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March 31, 2009

FORMER TNA, ECW STAR PAT 'SIMON DIAMOND' KENNEY FILES LAWSUIT STEMMING FROM HIS OWN CHILDHOOD ABUSE, HOPING TO HELP OTHERS COME FORWARD

UNITED STATES
PWInsider

by Mike Johnson @ 2009-03-31 16:32:33

The legal counsel for former TNA and ECW star Pat "Simon Diamond" Kenney issued the following press release today in regard to a lawsuit Kenney has brought against a cleric he claims sexually abused hm as a teenager.

In speaking to Kenney this afternoon while confirming the press release was legitimate, he noted that he had the option of filing the suit with anonymity but decided to go ahead publicly in hopes of helping others to come forward with their own claims and help their own healing process.

Since his departure from TNA, where he worked as an agent, Kenney is now working full-time outside of the wrestling business and has no plans for an in-ring return, feeling that chapter in his life has closed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:23 PM

Dead priest’s sexual exploits continue to haunt Ratzinger

The Freethinker

A WHILE back – in 2006 – the Vatican was forced to “discipline” the Rev Marcial Maciel Degollado following allegations by nine men who claimed they were abused by cleric while studying under him in Spain and Rome in the 1940s and 1950s.

According to his obituary, Maciel was apparently partial to an occasional “groin massage” administered by young semenarians seminarians.

The group, which included respectable academics and former priests, lodged formal charges in Latin at the Vatican in 1998, but were told the following year that the case had been shelved by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, then headed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:59 PM

Pope Initiates Apostolic Visit to Legion of Christ

VATICAN CITY
Zenit

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 31, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is appointing a team of prelates for an apostolic visitation to the institutions of the Legion of Christ.

The work of the apostolic visitors will consist in getting to know the operations and apostolates of the congregation. The visitors will then compile a report of their findings and submit it to the Holy See.

The decision of the Holy Father was communicated to the Legion by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Pope's secretary of state, in a letter sent to the general director, Father Alvaro Corcuera. The letter was released today on the congregation's Web site.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:57 PM

Former TNA wrestler files sexual abuse lawsuit against a priest

DELAWARE
Pro Wrestling

By Jason Powell Mar 31, 2009 - 03:50 PM

Former TNA wrestler and backstage agent Pat Kenney (a/k/a Simon Diamond) filed a sexual abuse lawsuit against a teacher and preist who worked at a Delaware high school. "Pat Kenney, who wrestled under the name Simon Diamond, used a landmark Delaware Law, the Child Victims Act, to come forward and tell his story of childhood sexual abuse at Wilmington's Salesianum High School, where he says he was sexually molested by known predator Denis Killion," reads a press release issued by Kenney's attorney.

"Pat has a goal," said his attorney, J. Michael Reck of Manly & Stewart of New York and Newport Beach, CA. "He wants to make sure that what happened to him never happens to another child. Pat spent an entire career being strong and ignoring the effects of his abuse. Now, he realizes that the best work he can do will be to keep kids safe, urge them to report abuse, and hold abusers and their protectors accountable."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:51 PM

Maine Bishop Responds to Revelations About Abuse Warnings

MAINE
MPBN

Maine's Roman Catholic Bishop Richard Malone is praising as "a prophet" the founder of a religious order who warned in the 1950's that pedophile priests were incorrigable and should not be returned to the ministry. Fr. Gerald Fitzgerald, founder of a program to rehabilitate sexually abusive priests, expressed that view in letters he wrote regularly to U.S. bishops and Vatican officials, according to the National Catholic Reporter. The letters, obtained from plaintiffs' lawyers, appear to challenge assertions by some church officials that they were not aware that moving abusive priests from parish to parish posed a risk to children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:47 PM

Buffalo diocese sells closed parishes to Buddhists

BUFFALO (NY)
Catholic Culture

March 31, 2009
The Diocese of Buffalo has sold two closed parishes to the International Sangha Bhiksu Buddhist Association for $360,000. In all, eight recently closed parishes have been sold to other congregations for worship, and 31 others are for sale.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:59 PM

Pope orders apostolic visitation of Legionaries of Christ

ROME
Catholic Culture

Rome, Mar. 31, 2009 (CWNews.com) -

Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) has ordered an apostolic visitation of the Legionaries of Christ (LC), in response to the turmoil roused by new revelations that the group's founder, the late Father Marcial Maciel, had apparently led a double life, marked by sexual and fiscal improprieties.

Father Alvaro Corcuera, the LC superior revealed plans for the apostolic visitation in a March 29 letter to members of the order. "With deep gratitude we have experienced the closeness of the Holy See at this phase in the life of our congregation," Father Corcuera wrote. He said that the Vatican investigation would provide "additional help to face our present vicissitudes related to the grave facts in our father founder’s life."

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone (bio - news) had notified the LC leadership of the Pope's decision 3 weeks earlier. In March 10 letter to Father Corcuera, the Vatican Secretary of State announced that "the Holy Father has decided to carry out an apostolic visitation to the institutions of the Legionaries of Christ through a team of prelates." The cardinal assured the LC leader that "you can always count on the help of the Holy See, so that with truth and transparency, in a climate of fraternal and constructive dialogue, you will overcome the present difficulties."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:56 PM

Is Sen. Lazich doing what is needed to protect and help children?

WISCONSIN
My Community Now

By Linda Richter
Tuesday, Mar 31 2009, 10:35 AM

On March 14, Mary Lazich had a Conservatively Speaking blog entry titled “State Budget Watch: Provision in Governor’s Budget Puts Children in Harm’s Way”.

But speaking of putting children in harm’s way, what about drunk driving? Men, women, children and unborn children have been injured or killed by drivers operating vehicles while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

What is Senator Lazich (R-New Berlin) doing about it? What has she done to reform Wisconsin’s lenient OWI laws? What bills has she introduced? What legislation does she support? ...

A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial titled "Helping the victims" contends that stigma, shame, and fear result in sexual crimes being notoriously underreported. It argues that’s why serial predators can operate so long without detection.

The editorial states, “It’s time for legislation to eliminate the statute of limitations in civil cases for victims of past child sexual assaults.” It notes that SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), an organization familiar with the reluctance of victims to step forward, pushed to get the State Legislature to change laws. Indeed, in the previous legislative session, Sen. Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) proposed a Child Victims Act. It would have opened up a 3-year window for victims to file a suit against their perpetrators, regardless of how long ago the crime was committed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:46 PM

Legion-Holy See Orders Apostolic Visitation

The Cathoholic

Joan Frawley Desmond

Today, Regnum Christi posted an announcement confirming that the Holy See has ordered an Apostolic Visitation of the "institutions of the Legionaries of Christ" that is likely to commence after Easter. The announcement included two letters: one from Father Alvaro Corcuera, the Director General of the Legionaries of Christ, and a second from the Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

Notably, the letter from Cardinal Bertone is dated March 10, underscoring the fact that the Legion has taken time to absorb the Holy See's decision and establish a plan to communicate that decision to its members. Though many Catholics expected an updated annoucement from the order to include explicit information regarding the founder's misdeeds, neither letter provides or confirms additional information regarding Father Maciel's past actions that placed the order's future into doubt.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:13 PM

Church's Pedophile Scandal Gave 'Cafeteria Catholics' a Boost

UNITED STATES
U.S. News & World Report

By Mary Kate Cary, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

A new Gallup poll is out that finds almost no difference between mainstream American Catholics and non-Catholics when it comes to deciding the moral acceptability of abortion (a majority of both say no) and embryonic stem cell research (a majority of both say yes).

When you look further into it, the poll shows that rank-and-file American Catholics—whether they go to church on a weekly basis or not—are not as conservative as regular churchgoers from other religions, which I assume means observant Jews, Muslims, and Christians. ...

A few years back, like most Catholic families, we had to make a decision when the pedophile scandal hit: were we going to stay or go? We all know people who left. Of those who stayed, there were two types: the hard-core crowd and the ones the hard-core crowd calls the "cafeteria Catholics"—folks who pick and choose which Church teachings to follow. Even though our parish was spared from the scandal, I think that was a donnybrook for many families: they'd stay, but it would be on their own terms. Like many others, I'm not quite willing to put our kids in Catholic schools and be altar servers, but I'll raise them in the broader Catholic tradition of service and faith as best I can. I thought that the pedophile scandal exposed how out of touch the Church leadership was with American families, and with women and children in particular. The conservative leadership of our Church lost some of its moral authority in the way it handled the whole thing.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:06 PM

Pope initiates Apostolic Visitation of the Legion of Christ

VATICAN CITY
Catholic News Agency

Vatican City, Mar 31, 2009 / 09:57 am (CNA).- Fr. Alvaro Corcuera, L.C., General Director of the Legionaries of Christ, announced Tuesday that Pope Benedict XVI has requested an Apostolic Visitation of the institutions of the Legionaries of Christ that will likely begin after Easter.

In an announcement sent to members of the Legion, Fr. Corcuera makes public the decision announced by the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, in a letter dated March 10.

"I have thanked the Holy Father from the bottom of my heart for offering us this additional assistance in facing our present vicissitudes related to the grave details of our father founder’s life," Fr. Corcuera says in a letter.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:01 PM

Cardinal Bertone's Letter to Legion of Christ

ROME
Zenit

"Continue Seeking the Good of the Church and Society"

ROME, MARCH 31, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Here is the letter Benedict XVI's secretary of state sent March 10 to Father Álvaro Corcuera, the general director of the Legionaries of Christ, announcing an apostolic visitation to the congregation. The letter was released by the Legionaries of Christ today.
...

Reverend Father,

In this holy season of Lent, a time of grace and salvation, I am pleased to remember that many people benefit from the works of education and apostolate which the Legionaries of Christ carry out in various parts of the world, moved by your desire to establish Christ’s Kingdom according to the demands of justice and charity, among intellectuals, professional people and those engaged in teaching and social action.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:58 PM

Father Corcurea's Letter to Legion of Christ

ROME
Zenit

"The Holy Father Has Decided That There Will Be an Apostolic Visitation"

ROME, MARCH 31, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Here is the letter Father Álvaro Corcuera, the general director of the Legionaries of Christ, sent Monday to the members of the congregation to annonce an apostolic visitation. The letter was released by the Legionaries of Christ today.
...
To all Legionaries of Christ,

Dear Fathers and Brothers in Christ,

With deep gratitude we have experienced the closeness of the Holy See at this phase in the life of our congregation. The Holy Father and his closest collaborators have confirmed us in our mission at the service of the Church, and with fatherly concern they have offered us their advice and support.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:55 PM

Vatican to inspect Catholic order after scandal

VATICAN CITY
The Associated Press

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican says it is sending a team of inspectors to the institutions of the Legionaries of Christ after the conservative Roman Catholic order disclosed that its late founder had had a mistress and fathered a child.

The Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, announced the Apostolic visitation in a letter to the head of the order, the Rev. Alvaro Corcuera, that was posted Tuesday on the Legionaries Web site.

Bertone said the Vatican was stepping in to help the order overcome its "current difficulties."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:53 PM

Pope orders probe into conservative order: report

ROME
AFP

ROME (AFP) — Pope Benedict XVI has ordered a probe into the ultra-conservative Legionaries of Christ after allegations that the order's late founder Marcial Maciel secretly fathered a child, the Zenit agency reported.

A team of bishops and priests will carry out the inquiry into the movement after reports that Maciel, who died in January 2008 aged 87, had fathered a daughter, the agency reported.

Benedict's right-hand man, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, announced the decision in a letter which the movement published on its web site.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:51 PM

Pope orders probe of scandal-plagued religious order

VATICAN CITY
Reuters

By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict has ordered an investigation of an influential Roman Catholic priestly order whose founder was discovered to be a sexual molester and to have had at least one child with a mistress.

The Legionaries of Christ announced the inspection, known in Church language as an "Apostolic Visitation," on Tuesday. The Vatican privately informed the order on March 10.

The conservative Legionaries, have been shaken over the past several years by a string of scandals tied to their founder, Father Marcial Maciel, who died last year at the age of 87.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:47 PM

Pope: Investigate the Legionaries of Christ

Beliefnet

David Gibson

The Vatican has officially launched an investigation of the Legionaries of Christ, the controversial, scandal-ridden order whose late founder, Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, was last year found to have fathered a child out of wedlock. He is also suspected of sexually abusing seminarians and financial misdeeds and various other sins, all of which have profoundly tarnished what was once one of the most powerful "brands" in ultra-orthodox Catholicism.

The news emerged on the Legion's own site, which posts the letter from Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

John Thavis of CNS writes from Rome:

The announcement of the unusual investigation was posted on the Web site of the Legionaries of Christ March 31, along with the text of a letter informing the Legionaries of the pope's decision.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:44 PM

Vatican to probe Catholic order

VATICAN CITY
BBC News

Pope Benedict XVI has ordered a probe into the Legionaries of Christ, after the conservative order revealed its late founder had fathered a child.

The Vatican said a team of priests would carry out the investigation to help the Mexican order to deal with its problems with "truth and transparency".

In February, the order said its founder Marcial Maciel, who died in 2008, had fathered a daughter with a mistress.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:40 PM

The Pope investigates hardline Catholic order

ROME
Telegraph (United Kingdom)

By Nick Squires in Rome
Last Updated: 6:08PM BST 31 Mar 2009

The Legionaries of Christ revealed in February that its Mexican founder, Rev Marcial Maciel, who died last year at the age of 87, had a daughter who is now in her twenties.

For decades he was also faced allegations that he sexually abused seminarians, and was disciplined by the Vatican on the charges in 2006.

Pope Benedict XVI will now send senior clerics to all the institutions run by the influential order, one of the fastest-growing in the Church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:31 PM

Legion of Christ to be investigated

ROME
ANSA

(ANSA) - Rome, March 31 - Pope Benedict XVI has ordered an investigation into the activity of influential Catholic religious order the Legion of Christ after reports of sexual impropriety by its late founder.

It was revealed in February that Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, who died last year at the age of 87, had fathered a daughter now in her 20s.

Father Maciel had previously been disciplined by the Vatican in 2006 for the sexual abuse of seminarians and young priests in the 1940s and 1950s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:29 PM

NY Assemblyman Lopez's Bill Harmful to Clergy Abuse Victims, Serves Direct Interest of NY Catholic Dioceses According to Abuse Attorney Irwin Zalkin

NEW YORK
eMediaWire

New York (PRWEB) March 31, 2009 -- Just yesterday evening news broke that New York Assemblyman Vito Lopez is at it again. Lopez recently failed to derail Assemblywoman Margaret Markey's four year effort to get a Child Protection Bill passed when his competing Bill was defeated in the NY State Assembly Codes Committee earlier this month. Now he's back with a "new and improved" version.

"Assemblyman Lopez's bill harms clergy abuse victims and directly serves the interests of the Catholic Dioceses of New York," explained Irwin Zalkin, a leading sexual abuse attorney who has negotiated more than $200 million in clergy abuse settlements nationwide. "Lopez's bill runs counter to the interest of protecting children. What the bill really does is protect the Catholic Dioceses of New York from the truth coming out about the decades of abuse of children they allowed to happen."

The Lopez Bill differs from Markey's Bill (AB2596), which has already been approved by the NY Assembly Codes Committee, in that it will not allow victims whose claims are barred by the current New York Statute of Limitations from having an opportunity to come forward. The Lopez proposal is meant to distract from the importance of AB2596 and to further a public relations campaign by the Catholic Church that suggests that these revival statutes are targeted against them. However, AB2596 is facially neutral and does not include or exclude any particular institutions.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:54 AM

Pope orders apostolic visitation of Legion of Christ

OSV Daily Take

Pope Benedict XVI has ordered an apostolic visitation of the Legionaries of Christ following acknowledgment by the order that its founder, Father Marcial Maciel, lived a double life (not least of which included fathering a child).

No word yet on the makeup of the team of bishops that performs the visitation, which the Legion says is expected to start "after Easter."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:49 AM

A Visit for the Legion

Whispers in the Loggia

Good morning from Timmytown and the rollout of plans for the Main Event.

More on that soon... in the meantime, however, it's emerged that Pope Benedict has ordered an Apostolic Visitation of the Legionaries of Christ.

The move was communicated to the community's superior-general, Fr Alvaro Corcuera del Rio, in a 10 March decree signed by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, SDB, the Vatican Secretary of State. In the letter, Bertone said that the inquest will be carried out by an unnamed "team of prelates."

The Decree announcing the move was first released earlier today by Robert Mickens, Rome correspondent of The Tablet.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:46 AM

Vatican orders visitation of Legionaries of Christ

VATICAN CITY
National Catholic Reporter

Mar. 31, 2009
By John Thavis, Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY -- The Vatican has ordered an apostolic visitation of the institutions of the Legionaries of Christ following disclosures of sexual impropriety by the order's late founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado.

The announcement of the unusual investigation was posted on the Web site of the Legionaries of Christ March 31, along with the text of a letter informing the Legionaries of the pope's decision.

The letter, written by the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, said the pope wanted to help the Legionaries of Christ deal with its present problems with "truth and transparency." It said the visitation would be carried out by "a team of prelates," who were not identified.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:38 AM

Pope Sends Apostolic Visitors

ROME
Legionaries of Christ

Rome, March 31, 2009. We wish to share with Regnum Christi members and friends two letters announcing an Apostolic Visitation to the institutions of the Legionaries of Christ. We also have included some questions/answers. This is the beginning of a process in which the Legion will fully and gratefully cooperate. We invite our readers to accompany us with prayers that this special help from the Holy Father will assist the Legion and Regnum Christi to love Christ and serve His Church.

Church warned of errant priests

UNITED STATES
The Age (Australia)

New York
April 1, 2009
THE founder of a religious order that treats Catholic priests who molest children concluded in the 1950s that offenders were unlikely to change and should not be returned to the ministry, according to his letters, which were obtained by plaintiffs' lawyers.

Father Gerald Fitzgerald, founder of the Servants of the Paraclete, was so sure of the priests' inability to control themselves that he tried to buy an island to isolate them.

Father Fitzgerald discussed the issue with Pope Paul VI and in correspondence with several bishops, according to the independent National Catholic Reporter on Monday. ...

The Los Angeles law firm Kiesel, Boucher & Larson persuaded a judge in New Mexico to unseal the letters in 2007, one of its lawyers Helen Zukin said.

The lawyers verified the documents at depositions with Father Fitzgerald's successor as the Paracletes' servant general, Ms Zukin said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:32 AM

Child molesting bishop dies; Sex abuse victims respond

ATLANTA (GA)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Paulk will be remembered for his abuse of innocent kids, exploitation of vulnerable adults, and his unseemly and mean-spirited legal maneuvers designed to mislead his flock and protect his secrets. His 'ministry' will be forever clouded and tarnished by his self-serving and repeated abuses of power.

We know his passing makes Atlanta a safer place. We hope his passing brings some comfort to his victims. And we hope that others who saw, suspected or suffered Paulk's crimes and misdeeds will step forward, get help and start healing.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:29 AM

Church records show bishops understood abuse in the 50s; SNAP responds

UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

This is clear proof that America's bishops were told, decades ago by their own hand-picked expert, how dangerous child predators are. Top church officials, however, ignored common sense, common decency, criminal laws and the advice of their most experienced advisor, selfishly and callously choosing, time and time again, to endanger kids and mislead parishioners.

These records are a 'smoking gun' that will hopefully dispel forever the bishops' lame excuse "gee, we just didn't understand abuse."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:26 AM

SNAP on New York sex abuse bill

NEW YORK
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

The Lopez is a 'feel good' bill, enabling the naive to feel like they've protected kids, when in fact, they've protected predators. The Markey bill is a 'do good' bill, enabling the wounded to protect the vulnerable by exposing child molesters through the time-tested American justice system.

Why does Assemblyman Lopez want to give a free pass to child molesters who've managed to escape detection and prosecution by intimidating victims, threatening witnesses, destroying evidence, fabricating alibis and being ousted from one job around kids, only to take another such job elsewhere?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:12 AM

Leader of Catholic order that once treated priests like Dallas' Rudolph Kos spoke out in the 1950s

UNITED STATES
WFAA

By REESE DUNKLIN / The Dallas Morning News
rdunklin@dallasnews.com

The leader of a Catholic order that operated one of the biggest U.S. treatment centers for sexually abusive priests told bishops and the Vatican in the 1950s that the predators were "devils" and "vipers" who should be confined to an island and kicked out of the clergy.

The leader's views were expressed in letters previously placed under seal by a New Mexico court as part of litigation involving a notorious Dallas priest. They undercut the bishops' longstanding claim that they didn't understand the scope and seriousness of the abuse problem until recent years. "If I were a bishop, I would tremble when I failed to report them to Rome" for removal from the priesthood, wrote the Rev. Gerald Fitzgerald of the Servants of the Paraclete order in 1957. "It is blasphemous to let them offer the Holy Sacrifice."

