cases go to trial than the one based in Burlington.

“I don’t know of any other jurisdiction in the country that has had so many Catholic priest abuse cases brought to trial,” said Terry McKiernan, founder of Bishopaccountability.org, an Internet entity that tracks priest sexual abuse cases nationally.

McKiernan said 35 of the 3,000 cases alleging sexual abuse of children by priests have been carried through to trial and ended with a jury verdict. Four of those have taken place in Vermont, all in the past 13 months.

“You have a unique combination in Vermont of a diocese that is willing to go to trial and a plaintiff’s attorney who is willing to try them,” McKiernan said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:55 AM

December 20, 2008

Laina Farhat-Holzman: Closed societies conceal abuse of power

Santa Cruz Sentinel

We have had a splendid election and see how governmental power works in this country. There are many power centers, much citizen participation, and a snoopy press to investigate abuse of power -- essential in preserving democracy.

However, there are groups around the world that believe in variations of "the philosopher king" or even more frightening: "the great and good leader" Fuhrer. Any time you feel like complaining about our system of government, take a look at how absolute power works -- and how secrecy protects it.

• The Catholic Pedophile Priest problem: Secrecy in an organization as large, respected and ancient as the Catholic Church hid for decades a problem that needed publicity. Celibacy played a role in attracting young men into a priesthood -- respected by parishioners -- where some found their power over children both sexual and irresistible. The issue was finally forced into the public, and the Church has apologized and paid for its bad oversight and has apparently cleaned up the problem.

• Renegade Mormons: The secretive fundamentalist Mormon cults that keep to themselves, defy the laws against polygamy, and have benefited from the benign neglect of state authorities Utah, Arizona, Montana. "Elders" abuse not only grown women, but young girls and some boys as well. The courage of a handful of former victims opened

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:10 PM

Cloyne report sparks calls for bishop to quit

IRELAND
The Times (United Kingdom)

Mark Tighe
THE minister of state for children has described the findings of the report into allegations of sexual abuse by priests in Cloyne as “damning”.

Barry Andrews said Bishop John Magee had apologised “with good reason” after the report by National Board for Safeguarding Children (NBSC), an organisation set up by the Catholic church, concluded that poor management had exposed “vulnerable young people to further harm”.

Magee said: “The safety of children is the priority for me and for the diocese of Cloyne. Whilst the allegations referred to in this report are not proven and this report makes no determination as to their veracity, nevertheless my intention is to alleviate those who have suffered in any way that I can.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:02 PM

Bishop appeals abuse finding to Vatican

MAINE
Portland Press Herald

By DAVID HENCH, Staff Writer

December 20, 2008

Maine's Roman Catholic bishop has appealed to the Vatican a church tribunal's finding that there was no proof that a Maine priest, Thomas Lee, had committed sexual abuse of minors.

The panel of three priests, with expertise in church law, decided that Lee's actions in the 1980s were imprudent but that multiple allegations of sexual abuse of minors had not been proved.

It was the first sexual abuse case involving a priest to be adjudicated by a tribunal within the diocese.

Bishop Richard J. Malone requested an appeal of the decision in September. In a written statement issued Friday, he said he wants to be sure that each piece of evidence was properly presented to the tribunal in 2007.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:14 AM

Child protection procedures 'robust': Min

IRELAND
RTE News

Saturday, 20 December 2008 13:19
The Minister for Children, Barry Andrews, has said child protection reporting procedures are robust.

He was speaking after the publication of a report on sexual abuse in the diocese of Cloyne.

A second report is expected from the Health Service Executive.

The report by the National Safeguarding Board for Children in the Catholic Church (NBSCCC) found the Catholic church had not responded properly to abuse allegations.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:43 AM

Conspiracy theorists outed

CANADA
Standard-Freeholder

By CLAUDE MCINTOSH

Strange animal, this Cornwall Public Inquiry.

The hard-core theorists smeared many good innocent people while campaigning for the inquiry.

The inquiry, they preached to us for years, would expose pedophile clans and send prominent citizens running for the hills, police incompetence and cover-ups in the highest of high places.

But the hard-core conspiracists are the ones being exposed through the testimony given by some of the people and organizations they vilified.

Among the facts brought out by the inquiry:

The man who came up with the infamous pedophile clan tale testified he made up the story and passed it along to Perry Dunlop the self-proclaimed world's only honest cop, who bought the tall tale hook, line and sinker. An alleged victim said he was told to put a priest's name in his affidavit, even though he had never met the man. Another said he was told to say he was assaulted on a school bus trip because that way he could sue the school board. And just about everything former judge Garry Guzzo alleged came apart during thorough cross examination by lawyers David Sherriff-Scott and Michael Neville. As the inquiry lumbers along, it is not hard to understand why Dunlop refused to testify.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:39 AM

Key findings and main recommendations of the probe

IRELAND
Irish Independent

Saturday December 20 2008

THE report into the Cloyne clerical abuse allegations made five major findings.

It also issued eight recommendations about childcare practices within the Cork diocese.

Its findings were compiled after interviews with Bishop John Magee, Monsignor O'Callaghan and Dean Goold.

The main findings included:

l Children were placed at risk of harm because the diocese did not respond appropriately to information about alleged abuse by two clerics.

l The competence of those involved in childcare protection work in Cloyne was seriously questioned.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:17 AM

Church elder admits child porn charge

UNITED KINGDOM
Daily Post

Dec 20 2008 by Our Correspondent, Daily Post

A CHURCH elder said to be addicted to porn took his laptop to a police station and confessed that he had been downloading child images.

Bevan Andrew Waller, 32, was found to have 138 images of children aged between two and 16 years of age.

Two of them were found to be of the most serious category available.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:14 AM

Bishop took minimal action over clerical sex abuse claims

IRELAND
Sunday Business Post

A Co Cork based Bishop took minimal action over a series of child sex abuse allegations against two of his priests, a damning report has found.

The investigation by the church’s abuse watchdog also concluded that what little action was taken by Bishop of Cloyne John Magee was inappropriately delayed and responses were inadequate and dangerous.

The allegations – branded alarming by the National Board for Safeguarding Children (NBSC) – centre on two priests within the Co Cork diocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:06 AM

Andrews under fire for delay releasing HSE report

IRELAND
Irish Examiner

By Paul O’Brien, Political Correspondent

CHILDREN’S Minister Barry Andrews welcomed publication of the National Board for Safeguarding Children report and pledged to publish a separate HSE report on the issue as soon as legal advice allowed.

But the minister was heavily criticised by the opposition, who said Mr Andrews was among those at fault for the delay.

“This report has been with Barry Andrews since last July and should have been published by him long before now,” Labour TD Sean Sherlock said. “It should not have required a political controversy to ensure that such an important report was published.”

Mr Sherlock said the delay had “only added to the trauma of those who suffered abuse at the hands of some members of the clergy”.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:03 AM

HSE used findings during probe

IRELAND
Irish Examiner

By Paul O’Brien, Political Correspondent

THE Health Service Executive last night said it had “taken into account” the National Board for Safeguarding Children report when conducting its own investigation of how the Cloyne diocese handled the abuse claims.

Children’s Minister Barry Andrews received a copy of the board’s report in July and passed it to the HSE.

The HSE completed its investigation recently and submitted its report to the minister on December 4.

Mr Andrews said he will publish this report as soon as legal advice allows.

In a short statement last night, the HSE said: “The Department of Health & Children made available to the HSE a copy of the report by the National Board for Safeguarding Children, the content of which was taken into account when the HSE carried out its review in 2008. The HSE’s review has been submitted to the Department of Health & Children and the Office of the Minister for Children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:01 AM

Bishop: Withholding of alleged sex abuser’s name ‘normal policy’

IRELAND
Irish Examiner

By Stephen Rogers

THE Bishop of Cloyne has described his decision not to give the name of an alleged child abuser to gardaí as “normal practice”, according to a report on alleged child abuse in his diocese.

The report by Ian Elliott, chief executive of the Catholic church’s National Board for Safeguarding Children (NBSC), details the alleged abuse by two priests, Father A and Father B. According to the report, a young priest, named as XY, first reported that he had been abused as a child by Father A in December 2004. On that occasion he spoke to the bishop, but did not reveal who his alleged abuser was. He did not do so until May 2005.

Four months later the bishop met with Father A, and as a result of that meeting Father A resigned.

In November 2005, the bishop’s delegate, Monsignor O’Callaghan, sent a letter to gardaí informing them a complaint had been received against a priest in the diocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:59 AM

Diocese failed to act properly on sex abuse allegations

IRELAND
The Irish Times

BARRY ROCHE, Southern Correspondent

Damning report: young people exposed to harm by church authorities

CHILD PROTECTION practices in the Diocese of Cloyne in Co Cork were inadequate and dangerous, thereby potentially exposing vulnerable young people to further harm, an agency set up by the Catholic Church to protect children has found.

The National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church, (NBSC) was highly critical of the way that the Diocese of Cloyne and Bishop John Magee handled a series of complaints of sexual abuse made by five people against two priests in the diocese.

According to the report by the chief executive of the NBSC, Ian Elliott, which was published yesterday by the Diocese of Cloyne, child protection practice in the diocese was "significantly deficient in a number of respects.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:57 AM

Findings don't go far enough -- TD

IRELAND
Irish Independent

By Ralph Riegel

Saturday December 20 2008

DR John Magee must carefully consider his position as Bishop of Cloyne in light of devastating childcare protection revelations, a TD warned last night.

And one victim rights group demanded an immediate audit of all diocesan childcare facilities after the damning findings of the Cloyne report.

Labour's Sean Sherlock dismissed Dr Magee's response to the National Board for Safeguarding Children (NBSC) findings as not going far enough. He also questioned the Bishop's decision to continue in the top diocesan job.

"Bishop Magee now has to seriously consider his position and decide whether or not he can retain the confidence of the people of Cloyne in the light of these disclosures," the Cork TD warned. "The statement issued by Bishop Magee is simply not adequate," he said. "Those in responsible positions in the Diocese of Cloyne have to take responsibility for the way in which the complaints were dealt with."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:52 AM

Children put in danger

IRELAND
Irish Independent

By Ralph Riegel

Saturday December 20 2008

A Catholic diocese left vulnerable children at risk of sexual abuse and even had a policy of giving gardai minimal information about a priest suspected of abuse, a damning report has found.

The report, by a Catholic Church watchdog, slated childcare protection practices in the Diocese of Cloyne, warning that they "alarmingly" failed vulnerable youngsters and left them at risk.

The shocking National Board for Safeguarding Children (NBSC) report -- ordered into two separate complaints of clerical child sex abuse in the Diocese of Cloyne -- found that child protection policies were inadequate, overly focussed on the needs of the accused cleric and inappropriately delayed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:49 AM

Church 'cannot be trusted' with the safety of children

IRELAND
The Irish Times

PATSY McGARRY

THE CATHOLIC Church “cannot be trusted to consistently put the safety of children above all other considerations”, Maeve Lewis, executive director of the One in Four group, said last night.

She was speaking following publication yesterday of a report into alleged incidents of abuse in the Diocese of Cloyne.

Ms Lewis called for an audit of child-protection practices in all Catholic dioceses in Ireland. “The State must intervene and bring the church into line with the rest of society,” she said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:47 AM

NORWICH: Diocese Settles 1 Sex Abuse Suit

NORWICH (CT)
Hartford Courant

December 20, 2008
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Norwich has settled a lawsuit filed by a woman who claims she was sexually assaulted by a priest when she was a girl. And another person has stepped forward with allegations against another priest.

The woman alleges the late Rev. Thomas Shea assaulted her at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Gales Ferry beginning when she was 10 years old. Several other women have made similar allegations against Shea.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:45 AM

'CHURCH SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER' MURRAY MACDONALD TELLS INQUIRY

CANADA
Standard-Freeholder

By TREVOR PRITCHARD, STANDARD-FREEHOLDER

The Alexandria-Cornwall Roman Catholic Diocese "should have known better" before striking a $32,000 deal with a former altar boy accusing a priest of sexual abuse, the city's Crown attorney told the Cornwall Public Inquiry Friday.

"(David) Silmser, I thought, participated more in initiating the (deal) than he did," said Murray MacDonald.

"But that doesn't change the fact that the church should have known better."

Yesterday was MacDonald's third and final day on the stand at the Cornwall Public Inquiry, which is examining how institutions like the justice system and the local diocese dealt with allegations of historical sexual abuse. In the fall of 1993, the diocese paid Silmser $32,000 after he had told police he'd been sexually abused decades earlier by Rev. Charles MacDonald.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:39 AM

December 19, 2008

Killaloe diocese makes biggest yearly payout to victims of clerical sex abuse

IRELAND
The Irish Times

GORDON DEEGAN

THE DIOCESE of Killaloe made its largest ever annual payout to victims of clerical sex abuse last year, accounts published yesterday reveal.

The diocesan accounts for 2007 confirmed that the diocese paid €619,717 to victims, bringing to over €1.49 million that which has been paid to sex abuse victims since 2003.

In a statement accompanying the accounts, the Bishop of Killaloe, Dr Willie Walsh, said: “The ongoing fallout from the tragedy of sexual abuse by a small number of clergy in the distant past continues to demand time and resources for healing and reconciliation. €619,717 has been paid in 2007 for this purpose.”

The accounts show that the diocese funded the payout from the €1.5 million sale of six acres of land at Dr Walsh’s Westbourne residence in Ennis in 2001.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:19 PM

Religious order loses bid to halt sex abuse case

IRELAND
The Irish Times

A RELIGIOUS order has lost a High Court bid to halt an action against it by two men over sexual abuse more than 30 years ago by one of the order’s teachers.

The teacher, a member of the Franciscan order, was jailed in 1998 after pleading guilty to physical and sexual assault on the two complainants when they were aged 11 and 12 and pupils at the national school where he taught.

The men, now aged 46 and 47, subsequently brought civil proceedings – which will be heard by a judge and jury – against the teacher and the Franciscan order (the Regular Third Order of St Francis of Assisi).

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:16 PM

Secrecy continues if the report is not published, writes Maeve Lewis

IRELAND
One in Four

Minister, publish the report

Once again we have awoken to news of yet another chapter in the saga of child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church.

Minister for Youth and Children Barry Andrews, has refused to publish a report by the Church’s National Board for safeguarding Children regarding the way in which allegations of sexual abuse by priests in the Diocese of Cloyne have been handled. Under intense public pressure he later agreed to publish a second, more recent report by the HSE. What are we to think?

Since the mid-1990s, Irish people have been shocked by revelations of widespread clerical sexual abuse. It has been very difficult to accept that Church authorities have been responsible in many cases for covering up allegations, allowing abuse of children to continue. There are well documented instances where bishops and priests acted to protect the church rather than vulnerable children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:14 PM

Defrocked Omaha priest says he's being harassed

OMAHA (NE)
NTV

Associated Press - December 19, 2008 8:45 PM ET

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - A former priest tells Omaha police he's been the target of vandals and thieves.

Daniel Herek was sentenced in 2006 to four months in jail for exposing himself in an Omaha parking lot. That incident came while he was still on probation for molesting a 14-year-old altar boy. The defrocked priest served 2 1/2 years on that charge.

Now, Herek has filed a police report, saying someone wedged an orange construction cone into his front door, making it impossible to open the door.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:05 PM

Astonished and disgusted: Child sex abuse victims pour scorn on Government probe into Cloyne

IRELAND
Irish Examiner

By Claire O’Sullivan
A STATE investigation into a child sex abuse scandal has been dismissed out of hand by victims who said they were neither informed nor interviewed by the Health Service Executive, which conducted the inquiry at the Government’s request.

One of the victims of abuse in the Cork diocese of Cloyne said she and other victims were never made aware of a Health Service Executive (HSE) report into the mishandling of the abuse allegations.

Yesterday, Minister for Children Barry Andrews said he had asked the HSE to conduct its own investigation in July. He also defended his decision not to publish a separate report carried out by the Church’s National Board for the Safeguarding of Children (NBSC). He was given a copy of this report in July.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:56 PM

Statement by Bishop John Magee regarding the Report on the Management of Two Child Protection Cases in the Diocese of Cloyne.

IRELAND
Roman Catholic Diocese of Cloyne

Bishop John Magee, Bishop of Cloyne, today [December 19th 2008] released the following statement:

The safety of children is the priority for me and for the Diocese of Cloyne. Supporting those individuals who suffered clerical child sexual abuse is an integral part of my ministry and that of the diocese. Today I apologise to victims of clerical sexual abuse. There can be no place in the Church, or in wider society, for those who have perpetrated such vile acts and who have betrayed the sacred trust placed in them.

The Church's National Board for Safeguarding Children (NSBC), which is independent of the Diocese, completed a review in June of two child protection cases in the diocese. I cooperated with this review and fully accept its recommendations. I am currently implementing the findings of this review.

Clearly, implementing these recommendations is important but so too is public confidence in the child protection procedures in the diocese. For this reason I am today placing the NSBC report on the public record.

Whilst the allegations referred to in this report are not proven and this report makes no determination as to that veracity, nevertheless my intention is to alleviate those who have suffered in any way that I can, and this sentiment underpins my actions today.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:54 PM

Report on the Management of Two Child Protection Cases in the Diocese of Cloyne

IRELAND
Roman Catholic Diocese of Cloyne

This report presents the findings of a review of two child protection cases which arose within the Diocese of Cloyne. The review was primarily records based but was supplemented by interviews with Bishop Magee, his delegate Monsignor O'Callaghan, and Dean Goold. Each case involved members of the clergy as the alleged perpetrators. Child protection practice was examined through the case records provided by the Diocese of Cloyne and found to be inadequate and in some respects dangerous. There was no evidence that risk had been appropriately identified or managed, thereby potentially exposing vulnerable young people to further harm. Deficits in practice are identified and recommendations listed to address these.
Please note that the allegations referred to in this report are not proven and this report makes no determination as to their veracity.

The Identification of the Two Cases

1. On the 15 February 2008, the Chief Executive Officer of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church (NBSC) met with two senior officials within the Department of Health and Children. The purpose of the meeting was to update the Department on the ongoing initiatives that the NBSC had embarked upon in order to embed best practice in the field of safeguarding children within the Church.

2. At the conclusion of that meeting, the CEO was informed that a complaint had been made to the Minister regarding the practice of the Diocese of Cloyne in a particular case. A copy of the correspondence was given to the CEO and he was asked to investigate the circumstances outlined in the complaint, and to report back his findings.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:50 PM

Report on the Implementation of the Review Recommendations

IRELAND
Roman Catholic Diocese of Cloyne

1. As requested, this Report comments on the progress that has been made to date in implementing the necessary changes to safeguarding practice in the Diocese of Cloyne since the acceptance of the Report findings by the Bishop.

2. The National Board welcomes the appointment of Fr. William Bermingham as the new delegate for the Diocese. In all the contacts to date, he has impressed as a competent, and caring person who has a deep passion for safeguarding children. In all respects, Fr. Bermingham appears to be capable of leading the Diocese forward in its practice in this area.

3. The Diocese has shown a new openness and willingness to engage with the National Office which is greatly welcomed. This close working relationship enables us to provide guidance and to monitor closely practice in the Diocese

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:49 PM

Andrews under fire for delay releasing HSE report

IRELAND
Irish Examiner

By Paul O’Brien, Political Correspondent
CHILDREN’S Minister Barry Andrews welcomed publication of the National Board for Safeguarding Children report and pledged to publish a separate HSE report on the issue as soon as legal advice allowed.

But the minister was heavily criticised by the opposition, who said Mr Andrews was among those at fault for the delay.

“This report has been with Barry Andrews since last July and should have been published by him long before now,” Labour TD Sean Sherlock said. “It should not have required a political controversy to ensure that such an important report was published.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:44 PM

Pressure on bishop to quit

IRELAND
Irish Examiner

By Claire O’Sullivan and Paul O’Brien
BISHOP OF CLOYNE John Magee was coming under strong pressure to resign last night as a damning Church report revealed he and his diocese had put children at risk by delaying in reporting clerical sex abuse to gardaí and failing to immediately remove alleged offenders from ministries.

The report from the Catholic Church’s National Board for Safeguarding Children (NSBC) found the Co Cork diocese was “significantly deficient” in dealing with alleged child abuse cases and “failed to focus on the needs of the vulnerable child”.

It also said the diocese had no understanding of the effects of paedophilia, or of the high level of re-offending. The report’s author, Ian Elliott, said that after a victim approached the bishop and his child protection team with a complaint, the actions taken were “minimal and were delayed”.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:41 PM

'Minimal action' over abuse claims

IRELAND
Press Association

A senior Irish Catholic Bishop took minimal action over a series of child sex abuse allegations against two of his priests, a damning report has found.

The investigation by the church's abuse watchdog also concluded that what little action was taken by Bishop of Cloyne John Magee was inappropriately delayed and responses were inadequate and dangerous. The allegations - branded alarming by the National Board for Safeguarding Children (NBSC) - centre on two priests within the Co Cork diocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:40 PM

Bishop apologises after abuse report highlights diocese failings

IRELAND
The Irish Times

PATSY McGARRY, Religious Affairs Correspondent

THE CATHOLIC Bishop of Cloyne has apologised to victims of clerical sex abuse after an independent report found his diocese had put children at risk of harm through an "inability" to respond appropriately to abuse allegations.

The report documents serious allegations in the Diocese of Cloyne against two priests, including one claim by a woman that she was raped by one of the priests at the age of 13.

One of the alleged victims of abuse is himself a priest.

The report was conducted by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland (NBSC), a body set up by, but independent of the Catholic Church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:37 PM

Six in court over pedophile allegations

AUSTRALIA
The Canberra Times

HARRIET ALEXANDER AND PETER HAWKINS
19/12/2008 1:00:01 AM

THE school chaplain at the centre of an alleged pedophile ring at St Stanislaus College has been charged with having homosexual intercourse with a 12-year-old boy and engaging in two acts of buggery with pupils at the Bathurst school.

Brian Spillane, who faces 93 charges of sexual assault, is also alleged to have incited a 13-year-old to kiss, caress and masturbate four other boys and to have indecently assaulted an 11-year-old boy.

The charges are detailed in documents before the Downing Centre Local Court, where six men are due to appear this morning over events that allegedly took place between 1979 and 1988.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:33 PM

Report raps Irish diocese on sex-abuse policies

IRELAND
Catholic Culture

[with links to a statement by Bishop John Magee, Report on the Management of Two Child Protection Cases (NSBC) and Report on the Implementation of the Review Recommendations (NSBC)]

December 19, 2008
An independent review board has issued a stinging critique of Church leaders' response to sex-abuse allegations in an Irish diocese. "Children have been placed at risk of harm within the Diocese of Cloyne through the inability of that Diocese to respond appropriately to the information that came to it regarding child protection concerns involving the clergy," concluded the National Safeguarding Board for Children (NSBC). The NSBC report was delivered to diocesan leaders and government officials in June of this year; it was released on December 19 by Cloyne's Bishop John Magee, after Irish health minister Barry Andrew came under fire for his failure to publicize the report's findings.

Bishop Magee noted that a more recent follow-up report by the NSBC noted "so much progress has been made" since the release of the original report, with diocesan policies offering greater protection for children; the follow-up report praised the diocese for its cooperation in the process. Bishop Magee underlined the determination of the diocese to address the problem, saying: " There can be no place in the Church, or in wider society, for those who have perpetrated such vile acts and who have betrayed the sacred trust placed in them."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:28 PM

Priest blasts church settlement of sex abuse claim

CHICAGO (IL)
WAND

Associated Press - December 19, 2008 5:24 PM ET

CHICAGO (AP) - A Catholic priest accused of child sexual abuse says he feels betrayed by church leaders who announced a nearly $1.4 million settlement in a case involving allegations against him.

The 58-year-old Rev. Chester Przybylo (shih-BIL'-oh) was never criminally charged and says he maintain his innocence. He told The Associated Press on Friday he feels outraged and shocked by news of the settlement.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:19 PM

Bishop Backs Appeal In Sexual Abuse Case

PORTLAND (ME)
WCSH

Posted By: Mike Webster

PORTLAND (AP) -- Maine's Roman Catholic bishop is supporting an appeal to the Vatican of a church tribunal's determination that sexual abuse accusations against an 81-year-old priest were not proven.

At issue are allegations against the Rev. Thomas Lee, who was suspended from ministry in 2003 and resigned six months later following an investigation into allegations regarding sexual abuse of minors.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:15 PM

Don't be complacent on abuse, says bishop

UNITED STATES
The Catholic Key

WASHINGTON (CNS) - Despite the small number of cases of clergy sexual abuse reported in 2007, "we dare not become complacent," said Bishop Blase J. Cupich of Rapid City, S.D., chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People. "In 2007, there were 12 credible instances of minors being abused. That's 12 instances too many," Bishop Cupich said in a Dec. 8 letter to his fellow bishops. "However, even with the small number in a church of 67 million people, we dare not become complacent.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:12 PM

Church watchdog critical of Diocese of Cloyne

IRELAND
The Irish Times

A review of mishandled child abuse inquiries has found Bishop of Cloyne John Magee broke Catholic Church rules on reporting allegations.

The Church’s National Board for Safeguarding Children (NBSC), which is independent of the Diocese, revealed minutes of a meeting from 2006, signed by the Bishop, which showed the cleric completely at odds with official regulations.

The minutes had been produced by the Bishop himself.

According to the report on the Diocese of Cloyne, Bishop Magee said gardai would never be given names of alleged child abusers in the church ranks.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:43 PM

2 sue Diocese of Wilmington, alleging sexual abuse by priest

DELAWARE
The News Journal

By SEAN O’SULLIVAN • The News Journal • December 19, 2008

A pair of unnamed brothers, who were altar boys at Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church in Dover, have become the latest to file suit against the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington alleging sexual abuse by a priest and seeking damages.

The lawsuit, filed in New Castle County Superior Court today by attorney Thomas Neuberger, alleges that the late Rev. Eugene F. Clarahan, while drunk, sexually abused the boys, then 9 and 12, in separate incidents at a holiday gathering in 1980 at their parents’ home.

In the lawsuit they care called John Coe #2 and John Coe #3.

Clarahan was a priest for 31 years in Elsmere, Wilmington, New Castle and Dover parishes before being transferred to Maryland.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:27 PM

Iglesia Católica de Chicago paga más de un millón de dólares por abusos sexuales

CHICAGO (IL)
Enkidu Magazine (Mexico)

WASHINGTON, EFE, Chicago Tribune, LaVoz.arg, Volha.br [Traducción al castellano © Enkidu Magazine] (19/12/2008): La arquidiócesis católica de Chicago anunció hoy que ha accedido pagar $1.375 millones de dólares en un acuerdo extrajudicial tras ser demandada por abusos sexuales que habría cometido uno de sus sacerdotes.

Fuentes judiciales dijeron que el acusado es el sacerdote Czeslaw "Chester" Przybylo, quien habría sometido a abusos sexuales a un inmigrante polaco de 13 años de edad entre 1987 y 1992.

En ese tiempo el sacerdote oficiaba en una iglesia del sector de Brighton Park de Chicago. Actualmente trabaja como pastor en el llamado "Sepulcro de Cristo, el Rey", que afirma ser católico pero independiente de la Iglesia Católica, dijeron las fuentes.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:24 PM

Bishop apologises to abuse victims

IRELAND
RTE News

Bishop of Cloyne John Magee has apologised to the victims of clerical sexual abuse and said there was no place in the Catholic Church for the perpetrators of such vile acts.

'The safety of children is the priority for me and for the Diocese of Cloyne,' he said.

'Supporting those individuals who suffered clerical child sexual abuse is an integral part of my ministry and that of the diocese. I apologise to victims of clerical sexual abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:22 PM

New Albany pastor accused of lying to police, harassment

NEW ALBANY (IN)
News and Tribune

By MATT THACKER
Matt.Thacker@newsandtribune.com

A longtime pastor of a New Albany church is facing several misdemeanor charges on allegations that he harassed a woman with whom he had a child. He also is accused of lying to police and then displaying a gun.

The Rev. William D. Hodge Jr. was arrested on a Clark County warrant by the Indiana State Police at 10 p.m. Dec. 12 at his home along the 6600 block of Hickory Trace in Georgetown. The 75-year-old Hodge was taken to the Harrison County Jail awaiting extradition, ISP Sgt. Jerry Goodin said.

Cell phone records provided to ISP showed three “annoyance calls” were placed from Hodge’s phone to the woman’s residence since July 25, when Hodge filed for a restraining order against the woman, according to a probable-cause affidavit filed in Clark County Superior Court No. 3. In fact, he allegedly called her the same day he asked for the restraining order.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:10 PM

Native American group files suit against Catholic Diocese of Rapid City, others for alleged abuse

RAPID CITY (SD)
Rapid City Journal

By Mary Garrigan, Journal staff | Friday, December 19, 2008

Eight Native American plaintiffs filed lawsuits in circuit court in Rapid City on Thursday that make more sexual and physical abuse allegations against numerous Catholic clergy at a former Catholic boarding school on the Rosebud Indian Reservation.

The lawsuits name the Catholic Diocese of Rapid City; regional, national and worldwide Jesuit organizations; the Sisters of St. Francis, a religious order in Denver; and the Rosebud Educational Society/St. Francis Mission as defendants. Also named are individual priests, nuns and brothers who served at St. Francis Indian School in St. Francis.