Fitzgerald's correspondence, first reported Monday by the independent weekly National Catholic Reporter, represents a historic benchmark in the U.S. church's embarrassing scandal, which has led to the removal of hundreds of priests who had been kept in the ministry despite credible evidence, criminal prosecution and billions in legal settlements to victims.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:10 AM

Appeal on church merger rejected

OLEAN (NY)
The Buffalo News

By Jay Tokasz

A second request for the Vatican to overturn a Catholic parish reconfiguration in Olean has been denied.

Members of Transfiguration Church tried for a second time to appeal Bishop Edward U. Kmiec’s decision merging the parish with nearby St. John and converting Transfiguration into an oratory, where liturgies would be held occasionally.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:46 AM

Cardinal Egan named in priest, sex suit

BRIDGEPORT (CT)
WTNH

[with video]

Story by: Alan Cohn
Bridgeport (WTNH) - What did the Cardinal know and when did he know it? For years, attorneys, without success, have been trying to question New York's Cardinal Edward Egan about a priest he supervised while Bishop of the Bridgeport Diocese.

The former priest, John Castaldo, is a convicted sex offender, and he's being sued for at least the third time for allegedly molesting a young boy.

And the cardinal is being named as a defendant in the law suit.

The alleged victim News Channel 8 spoke to revealed he will not settle this case until he and his attorney have the opportunity to force Cardinal Edward Egan to answer their questions. They want to know why Cardinal Egan ordained Father John Castaldo despite being warned this man was not fit to be a priest.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:40 AM

Winona Bishop Loras Watters mourned, remembered as humble servant

MINNESOTA
Winona Daily News

By Jerome Christenson / Winona Daily News

Loras Watters, 93, the fifth bishop of Winona, died peacefully in the predawn hours Monday.

“He was a wonderful, simple bishop who went about doing his work quietly every day, unassumingly, and for this, the Lord will reward him well,” Winona Bishop Bernard Harrington said Monday afternoon. “After so many years as a great bishop and now gone home to his eternal rest ... I’m sure he is delighted.” ...

The sexual abuse scandals, particularly the case of Thomas Adamson in the Winona diocese, wounded him deeply.

“It was so foreign to him,” Kubista said, “It really destroyed Watters to think that could happen.”

Even so, he was unfailingly kind and gracious even to those who were abusive and confrontational.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:32 AM

March 30, 2009

Really early warning on abusers: "Even an island is too good for these vipers"

UNITED STATES
Beliefnet

David Gibson

That is just one of the remarkable and poignant quotations from Tom Roberts' new story at NCR on a old topic--clerical sexual abuse--and an even older warning, from back in the 1950s. In correspondence Roberts dug up between Fr. Gerald Fitzgerald, founder of the Servants of the Paracletes, an order established in 1947 to deal with problem priests, and the U.S. bishops of the time, as well as the Vatican and even the pope. Fitzgerald was convinced that most of these abusers were incurable and should be laicized, and made his views known loud and clear:

In a 1957 letter to an unnamed archbishop, Fitzgerald said, "These men, Your Excellency, are devils and the wrath of God is upon them and if I were a bishop I would tremble when I failed to report them to Rome for involuntary layization [sic]." The letter, addressed to "Most dear Cofounder," was apparently to Archbishop Edwin V. Byrne of Santa Fe, N.M., who was considered a cofounder of the Paraclete facility at Jemez Springs and a good friend of Fitzgerald.

Later in the same letter, in language that revealed deep passion, he wrote: "It is for this class of rattlesnake I have always wished the island retreat -- but even an island is too good for these vipers of whom the Gentle Master said it were better they had not been born -- this is an indirect way of saying damned, is it not?"

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:41 PM

The play SIN: A Cardinal Deposed could easily be pilot for series on cable network

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Examiner

Kay Ebeling
LA City Buzz Examiner

Part 2: I hope SIN will end up on HBO or Showtime, not as a special, but as the pilot for a series. Even with all the drama found in the lines from legal docs in the Boston cases and used in the play, every city in America has the same level of drama, deceit, duplicity, and corruption in case files re lawsuits against the Catholic Church for its handling of pedophile priests.

In L.A. Superior Court alone are enough documents to write a series. So I hope the play will end up as: Sin: A Cardinal Deposed-Boston, then Sin: A Cardinal Deposed-Los Angeles, then Peoria, Chicago, Belleville, Dallas-Fort Worth, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Phoenix, Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Portland Oregon, the entire state of Washington, Portland Maine, every state in New England - need I go on. I’ll be glad to go with any playwright or producer and show them where to find the case files on the terminals in Room 106 of Superior Court downtown.

THE CAST in Thursday night’s show was so realistic. I swear, actor Gary Cole was channeling Jeff Anderson (pictured above right) and Mitchell Garabedian (pictured above left) combined, in the role of a composite of plaintiff attorneys, the character Orson Krieger.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:33 PM

Governor Paterson Opposes Sex Abuse Bill, More Worried with Churches Going Bankrupt

NEW YORK
Injury Board

Paul Kiesel

For reasons that are seemingly illogical, New York Governor David Paterson told Newsday that he opposes an Assembly bill that would allow sex abuse victims to have their day in court.

In siding with the Catholic Church, Gov. Paterson told Newsday, "These types of cases could go back, 20, 30, 40 years, and since the evidence probably doesn't exist in any way to convict the perpetrator [. . .] the accusation would hinder the career of any person who was accused."

Probably? How would the governor know that each case filed would PROBABLY have no evidence to back any claims of sexual abuse by priests? He doesn't know that and is speaking rather glibly.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:30 PM

Catholic bishops warned in '50s on abusive priests

UNITED STATES
The Associated Press

By RACHEL ZOLL

The founder of a religious order that treats Roman Catholic priests who molest children concluded in the 1950s that offenders were unlikely to change and should not be returned to ministry, according to his letters, which were obtained by plaintiffs' lawyers.

The Rev. Gerald Fitzgerald, founder of the Servants of the Paraclete, was so sure of the priests' inability to control themselves that he tried to buy an island to isolate them.

Fitzgerald discussed the issue with Pope Paul VI and in correspondence with several bishops, according to the National Catholic Reporter, an independent newspaper that reported the full content of the letters Monday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:16 PM

Funeral set for former megachurch leader

ATLANTA (GA)
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

By CHRISTOPHER QUINN
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Monday, March 30, 2009

Archbishop Earl Paulk, a metro Atlanta pastor whose fame and megachurch ministry crumbled under accusations of sexual improprieties, will be buried Saturday.

The funeral will be at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit at 4650 Flat Shoals Parkway in Decatur beginning at 1 p.m.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:11 PM

Catholic bishops warned in '50s on abusive priests

CONCORD (NH)
WCAX

Associated Press - March 30, 2009 7:45 PM ET

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - The founder of a religious order that treats Roman Catholic priests who molest children concluded in the 1950s that offenders were unlikely to change and should not be returned to ministry.

The Rev. Gerald Fitzgerald expressed that view in letters turned over recently to lawyers representing abuse victims. In one 1957 letter, Fitzgerald told Bishop Matthew Brady of New Hampshire that abusive priests only pretended to repent and change so they could keep doing what they were doing.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:01 PM

Texas FLDS case stalls Ariz. case against Jeffs

KINGMAN (AZ)
Deseret News

By Suzanne Adams
Kingman Daily Miner

KINGMAN, Ariz. — The Arizona case against Warren Jeffs is temporarily on hold as his attorneys battle with Texas authorities over when police knew phone calls leading to last year's raid on the YFZ Ranch were false.

Fundamentalist LDS Church leader Warren Jeffs' attorneys, Michael Piccarreta and Richard Wright, asked the Mohave County Superior Court Monday to strike Arizona's response to a motion to suppress evidence from Texas or order a second round of interviews with three Texas law enforcement officers.

Mohave County Superior Court Judge Steven Conn has already agreed to defer ruling on the Arizona motion to suppress evidence until after a similar motion has been ruled on in Texas.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:58 PM

BREAKING: Revived Sex-Abuse Bill Could Be Headed To Assembly Floor

NEW YORK
The Jewish Week

by Hella Winston
Special to the Jewish Week

POSTED Monday, March 30, 5:30 PM

In a surprise move, a bill that appeared to have died in the New York State Assembly Codes Committee has been revived, causing concern among survivors and advocates for victims of child sexual abuse, The Jewish Week has learned.

The bill, sponsored by Vito Lopez (D-Brooklyn), was initially filed on Feb. 19 as an alternative to legislation proposed by Margaret Markey (D-Queens), but did not make it out of the Assembly Codes Committee - something that must happen before a bill can be voted on by the full Assembly. It has been reintroduced, with several changes, and is set to be voted on Tuesday, March 31 by the Codes Committee.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:55 PM

Defrocked Priest Controversy

NEW YORK
My Fox New York

[with video]

MYFOXNY.COM - Disturbing questions are springing up around a former priest who is now working in the public school system. Michael O'Herlihy was defrocked in 1993 amid allegations of sexual misconduct with a former student.

O'Herlihy is now an assistant principal for math and science at Manhattan Comprehensive Night and Day HS.

Several years after the allegations were made against O'Herlihy, some of his alleged victims sued but the statute of limitations had expired. Now, a new bill might change that.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:58 PM

Seaford Pastor Accused of 'Forcible Touching' at Church Event

SEAFORD (NY)
1010 WINS

SEAFORD, N.Y. (AP) -- Authorities have arrested a Seaford pastor on charges that he allegedly "touched" a female at a church event.

Ronald Klose ,58, of 3833 Marion Ct., Seaford was arrested on charges of "forcible touching" in connection with an alleged incident that took place in October 2008.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:34 PM

Making the best of a pastor scandal

INDIANA
Indianapolis Star

Robert King

Nobody in their right mind likes to see a pastor at a church caught up in some sort of scandal.

Aside from the embarrassment factor, scandals can split churches, drive away members and give people who love to bemoan hypocrisy in the church just one more example for their collection.

But it is also true that the way a church and the pastor handle the trouble can help set the stage for better days. Dealing with the issue properly can be a way, in a sense, to remove a cancer. If the accusations prove false, the process can also show that the organization has the ability to sort out fact from reality.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:23 PM

NCR: Evidence shows that the Catholic hierarchy was aware of pedophile priest problem in the 1950s

UNITED STATES
The Dallas Morning News

Jeffrey Weiss/Reporter

The National Catholic Reporter reports:

As early as the mid-1950s, decades before the clergy sexual-abuse crisis broke publicly across the U.S. Catholic landscape, the founder of a religious order that dealt regularly with priest sex abusers was so convinced of their inability to change that he searched for an island to purchase with the intent of using it as a place to isolate such offenders, according to documents recently obtained by NCR.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:15 PM

Sin: A Cardinal Deposed, now playing in LA, reveals blatant corruption in Church re pedop

LOS ANGELES
Examiner

Kay Ebeling
LA City Buzz Examiner

Astounding. When the character Bernard Law said, “Those were not my files, they were the archdiocese’s files,” déjà vu swept over me, as that is almost verbatim the words muttered by Roger Mahony in his deposition in Fresno around the same time as Law was testifying in Boston in 2002. They both have said, “I wish I had seen the report” and words like “then I’d know if it was said or if it wasn’t said,” Yes, even more astounding to me is the fact that those are almost the same exact words used by almost every other bishop around the country, trying to pass the buck regarding who’s really guilty in these serial sex crimes against children.

In the play, Sin: A Cardinal Deposed which I saw Thursday night at the Hayworth Theater, on Wilshire near MacArthur Park, playwright Michael Murphy has the actors say nothing but actual words from legal documents relating to the clergy cases in Boston 2002, especially the testimony of Cardinal Bernard Law.

They also read from exhibits such as letters written by family members and social workers that ended up in case files. There on the stage front of you is a barefaced display of the coverup and conspiracy that took place at a hierarchy level in the Catholic Church regarding priests who were pedophiles. In the play, as in real life, Law puts on that fake Please Love Me smile that so many bishops wear, as in Act One he passes the buck in much the same way as bishops and cardinals passed the buck across the country in these cases. Law says, “The institute of Living carried the weight of that decision” and “For me to make an assessment is not correct” and other empty language to prevent himself from having to admit guilt.

Bishops were warned of abusive priests

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

[Copies of letters Fitzgerald exchanged with U.S. bishops and one pope.]

Mar. 30, 2009
By Tom Roberts

As early as the mid-1950s, decades before the clergy sexual-abuse crisis broke publicly across the U.S. Catholic landscape, the founder of a religious order that dealt regularly with priest sex abusers was so convinced of their inability to change that he searched for an island to purchase with the intent of using it as a place to isolate such offenders, according to documents recently obtained by NCR.

Fr. Gerald Fitzgerald, founder of the Servants of the Paracletes, an order established in 1947 to deal with problem priests, wrote regularly to bishops in the United States and to Vatican officials, including the pope, of his opinion that many sexual abusers in the priesthood should be laicized immediately.

Fitzgerald was a prolific correspondent who wrote regularly of his frustration with and disdain for priests "who have seduced or attempted to seduce little boys or girls." His views are contained in letters and other correspondence that had previously been under court seal and were made available to NCR by a California law firm in February.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:47 PM

A Cardinal Postures

UNITED STATES
The Daily Dish

Andrew Sullivan

The new president may have ended torture by the US government, and shifted toward economic policies favored by the Vatican, but he's still non grata for Cardinal DiNardo of Houston. A reminder about DiNardo, named one of America's five worst cardinals by the Survivors Network Of Those Abused By Priests:

Cardinal DiNardo suspended a priest accused of sexual abuse but kept his action and the sex abuse allegations against Fr. Stephen Horn secret for two months while he was named and promoted to cardinal, according to SNAP. When then-Bishop DiNardo served in Iowa, he similarly mishandled allegations of sex abuse against a priest, only disclosing them long afterwards, according to SNAP.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:33 PM

Queen and Gordon Brown debate ending discrimination against Catholics

UNITED KINGDOM
The Times

Ruth Gledhill

Gordon Brown and Buckingham Palace have been in talks about ending the 300-year discrimination against Roman Catholics in Britain which still prevents an heir to throne from marrying a Catholic. See today's report by me and Francis Elliott and also the BBC reports it here. ...

Incidentally, at the Catholic MPs' meeting yesterday, the Nuncio was present. Addressing the question of who will succeed Father Cormac, he said: 'Nobody knows.' I understand the Pope is likely to decide today, with an announcement next week or early in Holy Week. If the Pope decides to go for a 'safe pair of hands', it seems Arthur Roche of Leeds will be his choice. A number of sources are pointing in this direction, including some who were at a farewell dinner for the Cardinal in Westminster this week, from which the Archbishop of Birmingham was absent.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:46 AM

It's still looking like Arthur Roche for Westminster. Time for a reverse ferret?

UNITED KINGDOM
Telegraph

Damian Thompson

Yet another source rings me and tells me (managing to contain his joy) that he thinks Bishop Arthur Roche of Leeds has got Westminster. We'll see, but that's where I'd put my money now, no doubt about it.

Quite possibly the last time you will see this picture

American readers of this blog, and possibly some British ones too, won't be familiar with the phrase "reverse ferret", defined as "a term used in the British newspaper industry to denote a sudden and complete about-face on an issue". If Holy Smoke were to do one, it might read, Private Eye-style:

Bishop Arthur Roche: An Apology

We are sorry that, in reporting the actions of Bishop Arthur Roche, we inadvertently gave the impression that he was a power-crazed, Cinnabon-scoffing former ice skater who padlocks thriving parishes and sits plotting his next career move from his Gormenghast-style headquarters in Hinsley Hall. We now realise that, in the light of his appointment to Westminster, Bishop Roche is a cheerful, decisive, bluff but holy Yorkshireman who is orthodox in his teaching and loved by his flock. We are very sorry if we gave the wrong impression.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:43 AM

Westminster latest: 'Stop Roche' campaign goes public

UNITED KINGDOM
Telegraph

Damian Thompson

Wow. I knew the "Stop Arthur Roche" campaign was gathering momentum, but I didn't expect Cathcon, the influential traditionalist website run by Chris Gillibrand, to make the case against the Bishop of Leeds so forcefully.

Here is Gillibrand's post, headed: "Bishop Roche - Just say No!" As I explained yesterday, the Holy Father may well choose +Arthur and, if so, the time will come for the bishop's critics to offer him their support.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:40 AM

Court records: Seaford pastor arrested

SEAFORD (NY)
Newsday

BY LAURA RIVERA | laura.rivera@newsday.com
March 30, 2009
A Seaford church pastor has been charged with misdemeanor forcible touching in connection with an incident in October, according to court records.

The Rev. Ronald M. Klose, 58, was arrested Monday and arraigned Tuesday at Nassau First District Court in Hempstead.

District Judge Andrea Phoenix ordered him held on $2,000 bond or $1,000 cash bail and issued a temporary order of protection against him, records show. A spokesman for the Nassau County District Attorney's office said he could not provide further details yesterday because he did not have access to the case file.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:11 AM

Internet scheme fleeces Red Wing church

MINNESOTA
Farmington Independent

Jon Swedien, RiverTown Newspaper Group
Published Monday, March 30, 2009

A Red Wing church is out $94,000 after Internet thieves apparently hacked church computers.

The Church of St. Joseph, 426 West Eight St., reported to Red Wing police on March 20 that a large sum of money was taken from the church’s bank account without consent.

“What’s more shocking than the amount is that we’ve been attacked by an Internet crime,” said church priest Thomas Kommers.

In a letter written to church members, Kommers said on March 19 the thieves used a sophisticated Internet virus to gain confidential information that was used to execute electronic money transfers. The money was then divvied up into smaller amounts and sent to other banks in the U.S.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:48 AM

Hikind Retreating On Tough Tactics Against Molesters

NEW YORK
Forward

By Rebecca Dube
Published March 25, 2009, issue of April 03, 2009.

Assemblyman Dov Hikind of Brooklyn, a leading voice in the fight to end child sexual abuse in Orthodox communities, is backing down from some of his previous claims and backing away from one of his most confrontational stands against an alleged pedophile.

In an interview with the Forward, Hikind dramatically scaled down a previously reported estimate of the number of abuse cases he knew about. He also said he could not keep a pledge to force a prominent yeshiva to remove an alleged pedophile from its staff.

Hikind said that he adjusted his tactics in order to be most effective. “Some people want me to yell and scream; they want me to burn the town down. I know how to do that, but I would lose the war immediately,” Hikind said in his office in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Boro Park.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:45 AM

NH bishop to consider listing some priest's names

MANCHESTER (NY)
WCAX

Associated Press - March 30, 2009 8:35 AM ET

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) - The leader of the Catholic Church in New Hampshire has told the founder of a group that tracks reports of clergy sexual abuse that he'll consider posting names of some accused priests.

The conversation between Bishop John McCormack and Terry McKiernan of BishopAccountability.org happened after a Sunday Mass in Manchester while McCormack was greeting parishioners in the church hall, the New Hampshire Union-Leader reports.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:06 AM

Tension over suspended Bishop’s visit

INDIA
Kerala Online

Pathanamthitta, Monday 30 March 2009: Tension prevailed for a few hours at College Junction, near here, on Sunday night when a group assembled in front of the house of a priest, Geevarghese, protesting against the visit of Bishop John Thattumkal, who was suspended by the Vatican last year after he adopted a young woman.

The 58-year-old former Bishop was attached to the Verapoly Archdiocese of the Latin Catholic Church. He had adopted a 26-year-old woman from Pathanamthitta as his daughter. There were reports that Fr. Geevarghese had adopted the woman earlier.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:31 AM

Suspended Kerala bishop in trouble again

INDIA
Thaindian

Pathanamthitta, (Kerala) March 30 (IANS) Bishop John Thattumkal of Kerala is in a fresh trouble. He has been found staying with the woman he had adopted as a daughter last year, which led to his suspension by the Vatican.

The woman, Sony Joseph, in her mid 30s, resides with her guardian C.K. Joseph, a priest of the Thumpamon diocese of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church based here. C.K. Joseph has also been stripped of all parish duties because of his association with the woman.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:26 AM

Bishop says he'll consider naming names

MANCHESTER (NH)
New Hampshire Union Leader

By JIM FENNELL
New Hampshire Union Leader

MANCHESTER – Confronted by the founder of a Web site dedicated to exposing "bishops who have abused children or vulnerable adults, or have aided abusers," Bishop John B. McCormack agreed yesterday to consider posting names of some accused clergy.

McCormack helped celebrate Mass at St. Catherine of Siena and was greeting parishioners in the church hall when Terry McKiernan asked him about the diocese's policy of not listing accused priests on the Diocese of Manchester Web site.

McKiernan founded BishopAccountability.org as a way to publicly list accused clergy.

"Our list now has over 3,000 people on it, which is pretty sad, and the bishops have admitted to over 5,000," McKiernan told the New Hampshire Union Leader moments after his conversation with the bishop. "I suspect the real number is something like 10,000, which is pretty gross when you consider what we are talking about."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:19 AM

'PERV PRIEST' WORKS AT HS

NEW YORK
New York Post

By DOUGLAS MONTERO and DAN MANGAN

A man defrocked as a priest in 1993 -- and who later was sued for allegedly molesting a former student at a Catholic high school -- is now working at a public high school as an assistant principal.