The abuse allegations date from the 1960s to the mid-1980s, said plaintiff attorney John Manly, and involve boarding school students who were 5 to 16 years old at the time and are now in their 40s, 50s and 60s. Some of the alleged perpetrators are deceased, many are as yet unidentified, and others are listed only by first name or by their religious name.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:02 PM

Brothers allege sex abuse by ex-priest

WILMINGTON (DE)
WDEL

By Mellany Armstrong

The Diocese of Wilmington is being sued in what's being described as the first Delaware case alleging sexual abuse of siblings.

Two brothers are suing, saying they were abused by former diocesan priest Father Eugene Clarahan when they were altar boys in 1980. The brothers, identified as John Coe #2 and John Coe #3, say Clarahan was a family friend, and that he was drunk when he assaulted them at a family holiday party.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:17 PM

Church's voice moving on

NEW ZEALAND
New Zealand Herald

By Eugene Bingham

The long-time voice of the Catholic Church has been ousted from her job, a move she believes is in part linked to internal politics.

Lyndsay Freer left yesterday after 23 years' service to the church, surprised to be told that her role as national director of the Catholic Communications office was no longer required. ...

Asked for a lowpoint, Mrs Freer did not hesitate - the emergence of sexual abuse cases which rocked the church from the late 1990s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:08 AM

Alleged Clergy Abuse

SOUTH DAKOTA
KOTA

[with audio]

Created: 12/19/2008 6:57:26 AM
Eight more cases have been added toa lawsuit against the Rapid City diocese.

The cases involve former students at Saint Francis boarding school on the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation. Students claim the diocese knew school staff were physically and sexually abusing Indian children but ignored the problem.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:43 AM

What does church abuse look like?

Society & Religion (India)

Written on December 19, 2008 – 10:35 am

What does abuse in the church look like? Authors Peter Holmes and Susan Williams contend that “abuse” includes the many different ways people mistreat each other and create an environment that makes people feel unsafe and uncomfortable. It can happen when church leaders become “Messiah figures” and misuse their power or when a church member lashes out at someone else in anger—even when portions of Scripture or the use of the phrase “It’s God’s will” are used to inflict additional pain on someone who is already suffering.

As a background and resource to their book Church as a Safe Place, Holmes and Williams have incorporated the experiences of many who were “former Christians”—people who had a history in the church but for various (and sometimes shocking) reasons had left congregational life. They were able to identify harm and abuse in the church in five major areas: verbal, emotional, physical, sexual, and spiritual. The abuse is happening more often than many would believe or recognize.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:01 AM

Victims of Catholic abuse want to see the Pope in court

UNITED STATES
National Secular Society (United Kingdom)

Three American men who were sexually abused by Catholic clergy have been allowed to name the Vatican as sole defendant in a lawsuit, a US appeals court has ruled. The men are hoping to force the Pope to give evidence in their case. The federal appeals court ruled that the men could proceed with their argument that Vatican officials were involved in a deliberate effort to cover up evidence of abuse by American priests.

Their case focuses on a 1962 directive from the Holy Office (now the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith),

Crimen Sollicitationis, that became public in 2002. The directive came to light because it was referred to in a footnote in a letter from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, then head of the CDF, to the world’s bishops on required procedures for sex abuse cases.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:30 AM

Former altar boy wants lien on church land

VERMONT
Fox 44

Associated Press - December 19, 2008 7:05 AM ET

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) - A former altar boy awarded $3.6 million in a priest sex case wants a lien put on land owned by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington.

Lawyers for 43-year-old David Navari, of Takoma Park, Md., have filed a motion in Chittenden Superior Court seeking the lien on 10 acres of undeveloped land located south of the church's headquarters in Burlington.

1 of his lawyers, Jerome O'Neill, says it's standard procedure after winning a judgment to seek security.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:40 AM

Priests accused of 183 sexual offences

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

Geesche Jacobsen, Jonathan Dart and Harriet Alexander
December 20, 2008

FIVE clergymen from an exclusive Catholic boarding school now stand accused of 183 sexual offences - and more men are expected to be charged in coming weeks, a court heard.

But yesterday, as four of the men faced court with a large group of supporters, the alleged sex scandal extended past St Stanislaus College in Bathurst when the former school chaplain was charged with the indecent assault of two girls as young as seven or eight.

New charges were laid yesterday and at least 25 victims - most of them former pupils from the school - have alleged rape and buggery, as well as indecent assaults involving kissing and touching.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:38 AM

Norwich diocese settles woman's sex abuse lawsuit

NORWICH (CT)
Newsday

December 19, 2008
NORWICH, Conn. - The Roman Catholic Diocese of Norwich has settled a lawsuit filed by a woman who claims she was repeatedly sexually assaulted by a priest when she was a girl.

The woman alleges the late Rev. Thomas Shea assaulted her at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Gales Ferry beginning when she was 10 years old. Several other women have made similar allegations that Shea kissed and fondled them when they were girls.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:35 AM

Nuns will not be questioned outside

INDIA
Kerala Online

Kochi, Friday19 Dec 2008: The CBI gave an undertaking in the Kerala High Court today that it would question the nuns of the St Joseph’s Generalate, Kottayam, in their residential premises only, following which the Court disposed of a petition filed by 18 nuns alleging that they were being harassed by the CBI during the probe into the Sister Abhaya murder case.

A Division Bench of Justices K Balakrishnan Nair and H C Harirani also recorded the statement made by the CBI that it will strictly comply with section 160 (1) CrPC, which states that ladies and children below 15 years should be questioned as witnesses only in their residences.

The Court also noted the statement made by the CBI that it will not take the petitioners outside for questioning.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:32 AM

Canada doesn't do enough to protect children from abuse

CANADA
The Gazette

John Wrenshall might come to symbolize everything that is wrong with how Canada's criminal-justice system handles cases of sexual abuse of children.

When we are casual about law enforcement in these horrible crimes, we endanger not only Canadian children, but sometimes those in other countries as well. These crimes demand psychological treatment in some cases, long jail sentences in others, sometimes both, and often post-jail supervision. We can't continue to treat them as almost trivial.

Wrenshall, 62, formerly of Calgary, was arrested this week at Heathrow airport in connection with charges handed down by a New Jersey grand jury, including running a Thai brothel of boys as young as 4 for "sex tourists," over at least eight years. ...

In 1997, the former Scout leader and church-choir member was sentenced to a year in jail and two years' probation for sexually assaulting eight Calgary choir boys over a period of decades. At his trial, Wrenshall admitted to having molested a dozen more boys under 13, but he faced no charges in those cases. The judge deemed his punishment, based on a joint defence-prosecution recommendation, a "satisfactory deterrent."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:12 AM

Judge says Alamo boy to stay in foster care

ARKANSAS
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

BY ANDY DAVIS

Posted on Friday, December 19, 2008

A day after hearing testimony that a 17-year-old boy had been beaten with a wooden paddle by a member of the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries, a judge ordered the teenager to stay in foster care for 10 more days until he turns 18.

The boy told the judge he wants to remain in foster care after his birthday so the state will help pay for his college education.

The boy's parents, Jose and Becky Avila of Fort Smith, were upset to learn about the beating and have recently left the church, said their attorney, Pamela Fisk of Texarkana, Texas.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:09 AM

Charges stand in teen sex case

ELKHORN (WI)
Janesville Gazette

By GAZETTE STAFF Thursday, Dec. 18, 2008

ELKHORN — A Walworth County judge Wednesday refused to dismissed charges against a former youth pastor accused of having sex with a Lake Geneva teen in the 1970s.

Russell J. Lesser, 63, of Bryson City, N.C., sought to have the case dismissed, claiming the statute of limitations has expired, said Walworth County District Attorney Phil Koss.

Koss argued it has not expired because Lesser hasn't lived in Wisconsin since the alleged offenses occurred.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:04 AM

14 claim abuse by priests, monks, nuns

SOUTH DAKOTA
Argus Leader

Josh Verges • jverges@argusleader.com • December 19, 2008

Fourteen former students of what is now the Marty Indian School have accused Catholic priests, monks, nuns and others of repeated sexual abuse.

Their lawsuits filed Thursday in Minnehaha County Circuit Court are in addition to a 2003 lawsuit involving eight other ex-students, which still is pending.

The Catholic Diocese of Sioux Falls is named as a defendant in each case, but a lawyer for the diocese said it had no administrative control over the school. ...

The abbey's Minneapolis lawyer, Bob Stich, said those who remain at the abbey know nothing of the allegations, and the accused all are deceased.

"It's interesting that allegations like these are always made after the persons accused are dead," Stich said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:58 AM

$4.2M lien sought on diocese land

VERMONT
Burlington Free Press

By Sam Hemingway • Free Press Staff Writer • December 19, 2008

Lawyers for the former altar boy who won a $3.6 million award in a clergy sexual abuse trial this week asked a Chittenden Superior Court judge Thursday to place a lien on 10 acres of Burlington church property worth $6.9 million.

The property, located at 329 North Ave., is land directly south of the headquarters for the state's Roman Catholic diocese and stretches from North Avenue to the city's bicycle path near Lake Champlain. No buildings are on the land.

"It is standard procedure after obtaining judgment to seek security in order to be certain you can get the judgment paid once the appeals have run their course," Jerome O'Neill, the attorney for the former altar boy said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:55 AM

Abuse victim to get $1.4M

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Sun-Times

December 19, 2008

BY MAURICE POSSLEY Special to the Sun-Times mauricepossley@gmail.com

The Archdiocese of Chicago has agreed to pay $1.375 million to settle a lawsuit alleging that a priest sexually abused a teenage boy at Five Holy Martyrs Church from 1987 through 1992.

Attorney Jeff Anderson, who represented the victim, said Thursday that the Rev. Chester Przybylo repeatedly abused the Polish immigrant at the church at 4327 S. Richmond. The lawsuit alleged the victim was molested at the parish rectory and other locations.

Anderson said the victim reported the abuse to Chicago Auxiliary Bishop Alfred Abramowicz, but the bishop accused the boy of lying and told him to go to confession. Abramowicz died in 1999.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:53 AM

Crown stands by '93 advice to cops

CANADA
Standard-Freeholder

By TREVOR PRITCHARD, STANDARD-FREEHOLDER

Crown Attorney Murray MacDonald stood by the advice he gave in 1993 to the Cornwall Police Service over whether it had grounds to charge a city priest with historical sexual assault.

MacDonald told the Cornwall Public Inquiry that information he later gleaned about David Silmser's allegations would not have substantially changed what he told the CPS in September 1993 - namely, that they couldn't proceed without a willing complainant.

"I would've drafted the letter (I sent them) perhaps differently," said MacDonald. "But the conclusion I drew, others . . . have drawn the same conclusion with knowledge of all this stuff."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:50 AM

Diocese Settles Lawsuit With Woman Who Accused Late Priest

CONNECTICUT
The Day

By Joe Wojtas Published on 12/19/2008

The Diocese of Norwich has settled a lawsuit filed by a woman who said the late Rev. Thomas Shea repeatedly sexually assaulted her at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Gales Ferry, beginning when she was 10 years old.

Mary Jane Leverone is one of many women who have said Shea kissed and fondled them as girls during his 37 years as a priest, many of which were spent in parishes in southeastern Connecticut.

Leverone's attorney, James Hall of Pawcatuck, declined to discuss the amount of the settlement Thursday, saying he wanted to protect his client's privacy. The diocese did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:48 AM

Norwich diocese sued over alleged sex abuse

STONINGTON (CT)
The Day

By Joe Wojtas Published on 12/19/2008

Stonington - A former Pawcatuck man has filed a lawsuit against the Diocese of Norwich charging that the Rev. Paul Hebert sexually assaulted him when he was a first- and second-grade student at St. Michael's School.

Leonard Harrington, 38, is the second man to sue the diocese claiming that Hebert molested him at St. Michael's. Last year, the diocese paid $170,000 to James Fish of Pawcatuck to settle a similar lawsuit, one charging that Hebert sexually assaulted him in the church rectory when he was in the seventh grade. Hebert served at St. Michael's from 1971 to 1981.

”It's sad and unfortunate that Father Hebert's name comes up again,” said Harrington's attorney, James Hall of Pawcatuck.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:46 AM

Supreme Court rules State not liable in school abuse case

IRELAND
The Irish Times

MARY CAROLAN

The Supreme Court has ruled, in a test action, that the State cannot be held vicariously liable for a series of sexual assaults by a national school principal on an eight-year-old girl pupil.

Some 200 cases were awaiting today’s judgment on the appeal by Louise O'Keeffe (43), of Thoam, Dunmanway, Co Cork, against a High Court decision the Minister for Education and State are not vicariously liable for the assaults. ...

The judges noted Hickey was, at all relevant times, a teacher employed and working in a national school under the management of the local Catholic priest and that, under the national school rules, it is the school manager - in this case Canon Stritch - not the Minister for Education who decides which teacher to employ.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:37 AM

Former pastor gets probation in porn case

OHIO
The Columbus Dispatch

By Bruce Cadwallader

The former pastor of a Pleasant Township church escaped jail time but was labeled a sex offender today for possession of child pornography.

John W. Adams, 67, was caught downloading photos and videos of naked children at his North Linden home during a child-pornography investigation by Upper Arlington police in 2007.

He pleaded guilty to a felony charge of pandering obscenity in September.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:30 AM

Chicago archdiocese settles sex-abuse case

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Breaking News

December 18, 2008 at 6:25 PM
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago has reached a $1.375 million settlement in the sexual abuse case of a priest who allegedly molested a teenage boy from the late 1980s to the early 1990s, church officials said today.

The priest, Rev. Czeslaw "Chester" Przybylo, is accused of repeatedly abusing a 13-year-old Polish immigrant from 1987 to 1992 while serving at Five Holy Martyrs Church in Chicago's Brighton Park neighborhood.

Przybylo currently works as pastor at Shrine of Christ the King in west suburban Winfield.
The shrine calls itself "Catholic," but it is an independent congregation and not part of the Roman Catholic Church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:22 AM

Cloyne report may go to archdiocese

IRELAND
Irish Examiner

By Claire O’Sullivan and Stephen Rogers
THE Minister for Children may refer a report into allegations of child sexual abuse in a Co Cork diocese to the Dublin archdiocese’s commission of investigation.

On December 4, Barry Andrews received the Health Service Executive’s report on the alleged abuse in Cloyne.

He said he was deciding whether to refer that document to the archdiocese as provided for in the commission’s terms of reference.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:19 AM

Archdiocese settles abuse suit for nearly $1.4M

CHICAGO (IL)
Fort Mill Times

By CARLA K. JOHNSON
(Published December 18, 2008)
CHICAGO — The Archdiocese of Chicago said Thursday it has agreed to pay nearly $1.4 million to a man who claims he was sexually abused as a boy by a Catholic priest.

The Rev. Chester Przybylo allegedly abused the then-teenaged Polish immigrant at Five Holy Martyrs parish from 1987 through 1992, said attorney Jeff Anderson, whose St. Paul, Minn.-based firm represents the alleged victim.

Documents show the archdiocese was aware of allegations against Przybylo, who was never criminally charged, Anderson said. ...

Advocacy group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests is a plaintiff in Przybylo's slander lawsuit. Barbara Blaine, president of SNAP, criticized the diocese for not releasing the documents on Przybylo earlier.

"How many more documents like this are they keeping secret?" Blaine asked at a news conference.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:16 AM

Youth Pastor Accused of Sexual Relationship with Teen

CALIFORNIA
San Clemente Times

December 18, 2008

By Nathan Wright and Lacey Nadeau

A Capo Beach youth pastor was arrested today on suspicion of sexual involvement with a minor.

The suspect, 28-year-old Daniel Pedroza, is a junior high school ministry pastor at Capo Beach Calvary Church in Dana Point. He is a resident of the city. His arrest followed a child abuse report authorities received from social services. The report claimed a female minor—somewhere between 14 and 17—had become sexually involved with her youth pastor, said Orange County Sheriff’s Department Spokesman Jim Amormino. He said the victim met Pedroza when she was in junior high, and that she had known him for a little while before the report was filed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:13 AM

For a Modest Cardinal, a Farewell Full of Majesty

NEW YORK
The New York Times

By GLENN COLLINS
Published: December 18, 2008
As it had to be, the majestic high Mass on Thursday for Cardinal Avery Dulles at St. Patrick’s Cathedral was an occasion of splendor and vivid remembrance for a soft-spoken cardinal who — though he wielded intellectual and moral influence as a Jesuit, a theologian and a writer — once said, “I’m not particularly made for ceremonies.”

Cardinal Avery Dulles, Theologian, Is Dead at 90 (December 13, 2008) The cardinal, the only American theologian ever appointed to the College of Cardinals, died last Friday at the age of 90 at Fordham University in the Bronx, where he had taught. He had “a triumphant life story,” said Cardinal Edward M. Egan of New York, who celebrated the nearly two-hour Mass. ...

Cardinal Dulles became a conservative theologian in an era of liturgical reforms and rising secularism, rallying to the defense of the pope against demands for change, and giving uncompromising loyalty to an American church that had been wounded after covering up hundreds of cases of sexual abuse by priests and suffering the loss of tens of millions of dollars in lawsuits as a result.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:09 AM

3. The Pope Wows the States

UNITED STATES
Time Magazine

Repeat after us: pastoral visits do not make Papal policy. Benedict XVI stunned and impressed his hosts during his pontifical visit to the United States with his relentless engagement of the trip's most delicate issue, the church's sex abuse scandal. Starting on the plane over, he issued a string of heartfelt apologies admitting "deep shame" about the tragedy, met privately with victims and accepted a book listing 1,500 victims — and their subsequent struggles — from archbishop Sean O'Malley, who inherited the scandal's ground zero, Boston, from Cardinal Bernard Law.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:01 AM

December 18, 2008

Ex-priest must pay $80,000 to victim

AUSTRALIA
ninemsn

A former Catholic priest who sexually abused a 15-year-old boy has been ordered to pay him $80,000 in compensation.

Edmund John Haines, 62, was jailed in October for four years and three months for a series of child sex crimes involving two young boys.

His crimes occurred in the Victorian towns of Bannockburn, Winchelsea and Geelong between March 2006 and February 2008.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:58 PM

More suspects in St Stanislaus sex case - DPP

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

December 19, 2008

Article from: Australian Associated Press

MORE people are to be charged over alleged sexual assaults at a New South Wales boarding school, a magistrate has been told.

Lawyers for five men, four of whom were present, appeared in Sydney's Downing Centre Local Court today in relation to the alleged assault of students at St Stanislaus College at Bathurst dating back to the 1970s.

The five include former priest Brian Spillane, 65, who has been charged with 44 new charges.

However, Elizabeth Walker, for the Director of Public Prosecutions, withdrew 20 charges which had previously been laid against him.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:56 PM

Employee accused of felony resigns from St. Isidore's Catholic Church

BLOOMINGDALE (IL)
Chicago Suburban News

By David Heitz, dheitz@mysuburbanlife.com
Bloomingdale Press
Wed Dec 17, 2008, 02:24 PM CST

Bloomingdale, IL -
Officials at St. Isidore’s Catholic Church in Bloomingdale said a woman who was employed by the church as a fundraiser resigned Tuesday after it was discovered she had a pending felony court case in Lake County where she is accused of stealing thousands of dollars from a previous employer.

While church officials said they were aware of pending divorce cases against her that came up during a previous background check, they did not know she faces a felony theft charge.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:52 PM

What would Jesus do? State law would bar some registered sex offenders from attending church

GASTONIA (NC)
Gaston Gazette

December 18, 2008 - 5:57 PM
Corey Friedman

The Rev. Ben Robertson believes church doors should be open to everyone - even registered sex offenders.

Congregations are grappling with a new state law that prohibits certain sex offenders from being within 300 feet of child care centers, which include church nurseries and playgrounds. If worship services are held in close proximity to church child care, the law could prevent some from attending.

"As a church that preaches Jesus Christ as our savior, we at the same time preach resurrection and that Christ welcomes all people, regardless of what they have done, regardless of what demons they are dealing with," said Robertson, the rector of All Saints Episcopal Church in Gastonia.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:54 PM

Allegations Of Abuse Involving Catholic Church

SIOUX FALLS (SD)
Keloland

[with video]

There are new allegations of abuse involving the Catholic church. Lawyers are filing 22 lawsuits on behalf of Native Americans who claim they were victims of sexual and physical abuse while students at two South Dakota Indian boarding schools.

The lawsuits claim that both the Sioux Falls and Rapid City Catholic dioceses knew about the abuse at the hands of priests, brothers and nuns at the schools and did nothing to prevent it.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:51 PM

Lawsuit Filed Against Sioux Falls Catholic Lawusit Alleges Abuse

SIOUX FALLS (SD)
KSFY

By Leslie Rupiper

14 lawsuits were filed today against the Sioux Falls Catholic Diocese, priests and nuns. The suits accuse them of abusing Native American kids at the Marty Indian School. Lawyers say some of the alleged incidents happened as long as 50 years ago, others as recent as the 1980's. Lawyers for the alleged victims in this case call the abuse "grotesque acts of sadomasochistic violence". But an attorney for the Sioux Falls Catholic Diocese says it had nothing to do with the operation of the Marty Indian School.

Three attorneys representing the alleged victims in the case filed the lawsuits in Minnehaha County Court Thursday morning. They say the allegations include physical and sexual abuse, and they're blaming it on the diocese and the Benedictine priests from Blue Cloud Abbey in northeast South Dakota. John Manly an attorney for the alleged victims says, "We are trying to hold those in charge, the corporate officers, accountable for child molestation."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:48 PM

Women religious petition Vatican for Bourgeois

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

By NCR Staff
Published: December 18, 2008

Some 113 Catholic women religious have signed a letter addressed to the Vatican’s doctrinal czar pleading the case of Maryknoll Fr. Roy Bourgeois, who has been threatened with excommunication for his support of women’s ordination.

The letter, organized by the Detroit-based National Coalition of American Nuns (NCAN), is dated Dec. 12 and addressed to Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The nuns' letter says the Vatican's action "has diminished our Church."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:11 PM

A jury trial was set Tuesday for a self-proclaimed rural Neosho pastor facing child sex abuse charges.

NEOSHO (MO)
Neosho Daily News

Randall “Danny” Russell, 49, pastor of Acts II Church, will go to trial on March 10 on two Class C felony charges of first-degree child molestation, two Class A felony counts of first-degree statutory sodomy, two Class B felony charges of sexual exploitation of a minor, five Class C felony charges of second-degree statutory sodomy, and one Class C felony forgery count.

Russell could face up to 30 years or life in prison on the Class A felony charges, five to 15 years in prison on the Class B felony counts, and up to five years in prison on each of the Class C felony charges if a conviction is reached.

Allegations of child sexual abuse first came to light after an April 29, raid by the Newton County Sheriff’s Department at the church, which is also the site of Russell’s business, Garages & More, and his home. Deputies seized a computer from the business and several photographs of a nude juvenile girl from the church office. According to a probable cause affidavit, the photos were dated Dec. 21, 2003.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:43 PM

Youth pastor accused of sexual relationship with teen

DANA POINT (CA)
The Orange County Register

By CHRIS CAESAR
The Orange County Register

DANA POINT – Capo Beach Calvary Church's junior high ministry director was arrested at the church this morning on suspicion of having a "sexual relationship" with a teen-age female enrolled in his program.

Daniel J. Pedroza Jr., 28, of San Clemente, will be charged with six felony charges, Orange County Sheriff's Department spokesman Jim Amormino said.

"We received a child abuse report from social services, detailing that a minor female between the ages of 14 and 18 disclosed she had been engaged in a sexual relationship with her youth pastor," he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:28 PM

Archdiocese settles abuse suit for nearly $1.4M

CHICAGO (IL)
WAND

Associated Press - December 18, 2008 4:34 PM ET

CHICAGO (AP) - The Archdiocese of Chicago has agreed to pay nearly $1.4 million to a man who claims he was sexually abused as a boy by a Catholic priest.

Attorney Jeff Anderson, who represents the alleged victim, announced the settlement Thursday.

Anderson also released documents he says show the archdiocese was aware of allegations against the Rev. Chester Przybylo, who worked in the archdiocese 15 years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:25 PM

VOTF Calls Op-Ed by Judge Michael Merz Harmful

UNITED STATES
Voice of the Faithful

December 12, 2008 – Boston –Voice of the Faithful disputes the conclusions reported recently in a Boston Globe Op Ed article by Judge Michael Merz, who chairs the National Review Board for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Catholic bishops complicit in the clergy sex abuse scandal do indeed need to resign or be replaced. Unlike Judge Merz, we at VOTF do not assume that those responsible for coverups and scandal are in any way qualified to lead the cleanup.

Judge Merz’s remarks are especially troubling in light of the requirements for his Review Board to monitor compliance of the bishops with the USCCB’s Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. Self-reporting by diocesan officials is not the same as a verifiable assessment, and it is troubling to learn that the NRB regards such unverified results as evidence of “forceful” response by the bishops or of their commitment to the programs. True commitment should include verifiable participation and independently audited results in all dioceses and penalties for those bishops who do not comply.

We also know from our experiences at the parish and diocesan level that child-safety training, once completed, is often not repeated and seldom emphasized. Again, this hit-and-miss approach to child protection does not speak of a “forceful” response despite Judge Merz’s assurances.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:20 PM

Church abuse victim makes offer to give money back

VERMONT
Burlington Free Press

By Sam Hemingway, Free Press Staff Writer • December 18, 2008

David Navari, who won a $3.6 million damage award Wednesday in his case against the state’s Roman Catholic diocese, offered to give the money back if the diocese aggressively confronts priests in its ranks who molested children in the past.

Navari made the surprise announcement moments after the conclusion of a nine-day trial on claims the Rev. Edward Paquette twice molested him in the 1970s and the diocese was at fault because it knew Paquette was a child molester when it hired him.

Navari told reporters he was willing to put the proceeds of the jury award in a private trust for use by parents in the Burlington area needing financial help to defray the costs of an education in Catholic schools.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:43 PM

Diocese of Norwich settles lawsuit

CONNECTICUT
The Day

By Joe Wojtas Published on 12/18/2008

The Diocese of Norwich has settled a lawsuit filed by a woman who said the late Rev. Thomas Shea repeatedly sexually assaulted her at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Gales Ferry when she was between 10 and 12 years old. Shea was also accused of kissing and fondling many young girls in the parishes he was assigned to during his 37 years as a priest.

Mary Jane Leverone’s attorney, James Hall of Pawcatuck, declined to discuss the amount of the settlement this afternoon because he wanted to protect his client’s privacy. The diocese could not be immediately reached for comment.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:32 PM

Lawyer for Catholic Diocese: Marty Indian School operated independently

SOUTH DAKOTA
Argus Leader

Josh Verges • Argus Leader • December 18, 2008

Responding to charges of sexual abuse at the Marty Indian School, a lawyer for the Catholic Diocese of Sioux Falls said the school operated independent of the diocese.

The diocese owns several schools but Marty was never among them, Jeremiah Murphy said.

The Blue Cloud Abbey, an order of Benedictine monks, established the boarding school for Native American students, he said.

Although the bishop must approve when and where a mission is established and whether a priest can act publicly, the reach of the diocese stops there.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:29 PM

14 former students file sexual abuse suits against Sioux Falls Diocese

SOUTH DAKOTA
Argus Leader

Josh Verges • jverges@argusleader.com • December 18, 2008

In several lawsuits filed today, 14 former students at the Marty Indian School accuse Catholic priests, monks, nuns and others of repeated sexual abuse.

“It alleges grotesque acts of sadomasochistic violence for many years,” said John Manly, a lawyer for the accusers. “The real tragedy of this is the church knew and did nothing.”

Manly said he wants Bishop Paul Swain to name all alleged perpetrators in the Diocese and stop what he says is a common practice of settling victims’ complaints in secrecy. Victims must be allowed to go public with their stories, get help and seek prosecution of their abusers where possible, he said.

“You don’t tell victims to shut up,” Manly said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:14 PM

"Doubt" tops SAG film nominees amid strike talk

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Reuters

By Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Film drama "Doubt" led all nominees for Screen Actors Guild awards on Thursday with five nominations overall, including for best ensemble cast, even as talk of a possible strike cast a cloud over the awards.

Joining "Doubt," about a Catholic priest and nun engaged in a battle of wits over charges of sexual abuse, in the race for best ensemble cast were "Milk," about slain gay rights leader Harvey Milk, and "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," which tells of a man who ages backward. Those movies each earned three SAG award nods.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:57 PM

Sex Abuse Case Involving Former Chicago Archdiocese Priest Settles for $1,375,000, Announced by Jeff Anderson & Associates

CHICAGO (IL)
Virtualization

By: PR Newswire
Dec. 18, 2008 11:24 AM

CHICAGO, Dec. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- A new $1,375,000 settlement has been made in a child sexual abuse case involving a Catholic priest who worked in the Chicago archdiocese and now works as a pastor at Shrine of Christ the King in Winfield (Du Page County).

In a lawsuit filed by attorney Jeff Anderson in 2006 plaintiff claimed that from roughly 1987 through 1992, Fr. Chester (Czeslaw) Przybylo repeatedly abused the then 13 year old Polish immigrant boy at Five Holy Martyrs (4327 S Richmond Street, 773 254 3636) in the Chicago archdiocese. The lawsuit filed by the victim in today's settlement alleges that Przybylo molested him at the parish rectory, the Chicago Health Club, and the River City Apartment complex. The victim, who filed his lawsuit anonymously, is now in his 30s, married with children, and living in Illinois.