And Michael O'Herlihy's accuser -- who claimed he was abused at 16 by the then-priest at Cardinal Hayes HS in The Bronx in 1979 -- hopes a proposed law will let him relaunch a suit against O'Herlihy and the New York Archdiocese.

O'Herlihy is an assistant principal for math and science at Manhattan Comprehensive Night and Day HS, where he previously taught science.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:14 AM

Continuing Developments: The N.Y. Child Victims Act Has Passed the New York State Assembly Codes Committee

NEW YORK
Reform the Statute of Limitations on Child Sexual Abuse

Assembly Bill A02596 (Child Victims Act) has passed the Codes Committee of the New York Assembly and is expected to move to a full vote! Go to our N.Y. Resources page here to view a few articles about who voted and where it goes from here. The next step is for the Assembly to pass the bill and then move on to the Senate. We still have a way to go so keep letting your representative know how important passage of the Child Victims Act truly is!

Why Must We Reform the SOLs?

Child sexual abuse is a larger national problem than we, as a society, anticipated. Research has shown that as many as one in four women and one in five men suffered abuse as a child and that almost 90% of abuse never gets reported.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:11 AM

Child sex abuse prevention training gets funds

BECKLEY (WV)
The Register-Herald

By Bev Davis
Register-Herald senior editor

With donations from Raleigh General Hospital in Beckley and Perry Memorial United Methodist Church in Shady Spring, a child advocacy center in Beckley will begin training in April for churches, businesses and other organizations that want to be more informed about preventing child sexual abuse.

“We have been given a donation by Raleigh General Hospital to make this training available via scholarship to about 100 people, and we also have a donation from Perry Memorial United Methodist Church for an additional 10 people,” said Christina Bailey, prevention coordinator for Just For Kids in Beckley.

Stewards of Children, a division of Darkness to Light, an organization that provides the training and education, has seen good results in its efforts, Bailey said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:02 AM

Pastor porn case raises difficult legal questions

VIRGINIA
Daily Progress

By Tasha Kates

Published: March 30, 2009

Nearly three years after being accused of possessing child pornography, a former pastor is scheduled to go to trial Tuesday in Albemarle County Circuit Court.

For most of that time, lawyers have been dealing with questions about the age of the females in the images that authorities said they found on Gregory M. Briehl’s computer in July 2006. An expert was brought in to try to identify their ages by sight, and the prosecution has tried to find out more information about the females in the images from an Australian Web site without success.

On March 17, Circuit Judge Paul M. Peatross Jr. denied a motion to dismiss the charges filed by Briehl’s attorney, Rhonda Quag-liana. The judge ruled that the prosecution “pursued reasonable efforts” to find the exculpatory evidence.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:54 AM

Church rift

AUSTRALIA
The Murray Valley Standard

BY BEN BRENNAN
30/03/2009 4:26:00 PM
THE Archbishop of Adelaide will launch a “preliminary investigation” into a long running rift between Murraylands Anglican church members and Murray Diocese Bishop Ross Davies.

In a carefully worded statement, Archbishop Doctor Jeffrey Driver said the Diocesan Council of the Diocese of the Murray had asked him to consider ways to resolve the issues between Bishop Davies and his parishioners.

“A preliminary investigation will take place in the first instance to enable me, and those advising me, to understand the issues and determine how best to proceed,” he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:47 AM

March 29, 2009

The ABC’s War on Christianity

AUSTRALIA
Christian Today

By: Bill Muehlenberg
Christian Today Australia Columnist

The acronym ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) could as easily stand for the Atheist Broadcasting Corporation. Or perhaps Anti-Biblical Christianity. It is an incredibly secular, leftist and trendy network, pushing almost all the wrong ideologies. A good case in point is its “religious” program Compass aired on Sunday nights.

One can count on one hand the number of programs actually supportive of biblical Christianity on Compass. But in the overwhelming majority of cases, it is either featuring programs bashing Christianity, or showcasing other religions in a very favourable light.

Consider some recent episodes as well as some upcoming viewing on Compass. On 15 March 2009 we had the “Hand of God”. It is described on the Compass website this way: “This moving personal story about the sexual abuse of a 14-year old altar boy in 1960s America examines the personal cost to one family and their faith.”

Now all child sexual abuse is to be deplored and condemned. But why are we not surprised that this is yet another story about the big bad Catholic Church and abusive priests? How many times will the ABC run this story?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:41 PM

Loverde and Wuerl respond to Burke, Terry

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

Mar. 29, 2009
By DANIEL BURKE, Religion News Service

WASHINGTON -- Two of the U.S. bishops criticized by an anti-abortion activist and the American archbishop who heads the Vatican's supreme court said they follow the guidelines approved the the U.S. bishops in 2004.

Archbishop Raymond Burke, formerly of St. Louis, has apologized for the "confusion and hurt" caused by his criticism of fellow bishops who do not deny Communion to Catholic politicians who support abortion rights.

He was interviewed earlier this month by an anti-abortion activist in Rome, where he now is Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura.

Burke implicitly criticized Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington and Bishop Paul Loverde of Arlington, Va., for not denying Communion to Catholic politicians who buck the church's anti-abortion stance. Wuerl and Loverde were singled out because so many politicians live and work in their jurisdictions.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:23 PM

Omaha archdiocese announces parish's closure

OMAHA (NE)
NTV

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - The Omaha Archdiocese has announced it will close 1 of its north Omaha parishes this spring because of declining participation.

The news was shared with St. Richard parishioners on Sunday. About 50 to 75 people attend weekly services there.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:06 PM

New leader of English and Welsh Catholics could be named within weeks

UNITED KINGDOM
Birmingham Post

Mar 30 2009 by Edward Chadwick, Birmingham Post

A decision which could see the Archbishop of Birmingham become the leader of Roman Catholics in England and Wales looks set to be made within weeks.

As Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor prepares to step down from the post he has held for nine years, religious spectators have placed the Most Rev Vincent Nichols among the front-runners.

The 63-year-old has made his name as a robust defender of Catholic schools, adoption agencies and the presentation of the Catholic Church in the media.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:41 PM

Ex-megachurch head Paulk dies in Atlanta hospital

ATLANTA (GA)
The Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) — An evangelical pastor whose leadership of an Atlanta-area megachurch ended in a sex scandal has died.

Atlanta Medical Center said Archbishop Earl Paulk, who was in his 80s, died early Sunday. The hospital could not release a cause of death. Paulk had been in bad health for the past couple of years after a battle with cancer.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:37 PM

Ex-megachurch head Paulk dies in Atlanta hospital

ATLANTA (GA)
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

By DONNA LEWIS
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Earl Paulk, the founder of an Atlanta-area megachurch whose leadership was marked by sex scandals, died Sunday at Atlanta Medical Center.

Paulk, who was in his 80s, had been in bad health for the past couple of years after a battle with cancer. The hospital could not release a cause of death.

Paulk built a huge, racially integrated congregation at the Cathedral at Chapel Hill in South Dekalb County with his passionate evangelism, but many members left because of his sexual indiscretions.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:33 PM

Making a Molehill out of a Mountain

UNITED STATES
Because it Matters - Freedom in Christianity

By Danni Moss

One of the accusations hurled at me regularly regarding this blog is that I am over-exaggerating the seriousness of the situation of abuse in the church. I am told that the problems of both clergy sex abuse and domestic violence in the church are rare and limited to strange, extreme, non-mainstream churches.

I have addressed the fallacy of this assumption elsewhere on my blog, but another thought occurred to me today. To give a little bit of a picture of how big this “molehill” really is, here are some facts.

Click on the link in the right sidebar for “Protestant Clergy Sex Abuse in the News.” See how many pastors and church workers appear there. Now, remember that my collection is quite incomplete — I don’t find every news story. Also, by far, most instances of clergy sex abuse are never reported. Almost all of the ones I know about personally have never been reported.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:00 AM

Bishop dogged by abuse allegations dies

ATLANTA (GA)
CNN

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- Bishop Earl Paulk, a charismatic preacher brought down by a series of sex scandals, has died. He was 81.

Paulk died near midnight Saturday at the Atlanta Medical Center, a nursing supervisor confirmed to CNN. The bishop had been at the hospital for several days, she said.

Paulk's death came after an "extended and horrible battle with cancer," Paulk's nephew, Bishop Jim Swilley, wrote in a blog post

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:57 AM

Doubt, the play, the movie, the sad reality of child abuse, and SNAP

CANADA
Montreal Gazette

By Pat Donnelly 03-25-2009

While researching John Patrick Shanley’s Pulitzer-winning play Doubt at Centaur Theatre (where it continues to play to sold-out houses through Sunday, March 29), I stumbled upon a newstory in a Los Angeles paper which revealed that victims of pedophiles took issue with the movie based on the play and didn't want it to win any Academy Awards.

Doubt is a tightly written play in which a tough-minded nun becomes determined to nail a priest, who may or may not be guilty of child abuse. The movie stars Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman. At Centaur, the lead roles are played by Brenda Robins and Alain Goulem.
Further investigation led me to the discovery of the website of SNAP (Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests). And another one run by those who would hold bishops accountable.
People who express themselves on these sites have problems with the ambiguities of Doubt, which leave open the possibility that the priest may be the victim of false accusations. (Something that could happen, too. Innocent people, some of them good priests, do get falsely accused of wrongdoing. Which is why we have a presumption of innocence rather than a presumption of guilt in law. My uncle Francis, who was a priest, was a decent, honest person. Like the vast majority of his colleagues, did his job and stuck to the rules.)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:32 AM

EDITORIAL: Lessons learned in raid on YFZ Ranch

TEXAS
San Angelo Standard-Times

As we near the one-year anniversary of the raid on the YFZ Ranch near Eldorado, it is appropriate to look back at lessons learned in this historic case.

On April 3, 2008, Child Protective Service and law enforcement authorities raided the polygamist compound of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. They were acting on a phone call alleging abuse at the ranch - a tip that authorities have since determined was a hoax.

Over the next few days, officials removed 439 children from the ranch to ensure that no children were being abused. Ultimately, state appellate courts returned most of the children to their parents.

Although the call turned out to be a fake, the evidence uncovered there was not - and the state did the right thing by taking action.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:22 AM

Charges bring suspicions to fore

WISCONSIN
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

By Raquel Rutledge, Dan Egan and Linda Spice of the Journal Sentinel

Posted: Mar. 29, 2009

The expensive shoes and basketball jerseys, meals and miniature golf outings were great, but there were more important things that drew teenage boys to Daniel John Acker.

"When I needed to vent, he would be there to listen," said Travis Rentschler, a 19-year-old who lives around the corner from Acker's former home on W. Rogers St. in West Allis.

Acker, 61, appeared in court on Saturday, shackled at his wrists and ankles, and said little other than that he will comply with court orders not to contact another 19-year-old man who is at the center of charges filed Friday accusing the longtime swimming instructor of sexual abuse. No friends, family or accusers were in the courtroom as the commissioner set Acker's bail at $65,000. ...

Acker attended St. Rita at the same time that George Nuedling was associate pastor at the church. Nuedling died in 1994. Eight years later, 10 people alleged Nuedling had abused them as children in the 1960s and 1970s.

Peter Isely, Midwest director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said he had seen dozens of names of those who reported being abused by Nuedling and that Acker's was not one of them. But, he said, Nuedling is suspected of sexually abusing more than 100 children, so it is possible. Even so, Isely cautioned against connecting sexual abuse as a child to becoming an abuser as an adult.

"The science just doesn't support it," he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:16 AM

Norwalker wins VOTF 'Volunteer of the Year'

CONNECTICUT
The Hour

NORWALK

By FRANCIS X. FAY JR.
Hour Senior Staff Writer

The Voice of the Faithful in the Bridgeport Diocese announced gifts amounting to $12,500 to eight non-profit organizations during its seventh annual conference Saturday at Fairfield University.

The 100 attendees also saw Joseph F. O'Callaghan, Ph.D., of Norwalk receive the first Saint Anselm Award as the VOTF Volunteer of the Year.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:12 AM

Correcting my post on bishops' turf

UNITED STATES
USA Today

I was wrong in my posting Friday on Catholic bishops, says Tod Tamberg, director of Media Relations for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, where Cardinal Roger Mahony is archbishop.

I originally included Mahony and Cardinal Sean O'Malley, Archbishop of Boston, in a list of bishops who were publicly criticizing another bishop (holocaust-denying British Bishop Richard Williamson) outside their ecclesiastical jurisdiction. David Clohessy, a survivor of clergy sex abuse, complained that bishops stayed mum -- in public -- about other bishops' errors during the scandal.

Tamberg says:

Cardinal Mahony co-wrote an op-ed -- meaning he spoke out together with -- two well-known officials of the American Jewish Committee. The purpose of the op-ed was to address folks like yourself, who seem to believe that just because the pope lifted his excommunication, Williamson is Catholic. He isn't.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:09 AM

Despite abuse, he never lost his faith

DELAWARE
The News Journal

The News Journal • March 29, 2009

The March 7 story of writer William Lobdell, "Reporting on church scandals, a writer loses his faith," inspired the accompanying letter from the Rev. John Lunness of New Castle.

For a more extensive explanation of his decision not to leave the Church, Lunness agreed to be interviewed by The News Journal's Editorial Board. ...

What you call the media's seeming exaltation of the suffering, could also been seen as a valid effort to expose the forces that makes this abuse possible and thrive, could it not?

No. The breaking of the sexual abuse scandal, starting with Boston, was good. God tells us that things done in darkness will be brought into the light. That is a good thing. My abuse took place in the suburbs of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. In 2005 when the District Attorney's Office, headed by Lynn Abraham, released its grand jury report on clergy sexual abuse in Philadelphia, I was devastated. My abuser was named as someone who abused others also. But that report spurred me on to seek the help that I desperately needed, another good. There is a difference in reporting news and events and exploiting them.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:58 AM

March 28, 2009

Amid Abuse in Brazil, Abortion Debate Flares

BRAZIL
The New York Times

By ALEXEI BARRIONUEVO
Published: March 27, 2009
SÃO PAULO, Brazil — The waiting room at Pérola Byington Hospital resembles a small day care center many days. Young girls play on the cold tile floors or rock hyperactively in plastic chairs, while their mothers stare pensively at the red digital readout on a wall, signaling their place in line.

But this is a women’s health clinic specializing in treating victims of sexual violence. Of the 15 such cases the hospital averages each day, nearly half involve children under 12. ...

Weighing just 79 pounds and barely four feet tall, the 9-year-old girl, from Alagoinha, a town in the northeast, underwent an abortion when she was 15 weeks pregnant at one of the 55 centers authorized to perform the procedure in Brazil. Abortion is legal here only in cases of rape or when the mother’s life is at risk.

The doctors’ actions set off a swirl of controversy. A Brazilian archbishop summarily excommunicated everyone involved — the doctors for performing the abortion and the girl’s mother for allowing it — except for the stepfather, who stands accused of raping the girl over a number of years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:19 PM

Colombia rocked by father-daughter incest case

COLUMBIA
Reuters

BOGOTA (Reuters) - A Colombian man accused of sexually abusing his daughter from a young age and fathering eight children with her was arrested on Saturday, causing an outcry over the lack of child protection in the Andean nation.

Arcebio Alvarez, 58, was led away in handcuffs by agents from Colombia's attorney general's office after his daughter told police that he had abused her since she was a young girl.

Alba Nidia Alvarez, 35, from the central town of Mariquita, said an evangelical Christian pastor had convinced her to come forward about the alleged abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:14 PM

Unholy wind blowing in Nairobi as priests accuse Njue of ruling with an iron fist

KENYA
The Standard

By Martin Mutua

A row has erupted between Nairobi Archbishop Cardinal John Njue and priests who are now up in arms against his leadership style.

The priests, who spoke to The Standard on Sunday on condition of anonymity, are accusing Njue of being "dictatorial, arrogant and proud".

The priests said they were angered by a move by the cardinal to limit their monthly allowances and control offerings from their parishes.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:21 PM

Helping the victims

WISCONSIN
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Opening up a window for victims to file suit against their perpetrators would provide one form of justice.

Posted: Mar. 27, 2009

After a car crash, some walk away with mere bruises. Others spend the rest of their lives suffering deep and persistent pain. That lifelong, wracking pain is a trademark characteristic resulting from sexual abuse.

There is much to shock the conscience and strain belief in the case of Daniel Acker of Waukesha, the part-time aquatics program coordinator suspected of sexually assaulting young boys and teens for more than 30 years.

But why victims don't step forward - even over 30 years - shouldn't be among the articles of disbelief. Stigma, shame and fear conspire to render sexual crimes notoriously underreported. It is why serial predators can operate for so long without detection.

It remains important, however, for victims to come forward - in this case and all others. On Friday, Greenfield police asked federal authorities to investigate whether Acker could be connected to dozens of sexual assaults and children who have disappeared since the 1970s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:18 PM

Manipulation, threats help molesters hide secrets

WISCONSIN
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

By Meg Kissinger of the Journal Sentinel

Posted: Mar. 27, 2009

People who have molested children for years typically get away with it for so long because the victims are not inclined to tell others, said Dale Bespalec, a psychologist for 30 years who has specialized in sex crimes against children.

Victims, especially young children, might feel threatened, he said.

"The molester might say, 'If you tell, Mommy or Daddy will go to jail.' Or, 'Your dog will die,' " Bespalec said.

Child molesters are master manipulators, said Bespalec, who worked with sex offenders for 10 years with the Wisconsin Department of Corrections and now is on the staff of the Wisconsin School of Professional Psychology.

Peter Isely, Midwest director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, an organization to aid those abused by clergy, said molesters get away with their crimes for so many years because society typically doesn't understand how child molesters act.

"No one understands the mind of a child better than a child molester," Isely said. "Most of their crimes never go reported."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:15 PM

Catholics urged to take action

NEW YORK
Catholic Courier

(Publication Date: 03-27-2009)

By Jennifer Burke/Catholic Courier

The New York State Catholic Conference is urging Catholics to contact their state legislators and voice their opposition to the proposed Child Victims Act of New York, A2596/S2568 -- also known as the "Markey bill" -- and their support for alternative legislation, A5708a/S3107a, called the "Lopez bill." Visitors to the conference's Web site, www.nyscatholic.org, can click on the "Take Action Now!" button to find a prewritten letter of opposition to the Markey bill and support for the Lopez bill. People may edit this letter as they choose, and it will be sent to the appropriate legislative representatives when they enter their address information into an online form.

Those wishing to stay informed about this and other issues on the Catholic conference's radar may join its Catholic Advocacy Network by clicking on the "Join the Network" button on conference's Web site. Through this network members will receive e-mailed action alerts about various legislative issues of concern to the Catholic conference.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:12 PM

Catholic Church 'a model' in recent efforts to protect

NEW YORK
Catholic Courier

(Publication Date: 03-27-2009)

By Amy Kotlarz/Catholic Courier

Even those critical of the Catholic Church’s past responses to clergy sexual abuse agree that the way it handles present-day abuse allegations has improved since establishment of a nationwide program to protect children.

In 2002, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops created the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, which established norms for responding to abuse allegations and for creating safe-environment programs in dioceses throughout the country.

Since that time, the USCCB has required all bishops to remove from ministry any priests found to have committed abuse. Policies are in place in dioceses nationwide for reporting abuse to civil authorities, conducting background checks of employees and volunteers, and training adult employees and volunteers on how to identify and prevent abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:10 PM

Other states enact, eye abuse-law reforms

NEW YORK
Catholic Courier

Publication Date: 03-27-2009)

By Mike Latona/Catholic Courier

The consequences of similar legislation in California and Delaware raises significant concern among Catholic leaders in New York -- and in other states where such measures have been floated -- about the proposed Child Victims Act of New York.

The New York proposal contains a provision to temporarily suspend the civil statute of limitations for cases of child sexual-abuse, giving alleged victims a one-year "window" in which to file suits that have been time barred by the current statute, no matter how long ago the abuse allegedly happened.

The Child Victims Act is similar to legislation passed in California in 2002, which created a one-year window for alleged victims of child sexual abuse to file civil lawsuits that had been time barred under the previous civil statute.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:08 PM

Legislators explain positions on proposed bills

NEW YORK
Catholic Courier

(Publication Date: 03-27-2009)

By Jennifer Burke/Catholic Courier

State Assemblywoman Margaret Markey (D-Queens) and state Assemblyman Vito Lopez (D-Brooklyn) agree on one important point: The sexual abuse of children is a horrific crime, and steps should be taken to prevent its occurrence.

That's about as far as their agreement goes. Both have proposed bills intended to address the issue by reforming New York's statute of limitations as it relates to the sexual abuse of children, but the two bills go about this in vastly different ways.