According to newly-released documents, now-deceased Chicago Bishop Alfred Abramowicz confronted Przybylo regarding allegations that he sodomized a different teenager. Abramowicz believed that the incident occurred because Przybylo did not deny the allegations. (Document 5)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:44 PM

Twists & turns

INDIA
Frontline

R. KRISHNAKUMAR
in Thiruvananthapuram

ON a summer day in March 1992, a 21-year-old nun, a college student, woke up before daybreak at a convent hostel and walked downstairs to the kitchen alone for some cold water from the refrigerator.

Thus began one of Kerala’s most intriguing crime mysteries, the death of Sister Abhaya, which is about to unravel itself, or so it seems, after 16 years.

It was still dark outside at the St. Pius X Convent Hostel in Kottayam when a few hostel employees found the refrigerator door ajar and the contents of a water bottle spilled on the floor. One of a pair of slippers was under the refrigerator; the other one lay outside, near the convent well. The door leading to the well was locked from outside and a nun’s veil was stuck in between. Later in the day, Abhaya’s body was found inside the well.

The post-mortem report said there were two small “lacerated wounds” above the right ear on the back of Abhaya’s head and abrasions below the right shoulder blade and the right buttock. The direction of the wounds was described as “upwards and inwards”. There was no sign of molestation or rape, according to the report. The cause of death was stated as “drowning” (“A case of cover-up?”, Frontline, May 19, 1995).

What followed was a sensational saga of unsuccessful inquiries by various agencies, distorted at every stage by “unseen hands” with powerful political connections and marked by the destruction of evidence, the disappearance or death of suspects and witnesses, intense rivalry among investigating officers, a vicious trial by the media, and a nagging and critical scrutiny of the investigation by the courts.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:38 AM

Former pastor imprisoned for touching girl

SANDPOINT (ID)
Bonner County Daily Bee

By KEITH KINNAIRD
News editor

SANDPOINT - A district judge declined on Tuesday to go along with a plea agreement which proposed a limited jail sentence for a former pastor who pleaded guilty to fondling a Priest Lake girl several years ago.

Steven D. Bicknell's betrayal of the trust placed in him as a spiritual leader was cited as an aggravating factor when he was sentenced.

"The violation of trust when you're in a position as a minister or pastor is even more damaging because those individuals are individuals that we need to be able to trust. We, as a society, must be able to have faith in people who are placed in trust of dealing with our souls, our development," said 1st District Judge Steve Verby.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:43 AM

Jury awards $3.6 million in abuse case

VERMONT
Burlington Free Press

[with audio and slideshow]

A jury awarded $3.6 million in damages Wednesday to a former Burlington altar boy molested by the Rev. Edward Paquette in the 1970s, the second time in a year the state’s Roman Catholic diocese has been hit with multi-million dollar verdict in such a case.

The seven-woman, five-man Chittenden Superior Court jury reached its decision just before 3 p.m. after nearly 13 hours of deliberation.

The former altar boy, David Navari of Takoma Park, Md., alleged Paquette twice molested him at Christ the King Church in Burlington and claimed the diocese was to blame because it hired Paquette knowing he had previously molested altar boys in three states, including Vermont.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:34 AM

Sex offender bill takes shape

VERMONT
Burlington Free Press

By Terri Hallenbeck, Free Press Staff Writer • December 18, 2008

As the Senate Judiciary Committee fine-tuned legislation to toughen sex offender laws Wednesday, members had poignant personal reminders of the case that prompted the call for changes.

Cassandra Gagnon, the mother of 12-year-old Brooke Bennett, whose death this summer spurred demand for tougher laws, was there. So was Denise Jacques, the wife of convicted sex offender Michael Jacques, who is accused of killing her. The women are sisters.

Gagnon said that other than speaking at a public hearing in Rutland this fall, she has stayed out of the public discourse about her daughter’s case. Until now. The more she has learned about Michael Jacques and the number of times he slipped through the criminal justice system, the more desire she has to speak up, she said. “I just don’t want to be quiet anymore,” she said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:32 AM

$3.6 million verdict in Vt. priest trial

VERMONT
Rutland Herald

By Kevin O'Connor Herald Staff - Published: December 18, 2008

BURLINGTON — In a potentially bankrupting slam to the state's largest religious denomination, a jury ruled Wednesday that Vermont's Catholic Church should pay nearly $3.6 million for negligence in hiring and supervising a pedophile priest.

A panel of five men and seven women deliberated for 13 hours over two days before finding the statewide Roman Catholic Diocese liable in a Chittenden Superior Court lawsuit regarding the former Rev. Edward Paquette, who worked in Rutland in 1972, Montpelier in 1974 and Burlington in 1976.

The jury awarded David Navari, a 43-year-old Burlington native, $192,500 in compensatory damages and $3.4 million in punitive damages for civil claims that the diocese failed to protect him from Paquette. In his lawsuit, Navari said the priest fondled him on two occasions in 1977 when he was an 11-year-old altar boy at Burlington's Christ the King Church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:26 AM

Priest Sorry for Incident; Archbishop Currie

CANADA
VOCM

December 18, 2008

The Roman Catholic Archbishop in this province says a priest convicted of sexual assault, is extremely sorry for the trouble he has caused the complainant, her family and the church. The 55-year old priest from Ghana, West Africa received a suspended sentence and a year's probation, after pleading guilty to the incident that happened while he was serving in Holyrood.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:19 AM

Archdiocese said to be in charter compliance

PORTLAND (OR)
Catholic Sentinel

The Archdiocese of Portland was found to be compliant with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People in 2008 after submitting information for the data collection audit.

The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People was adopted by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in June 2002, and revised and renewed in June 2005. It provides policies and procedures for the protection of children. The notification of compliance was sent in a letter to Archbishop John Vlazny from The Gavin Group, Inc., an independent group of auditors.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:16 AM

Chicago Archdiocese to pay teen $1.2M

CHICAGO (IL)
Belleville News-Democrat

The Associated Press

CHICAGO -- The Archdiocese of Chicago has agreed to pay $1.2 million to a teenage boy and his mother, who claim he was sexually abused by a former Catholic priest.

Attorney Ken Cunniff represents the boy and his mother. He said Wednesday that Daniel McCormack, the former pastor of St. Agatha Catholic Church, allegedly made repeated advances toward the boy, then age 14.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:14 AM

Higher Court Raises Sentence against Paedophile Priest

SLOVENIA
Slovenian Press Agency

Ljubljana, 18 December (STA) - The Ljubljana Higher Court has raised the prison sentence of the first ever priest in Slovenia to be found guilty of child sex abuse from three years and ten months to five years, according to reports in Thursday's papers.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:06 AM

Molester ring alleged

CANADA
Calgary Sun

By DOUG MCINTYRE, SUN MEDIA

Knowledge of Asian culture was an attribute touted in the resume of a Calgary child molestor now accused of operating a pedophile ring in Thailand.

The sordid journey of 62-year-old John Wrenshall -- convicted in 1997 for sexually assaulting eight choir boys in Calgary -- ground to a screeching halt after his arrest Monday at London's Heathrow Airport.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials allege Wrenshall, founder of Calgary software firm Rinax Systems, ran a pedophile ring since 2000 in his home outside Bangkok, prompting an 18-count indictment comprising a slew of sex tourism and child-pornography charges.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:58 AM

Seminary of Archdiocese of Boston doubles enrollment

BOSTON (MA)
Catholic News Agency

Boston, Dec 18, 2008 / 06:04 am (CNA).- Eighty-seven seminarians are now enrolled at the Archdiocese of Boston’s St. John’s Seminary, more than doubling the number of seminarians who were studying there just two years ago.

Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley resisted calls to close the troubled archdiocese’s seminary, making its preservation a priority of his tenure, Michael Paulson writes in the Boston Globe. The cardinal has encouraged bishops from New England and elsewhere to send their seminarians to Boston to prepare for the priesthood. ...

Enrollment at St. John’s was hard hit after its reputation suffered significantly from the sexual abuse crisis. According to the Boston Globe, many of the Boston-area priests who sexually abused minors had graduated from the seminary.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:53 AM

Man awarded $3.6 million in priest sex abuse case

VERMONT
SouthCoast Today

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
December 18, 2008

BURLINGTON, Vt. — A jury Wednesday awarded a former altar boy nearly $3.6 million because the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington in the 1970s didn't protect him from an abusive priest, who was once assigned to churches in New Bedford and Westport, Mass.

The Chittenden County Superior Court jury returned the verdict against the diocese after a two-week trial and 13 hours of deliberations in the lawsuit filed by David Navari, 43, of Takoma Park, Md.

"A jury of 12 Vermonters has seen all the evidence and I'm confident that they voted with their conscience," Navari said after the jury was returned.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:50 AM

$1.2 million settlement for teen alleging Chicago priest abused him

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Tribune

By Manya A. Brachear | Tribune reporter
December 18, 2008

A teenage boy and his mother will receive $1.2 million from the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago for sexual abuse the boy suffered at the hands of Daniel McCormack, a lawyer for the victims said Wednesday.

The agreement is the most recent settlement reached between the archdiocese and a victim of McCormack, the former pastor of St. Agatha Catholic Church who pleaded guilty last year to fondling five boys ages 8 to 12 at the church. The victim in this settlement, however, was not part of the criminal case, lawyer Ken Cunniff said.

Cunniff said McCormack made advances toward the boy, then 14, once in August 2005 in public during a White Sox game at U.S. Cellular Field. He also made advances in the church rectory and at Our Lady of the West Side School, Presentation campus, where McCormack coached him in basketball.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:47 AM

Archdiocese settlements for priest near $10M

CHICAGO (IL)
Southtown Star

December 18, 2008

By Maurice Possley, Sun-Times News Group
The Archdiocese of Chicago has agreed to pay $1.2 million to settle a lawsuit brought by the family of a boy who was sexually abused by the Rev. Daniel McCormack, an attorney for the family said Wednesday.

Kenneth Cunniff said the settlement calls for $1.1 million to be paid to the boy, who now is 16, and $100,000 to the boy's mother. In September, the archdiocese agreed to pay $2.5 million to the boy's younger brother, who also was abused by McCormack.

McCormack, 40, pleaded guilty in July 2007 to molesting five boys between the ages of 8 and 12 while he served as parish priest at St. Agatha Church on Chicago's West Side. He also was an algebra teacher and boys basketball coach at Our Lady of the Westside School.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:43 AM

MacDonald denies saying he'd be 'happy' to see allegations disappear

CANADA
Standard-Freeholder

By TREVOR PRITCHARD, STANDARD-FREEHOLDER

The city's top prosecutor vigorously denied ever telling a fellow attorney he'd have been "happy" to see the sexual abuse allegations of former altar boy David Silmser disappear.

"He's either egregiously in error, or he's lying," said Murray MacDonald, referring to statements that Malcolm MacDonald (no relation) gave to the Ontario Provincial Police in 1994.

Yesterday was Murray MacDonald's first day on the witness stand at the Cornwall Public Inquiry, which is exploring how a number of institutions responded to historical sexual abuse complaints.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:38 AM

More Settlements Announced for McCormack Victims

CHICAGO (IL)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

No amount of money can restore the stolen childhood and shattered trust and devastated faith these kids have suffered and will continue suffering. But we hope this decision will bring them and their families some healing and closure.

We also hope these settlements will deter future recklessness, deceit and secrecy by officials in the Catholic church and in other institutions that deal with kids.

Virtually every survivor shares the same goal: stopping horrific child sex crimes and cover ups.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:15 AM

Hundreds file claims against Fairbanks Catholic Diocese

ALASKA
KTUU

by Channel 2 News Staff
Wednesday, December 17, 2008

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Hundreds of people have come forward, claiming past sexual abuse at the hands of former priests or lay volunteers with the Fairbanks Catholic Diocese.

Because the diocese is going through a bankruptcy, victims had to come forward by Dec. 2.

The diocese said 288 people have made abuse claims against more than 40 individuals, and most involve allegations of childhood abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:59 AM

Former LDS bishop sentenced for child sex abuse

UTAH
The Salt Lake Tribune

By Stephen Hunt
The Salt Lake Tribune

A former Harrisville LDS bishop who sexually molested three Weber County sisters -- whom he frequently visited at home while their parents were away -- was sentenced Wednesday to prison for up to 30 years.

Timothy O'Sean McCleve, 53, got the maximum sentence from 2nd District Judge Ernie Jones, who ordered two counts of second-degree felony sexual abuse of a child to run consecutively.

Defense attorney Randall Skeen asked for probation and a year in jail, citing McCleve's "extensive record of community service," as well a psycho-sexual evaluation indicating McCleve was "treatable and manageable within the community."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:53 AM

CPS refusing to release findings in polygamist case

TEXAS
Houston Chronicle

By TERRI LANGFORD
Houston Chronicle
Dec. 17, 2008

Texas Child Protective Services, the agency that last spring removed 439 children from a polygamist ranch in West Texas because caseworkers suspected child abuse, is refusing to release the findings of their completed abuse investigation to the Houston Chronicle.

On Wednesday, agency spokesman Patrick Crimmins confirmed that the abuse investigation is finished but said the findings would not be released because CPS officials want to release them later in an upcoming report. The agency hasn't set a date for that release, Crimmins said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:49 AM

Disgraced pastor promoting documentary

COLORADO
The Kansas City Star

By ERIC GORSKI
The Associated Press

Disgraced evangelical leader Ted Haggard has agreed to help promote a new documentary following his life in exile after a 2006 sex scandal - no longer bound by an agreement with his former church that prohibited him from talking publicly about the events that led to his downfall.

"The Trials of Ted Haggard," directed by Alexandra Pelosi, daughter of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is set to air next month on HBO. Haggard has agreed to take part in publicity for the project, HBO said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:44 AM

Abhaya: CJ dismisses CBI ’s plea

INDIA
Kerala Online

Kochi, Thursday 18 December 2008: The Kerala High court yesterday dismissed the CBI application seeking transfer of bail applications of three accused in the sister Abhaya case to another judge . Earlier, CBI standing counsel filed an application before the Acting Chief Justice, Justice J B Koshy, complaining that they will not get justice from Justice K Hema, who is presently considering the bail applications of the accused– Father Thomas Kottur, Father Jose Puthrikayil and Sister Sephy.

The three were arrested in connection with the case on November 19 and currently lodged in the Ernakulam sub-jail.

Meanwhile, Justice K Hema directed CBI to handover the medical reports and case diary of the case to the court.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:42 AM

Results of child protection inquiry in Cloyne may be published

IRELAND
The Irish Times

PATSY McGARRY, Religious Affairs Correspondent

THE NATIONAL Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church (NBSCCC) has indicated that it may publish the results of an inquiry it conducted into child protection practices in the diocese of Cloyne earlier this year.

In a terse one-line statement last night NBSCCC chief executive Ian Elliott said “given that the Minister has made it clear that this report is clearly ours, we are considering all options available to us”.

In a statement yesterday Mr Andrews said that “confusion appears to surround the commissioning and status of two individual reports into child sexual abuse in the diocese of Cloyne.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:39 AM

December 17, 2008

Chicago archdiocese to pay $1.2M in sex case

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Breaking News

December 17, 2008 at 5:20 PM
A teenage boy and his mother will receive $1.2 million from the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago for sexual abuse the boy suffered at the hands of Daniel McCormack, a lawyer for the victims said today.

The agreement is the most recent settlement reached between the archdiocese and a victim of McCormack, the former pastor of St. Agatha Catholic Church, who pleaded guilty last year to fondling five boys ages 8 to 12 at St. Agatha. The victim in this settlement, however, was not part of the criminal case, lawyer Kenneth Cunniff said.

According to the complaint, McCormack made advances toward the boy, then 14, once in August 2005 in public during a White Sox game at U.S. Cellular Field. He also made advances in the church rectory and at the Our Lady of the West Side School, Presentation campus, where McCormack coached him in basketball.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:25 PM

Ex-LDS bishop sentenced to prison for sex abuse

OGDEN (UT)
Deseret News

By Ben Winslow
Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2008 4:02 p.m. MST

OGDEN — His lips trembling and barely able to speak, Timothy O'Sean McCleve looked across the courtroom at the mother of his victims.

"From the deepest part of my heart I am truly sorry," he said.

McCleve was sentenced Wednesday to a pair of one-to-15 year prison terms after pleading guilty to two counts of sexual abuse of a child, a second-degree felony. McCleve was the former bishop over the Harrisville LDS Church ward that the girls he sexually abused were in. Police said he would often stop by their home while their parents were away.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:23 PM

Another Multimillion Dollar Award Against the Burlington Diocese

VERMONT
Fox 44

The verdict is in: a Burlington jury awards more than $3.5 million to a former altar boy who says the church didn't do enough to protect him from a pedophile priest.

After 13 hours of deliberation the jury awarded a multimillion dollar verdict to a former victim of priest Edward Paquette. That's the second time this year a jury has blamed the Burlington Diocese for hiring Paquette in the 1970s, knowing he had previously molested altar boys in three states, including Vermont.

"I'm confident that they voted with the conscience to met out justice in my case," said victim David Navari.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:20 PM

Jury awards $3.6 million in abuse case

VERMONT
Burlington Free Press

[with video of Bishop Salvatore Matano's testimony]

December 17, 2008

A jury awarded $3.6 million in damages Wednesday to a former Burlington altar boy molested by the Rev. Edward Paquette in the 1970s, the second time in a year the state’s Roman Catholic diocese has been hit with multi-million dollar verdict in such a case.

The seven-woman, five-man Chittenden Superior Court jury reached its decision just before 3 p.m. after nearly 13 hours of deliberation.

The former altar boy, David Navari of Takoma Park, Md., alleged Paquette twice molested him at Christ the King Church in Burlington and claimed the diocese was to blame because it hired Paquette knowing he had previously molested altar boys in three states, including Vermont.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:51 PM

Priest convicted of sexual assault gets suspended sentence

CANADA
The Telegram

A Roman Catholic priest charged with sexually assaulting a young woman in Holyrood last summer has been given a suspended sentenced.

Rev. Patrick Robert Offin apologized for his actions this afternoon in provincial court in St. John’s after pleading guilty to one count of sexual assault in provincial court in St. John’s.
The charge stemmed from an Aug. 21 incident at the priest’s house.

Offin — from Ghana, West Africa — was serving a two-month stint at Holy Cross parish in Holyrood at the time.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:17 PM

Man awarded $3.6M in priest sex abuse case

VERMONT
NECN

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) - A jury is awarding a former altar boy nearly $3.6 million because the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington didn't protect him from an abusive priest in the 1970s.

The jury returned the verdict against the diocese on Wednesday after a weeklong trial in the lawsuit filed by the now 43-year-old Maryland man.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:05 PM

Former LDS bishop to be sentenced

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
KSL

December 17th, 2008 @ 10:33am
(KSL News) A former bishop for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints convicted of abusing children in his congregation will be sentenced this afternoon.

Timothy McCleve was convicted of charges of sexual abuse in connection with incidents that happened at a Harrisville church last March.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:01 PM

Time ranks SBC rejection of sex-offender database as 'under-reported' story

NEW YORK
Associated Baptist Press

By Bob Allen
Wednesday, 17 December 2008
NEW YORK (ABP) -- Time Magazine ranked the Southern Baptist Convention's refusal to establish a database of clergy sex offenders one of the most under-reported news stories in 2008.

A ranking of under-reported stories in Time's "Top 10 Everything of 2008" special feature placed the story at No. 6, behind a mix-up that accidentally sent U.S. nuclear-warhead fuses to Taiwan, the Congolese civil war, violence in Sri Lanka, and new guidelines for insurance coverage for mental health and regulation of food from animals that are genetically altered.

"Facing calls to curb child sex abuse within its churches, in June the Southern Baptist Convention -- the largest U.S. religious body after the Catholic Church -- urged local hiring committees to conduct federal background checks but rejected a proposal to create a central database of staff and clergy who have been either convicted of or indicted on charges of molesting minors," the magazine noted.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:55 PM

Plaintiff Awarded Millions in Priest Sex Abuse Case

VERMONT
WCAX

Burlington, Vermont - December 17, 2008

Jurors have reached a verdict in the latest priest sex abuse case against the Vermont Catholic Diocese.

Wednesday afternoon they awarded a former altar boy $192,500 in compensation and $3.4 million in punitive damages.

The plaintiff-- now 43-- wanted the diocese to pay him millions in damages for the actions of a pedophile priest. He said he was groped two times by former Vermont priest Edward Paquette 30 years ago at a Burlington parish.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:40 PM

6. Southern Baptists decide against pedophilia database

UNITED STATES
Time Magazine

Facing calls to curb child sex abuse within its churches, in June the Southern Baptist Convention — the largest U.S. religious body after the Catholic Church — urged local hiring committees to conduct federal background checks but rejected a proposal to create a central database of staff and clergy who have been either convicted of or indicted on charges of molesting minors. The SBC decided against such a database in part because its principle of local autonomy means it cannot compel individual churches to report any information.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:36 PM

$3.6 million verdict in Vt. priest trial

VERMONT
Times-Argus

By KEVIN O’CONNOR
Staff Writer - Published: December 17, 2008

BURLINGTON - A jury ruled Wednesday that Vermont’s Catholic Church should pay $3.6 million for negligence in hiring and supervising a pedophile priest.

A panel of five men and seven women deliberated for almost 13 hours over two days before finding the statewide Roman Catholic Diocese liable in a Chittenden Superior Court lawsuit regarding the former Rev. Edward Paquette, who worked in Rutland in 1972, Montpelier in 1974 and Burlington in 1976.

The jury awarded David Navari, a 43-year-old Burlington native, $192,500 in compensatory damages and $3.4 million in punitive damages for civil claims that the diocese failed to protect him from Paquette. In his lawsuit, Navari said the priest fondled him on two occasions in 1977 when he was an 11-year-old altar boy at Burlington’s Christ the King Church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:14 PM

Former Hunter priest's sex charges doubled

AUSTRALIA
The Herald

BY INGRID BOWN
18/12/2008
A MAGISTRATE broke the news yesterday to former Hunter priest and school teacher John Sidney Denham that police had doubled the criminal charges against him to 134.

The 67 new charges, laid yesterday, relate to seven alleged victims. The 66-year-old is now accused of sexually abusing 39 boys across almost two decades.

Among the fresh charges are allegations of buggery, that he incited one boy to commit an indecent act with another student, that he fondled boys' penises and kissed a victim, putting his tongue inside the boy's mouth.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:58 PM

Wisconsin judge orders restitution in rare criminal charges that were filed more than 35 years after sexual assault

WISCONSIN
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

A self-help group, SNAP (Survivors' Network of those Abused by Priests) has learned that a Wisconsin judge has ordered convicted child molester Dale J. Soppe, age 72 of Fairfield, IA to pay restitution to victim Richard Hinde of Barron County who he abused more than 35 years ago.

The Barron County, Wisconsin District Attorney had filed felony 'indecent behavior with a child' charges in early May 2006 against Soppe (Case # 2004 BA 001499).

Criminal charges have been brought because Soppe left Wisconsin, which effectively tolled or 'stopped the clock' on the criminal statutes of limitations.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:15 PM

Son will not visit woman raped by Hindu priest

UNITED KINGDOM
Harrow Times

By Jack Royston »

THE son of a woman who was raped by a Hindu priest said he does not know who to blame for the crime.

Shashikant Vyas, 61, has admitted forcing a 41-year-old woman, who recently tried to kill herself, to have sex with him against her will and was jailed for four-and-a-half years today.

But her son told Harrow Crown Court he does not plan to visit his mother, who is still in hospital after the suicide attempt, and is not sure who to blame for what happened.

Cross examining her son, Judge Alan Greenwood said: “He's admitted raping her but you don't know who to blame. Why?”

The son replied: “Because I don't believe he is capable of it.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:46 AM

Acting CJ dismisses CBI 's plea

INDIA
Daily News & Analysis

KOCHI: The Kerala High court on Wednesday dismissed the CBI application seeking transfer of bail applications of three accused in the sister Abhaya case to another judge.

Earlier, CBI standing counsel filed an application before the Acting Chief Justice, Justice J B Koshy, complaining that they will not get justice from Justice K Hema, who is presently considering the bail applications of the accused-- Father Thomas Kottur, Father Jose Puthrikayil and Sister Sephy.

The three were arrested in connection with the case on November 19 and currently lodged in the Ernakulam sub-jail.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:38 AM

The Deification of Gary McKnight Must Stop

ORANGE COUNTY (CA)
Orange County Weekly

Posted by Gustavo Arellano in Ex Cathedra, Sports
December 17, 2008 6:52 AM

Both the Los Angeles Times and the Orange County Register have tripped over themselves this month in the attempt to give the swooning-est review of Mater Dei High's current varsity basketball squad and its head coach, Gary McKnight. The Times says McKnight "is used to ridiculous riches,"while Reg columnist Mark Whicker contributed another Valentine, noting the largest Catholic school west of Chicago were "pioneers in making high school basketball a nationally played sport, for good or ill."

Problem is, the Times and Register sports sections didn't bother, either this month or ever, to mention McKnight's true ill: allowing a known statutory rapist back on campus. The man, of course, is Jeff Andrade, whom Mater Dei officials let go in 1996 after finding out he was schtupping a student, a crime for which Diocese of Orange Bishop Tod D. Brown had to pay out a couple of million dollars.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:36 AM

Judge: Jury must review entire Matano deposition

VERMONT
Burlington Free Press

[with video]

December 17, 2008

UPDATE, 9:35 A.M.: The jury in a church abuse trial at Chittenden Superior Court will review a 70-minute videotaped deposition of Bishop Salvatore Matano this morning as deliberations in the case enter a second day.

The trial involves a former Christ the King Church altar boy who contends he was molested by a Roman Catholic priest in the 1970s. The man, 43-year-old David Navari, has sued the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington, asking for $6 million to $12 million in damages.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:21 AM

Woman tried to kill herself after rape by priest

UNITED KINGDOM
Harrow Times

By Tristan Kirk

A WOMAN raped by a Hindu priest has tried to kill herself several times and says she has been ostracised by the community after she was attacked.

The 41-year-old was raped by Shashikant Vyas in February this year, and now says her life has been ruined as friends and neighbours blame her for bringing about the prosecution of the priest.

Vyas is facing a spell behind bars for raping the woman in her home, ripping off her clothes, pinning her down, and leaving her with multiple injuries to her arms and breasts after he attacked her.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:13 AM

LaRocque exonerated: church

CANADA
Standard-Freeholder

(Staff) -- Bishop Paul-Andre Durocher announced the "exoneration" of former Alexandria- Cornwall Bishop Eugene LaRocque from a complaint he allegedly sexually abused a teenage boy in the mid-1970s.

The alleged victim filed a lawsuit against LaRocque and Father Don Scott, a parish priest in Maxville at the time, three years ago concerning the allegations.

Scott died previous to the man accusing the priest of the abuse. Durocher said "the diocese acknowledged the probable guilt of Father Scott soon after the lawsuit was launched, but always defended Bishop LaRocque" based on discrepancies in the dates of the alleged abuse and LaRocque's time at the local diocese. The Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall admitted the liability of Scott at a mediation of the lawsuit on Nov. 12, wrote Durocher.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:11 AM

Man suing Bridgeport diocese, claiming sex abuse

BRIDGEPORT (CT)
Hartford Courant

Associated Press
December 17, 2008
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - A Florida man has filed suit against the Bridgeport diocese, claiming he was sexually abused by a priest in Baltimore, New Jersey and Washington in 1977.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday is the fourth lawsuit filed against the diocese in connection with allegations against the Rev. Lawrence Brett.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:09 AM

Hindu priest jailed for rape

UNITED KINGDOM
Harrow Times

A HINDU priest who raped a woman has been jailed for four-and-a-half years.

Shashikant Vyas, 61, attacked and raped a woman in her home in February this year, leaving her physically and mentally scarred.

The 41-year-old has made several suicide bids since it happened and told Harrow Crown Court her life had been ruined by the rape.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:06 AM

Rapist priest jailed

UNITED KINGDOM
Harrow Observer

Dec 17 2008 By Ben Clover

Sex beast priest Shashikant Vyas has been sentenced to four-and-a-half years in jail for rape.

Vyas, 61, pleaded guilty to pinning down the 41-year-old in the attack on February 1, leaving her with scratch marks all over her arms.

The victim has lost the support of family members who have sided with Vyas, with whom they have built a close relationship during his four years in England, the court was told.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:04 AM

CBI wants new judge to hear bail plea in nun murder case

INDIA
The Peninsular (Qatar)

Source ::: THE PENINSULA/ By John Mary

Thiruvananthapuram: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has requested the Chief Justice of Kerala High Court to prevent Justice K Hema from hearing bail petitions filed by the accused in the Sister Abhaya murder case.

The CBI, while seeking the transfer of bail application files to another bench, felt it would not get justice in the investigation into the alleged murder of Sister Abhaya, an inmate of St Pius X Convent in Kottayam, on March 27, 1992.

Certain actions on the part of Justice Hema might affect the pace of investigation, the CBI submitted.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:55 AM

Former priest to face indecent assault charges

IRELAND
Leinster Leader

Published Date: 18 December 2008
By Staff Reporter

A FORMER priest was before Naas District Court last week on charges of indecent assault.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was a member of a religious order for many years. He is currently in receipt of an Old Age Pension. The court heard the accused was facing nine charges of indecent assault dating back to the early 1980s. The court heard the alleged victim was a child at the time and the alleged offences occured in the local parish.

Judge Desmond Zaidan granted bail on a bond of n2,000 on the condition that the accused reside in a monastery and have no contact with the alleged victim. Inspector Patsy Glennon told the court the identification of the former priest in the media would cause great distress to the victim.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:53 AM

Ex-scout leader charged in Thai sex ring

CANADA
Calgary Herald

Linda Nguyen And Stephane Massinon, Calgary Herald
Published: Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A former Calgarian accused of running a pedophilia business out of his Thailand home for at least eight years was arrested at a London airport Monday on his way back to Canada, a U. S. district attorney said Tuesday.

John Charles Wrenshall, 62, a man who was once convicted in 1997 for indecent assaults on choir boys at the Cathedral Church of the Redeemer in Calgary, had lived outside of Bangkok since 1999 or 2000 after moving from Calgary.

American prosecutor Lee Vartan said in a phone interview that Wrenshall was arrested on a warrant stemming from an indictment handed down last summer by a grand jury in New Jersey.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:42 AM

City man nabbed in sex bust

CANADA
The Calgary Sun

By RENATO GANDIA, SUN MEDIA

British cops arrested a convicted Calgary sex offender who American authorities say is the ring leader of an international group of pedophiles.

John Wrenshall, 62, was named in an 18-count indictment issued by a federal grand jury in New Jersey in August, said the U.S. Attorney office in a news release.

The indictment was unsealed upon Wrenshall's arrest Monday at Heathrow Airport by London cops and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials. ...

Wrenshall was convicted in 1997 for sexual assault of eight young choir boys, and now he's facing several sexual tourism charges in the U.S. court.

Pretending that he was researching pre-teen boys' sexuality, he lured his victims to his southwest home while he was serving as a scout master and a choir member at the Anglican's Cathedral Church of the Redeemer at 218 7 Ave. S.E.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:38 AM

Father seeks custody of sons in Alamo case

ARKANSAS
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

BY ANDY DAVIS

Posted on Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A worker at the Trane Inc. plant in Fort Smith, Jose Avila left the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries about eight years ago, when he and his wife separated.

While he kept in touch with her and their five sons, he wasn't aware of any abuse within the ministry, said Avila's attorney, Pamela Fisk of Texarkana, Texas.

Now the boys have been placed in foster care by the Arkansas Department of Human Services, which contends that the practices of the church, including beatings for seemingly minor infractions, put children at risk of abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:36 AM

Pastor cautioned at sex abuse trial

WAGONER (OK)
Muskogee Phoenix

By Donna Hales
Phoenix Staff Writer

WAGONER — A Muskogee pastor testified Tuesday he did not tell authorities when a Porter man admitted to him that he had molested his adopted daughter.

John Thomas Ashwood, 68, who identified himself as pastor of the Sovereign Grace Church at Muskogee, gave the testimony in a sentencing hearing for Doyanne Putnam in Wagoner County District Court.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:33 AM

Sex assault victim claims 'Mennonite coverup'

CANADA
The Standard

By BRETT CLARKSON, SUN MEDIA

Anne Klassen claims a Mennonite "conspiracy of silence" intimidated her into staying quiet over the repeated sexual assaults she says she suffered for years at the hands of her now deceased father.

Klassen, 56, went public with her allegations in a press conference yesterday for the first time.

The native of Virgil wants the Mennonite church to acknowledge what she said was its role in scaring her into silence about the horrific sex attacks she said her father, whom she identified as the late Martin Klassen, subjected her to from early childhood until her 20s while growing up in the predominantly Mennonite town in the Niagara region.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:30 AM

Discipline master charged

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

Jonathan Dart, Geesche Jacobsen and Andrew West
December 17, 2008

A FORMER director of discipline at an exclusive Catholic boarding school in Bathurst has been charged with child sexual offences, in a police investigation of events at St Stanislaus College spanning 30 years.

Police searched the homes of the two most senior Vincentian fathers in Australia at the order's provincial residence in Marsfield yesterday.

Father Phil Robson, 60, a board member, former teacher and director of discipline, was arrested on five charges, including aggravated sexual assault and indecent assaults.

Father Greg Cooney, 61, the head of the order in Australia and a former school chaplain, was also arrested and interviewed over eight alleged offences, but later released without charge pending further inquiries, police said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:27 AM

Calls for Cloyne abuse report to be published

IRELAND
Irish Times

LUKE CASSIDYCalls have been made for the Government to immediately publish a report into the handling of allegations of sexual abuse against members of the clergy in the Diocese of Cloyne.

Labour’s Sean Sherlock said the Government’s refusal to publish the report is “a totally cowardly position”.

The report, prepared by Ian Elliot, chief executive of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church (NBSCCC), was submitted to Minister of State for Children Barry Andrews last July.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:24 AM

Jury begins deliberations in clergy abuse case

VERMONT
Burlington Free Press

By Sam Hemingway • Free Press Staff Writer • December 17, 2008

The jury in the case of a former altar boy molested by the Rev. Edward Paquette in the late 1970s went home Tuesday night without reaching a verdict and will resume deliberations this morning.

"Have a good night," Judge Dennis Pearson told the seven-woman, five man panel during a brief courtroom meeting with them at 10 p.m.

The jury decided to break off deliberations after almost eight hours after learning that a written transcript of Bishop Salvatore Matano's videotaped testimony would not be available for them to review Tuesday night.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:11 AM

December 16, 2008

Government will not publish report into sex abuse claims in diocese

IRELAND
Irish Examiner

By Claire O’Sullivan
THE Government is not going to publish a report into the mishandling of child sex abuse claims in a Cork diocese, Minister for Children Barry Andrews has confirmed.

Mr Andrews was given the report five months ago and has been under sustained pressure from child abuse campaigners to publish its findings. The report investigated the handling of allegations of abuse in Cloyne made to the Catholic Church between 15 and 20 years ago.

Mr Andrews said neither the department nor the Government commissioned the report and responsibility for publication of the potentially explosive report lay “elsewhere”.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:53 PM

Mocksville pastor charged with soliciting sex acts

MOCKSVILLE (NC)
Winston-Salem Journal

By Michael Hewlett | Journal Reporter

Published: December 16, 2008

Mocksville - The pastor of a Mocksville church was among the four men charged with soliciting for sex acts at Hobby Park off Clemmonsville Road.

Thompson Gregory Little, 43, of Mocksville is the pastor of Cornerstone Christian Church on N.C. 801.

"It's going to be a contested case," said J.D. Byers, Little's attorney. "I don't think what is alleged to have happened happened."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:35 PM

Two Priests Excommunicated in Phoenix, Arizona

ARIZONA
Catholic Online

By Robert DeFrancesco
12/16/2008
The Catholic Sun (www.catholicsun.org)

Despite all that has happened, Bishop Olmsted’s desire and prayer is for reconciliation with both men and their return to full communion with the Church

PHOENIX, Az. (The Catholic Sun) - Two diocesan priests have been declared excommunicated from the Catholic Church for their continued involvement with a small, Mesa-based faith community.

Msgr. Dale Fushek and Fr. Mark Dippre, neither of whom has been active in the Catholic Church in recent years, received notice of their excommunication Dec. 9 from Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted. This type of censure carries with it the consequence of not being able to receive the Eucharist, celebrate Mass or receive other sacraments of the Church. Also, they cannot represent themselves as priests.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:28 PM

Raped by Episcopal clergy as a teen, 80 year old victim still trying to get justice from Diocese in PA. Gets doubletalk, empty promises instead

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
City of Angels

The diocese says, sure, we will post your story, then hides it in an apology that does not even name the perpetrator. Ralph White faces obstruction from the Episcopal Church, eerily similar to treatment received by Catholic victims.

At age 80, White wants the story about abuse he suffered at the hands of Gibson Bell at All Saints Parish published widely, as he still believes there are other victims. Story distributed by Janet Patterson, clergy sex crime victims' advocate, who can be reached at: snapkansas@hotmail.com

For more than 60 years, a Philadelphia man has been on a quest. In his attempts to tell his story of clergy sexual abuse during his teen years, he has been rejected, stonewalled, and intimidated.

Ralph E. White, Jr. endured physical abuse and institutional imprisonment following his threats to reveal his sexual abuse by the family minister, the late Rev. Dr. Gibson Bell.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:22 PM

Vincentian leader released after "grave error" by police

AUSTRALIA
CathNews

The Daily Telegraph reports Fr Cooney, 60, was freed pending further police enquiries but another priest who is still on the board of the school was charged with eight offences.

Father Phil Robson, 61, from the Vincentian order in Marsfield, was charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child, intent to have sexual intercourse with a child and three counts of aggravated indecent assault.

Current St Stanislaus principal John Edwards said the congregation would now decide upon Fr Robson's future.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:19 PM

Of Certainty and Doubt

UNITED STATES
Inside Catholic

by Joan Frawley Desmond
12/16/08

The implosion of Catholic religious orders in the 1970s shook the foundations of the Catholic Church in America, threatening both the financial viability of parish schools and the transmission of faith and morals to subsequent generations. Decades later, the clergy sex-abuse crisis produced another earthquake from which the Church has yet to recover.

Most Catholics view these two developments as entirely separate. But John Patrick Shanley, the screenwriter and director of the newly released Doubt -- the film adaptation of his award-winning, off-Broadway play of 2004 -- draws out the clear and subtle connections between the exodus of nuns and the unchecked abuses of clerical predators.

Unfortunately, the film doesn't succeed half as well as the play. The spare plot works better on stage, and Meryl Streep's interpretation of the central character occasionally drifts into caricature. Still, Shanley's meditation on the seismic shift in Catholic culture that converged with the Second Vatican Council helps us understand why an era that began with so much promise ended in such darkness and confusion.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:13 PM

Diocese sued in priest abuse case

BRIDGEPORT (CT)
Connecticut Post

By DANIEL TEPFER
Staff writer
Article Last Updated: 12/16/2008 07:05:59 PM EST

BRIDGEPORT -- He is among the most notorious accused child molesters in the area's history.

Yet Lawrence Brett has never spent a day behind bars.

His alleged abuse of about a dozen children across the nation has cost the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport thousands, perhaps millions, of dollars. Church officials, however, continue to say they don't know where Brett, a priest in the diocese since the early 1960s, now is.

But two diocesan priests who admitted to meeting Brett on a Caribbean island were disciplined in 2003 by the diocese. He is even being sought by the FBI.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:05 PM

Jury begins deliberations on church case

VERMONT
Rutland Herald

By KEVIN O’CONNOR
Staff Writer - Published: December 16, 2008

BURLINGTON — After hearing almost 10 days of testimony, a jury has begun deliberations in the latest priest misconduct trial involving Vermont’s Catholic Church.

A Chittenden Superior Court jury of five men and seven women heard closing arguments Tuesday morning in a civil lawsuit brought by David Navari, a 43-year-old Burlington native who claims the state’s largest religious denomination was negligent in its 1970s hiring and supervision of a pedophile priest.

Navari was an 11-year-old altar boy at Burlington’s Christ the King Church when former priest Edward Paquette groped the fifth-grader’s genitals on two occasions in 1977, the plaintiff testified in court.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:15 PM

Omaha priest awaits new post after sentencing

OMAHA (NE)
NTV

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - The Omaha Archdiocese is mulling a new assignment for a priest sentenced to five years' probation for stealing more than $83,000 from an Omaha parish.

The Rev. Rodney Adams was sentenced Tuesday in Douglas County District Court. He has been on administrative leave since resigning as pastor of St. Bridget and St. Rose parishes in May.

Adams was ordered to pay $23,000 in restitution and perform 500 hours of community service. Adams said in court that he's been in therapy for manic depression and a spending addiction.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:09 PM

Lawyers for former altar boy ask for $6 million in damages

VERMONT
Burlington Free Press

Free Press Staff Report • December 16, 2008

Lawyers for a former altar boy in the longest-running clergy abuse trial in the state’s history asked the jury for more than $6 million in damages today in closing arguments.

The alleged victim, David Navari, 43, has agreed to disclose his name now that the trial is ending. Navari said he was molested twice as an altar boy at Christ the King Church in Burlington by the Rev. Edward Paquette in the late 1970s.

Navari, now a Takoma Park, Md., business man, has argued the diocese is liable for damages because it knew Paquette was a child molester when it hired him. Paquette is not a defendant in this case.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:07 PM

Rapist priest faces jail

UNITED KINGDOM
Harrow Observer

Dec 16 2008 By Ben Clover

A woman who was raped by a Hindu priest has made several suicide bids after the attack broke up her family, a court heard.

Shashikant Vyas, 61, pinned down the 41-year-old in the attack on February 1, leaving her with scratch marks all over her arms.

The victim has lost the support of family members who have sided with Vyas, with whom they have built a close relationship during his four years in England, the court was told.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:49 PM

LifeTeen founder is excommunicated

ARIZONA
Catholic Culture

[Statement of the Diocese of Phoenix]

Msgr. Dale Fushek, the founder of the popular Life Teen program, has been excommunicated.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:27 PM

Priest Sex Abuse Trial Expected To Conclude Tuesday

VERMONT
WPTZ

[with video]

BURLINGTON, Vt. -- The latest trial against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington, Vt., is expected to conclude today.

It is unclear if a verdict will come down from the court today, but closing arguments are expected to conclude and the case will then go to the jury.

The plaintiff in the case took the stand last week, describing how he was molested as an altar boy at the church. The trial is the third of its kind this year against the diocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:25 PM

Priest Sentenced For Embezzling From Churches

OMAHA (NE)
KETV

OMAHA, Neb. -- An Omaha priest who stole more than $83,000 from two south Omaha parishes has received probation.

Judge Russell Bowie sentenced Rodney Adams to three to five years of probation. Adams must also pay $23,000 in restitution over the next five years. The defense has established a restitution account at Wells Fargo bank for anyone who wants to help Adams pay back the church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:23 PM

St Stanislau Catholic leader released without charge

AUSTRALIA
The Daily Telegraph

By Gemma Jones

December 17, 2008 12:00am

THE leader of the Catholic order in control of St Stanislaus College in Bathurst was yesterday released without charge after being arrested and questioned by police over a paedophile investigation.

Father Greg Cooney, 60, was freed pending further police inquiries but another priest who is still on the board of the school was charged with eight offences.

Father Phil Robson, 61, from the Vincentian order in Marsfield, was charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child, intent to have sexual intercourse with a child and three counts of aggravated indecent assault.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:19 PM

“Doubts” grow on Merz op-ed

UNITED STATES
dotCommonweal

December 16, 2008, 11:47 am Posted by David Gibson

Last week Grant Gallicho posted here about a Boston Globe op-ed by Judge Michael Merz, head of the lay-led National Review Board that is supposed to ensure that the bishops follow their own policies on child protection. Merz’s view that the hierarchy was doing a good and no one should have any worries–and that any bishops who did anything wrong should not resign–was immediately questioned in many quarters. Now Voice of the Faithful, the lay reform group that grew up in reaction to the scandal and whose protests and efforts were part of the reason the NRB was created, has issued a response to Merz’s op-ed that questions its accuracy. VOTF’s leadership says it is “deeply disappointed” in Merz’s statements and continues:

Catholic bishops complicit in the clergy sex abuse scandal do indeed need to resign or be replaced. Unlike Judge Merz, we at VOTF do not assume that those responsible for coverups and scandal are in any way qualified to lead the cleanup.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:14 PM

Priest given probation in embezzlement

OMAHA (NE)
World-Herald

BY CHRISTOPHER BURBACH
WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER

A judge today sentenced a priest to five years’ probation for embezzling about $83,000 from St. Bridget Catholic parish in south Omaha.

The Rev. Rodney Adams also must pay restitution, Douglas County District Judge Russell Bowie ordered.

Adams stole the money while serving as pastor of both St. Bridget, 4112 S. 26th St., and St. Rose, 4102 S. 13th St..

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:46 AM

KBA rules against president

KENTUCKY
The Courier-Journal

Associated Press • December 16, 2008

The president of the Kentucky Bar Association and the group's ethics committee have settled an investigation over her removal of committee members in a deal that will put limits on her power.

The association's Board of Governors found that Barbara Bonar, of Covington, inappropriately removed several members of the ethics committee in August before their terms expired. Several have returned to the board, the association said. ...

Bonar took over the presidency of the state organization in July, despite a judge's findings last year that she acted unethically in litigation against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington over priest sexual abuse.

Special Judge Robert McGinnis found last year that Bonar committed "numerous ethical violations" by settling cases for individual clients who claimed sexual abuse while she was co-counsel for a group of plaintiffs in an $84 million class-action lawsuit against the diocese. That case was settled in 2006

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:44 AM

Innocent until proven guilty?

UNITED STATES
Stop Baptist Predators

I get email after email with these words: “Innocent until proven guilty.”

Sometimes, they put “proven” in all caps: “Innocent until PROVEN guilty.”

The thing that gets me is the way they toss out those words as though “enough said.”

It’s a catchy slogan and they seem to think slinging the slogan will automatically solve something.

It doesn’t.

In fact, the slogan doesn’t even apply in the context where they’re slinging it.

“Innocent until proven guilty” is a standard for whether a person should go to prison, not a standard for whether he should be in the pulpit.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:41 AM

Dad 'lost it' in beating of boy, 13, say cops

NEW YORK
New York Daily News

BY SIMONE WEICHSELBAUM
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

Monday, December 15th 2008, 4:00 AM

A top Brooklyn rabbi has been forbidden from being near his 13-year-old son after the teen called the cops on his father for beating him.

The son of Rebbe Sholom Twersky, 49, told police that his father scratched and slapped him on Oct. 28, hurting his arms, according to court records. The boy was taken to Maimonides Medical Center, where he was treated and released.

"He lost it and started slapping the kid around, and the kid wasn't going to take it," a police source said.

The Brooklyn district attorney's office charged the father of 12 with assault, endangering the welfare of a child and harassment.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:38 AM

Statement by Mark Crawford on Fr. Noche and Fr. McAlinden

NEW JERSEY
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

We’re here today to talk about two priests – Fr. Noche and Fr. McAlinden.
And we’re here to talk about three issues – openness, recklessness, and callousness.

First, Fr. Noche. . . We’re here today because at least six or seven parishioners have asked for our help. Over the years, many victims have gotten much support and help from Catholic lay people. So when lay people ask for our help, we try our best to lend a hand. And when we hear from a number of Catholics over several months, all reporting essentially the same facts and concerns, we feel duty bound to help them protect their families and help prod the church hierarchy to act responsibly.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:07 AM

Catholic Church excommunicates 2 Mesa priests; Sex abuse victims respond

ARIZONA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

It's heart-breaking that it's taken so long for Catholic officials to discipline this dangerous predator. Had church officials acted sooner, who knows how many innocent kids and vulnerable teens might have been spared devastating abuse.

As best we can tell, this is the first time in US church history that a pedophile priest has been excommunicated. (Many assume that most predator priests are no longer priests. That's not true. Most have been suspended, but relatively few have been defrocked. Most remain on the church payroll, receiving health insurance, dental benefits, retirement pay, car allowances, housing allowances and other 'perks.')

Fushek's unwillingness to obey church authorities is often typical of predators, who tend to be egomaniacs who consider themselves 'above' the rules for other people. It's sad and telling that this penalty is given not because Fushek molested but because he opened a competing church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:06 AM

Bishop's Fund donation pace is not on par with year ago

OGDENSBURG (NY)
Watertown Daily Times

By MAX R. MITCHELL
TIMES STAFF WRITER
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2008

OGDENSBURG — The 50th Bishop's Fund Appeal for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg has not seen the success for which many had hoped.

By mid-December last year, the $1.15 million goal was nearly reached, but this year's fundraiser is about 10 percent under its $1.2 million goal, said Valerie A. Mathews, assistant director of development.

"We're always hopeful we will reach our goal," Mrs. Mathews said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:56 AM

Priest Sex Abuse Case Should Go to Jury Today

VERMONT
WCAX

Burlington, Vermont - December 16, 2008

The fourth sex abuse trial involving the Burlington Diocese is expected to wrap up today.

A now-43-year-old former altar boy claims he was abused by Father Edward Paquette in 1977. He says the church new Paquette was a pedophile but did nothing to stop him.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:53 AM

Abhaya: Hearing of nuns plea deferred

INDIA
Kerala Online

Kochi, Monday, December 15, 2008: Kerala High Court today deferred the hearing of the bail plea moved by eighteen nuns alleging CBI harassment in the name of interrogation in the Sister Abhaya murder case.

In a petition filed by Mother Superior General of the S H Mount St Joseph Generalate, SH Mount , Kottayam including Annie John the Superior –General of St Joseph’s Congregation, and other nuns, it was stated that under the guise of investigation in the case, they were being “harassed”.

The nuns and the inmate are being compelled to go to distant places for interrogation, it was submitted. This is against the provisions of Criminal Procedure Code, petitioners said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:43 AM

INDIA Kerala Bishops Concerned Over Probe Into Nun's Murder Case

INDIA
Union of Catholic Asian News

December 15, 2008
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, India (UCAN) -- Bishops and Religious major superiors in Kerala state have expressed concern that the investigation into a nun's alleged murder 16 years ago is prejudiced.

Their three-day meeting that ended on Dec. 11 was held against the backdrop of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), India's top investigating agency, arresting two priests and a nun in mid-November.

The Church leaders agreed the CBI investigation went ahead with "prejudices and pre-conceived ideas," said Father Stephen Alathara, deputy secretary of the Kerala Catholic Bishops' Council. About 30 bishops and 280 priests and nuns met in Kochi, 2,965 kilometers south of New Delhi, where they also discussed other business of concern to the local Church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:40 AM

Abhaya accused remand extended

INDIA
Kerala Online

Kochi, Tuesday, December 16, 2008: The Ernakulam Chief Judicial Magistrate extended the remand of three main accused in the Sister Abhaya murder case to December 29th.

Meanwhile, the Kerala High Court will continue to hear the bail plea of accused Father Thomas Kottur, Father Jose Puthrukkayil and Sister Sephi.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:34 AM

Ex-pastor to spend holidays in jail

COLORADO SPRINGS (CO)
The Gazette

December 15, 2008
DENNIS HUSPENI
THE GAZETTE
A former pastor convicted of molesting a teen-age girl will spend Christmas in jail after a judge Monday refused his request to be let out on bail while awaiting sentencing.

Former Lighthouse Baptist Church associate pastor Jon Moore, 52, pleaded guilty to sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust Oct. 23 and was sent to the El Paso County jail. He was scheduled to be sentenced Monday to a maximum of 60 days in jail, but the probation department needed more time to complete his pre-sentence investigation report, said his public defender Michele Newell.

She asked that since Moore would have been released on Dec. 23, he be set free on bail.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:20 AM

Archdiocese says it has anti-abuse policy in place

PORTLAND (OR)
The Register-Guard

PORTLAND — The Archdiocese of Portland says it has met the requirements for a Roman Catholic Church program to protect children from sexual abuse.

The program, called the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, was adopted by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in June 2002, and revised and renewed in June 2005.

It provides policies and procedures to protect children, and is reviewed by independent auditors.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:13 AM

Are Christians above the law?

INDIA
United Press International

By Bijo Francis

Hong Kong, China — The Catholic clergy of Kerala province in India organized a mass rally in Thrissur district on Sunday to protest the arrest of two priests and a nun on suspicion of murder. Addressing the rally, the former archbishop of Thrissur, Jacob Thomkuzhy, likened the arrests to the crucifixion of Jesus.

The two priests and the nun were arrested on Nov. 19 this year – 16 years after the alleged murder of a 21-year-old nun, Sister Abhaya – after a new investigation into the case was opened. Christian leaders were vocal in protesting the reopening of the court’s investigation, reports by media, and the interrogation of senior clergymen including two archbishops, Kuriakose Kunnassery and Mathew Moolekat.

Since the arrests, Christian leaders in Kerala have issued regular statements accusing the CBI of working against religious interests. Some senior bishops have also issued statements calling upon the local Christian community to reject the investigation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:11 AM

Ariz. priest excommunicated for creating ministry

ARIZONA
The Kansas City Star

The Associated Press

A priest accused of having sexual conversations with teenage boys has been excommunicated by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix for starting his own ministry.

The diocese announced Monday that Monsignor Dale Fushek and another Catholic priest who helped open the ministry are now prohibited from receiving church sacraments.

Fushek was the second highest-ranking administrator in the diocese. He is awaiting trial on charges including assault and indecent exposure over conversations from the 1980s and '90s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:09 AM

Valley Catholic priest Fushek excommunicated

ARIZONA
The Arizona Republic

by Michael Clancy - Dec. 16, 2008 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

Dale Fushek, who was one of the highest-ranking Catholic priests in the Phoenix Diocese and later faced legal charges over sexual-misconduct allegations, has been excommunicated from the church.

Phoenix Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted excommunicated Fushek last week but announced his ruling Monday, saying that it was needed because Fushek now holds non-denominational religious services.

Phoenix Diocese officials said the decision is unrelated to Fushek's legal case, in which he faces seven misdemeanor counts of sexual misconduct.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:04 AM

Jury to get clergy abuse case today

VERMONT
Burlington Free Press

By Sam Hemingway • Free Press Staff Writer • December 16, 2008

Closing statements are set for this morning as a Chittenden Superior Court jury prepares to begin deliberations in the longest-running clergy abuse trial in the state's history.

Lawyers for the state's Roman Catholic diocese and a former Burlington altar boy presented final bits of evidence before resting their cases Monday, the ninth day of testimony in the case. In August, a similar clergy abuse trial lasted eight days.

The former altar boy in the current case, now a Takoma Park, Md., businessman, claims the Rev. Edward Paquette twice molested him at Christ the King Church in Burlington in the late 1970s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:00 AM

December 15, 2008

Teflon Televangelists

UNITED STATES
Harvard Divinity Bulletin

by Mark I. Pinsky

faith and forbearance can sometimes be insurmountable barriers for religion journalists. When it comes to some true believers, I have learned, nothing you write that questions their idols seems to make any difference.

I have been covering Trinity Broadcasting Network and its flamboyant founders, Paul and Jan Crouch, for nearly two decades. During that time, I have chronicled and investigated the inexorable rise of the world's largest Christian media empire for newspapers on both coasts, in The Los Angeles Times and The Orlando Sentinel, as well as in chapters in several books.

My detailed exposés in the Times have included the Crouches' heavy-handed, corner-cutting, and even cutthroat dealings with fellow Christians, as well as disputes between Trinity and the Federal Communications Commission and evangelical trade groups like the National Religious Broadcasters. In part because of my reporting, Trinity withdrew from the NRB, and was stripped of its Miami television affiliate because of what the FCC charged was misrepresentation of minority ownership.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:30 PM

Statement from the Diocese of Clveland Concerning the Federal Sentencing of Joseph H. Smith

CLEVELAND (OH)
Roman Catholic Diocese of Cleveland

The Diocese respects the court's judgment as to as appropriate sentence. It remains the Diocese's position that no one knew of or approved the payments to Smith by Anton Zgoznik's firm.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:23 PM

Former top Cleveland church accountant sentenced

CLEVELAND (OH)
Ohio.com

Published on Thursday Dec 11, 2008

A federal judge has sentenced the former chief financial officer of the Cleveland Catholic Diocese to a year and a day in prison on tax charge convictions.

Joseph H. Smith had been acquitted of more serious charges related to alleged kickbacks.

U.S. District Judge Ann Aldrich did not determine restitution at the Thursday sentencing, but set a $200,000 to $400,000 range.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:12 PM

Leader of NM sect guilty in child sex case

TAOS (NM)
The Associated Press

By DEBORAH BAKER

TAOS, N.M. (AP) — An apocalyptic religious sect's leader was convicted Monday of criminal sexual contact with an underage girl in an incident he called a spiritual healing exercise.

Wayne Bent, 67, was found guilty of one count of criminal sexual contact of a minor and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He is the self-described Messiah and leader of The Lord Our Righteousness Church in New Mexico.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:08 PM

Former Chief Financial Officer of Catholic Diocese of Cleveland Sentenced to a Year and a Day in Prison for Tax Crimes

WASHINGTON (DC)
United States Department of Justice

WASHINGTON - Joseph H. Smith, a CPA and attorney, was sentenced today to a year and a day in prison today by U.S. District Judge Ann Aldrich for his participation in a scheme to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service announced.

Following a six-week trial, a jury in Cleveland convicted Smith of one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and IRS, four counts of filing false tax returns, and one count of corruptly endeavoring to impede the IRS.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Smith was the treasurer, chief financial officer and eventually the financial and legal secretary for the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. Co-conspirator Anton Zgoznik, a former diocese employee, owned and operated several corporations that provided accounting, tax, financial and computer technology services for the diocese on an outsourced basis. During trial it was shown that Smith and Zgoznik entered into a scheme to defraud the IRS. Entities that Zgoznik owned and controlled paid Smith more than $784,000 from 1997 to 2003. Smith and Zgoznik disguised these payments as compensation earned for "consulting" or "legal" services that Smith purportedly provided for the Zgoznik entities.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:55 PM

Archdiocese continues work to ‘keep kids safe’

ST. LOUIS (MO)
St. Louis Review

by Barbara Watkins, Review Staff Writer

Approximately 70,000 people have completed requirements of the Safe Environment Program, the archdiocesan effort to protect children from abuse, since its inception in 2002.

"Our goal is to keep kids safe," explained Terry Edelmann, director of the archdiocesan Safe Environment Program. The Safe Environment Program has three components: required background checks for everyone who works with or near children; required participation for everyone working with or near children in the educational/training Protecting God’s Children Program; and reading and signing the Code of Ethical Conduct. ...