Markey, who was elected to the Assembly in 1998, first introduced her bill, titled the Child Victims Act of New York, to the Assembly in 2006.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:05 PM

Church, others call for equal treatment of abuse victims

NEW YORK
Catholic Courier

(Publication Date: 03-27-2009)

By Annette Jiménez/Catholic Courier

Opponents of proposed legislation that would temporarily waive the statute of limitations on child sexual-abuse lawsuits say the bill unfairly targets the Catholic Church and other private institutions because it would not apply to public entities.

New York's current statute of limitations requires alleged victims of child sex abuse to file civil lawsuits by the time they are 23. But separate statutes for claims against such public entities as municipalities, public schools, public hospitals and government-run institutions require the alleged victims in cases of any nature to file statements of their intent to sue -- called notices of claim -- within 90 days of the incident.

In effect, public entities would be free of any previously time-barred lawsuits under the Child Victims Act of New York (A2596, S2568), although several studies in recent years show that sexual-abuse cases are prevalent in public schools.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:03 PM

Two bills differ on how they would treat sex-abuse lawsuits

NEW YORK
Catholic Courier

(Publication Date: 03-27-2009)

By Amy Kotlarz/Catholic Courier

Two competing bills in the state Legislature are calling for changes in how civil lawsuits related to child sex-abuse can be filed in New York.

The Child Victims Act of New York (A2596) -- also known as the "Markey bill" -- is being sponsored by Assemblywoman Margaret Markey (D-Queens) and available to be voted on at any time by the full Assembly. State Sen. Thomas Duane (D-Manhattan) has introduced an identical bill into the state Senate (S2568).

An alternative bill -- A5708a, also known as the "Lopez bill" -- is being sponsored by Assemblyman Vito Lopez (D-Brooklyn) and at press time was under consideration in the Assembly codes committee. The Lopez bill's state Senate companion (S3107a) is sponsored by Sen. Carl Kruger (D-Brooklyn).

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:00 PM

Justice is crux of abuse-law debate

NEW YORK
Catholic Courier

(Publication Date: 03-27-2009)

By Amy Kotlarz/Catholic Courier

The New York State Catholic Conference has mounted a statewide campaign to educate Catholics about the Child Victims Act of New York -- also known as the "Markey bill" -- which would temporarily waive the state's civil statute of limitations on child sexual-abuse lawsuits against individuals and private institutions. It also would lengthen the period in which alleged victims may sue individuals and private organizations for child sexual abuse in the future.

Sponsors of the proposed state legislation (A2596, S2568) claim it will bring justice to victims of child sex abuse, but the state Catholic conference, which represents the state’s bishops in matters of public policy, charges that the proposal unfairly targets the Catholic Church and other private institutions.

New York's current statute of limitations requires alleged victims of child sex abuse to file civil lawsuits by the time they are 23. But separate statutes for claims against public entities -- such as municipalities, public schools, public hospitals and government-run institutions -- require the alleged victims in cases of any nature to file statements of their intent to sue -- called notices of claim -- within 90 days of the incident. In some cases, a judge might consider an extension to this 90-day time frame, though the Catholic conference said this is rare.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:58 PM

Deadline passes to appeal church closings

CLEVELAND (OH)
WKYC

CLEVELAND -- Several more churches of the Cleveland Diocese slated to close next yea, filed appeals with Bishop Richard Lennon by Friday's 5 p.m. deadline.

Parishioners of St. Colman on West 65th Street hand delivered 3,300 handwritten letters of petition to the Diocesan offices downtown.

The forms had been filled out by church members and supporters, and in each people were free to say why they thought St. Colman's should stay open.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:55 PM

Miller: More scrutiny needed at center

IOWA
The Messenger

By BILL SHEA, Messenger staff writer
POSTED: March 27, 2009

State Rep. Helen Miller is seeking to require background checks for anyone involved in a children's center in response to concerns about a registered sex offender living in a Webster County facility.

The Fort Dodge Democrat has introduced an amendment mandating those checks that she hopes will be acted on next week. Her proposal doesn't mention the Anchor Character Training Center. However, she said she introduced the measure in response to revelations that a registered sex offender is housed there.

Miller's amendment directs the state Department of Human Services to ''apply criminal and abuse registry background check requirements for the persons who own, operate, staff, participate in or otherwise have contact with the children receiving services from a children's center.''

Anchor Character Training Center, 1940 225th St., is a coed home for troubled teens operated by Harvest Baptist Church in Fort Dodge.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:52 PM

Colorado predator priest sued; Sex abuse victims respond

COLORADO
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

We applaud these brave victims who are speaking out, protecting kids and seeking justice in the open, time-tested American judicial system. Lawsuits like this will safeguard kids, stop crimes, and deter future recklessness, deceit and secrecy by those who might otherwise be tempted to shield known and suspected child molesters.

We hope that others who saw, suspected or suffered this cleric's crimes will also be brave enough to come forward, call police and get help.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:54 AM

Clergy sex abuse victims blast NH Catholic diocese for secrecy

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

There is no clearer proof than these numbers that secrecy about clergy sex crimes and cover-ups remain the top priority of bishops.

Catholics should be outraged that the names of dozens of accused child molesting clerics have been kept hidden from the public while the Manchester diocese was under scrutiny by the state’s top law enforcement official. This raises two obvious and troubling questions. What other sex offending priests is Bishop McCormack protecting from disclosure. And how much more secrecy will we see in the Manchester diocese now that state oversight is ending?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:51 AM

Lorain parishes appeal closings

LORAIN (OH)
The Chronicle-Telegram

Steve Fogarty | The Chronicle-Telegram

At least two Lorain churches plan to appeal their proposed fates under the massive restructuring plan announced March 14 by the Cleveland Catholic Diocese, which calls for the closing of nearly 30 churches and the merger of 41 more parishes with neighboring churches by June 2010.

Friday was the deadline for Catholic parishes in the Cleveland diocese to appeal their planned closings or mergers with other churches.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:22 AM

Former priest in Fort Worth Diocese gets 50 years in second sex-abuse trial

EASTLAND (TX)
The Dallas Morning News

By BROOKS EGERTON / The Dallas Morning News
begerton@dallasnews.com
The Rev. Thomas Teczar couldn't stomach his 25-year prison sentence for sexually abusing a child. In 2007, he persuaded a Texas appeals court to grant him a new trial.

As gambles go, it was a bad one.

Jurors in Teczar's second trial sentenced the notorious Catholic priest to 50 years in prison on Friday, his 68th birthday. ...

Teczar is a central figure in the cover-up scandal that has cost the Fort Worth Catholic Diocese several million dollars, led to the unmasking of several other predator priests and damaged the reputation of veteran church leaders, most notably the late Bishop Joseph Delaney.

The scandal began unraveling in 1998, when The Dallas Morning News discovered that Teczar had fled Texas a few years earlier after refusing to answer questions from an Eastland County grand jury. Officials there were investigating allegations that two of Teczar's neighborhood friends had molested children and that he had encouraged them to destroy photographic evidence.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:16 AM

Molester priest given 50 years

EASTLAND (TX)
Worcester Telegram & Gazette

By Celinda Emison SPECIAL TO THE TELEGRAM & GAZETTE
A Catholic priest found guilty Thursday of sexual assault and indecency was sentenced to 50 years in prison by an Eastland County, Texas, jury yesterday.

The Rev. Thomas Teczar, 68, was sentenced to 50 years each for three counts of sexual assault and 15 years for one count of indecency with a child. He also was assessed a $10,000 fine for each count. The sentences run concurrently and Rev. Teczar must serve a quarter of the time before he is eligible for parole according to Texas laws in 1990, when the offenses were committed. ...

Barbara Blaine of Chicago, a founding member of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, said she was pleased with the conviction and the sentence. She said she was glad the case was tried in court.

“Any time a sexual predator is in jail, then we know he can’t hurt any other child,” she said.

Barbara Blaine of Chicago, a founding member of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, said she was pleased with the conviction and the sentence. She said she was glad the case was tried in court.

“Any time a sexual predator is in jail, then we know he can’t hurt any other child,” she said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:27 AM

Audit of Catholics notes safety steps

SAN ANGELO (TX)
San Angelo Standard-Times

Courtesy of the Catholic Diocese of San Angelo
Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Most Rev. Michael Pfeifer, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of San Angelo, is very happy to share with the people of West Texas the good news of all the efforts that the Catholic Church is making to provide protection for children and young people.

The Diocese of San Angelo is included in the 2008 Annual Report that follows, and has been given high marks for all the efforts to implement the Charter to provide a safe environment for all people, especially young people.

Dioceses spent more than $23 million nationwide in 2008 to prevent child sexual abuse, an increase of $2 million from 2007.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:51 AM

Priest gets 50 years for child rape

EASTLAND (TX)
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

By DARREN BARBEE and MITCH MITCHELL
dbarbee@star-telegram.com

The Rev. Thomas Teczar gambled — and lost — at his second trial by letting a jury decide his punishment for raping an 11-year-old boy in Ranger in 1990.

At his first trial in 2007, a judge sentenced the former parish priest in the Fort Worth Roman Catholic Diocese to 25 years in prison.

On Friday, an Eastland County jury sentenced him to 50 years.

Teczar, 68, was convicted Thursday of three counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child and one count of indecency with a child.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:39 AM

Pueblo Diocese, ex-priest target of lawsuit

PUEBLO (CO)
Colorado Springs Gazette

March 27, 2009 - 10:28 PM
NEWS SERVICES
PUEBLO • A former Catholic priest faces a lawsuit filed by two men who say they were abused in southern Colorado 20 years ago.

The lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Pueblo and former priest William Groves alleges abuse in the 1980s at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Walsenburg and St. Ignatius Church in Ignacio. Groves was a priest at those sites.

The plaintiffs are identified only as "John Doe." The men are seeking more than $1 million each. They say the diocese knew of the abuse and failed to stop it.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:35 AM

Bexhill priest asks for paedophile prison term to be cut

UNITED KINGDOM
The Argus

By Naomi Loomes

A paedophile vicar who abused boys for years asked for his jail term to be cut - saying he was a nice man at heart.

Colin Pritchard was jailed for five years after he was convicted of running a campaign of sexual abuse against a young boy.

The 64-year-old, of St Augustine’s Close, Bexhill, preyed on the victim as well as a second boy who was assaulted by another priest, who was a friend.

The offences were committed up to three decades ago when Pritchard was a parish priest at St Andrew's Church in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:31 AM

Priest sex scandal expands: Seven newly named worked in area churches

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Foster's Daily Democrat

By ADAM D. KRAUSS
akraussfosters.com
akrauss@fosters.com

Saturday, March 28, 2009
DOVER — Seven of the 26 accused clergy members identified in recently released files by the Attorney General's Office worked in Seacoast churches.

The cases originated out of Somersworth, Rollinsford, Rochester, Exeter and either Ossipee or Effingham, with the 879 pages also detailing allegations of sexual abuse against previously accused priests. One report involved a Massachusetts priest accused of abuse while in Alton.

The allegations span several decades, with several local cases originating between the 1960s and 1970s and taking place inside churches, homes and a golf course, according to case descriptions and e-mail correspondence.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:15 AM

No time limits urged for prosecuting clergy abuse

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Concord Monitor

By HOLLY RAMER
Associated Press Writer

[BishopAccountability.org home page]

[exerpts from documents]

[audit records from BishopAccountability.org]

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) -- A group that tracks reports of clergy sexual abuse said Friday that new files on abuse allegations released by the state attorney general show why time limits on prosecuting such cases should be eliminated.

The files identify 26 clergy members newly accused of sexual abuse since 2002, though most of the alleged abuse took place decades ago.

The information was released after the state's final audit of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester under a landmark 2002 agreement.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:56 AM

AG releases unverified allegations against 26 priests, nuns

NEW HAMPSHIRE
New Hampshire Union Leader

By GARRY RAYNO AND KATHRYN MARCHOCKI
New Hampshire Union Leader

MANCHESTER – A group tracking priest sexual abuse yesterday called for the elimination of the statute of limitations on criminal and civil cases after files released by the Attorney General's office included 26 new names of clerics and two nuns and more than 100 new allegations.

The allegations have not previously been released to the public, and members of BishopAccountability.org said keeping the information from the public prevents victims from healing and puts additional children at risk.

"We have reasons for our lack of trust in the diocese," said Carolyn Disco of Merrimack. "It took the point of a legal gun to get them to cooperate."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:50 AM

March 27, 2009

Priest sentenced to 50 years

EASTLAND (TX)
Abilene Reporter-News

By Celinda Emison
Originally published 06:41 p.m., March 27, 2009
Updated 06:41 p.m., March 27, 2009

A Catholic priest found guilty Thursday of sexual assault and indecency was sentenced to 50 years in prison by an Eastland County jury Friday.

The Rev. Thomas Teczar, 68, was sentenced to 50 years each for three counts of sexual assault and 15 years for one count of indecency with a child. He also was assessed a $10,000 fine for each count. The sentences run concurrently and Teczar must serve a quarter of the time before he is eligible for parole according to Texas laws in 1990, when the offenses were committed. Judge Steven Herod handed down the sentence.

“I am very pleased,” said 91st District Attorney Russ Thomason. “This man left a trail of damaged youngsters from Massachusetts to Texas and now he can’t do that any more.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:52 PM

Former Fort Worth Catholic Diocese priest sentenced to 50 years for sex abuse

EASTLAND (TX)
The Dallas Morning News

06:55 PM CDT on Friday, March 27, 2009
By BROOKS EGERTON / The Dallas Morning News
begerton@dallasnews.com

Jurors sentenced a priest to 50 years in prison Friday in a retrial on sex-abuse charges in Eastland County, about 100 miles west of Fort Worth.

That’s twice what the Rev. Thomas Teczar got in his first trial, in which he chose not to have a jury.

Teczar — who worked for the Fort Worth Catholic Diocese despite a long history of misconduct with boys in a Massachusetts diocese — turned 68 Friday.

“Victims got to celebrate his birthday,” District Attorney Russ Thomason said. “This is effectively a life sentence.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:44 PM

Eastland jury gives child-molester priest Teczar 50 years

EASTLAND (TX)
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

By Darren Barbeed
barbee@star-telegram.com

EASTLAND -- Convicted child molester the Rev. Thomas Teczar was sentenced Friday to 50 years in prison for raping an 11-year-old boy while a priest of the Fort Worth Roman Catholic Diocese in the 1990s.

The predator priest won a new trial last year after his first conviction was set aside because of what an appellate court decided were inadequate qualifications of an expert witness.

Teczar gambled -- and lost -- by letting a jury decide his punishment in the new trail. A judge in 2007 sentenced him to 25 years in prison.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:35 PM

Bishops blast each other: Prophetic or pointless?

UNITED STATES
USA Today

Victims of the clergy sexual abuse crisis are watching with anger and dismay as bishops from Phoenix to Rome mouth off at each other -- invading each others ecclesiastical turf -- on who is in or out of line on hot potato political issues.

But during the most horrific days of the abuse scandal, bishops held fire on each other, with no public chastising of bishops or, most notably, of Cardinal Bernard Law, whose mismanagement as Archbishop of Boston allowed hundreds of sexual abusers to go undetected or unpunished for decades.

In 2002, when the scandal erupted, bishops said they were offering fraternal corrections in private but had no right to publicly point out each other's errors or interfere across diocesan boundaries. Bishops answer to God and the pope, not each other.

"It's galling, really galling, that they are so eager to speak out now on things they have no influence at all, when they kept silent when they could have done some real good," says David Clohessy, director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:32 PM

Former Colorado priest accused of sex abuse

PUEBLO (CO)
KRDO

Associated Press - March 27, 2009 12:44 PM ET

PUEBLO, Colo. (AP) - A former Catholic priest now faces a lawsuit from two men who say they were abused in southern Colorado two decades ago.

The lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Pueblo and former priest William Groves alleges abuse in the 1980s at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Walsenburg and St. Ignatius Church in Ignacio. Groves was a priest at those sites.

The plaintiffs are identified only as "John Doe." They are seeking more than $1 million each. They say the diocese was aware of the abuse and failed to stop it.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:37 PM

Victims' group: lift time-limit on abuse reports

NEW HAMPSHIRE
WCAX

[exerpts from documents]

[audit records from BishopAccountability.org]

Associated Press - March 27, 2009 3:55 PM ET

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) - A group that tracks reports of clergy sexual abuse says new files released by New Hampshire prosecutors show why the statute of limitations on reporting such abuse should be eliminated.

The files, which publicly identify 26 accused clergy members for the first time, were released after the state's final audit of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester.

A group called BishopAccountability.org says that could spur more victims to come forward, but the statute of limitations will rule out many prosecutions.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:30 PM

Catholic Diocese named in lawsuit

SYRACUSE (NY)
10 News Now

Updated: 03/27/2009 05:34 PM
By: Bill Carey

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- John Aretakis has been here before. He's waged an ongoing battle with the Syracuse Roman Catholic Diocese over what it did or did not do in the case of Father John Broderick, a priest arrested last year for allegedly abusing four young boys in the same family. The priest has since been convicted on one misdemeanor count in the case.

Aretakis has filed a new civil case to free up diocesan records on Broderick.

“They knew about him. They allowed him to roam free. They moved him from parish to parish, or, in this case, they allowed him to walk around like a gypsy priest on his own. To travel down to Albany, to North Carolina, up to Massena and then down to Pennsylvania. And he really was, most times, unsupervised and not supervised at all,” said Aretakis.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:27 PM

NH names 27 priests in sex abuse cases

NEW HAMPSHIRE
NECN

[with video]

(NECN: Lauren Collins, Manchester, NH) - There is new information about the clergy sex abuse crisis in New Hampshire. Documents reveal the names of more than two dozen priests, accused of misconduct.

These names are public record because of victim advocate groups, and media outlets filed right to know requests with the Attorney General. The victim advocates say they shouldn't have had to work this hard to get that information.

The files, which publicly identify 27 accused clergy members for the first time, were released after the state's final audit of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester.

A group called BishopAccountability.org says that could spur more victims to come forward, but the statute of limitations will rule out many prosecutions.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:21 PM

State Releases More Names in Clergy Abuse Scandal

NEW HAMPSHIRE
NHPR

March 27, 2009

[with audio]

[See also a transcript of the Delker interview]

By Mark Bevis

The New Hampshire Attorney General's office has released files that publicly identify 26 clergymen accused of sexual abuse.

The list comes after the close of the state's final audit of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester.

During that audit, the Church had agreed to report any other accusations to the Attorney General's office and remove those accused from their jobs.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:17 PM

Delray Beach priest says he will appeal conviction of theft from church

FLORIDA
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

By Andy Reid | South Florida Sun-Sentinel March 27, 2009
A day after getting a four-year prison sentence for stealing church funds, a former Delray Beach pastor maintained that the charges against him were overblown and the punishment was unfair.

In an interview with WPTV-Ch. 5 on Thursday, the Rev. Francis Guinan said he did not steal hundreds of thousands of dollars as alleged but instead used about $10,000 on trips that included Las Vegas, the Bahamas and Ireland. Guinan said he returned to Ireland for his sister's funeral.

Guinan on Wednesday was sentenced to four years in prison and ordered to repay $99,999 — the maximum amount allowed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:57 AM

Excerpts from Documents about Newly Accused Priests: Page One

NEW HAMPSHIRE
BishopAccountability.org

Diocese of Manchester and New Hampshire Attorney General
Released March 7, 2009

Click the excerpts to view each complete allegation file. These excerpts are intended to introduce you to the audit records and the allegations against priests who are newly accused in this document release. The excerpts are not exhaustive. These audit files do not state or imply that individuals facing allegations are guilty of a crime or liable for civil claims. The reports contained in the audit record are merely allegations. The U.S. legal system presumes that a person accused of or charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. Similarly, individuals who may be defendants in civil actions are presumed not to be liable for such claims unless a plaintiff proves otherwise. Admissions of guilt or liability are not typically a part of civil or private settlements.

See also the main page of our feature on the Audit Records with links to all the released documents.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:48 AM

Diocese of Manchester and New Hampshire Attorney General

NEW HAMPSHIRE
BishopAccountability.org

Released on March 7, 2009 and March 26, 2009

In March 2009 the attorney general of New Hampshire released 879 pages of files assembled by the AG's office during a five-year audit of the Diocese of Manchester. The audit was stipulated in the 12/10/02 agreement between the AG and Bishop John B. McCormack that allowed the Manchester diocese to avoid indictment and probable conviction for violation of New Hampshire's child endangerment statute. The agreement also provided for the publication of a report by the AG, as well as the release of nearly 10,000 pages of investigative files.

Now that the audit is completed, the Concord Monitor and the Union Leader newspapers have requested release of the audit files under New Hampshire's Right to Know law. See New Hampshire Names 27 Clerics in Abuse Cases, by Abby Goodnough, NY Times (March 26, 2009). Compliance by the AG's office entailed release of the files to the public. BishopAccountability.org has acquired the audit files and posted them on this page, to facilitate public access.

Note: As an introduction to the audit files, we recommend that you view the allegations against clerics accused publicly for the first time in these audit files. This two-page feature is much easier to read than the 879 pages in their entirety. The feature also gives you a preview of the kinds of documents you will encounter.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:42 AM

Paedophile vicar fails to get jail term cut

UNITED KINGDOM
Evening Telegraph

By Staff Copy
A paedophile vicar who was jailed for a campaign of sex abuse against a young boy has failed in an Appeal Court challenge to his five-year sentence.

Colin Ivor Pritchard, 64, of St Augustines Close, Bexhill-on-Sea, Sussex, was parish priest at St Andrew's Church in Wellingborough when he committed the offences three decades ago.

It was not until July last year that he was brought to justice when he was jailed at Northampton Crown Court after admitting indecent assault and indecency with a child.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:00 AM

Teczar sex abuse: guilty again

WORCESTER (MA)
Telegram & Gazette

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

The Rev. Thomas H. Teczar, a Roman Catholic priest formerly from Worcester, has been found guilty for a second time of sexually molesting an 11-year-old boy in Texas almost 20 years ago.

Rev. Teczar had been convicted in Texas on March 7, 2007, of three counts of aggravated sexual assault and one count of indecency with a child but the conviction was thrown out last fall by an appeals court, which ruled that state District Judge Steven Herod had made errors during the trial.

A new trial was ordered and the priest was found guilty yesterday on the same charges. ...

Alleged victims of the priest, along with organizations supporting individuals abused by clerics, lauded the jury for its action.

“It’s great that he’s been convicted,” said George “Skip” Shea of Uxbridge, who charged that he was abused by Rev. Teczar at St. Mary’s Church in Uxbridge during the 1970s. “But, then again, every time an abusive priest appears in the news it brings nightmares to victims. I’m especially concerned about those who haven’t come forward and have no one to turn to.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:49 AM

Sexual abuse and Islam a Bosnian case

by
Hajrudin Somun

BOSNIA
Today's Zaman

"Bosnian imam convicted of pedophilia" -- this was the news that spread amongst a shocked public in Bosnia and the Balkans last month.

A Bosnian court found a local Islamic cleric guilty of sexually abusing an underage girl and sentenced him to 18 months in prison. It was the first such case involving a religious figure in Bosnia and Herzegovina in recent times.

I would not comment on the event if it had not happened in Bosnia, if an Islamic cleric had not been involved or if a young schoolgirl had not been the victim. I would not comment on it particularly if the girl did not belong to a Muslim family from a remote and poor mountain village, Gluha Bukovica, a name that is already symbolic, meaning "deaf beech village."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:43 AM

The Catholic Church should put its own house in order

KENYA
Daily National

By BETTY CAPLAN Posted Thursday, March 26 2009 at 18:46

Pope Benedict XVI has now left the continent having preached to thousands in Angola and Cameroon. But doesn’t the epithet that “those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones” apply to him? ...

Cases of sexual abuse of minors have been reported in countries as far apart as Australia and Mexico. The Pope himself suppressed publication of a report which revealed the extent of this exploitation.

In 2007, child sex abuse cases cost the church $615 million (Sh49 billion), an increase of 54 per cent over the previous year, most of which went towards settling in court. Therapy for the victims and the accused took care of $23 million.

New allegations of abuse in 2007 totalled 689, most of the sufferers being young males between the ages of 10 and 14 when the abuse began.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:35 AM

More boys tell of abuse by counselor at youth group retreat

FLORIDA
Florida Today

BY KAUSTUV BASU • FLORIDA TODAY • March 26, 2009

A Rockledge youth group counselor was arrested Wednesday night on an out-of-county warrant on charges of lewd and lascivious conduct related to sexual acts against minors, the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office said.

The sheriff’s office said David Frank Martin, 40, was arrested after one minor who attended a retreat in Vero Beach this month told law enforcement that he had been sexually molested by Martin. Another boy complained about his behavior, too.

Martin was a part-time employee at the Faith Fellowship Church in Melbourne, according to Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Tod Goodyear.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:31 AM

Former Troy minister back in jail after domestic battery charge

MISSOURI
Belleville News-Democrat

BY BETH HUNDSDORFER - News-Democrat

A former Lutheran minister who was charged with raping a boy who is less than 6 years old, now faces a domestic battery charge.

James K. Gullen, 53, was arrested by Jacksonville police after they said he struck his wife. Gullen was free on bond on aggravated predatory criminal sexual charges, but after his arrest, Troy police returned him to Edwardsville after his bond was revoked Thursday, said Detective James Newcombe.

Gullen served as the minister of St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Troy until he received a felony driving under the influence charge last year. The congregation there accepted his resignation March 31, 2008.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:26 AM

Pastor who molested U.S. child coming back to Canada

CANADA
National Post

Jason van Rassel, Canwest News Service
Published: Thursday, March 26, 2009

CALGARY -- A retired Calgary pastor who claimed he was sexually harassed by a four-year-old girl he molested is on parole and slated for deportation back to Canada.

Kenneth Cooke, 74, was released Thursday from a jail in Dixon County, Illinois, but went right back behind bars when U.S. immigration authorities arrested him pending a deportation hearing.

"Mr. Cooke was turned over to our custody [Thursday] and he will be placed in our removal process," said immigration enforcement spokesman Tim Counts.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:23 AM

Phila. pastor arrested in Del. child sex charges

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

Police in New Castle County, Delaware, have arrested the pastor of a Philadelphia congregation on charges of sexually abusing a teenage boy.

The Rev. Harry R. Benson Jr., 40, senior pastor of Eastwick United Methodist Church on Lindbergh Road in Southwest Philadelphia, was arrested Tuesday on charges of rape in the first degree, one count of continuous sexual abuse of a child, 12 counts of unlawful sexual contact in the first degree, and one count of sexual solicitation of a child, according to the New Castle County Police Department. The assaults, police said, lasted years. Police provided few other details, to protect the victim. Benson was arrested after the boy told a counselor at his high school about the abuse. Benson, who resides in Newark, Del., was being held in Howard Young Prison after failing to post $126,000 secured bail.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:20 AM

Phila. pastor charged in sex assault, suspended

DELAWARE
The News Journal

By TERRI SANGINITI • The News Journal • March 27, 2009

A Newark-area man who is charged with sexually assaulting a boy over six years has been suspended as pastor of a southwest Philadelphia church.

The Rev. Harry Benson Jr., 40, who is a licensed pastor at Eastwick United Methodist Church, was charged late Tuesday with one count of first-degree rape, 12 counts of unlawful sexual contact and one count of sexual solicitation of a child, according to New Castle County police.

A statement released by Bishop Peggy A. Johnson of the United Methodist Church in the Philadelphia area said Benson was suspended immediately pending the outcome of the investigation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:14 AM

In special Gilbert Mass, bishop prays for abuse victims

GILBERT (AZ)
The Arizona Republic

by Astrid Galvan - Mar. 26, 2009 11:26 AM
The Arizona Republic .
Phoenix Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted prayed for the recovery of abuse victims as well as for the perpetrators themselves in a special Mass in Gilbert for victims of clergy abuse.

The Mass for Healing and Reconciliation was held at St. Anne Roman Catholic Parish on Wednesday. It coincided with the Annunciation of the Lord celebration, a Catholic tradition that celebrates the day an angel told the Virgin Mary she was with child.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:10 AM

Class Action Victim Alleges Coercion

KENTUCKY
WCPO

Web Produced: Jessica Noll
Email: jessica.noll@kypost.com
Reported by: Shannon Kettler
Web Produced: Jessica Noll
Last Update: 3/26 6:16 pm

A new legal battle is brewing among lawyers who worked on the class action lawsuit against the Diocese of Covington over allegations of sexual abuse by priests.

Attorney Barbara Bonar has filed a motion for a new trial in Boone County Court.

Court documents state a class action victim whose name was not revealed has stepped forward claiming attorneys Stan Chesley and Robert Steinberg coerced the victim to lie in order to block Bonar from getting attorney fees.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:07 AM

Connecticut Lawmakers Consider Extending Statute Of Limitations In Child Sex Abuse Cases

HARTFORD (CT)
Hartford Courant

By ARIELLE LEVIN BECKER | The Hartford Courant March 27, 2009

He typed up testimony and went to Thursday's hearing, prepared to tell lawmakers about being one of the children pictured in the stash of pornography found in the former home of Dr. George Reardon. He planned to ask them to imagine a boy, once happy, wondering what had happened to him, afraid to ever speak of it.

He planned to tell them that he was too old to bring legal action, but that he should be heard, that the state should make an exception to the statute of limitations in extraordinary cases like this one.

But he got to the judiciary committee hearing Thursday and saw more people than he expected. It was too emotional.

So the man, who asked that his name not be used, did not get the chance to tell lawmakers why, despite his age, he filed the lawsuit against St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford, where Reardon worked. It was the same reason that John Conran, another man who says he was sexually abused by Reardon as a child and now is too old to sue, wanted the chance to bring his case.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:58 AM

Archbishop of Cardiff Peter Smith in running to become new Archbishop of Westminster

UNITED KINGDOM
South Wales Echo

Mar 27 2009 by Matt Withers, South Wales Echo

THE Archbishop of Cardiff, Peter Smith, has emerged as one of the favourites to become the top Roman Catholic in Wales and England.

As the current Archbishop of Westminster Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor prepares to step down from his post, the 65-year-old Cardiff Archbishop is being touted as a possible successor.

Viewed as a “safe pair of hands” by the Catholic Church and a good media performer, the Archbishop has acted as spokesman for the Church on sensitive and complex issues such as euthanasia and abortion. Bookmaker Paddy Power is currently taking bets on the next Archbishop of Westminster and the Archbishop of Cardiff is currently second favourite at 13-8. ...

In regard to sexual abuse cases, he declared that he “wanted to help people bind up the wounds and bring healing”. He had previously been Bishop of East Anglia. Only last weekend he made headlines after blaming the Pope’s press advisers for a series of public relations disasters. The archbishop said the Vatican’s press officers understood they had “to get their act together”.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:55 AM

St Mary's, Bishop Robinson and the value of dialogue

AUSTRALIA
Eureka Street

Frank Brennan March 27, 2009

On Monday I passed St Mary's Church South Brisbane, en route to a national human rights consultation at the local Convention Centre. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags were flying outside the church as were proclamations of Aboriginal treaty and the protest chant, 'We shall not be moved'.

I had seen and heard Fr Peter Kennedy in the media. His interview on Richard Fidler's ABC Conversation Hour was one of the most moving presentations about priestly pastoral ministry I have heard on the national airwaves. He wept openly as he recalled the death of an Aboriginal man in jail. His Q&A appearance with Tony Jones left me a little perplexed about what he actually believed about Jesus and the Church.

Knowing him and Archbishop Bathersby I was saddened that the standoff between such a pastoral bishop and a pastoral priest had come to this. Talk of mediation by retired High Court judge Ian Callinan has done nothing to lift my sadness. These disputes are not about property rights, and they are not resolved by assertion of property rights or conflicting claims of orthodoxy and pastoral practice.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:52 AM

Catholic priest in Fort Worth Diocese convicted of child sex abuse

EASTLAND (TX)
The Dallas Morning News

By BROOKS EGERTON / The Dallas Morning News
begerton@dallasnews.com

A Catholic priest was convicted Thursday in a retrial on sex-abuse charges in Eastland County, about 100 miles west of Fort Worth.

The sentencing hearing for the Rev. Thomas Teczar will continue today.

Jurors took about 50 minutes to decide that Teczar molested and sexually assaulted an 11-year-old boy in 1990. The Fort Worth Catholic Diocese had assigned him to work in rural Eastland County, largely unsupervised, despite his long history of sexual misconduct in the Diocese of Worcester, Mass.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:45 AM

March 26, 2009

New Hampshire Names 27 Clerics in Abuse Cases

NEW HAMPSHIRE
The New York Times

By ABBY GOODNOUGH
Published: March 26, 2009
BOSTON — The attorney general’s office in New Hampshire has released files on dozens of sexual abuse accusations against clergy members, including 27 clerics whose names had not been made public. Most of the alleged episodes took place decades ago.

The files provide a rare window on communications between prosecutors and church officials after the sexual abuse crisis in the Roman Catholic Church erupted in 2002. The attorney general, Kelly A. Ayotte, is not pursuing many of the cases in the Diocese of Manchester because the clerics are dead or the statute of limitations has expired.

A senior assistant attorney general, Will Delker, said that his office was investigating accusations against a former employee of the diocese who was not a priest, and that a religious order was investigating a priest who was accused of abuse in New Hampshire. In another case, Mr. Delker said, prosecutors brought charges against a cleric, but they later were dropped. Some accusations have proved unfounded. ...

But leaders of a group that tracks reports of abuse cases, BishopAccountability.org, said the diocese should have publicly identified the clerics as it received the accusations. A director of the group, Anne Barrett Doyle, said more than 60 clergy members from the diocese had been publicly identified earlier by the attorney general’s office, in lawsuits or, in a handful of cases, by the diocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:21 PM

Former Fort Worth Catholic Diocese priest convicted in sex abuse case retrial

EASTLAND (TX)
The Dallas Morning News

By BROOKS EGERTON / The Dallas Morning News
begerton@dallasnews.com

A Catholic priest's retrial on sex-abuse charges resulted in another conviction today. A sentencing hearing for the Rev. Thomas Teczar is occurring this afternoon in Eastland County, about 100 miles west of Fort Worth.

Jurors took about 50 minutes to decide that Teczar molested and sexually assaulted an 11-year-old boy in 1990. The Fort Worth Catholic Diocese had assigned him to work in rural Eastland County, largely unsupervised, despite his long history of sexual misconduct in the Diocese of Worcester, Mass.

An appeals court overturned Teczar's 2007 conviction because of expert-witness qualification issues and testimony about abuse for which he was not criminally charged.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:29 PM

Priest convicted of sexually abusing boy in Ranger in '90s

EASTLAND (TX)
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

By DARREN BARBEED
Barbee@star-telegram.com

For a second time, the Rev. Thomas Teczar has been found guilty of sexually abusing a boy in Ranger in the 1990s, special prosecutor Tahira Khan Merritt with the Eastland County district attorney's office said today.

In 2007, Teczar was sentenced to 25 years in prison -- but his conviction on three counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child and indecency with a child was overturned on appeal.

Thursday, on the fourth day of his retrial, an Eastland County jury took less than an hour to find that Teczar raped and molested an 11-year-old boy in Ranger in the early 1990s. Ranger is about 90 miles west of Fort Worth.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:24 PM

Baptist minister accused of sex abuse; Support group responds

THE VILLAGE (OK)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Rarely do sexual predators strike only once. So we believe there are others who've been hurt by this Baptist minister.

We hope that anyone who saw, suspected or suffered crimes or questionable misdeeds by this clergyman calls police immediately. When victims and witnesses speak up, there's a chance for justice, healing and prevention. But when victims and witnesses stay silent, predators walk free and kids get hurt.

We applaud this brave teenager for having the courage to report to law enforcement. It's crucial that clergy sex crimes be treated as crimes and disclosed to the independent professionals in law enforcement, not the biased amateurs in church offices. We hope that this arrest will bring this teenager some measure of comfort and healing.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:15 PM

Correction

CONNECTICUT
Hartford Courant

March 20, 2009
An op-ed Sunday by Anne Hendershott of The King's College in New York, "Catholic Dissidents Pressing for Liberalization of Church Authority," misstated official positions of Voice of the Faithful, an organization of Catholics that supports victims of clergy abuse and seeks increased lay participation in the church.

Contrary to Ms. Hendershott's claims, VOTF had no role in drafting a bill at the state legislature to change how Catholic corporations are formed. Also, the national VOTF does not advocate for "reducing the power of the Catholic hierarchy, eliminating the requirement for priestly celibacy and supporting the ordination of women," as Ms. Hendershott claimed, although the organization has called for debate on the celibacy question and on the role of women in church ministry and governance.

The Courant regrets the errors.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:09 PM

Bishop Apologizes Over Use of Abortion Comments

UNITED STATES
Washington Post

By Jacqueline L. Salmon
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 26, 2009; 2:59 PM

A Catholic bishop who believes pro-abortion rights politicians should be denied communion has apologized that his comments are being used as an attack on Washington Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl and Arlington Diocese Bishop Paul S. Loverde.

Archbishop Raymond Burke, former St. Louis bishop who now heads the Vatican supreme court, said today that a videotaped interview he made with anti-abortion activist Randall Terry was used out of context. He said in a statement that he didn't realize it would be used "as part of a campaign of severe criticism of certain fellow bishops."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:53 PM

Eastland priest found guilty on sexual assault, indecency charges

EASTLAND (TX)
Abilene Reporter-News

By Celinda Emison
Originally published 02:23 p.m., March 26, 2009

EASTLAND — A jury found the Rev. Thomas Teczar, who was being retried in the 91st District Court in Eastland, guilty of three counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child and indecency with a child.

The jury began deliberating at 1:15 p.m.

Teczar, a Catholic priest, was indicted in 2003 for the offenses perpetrated against an 11-year old boy in June and July of 1990.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:46 PM

Burke apolgizes for remarks critical of U.S. bishops

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

By Thomas C. Fox
Politics

Archbishop Raymond Burke, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, issued an apology today to “my brother bishops” for statements he made earlier this month that were released yesterday in a videotape at the National Press Club in Washington.

In that video, released by anti-abortion activist Randall Terry, Burke chided bishops for failing to withhold Communion from Catholic politicians who back legalized abortion. ...

In Burke’s statement of apology he said that Terry and some of his associates had visited him in Rome and had asked to videotape an interview “to share with pro-life workers for the purpose of their encouragement.” The interview was conducted on Mar. 2.

“Sadly, Mr. Terry has used the videotape for another purpose which I find most objectionable,” the Burke statement went on to say. ...

Terry, the former leader of Operation Rescue, has initiated a campaign to lobby Vatican officials to remove U.S. Catholic bishops who were not doing enough to stop abortions.

He called for the removal of Bishop Loverde of Arlington and Archbishop Wuerl of Washington DC.

Among other U.S. prelates singled out by Terry for “rejecting church teachings” were Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony and the former archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. Terry specifically accused them of not denying Communion to certain Catholic politicians.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:41 PM

Diocese Wins Lawsuit Filed by Anonymous Couple

NEW YORK
WROC

Reported by: WROC-TV
Thursday, Mar 26, 2009 @02:15pm EST

The Diocese of Rochester has won a lawsuit brought forward by an anonymous couple, claiming that a priest took advantage of the wife.

The New York Court of Appeals dismissed the suit brought forward by John and Jane Doe. The Does claimed the Diocese failed to properly supervise Father Peter DeBellis, who was the priest at Our Mother of Sorrows church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:36 PM

Delaware Pastor Arrested For Years Of Sexual Abuse

NEWARK (DE)
CBS 3

NEWARK, Del. (CBS 3) ―

A Delaware pastor has been arrested after police learned of his involvement in the long-term sexual abuse of an area youth.

Harry Benson, 40, was charged with rape, sexual abuse of a child and related offenses Tuesday.

Police said a young male notified a high school resource officer that Benson, the senior pastor at Eastern Pennsylvania United Methodist Church, had been sexually abusing him for several years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:29 PM

Pa. church pastor charged with sex abuse in Del.

NEWARK (DE)
Fort Mill Times

(Published March 26, 2009)
NEWARK, Del. — Police in Delaware say a Newark man who is a pastor at a Philadelphia church has been charged with sexually abusing a boy for years.

New Castle County Police say 40-year-old Harry Benson, the senior pastor of Eastern Pennsylvania United Methodist Church, was arrested Tuesday. He has been charged with rape and continuous sexual abuse of a child.

The arrest came after the teen told his high school resource officer Tuesday about the sexual abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:27 PM

Rochester Diocese Wins Appeal of Priest Sex Case

NEW YORK
WHAM

Albany, N.Y. (AP) - New York's top court has dismissed a lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester involving a priest who was accused of having a sexual relationship with a woman he was counseling.

The Court of Appeals says the woman, identified only as Jane Doe, failed to prove she was uniquely vulnerable and incapable of protecting herself from the priest.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:25 PM

High court throws out case against diocese

NEW YORK
Press & Sun-Bulletin

By Cara Matthews • Albany Bureau • March 26, 2009

The state’s highest court today threw out a claim against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester connected to an alleged sexual relationship between a priest and a parishioner.

The Rev. Peter DeBellis was accused of conducting a sexual relationship with a female member of Our Mother of Sorrows Church in Greece for more than three years. The married parishioner allegedly began a sexual relationship with DeBellis shortly after she started marriage counseling with him in November 2000.