"Fewer than 5 percent of abuse allegations by children turn out to be false," she said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:45 PM

Mary Ann Mulhern Tackles Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church

CANADA
The Windsor Review

By WJ Hull

You can tell that a book of poetry is important when the hall in which it’s launched is packed to capacity ten minutes before the reading is even scheduled to start. On Thursday, April 10th, as many people as could fit in Katzman Lounge, the largest reading venue on the University of Windsor campus, were crammed together to witness the launch of ex-nun Mary Ann Mulhern’s groundbreaking anthology, “When Angels Weep”. Most listeners were forced to stand shoulder-to-shoulder for want of space—but every single one came away glad that they did.

“When Angels Weep” is a collection of poems that outline the abuses of Father Charles Sylvestre, a priest who had been bounced around Southwestern Ontario, abusing little girls at every stop, moving whenever the local authorities became suspicious. He had been victimizing children for decades before finally being turned over to police. He was found guilty of 47 counts of sexual assault, spending his last few days in a jail cell, dying alone in prison.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:36 PM

SECRETS--MORE SECRETS--UPDATE

WISCONSIN
Still Running Off at the Keyboard

Yesterday I blogged an article titled "Church wants Vosen book destroyed". It concerned a priest who no longer has the authority to say public or private masses, and his trial for sexual abuse that allegedly took place several years ago. The allegations were made in 2003, and the trial was placed under "Pontifical secret", whatever that is.

Brent M. King, the Director of Communications for the Diocese of Madison, emailed me comparing the "Pontifical secret" to the seal of confession. So it would seem that we have another category of "secret" surrounding sexual abuse matters. I requested permission to post the email, but was denied. King did refer me to an article that he believes is a better one.

It tells us:

The news release [from the Diocese of Madison] is the latest chapter in the former St. John Vianney priest who was accused in 2003 of sexually assaulting a Janesville boy. The man, who was 26 years old when he made his accusations, said the assault happened when he was in fifth and six grades.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:32 PM

Sister Norma Giannini: Early Release Denied

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Freedom Eden

Forty years ago, Sister Norma Giannini "initiated sexual contact with each of [two] boys in the 1960s and continued sex acts repeatedly, sometimes at her house," when she was the principal of St. Patrick's grade school on Milwaukee's south side.

Giannini was sentenced to serve one year in the House of Correction for her crimes.

I thought that sentence was little more than a slap on the wrist. Prosecutors had recommended 8 years in prison.

Giannini had hoped to secure an early release. Today, that request was denied.

Good.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:27 PM

A Catholic Priest is About to be Excommunicated -- Guess Why

UNITED STATES
AlterNet

By Stephanie Salter, Tribune Star News. Posted December 13, 2008.

The place: Heaven’s gate.

The time: Around 2028, give or take a few mortal years.

The scene: A large crowd of newly dead, not yet liberated from their earthly forms, is trying to maintain order despite a cluster of men who shout, wag their fingers and, occasionally, shove.

“Gentlemen, gentlemen! For pity’s sake, please!” one of the non-combative people in the crowd cries out. “What in God’s name has you behaving in such an unholy way?” ...

“You mean he’s Roman Catholic, and he so offended the church leadership that he was officially denied the sacrament of Communion?” the gentle man asks.

“Correct!” booms the purple-aura man.

“What did he do?” the quiet man asks. “Was he among the thousands of mentally sick Catholic clergy who sexually abused children? Was he among the hierarchy who knew of these men’s illness but, in the name of protecting the church, continued to assign them to parishes and contact with more children?”

The purple-aura man grows more purple. In a low voice, heavy with fury, he responds: “He was indeed a priest. His name is Roy Bourgeois. But his excommunication had nothing to do with that unfortunate subject.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:18 PM

Sister Abhaya's ghost haunts clergy

INDIA
Organizer

By Jayapradeep Viswanathan

As part of its investigation the CBI had conducted a Narco Analysis Test on the suspects including the present three accused. The Kerala High Court directed the CBI to produce the result of the Narco Analysis Test in a sealed cover. CBI did it. But instead of the three CDs originally handed over to the CBI Director, only one CD was produced by them before the Court.

A nun is arrested in a murder case, that too the murder of another nun. The illegitimate relationship of accused priests with accused nun lead the murder. The sins of clergies flood regional media in South. The real story.

Unholy profanities by the so-called ‘holy men’ have shocked the levity in Kerala.

The last of the series is that of the astonishing disclosure of the CBI Joint Director Ashok Kumar at New Delhi. He said, “sixteen years after Sister Abhaya’s body was found in the well of a Christian convent in Kottayam, investigations into her murder finally made some headway with the arrest of two Catholic priests and a nun.” It is the first time a nun is arrested in this country in a murder case; ironically the victim also is a nun.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:06 PM

More Alamo Properties Raided Tuesday

ARKANSAS
KARK

[with video]

Reported by: KARK 4 News
Tuesday, Nov 18, 2008 @01:45pm CST

The investigation into Evangelist Tony Alamo led to more raids on property owned by his ministry organization today in Miller and Sebastian counties.

The raids followed the execution of court orders on 14 properties in Sebastian County, and another seven in Miller County.

Arkansas State Police were assisting officials with the Department of Human Services who were looking for children to remove from those locations. While none were taken from properties in Sebastian County, 21 children have been removed from properties in Miller County in a raid that is still underway.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:58 PM

Fourth man arrested over sex abuse at St Stanislaus, Bathurst

AUSTRALIA
The Daily Telegraph

December 16, 2008 12:00am

A PAEDOPHILE investigation at a Bathurst school took a dramatic turn yesterday with a fourth former worker arrested and more breakthroughs expected this week.

Rick McPhillamy, 47, from Bathurst went to the local police station with his solicitor early yesterday and was charged with two counts of indecent assault.

Former students of the Vincentian school, St Stanislaus college, claimed McPhillamy - who trained alter boys - lived in "The Priest's Corridor" opposite former priest Brian Spillane, who is facing 93 child sex charges.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:53 PM

Supporters oppose calls for priest’s removal

MISSOURI
Central Newsmagazine

By Casey Godwin

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) has held several rallies recently demanding the removal of Rev. Robert Osborne from St. Peters Catholic Church in Kirkwood. But Osborne’s supporters say claims against him are unfounded and he should stay.

A student at Vianney High School accused Osborne of sexual misconduct in 2006. Osborne was never prosecuted for those allegations; instead, a lawsuit was filed. In 2007, the Marianist Province and the high school reached a settlement for an undisclosed sum. The Marianists removed Osborne from Vianney, where he had been serving as president since 2002.

National SNAP Director David Clohessy and former St. John Vianney High School Public Relations Director Linda Briggs-Harty have spear-headed the rallies. SNAP officials said they are concerned that due diligence has not been done and is calling for a lay review board background check. According to the U.S. Bishops Charter, priests that are credibly accused of harming a child should face a review board that mostly consists of lay persons. The board is to make an assessment and determine whether the accused cleric is suitable for ministry. The decision to rely on lay review boards in the event of sexual misconduct with a child came in 2002 after such reports became increasingly common.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:50 PM

Catholic Church excommunicates 2 Mesa priests

ARIZONA
East Valley Tribune

Lawn Griffiths, Tribune
Two Valley Catholic priests, Monsignor Dale Fushek and the Rev. Mark Dippre, have been excommunicated by Bishop Thomas Olmsted for defying his order to not engage in public ministry, an activity that was deemed out of accord with the Roman Catholic Church.

Thirteen months ago, the priests, who had served together in the 1990s at St. Timothy’s Catholic Community in Mesa, founded the nondenominational Praise and Worship Center, which meets Sundays at the Fiesta Fountains Reception Center, 1316 S. Longmore, Mesa.

Fushek was put on paid leave of absence in late 2005 after he was indicted on 10 misdemeanors related to sexual misconduct across almost a decade while he led the Life Teen program.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:40 PM

Priest facing sex trial excommunicated

ARIZONA
The Arizona Republic

by Michael Clancy - Dec. 15, 2008 12:29 PM
The Arizona Republic

Dale Fushek, once one of the most powerful and popular priests in the Diocese of Phoenix, has been excommunicated.

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted said the decision was the result of Fushek's role in the Praise and Worship Center, a new church that Fushek founded with another former priest, Mark Dippre.

Dippre also was excommunicated.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:35 PM

Guest opinion: Spending God's money

UNITED STATES
Associated Baptist Press

By Christa Brown
Thursday, 11 December 2008

(ABP) -- The secrecy of Southern Baptist Convention officials about a financial scandal at their International Mission Board wasn't anything unusual. It's the sort of thing we've seen over and over again.

Southern Baptists need to begin seeing the pattern rather than merely viewing these things as isolated cases.

It's a very common pattern: Without accountability, power corrupts. Religious organizations are no exception.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:31 PM

Priest who created own ministry is excommunicated

PHOENIX (AZ)
KVOA

Associated Press - December 15, 2008 4:34 PM ET

PHOENIX (AP) - Phoenix's Catholic bishop has excommunicated a priest who started a nondenominational ministry after the priest was charged with misdemeanor sexual misconduct.

The action announced Monday against Monsignor Dale Fushek, once the diocese's second highest-ranking administrator, was a response to his creation of the Praise and Worship Center in Chandler.

In excommunicating Fushek and another Catholic priest who helped open the ministry, the diocese makes no mention of the criminal charges against Fushek. Fushek and the other priest are now prohibited from receiving the church's sacraments.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:27 PM

Dark side of the 'chaste' life

CANADA
Montreal Gazette

By SUE MONTGOMERY
December 6, 2008

[This article focuses on Canada; see the website of the order's Canadian province. The Holy Cross Brothers are also active in the United States, where almost 400 brothers are assigned. See a useful collection of links to Holy Cross Brothers websites.]

It's a Catholic order of religious brothers, born out of the French revolution, that spread to North America to teach and minister the sick and poor. They live, eat and pray together, and have taken vows of poverty, celibacy and obedience. They have assets of in excess of $50 million, including investments and property, such as the prestigious private school Collège Notre Dame as well as the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. They own and operate St. Joseph's Oratory where an estimated 2.2 million visitors a year come for solace and prayer.
- - -
But there is a dark side to this seemingly chaste life of serving God. Like so many other Roman Catholic orders, the Brothers of Holy Cross, whose numbers in Quebec have dwindled to fewer than 60 from about 120 members 20 years ago, have had their share of allegations of sexual abuse and paying victims for their silence.

Until now, that has been kept under wraps by a culture of denial, intimidation and fear.

After more than 20 years with the order, Wilson Kennedy, 48, says he grew disillusioned by the sexual abuse and the ends to which the brothers would go to protect their reputation and fat bank accounts.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:14 PM

Judge Orders Nun to Serve Full Sentence

MILWAUKEE (WI)
TMJ-4

December 12, 2008

[Includes video and link to a statement by Giannini's order, the Sisters of Mercy.]

By Jon Byman and Ty Milburn

MILWAUKEE - A judge in Milwaukee County today ordered an elderly nun to serve out her jail sentence. Sister Norma Giannini has serve eight months of a year long sentence for a conviction on charges that she sexually assaulted boys while attending St. Patrick's School in Milwaukee during the 1960s.

Giannini's attorneys told the judge that the sister's health is failing and that she may die while in jail.

Giannini is 80 years old. She pleaded no contest to two felony counts of indecent behavior with a child and was sentenced in February to a year in the Milwaukee County House of Correction.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:29 AM

Archdiocese says it meets child protection program

PORTLAND (OR)
Associated Press, carried on KTVZ-NBC21

The Archdiocese of Portland says it has met the requirements for a Roman Catholic Church program to protect children from sex abuse.

The program, called the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, was adopted by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in June 2002, and revised and renewed in June 2005.

It provides policies and procedures to protect children, and is reviewed by independent auditors.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 5:51 AM

Convicted sex abuser released from clergy

DUBUQUE (IA)
Telegraph Herald

December 13, 2008

A former Dubuque priest convicted of sexual abuse is no longer a member of the clergy.

Timothy DeVenney was granted a dispensation from all obligations and rights arising from Holy Orders, according to a statement from the Archdiocese of Dubuque released Friday.

The archdiocese said Pope Benedict XVI granted the dispensation and DeVenney has not been a priest since September of this year.

DeVenney served four years of a 10-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to fondling several boys at St. Columbkille Catholic Church in Dubuque in the mid-1990s.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 5:47 AM

Gabriel Byrne: Baring his soul on the small screen

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Times

December 14, 2008

In a week in which Gabriel Byrne was nominated for a Golden Globe for his role as psychotherapist Paul Weston in a television series entitled In Treatment, it seemed apt that Irish viewers got a chance to watch the Dubliner exorcize his own demons about binge-drinking, depression and self-imposed exile.

While the Hollywood Foreign Press Association was nominating four Irishmen for the film awards — fellow Dubliners Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell getting acting nominations for In Bruges and Jonathan Rhys Meyers for The Tudors — a television documentary that delved into Byrne’s battle with drink was captivating and even unsettling viewers at home.

. . .

The actor claimed he suffered physical, sexual and emotional abuse by priests between the ages of eight and 11. After seeing a slideshow about missionary priests in Africa, he moved to England to train at a seminary. He stuck it out for five years until “the lure of girls and the outside world” became too much.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 5:43 AM

Uncertain Sympathies: John Patrick Shanley's 'Doubt'

NEW YORK (NY)
America Magazine

The sun doesn’t shine much in the Bronx neighborhood where John Patrick Shanley’s powerful film, Doubt, is set. The atmosphere is gray and cold; its melancholy mood is disturbed only once in the film by a fierce wind storm that blows down many of the bare limbs of the convent trees. The winds of change are indeed blowing in the Catholic Church in 1964, and Sister Aloysius Beauvier, the principal of St. Nicholas parish school, seems determined to protect her domain from any corrupting influences that might be in the air.

Catholics of a certain age might be tempted toward nostalgia by the film’s opening shots, showing a quiet Sunday morning in this Irish-American neighborhood. The altar boys prepare the cruets of water and wine and negotiate which one of them will light the charcoal for the incense and which will ring the altar chimes for the consecration in this pre-Vatican II Sunday Mass. The working-class parishioners, nicely dressed, with the women all wearing the prescribed head-coverings, gently greet each other as they walk to church. Maybe Sister Aloysius has a point. Catholic life seemed simpler and more reliable then, with none of the questions and changes that the Vatican Council and all the other forces of the 1960s would bring to the Church.

But things are not quite as solid and certain as they seem. The first hint comes from the topic of the sermon given by the young priest, Father Brendan Flynn: “What do you do when you’re not sure?” he asks the congregation. He reminds them of the bond of despair and uncertainty they had all shared a year earlier when their beloved president John F. Kennedy was assassinated. He compares this, however, to a much lonelier situation, offering as a parable the story of a sailor alone on a lifeboat who cannot see the stars to guide him. He proposes this as an image of the loneliness many in the congregation might feel because of some secret fear or pain in their lives that no one knows about. For example, he suggests, someone might be thinking, “No one knows that I’ve done something wrong.”

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 5:37 AM

December 14, 2008

SNAP critical of archdiocese move

DUBUQUE (IA)
Telegraph Herald

December 14, 2008

Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, are questioning the length of time it took to defrock a former Dubuque priest convicted of sexual abuse.

Timothy DeVenney was granted a dispensation from the Vatican from all obligations and rights arising from Holy Orders, according to a statement from the Archdiocese of Dubuque released Friday.

"The church hierarchy recruited, educated, ordained, hired, trained and shielded this predator. Now, they can't wash their hands of him and ignore the danger he still presents to unsuspecting families and neighbors," said Barbara Dorris, SNAP outreach director in a statement.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:33 AM

Franciscans are a Public Nuisance for letting children be raped over decades, says Santa Barbara lawsuit, which could work in other states as well

UNITED STATES
City of Angels

December 13, 2008

By Kay Ebeling

[See also Ebeling's posting of the first amended complaint in this case, with commentary.]

With 24 perpetrators and 59 children assaulted in one town, the Franciscans constitute a public nuisance against the entire community, reads a lawsuit progressing towards pre-trial hearings in Santa Barbara.

There is no SOL on these charges. "Because the cause of action is based on conduct that is a continuing Public Nuisance, it is not subject to any statute of limitations set forth in 340.1," the lawsuit states.

Church attorneys tried to get the Santa Barbara public nuisance case moved to Los Angeles, but Judge Emilie Elias quickly turned them down. Now January 15, 2009, the Superior Court in SB will hear arguments on the church's motion to strike major portions of the original complaint. Plaintiffs come armed with decades of evidence, as shown in the brief copy and pasted in full below.

. . .

[Beginning of the brief filed by Timothy C. Hale]

For decades the Franciscan Friars have told half-truths to the communities in which they perform their ministry, and in doing so have lied. In no community has the lie been greater, or been the source of more tragedy, than Santa Barbara.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:19 AM

Many clergy abuse claimants unhappy with settlements

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
The Republican

December 14, 2008

By Stephanie Barry

In a conference room at a downtown high-rise, dozens of men who say they were molested by priests learned recently about the economics of abuse.

Gauge the ugliness and duration. Measure the fallout: drugs, divorce, hospitalizations, suicide attempts.

For Daniel B. Daley, four years of alleged abuse by the Rev. Michael H. Devlin, his parish priest in West Springfield, yielded $80,000 in damages.

"They asked me: 'What difference did it make in your life?'" said Daley, one of 59 plaintiffs who in November collectively settled $4.5 million in clergy abuse claims with the local Catholic diocese. "But it's hard for me to say. I don't know how my life would have been different if it didn't happen."

Victims and their lawyers said they feel the settlements did not nearly assuage years of trauma - in Daley's case, starting when he was 11 years old.

But, a representative for the diocese said the church squeezed as much money as it could out of insurance carriers that resisted covering the claims for years.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:16 AM

Note to Our Readers

A huge ice storm struck the Northeast a few days ago, and Kathy Shaw’s town is one of thousands without power in six states. Kathy and her dog are safe and comfortable at a hotel, and crews are working to restore power. She will be back at the Tracker in a few days.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:29 AM

O'Brien defends the indefensible

BALTIMORE (MD)
Baltimore Examiner

December 14, 2008

[For an example of the Examiner's reporting on the Cristancho case, see Carolyn Peirce's Priest Loses Custody of Triplets Fathered by Donating Sperm - Accused of Abusing Those Children. See also a court opinion in the case.]

By Frank Dingle

The Baltimore Examiner's ongoing reporting of sex abuse allegations within the Catholic Church is to be commended. Although the Catholic Church's ongoing defense of their actions regarding sex abuse allegations is disheartening and disgusting, it's not surprising to the survivors of the unspeakable abuse at the hands of priests and other church leaders. For decades, the Catholic Church has attempted to defend the indefensible by transferring pedophile priests to other parishes to conceal and cover up their sexual abuse crimes.

These articles certainly help focus attention on the need for Archbishop Edwin O'Brien to take a leadership role in supporting efforts to protect children. Sadly, O'Brien is once again defending the church's actions by misleading the public regarding their handling of the Rev. Fernando Cristancho, a leader at St. Ignatius Church in Forest Hill.

I authored this piece not to get drawn into the details of this particular case -- there are more important issues at stake here, including how we move forward to protect innocent children, expose sexual predators and heal victims -- but a quick review of the church's failed efforts to protect the public and conceal the facts surrounding this case warrant further examination.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:17 AM

Obituary: Avery Dulles, 90; Prominent Catholic Cardinal, Theologian

WASHINGTON (DC)
Washington Post

December 14, 2008

[For Dulles' recent positions on the abuse crisis, referenced in this article, see his Rights of Accused Priests. For other Dulles essays, see America's Dulles archive.]

By Michelle Boorstein

Cardinal Avery Dulles, 90, a former professor at Catholic University who was born into a family of elite Protestant diplomats and became one of the country's most prominent Catholic theologians, died Dec. 12 at an infirmary at Fordham University in New York. Stricken with polio when young, he had post-polio syndrome, which led to progressive muscular and pulmonary deterioration.

Cardinal Dulles, who was appointed to the College of Cardinals by Pope John Paul II in 2001, was the first academic to be named to the Catholic Church's highest advisory council, as well as the first who had never served as a bishop.

. . .

Through more than 20 books and 800 articles, he articulated a conservative if tolerant case for Catholicism and the church's positions on contraception, sexuality, the role of women and clergy sex abuse. He served as a bridge between the Vatican and the more liberal American Catholic dissidents after the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s. In his later years, he was seen more as an advocate of orthodoxy and said church sanctions against priests charged in sex abuse scandals were too extreme.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:05 AM

Community notes: Author signing books at Borders Wednesday

ATHENS (GA)
Athens Banner-Herald

Athens author Eugene Bianchi will sign his latest religious-thriller "The Children's Crusade: Scandal at the Vatican" 7 p.m. Wednesday at Borders.

The fictional story revolves around scandals within the Catholic church, including controversies related to sex, abuse and cover-ups scaling the hierarchy of the church.

Bianchi is a former priest and professor of religion at Emory. For more information, go to www.bianchibooks.com/crusade.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:00 AM

Victims snap into action when the church won't

NEWARK (NJ)
The Star-Ledger

December 14, 2008

By Jeff Diamant

Most nights, Mark Crawford will sit at his computer, type in names of Roman Catholic priests accused of abusing minors, and let internet search engines do their thing.

What he finds can help victims solve mysteries. A recent search for Joseph Michael Petralla, a former priest convicted of sex crimes against minors in Maryland, came up with an address in North Arlington. Leaflets in hand, he and other members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests notified neighbors of Petralla's record.

"Sometimes you find things Googling people's names," said Crawford, 46, who was abused by a priest as a teen. "I'm always reading through information, scouring anything current on clergy abuse. Sometimes we come across names that might have been here at one point but are now in another state."

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:42 AM

Stunning turnaround for St. John's Seminary: Enrollment doubles after years of decline

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Globe

December 14, 2008

By Michael Paulson

Enrollment at St. John's Seminary has doubled over the last two years, a stunning turnabout for an institution that seemed to be spiraling toward closure in the wake of the clergy sexual abuse crisis.

The stone hall in Brighton, where two generations ago hundreds of young men prepared for the priesthood, is still strikingly quiet, but the pews of the Romanesque chapel are now about one-third full, as fresh-faced young men from around the world help to revive a 125-year-old institution that teetered on the brink of extinction just a few years ago.

Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley, who resisted calls from priests to close the Catholic seminary when he arrived as archbishop of Boston five years ago, has made preserving St. John's a top priority for his administration, and has cajoled bishops from New England and beyond to send young men to Boston to prepare for the priesthood. This fall there are 87 men studying theology at St. John's, up from 42 two years ago.

. . .

The reputation of the seminary was seriously damaged during the sexual abuse crisis, when it was revealed that many local priests who sexually abused minors had graduated from St. John's, and that in some cases there were clear warning signs while they were students.

"This event had a profound impact on Saint John's Seminary," says the seminary's own history, posted on its website.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:19 AM

Bishop Blaire marks decade in S.J.

STOCKTON (CA)
The Record

December 14, 2008

[For a sample of other abuse-related news of Blaire's tenure, see Diocese to Pay $1M in Abuse Case and Did His Past Come Back to Haunt Him?]

By Jennifer Torres

. . .

Blaire, installed in March 1999, is marking his 10th anniversary with a series of visits to parishes throughout the Roman Catholic Diocese of Stockton - each including a prayer service, followed by a question-and-answer session.

. . .

When the bishop took charge of the church community that stretches over 10,000 square miles from Alpine to Stanislaus counties, he inherited a diocese shaken by revelations of sex-abuse and other crises.

Ten years later, the questions raised at his visit to St. Mary's touched on the economy and immigration. One woman questioned whether the diocese should proceed with its capital campaign while families are struggling to meet their own needs. Other recent immigrants asked how they could receive Catholic sacraments, revealing a church still confronting a broad range of challenges.

. . .

In 2002, on the eve of a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, he urged a zero-tolerance discipline policy for priests and other religious workers who commit sexual abuse.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:00 AM

Matano deposition offers insight on his thinking on Paquette scandal

BURLINGTON (VT)
Free Press

December 14, 2008

[See also more coverage of the trial in the Free Press with more articles by Hemingway.]

By Sam Hemingway

Salvatore Matano was a 26-year-old assistant pastor at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Johnston, R.I., in 1972 when the Rev. Edward Paquette was hired to work as a parish priest in Vermont.

It's likely he'd never heard of Paquette back then.

Now, as bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington, there may be times when Matano wishes he'd still never heard of Paquette.

Matano, appointed bishop three years ago, has the difficult task of presiding over the diocese as it works to resolve 28 lawsuits brought by former altar boys who say they were sexually abused by priests in Vermont, including 19 molested by Paquette in the mid-1970s.

Last week, Matano spoke for the first time about Paquette and the decisions made by former Bishop John Marshall to bring Paquette to Vermont in 1972 and to banish him from priestly duties six years later.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 5:49 AM

December 13, 2008

Who Will End the Abuse?

NEW YORK (NY)
Wall Street Journal

By Erica Schacter Schwartz

It began on the radio this summer. New York Assemblyman Dov Hikind ran a segment on his Saturday night talk show titled "We Are Only as Sick as Our Secrets: Sexual Abuse, Healing the Shame," featuring graphic accounts of sexual abuse of children in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn.

There had been a few high-profile cases before, but this "was when the floodgates opened," explained Mr. Hikind, an Orthodox Jew himself. Following the show, additional victims and their family members came forward to share with Mr. Hikind their own stories. "Cases of sexual abuse are not worse among the Orthodox," clarifies Mr. Hikind. "But when there's a problem and you don't deal with it, it gets worse." Over the past few months he has collected hundreds of testimonies spanning several decades, naming at least 50 alleged pedophiles across the tri-state Orthodox Jewish community, including well-respected rabbis and teachers.

But now these testimonies have become a source of contention. They have been subpoenaed for a civil suit by a lawyer representing six former students of Rabbi Yehuda Kolko, a longtime teacher at one of Borough Park's leading all-male yeshivas, who has been charged repeatedly since the 1980s with sexually molesting his students. (Last year Rabbi Kolko pleaded guilty to child endangerment.) The problem is that Mr. Hikind had sworn to keep the testimonies confidential.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 5:05 PM

N.Y. Lawyer Suspended for Frivolous Conduct, False Accusations Against Judges

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Law Journal

December 15, 2008

By Joel Stashenko

Attorney John A. Aretakis was suspended for one year Thursday by an Appellate Division, 3rd Department, panel for engaging in "undignified and discourteous conduct degrading to the court," much of it while handling cases alleging sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests.

The panel unanimously upheld professional misconduct charges made by the Committee on Professional Standards. While frequently rebuked and fined by judges hearing his cases, the penalty levied by the court Thursday was the first public disciplinary action against Aretakis by a professional standards committee.

"We find that this record clearly shows that respondent has repeatedly crossed the line separating zealous advocacy from professional misconduct," the court concluded in a per curiam ruling in Matter of Aretakis, D-73-08. "Accordingly, we conclude that, to protect the public, deter similar misconduct, and preserve the reputation of the bar, respondent should be suspended from practice for a period of one year."

. . .

"I believe that this court is unfairly punishing me due to my zealous advocacy for victims of sexual abuse, primarily victims of Catholic priests who have sexually abused children," Aretakis said. "This country was founded on principles involving freedom of speech and the rights and duties of all citizens to criticize our institutions, politicians and public officials when we believe that wrongdoing has occurred."

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 4:52 PM

Letters to the Editor about Rev. Gerard Vosen

BARABOO (WI)
News Republic

December 12, 2008

[For background see two News Republic articles: Priest's Book Rebuts Allegations (with PDFed excerpts from Vosen's book at end of article), and Church Wants Vosen Book Destroyed.]

By Walter D. Smith and Kathy Statz

Abuse of Father Vosen must come to an end (Smith)

As a practicing Catholic and member of St. Joseph's, I am dismayed, disgusted, and discouraged by the continuing abuse of Father Vosen and the attacks on him, his actions (authored an inspiring book), and his character.

First, he was assumed guilty based on unfounded allegations that were denied by the individual whose sister named him as a victim, then Father's case has dragged on for years with no closure. This sure doesn't seem like justice to me.

Why can't the church hierarchy finish their job by returning to where they should have started. That is, with the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

A further insult to me and, I'm sure, to other Catholics is that — while fellows like Father Vosen have been hung out to dry, our weekly offerings have been used to pay millions (billions?) of dollars to real victims by convicted pedophiles who were protected by their superiors in the church structure who relocated the known/suspected pedophiles to different parishes where they continued to prey on their young victims.

. . .

Bishop is wrong regarding Father Vosen, book (Statz)

It's not the church.

In regard to Bishop Robert C. Morlino's statement: No, It's not the church that wants to destroy the book, "Pick A Number." It is the bishop.

Do you think it makes the bishop uncomfortable to have the public know how terribly Father Vosen was and is being treated? Is he worried about himself? I do. It's all about him, not Father Vosen. Anyone who has had the opportunity to get to know Father Vosen knows the truth.

I am very upset with Bishop Robert C. Morlino and his non-Christian behavior. Is he acting as a good Christian? I don't think so. How can he judge Father Vosen the way he has, how can he keep trying to destroy him? Father Vosen is not guilty, that has been already proven. It's the Catholic Church that says he is guilty. The law doesn't.

In chapter 51, Father Vosen tells us what happened. Bishop Morlino would not talk to anyone about the situation. We would just get a vague letter that was read from the pulpit.

. . .

Since his book has been published I have bought four books and three sets of tapes. I listen to his tape everyday. It has been music to my ears and I will not destroy or give back my tapes or books.