The woman and her husband claimed in court papers that the counseling and sexual relationship continued until June 2004, despite repeated complaints to the Diocese of Rochester by the couple, and DeBellis’ transfer to a church in Geneva in May 2001.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:21 PM

Judgment reserved on abuse claim

UNITED KINGDOM
The Press Association

Judgment was reserved in a £5 million damages claim brought by a former City lawyer from west London who claims he made a mess of his life because he was sexually abused at a Jesuit-run school.

Patrick Raggett was subjected to years of "insidious" abuse by Father Michael Spencer, a teacher at Preston Catholic College in Lancashire, who died in 2000 aged 76, his counsel, Robert Seabrook QC, told Mrs Justice Swift at London's High Court. Mr Raggett, 50, claims that, while he was naked, the priest measured him "to chart his growth", filmed him performing exercises, photographed him and touched him inappropriately. He said that he did not connect his experiences at school with years of under-achievement at work, a failed marriage and binge drinking until he had therapy after an April 2005 breakdown.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:11 AM

Only misinformed Catholics protested finance bill

CONNECTICUT
The Daily Campus

Bryan Murphy
Issue date: 3/26/09

With "news" commentators like Bill O'Reilly and Keith Olbermann outrating their reporter counterparts and the blogosphere threatening to subsume traditional newspapers, opinion is the new fact. And hell, seeing as how I make a buck off the trend well enough, I guess I can't complain. But give me one indulgence: If I say some pretty stupid stuff in this column, at least it's obsessively-researched stupid stuff.

But what with the ease of Google, I'm still slightly surprised by the number of people willing to clamber up onto their modernized Dolby Digital Soapbox 2.0s without having made a reasonable effort to insure that they know what they're talking about. Take Connecticut's most recent Catholic blow-up, wherein thousands of angry Catholics stormed Hartford to protest a proposed bill that Bishop Lori of Bridgeport called a "thinly-veiled attempt to silence the Catholic Church." The nefarious bill would have forced the Church to make its financial control democratic and public. Its anti-religious impetus was a desire to prevent fiascos, such as the recent case of a Darien pastor who swiped over $1.3 million dollars from his parish so as to buy French jewelry, fast cars and hot vacations for himself and his live-in gay lover.

Wait - you didn't hear about the Darien thing? It probably didn't get a whole lot of press; the Catholic Church is less concerned with gay priests stealing money from their parishioners to buy sports cars than with the threat of public audits and democratic finances.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:03 AM

Preacher charged with raping boy

PENNSYLVANIA
WPVI

March 26, 2009 (WPVI) -- New Castle County Police have arrested a 40-year-old preacher who they say raped a boy.

Harry Benson, who resides in the unit block of Hillcroft Road in the community of Windy Hills in Newark, was arrested late Tuesday.

Benson is the senior pastor at the Eastern Pennsylvania United Methodist Church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:39 AM

Pastor jailed for sex with boy, 13

AUSTRALIA
Sunshine Coast Daily

By Rae Wilson

A youth pastor spent the night in custody after a jury found him guilty of maintaining a sexual relationship with a teenage boy from his church.

The 28 year old man gasped and shook his head as the 12 person jury convicted him of maintaining a sexual relationship, sodomy and eight counts of indecent treatment while the boy was aged 13 and 14.

He looked back from the prisoner’s dock of Maroochydore District Court to his family, many of whom were crying and visibly upset by the verdict.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:36 AM

Vatican official chides U.S. bishops on abortion

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

By Thomas C. Fox
Politics

Archbishop Raymond Burke, the former St. Louis prelate who now leads the Vatican supreme court, has called on parishioners to pressure reluctant bishops to withhold Communion from Catholic politicians who back legalized abortion. ...

Terry, tbe former leader of Operation Rescue, came to Rome earlier this month with a delegation of US anti-abortion advocates to ask Vatican officials to remove U.S. Catholic bishops who were not doing enough to stop abortions.

He called for the removal of Bishop Loverde of Arlington and Archbishop Wuerl of Washington DC.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:31 AM

Updating the priest scandal: 3-19-09

UNITED STATES
Bill's 'Faith Matters' Weblog

Now and again it's worth taking a look at how the clergy abuse scandal in the Catholic Church is continuing to play out.

News out this week indicated that the church paid out less last year than the year before ($436 million versus $615 million) but that the church received more abuse claims last year than the year before.

In total, the Associated Press calculates that the church has paid some $2.6 billion in claims against abusive priests. Imagine that. And imagine how that money could have been spent instead.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) reports that dioceses in the U.S. spent more than $23 million last year (an increase over the previous year) to prevent child sexual abuse. For the church's full just-released annual report, click here.

One astonishing fact you'll learn if you read that full report is that the number of dioceses and eparchies that refuse to be audited by church authorities for compliance with child protection measures increased this past year from five to seven. It seems to me that the proper response to this by church members and leaders should be outrage, followed by moves to remove those dioceses from full communion with the church if they do not come into compliance.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:27 AM

Minister from The Village accused in teen sex

THE VILLAGE (OK)
NewsOK

BY JOHNNY JOHNSON
Published: March 26, 2009Buzz up!

THE VILLAGE — A youth minister at Village Baptist Church was arrested this week after a 15-year-old told police she had a sexual encounter with him.

A youths and parents meeting was set Wednesday night at the church.

Doug Davis, 30, was arrested Monday at the church on complaints of second-degree rape, rape by instrumentation and making lewd proposals to a minor under the age of 16.

Police said the girl is not affiliated with the church and is not a member of the youth group.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:04 AM

Priests deserved prison time

FLORIDA
Palm Beach Post

Palm Beach Post Editorial

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Both Palm Beach County priests who stole from their parishioners will spend time in prison, as they should. And even though Francis Guinan was found guilty of a lesser crime than John Skehan, Guinan rightly got a much longer term.

Both priests amply helped themselves to money from the collection plate at St. Vincent Ferrer in Delray Beach. How much they took or misappropriated never will be known, but it's more than they're being held accountable for. The statute of limitations got them off the hook for some of the money. Bad record-keeping - exacerbated by the dishonest priests - obscured some of the other thefts.

In the end the 81-year-old Skehan pleaded guilty to grand theft over $100,000 and was sentenced Tuesday to 14 months in prison. The 66-year-old Guinan was convicted last month of grand theft of between $20,000 and $100,000 and was sentenced Wednesday to four years. Among other things, the money went for luxury travel, jewelry and other gifts, and girlfriends.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:01 AM

Jailed priests leave behind 'a legacy of deceit and thievery'

FLORIDA
Irish Independent (Ireland)

By SHANE HICKEY

Thursday March 26 2009

AN IRISH priest who stole thousands of dollars from his US parishioners has been sentenced to four years in prison for what a Florida judge said was a flagrant abuse of authority.

Fr Francis Guinan (66) was yesterday led away to custody after a damning indictment of his actions in which he and another priest, Fr John Skehan (81), skimmed money from their parish to live an affluent life.

"No matter how many good works you have performed in your many years as a priest, your legacy will always be one of thievery and deceit," Judge Krista Marx told Fr Guinan, who is originally from Co Offaly.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:50 AM

Why I just can’t forgive the sins of the fathers

UNITED KINGDOM
Belfast Telegraph

By Frances Burscough
Thursday, 26 March 2009

A former City lawyer has launched a £5m High Court action — the largest of its kind ever seen in Britain — for compensation against his school, claiming that he has messed up his life as a direct result of being sexually abused there by one of the teachers in the 1970s. The teacher in question was a priest from the Jesuit order which owned and ran the school.

The man claims that the priest, who has since died but was the school football coach, would force him to strip naked and do warm-up exercises while he filmed him on a cine camera. He says that the priest forbade the boys in the football team from wearing underwear, would measure their genitals “to chart their growth” and joined them in the showers after training, often “touching them playfully” in the process.

It’s sickening, certainly, but it’s the kind of story I’d read time and time again. But then I saw the name of the school and the priest and the claimant and it really struck home.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:43 AM

Don’t Know Nothing

UNITED STATES
National Review

By Michael Augros & Father Thomas Berg

‘Catholics and Catholicism are at the receiving end of a great deal of startling vituperation in contemporary America, although generally those responsible never think of themselves as bigots.”

With these words, the historian Philip Jenkins opened his 2003 study entitled The New Anti-Catholicism: The Last Acceptable Prejudice. Mr. Jenkins might well consider it time to produce an updated edition. In it, he might ponder whether the recent renewal of anti-Catholic politicking is only an opening salvo in an unprecedented campaign to curb religious liberties in the United States. In which case, all of us — not just Catholics — stand to lose big.

Consider. ...

In New York State, a proposed new law would lift the statute of limitations in cases of sexual abuse, allowing individuals to sue institutions for abuses alleged to have taken place decades ago. But there’s a catch: only if the alleged abuse occurred in a private institution. For abuse in government-run institutions, such as public schools, the current law gives victims only 90 days to file their claim (or, if the victim was a minor, 90 days after reaching the age of 18), and the proposed law would not change that. Never mind that accusations of sexual misconduct against New York City public-school employees are at an all-time high: 595 allegations were made last year alone, of which 105 have been substantiated, as reported by the New York Post. (It appears the New York Times did not deem that news “fit to print.”)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:28 AM

Montreal order accused of years of abuse

CANADA
National Post

Sue Montgomery, CanwestNews Service
Published: Wednesday, March 25, 2009

MONTREAL - Dozens of Quebec boys were victims of sexual abuse at the hands of the Les Freres de St. Croix religious order, who taught at Montreal's College Notre-Dame, a motion filed in Quebec Superior Court this week claims.

The motion seeks permission to file a class-action lawsuit on behalf of students who attended the prestigious boys' private school between 1974 and 2001, who claim they were sexually abused by either the brothers, laypeople who worked for them, or the brothers' relatives.

The school and order's authorities not only knew the abuse was happening since at least 1972, but covered it up "to the detriment of the children in their care," the motion claims.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:16 AM

Hopkins Co. magistrate facing new charges

HOPKINS COUNTY (KY)
WFIE

[with video]

By Cory Stark

HOPKINS CO., KY (WFIE) - A Hopkins County official is facing new charges related to his conduct as a paramedic, including rape and sexual abuse of patients in a hospital emergency room.

Rape in the first degree, sodomy in the first degree and two counts of sexual abuse are the newest charges against 40-year-old Hopkins County Magistrate Wesley Lynn.

Not only is Lynn an elected official, according to his bio on the Hopkins County website, he also serves as pastor of Waggoner General Baptist Church in Dixon, Kentucky.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:10 AM

Power and Corruption in Catholic Boston

BOSTON (MA)
Acton Institute

The Faithful Departed: The Collapse of Boston's Catholic Culture
Philip F. Lawler
Encounter, 2008

Lord Acton’s quotation concerning the corrupting effect of power is widely known. Less so is the fact that the target of his criticism on that particular occasion was the power possessed not by government but by church officials. Acton’s understanding of ecclesiastical authority (as distinct from power) is debatable, but his insight into human nature is not. A case study—not that we need another to file away in the vast archives of the history of human frailty—is the collapse of the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston.

Philip Lawler documents the details in this skillfully written account of the triumphs and travails of Boston’s Catholics. The history is episodic rather than thorough, but Lawler chooses his episodes well. The bulk of his attention goes to the last forty years, and much of that is focused on the sexual abuse scandals of the last ten. For anyone who has followed these developments closely, there will be little in the way of new revelations. Yet Lawler’s style, at once sympathetic and bluntly critical, is engrossing. The devout Catholic reader who was dismayed by the character and scale of the abuse scandal will be drawn back to those unpleasant times when it seemed that each new day brought fresh reasons to be ashamed of one’s faith.

This kind of reaction is exactly what Lawler wants. The more tractable problems within the Catholic Church have been addressed, he admits, but the more difficult have not. Shame, indignation, even anger, are the emotions he wishes to incite in the faithful Catholic and in every friend of the church, for he doubts that the major unsolved problem will be tackled otherwise. That problem is the leadership of the church, the bishops, and that returns us to Acton’s quotation and to the story of Boston Catholicism.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:05 AM

Bishop at OMC seeks help for world’s poor

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
The Chestnut Hill Local

by WALTER FOX

Bishop Thomas J. Gumbleton, a retired auxiliary bishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit and an internationally known peace activist, urged his listeners at Our Mother of Consolation Church to do whatever they can to change a world in which injustice and poverty abound to one “where justice prevails.”

Speaking Sunday afternoon at a program sponsored by the church’s Peace and Justice Committee, Gumbleton stressed the plight of the world’s poor, one billion of whom, he said, live in what he described as “absolute poverty.” ...

A longtime activist for peace and justice issues, Gumbleton was arrested twice outside the White House for participating in civil disobedience with groups protesting nuclear weapons and the Iraq War – the only Roman Catholic bishop in America to have done so. He has also been an advocate within the Church for homosexuals and victims of clerical sexual abuse, and has been honored by numerous awards and honorary degrees for his work.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:02 AM

Abuse case delays bishop's letter on diocese finances

WILMINGTON (DE)
The News Journal

By GARY SOULSMAN • The News Journal • March 26, 2009

With the Diocese of Wilmington ready to accept pledges for charities, pastoral and sports programs as well as schools during the annual Catholic Appeal in late April, Bishop Francis Malooly was set to release a letter on finances this month in which the impact of sexual abuse lawsuits would be one of the issues addressed.

However, the letter will be delayed until after Easter, given that a jury is to be chosen in the next few weeks for a case filed by lawyers for Doug McClure, an alleged victim who says he was raped by Rev. Edward B. Carley at Wilmington's St. Ann's Church between 1954 and 1956. McClure was 8 at the start of the alleged abuse.

The diocese has delayed the release of the bishop's letter to avoid any charges that the timing would influence the jury pool, according to parties familiar with the case who asked not to be quoted.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:56 AM

Priest retried on sex assault charges

EASTLAND (TX)
Abilene Reporter-News

By Celinda Emison
Thursday, March 26, 2009

EASTLAND -- A Catholic priest is being retried on sexual assault and indecency charges in Eastland County.

The Rev. Thomas Teczar was convicted on three counts of aggravated sexual assault and one count of indecency with a child in 2007, but the conviction was overturned last fall by an appeals court. The case is being retried in 91st District Court in Eastland County with Judge Steven Herod presiding.

Teczar posted a $30,000 bond in February, according to the Eastland County Sheriff's Department. As a requirement for his release, Teczar must wear an electronic monitoring bracelet on his ankle until this trial is concluded.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:51 AM

Justices hear church appeal

VERMONT
Burlington Free Press

By Sam Hemingway • Free Press Staff Writer • March 26, 2009

SOUTH ROYALTON -- The jury in a 2008 clergy sexual abuse trial was misled by a Burlington judge into awarding nearly $8 million in punitive damages to the victim, a lawyer for the state's Roman Catholic diocese told the Vermont Supreme Court on Wednesday.

"The threshold concern here is what did the trial judge charge the jury," Rutland lawyer Kaveh Shahi told the five justices during a hearing on the church's appeal that lasted an hour, twice the time usually allotted for oral arguments before the high court.

Shahi said Judge Matthew Katz, who presided over the trial involving claims the Rev. Edward Paquette molested a Burlington altar boy in the late 1970s, did not follow the law when he allowed the jury to consider punitive damages in the case. Of the $8.7 million awarded to the plaintiff in the case, $7.75 million was in punitive damages.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:44 AM

March 25, 2009

Second Irish Florida priest gets four years in jail for theft

FLORIDA
The Irish Times (Ireland)

THE SECOND of two Irish Catholic priests was sentenced to prison yesterday in a case involving the misappropriation of more than $8 million (€5.89 million) from a church in Florida.

Fr Francis Guinan and Fr John Skehan were accused in 2006 of skimming money from collection plates and bequests at their church in Delray Beach, Florida, and spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on real estate, travel, rare coins and girlfriends.

Fr Guinan (66), originally from Co Offaly, was sentenced yesterday to four years in prison after taking the case to trial and being found guilty of a lesser charge of theft under $100,000.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:56 PM

Guinan headed to state prison

WEST PALM BEACH (FL)
WPTV

Reported by: Tim Malloy
Email: tmalloy@wptv.com
Photographer: Dan Puente

WEST PALM BEACH, FL -- Judge Krista Marx looked down from the bench at Rev. Francis Guinan and delivered a withering assessment of his legacy.

"You are in this situation because of your greed and gall.Because of your corruption, your greed, the charitable heart of many has been stifled. People will remember you stood on the pulpit and said, give to the poor and we will give to the poor. That didn’t happen," she said.

With that, Guinan was off to County jail with a cell awaiting him in the State prison system. ...

The Guinan-Skehan scandal has been closely watched in Ireland where both priests were born.

Correspondent Aoife Kavanagh is preparing a one hour special for the Irish TV network RTE and has spent the last week covering the trial here with her camera crew and producer.
"There's a lot of people reading the newspapers and watching TV trying to find out what happened. Financial scandals haven't happened too much in Ireland. All sorts of other scandals .There's quite alot of lapsed Catholics going; Here we go again. Another scandal with the Catholic Church”, ended Kavanaugh.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:06 PM

Bishop Madere Testifies in Priest Abuse Trial

FRESNO (CA)
CBS 47

The former Bishop of the Fresno Archdiocese takes the stand in the sexual abuse trial against the Catholic Church.

Bishop Joseph Madere told jurors on Wednesday that he never knew of alleged abuse by a Wasco priest.

The topic for much of the morning’s questioning was about the priest file for Monsignor Anthony Herdegen. The Bishop told jurors that during his time as Bishop, he never knew of or never received any complaints about the Monsignor and alleged sexual abuse by the Wasco priest.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:27 PM

Church appeals $8.7 million verdict in priest case

VERMONT
MassLive

3/25/2009, 4:01 p.m. EDT
By JOHN CURRAN
The Associated Press

SOUTH ROYALTON, Vt. (AP) — Calling an $8.7 million jury verdict in a priest sex case "inherently unfair," the Diocese of Burlington appealed Wednesday to Vermont's highest court in a bid to have it overturned.

The church's lawyers say jurors in the trial shouldn't have been allowed to consider punitive damages and that a judge failed to tell them that they had to find that the Diocese acted with malice.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:17 PM

Punitive damages against diocese argued

VERMONT
Burlington Free Press

By Sam Hemingway, Free Press staff writer • March 25, 2009

SOUTH ROYALTON — The jury in a 2008 clergy sexual abuse trial was misled by a Burlington judge into awarding nearly $8 million in punitive damages to the victim, a lawyer for the state’s Roman Catholic diocese told the Vermont Supreme Court Wednesday.

“The threshold concern here is what did the trial judge charge the jury,” Rutland lawyer Kaveh Shahi told the five justices during an hearing on the church’s appeal that lasted an hour, twice the time usually allotted for oral arguments before the high court.

Shahi said Judge Matthew Katz, who presided over the 2008 trial involving claims the Rev. Edward Paquette molested a Burlington altar boy in the late 1970s, did not follow the law when he allowed the jury consider punitive damages in the case. Of the $8.7 million awarded to the plaintiff in the case, $7.75 million was in punitive damages. ...

Elizabeth Miller, a Burlington lawyer hired to represent the victim at the Wednesday hearing, told the justices that Katz had instructed the jury properly. The victim, an altar boy at Christ the King Church in 1976 and 1977 1978, claims Paquette fondled him between 20 and 50 times at the church.

Miller said Katz correctly told the jury it could award punitive damages if it found the diocese was “reckless” in its supervision of Paquette.“This diocese had actual knowledge this priest had abused boys,“ Miller said. “We didn’t have just inaction or inattention here.”


Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:53 PM

Second Irish priest sent to prison in US for stealing parish money

FLORIDA
Belfast Telegraph (Northern Ireland)

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

An Irish priest has been sentenced to four years in prison for stealing money from his church in Florida.

66-year-old Father Francis Guinan was found guilty last month of stealing $100,000 from St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church in Delray Beach.

He is the second Irish priest to be jailed for stealing from the congregation - 81 year old Father John Skehan was sentenced to 14 months in prison yesterday after he admitted stealing over $370,000.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:43 PM

Clergy sex victims respond to arrest of Protestant pastor

NATCHEZ (MS)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

It's tragic every time a trusted adult sexually exploits a child or teen, but especially when that grown up is a supposed religious authority figure. Our hearts ache for this girl and her family.

We desperately hope that anyone who saw, suspected or suffered from this clergyman's crimes will come forward, call police, get help, and protect others by courageously reporting to law enforcement as this brave but wounded girl has done.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:44 AM

Diocese heading to court; sex abuse victims respond

VERMONT
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For decades, punitive damages have deterred future wrongdoing. Why should church officials be exempted?

Kids are both precious and vulnerable. One key way to protect them is to punish those who endanger them. That's what America's bishops have failed to do. From our perspective, it would be irresponsible NOT to issue stern consequences for repeated recklessness and deceit that led to serial child rapes.

We hope Vermont's Supreme Court will act responsibly, honor the jury's verdict, and send a strong, clear signal to employers that it's immoral and devastating to protect powerful adults' reputations over innocent kids' safety.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:42 AM

Defrocked priest in sex scandal wants to live in Middleton; sex abuse victims respond

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Catholic officials recruited, educated, ordained, hired, trained, supervised, transferred and shielded Fr. Robert Gale. It's irresponsible for the church to take no responsibility for protecting kids from him now. The church hierarchy should insist that he move to a secure, remote treatment facility for sex offenders, regardless of the cost, so that he can get therapy and so that children will be safer.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:40 AM

Former Delray Beach priest gets four years in prison for theft

WEST PALM BEACH (FL)
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

By Brian Haas | SunSentinel.com 9:39 AM EDT, March 25, 2009
WEST PALM BEACH - The Rev. Francis Guinan has been sentenced to four years in prison and ordered to pay $99,999.99 in restitution to his former church.

A parade of priests and other supporters pleaded with a judge for mercy this morning in the case of the second priest convicted of stealing from a Delray Beach church.

Saying that Guinan has suffered enough with a three-year court case and spending the last month in jail, his supporters pleaded for Circuit Judge Krista Marx to spare him prison time.

"He has lost his own identity as a priest. He has lost his canonical rights in the church," said the Rev. Nicholas King, pastor of an Orlando Catholic church who has known Guinan for 45 years. "This should have been handled internally and could have been handled effectively."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:25 AM

Priest gets 4-year sentence for Fla. church theft

WEST PALM BEACH (FL)
The Associated Press

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A second priest has been sentenced to prison for stealing money from the same Florida church.

The Rev. Francis Guinan was sentenced Wednesday to four years in prison after the 66-year-old was found guilty in February of second-degree grand theft. Prosecutors had charged him with stealing $488,000 from St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church in Delray Beach. But jurors found him guilty on the lesser charge of stealing less than $100,000.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:23 AM

Second Delray Beach priest receives prison time for stealing from offerings

WEST PALM BEACH (FL)
Palm Beach Post

By SUSAN SPENCER-WENDEL
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

WEST PALM BEACH — Four years prison for Father Francis Guinan was the sentence this morning for stealing offering money from his Delray Beach congregation.

Guinan has been jailed since his conviction last month of grand theft. He was in a blue jail jumpsuit, looking very drawn.

Guinan testified, apologizing, asking Circuit Judge Krista Marx if his month jail seems sufficient punishment. Marx, who is known for speaking her mind, pursed her lips.

Marx did indeed speak her mind later: "Because of your corruption the charitable hearts of many have been stifled," she said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:19 AM

He was trusted

PENNSYLVANIA
The Intelligencer

BOTH SIDES HAVE HAD plenty to say following the sentencing of Anthony Cappuccio, a former chief deputy district attorney in Bucks County, who was ordered to serve three to 23 months of house arrest after he pleaded guilty last month to corrupting the morals of three teenage boys.

Cappuccio admitted to having a consensual sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and furnishing him and two other teens with alcohol and marijuana. County Judge C. Theodore Fritsch Jr. pronounced the sentence, which was within state guidelines that ranged from probation to three years in prison.

Immediately after Fritsch announced his decision, the howls of protest began, particularly among the boys' families and friends. They felt the sentence was way too lenient and entirely inappropriate, not only because Cappuccio was a deputy district attorney but also because of his position as a volunteer church youth group leader. Critics claimed Cappuccio used that latter role to gain the victims' trust, which he then abused.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:15 AM

Austria backs priests´ right to sex

AUSTRIA
Austrian Times

Ninety per cent of Austrians support both Catholic priests’ right to marry and an end to the requirement that priests take a vow of celibacy at their ordination.

Seventy-two per cent said the Church should allow priests to marry, and 18 per cent said it should probably do so in a recent poll by the Linz market-research firm "market."

Sixty-eight per cent said priests should not have to take a vow of celibacy, and 22 per cent said they probably shouldn’t have to. Five per cent expressed support for a vow of celibacy, and five per cent had no opinion.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:39 AM

Catholic faithful face church closures

UNITED STATES
CNN

By Jessica Ravitz
CNN

(CNN) -- Along the Rust Belt and in cities dotting the Northeast and Upper Midwest, Catholic communities are mourning the loss of parishes. It's a five-year trend of sweeping church closures that most recently hit Cleveland, Ohio.

Wally Martens, a Cleveland native, can look out his kitchen window and see the spiritual home that has served his family for five generations. St. Ignatius of Antioch has been with him and his loved ones through life and death.

"It's the place where most of us were baptized, most of us got married, most of us graduated from grade school and some of us were buried," Martens, 68, said of the west side urban parish that serves 1,200 households. To find out that the building is set to be shuttered is "like losing somebody in your family."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:37 AM

Diocese Appeals Damages in Priest Sex Abuse Case

VERMONT
WCAX

South Royalton, Vermont - March 25, 2009

The Vermont Catholic Diocese today will argue that it should not have to pay more than $7 million to a former altar boy who was molested by a priest.

The appeal before the Vermont Supreme Court comes nine months after a jury awarded more than $7 million in punitive damages to a former altar boy. The jury agreed that the Catholic Diocese was negligent because it failed to protect the boy from a known pedophile, Father Edward Paquette, 30 years ago.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:26 AM

Orthodox leader eases fears of merger

PENNSYLVANIA
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Tuesday, March 24, 2009
By Ann Rodgers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
A meeting between Metropolitan Jonah of the Orthodox Church in America and top leaders of the Archdiocese of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania has quelled talk of merger with the scandal-ridden Philadelphia archdiocese.

Although there had been merger discussion, the reaction of local church leaders at Sunday night's meeting in St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, McCandless, was persuasively negative, Metropolitan Jonah said yesterday.

"The decision is ultimately up the Holy Synod [of Bishops] and the Holy Synod is not going to do something that the people oppose. The consensus of the meeting last night was that the merging of the two dioceses was not a realistic possibility, at least not at this time," he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:54 AM

NH Has 45 Days To Decide On Gale's Return

MIDDLETON (NH)
WMUR

MIDDLETON, N.H. -- A defrocked priest and predatory sex offender recently released from custody in Massachusetts wants to move back to New Hampshire.

Robert Gale served time for raping an altar boy in Massachusetts. A judge wants Gale to serve his 25-year probation in New Hampshire. Gale is petitioning to spend his 25-year probation in Middleton, where he owns a house, WMUR News 9's Adam Sexton reported.

New Hampshire can refuse Gale's requests -- Middleton police and some of the people in Gale's old neighborhood said they hope that's exactly what happens.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:26 AM

Child rapist's choice of residence worries police

MIDDLETON (NH)
New Hampshire Union Leader

By CLYNTON NAMUO
New Hampshire Union Leader Correspondent

MIDDLETON – A former priest who spent more than four years in a Massachusetts prison for raping an altar boy is trying to move back to his lakeside cabin here, raising concern among residents and town officials alike.

Robert V. Gale, 67, was paroled earlier this month and is living in Everett, Mass., just north of Boston, according to that state's sex offender registry. He recently applied to move back to his cabin at 100 Lakeshore Drive on Middleton's Sunrise Lake, where he was arrested in 2002 on charges of child rape.

Gale pleaded guilty in December 2004 to four counts of child rape for repeatedly molesting an altar boy at St. Jude Church in Waltham, Mass. during the early 1980s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:22 AM

Defrocked priest in sex scandal wants to live in Middleton

MIDDLETON (NH)
Foster's Daily Democrat

By JOHN QUINN
jquinn@fosters.com

Tuesday, March 24, 2009
MIDDLETON — Police Chief Randy Sobel said he is concerned about the fact a defrocked priest who is a convicted sex offender is trying to return to town after being released from prison.

In 2002, police arrested Robert V. Gale, 67, at his property at 100 Lakeshore Drive, on a charge of being a fugitive from justice after he was indicted in Massachusetts on four counts of rape of a child between 1980 and 1984 — when the boy was 10 to 14 years old.

Gale, who was defrocked in 2006, pleaded guilty in 2004 to raping an altar boy. A civil suit claims that Gale, who was a priest at St. Joseph's Parish in Quincy, Mass., took a 12-year-old altar boy to a cabin at Camp Fatima in Barnstead, and then to his sister's home in Manchester, where he was accused of raping him in 1979.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:15 AM

Judge orders one priest to prison term, says theft was 'greed unmasked;' Second priest to be sentenced Wednesday morning

WEST PALM BEACH (FL)
Palm Beach Post

By SUSAN SPENCER-WENDEL
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

WEST PALM BEACH — Despite uniform requests for probation from the Diocese of Palm Beach, prosecutors and the defense, it's prison for Father John Skehan, the 81-year-old former longtime pastor of St. Vincent Ferrer in Delray Beach.

Circuit Judge Jeffrey Colbath sentenced Skehan this afternoon to 14 months prison, followed by seven years probation. He must surrender himself to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office on or before May 1. He will be adjudicated guilty - a priest for more than 50 years now turned convicted felon.

Skehan left the courthouse, swarmed by cameras, shielding his face, without stopping to comment. He previously pleaded guilty to grand theft over $100,000 and expressed his remorse, admitting he took money he was not entitled to even though he knew it was wrong.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:12 AM

More tests sought in child sex case

SOUTH AFRICA
The Star

Four children who were allegedly sexually abused by a Randburg Catholic priest may be subjected to further psychometric testing and interviews. The priest is accused of attempting to get into bed with four children at a Brits religious camp. The trial, due to have started in the Brits Regional Court on Monday, has been postponed until June 1 because the accused's advocate, Andrew Kerr-Phillips, claims he needs further psychometric tests done on the children. The Teddy Bear Clinic, which conducted the tests, is refusing to hand out the information either to the State or to the defence, claiming it is confidential. Jennifer Cronjé, senior State advocate for the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, claims they are irrelevant to the case, but the accused's attorney has applied to the Johannesburg High Court for access to the records. - Anna Cox

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:08 AM

Bankrupting N.Y. Church?

NEW YORK
National Catholic Register

By STEPHEN VINCENT
REGISTER CORRESPONDENT

ALBANY, N.Y. — A bill in the New York state Legislature suspending the statute of limitations for sex-abuse claims could “bankrupt” the Church, says a spokesman for the state’s bishops.

The bill had been voted down the past three years, but now has a chance of passing in a Democratic-dominated Legislature.

Dennis Poust, director of communications for the New York State Catholic Conference, said the bill is unfair in its application to private and public institutions and would open the window for charges to be brought against priests for incidents that may have happened 50 to 60 years ago.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:02 AM

Class action claims sex abuse at Que. religious order

CANADA
The Vancouver Sun

By Sue Montgomery, Montreal GazetteMarch 24, 2009
MONTREAL — Dozens of Quebec boys were victims of sexual abuse at the hands of the Les Freres de St. Croix religious order who taught at Montreal's College Notre-Dame, a motion filed in Quebec Superior Court this week claims.

The motion seeks permission to file a class-action lawsuit on behalf of students who attended the prestigious boys' private school between 1974-2001 who claim they were sexually abused by either the brothers, laypeople who worked for them, or the brothers' relatives.

The school and order's authorities not only knew the abuse was happening since at least 1972, but covered it up "to the detriment of the children in their care," the motion claims.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:54 AM

Buckeye pastor charged with sex abuse

BUCKEYE (AZ)
12 News

by Melissa Gonzalo - Mar. 24, 2009 06:07 PM
12 News .
Charles Lawrence Carfrey is facing charges of assisting a criminal syndicate, having sexual conduct with a minor and sexual abuse. The 59-year-old worked as pastor of The Lord's House church in Buckeye. Buckeye police said Carfrey moved the church from Oregon to Arizona around the year 2000. Court documents show before moving to Arizona, Carfrey was charged and convicted of molesting his daughter who was 16 years old at the time and sexually assaulting another woman while on probation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:51 AM

Paedophile priest puts Catholic Church in High Court

UNITED KINGDOM
Coventry Telegraph

Mar 24 2009 by Emma Stone, Coventry Telegraph

THE CATHOLIC church is set to be rocked by a further three compensation claims from men who allege they were abused as young boys by a paedophile priest in Coventry.

High Court hearings are scheduled for the coming months to hear the claims of Mr P, Mr K and Mr J, who claim they were sexually abused by Fr Christopher Clonan - an assistant parish priest in the city during the 1970s, 80s and 90s.

All three men, who are being named by letters to protect their identities, are seeking six-figure compensation packages from the Archdiocese of Birmingham.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:39 AM

March 24, 2009

Irish priest jailed for fraud in US

FLORIDA
RTE News (Ireland)

Tuesday, 24 March 2009 20:34
An Irish priest accused of stealing millions of dollars from a parish in the US has been jailed for 14 months.

John Skehan, 81, originally from Co Kilkenny will also have to serve seven years probation after his release.

He is to pay back more than $700,000 (€520,000) in property, cash and other assets that he stole from Delray Beach parish in Florida.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:17 PM

Adams County pastor freed on bond after being charged with statutory rape

NATCHEZ (MS)
WREG

By Associated Press
1:02 PM CDT, March 24, 2009

NATCHEZ, Miss. (AP) — Authorities say a pastor in Adams County has been charged with statutory rape after DNA evidence showed he was the father of a baby born to a 14-year-old girl.

Adams County Sheriff's Deputy Maj. Jody Waldrop says the Rev. Freddie L. Parker, pastor of the True Bibleway Church, was arrested Monday. Parker was released on $10,000 bond after an initial court appearance.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:15 PM

Lansing Twp. pastor faces pornography charges

MICHIGAN
Lansing State Journal

Kevin Grasha • kgrasha@lsj.com • March 24, 2009 • From LSJ.com

A Lansing Township pastor accused of possessing child pornography has resigned from his church and faces up to seven years in prison.

Lloyd M. Hall Jr. last week submitted his letter of resignation to Plymouth Congregational Church, where he had served for about seven years, said Jim DeLine, a spokesman for the church.

The church's board of trustees met Sunday morning and decided to accept 69-year-old pastor's resignation, DeLine said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:09 PM

Faced with the striking increase of social problems in communities: First Nations act

CANADA
CNW Group

QUEBEC CITY, March 24 /CNW Telbec/ - The First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Health and Social Services Commission pursues its efforts to help the communities to rebuild their social fabric, which has been tattered by the effects of the governments' repeated assimilation policies. Therefore, two awareness tools have been launched today in Quebec City, in presence of several health and social services interveners, Chiefs and former students of Indian residential schools: a vivid documentary about "The legacy of Quebec Indian residential schools" and a "Kit to prevent youth violence in First Nations".

The documentary on the Indian residential schools has been produced with the aim of encouraging reflection and discussions in First Nations communities, to better assist the preparation of the activities planned within the healing, truth, reconciliation and commemoration project: "We strongly wish that this documentary rises discussions and that it answers many
questions that the younger ones have the right to ask in our communities. We also must inform the Québécois about this part of their history that has been hidden for too long", said the general director of the FNQLHSSC, Mrs. Guylaine Gill.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:04 PM

Former Delray Beach pastor sentenced to 14 months in prison

FLORIDA
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

By Andy Reid | South Florida Sun-Sentinel 4:11 PM EDT, March 24, 2009
A priest convicted of stealing from his Delray Beach church was sentenced to 14 months in prison this afternoon.

Rev. John Skehan, 81, pleaded guilty in January to grand theft of more than $100,000 from St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church. Investigators say he stole $370,000 that he spent on a girlfriend, trips and homes and property in Florida and his native Ireland.

Skehan could have been sentenced to between 22 months and 30 years in prison for his crimes.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:57 PM

Delray Beach priest sentenced to 14 months in prison for $370,751 grand theft

WEST PALM BEACH (FL)
Palm Beach Post

By SUSAN SPENCER-WENDEL
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

WEST PALM BEACH — Father John Skehan, 81, the Delray Beach priest who pleaded guilty to grand theft, was sentenced this afternoon to 14 months in prison.

Some supporters cried silently as Circuit Judge Jeffrey Colbath read his order: prison time, 7 years probation, must report May 1 for prison.

The 14 months less than the prison state sentencing guidelines of 20 months.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:52 PM

Pastor charged in rape

NATCHEZ (MS)
The Natchez Democrat

By Adam Koob | The Natchez Democrat

Published Tuesday, March 24, 2009

NATCHEZ — The Pastor of True Bibleway Church was arrested and charged with statutory rape for allegedly having sexual relations with, and impregnating, a 14-year-old congregant.

On Monday, the Rev. Freddie L. Parker was arraigned and released on a $10,000 bond.

Adams County Sheriff’s Deputy Maj. Jody Waldrop said deputies became aware of the case when Parker's victim, now 15, came forward to file a complaint against Parker in February after giving birth to a child alleged to be his.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:45 AM

Child rapist wants to live at NH camp

MIDDLETON (NH)
New Hampshire Union Leader

By CLYNTON NAMUO
New Hampshire Union Leader Correspondent

MIDDLETON – A former priest who spent more than four years in prison in Massachusetts for raping an altar boy is looking to move back to his lakeside camp here, Police Chief Randy Sobel said this morning.

Sobel said he was notified yesterday afternoon by New Hampshire parole authorities that Robert V. Gale, 67, wants to transfer his parole from the Bay State and move into his home on Sunrise Lake.

State Department of Corrections spokesman Jeff Lyons confirmed parole officials on Friday received a request from Massachusetts authorities to move Gale’s parole here, but he could not say where Gale plans to live because the application is confidential.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:24 AM

They are getting away with it, when the story should be on Nancy Grace every night

UNITED STATES
Examiner

[with videos]

Kay Ebeling
LA City Buzz Examiner

Unfortunately reports on the pedophile epidemic in the Catholic Church came out during the 'Flashpan Era' of American journalism, where the story is only as important as the number of cameras pointed in its direction. The cameras never stay longer than they need to produce a five minute story, so there is no place in modern journalism for articles that require legwork, weeks of interviewing, hours of waiting in boring courtrooms, and reading through mounds of documents. No corporate media outlet will pay a reporter to be that unproductive in today’s media. Plus by the time a reporter can do that much research, the Flash in the Pan would be on another topic. So the total story of pedophilia in the Catholic Church is yet to come out for mainstream readers. The result when it comes to the pedophile epidemic in the Catholic Church is, they got away with it.

In past decades the church has turned five thousand, (5000) pedophiles loose on the American landscape and thousands of children were fondled, penetrated, and seriously damaged as a result. (THOUSANDS OF CHILDREN . (Read bishopaccountability accounts http://bishopaccountability.org/ ) These criminals were so empowered by the treatment they got from church hierarchy that by the sixties and seventies in Southern California the pedophile priests did not even hide what they were doing. It was obvious.

The predators came into elementary school classrooms and catechism classes, picked out the same vulnerable sad miserable children, took them off somewhere, the children came back even more sad and miserable. Or pedophiles stood on playgrounds and had children dive deep in the pockets of their priest robes for candy, having children fondle them openly.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:14 AM

Archdiocese takes action against priest in abuse case; sex abuse victims respond

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

We're grateful that this priest has been forbidden to function publicly as a priest, though that's a small price to pay for apparently molesting kids. We hope archdiocesan staff will closely monitor him and make sure that he abides by this restriction, because often church officials do not supervise predator priests and these dangerous men often violate the conditions they once agreed to honor.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:32 AM

Pope Benedict Names New Bishop for Oakland; sex abuse victims respond

OAKLAND (CA)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

We urge Catholics to be vigilant and skeptical about their new bishop. Bishop Salvatore Cordileone comes from an especially corrupt diocese that was almost kicked out of bankruptcy court for being deceptive. He and his San Diego colleagues chose to protect their own reputation instead of protecting children by exploiting bankruptcy law to continue hiding clergy sex crimes. It is a tempting assumption to believe a new bishop will be more open, compassionate and proactive than the old bishop was. That, however, is risky and naïve. Oakland Parishioners should continue pushing for real reform and genuine openness about clergy sex crimes and cover-ups.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:30 AM

Pope picks Spanish speaker as Oakland bishop

OAKLAND (CA)
San Francisco Chronicle

Matthai Kuruvila, Chronicle Religion Writer

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Pope Benedict XVI on Monday named a Spanish-speaking theological conservative from San Diego as the bishop of Oakland, the principal voice of morality for some 550,000 Catholics in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

Salvatore Joseph Cordileone's roots run deep in California. He has been the auxiliary bishop for the Diocese of San Diego, the diocese in which he was born, attended church as a child, went to seminary and served as a parish priest. He also served as a parish priest in Calexico, the Imperial County border town.

He inherits a diocese that is rapidly changing, particularly along demographic lines, yet is striving to knit itself together as a cohesive community. People in the diocese attend Mass in 13 languages in places as diverse as Danville, Pittsburg and Berkeley. It has bet $180 million that the heart of the community will be its new cathedral in downtown Oakland - a bold challenge at a time when urban parishes are withering. One of Cordileone's principal goals will be to raise the remaining $42 million in costs.