If the bishop thinks anyone will destroy these books or tapes, he is crazy. If I am considered to be committing a canonical crime listening to something that helps me be a better Christian every day, then we will let God decide, not the bishop.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 4:31 PM

Pope's busy year highlights three themes: St. Paul, Bible, U.S. trip

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Service

December 12, 2008

By John Thavis

For Pope Benedict XVI, 2008 was the year of St. Paul, the year of the Bible and the year of the United States.

. . .

In April, Pope Benedict made his first papal visit to the United States, spending six days in Washington and New York and addressing the U.N. General Assembly. Among the highlights were a private meeting with victims of clergy sex abuse, Masses at baseball stadiums in both cities and a solemn visit to ground zero to pray for victims of the Sept. 11 attacks.

During his U.S. visit, the pope took aim at what he called the "attack of a new secularism" that threatens to undermine traditional moral values and the voice of religion in public affairs. American society is at a moral crossroads, he told his listeners, as it faces problems such as social alienation and anger, increased violence and "forgetfulness of God."

The pope's clear and repeated condemnation of sex abuse in the United States was echoed during his July trip to Australia, where he joined more than 200,000 young Catholics from 170 countries for World Youth Day celebrations. Before leaving the country, he celebrated a private Mass with Australian victims of clergy sex abuse.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 4:27 PM

Mamaroneck Priest Charged with Sexually Abusing a Woman

LARCHMONT (NY)
Larchmont Gazette

December 10, 2008

By Judy Silberstein

On Tuesday, December 8, Mamaroneck Village police arrested Father Richard Ordoñez, 37, a visiting priest at St. Vito’s church in Mamaroneck, and charged him with sexually abusing a female adult in January of 2004. The woman accused Father Ordoñez of fondling her breasts and other private parts in the rectory of St. Vito’s at 816 Underhill Road.

Since then, a case manager with a Westchester social service agency reported to the Gazette that four women referred for marriage counseling with Father Ordoñez from 2003 to 2004 later said they had been sexually abused when the priest asked to see them in a solo session. The allegations ranged from rape to inappropriate touching.

One woman told the case manager the priest forced her to have sex with him, and another said he tried to force her to have sex. A third said she left her husband after falling in love with the priest and entering a consensual sexual relationship with him, which she later deeply regretted. A fourth said the priest touched the top of her legs “in a very fresh way,” according to the case manager, who would speak only on condition of anonymity in order to protect the identity of her clients, some of whom are undocumented immigrants.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 4:23 PM

Avery Dulles: Disciple of Jesus

NEW YORK (NY)
America Magazine

December 13, 2008

By Drew Christiansen, S.J.

[See also Dulles' America interview. For Dulles' criticism of the Dallas charter and norms, mentioned in this blog entry, see his Rights of Accused Priests. America has posted an archive of essays by Dulles.]

Cardinal Avery Dulles, S. J. died December 12, 2008, after a long illness. A prolific author, Cardinal Dulles’s most influential work was perhaps Models of the Church (1974). After teaching at Woodstock College, a Jesuit seminary, from 1960 to 1974, he taught at The Catholic University of America until 1988, and from that time until last spring held the Laurence J. McGinley Chair of Religion and Society at Fordham University. He offered his final lecture in that position on April 1 last year (See “A Life in Theology,” Am., 21 Apr. 08). He was also a founding fellow of the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University. Scion of one of the pre-eminent Protestant families in the United States, he related the experiences that led to his entrance into the Catholic Church in Testimonial to Grace (1946). “The most important thing about my career, of many years,” he wrote in his last McGinley lecture, “I feel sure, is the discovery of the pearl of great price, the treasure hidden in the field, the Lord Jesus himself.”

. . .

Regarded in his latter years as a theological and political conservative, he continued to take independent positions both as a consultant and a non-voting member of the U.S. bishops’ conference. He strongly backed proposals for “lay ecclesial ministry”, for example, and was critical of the bishops’ Dallas charter on clergy sex abuse for the unfairness of its Draconian measures toward possible offenders.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 4:09 PM

SNAP questions Catholic Diocese of Green Bay

GREEN BAY (WI)
WLUK-Fox11

By Becky DeVries

[Includes links to Bishop Ricken's Thanksgiving letter and to an 8/8/89 letter from Rev. Peter Lechner of the Servants of the Paraclete to then-Bishop Maida of Green Bay about Rev. John Feeney. Click video tab to view video report.]

Now that Bishop David Ricken has been in Green Bay for 100 days, members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) say that's enough time for him to respond to their request for dialogue.

Members hand-delivered their third request to speak with the bishop to the diocese's chancery office Thursday.

"What is confusing to us is why hasn't he met with us," said SNAP Midwest director Peter Isley. "I think you can see from the letter, we feel we have something to bring to the table."

The diocese issued a statement saying it is proactive in dealing with abuse prevention efforts, but did not say why it has not met with SNAP.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:48 AM

Judge denies early release for nun convicted in sex abuse case

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Journal Sentinel

December 12, 2008

By Marie Rohde

A judge Friday rejected an 80-year-old nun's request for early release from the jail term she's serving for having sex with two young boys while they were students at her school more than 40 years ago.

Norma Giannini pleaded no contest to indecent behavior with a child and began serving a one-year sentence in the Community Correctional Center on Aug. 23. Milwaukee Circuit Judge M. Joseph Donald had sentenced her to five years in prison for each count but stayed the sentence and ordered her to serve the year in the county facility. Today, Donald turned down Giannini's request to be freed early.

Nikola Kostich, Giannini's lawyer, said the elderly woman had been taken to emergency rooms once a month, and was admitted last time for five days because of congestive heart failure. He said she has lost 30 to 35 pounds because of the food at the facility and that he was "trying to save her life." He said the effort to get Giannini out of jail early was prompted by letters from her doctors.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:43 AM

Nun Convicted of Sexual Abuse Back in Court

MILWAUKEE (WI)
WISN-ABC12

[Includes updating video Judge Denies Convicted Nun's Request For Early Release.]

A nun accused of sexually abusing two teenage boys four decades ago requested an early release from jail Friday.

Sister Norma Giannini, 80, pleaded no contest to two felony counts of indecent behavior with a child and was sentenced in February to a year in the Milwaukee County House of Correction. She had 60 days to report to jail.

Giannini is eight months into the 12 month sentence, but her attorney argued in court Friday that her health problems require she be allowed to go home four months early.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:32 AM

Wis. judge denies nun's request for early release

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Associated Press, carried in the Chicago Tribune

December 12, 2008

A Milwaukee judge has ordered an elderly nun to serve out her sentence, denying her request for an early release.

Eighty-year-old Sister Norma Giannini (gee-ah-NEE'-nee) has served eight months of her one-year jail sentence.

Her attorneys asked for Giannini's early release, citing her failing health.

The judge denied the request Friday, saying her health issues were known at sentencing, and she's receiving adequate treatment.

Giannini had pleaded no contest to two felony counts of indecent behavior with a child.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:29 AM

Reviews and Articles on the Movie "Doubt"

For a useful collection of links to reviews, see Hot Tomatoes. For a collection of links to articles, see Google's page. Below we provide links to a selection of articles and reviews. Please email us with suggestions for additions.

- Church-Scandal Film Raises 'Doubt' among Viewers, by Cathleen Falsani, Chicago Sun-Times [For an example of Falsani's reporting on the comparable McCormack case, see Nun Warned Archdiocese about Priest in 2000.]
- In 'Doubt': Adapting a Parable Proves Problematic, by Bob Mondello, NPR
- Engrossing 'Doubt' Directed at Those Who Insist on Absolutes, by Harry Forbes, Catholic News Service
- 'Doubt' Wags the Finger of Moral Relativism, by Ella Taylor, Village Voice (previously linked in Tracker)
- A Compelling Mystery Best Left Unsolved, by Rick Groen, Globe and Mail
- John Patrick Shanley's 'Doubt', by David Carr, International Herald Tribune
- 'Doubt': Take It on Faith, by Ann Hornaday, Washington Post
- 'Doubt': A Deliberately Ambiguous Drama, by Stephanie Zacharek, Salon
- Catholic Analysis of 'Doubt', by Fr. Peter Malone, Independent Catholic News
- Shanley Found 'Doubt' Very Personal, by John Horn, Los Angeles Times
- 'Doubt' Is Cut from the Cloth of a Nun's Austere Habit, by Susan Wloszczyna, USA Today
- 'Doubt': Not Enough to Say for Itself, by Bob Strauss, San Bernardino Sun
- Doubt, by Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
- Between Heaven and Earth, Room for Ambiguity, by Manohla Dargis, New York Times

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:34 AM

Former Cleveland diocesan CFO to spend year and a day in prison

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Service

December 12, 2008

Cleveland - The former financial and legal secretary of the Cleveland Diocese will spend a year and a day in federal prison for failing to report income he claimed was additional compensation in an off-the-books arrangement with diocesan officials. U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aldrich ordered Joseph H. Smith, 52, to report Jan. 1 to a still unnamed federal prison. A jury in July found Smith guilty of six tax-related charges after a seven-week trial.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:29 AM

Archdiocese continues work to ‘keep kids safe’

ST. LOUIS (MO)
St. Louis Review (newspaper of the Archdiocese of St. Louis)

December 12, 2008

By Barbara Watkins

Approximately 70,000 people have completed requirements of the Safe Environment Program, the archdiocesan effort to protect children from abuse, since its inception in 2002.

"Our goal is to keep kids safe," explained Terry Edelmann, director of the archdiocesan Safe Environment Program. The Safe Environment Program has three components: required background checks for everyone who works with or near children; required participation for everyone working with or near children in the educational/training Protecting God’s Children Program; and reading and signing the Code of Ethical Conduct.

In addition, there is Safe Touch, an educational program to help teach children what behavior is appropriate and what is not.

Completing the Safe Environment Program is required for all clergy, educators, employees and volunteers working with children through archdiocesan parishes, schools, agencies and programs, Edelmann stressed. That’s a lot of people, she added.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:24 AM

Judge to decide scope of Fushek trial

MESA (AZ)
East Valley Tribune

December 13, 2008

By Lawn Griffiths

A Maricopa County Superior Court judge must decide whether Monsignor Dale Fushek could get a fair trial if all five of his alleged victims were allowed to lay out their complaints of sexual misconduct in one trial in front of a single jury.

But Fushek's attorney, Thomas Hoidal, said jurors could not competently keep each man's accounts of abuse separate, so one of them could prejudice others in the same trial.

On Friday, Judge Joseph Kreamer heard arguments in an appeal by prosecutors who object to a Sept. 16 ruling by San Tan Justice of the Peace Sam Goodman that allows for five separate trials for the former priest of St. Timothy's Catholic Community in Mesa. Those trials would proceed, one after another, beginning with the oldest alleged instances of sexual misconduct. Two of the five men are bringing two counts each against Fushek.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:03 AM

Letter to the Editor: Priests Played Positive Role

RUTLAND (VT)
Rutland Herald

December 13, 2008

By Joe Laramie

I regret that the Catholic Church covered up sexual abuses by some of its priest. It should not have happened, and it was wrong. They have implemented procedures to help prevent this from happening in the future. I fervently hope no child has to ever go through that abuse again.

On a positive note, I served on the altar from the time I was 8 years old; my three sons did also. In all my years serving my church, I have always been treated with dignity and respect. The priests I have worked with helped make me who I am today. I certainly have flaws (don't we all?), but their calling helped to instill strong morals, love for family, and a belief that my actions affect those around me, both positively and negatively.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:58 AM

Photographs of the Paquette Trial

BURLINGTON (VT)
Free Press

December 12, 2008

In this gallery, photos 13, 14, and 38 were taken at the trial. Navigate to the photos using the arrow button, or click on the linked numbers below. See also more coverage of the trial in the Free Press.

13. Bishop Angell, formerly of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington, gives testimony via a videotaped deposition in Superior Court in Burlington during a sexual abuse trial on Monday, December 8, 2008. (ALISON REDLICH/Free Press)

14. Monsignor John McSweeney of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington testifies in Superior Court in Burlington during a sexual abuse trial on Monday, December 8, 2008. (ALISON REDLICH/Free Press)

38. Bishop Salvatore Matano watches a video of a deposition of himself being shown during a trial in a suit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington in Chittenden Superior Court Burlington on Thursday December 11, 2008. (GLENN RUSSELL, Free Press)

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:32 AM

Diocese tried to confront sex abuse by priests in '90s

BURLINGTON (VT)
Free Press

December 13, 2008

By Sam Hemingway

[See also more coverage of the trial in the Free Press with more articles by Hemingway.]

The state's Roman Catholic diocese assembled a program in 1995 to handle sexual abuse of children by priests and later hired a former Burlington police chief to oversee the effort, the jury in a clergy abuse case learned this week.

"I brought along all of my law enforcement experience," Kevin Scully, chief of the city's police department from 1987 to 1998, told the jury. Scully joined the diocese in 2001 as its director of safe environment.

The program included establishment of a priest misconduct review board charged with investigating allegations of child molestation by priests referred to the panel by the bishop, Scully said.

The testimony came as the trial on claims a former Burlington altar boy was twice molested by the Rev. Edward Paquette in the late 1970s completed its eighth day at Chittenden Superior Court.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:25 AM

Closed societies conceal abuse of power

SANTA CRUZ (CA)
Santa Cruz Sentinel

December 13, 2008

By Laina Farhat-Holzman

We have had a splendid election and see how governmental power works in this country. There are many power centers, much citizen participation, and a snoopy press to investigate abuse of power -- essential in preserving democracy.

However, there are groups around the world that believe in variations of "the philosopher king" or even more frightening: "the great and good leader" Fuhrer. Any time you feel like complaining about our system of government, take a look at how absolute power works -- and how secrecy protects it.

• The Catholic Pedophile Priest problem: Secrecy in an organization as large, respected and ancient as the Catholic Church hid for decades a problem that needed publicity. Celibacy played a role in attracting young men into a priesthood -- respected by parishioners -- where some found their power over children both sexual and irresistible. The issue was finally forced into the public, and the Church has apologized and paid for its bad oversight and has apparently cleaned up the problem.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:21 AM

December 12, 2008

A cluttered telling of tragic tales

TORONTO (ON)
Globe and Mail

December 12, 2008

Review by J. Kelly Nestruck of A Very Polite Genocide, written by Melanie J. Murray, directed by Yvette Nolan; a Native Earth Performing Arts production

In A Very Polite Genocide, Winnipeg playwright Melanie J. Murray examines the lingering effects of the residential-school system on a fractured family of aboriginal Canadians.

The pain from the abuse and dislocation echoes down the generations in the form of alcoholism, AIDS, suicide, sexual abuse, prostitution, violence, self-mutilation and panic attacks.

. . .

Meanwhile, across town, Josie's grandfather Martin Drunken Chief (a warm Paul Chaput) is participating in his first sharing circle, where he tells the story of how he met his wife, Mary, at a dance between residential schools, and they ran off to Winnipeg together. But soon, Martin, who struggles with the sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of a priest, was off fighting in Korea and his children were taken away in his absence.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:16 PM

Cornwall Public Enquiry: Dunlop, Guzzo in inquiry spotlight

CORNWALL (ONTARIO)
Standard Freeholder

December 12, 2008

By Trevor Pritchard

The actions of former Cornwall cop Perry Dunlop and one-time MPP Garry Guzzo were put under the microscope as the lengthy cross-examination of a retired Ontario Provincial Police officer ursday at the Cornwall Public Inquiry.

Yesterday was Det. Insp. Pat Hall's eighth full day on the stand at the inquiry, which is probing how institutions like the OPP responded to allegations of historical sexual abuse.

In 1999, Hall took over the reins of Project Truth, a four-year investigation into rumours a clan of pedophiles had been preying upon children in the Cornwall area.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:10 PM

Roman Catholic priest charged with sex assaults on young boys

SUNDERLAND (ENGLAND)
Sunderland Echo

December 12, 2008

By Fiona Thompson

A Roman Catholic priest has been charged with sexually assaulting young boys.

Father David Taylor is alleged to have committed the offences in the 1980s in Seaham and Holy Island.

The 59-year-old, who also spent time serving in Sunderland, was charged with five offences late on Wednesday and will appear before Peterlee Magistrates' Court on Tuesday, December 23.

Fr Taylor, now of Bedlington, was arrested by Durham Police in May in connection with an investigation relating to an "historic child abuse allegation".

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:05 PM

Bishop says Diocese shouldn't have hired priest

BURLINGTON (VT)
Associated Press, carried on Fox44

December 12, 2008

The head of Vermont's Catholic church says the church made a mistake in hiring a priest with a history of molestation allegations against him.

In videotaped testimony shown to a jury in a priest sex abuse trial Thursday, Diocese of Burlington Bishop Salvatore Matano said late Bishop John Marshall's hiring of Rev. Edward Paquette was wrong but that Marshall relied on the advice of psychologists who thought Paquette had been cured.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:02 PM

Bishop: Hiring Paquette Was Wrong

BURLINGTON (VT)
WCAX

December 12, 2008

More powerful testimony at the latest priest sex abuse lawsuit against the Vermont Catholic Diocese.

A former altar boy claims he was groped twice by Father Edward Paquette back in 1977. During the civil trials the diocese does not deny the abuse allegations, but says it is not financially responsible because they believed Paquette had been cured of pedophilia. He had molested boys in Indiana and Massachusetts before coming to Vermont.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:58 PM

Matano: Predecessor erred in hiring priest

BURLINGTON (VT)
Free Press

December 12, 2008

By Sam Hemingway

Bishop Salvatore Matano, in videotaped testimony shown Thursday to the jury in a priest sexual abuse trial in Burlington, acknowledged that the late Bishop John Marshall erred when he hired a priest with a history of molesting boys.

“I think that the actions he took, as time has unfolded, were wrong,” Matano said in a portion of an Oct. 2 interview conducted by Jerome O’Neill, a lawyer who represents 19 former altar boys who have filed lawsuits filed in Chittenden Superior Court alleging they were abused by the Rev. Edward Paquette.

Matano said he believes Marshall hired Paquette, whom the diocese knew had previously molested boys in Indiana and Massachusetts, as a favor to an Indiana bishop.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:46 PM

December 11, 2008

SNAP Says New Bishop Isn't Doing Enough Against Clergy Abuse

GREEN BAY (WI)
WBAY

Leaders of the Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests (SNAP) say there's been little progress on child sex abuse efforts during Bishop David Ricken's first 100 days in Green Bay.

Holding a news conference outside the Green Bay Catholic Diocese headquarters, SNAP officials said the new bishop has not made clergy sex abuse his top priority.

"I see a kid on the street, I know you guys feel this way, and I feel because we're out here in the freezing rain and cold we're doing this that child may never have to experience what we went through as parents and victims, and that's what it's all about," Peter Isely of SNAP said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:46 PM

Book describing sex-abuse trial violates pontifical secret, Bishop Morlino says

WISCONSIN
Catholic Culture

December 11, 2008
A Wisconsin bishop has called for the destruction of all copies of a book in which a suspended priest details the proceedings of a secret Church tribunal. Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison explains that the book by Father Gerald Vosen, describing the priest's trial on sex-abuse charges, violates the solemn secrecy that governs such proceedings.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:10 PM

Bail for priest in NY sex abuse case

MAMARONECK (NY)
Newsday

December 11, 2008
MAMARONECK, N.Y. - Bail has been set at $50,000 for a visiting Catholic priest from Ecuador who's accused of fondling a woman at the suburban New York parish where he worked.

The Rev. Richard Ordonez, who is charged with first-degree sex abuse, appeared in Mamaroneck Village Court on Thursday. He is expected to be remanded to Westchester County jail.

The abuse allegedly took place in 2004 at St. Vito's Church in Mamaroneck.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:38 PM

State court suspends lawyer Aretakis for a year

ALBANY (NY)
Albany Times Union

By ROBERT GAVIN, Staff writer
Last updated: 3:30 p.m., Thursday, December 11, 2008
ALBANY — Local attorney John Aretakis is being suspended for one year from practice after a state appeals court found he has "repeatedly crossed the line" as a lawyer.

Aretakis, who has made headlines with lawsuits against the Catholic Church, had "already been punished to some extent" with sanctions, the Appellate Division of state Supreme Court stated in his decisions released Thursday.

"However," the panel added, "we find that this record clearly shows that respondent has repeatedly crossed the line separating zealous advocacy from professional misconduct. Accordingly, we conclude that, to protect the public, deter similar misconduct, and preserve the reputation of the bar, (Aretakis) should be suspended from practice for a period of one year."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:35 PM

Controversial attorney Aretakis suspended for one year

By Steven Cook
Gazette Reporter

[with link to the court document]

Controversial area attorney John Aretakis has been suspended from practicing law for one year by the Appellate Division of state Supreme Court.

In a decision announced today, the court found Aretakis guilty of professional misconduct, citing six examples where he was sanctioned by judges in the past four years. The court found that Aretakis engaged in “frivolous conduct by making false accusations against judges” and other conduct.

The suspension is effective Dec. 31.

"Respondent engaged in frivolous conduct by making false accusations against judges, which accusations were prejudicial to the administration of justice, engaged in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness as an attorney, asserted positions which served to harass and maliciously injure, knowingly made false statements of law and fact, and engaged in undignified and discourteous conduct degrading to the court," the court said in its decision.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:29 PM

Court suspends attorney John Aretakis

ALBANY (NY)
Capital News 9

[with video]

12/11/2008 02:53 PM
By: Web Staff

ALBANY, N.Y. -- A local attorney known for representing alleged victims of abuse by priests in the Catholic Church has been suspended for one year. ...

Aretakis issued the following statement:

Bishop Hubbard has used all of his resources, influence and power to try to muzzle me for the past six years due to my effective work in exposing sexual predators in ministry. I call upon Governor Paterson to investigate this unfair and unprecedented punishment. I am one of only two attorneys in all of New York State who fights sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. I will continue to work in every capacity that I am allowed to in order to expose those who sexually abuse children and those individuals such as Bishop Hubbard who continue to cover up these crimes.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:26 PM

Local attorney Aretakis suspended from practice for 'frivolous conduct'

NEW YORK
CBS 6

December 11, 2008 - 3:30 PM
CBS 6 News

Local attorney John Aretakis has been condemned by the Committee on Professional Standards in Albany for professional misconduct, and is being suspended from practice for one year.

Aretakis made headlines for pursuing sex abuse cases against the Catholic Church.

The petition against Aretakis found he "engaged in frivolous conduct by making false accusations against judges... engaged in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness as an attorney, asserted positions which served to harrass and maliciously injure, knowingly made false statements of law and fact, and engaged in undignified and discourteous conduct degrading to the court."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:24 PM

Attorney's law license suspended

ALBANY (NY)
WNYT

[Appellate court ruling on Aretakis]

ALBANY - A local attorney who has made it his mission to represent victims of clergy sexual abuse has been suspended from practicing law for one year.

An appellate court found John Aretakis guilty of professional misconduct. The suspension takes effect in 20 days.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:12 PM

Bishop: 'Wrong' to hire accused priest

VERMONT
Burlington Free Press

December 11, 2008

Bishop Salvatore Matano, in videotaped testimony presented today to the jury in a clerical abuse trial in Burlington, reluctantly agreed that the late Bishop John Marshall made a bad decision when he agreed to hire a priest with a history of molesting boys.

“I think that the actions he took, as time has unfolded, were wrong,” Matano said in a portion of an Oct. 2 interview conducted by Jerome O’Neill, the lead attorney in 19 lawsuits filed in Chittenden Superior Court by former altar boys abused by the Rev. Edward Paquette.

Matano said he believes Marshall hired Paquette, who had previously molested boys in Indiana and Massachusetts, as a favor to an Indiana bishop and on the advise of church psychologists, who persuaded Marshall that Paquette’s sexual deviancy had been cured.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:38 PM

Do you Doubt the release of Doubt was timed to create Doubt in American minds about pedophiles in the Catholic Church?

UNITED STATES
City of Angels

By Kay Ebeling

Releasing Doubt in 2008 is as if in the 1970s, after humans had gotten to the moon and back and found out it is indeed uninhabited, someone put out a serious sci fi thriller about a race of creatures on the moon.

As a person who watches the Catholic Church bend and stretch the truth about pedophiles in the priesthood, I wonder, why was the movie Doubt released now, after the country has witnessed a stream of lawsuits judged against the church since 2002. For one, now media such as the Catholic News Service can run a review saying the film Doubt is “a reminder of a dark chapter in the church's recent history.”

Also from the CNS review: “Though sexual misconduct is at the heart of the story, it is the balance between doubt which, forms the principal thematic subtext....” While you try find that thematic subtext, recognize that as you watch this film, you are in a way being brainwashed to believe what the Catholic Bishops want you to believe... that these rapes are isolated cases and there is doubt whether they even took place.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:34 PM

'Prejudiced' murder probe to 'tarnish' church's image: Bishops

INDIA
Zee News

Kochi, Dec 11: The Kerala Catholic Bishops Conference (KCBC), the apex body of church leaders in the state, on Thursday alleged that attempts were being made to "tarnish" the image of the community through a CBI probe into sister Abhaya murder case and demanded a "free and independent" enquiry.

The CBI had, on November 19, arrested two priests and a sister in connection with the 16-year-old case.

The CBI was investigating with "prejudice and pre-conceived ideas," its Deputy secretary, Stephen Althara, told reporters after the three-day KCBC meeting.

"The KCBC is 'dissatisfied' with the manner in which the case was being investigated by CBI. The agency is revealing investigation details to the media which is not right and attempt is being made to tarnish the catholic church."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:50 PM

NRB head: Sex abuse scandal? It's history. Really.

UNITED STATES
Beliefnet

David Gibson

Thursday December 11, 2008

In an Op-Ed in today's Boston Globe, the current head of the National Review Board, the blue-ribbon, lay-led group that is supposed to keep the bishops following their own policies on child protection, says Catholics have nothing to worry about--all is fine, and the scandal is history.

The hook for Michael Merz's piece, "No Doubt about Church's Resolve," is the movie "Doubt," which premiers this week. (I've seen it, and will have more thoughts another time.) The film takes place in 1963 but effectively addresses questions of clerical sexual abuse of minors that only emerged in recent years. Church leaders are clearly concerned that the movie might prompt more critcism.

Voice of the Faithful, the lay reform group that grew up out of the scandal, is also making leaders available to talk about the movie and its implications.

But Merz's article, by dint of his position, is the most pro-active effort by the institutional leadership to "get ahead" of any criticism the movie may renew. Merz rightly points out the enormous efforts the church has made--thanks of course to the victims, their lawyers, the media, lay activists and others who forced the bishops to take steps they would not otherwise have taken--and the openness of the church relative to analagous organizations.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:36 PM

Bail set at $50,000 for accused Mamaroneck priest

MAMARONECK (NY)
The Journal News

By Christine Pizzuti • The Journal News • December 11, 2008

MAMARONECK - A visiting priest accused of sexual abuse is a "suspected felon" who was told not to leave the area, but instead was attempting to flee to his native Ecuador, a prosecutor said today.

Westchester County Assistant District Attorney Heidi Mason made the statement during a short court appearance for the priest, the Rev. Richard Ordonez, in Mamaroneck Village Court this morning.

Orodonez, 37, a visiting priest at St. Vito's Church in Mamaroneck, was arrested Monday at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City. He had been held without bail since then on a charge of first-degree sex abuse, a felony.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:32 PM

Reasonable doubt.

UNITED STATES
dotCommonweal

December 11, 2008, 1:01 pm

Posted by Grant Gallicho

Today the Boston Globe published a curious op-ed by the head of the U.S. Catholic bishops’ National Review Board, Judge Michael Merz. The occasion for the piece is the release of the film Doubt, adapted from John Patrick Shanley’s Tony- and Pulitzer Prize-winning 2004 play about an accused priest, set in 1964 (I reviewed it here).

The movie’s plot is largely fictional. Sadly, too many stories that surfaced since 2002 were not fictional. The clergy sexual abuse crisis is the greatest crisis in the history of the Catholic Church in the United States, something that caused the downfall of one of the most powerful bishops in this country, Bernard Cardinal Law; moved hundreds of abuse victims to step forward; and resulted in the payment of hundreds of millions of dollars in legal settlements by various dioceses, prompted apologies from the highest levels in the church, and led to an extraordinary meeting between Pope Benedict XVI and abuse victims from Boston just last April.

Merz is right. The abuse crisis is the greatest scandal in the history of the Catholic Church in the United States. But note the strange construction of the last sentence in that paragraph. The scandal, Merz writes, “caused” Cardinal Law’s “downfall.” It also “caused” victims to come forward. It “resulted in” financial settlements for victims ($1 billion and counting, not “hundreds of millions of dollars”). It “prompted apologies from the highest levels in the church.” And it “led to” an unprecedented meeting between Pope Benedict and victims from Boston. When you put it that way, the sexual-abuse crisis almost sounds like a positive thing.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:25 PM

Catholic priest sexual assault case likely to be resolved next week

CANADA
The Telegram

The court case of a Roman Catholic priest charged with sexually assaulting a young woman is expected to be concluded next week.

Rev. Patrick Robert Offin’s case was called in provincial court today. His lawyer, Gerry O'Brien, told the court the case will likely be resolved without need for a trial when it is called again Dec. 17.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:25 PM

Anti-polygamy activist to be deposed in FLDS case

TEXAS
Deseret News

By Ben Winslow
Deseret News

Published: Thursday, Dec. 11, 2008 9:28 a.m. MST

A judge has ordered an anti-polygamy activist to give a deposition about conversations she had with the woman suspected of making hoax phone calls that sparked the raid on the Fundamentalist LDS Church's YFZ Ranch.

FLDS leader Warren Jeffs' defense attorneys are seeking to question Flora Jessop about conversations she had with Rozita Swinton. They're seeking to block any evidence from the Texas raid from Jeffs' pending trial in Arizona on sex crimes charges.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:16 PM

Brothers stand accused

CANADA
Montreal Gazette

It was a betrayal like no other. René Cornellier Sr., now 75, thought the thousands of dollars he spent on tuition every year from 1972 to 1976 for his son's education at Montreal's prestigious Collège Notre Dame would be well worth it - until he recently was shown a letter his youngest son, René, wrote before dying of AIDS in 1994, detailing the sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of four religious brothers beginning when he was just 12 years old.

By SUE MONTGOMERY December 9, 2008

I entrusted my children to an institution that in theory, at least, had a good reputation, but that clearly wasn't deserved," he said in an interview, stressing the grief and guilt he feels for having unknowingly put his son in harm's way.

His son had gone to a school authority to report the abuse while he was still a student, but nothing was done. A Gazette investigation shows he was not alone. Other young men have come forward, during their youth or much later, to report abuse by Les Frères de Ste. Croix (Holy Cross brothers) at Collège Notre Dame, at a Holy Cross school in Ontario, at a Montreal halfway house run by the brothers, and within a family circle.

Most of the abuse in the cases uncovered by The Gazette took place in the 1970s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:03 AM

American Maryknoll priest excommunicated for involvement in women's 'ordination'

UNITED STATES
Catholic Culture

December 11, 2008
An American priest has evidently been excommunicated because of his active support for the ordination of women, and his participation in ceremonies simulating ordination. Father Ray Bourgeois received a warning from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in December, informing him that if he did not recant his position supporting women's ordination within 30 days he would face excommunication; the Maryknoll priest replied that he would not change his stand.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:01 AM

Pedofilia e chiesa: il matrimonio è valido anche se il prete celebrante è pedofilo.

ITALY
Il Giustiziere degli Angeli

Avrete senz’altro letto la notizia dei due sposi di Bracciano (RM) che hanno chiesto l’annullamento del loro matrimonio poichè celebrato da Don Crocetti condannato per pedofilia. Rimetto qui il LINK che riconduce ad uno dei tanti articoli sulla vicenda.

La novità è invece è che Mons. Del Ciuco scrive al quotidiano Tuscia-Web per dire che….. “il sacramento del matrimonio è valido sia che lo celebra un santo sia che lo celebri un pedofilo”. Che ne pensate? Siamo tutti ignoranti come dice il monsignore o possiamo dire anche altro? Sono solidale con gli sposi!!

Tuscia-E Viterbo - Interviene monsignor Salvatore del Ciuco

Il matrimonio è valido sia che lo celebri un santo che un pedofilo

Viterbo - 5 dicembre 2008 - ore 16,30

Riceviamo e pubblichiamo - Si è letto sui giornali locali e nazionali la notizia che due avvocati hanno presentato istanza alla Sacra Rota per ottenere l’annullamento del matrimonio di due giovani sposi perché il sacerdote, hanno saputo poi, che è stato condannato per pedofilia.
Mi dispiace per gli avvocati che potevano evitare di fare una brutta figura.

[translation]

Pedophilia and church: the wedding is valid even when the celebrant priest is a pedophile

I'm sure you have read the news about the newly-married-couple at Bracciano (Province of Rome) who asked recently the annulment of their wedding because it was celebrated by the Rev. Crocetti, who was later found guilty of pedophilia. Here is the link to one of the
many articles written about that story.

The news now is that Monsignor Del Ciuco sent a letter to the daily Tuscia-web to say that....." the sacrament of matrimony is valid either if it celebrated by a saint or by a pedophile". What do you think about it? Are we all ignorant as the Monsignor is saying or can we say something different? I sympathize with the newly-married-couple !!

Here is the letter sent by Monsignor Salvatore del Ciuco

Viterbo - December 5 - 2008 - 4.30 p.m.

We have read in the local and national newspapers the news that two attorneys have asked the Sacred Roman Rota to obtain the annulment of the matrimony of a young newly-wed-couple on the ground of the indignity of the priest, who was afterward found guilty of pedophilia.

I'm sorry for the attorneys for they could have avoided to appear so incompetent.

That's because the Sacred Roman Rota Tribunal, receiving their request, couldn't but underline their gross ignorance of the Canon Law.

They in fact had to be aware that the ministers of the wedding are the same persons who are getting married, being the role of the priest limited to that of a witness.

And that means the sacrament is valid independently from the "dignity" of the priest.

If the attorneys had been more familiar with St. Augustine they would have known the saint had written the following: 'Petrus baptizat, Judas baptizat, Cristus baptizat'.

Either it was Peter ( a saint) to baptize or Judas (a traitor), it is the same Jesus who is baptizing. For the good peace of all of you, the sacrament of matrimony is valid either if it's celebrated by a saint or if it's celebrated by a pedophile.

Monsignor Salvatore Del Ciuco.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:42 AM

VS’ comments irk UDF, save face for LDF

INDIA
Express Buzz

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A surprise gimmick, well executed in the floor of the Assembly by Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan, saved the face of the ruling front when the notice for adjacent motion filed by the UDF was debated on Wednesday.

VS used the Sister Abhaya murder case to corner K.M. Mani, who had served the notice for adjournment motion demanding a discussion on the administrative standstill in the Chief Minister’s office.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:35 AM

Abhaya Case: `Probe Mani’s role'

INDIA
Express Buzz

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The CBI should probe former Revenue Minister K.M. Mani’s involvement in the attempts to scuttle the investigation into Sister Abhaya murder case, activist Jomon Puthenpurackal said on Wednesday.

He told a news conference here that it was under Mani’s pressure that the then Kottayam RDO S.G.K. Kishore had ordered the burning of vital evidence related to the investigation on June 16, 1993.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:33 AM

Fordham Apologizes to Alleged Abuse Victim After Years of “Evasions"

NEW YORK
The Observer

By Casey Feldman

In 1968, when Richard Cerick was 13 and growing up on Long Island, he was invited to go skiing with several of his friends who knew Fordham Prep students. The trip was organized by Rev. Roy A. Drake, S.J., who had previously taught at the Prep and was living in Jesuit housing on Fordham’s Rose Hill campus. The night before they left for the trip, Cerick said, Drake raped and sodomized him in his apartment, a claim the lawyer for Fordham University and Fordham Prep deemed “credible,” Cerick said.

Cerick remained silent until 2005, when he finally informed Fordham University, Fordham Prep and the New York Jesuit organization of the his allegations. At the time of the alleged assault and until 1970, Fordham was legally associated with Fordham Prep.

In addition, in the three years since Cerick made his claims known, none of the institutions involved have been willing to acknowledge their responsibility in the matter or to issue an apology to Cerick. ...

However, Terence McKiernan, the president of BishopAccountability.org and a 1971 graduate of Fordham Prep, said that the fact that Drake was “yanked in the middle of the school year” is a “red flag.” “Who’s going to assign a priest for only half a year, then move him? Why was he transferred to the University? Did the Jesuits know that he was bad news back then? It could be that maybe they thought he wouldn’t bother the older college students,” McKiernan said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:27 AM

Nun murder case: CBI produces former police officer’s admission in court

INDIA
The Peninsula (Qatar)

By John Mary

Thiruvananthapuram:

The Central Bureau of Investigation has arrayed 10 witnesses in the Kerala nun’s murder case, citing as crucial evidence a former police officer’s admission that he misrepresented facts under instruction from high-ups to convert the crime into suicide.

The CBI submitted the probe details in the High Court yesterday as directed by the court while hearing bail applications of all the accused, Fr Thomas M Kottoor, Fr Jose Puthrukayil and Sister Sephy, of murdering Sister Abhaya, an inmate of St Pius X Convent in Kottayam on March 27, 1992.

According to the CBI, former additional sub inspector V V Augustine, the first police official to reach the scene of the crime, admitted that although there were serious injuries on the body, he did not record them. An inspection of the convent kitchen and the premises of the well where the nun’s body was found also bore evidence of the crime. But he burked all this as directed by a senior police official.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:50 AM

CBI: Enough evidence in Sr. Abhaya murder case

INDIA
Indlaw News

12/11/2008

The CBI informed the Kerala High Court that there was sufficient evidence, both oral and circumstantial, against the three accused--Father Thomas Kottur, Father Jose Puthurukayyil and Sister Sephi--in the Sister Abhaya Murder Case.

The central investigating agency had informed the court after Single Bench Judge, Ms Justice K Hema, directed the CBI to produce evidence against the accused while considering their bail applications.

The CBI also informed the court that there was an attempt to hamper the investigation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:48 AM

Abhaya case: Kerala HC permits counsel to meet accused Nun

INDIA
Zee News

Kochi, Dec 11: Kerala High Court Thursday permitted the counsel of Sister Sephy, arrested by CBI in connection with the sister Abhaya case, to meet her in prison.

Justice K Hema directed Superintendent of Ernakulam sub jail to allow the counsel, M K Damodaran, to meet the accused.

The direction was issued when the bail applications of Sephy and two priests-- Father Thomas Kottur and Fr Jose Puthrikayil, who were also arrested, came up before the court.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:40 AM

Parish priest arrested over child sex abuse

UNITED KINGDOM
Evening Chronicle

Dec 11 2008 by Brenda Hickman, Evening Chronicle

A PARISH priest is today facing charges of historic child sex abuse.

Father David Taylor, 59, had been arrested at the centre of an indecency probe with allegations dating back to the 1980s.

The Chronicle revealed in March he had been removed without prejudice as priest in charge at St Peter’s Church, Low Fell, Gateshead.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:27 AM

“Nearly doubled its cash on hand”

CALIFORNIA
California Catholic Daily

The Diocese of Orange is apparently recovering well from the financial hit it took when it paid its share of a $100 million settlement to victims of clergy sexual abuse in 2005, the Orange County Register reports.

Half of the settlement money came from diocesan coffers, while the other half was paid by the diocese. “Backed into similar financial corners, other dioceses declared bankruptcy or sold church property to fulfill their obligations,” the Register story said. The Orange diocese, facing a $50 million debt, laid off about a dozen workers and said at the time it could be forced to sell off some diocesan property.

Instead, said the Register, “The Diocese took out a loan -- and less than one year later, paid off the entire $50 million. How? By liquidating part of its $200 million investment portfolio and dipping into profits from its cemetery and other businesses.” The diocese owns Ascension Cemetery and Mausoleum in Lake Forest, Holy Sepulcher Cemetery in Orange and Good Shepherd Cemetery and Mausoleum in Huntington Beach.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:25 AM

In lawsuit, man alleges sex abuse at St. Edmond's Academy

WILMINGTON (DE)
The News Journal

WILMINGTON -- Kermit Justice Jr. -- son of the state's former secretary of transportation and New Castle County's former county executive -- filed suit Wednesday in Superior Court against St. Edmond's Academy, the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington, the religious order known as Brothers of the Holy Cross of the Eastern Province, and a former lay teacher at the school, John James Fleming.

In the suit, Justice, now 39, says he was sexually abused by Fleming in the early 1980s while he was a student at the school. Fleming was a teacher and wrestling coach from 1981 to January 1984.

Fleming pleaded guilty in 1985 to sexually assaulting a 10-year-old boy -- not a student at the school -- during a five-month period in 1984. Prosecutors at the time criticized the school for allowing Fleming to resign with a "glowing letter of recommendation" despite reports of molestation by two students.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:23 AM

Doctor says abuse led to anxiety disorder

VERMONT
Burlington Free Press

By Sam Hemingway • Free Press Staff Writer • December 11, 2008

A former altar boy twice molested by the Rev. Edward Paquette in the 1970s has suffered from recurring bouts of anxiety as an adult because of the abuse, a Burlington psychologist told a Chittenden Superior Court jury Wednesday.

Dr. Joseph Hasazi said the former altar boy, now a 43-year-old businessman from Takoma Park, Md., had other stresses in his life, but his decision to not tell anyone what Paquette did to him for years afterward shows how deeply the molestations affected him.

"I do give greater weight to the abuse experience," Hasazi testified during the trial's sixth day. "It is more likely this put him at risk for psychological problems." Hasazi said the man continues to suffer from a "generalized anxiety disorder" because of self doubt caused by the abuse incidents.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:20 AM

No doubt about Church's resolve

UNITED STATES
Boston Globe

By Michael Merz
December 11, 2008

THE OPENING of the movie "Doubt" this week, which stars Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman, will probably turn many people's attention to the child sexual abuse scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church since 2002. The film examines the case of a charismatic priest suspected of an improper relationship with a young boy.

The movie's plot is largely fictional. Sadly, too many stories that surfaced since 2002 were not fictional. The clergy sexual abuse crisis is the greatest crisis in the history of the Catholic Church in the United States, something that caused the downfall of one of the most powerful bishops in this country, Bernard Cardinal Law; moved hundreds of abuse victims to step forward; and resulted in the payment of hundreds of millions of dollars in legal settlements by various dioceses, prompted apologies from the highest levels in the church, and led to an extraordinary meeting between Pope Benedict XVI and abuse victims from Boston just last April.

Yet there is something we hope is clear: the intention of the nation's bishops to address this problem forcefully. From as early as the US Bishops Conference meeting in Dallas in the summer of 2002, the Catholic bishops in this country have made it clear that, as Pope John Paul II wrote, "People need to know that there is no room in the priesthood and religious life for those who would harm the young."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:18 AM

NEWS UPDATE: Diocese says book by suspended Baraboo priest should be destroyed

WISCONSIN
The Sauk Prairie Eagle

By Capital Newspapers staff reports

BARABOO — Members of the Catholic faith who possess copies of the recent book by suspended local priest Gerald Vosen should destroy or return them because a chapter describes proceedings of his church tribunal on child sexual assault allegations that should be kept secret, church officials announced last week.

Bishop of the Madison Diocese Robert C. Morlino issued a letter Dec. 1 stating Vosen's book "Pick a Number: Stories of Faith" details actions by church authorities after abuse allegations were made against Vosen in 2003. The church proceedings are under "pontifical secret" for the protection of Vosen and others involved in them, Morlino wrote.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:10 AM

December 10, 2008

Priest (81) asks court to stop his trial

IRELAND
The Irish Times

AN ELDERLY priest has asked the High Court to stop his trial on three charges of indecently assaulting an 11-year-old girl 30 years ago.

The retired 81-year-old priest, who is now partially blind due to glaucoma, is seeking an injunction in judicial review proceedings restraining the DPP from prosecuting him further for the offences, which allegedly occurred in his home in 1977 and 1978.

The priest denies the charges and argues that his right to a fair trial has been breached by the delay in making the complaints and prosecuting the offences.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:02 PM

Man Accuses New Mexico Church of Sexual Abuse

LAS CRUCES (NM)
KOAT

[video presentation]

A New Mexico man discusses abuse by a Franciscan brother.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:04 PM

VIDEO: Lawsuit filed against former teacher

DELAWARE
WDEL

[with video]

By Carl Kanefsky

The son of the former DelDOT Secretary and New Castle County Executive, Kermit and Rita Justice, files suit against a former teacher for sexual abuse..

His attorney says Kermit Justice, Jr. was abused by John James Fleming, a convicted sex offender, who worked as a teacher and wrestling coach at St. Edmond's Academy in the 1980s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:59 PM

Alleged victims testify in Bent trial

TAOS (NM)
KRQE

Reporter: Tim Maestas
Web Producer: Todd Dukart
TAOS, N.M. (KRQE) - The trial of cult leader Wayne Bent continued Wednesday morning as two sisters whose breasts he allegedly touched took the stand.

The younger of the two sisters, now 17, took the stand Wednesday morning. She told the jury that in July 2004, then 14, she felt very strongly that she needed God, and needed to lie naked with Bent, the leader of The Lord Our Righteousness Church.

"I love Michael!" she testified. Bent's followers call him Michael Travesser.

The girl said she ended up at Bent's trailer at the cult's Strong City compound in Clayton, where she told him how she was feeling. She said the two eventually ended up naked in bed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:56 PM

Former Loyola professor charged in sex abuse case

CHICAGO (IL)
Chi-Town Daily News

BY PETER SACHS / Education reporter

December 10, 2008 | 3:00 PM

A Florida woman has become the most recent person to claim she was sexually abused by a Jesuit priest who used to teach at Loyola University Chicago, and that the Jesuit order covered up the incident and others like it.

The woman claims that in 1967, when she was 17, the Rev. John Powell molested her at a spiritual retreat in Florida.

She is seeking at least $50,000 in damages, according to the lawsuit recently filed in Cook County Circuit Court. ...

“It’s depressing when you find out that people who are presenting themselves as inspiring role models … turn out to be sex offenders,” says Terence McKiernan, the co-director of the watchdog group BishopAccountability.org, which tracks priest abuse cases across the nation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:15 PM

CBI lists evidence in Sister Abhaya murder case

INDIA
The Times of India

KOCHI: In fresh revelations in the Sister Abhaya murder case, the CBI on Wednesday said it had evidence that a senior police officer had put "immense pressure" on a former policeman, who recently committed suicide, to "manipulate" records in the sister Abhaya case.

CBI counsel M V S Namboodiri told the High Court, which was hearing the bail plea of the three accused, that there was sufficient evidence - oral and circumstantial against Father Thomas Kottur, Father Jose Puthrikayil and sister Sephi, who were arrested by CBI last month in connection with the 16-year-old case.

Abhaya's body was found in the well of the ST Pius convent at Kottayam in 1992.

Three priests-- A V Michael, Thomas Thzeppilly and T Jose - had informed the CBI that they had seen the two priests "roaming" near the St Pius convent, of which sister Abhaya was an inmate, the counsel claimed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:20 PM

Syro Malabar Church backs accused

INDIA
The Christian Messenger

December 09, 2008 | 22:34:50

THE Syro Malabar Church in Kerala has come out in support of the accused in the Sister Abhaya murder case.

Two priests and a nun are cited as accused in the case by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the investigating agency probing the murder case.

The CBI had arrested Thomas M Kottur, E Jose Poothrukka and Sister Sephy on Nov 19. They were produced before a court in Kochi and remanded to custody.

Syro Malabar Church spokesman Paul Thelakkat recently conveyed the clergy’s displeasure over the CBI probe into the case.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:07 AM

Police: Mamaroneck priest charged in sex case was about to leave country

MAMARONECK (NY)
The Journal News

By Christine Pizzuti • The Journal News • December 10, 2008

MAMARONECK - A priest who was arrested on a sex charge at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Monday was waiting to get on an international flight to his native Ecuador, village police said yesterday.

The Rev. Richard Ordonez, 37, a visiting priest at St. Vito's Church, a Roman Catholic parish on Underhill Avenue, was charged with first-degree sex abuse, a felony, after he was taken into custody Monday morning. He is being held without bail, and his Canadian and Ecuadorean passports were confiscated by a judge during his arraignment that night.

The New York Archdiocese plans to notify Ordonez formally by letter today that they will remove his permission to work as a priest in the region in light of his arrest and the allegations against him.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:04 AM

Belleville Diocese posts $5.9 million bond to cover court settlement

BELLEVILLE (IL)
News-Democrat

BY GEORGE PAWLACZYK - News-Democrat

BELLEVILLE -- An attorney for the Diocese of Belleville posted a $5.9 million bond Tuesday in St. Clair County Court to cover a $5 million judgment and daily interest over two years if an appeal fails.

The daily interest rate is $1,233, according to a court document.

If the appeal is not decided by August 2010, then an additional bond for an undisclosed amount must be filed.

The judgment resulted from a civil court verdict Aug. 27 that awarded compensatory and punitive damages in a lawsuit brought by James Wisniewski of Champaign. Wisniewski, 47, stated that the Rev. Raymond Kownacki of Dupo sexually molested him when he was an altar boy beginning at about age 13 at a church in Salem.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:59 AM

Abhaya:HC asks CBI to produce case diary

INDIA
Kerala Online

Kochi, Wednesday, December 10, 2008: The Kerala High Court today asked the CBI to produce significant parts of the case diary which reveals the involvement of three accused in the murder of Sister Abhaya.

Meanwhile, the Court deferred hearing of the bail plea of three accused for tomorrow.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:54 AM

Diocese posts $5.9 million bond in sex abuse case

BELLEVILLE (IL)
WSBT

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) — A Roman Catholic diocese in southwestern Illinois has posted $5.9 million bond to cover a judgment awarded to a former altar boy who was sexually abused by a priest.

The bond posted Tuesday by the Diocese of Belleville includes the $5 million judgment and two years worth of daily interest in case a pending appeal fails.

In August, a jury found in favor of James Wisniewski of Champaign in his 2002 lawsuit alleging the Rev. Raymond Kownacki sexually abused him for five years in the 1970s beginning when he was 13.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:49 AM

Doubt Wags the Finger of Moral Relativism

NEW YORK
The Village Voice

By Ella Taylor
Tuesday, December 9th 2008

Back in the early 1980s, when I was a graduate student in Boston, a prominent professor I knew was accused of sexually harassing a female colleague. This man was a compulsive flirt who couldn't get within feet of a woman without coming on to her, so I wasn't altogether surprised that he had come under suspicion. But long before an internal inquiry cleared him of all charges—and unearthed his mentally unstable accuser's impressive history of workplace mayhem—many in the powerful local feminist community had written him off as guilty by virtue of sleazy character. The fallout from this case, measured in reckless disregard for due process and subsequent private misery all round, made a deep impression on me. So I came with up-front sympathy to John Patrick Shanley's Doubt, the film adaptation of his award-winning play about an old-school Catholic nun who goes after a priest she suspects of sexual abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:44 AM

Blame Dunlop for failed prosecution: retired cop

CANADA
Standard-Freeholder

By TREVOR PRITCHARD, STANDARD-FREEHOLDER

The blame for the failed 2001 prosecution of a city lawyer on sex abuse charges fell squarely on the shoulders of former cop Perry Dunlop, a retired Project Truth inspector told the Cornwall Public Inquiry.

"It's my view that Mr. Dunlop is directly responsible for (Jacques) Leduc's ultimate case," Det. Insp. Pat Hall testified Tuesday.

Hall, who spent 36 years with the Ontario Provincial Police, was one of two case managers on Project Truth, a four-year investigation into allegations a clan of pedophiles ritually abused children in the Cornwall area.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:38 AM

Church wants Vosen book destroyed

WISCONSIN
Baraboo News Republic

Members of the Catholic faithful who have copies of the book by suspended local priest Father Gerald Vosen should destroy or return them because a chapter describes proceedings of his church tribunal on child sexual assault allegations that should be kept secret, church officials announced last week.

Bishop of the Madison Diocese Robert C. Morlino issued a letter Dec. 1 stating Vosen's book, "Pick a Number: Stories of Faith," details actions by church authorities after abuse allegations were made against Vosen in 2003. The church proceedings are under "Pontifical secret" for the protection of Vosen and others involved in them, Morlino wrote.

"Baptized Catholics or those who have made a profession of faith who purchase Fr. Vosen's book are at risk of participating in this breach of the Pontifical Secret," Morlino writes in his statement.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:33 AM

Victim testifies in priest sex abuse trial

VERMONT
Burlington Free Press

By Sam Hemingway, Free Press Staff Writer • December 10, 2008

A former altar boy told a jury Tuesday he felt so guilty after the Rev. Edward Paquette twice molested him in the late 1970s at Christ the King Church in Burlington that he kept quiet about the incidents for years afterward.

“I knew it was really wrong and I thought I was going to get in trouble for it because I had let a man touch my private parts,” the former altar boy, now a 43-year-old businessman living in Takoma Park, Md., told the 12-person jury.

The man, who was 11 at the time the incidents occurred, said he initially blamed himself for what happened because he’d been taught by his parents that it was wrong for anyone to touch a child’s genitals. The Burlington Free Press does not publish the names of alleged victims of sexual abuse without their consent.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:30 AM

December 9, 2008

Priest accused of fondling NY woman in 2004

MAMARONECK (NY)
Fox 44

Associated Press - December 9, 2008 3:55 PM ET

MAMARONECK, N.Y. (AP) - A Catholic priest has been arrested after a woman told New York police he fondled her four years ago.

The Rev. Richard Ordonez, who often works at St. Vito's parish in Mamaroneck, is accused of sexual abuse. Village police Lt. James Gaffney says the alleged victim is an adult. ...

Joe Zwilling, spokesman for the New York Archdiocese, said Ordonez, who is from Ecuador, is not a priest of the archdiocese but was working in New York "with permission," which has now been withdrawn.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:55 PM

Diocese: Payouts in ex-priest's abuse case grow to $1.6M

NEW JERSEY
The Daily Record

BY ABBOTT KOLOFF • DAILY RECORD • December 9, 2008

A seventh alleged victim of former Dover pastor Ronald Tully has received a settlement from the Paterson Roman Catholic Diocese, church officials acknowledged Tuesday.

Mitchell Garabedian, a Boston attorney who represents the latest alleged victim, said his client, who now lives in Florida, was 14 years old and a student at Pope Pius XII High School in Passaic when Tully allegedly fondled him in 1977. At the time, Tully was an assistant principal at the school, which no longer exists, Garabedian said.

The diocese has now paid an estimated $1.6 million to Tully victims.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:51 PM

Victim Testifies In Priest Sex Abuse Case

VERMONT
WPTZ

[with video]

BURLINGTON, Vt. -- The plaintiff in the latest trial against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington took the stand Tuesday.

The now 43-year-old man said the Rev. Edward Paquette molested him twice while he was an altar boy at Christ the King Church.

He said Paquette had asked him to become an altar boy, and he said the molestation happened when he had just started learning about the duties.

"I remember that it hurt. I was completely confused. I had not been an altar boy before, and believe it or not, the first thing that came to mind was, was this the way the priest helps you get dressed?" said the plaintiff.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:48 PM

New complaint lodged against former priest

MICHIGAN CITY (IN)
The News-Dispatch

Deborah Sederberg
The News-Dispatch

MICHIGAN CITY - For the first time, officials with the Diocese of Gary have heard from a resident of the diocese who says he was molested by former priest Richard Emerson.

Emerson, who is no longer a priest, had assignments at St. Thomas More in Munster, St. Joseph's in La Porte, Assumption in East Chicago and Notre Dame in Michigan City.

Just after 3 p.m. Sunday, Bishop Dale Melczek received a copy of the complaint filed by Florida attorney Joseph Saunders in cooperation with Chicago attorney Mark Pearlman. The lawsuit is on behalf of a 16-year-old who accuses Emerson of abusing him while he was serving at St. Thomas More. The alleged abuse, however, is said to have occurred in White County, where Emerson had a home near Monticello, Ind. Emerson and Melczek are named as defendants.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:44 PM

Abhaya case: CBI denies harassment of nuns

INDIA
Zee News

Kochi, Dec 09: The CBI on Tuesday informed the Kerala High Court that the petition filed by 19 nuns alleging harassment by it was an "organised" move to resist investigation in the Sister Abhaya case in which two priests and a nun have been arrested.

Denying that the agency had harassed or intimidated witnesses in the case, CBI DySP Nandakumaran Nair stated in a counter affidavit that an impression was being created among the public that those arrested in the case are "innocent".

In the counter to the petition by Mother Superior Annie John and 18 others of St Joseph Generalate, the CBI said there was no harassment. Only as part of the investigation, the inmates of the St Pius convent, where Abhaya was an inmate, are being questioned.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:54 PM

Married vicar who seduced parishioner banned for 10 years

UNITED KINGDOM
Telegraph

By Martin Beckford, Religious Affairs Correspondent
Last Updated: 4:01PM GMT 09 Dec 2008

The Rev Patrick Okechi went on dates with his mistress to funerals, took her shopping to buy church candles and drank wine with her in the vestry, a tribunal found.

He turned up at her home one night wearing just a dressing gown and flip-flops after being locked out of his bedroom by his angry wife, it was said.

Dr Okechi, 46, denied adultery and insisted the woman, who was once convicted of burning down her house, was stalking him.

But Church of England investigators found he had sent her romantic text messages and sent her a letter written in the same computer typeface as he used for hymn sheets

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:51 PM

Priest Sex Abuse Victim Takes the Stand

VERMONT
WCAX

Burlington, Vermont - December 9, 2008

There was emotional testimony this morning from the victim at the latest sex abuse trial involving Vermont's Roman Catholic Diocese.

The former altar boy claims he was abused by Father Edward Paquette in 1977. He told the jury he was groped twice by Paquette as he was dressing. The victim was 11 at the time of the abuse. In court he explained why he never told anyone when he was first assaulted.

"I had just put my robe on. He came up behind me and put his arm on my chest and reached down and was grabbing and squeezing my private parts and genitals. The first thing that came to my mind was this is the way the priest help you get dressed?"

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:49 PM

Report urges trust between bishop and priests in Belleville diocese

BELLEVILLE (IL)
News-Democrat

[PDF: Reid report concerning relations between Bishop Braxton and priests]

BY GEORGE PAWLACZYK - News-Democrat

BELLEVILLE -- Conciliatory talks held over the summer between Bishop Edward Braxton and priests who had asked him to resign have resulted in a 10-point report by a nonprofit group urging the two sides to trust each other and improve communication.

The Reid Group, of Seattle, which issued the report, was paid $30,000 to hold separate meetings between Braxton and 46 priests who are permanently assigned to the diocese and in March asked him to resign. The meetings also included about 40 priests who did not call for Braxton's resignation.

"This new moment of opportunity to build a more fruitful relationship among priests and between the priests and the bishop is still at a fragile point and requires consistent care and attention," the Red Group's two-page report states.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:43 PM

Downtown Protest at Charleston Diocese

CHARLESTON (SC)
WCIV

Charleston, SC - A group of protesters gathered outside the Catholic Diocese of Charleston Monday afternoon.

They are part of SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

The group says they haven't received compensation from a 2007 agreement, and want the Catholic church to pay them what it agreed to pay.

They say the fact that their case has stalled, is keeping them from getting on with their lives.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:02 PM

West Bromwich vicar receives 10-year ban after extra-marital affair

UNITED KINGDOM
Birmingham Post

Dec 10 2008

A married vicar who had an adulterous affair with a parishioner after she came to him to discuss her personal problems was today barred from being a priest for 10 years.

A five-strong church disciplinary tribunal ruled that father-of-three the Rev Dr Patrick Okechi, from the Church of the Good Shepherd with St John in West Bromwich, West Midlands, behaved in a manner "unbecoming or inappropriate to the office and work of a clerk in Holy Orders".

The judgment, which was handed down by tribunal chairman Judge Simon Grenfell, referred to a relationship with a woman known only as Mrs A.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:00 PM

VOTF STRATEGIC PLAN

UNITED STATES
Voice of the Faithful

Voice of the Faithful has announced its new action-based strategic plan. Links to the plan narrative and full text of the plan can be found at this site.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:56 AM

Picketers protest in front of Charleston Diocese

CHARLESTON (SC)
WCSC

[with video]

By Tracey Amick, Live 5 News

(WCSC) CHARLESTON SC - Larry Mullen says they want the Diocese of Charleston to pay the 1. 375 million dollars owed to 11 victims of past abuse. A case was settled with those 11 victims back in August of 2007, granting them that money, once 2 conditions were met.

The completion of the class action claims process, and a 100,000 payment from the class action attorney, Larry Richter.

But on March 6th another lawsuit was filed against the Diocese for breach of contract. The Diocese says that was premature considering neither of the conditions for dispersing the money had been met.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:44 AM

Mamaroneck priest charged with sex abuse

MAMARONECK (NY)
The Journal News

By Christine Pizzuti and Candice Ferrette
The Journal News • December 9, 2008

MAMARONECK - A village priest was arrested yesterday at John F. Kennedy International Airport and charged with fondling a woman.

The Rev. Richard Ordonez, 37, a visiting priest at St. Vito's Church, a Catholic parish on Underhill Avenue, was charged with first-degree sex abuse, a felony, after he was taken into custody yesterday morning.

He was arraigned last night in the judge's chambers at Village Hall while a Board of Trustees meeting was under way in the courtroom.

Ordonez was accused of abusing a woman in 2004, fondling her breasts and other parts of her body, according to a statement read during the arraignment. He was being held in the Westchester County jail without bail. He is due in Village Court on Dec. 18.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:24 AM

Ealing school priest charged with 24 sex offences

UNITED KINGDOM
The London Daily News

An Ealing priest formally in charge of a primary school has been charged with multiple sex crimes against young boys.

Father David Pearce, 67, was the former head of the junior section of independent St Benedict's Catholic School.

He was charged last month with 24 counts of indecent assault, sexual touching and gross indecency with six boys aged under 16.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:19 AM

Victim in Priest Sex Abuse Trial to Take Stand

VERMONT
Fox 44

The victim in the latest Burlington Diocese sex abuse trial will be taking the stand Tuesday. The former altar boy says he was sexually abused by Father Edward Paquette in the 1970's.

On Monday, the victim's attorney argued the diocese moved a pedophile priest from parish to parish to hide the scandal. The defense says abuse cases were handled a lot differently than they are now.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:17 AM

Victims present demands to Diocese

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
WWLP

[with video]

Dan Elias
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - Some of those who claim to have been abused by priests in the Springfield diocese said last week's settlement with almost 60 victims wasn't enough. They also want the diocese to take some specific steps that have nothing to do with cash payments.

Peter Pollard heads the local chapter of SNAP--the Survivor's Network of those Abused by Priests. He delivered a "roadmap to reform" to the Bishop of Springfield. The roadmap includes a demand that the names of perpetrators be posted on the Diocese website.

Other demands include support by the diocese for the elimination of a statute of limitations in abuse cases, letters of apology from the bishop to victims, and the end of confidentiality agreements that keep details of abuse secret.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:09 AM

Father David Pearce due in court

UNITED KINGDOM
Ealing Times

By Alex Hayes

AN EALING priest has been charged with a string of sexual offences against boys.

Father David Pearce, 67, a former head the junior school section of St Benedict's School, was charged in November with 24 counts of indecent assault, sexual touching and gross indecency with six boys aged under 16.

The counts relate to incidents before and after 2003, when the law was changed to create sexual touching as an offence.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:02 AM

Opening Statements Given In Bent Trial

TAOS (NM)
KOAT

TAOS, N.M. -- After jury selection Monday, opening statements began the trial of Wayne Bent, the self-described messiah on trial on charges of sexual contact with two young female followers.

Deputy District Attorney Tomas Benavidez told a jury in state district court in Taos that Bent touched the breasts of girls who at the time were ages 14 and 16.

He said Bent betrayed his followers in The Lord Our Righteousness Church and abused his authority.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:55 AM

New Mexico sect leader's molestation trial opens

NEW MEXICO
Kansas City Star

By DEBORAH BAKER
Associated Press Writer

The leader of an apocalyptic religious sect in New Mexico had inappropriate contact with teenage sisters, prosecutors said Monday at the outset of his trial on molestation charges.

Wayne Bent, 67, lay in bed naked and "chest to chest, skin to skin" with a 14-year-old girl, Deputy District Attorney Tomas Benavidez told jurors. He had a similar encounter with her 16-year-old sister, the prosecutor said.

Bent, a self-described Messiah and leader of The Lord Our Righteousness Church, is charged with two counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:50 AM

Abuse victims launch protest

CHARLESTON (SC)
The Post and Courier

By Adam Parker
The Post and Courier
Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Eight people held signs and cited financial hardship while protesting outside the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston on Monday, saying the church was late in paying funds awarded in a settlement of sexual abuse cases.

The protest was endorsed by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, commonly known as SNAP.

Larry Mullen, one of the victims, said Catholic officials have found excuses to delay payment of $1.375 million in a settlement negotiated by Charleston attorney Gregg Meyers in the wake of a larger class-action lawsuit that required the diocese to pay up to $12 million to victims and their families.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:46 AM

Doubt

UNITED STATES
Catholic News Service

By Harry Forbes
Catholic News Service

NEW YORK (CNS) -- The New York and London Pulitzer Prize-winning stage hit "Doubt" (Miramax) makes an equally engrossing movie experience, and one that -- despite the reminder of a dark chapter in the church's recent history -- should resonate with Catholic viewers.

The story is set in 1964 at a fictional Bronx parochial grammar school, St. Nicholas (modeled on the actual St. Anthony, whose exterior is used). Autocratic principal Sister Aloysius (Meryl Streep) comes to suspect a popular priest, Father Flynn (Philip Seymour Hoffman), of impropriety with 12-year-old Donald, the school's first black student, a sensitive boy whom Father Flynn has treated compassionately.

Sister Aloysius, together with idealistic and kind young teacher Sister James (Amy Adams), sets out to confront him. Sister Aloysius has little proof, but rather a deep-seated conviction that she is right. When Sister James observes Father Flynn putting something in Donald's school locker, and smells alcohol on the altar boy's breath when he returns to the classroom after meeting with the priest, she suspects the worst, and gives Sister Aloysius the ammunition she needs.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:44 AM

Some Clergy Abuse Claimants Demand More from Diocese

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
CBS 3

By Matt DeLucia

Following a $4.5 Million settlement by the Diocese of Springfield, many of the 59 claimants say it is insufficient, and that the Diocese has not done enough to educate the public it serves.

Standing outside the Springfield Roman Catholic Diocesan headquarters Monday afternoon, Springfield resident Don Henneberger says the $75,000 he received in this latest priest sex abuse settlement should only be the beginning, and not the end of assistance to victims.

Henneberger is one of 59 plaintiffs who received part of a $4.5 Million settlement last week. Henneberger received his claim after he says he was abused by Father Richard O'Hearn at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Pittsfield. Henneberger and other members of SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) want the Diocese to work proactively to promote healing and prevent future incidents of sexual abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:42 AM

Priest accused of sex abuse

MAMARONECK (NY)
WABC

MAMARONECK (WABC) -- A Mamaroneck priest was arrested Monday after a woman claimed she was sexually abused.

Police say the woman reported on September 24 that she was abused in the past by Father Richard Ordonez, who was returning to United States.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:39 AM

Judge: Diocese can show efforts to combat clerical abuse

VERMONT
Burlington Free Press

By Sam Hemingway • Free Press Staff Writer • December 9, 2008

The state's Roman Catholic diocese can tell jurors about its efforts to combat sexual abuse by church personnel in the years since a priest allegedly molested altar boys at a Burlington parish in the late 1970s, a judge ruled Monday.

"I am going to allow that evidence if it is specific to efforts the diocese undertook to address the issue of sexual abuse against minors," Judge Dennis Pearson told lawyers in the case late Monday afternoon.

The ruling, which had been sought by diocesan lawyers, opens up a new line of defense for the diocese in the case of a Takoma Park, Md., man who claims that as an 11-year-old boy he was twice molested by the Rev. Edward Paquette at Christ the King Church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:34 AM

Judge lets in diocese's evidence

VERMONT
Fox 44

Associated Press - December 9, 2008 8:05 AM ET

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) - A Vermont judge is allowing the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington to introduce evidence at a priest sex abuse trial of steps the diocese took to try to guard against sexual abuse of minors by priests.

A lawyer for the church says the ruling by Chittenden Superior Court Judge Dennis Pearson marks a change in that the church is being allowed to show what steps it took to address the problem of sexual abuse by priests.

The ruling came in the trial of a lawsuit by a Maryland man who says that when he was an altar boy at Christ the King Church in Burlington, former priest Edward Paquette sexually abused him.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:30 AM

December 8, 2008

Sixteen months after agreement, church still won’t pay; Sex abuse victims respond

CHARLESTON (SC)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

This is a pattern we’re seeing across the nation: Catholic bishops making then foot-dragging or reneging on agreements in clergy sex crimes and concealment cases. They’ve done it with victims, prosecutors, judges and attorneys general.

Bishops feign compassion toward victims when facing public scrutiny, then act callously when that scrutity fades.

Church officials would have you believe there is some genuine legal dispute here. There isn’t. It’s plain and simple: they agreed, under pressure, to compensate deeply wounded victims. Now, they’re not doing it. Their actions are deliberate, hurtful and inexcusable.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:22 PM

Advocates for victims of clergy abuse call on Springfield Diocese to take more steps to avoid future cases

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
The Republican

By PETER GOONAN
pgoonan@repub.com

SPRINGFIELD - A local organization that advocates for victims of clergy abuse has urged the bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield to take additional steps aimed at prevention and healing.

Peter C. Pollard, coordinator for the Western Massachusetts chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, submitted a letter on Monday to Bishop Timothy A. McDonnell at the diocesan office on Elliot Street, outlining a "roadmap to healing and prevention."

The 18 recommendations include a proposal that the bishop release the names of all clergy or church personnel responsible for sexual abuse, and that the diocese prominently post the names of all known perpetrators, including deceased perpetrators, on its Web site for nine years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:17 PM

Six children from Alamo compound to remain in state custody

ARKANSAS
KTBS

Six children associated with the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries will remain in state custody, an Arkansas child welfare official said today.

Julie Munsell of the state Department of Human Services would not offer any other details about the children. A father to several of the children said authorities found them in Indiana.

State Circuit Judge Mark Hewett held a closed-door hearing today to decide where the children should be placed for the next 30 to 60 days.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:52 PM

St. Louis Catholic church first ever to post link to priest abuse group

ST. LOUIS (MO)
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

By Tim Townsend
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests says for the first time in its history, a Roman Catholic church has posted a link on its website that directs its user to the activist group’s own site.

From the St. Cronan Church website:

Though controversial at times, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests has a website (www.snapnetwork.org) containing helpful information and resources, not only for those who have been abused and their families, but for all of us who want to learn more and be of support to our brothers and sisters in Christ who are hurting the most at this time. If there was ever a time when we needed to pray together, it is now.

St. Cronan, located in south St. Louis, is known for its more liberal take on Roman Catholic teaching. Two members of the church’s pastoral team, Sr. Louise Lears and Seán Collins, resigned over the summer. Lears left the church just before former St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke placed her under the canonical penalty of interdict, a lesser form of excommunication.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:48 PM

Apparently, OC Catholics Can Learn

ORANGE COUNTY (CA)
Orange County Weekly

Posted by Gustavo Arellano in Ex Cathedra, Gunkist Memories
December 8, 2008 9:16 AM

The Los Angeles Times ran a great Column One story last week about the few monuments to the survivors of Catholic sex abuse that the church hierarchy have allowed on parish grounds across the country. Of course, the Diocese of Orange has yet to erect one, because Bishop Tod D. Brown would rather spend money on jerk lawyers and high-priced PR spinners. Not only that, but the Orange diocese is so retrograde in its feelings toward the innocents they let suffer that they would rather honor raping priests--or, at least they did.

For years, St. Columban Church allowed to stand a memorial to Father Jack Lord, who was one of the country's first priests to publicly die of AIDS. They allowed it to stand, even though church officials knew Lord had molested kids. It stood even after the diocese publicly admitted Lord molested children. It stood even after Brown settled 87 sex-abuse cases in January of 2005 for $100 million, at the time the largest sex-abuse settlement in the history of American Catholicism (the Los Angeles Archdiocese beat Orange last year--and the rivalry between LA and OC continues...). One of the priests named in the settlement? Lord--his victim got $3,739,842, the largest individual settlement in the bunch of pedo-priests.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:35 PM

It takes five minutes to come up with solution to Catholic Church crisis of crime victims

UNITED STATES
City of Angels

By Kay Ebeling

In this morning's Abuse Tracker I read this:

WASHINGTON DC: "Catholic bishops must make safe environment programs and reaching out to those hurt by sexual abuse by clergy priority issues, said Bishop Blase Cupich, new chair of the bishops' Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People." (Last update: 9:41 a.m. EST Dec. 8, 2008 PRNewswire-USNewswire.)

I can give Bishop Blase some suggestions.

Perpetrator priests went off to sanctuary type environments, rural retreat acreage set aside for their “recovery” at the same time many pedophile / sexual predator priest assault survivors are trying to get therapy through the government or uninformed insurance programs, having little or no success getting to see therapists who do not understand our specific issues once or twice a month, let alone long term care.

Survivors need recovery centers as lush or more luxurious than anything the Catholic Church set up for perpetrator priests. For example, the land that used to be Servants of the Paracletes in Jemez Springs, New Mexico. That property where hundreds of pedophile priests spent months and years at a time in "treatment" could be redeveloped for survivors in western states to go to.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:33 PM

Safe Environment Programs, Reaching Out Priority Issues for Bishops' Committee on Protection of Children, You

UNITED STATES
Market Watch

Last update: 9:41 a.m. EST Dec. 8, 2008
WASHINGTON, Dec 08, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Catholic bishops must make safe environment programs and reaching out to those hurt by sexual abuse by clergy priority issues, said Bishop Blase Cupich, new chair of the bishops' Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People.

Bishop Cupich of Rapid City, South Dakota, highlighted the issues in a December 8 letter to all members of the United Sates Conference of Catholic Bishops.

He said he was grateful that "there are now fewer reports of credible instances of sexual abuse of children by clerics." In 2007, there were 12 credible instances of minors being abused.

"That's twelve instances too many," he said. "However, even with the small number in a church of 67 million people, we dare not become complacent. The effects of the sin and crime of sexual abuse by a cleric are so horrific that we need to make sure that efforts to protect young people continue."

Clergy sex abuse victims blast diocese

CHARLESTON (SC)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

What:
At a sidewalk press conference, clergy sex abuse victims will
-- blast Charleston Catholic officials for not honoring their promises in a class action settlement of of child molestation and cover up cases, and for refusing to compensate them, and
-- encourage anyone who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes to come forward, get help, and call police.

When:
Monday, Dec. 8, at 12:30 p.m

Who:
Two-three local men who were molested as kids by Catholic priests and are part of the settlement, including the new Charleston spokesman for a self help group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)

Where:
Outside the Catholic Diocese of Charleston, 119 Broad Street (near corner of Orange), Charleston, SC

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:45 AM

Clergy sex abuse victims challenge diocese to do more

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

WHAT
At a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will
-- spell out a list of abuse prevention reforms they'rechallenging Springfield's bishop to adopt
-- criticize him from refusing to adopting them before or during settlement discussions, and
-- beg other church officials to pressure him to reconsider, so that kids will be safer & abuse will be prevented

WHEN
Monday, Dec. 8, 1:15 p.m.

WHERE
Outside the Springfield Catholic diocese headquarters ('chancery office'), Elliot Street (off State) in Springfield MA

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:42 AM

Trent professor's book studying the deaths of residential school children

CANADA
Peterborough Examiner

By LAURA MUELLER, EXAMINER STAFF WRITER

A Trent University professor will lead an extensive study to reveal what happened to aboriginal children who died in Canada's residential school system.

John Milloy, who wrote the book "A National Crime" about residential schools, has been tapped to compile extensive lists of the children who died and their gravesites.

"Former Minister (of Indian Affairs and Northern Development) Jim Prentice said if his child had gone missing he'd want to know the answer," Milloy said. "This echoed what survivors were saying and members of communities were saying... There is just a desire in the communities for some sort of closure."

The first part of the research project will take about two years and involve locating gravesites and burial grounds and interviewing survivors to fill in the gaps about who died and where they were buried. The second phase of the study should take about three years and will involve more ambitious research delving into government and private agency documents to determine the policies and procedures of running a residential school and dealing with deaths of students.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:11 AM

Care home matron is cleared of abuse charges

SCOTLAND
Paisley Daily Express

Dec 6 2008 Paisley Daily Express

A PENSIONER alleged to have physically and sexually assaulted schoolgirls at a Church of Scotland children’s home dramatically walked free from Paisley Sheriff Court yesterday.

Janette Gault had been on trial accused of carrying out the abuse in the early 1970s while she was matron of Carnegie Park Children’s Home on the boundary of Johnstone and Elderslie.

But, despite the fact the jury returned guilty pleas in relation to three of the charges involving alleged lewd and libidinous activity towards one of those who had accused her, that had to be overturned by Sheriff Neil Douglas as they had found a similar charge against the second complainer not proven.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:09 AM

Many clergy abuse claimants unhappy with settlements

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
The Republican

By STEPHANIE BARRY
sbarry@repub.com

SPRINGFIELD - In a conference room at a downtown high-rise, dozens of men who say they were molested by priests learned recently about the economics of abuse.

Gauge the ugliness and duration. Measure the fallout: drugs, divorce, hospitalizations, suicide attempts.

For Daniel B. Daley, four years of alleged abuse by the Rev. Michael H. Devlin, his parish priest in West Springfield, yielded $80,000 in damages.

"They asked me: 'What difference did it make in your life?'" said Daley, one of 59 plaintiffs who in November collectively settled $4.5 million in clergy abuse claims with the local Catholic diocese. "But it's hard for me to say. I don't know how my life would have been different if it didn't happen."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:06 AM

Catholic reform group asks parishioners to withhold donations

LONG ISLAND (NY)
Newsday

BY LAURA RIVERA | laura.rivera@newsday.com
December 8, 2008
Members of a new Catholic reform group yesterday urged Long Island parishioners to withhold donations for what they said was the mishandling of clergy sex abuse cases.

About a dozen people supporting Project Send the Bishops a Message demonstrated outside St. Agnes Cathedral in Rockville Centre after morning Mass, asking parishioners to contribute to children's charities instead of their local parish on Dec. 21.

The group's national director, Frank Douglas, said the selective boycott would convey to church leaders that they need to do more to protect children from sexual abuse and to make their finances more transparent.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:01 AM

December 7, 2008

Sacerdote pedofilo nozze annullate

ITALY
Fai Notizia

SI ERANO SPOSATI NEL 2005 NELLA CHIESA DI SAN LIBERATO DI BRACCIANO,IL PARROCO IN QUESTIONE SI CHIAMA MASSIMILIANO CROCETTI,PARROCO DI ORIOLO ROMANO,CHE AVEVA CONGIUNTO A NOZZE A..F.32 ANNI DI ROMA E L.B. 35 ANNI DI ORIOLO ROMANO.IL SACERDOTE IN QUESTIONE E' STATO CONDANNATO A QUATTRO ANNI E QUATTRO MESI DI RECLUSIONE PER ABUSO DI DUE MINORENNI.GLI SPOSINI APPRESA LA NOTIZIA ,HANNO CHIESTO L'ANNULLAMENTO DEL MATRIMONIO ALLA SACRA ROTA ROMANA PER "INDEGNITA' DEL CELEBRANTE".

[translation]

Pedophile priest, annulled wedding

They married in 2005 in the church of San Liberato at Bracciano (Rome). The parish priest who celebrated the wedding was Massimilano Crocetti from the town of Oriolo Romano (Rome). When the married couple, 32-year-old A.F. and 35-year-old L.B., both residents of Oriolo Romano, got the news the parish priest had been sentenced to 4-years-4-months of jail for having sexually abused two minors, they asked the Sacred Roman Rota for the annulment of their wedding on the ground of the "indignity of the celebrant".

The 36-year-old Rev. Crocetti, originally from the town of Montefiascone (Rome), was arrested in August 2006 for attempted sexual violence against a 15-year-old boy in the town of Oriolo Romano (Rome) and a 13-year-old boy in the town of Vetralla (Rome), where he had been the parish priest. According to the Italian saying "Non c'e' due senza tre" (there is no 'two' without a 'three') let's hope there will never be a third place where the Rev. Crocetti will be perform his duties as a parish priest.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:46 PM

Ex-archbishop Pius Ncube, opponent of Robert Mugabe, silenced by Vatican

ZIMBABWE
The Times (United Kingdom)

Martin Fletcher in Bulawayo
One of the most outspoken opponents of Robert Mugabe has been silenced by the Vatican just as the regime in Zimbabwe is at its weakest and his leadership would be most valuable.

Pius Ncube resigned as Archbishop of Bulawayo and left Zimbabwe in September 2007 after he was filmed sleeping with a married woman who was employed by the regime as a “honeytrap”. He returned last month after spending a year in exile in Rome and Britain, but the Roman Catholic Church has forbidden him from making any political statements. ...

Mr Ncube, 61, fell from grace in July 2007 when the state-controlled media jubilantly published pictures of him in bed with Rosemary Sibanda, a married woman, at his official residence in Bulawayo.

An agent of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) has since confirmed what everyone knew - that the CIO installed a camera in his room and entrapped the archbishop.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:20 PM

Hearing in LA on doc release next week, case re Fransciscan public nuisance goes forward in SB, more stories in progress at City of Angels Network

LOS ANGELES (CA)
City of Angels

By Kay Ebeling

At a hearing next week on Motion to Unseal Documents, plaintiffs from the LA cases should get the final order on which documents will be released to a mediating judge, then after review finally released to the public. Attorneys for the church continue to function in Wonderland, arguing that occasional contradictions in the judges' decisions, most of which are a result of the church attorneys’ own flurries of filings, are now a reason to maintain documents sealed.

“They want to keep some of these filings secret,” plaintiff liaison attorney Tony DeMarco said in a recent interview. The tentative ruling by Judge Emilie Elias should be made final at the December 10th hearing in Department 308, and complete a major hurdle in release of documents as ordered in the July 2007 settlements.

“There’s going to be a flood of documents available,” De Marco said.

Meanwhile in Santa Barbara, plaintiffs won their argument that the Public Nuisance lawsuit against the Franciscans should be tried in Santa Barbara and not be added in the year 2008 to the settlement decisions of July 2007, through a recent Judge Elias decision, released quietly.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:38 PM

Anger over singing priest’s comment on abuse victims

NORTHERN IRELAND
Belfast Telegraph

By Stephen Gordon
Sunday, 30 November 2008

One of Northern Ireland's chart-topping singing priests has been slammed over comments he has made about sex abuse victims. Sex attack survivor Roisin Fry says she's seething over a statement made by Cushendun-based Fr Martin O'Hagan — one of The Priests trio who recently signed a £1.4m record deal with Sony BMG.

The group’s debut album The Priests went straight to number one in the Irish charts last week beating new releases from Leona Lewis, Beyonce and Celine Dion and they are expected to challenge Guns N’ Roses for the UK number one slot this weekend.

The trio of Northern Ireland priests have been described as “Father Ted meets Westlife”.

Fr O'Hagan is on record as saying at a Catholic church tribunal that "nowadays there is a tendency to exaggerate" the effect of sexual abuse on the lives of victims.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:43 PM

Controversial Donegal priest to be released

IRELAND
Derry Journal

Published Date: 05 December 2008
A Donegal priest at the centre of one of the most high profile paedophile controversies in recent years, Fr. Eugene Green, is expected to be released from jail tomorrow.

The west Donegal native's possible return to his home place is also causing considerable disquiet in the area.

Fr. Green abused boys over a span of three decades and was jailed in 2000.

Director of One in Four, a registered charity which provides support and resources to people who have experienced sexual abuse and sexual violence, Maeve Lewis, said the church had a responsibility to ensure that children in the community were not put at risk. She questioned who would be monitoring the whereabouts of Father Greene on his release.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:08 AM

Dec. 7 "Doubt" Screening in Manhattan Benefits The Actors Fund of America

NEW YORK
Playbill

By Andrew Gans
07 Dec 2008

A screening of the forthcoming film "Doubt," based on the award-winning Broadway play of the same name, will be screened in Manhattan Dec. 7 to benefit The Actors Fund of America.

The 6 PM screening will be held at The Paris Theatre on West 58th Street. The film will be followed by a reception at the Metropolitan Club on East 60th Street.

Written for the screen and directed by Doubt playwright John Patrick Shanley, the film — due in limited release Dec. 12 — boasts Academy Award winners Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman with Amy Adams and Viola Davis. The Scott Rudin production features costume design by Ann Roth and production design by David Gropman.

The play about a Bronx Catholic school nun who suspects a priest of wrongdoing was a sensation from its 2004 start at Manhattan Theatre Club's Stage I Off-Broadway. Doubt moved to Broadway in 2005, snagged the Tony Award for Best Play (as well as two performance awards and one for direction) and played 525 performances before closing in July 2006. The play also won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:03 AM

Researching role, Streep moved by ‘extraordinary’ nuns

UNITED STATES
Boston Herald

By Stephen Schaefer
Sunday, December 7, 2008

Though “Doubt,” the film version of John Patrick Shanley’s Pulitzer-winning play, piques the concepts of truth and certainty, star Meryl Streep was adamant.

“I already knew the answer!” she said laughing at a post-screening talk.

Director Shanley agreed: “She shared it with the crew, the craft services table. In-between takes she would say, ‘I know he did it! I’m going to kick his a-- in this scene.’ And you did.”

Two-time Oscar winner Streep plays Sister Aloysius, the hardnosed principal of a Bronx Catholic school in 1964, who is convinced that the popular new parish priest (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is molesting a student.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:00 AM

Voice of the Faithful hopes to refocus its efforts

WELLESLEY (MA)
MetroWest Daily News

By Elana Zak/Gatehouse News Service
MetroWest Daily News
Posted Dec 07, 2008 @ 12:13 AM

WELLESLEY — Voice of the Faithful, a Catholic lay organization started to help restructure the Catholic Church after the sexual abuse scandal, is giving itself a makeover.

Since its inception in a church basement in Wellesley six years ago, the group has looked to help support victims and priests after the embarrassing and costly scandal was revealed. In an effort to continue moving forward, group President Dan Bartley has outlined five key elements: Local action, safety and reform, global action, partnership and community.

Bartley said he hopes the changes will not only bring other Catholics to the group, but also help the organization raise the money it needs to continue operating.

"We have a branding issue which is we have not articulated very well ... who we are and what we're all about," said Bartley, speaking to almost 50 people at St. James the Great Church in Wellesley earlier this week. "The root cause turns out to be that we have a fairly disorganized, inefficient organizational structure that hinders our ability to develop and execute ... focus and plan."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:51 AM

Don't 'be alone with other people's children'

MARYLAND
The Daily Times

By Sharahn D. Boykin • Staff Writer • December 7, 2008

SALISBURY -- Few events in a person's life have the ability to completely destroy them.

But an accusation of child sex abuse, true or not, can ruin careers, families and reputations.

In the past two years, an estimated 270 accusations of child sex abuse have occurred in the county. Of the 92 felony child abuse cases that went to trial during that time, only two ended in not guilty verdicts -- verdicts that won't wipe the slate clean.

Recent accusations of teachers having sex with students have rippled the region within the last two months, leaving shocked parents and concerned youth workers in the wake.

The most recent case involving the arrest of Carole Leigh Mayers, a Salisbury Christian School music teacher, had some parents protesting her innocence and denying allegations the 41-year-old teacher had a consensual sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:45 AM

December 6, 2008

FBI: Girls told agent evangelist Alamo abused them

ARKANSAS
Guardian (United Kingdom)

AP foreign, Saturday December 6 2008