"Erase that debt and he's a rock star," said the Rev. Jayson Landeza, rector of St. Columba in North Oakland.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:43 AM

Cardinal removes Bucks Co. priest

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Daily News

The Rev. Gerard J. Hoffman, parochial vicar at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, in Doylestown, has been removed from the ministry by Cardinal Justin Rigali, archbishop of Philadelphia, after an investigation revealed that Hoffman sexually abused a minor 30 years ago.

Hoffman, former principal of Roman Catholic High School, also has served at these parishes: St. Teresa of Avila, Valley Forge; Cathedral Basilica of Ss. Peter and Paul; St. Basil the Great, Kimberton; St. Isaac Joques, Wayne; King of Peace and St. John the Evangelist, Philadelphia.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:40 AM

Accused a second time, priest is removed

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

By David O'Reilly
Inquirer Staff Writer

When the Rev. Gerard J. Hoffman was accused last year of sexually abusing a minor decades ago, he denied it, and the Philadelphia Archdiocese was unable to prove the charge.

But yesterday, following allegations by a second person, the archdiocese announced that Cardinal Justin Rigali had permanently removed Hoffman, former principal of Roman Catholic and Pius X High Schools, from all priestly ministry.

No criminal or civil charges can be brought against him, since the statute of limitations has long since run out on the alleged offenses.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:37 AM

Sunday school teacher to spend at least 10 years in prison

UTAH
The Salt Lake Tribune

By Stephen Hunt
The Salt Lake Tribune

Updated: 03/23/2009 03:44:48 PM MDT

A man convicted of molesting three girls who were in his Sunday school class at a Syracuse ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will spend at least 10 years in prison, the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole has decided.

Aaron Marcos Montoya, 37, will get another chance to request release in January 2015.

Montoya, who worked as a bailiff at the Matheson Courthouse in Salt Lake City, was convicted in 2005 of five counts of first-degree felony aggravated sexual abuse of a child and sentenced to five years to life in prison on each charge.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:21 AM

Voice of the Faithful cancels its planned worship service

NAPLES (FL)
Naples Daily News

By Naples Daily News staff report
4:33 p.m., Monday, March 23, 2009

NAPLES — A local religious group has canceled a planned worship service planned for March 26.

Voice of the Faithful of Southwest Florida, a lay organization of Catholics, will no longer hold a prayer service Thursday at Vanderbilt Presbyterian Church in North Naples, local Voice of the Faithful President Peg Clark said in an e-mail release.

"Please take this hour that you may have reserved to spend in church with the (Voice of the Faithful of Southwest Florida) and use it in prayer for the intention for which the Mass/Liturgy was to have been offered," Clark said in the release.

Clark gave no reason for the cancellation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:17 AM

'Sexual abuse at Jesuit school wrecked my life', claims top City lawyer in £5m High Court action

UNITED KINGDOM
Daily Mail

By Tom Kelly
Last updated at 1:08 AM on 24th March 2009

A former City lawyer told yesterday how he suffered years of terrifying sexual abuse by a Jesuit priest as he began a £5million compensation claim against his school.

Patrick Raggett, who is now 50, wept as he recounted harrowing ordeals at the Roman Catholic college which shattered his previously 'golden childhood' and cast a shadow over the rest of his life.

He claims Father Michael Spencer, a French teacher, used his 'cloak of priestly godliness and respectability' to film and photograph him naked and touch him inappropriately.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:09 AM

Philly archdiocese removes priest from duty

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Daily Times

Monday, March 23, 2009 4:07 PM EDT

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A priest in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has been removed from duty after a church panel found evidence he sexually abused a minor more than 30 years ago.

The Archdiocesan Review Board found credible the abuse allegation against the Rev. Gerard J. Hoffman, who was a principal or faculty member at four Philadelphia-area schools over a 26-year period.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:07 AM

Kennedy speaks on "Being Catholic"

UNITED STATES
Connecticut Post

By Amanda Cuda
Staff writer
Updated: 03/23/2009 04:32:55 PM EDT

Catholicism has long been a cornerstone of Kerry Kennedy's life.

Kennedy, daughter of the late senator and U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, came from a devoutly Catholic family, where she was the seventh of 11 children. They prayed every day, and went to church every Sunday. The Catholic church, she said, has been a tremendous influence in her life. "It's been very central to my sense of values, my sense of justice, my belief system," said Kennedy during a recent phone interview.

Yet, like many devout Catholics, Kennedy has had her faith challenged. She has disagreed with the Catholic church's stance on many issues, including abortion, stem cell research and gay marriage, and was hurt and disappointed by the handling of the sexual abuse scandal in the church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:04 AM

£5m claim over 'sex abuse by priest'

UNITED KINGDOM
The Independent

By Mark Hughes, Crime Correspondent

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

A former City lawyer who claims that the sexual abuse he suffered at a Catholic boys' school stopped him from fulfilling his potential and led him to have a breakdown nearly 30 years later has launched a £5m compensation claim.

Patrick Raggett told the High Court that he was subjected to years of molestation by Father Michael Spencer at Preston Catholic College in Lancashire, but that he only realised he had been sexually abused three decades later during a Sunday lunch with friends.

Mr Raggett, 50, said he did not connect his underachievement with the alleged abuse until after his breakdown in April 2005. Yesterday he told the court: "My employment record is so far away from what it should have been. To know what one could have been and not be anything remotely approaching that is very painful."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:01 AM

New Developments in Priest Sex Abuse Trial

FRESNO (CA)
ABC 30

[with video]

By Andres Araiza
Fresno, CA (KFSN) -- The trial involving some of California's top Catholic leaders is entering the final week in Downtown Fresno.

Two brothers are suing the Diocese of Fresno accusing church officials of covering up sexual abuse.

Another victim testified about the abuse he faced from Monsignor Anthony Herdegen. Bishop John Steinbock also faced questions about his handling of another local case.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:53 AM

March 23, 2009

Police: Buckeye pastor was 'sexual predator'

BUCKEYE (AZ)
The Arizona Republic

by Jackee Coe - Mar. 23, 2009 05:02 PM
The Arizona Republic .
A Buckeye pastor was arrested Friday on suspicion of using his position to sexually assault troubled women during counseling sessions, police said.

Charles Lawrence Carfrey, 59, pastor of the Lord's House Church, was booked on counts of running a criminal syndicate, sexual conduct with a minor and sexual abuse, police said. He's being held without bond.

Carfrey, who started as a pastor in Oregon in 1990 and moved to Buckeye in 2000 or 2001, allegedly fondled three adult and teenage women in Buckeye and one in Oregon during counseling sessions, said Buckeye police Det. Doug Dodge.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:20 PM

Buckeye pastor arrested on sexual assault charges

BUCKEYE (AZ)
AZFamily

Buckeye Police Department
BUCKEYE -- The following is a press release from the Buckeye Police Department:
The 59-year-old pastor of a Buckeye church has been arrested on charges that he used his position to develop relationships with troubled young women and sexually assault them.

Charles Lawrence Carfrey, pastor of The Lord's House Church, 408 E. Eason Ave., was arrested Friday by the Buckeye Police Department with assistance from the U. S. Marshal's Service Child Predator Apprehension Team and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Carfrey was booked into the Fourth Avenue Jail and held without bond on charges of running a criminal syndicate, sexual conduct with a minor and sexual abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:54 PM

INDIA Priest accused of molesting woman arrested, then released

INDIA
Union of Catholic Asian News

JABALPUR, India (UCAN) -- Police in central India arrested and then released a Catholic priest on a molestation charge, but Church people have dismissed it as an attempt to defame the Church.

Father D. Davidson of Bhopal archdiocese was arrested on March 21 on charges of molesting a woman in his parish house in Berkhera near Bhopal, capital of Madhya Pradesh state. He was released the same day.

A police official said they had registered a case of sexual molestation under a section of the criminal code which allows the local police station to grant bail without taking the accused to a court. "So we released the priest on bail but will continue the investigation," he added.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:06 PM

Archdiocese takes action against priest in abuse case

PENNSYLVANIA
Philadelphia Inquirer

By Sam Wood
INQUIRER STAFF WRITER

A priest from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has been removed from the ministry by Cardinal Justin Rigali following an investigation by church officials that found he sexually abused a minor more than 30 years ago.

Gerard J. Hoffman - former of both Roman Catholic High School in Philadelphia and St. Pius X in Pottstown - has agreed to accept a supervised life of prayer and penance at a home for retired priests in Delaware County, said Donna Ferrell, a diocese spokeswoman.

Since he was first accused of abuse in July 2008, the 64-year-old Hoffman has been prohibited from wearing clerical garb, presenting himself as a priest, or administering any of the Sacraments.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:08 PM

SNAP calls on bishop to release names of accused priests

DELAWARE
Community News

By Adam Zewe
Community News
Posted Mar 23, 2009 @ 02:28 PM

Wilmington, Del. — .The nation’s most active support group for survivors of clergy sexual abuse of children is calling on the the Diocese of Wilmington bishop to release the names accused priests, according to a press release by the organization.

“Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) respectfully calls on Bishop Malooly to immediately release the names of all credibly accused religious order perpetrators who have worked in the Diocese of Wilmington or are currently living there,” said Delaware SNAP Director Judy Miller in the release.

It went on to say that SNAP has information that there are at least nine accused abusers living at the Oblates of St. Frances de Sales retirement home in Childs, Md. and that "their presence has never been disclosed to the surrounding communities" nor their movements restricted, despite documentation that "child molesters rarely stop abusing children."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:04 PM

Pope rapidly fills Diocese of Oakland vacancy

VATICAN CITY
Catholic News Agency

Vatican City, Mar 23, 2009 / 10:31 am (CNA).- This morning Pope Benedict XVI appointed Bishop Salvatore J. Cordileone to become the next Bishop of Oakland, Calif. Currently serving as an auxiliary bishop of San Diego, Bishop Cordileone will become the shepherd of 400,000 Catholics in the Oakland area.

Bishop Cordileone will be taking over after Archbishop Allen Vigneron was appointed to lead the Archdiocese of Detroit in January of this year.

The speed of the appointment may be connected with the news that the interim administrator of the diocese, Fr. Dan Danielson, was accused of blessing homosexual unions prior to being named to oversee the diocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:43 PM

Pupil 'measured naked' by priest

UNITED KINGDOM
Lancashire Evening Post

23 March 2009
By lep.newsdesk@lep.co.uk

An ex-pupil at Preston Catholic College was the victim of "insidious" abuse by a priest, a court has heard.

Patrick Raggett, 50, says he was measured naked, indecently touched and forced to shower with Father Micahel Spencer.

Mr Raggett, who has waived his right to anonymity, is suing the Jesuit-run school for £5m in a landmark case at the High Court.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:40 PM

Catholic academic ayatollah shows true colors

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

Mar. 23, 2009
By Joe Feuerherd

Four years ago I put a theoretical question to Patrick Reilly, president of the Virginia-based Cardinal Newman Society and self-appointed ayatollah to Catholic academia in this country. Reilly is back in the news today because President Obama will deliver the commencement address at the University of Notre Dame in May. The overseer of false orthodoxy doesn’t like that one bit.

“It is an outrage and a scandal (emphasis in the original) that ‘Our Lady’s University,’ one of the premier Catholic universities in the United States, would bestow such an honor on President Obama given his clear support for policies and laws that directly contradict fundamental Catholic teachings on life and marriage,” according to a letter to Holy Cross Fr. John Jenkins, president of Notre Dame, from Reilly and thousands of petitioners he’s drummed up online. ...

Meanwhile, for the head of an organization whose mission includes “urging fidelity to the church’s magisterium,” Reilly is keeping some strange company. He serves on the advisory board of another extremist group – “Catholic Citizens of Illinois” – which is currently publicizing an effort by whacky anti-abortion advocate Randall Terry to replace Washington Archbishop Donald Wuerl and get Arlington Bishop Paul Loverde replaced. Terry was in Rome recently making the case to Vatican officials that Wuerl and Loverde are insufficiently zealous because they refuse to deny Communion to pro-choice politicians in their dioceses.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:55 AM

Ex-City lawyer tells of torment over sex abuse by school priest

UNITED KINGDOM
Evening Standard

Paul Cheston, Courts Correspondent

A FORMER City lawyer suing a Jesuit-run school for a record £5 million today told a court how his career had been ruined by sexual abuse by a Catholic priest.

Patrick Raggett, who can be named for the first time, wept as he described how he tried to blank out what was happening to his young body.

At the age of 11 he would be bent naked over a desk by the priest who coached his football team.

"I was very interested in astrology and I would pretend I was in a solar system somewhere just so long as I was not there," he told the High Court in London.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:07 AM

'Priest abuse' pupil sues for £5m

UNITED KINGDOM
Metro

A former City lawyer today launched a £5million lawsuit against a Jesuit-run college where he was allegedly abused by a priest.

Patrick Raggett was subjected to years of "insidious" abuse by a teacher at Preston Catholic College in Lancashire, his counsel Robert Seabrook today told the High Court in London.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:05 AM

Supreme Court to hear arguments in priest award

VERMONT
Fox 44

Associated Press - March 23, 2009 7:55 AM ET

RUTLAND, Vt. (AP) - The Vermont Supreme Court will hear on Wednesday the appeal of an $8.7 million priest sex abuse verdict against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington.

The Supreme Court will hear the case during its annual day at the Vermont Law School in Royalton.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:42 AM

Catholic bishop to deliver special Mass for abuse victims

PHOENIX (AZ)
Arizona Daily Star

The Associated Press
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 03.23.2009

PHOENIX — A special victims Mass is scheduled this week by the Phoenix Catholic Diocese to help heal and reconcile past actions against church members.

The Mass, scheduled for Wednesday evening at Gilbert’s St. Anne Roman Catholic Parish, will be officiated by Bishop Thomas Olmsted.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:39 AM

College sued over sex abuse claim

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC News

A former City lawyer is claiming £5m damages against a Catholic school over sexual abuse he alleges he suffered there during the 1970s.

The man claims he suffered a breakdown after losing his job in 1997 over his aggressive behaviour and drinking.

The High Court will hear the case against the Jesuit order and governors of Preston Catholic College.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:36 AM

Charity scraps idea for sex offender home in Ky.

KENTUCKY
The Associated Press

By JEFFREY McMURRAY

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A Catholic charity in Kentucky faced an uproar over its efforts to buy a home for four registered sex offenders, continuing what supporters say is a never-ending cycle for low-income offenders trying to get their lives back on track.

Members of the Catholic Action Center said they expected to hear fears and objections from the community when they held a forum at a Baptist church in January on their carefully planned purchase. They didn't expect to hear death threats.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:32 AM

Pope names bishop for Oakland

VATICAN CITY
The Associated Press

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican says Pope Benedict XVI has named a San Diego clergyman to be bishop of Oakland, California.

A brief statement by the Vatican's press office Monday said that Monsignor Salvatore Joseph Cordileone has been chosen for the Bay Area diocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:28 AM

Pope Benedict Names New Bishop for Oakland

OAKLAND (CA)
Business Wire

NOTE TIME VALUE: Bishop Salvatore Cordileone will be available at a news conference on Monday, March 23, beginning at 10 a.m. at the Cathedral of Christ the Light. Media should enter through the main conference center entrance at 2121 Harrison Street, Oakland.

OAKLAND, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Pope Benedict XVI has named Bishop Salvatore Joseph Cordileone, 52, as the Fourth Bishop of Oakland. Bishop Cordileone until now has been Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of San Diego. His installation as Bishop of Oakland will take place at noon on May 5, 2009 at Oakland’s Cathedral of Christ the Light.

On January 5, 2009, Oakland’s Bishop Allen Vigneron was appointed Archbishop of Detroit and was installed in that office on January 28. At that time priests in Oakland’s College of Consultors elected Fr. Daniel E. Danielson as Diocesan Administrator, to manage day-to-day business of the Diocese until a new bishop was named.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:26 AM

No return for jailed bishop

GREECE
Pokrov

Date Published: 3/21/2009
Publication: Kathimerini

The case of the jailed ex-bishop of Attica, Panteleimon, took another twist yesterday when Church of Greece sources suggested that he had informed them he would not seek to be reinstated in his former position upon his release from jail.

Speculation had mounted over the last 10 days that the disgraced cleric would try to return to his post after the Holy Synod decided he would not have to face a Church court on charges of embezzlement.

Panteleimon has been serving a six-year jail sentence in Korydallos Prison for embezzling 195,000 euros from an Attica monastery.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:44 AM

Pastor in court on sex abuse charges

AUSTRALIA
Sunshine Coast Daily

A former Sunshine Coast pastor has gone on trial in a Maroochydore District Court charged with the alleged sexual abuse of a teenage boy.

The court heard the abuse started about four months after the pastor joined the church in 2004.

The pastor’s alleged victim was 13-years-old at the time and a member of the church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:42 AM

NGO rejects court verdict

ZAMBIA
ZNBC

The National Initiative for Citizens Awareness -NICA- says it will appeal against the acquital by a Lusaka magistrate Court of a Kafue pastor facing a charge of sexual abuse.

NICA president, Kelvin Sampa, says his organisation is not happy with the court's decision to acquit Pastor James Gondwe.

Mr. Sampa says NICA will also petition the Director of Public Prosecution-DPP-to reopen the case.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:39 AM

A Window for Justice

NEW YORK
The New York Times

Published: March 22, 2009
For decades, priests who preyed sexually on children did so with shocking ease and impunity. Their superiors acted as functional accomplices, shuttling abusive priests among parishes and buying or bullying victims into silence. Shame and guilt did the rest, burying abuses under a shroud of secrecy that often far outlasted the statute of limitations for prosecutions or lawsuits.

Those victims deserve a day in court. The New York Legislature should grant it to them, by passing a bill that would temporarily lift the statute of limitations for civil lawsuits involving the sexual abuse of children.

The bill would open a one-year window during which accusers would be allowed to sue in civil court, no matter how old the case. After a year, the statute of limitations would be restored, but an accuser would have up to 10 years after turning 18 to make a claim, instead of five. The statute of limitations for criminal prosecutions would not be changed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:35 AM

Bishop sets Mass for victims of priest abuse

PHOENIX (AZ)
The Arizona Republic

by Astrid Galvan - Mar. 23, 2009 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic .
In the wake of nearly a decade of cases involving sexual molestations and violence by priests, the Roman Catholic Church has spent millions of dollars on efforts to combat abuse.

Those programs cost $21 million in 2007 and $23 million last year, according to a report released by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops this month.

But the Diocese of Phoenix goes one step further by celebrating a Mass of "healing and reconciliation," officiated by Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, for victims of abuse once a year.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:31 AM

Priests sued over 'sex abuse'

UNITED KINGDOM
The Press Association

A former top City lawyer is suing Catholic priests for £5 million - claiming his career was wrecked by sex abuse he suffered at school.

The 50-year-old man, who is not being named, is seeking the largest amount of damages for sex abuse in the UK. The action against the Jesuit order and governors of Preston Catholic College in Lancashire will be heard at the High Court in London.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:24 AM

March 22, 2009

Help Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse Today

NEW YORK
Failed Messiah

[UTJ Letters On Sexual Abuse]

According to statistics, one out of every 4 children will be abused by the time they reach the age of 18. Considering there are just under 20,000,000 people living in the state of New York, means there is roughly 5000,000 survivors of child sexual abuse living in the state.

Both adult survivors and children, who have not yet been abused -- living in the state of New York need your immediate help to insure the passage of The Child Victims Act of New York.

Attached are 2 links – the first with all NY state Assembly e-mail addresses, and the other is a listing of the NY Senate. Please make as many phone calls as you can to the New York senators and Assembly members.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:44 AM

The destructive nature of pornography

Mormon Times

By Kristine Frederickson
Sunday, Mar. 22, 2009

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus Christ spoke clearly and unequivocally to those who would be his followers and inherit eternal life. Knowing the end from the beginning, conversant with events and practices in our day as well as his day, he commanded: "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery. But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." There can be no clearer condemnation of pornography than the Savior provides here. ...

Pornography is a $5 billion industry. Pornographers make that which is seductive and destructive attractive. Make no mistake about its power to enslave and destroy. In 2004, before a U. S. Senate Committee on Brain Science Behind Pornography, Dr. Judith Reisman described the "addictive properties of sexually explicit images." She explained: "We now know that emotionally arousing images imprint and alter the brain triggering an instant, involuntary, but lasting, biochemical memory trail. Once (these) neurochemical pathways are established they are difficult or impossible to delete. Erotic images also commonly trigger … emotions of fear, shame, anger and hostility. These media erotic fantasies become deeply embedded, commonly coarsening, confusing, motivating and addicting many of those exposed."

Reisman explained: "Pornography triggers a myriad endogenous, internal, natural drugs that mimic the 'high' from a street drug. ... As pornography became mainstreamed and pushed the envelope of moral sexual conduct, law enforcement reported that sex crimes mimicking comparable acts were being inflicted on women and children. ... Testimony from victims and police commonly finds pornography to be an on-site sex-abuse manual."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:57 AM

Priest is suspended from parish following police investigation

SCOTLAND
Sunday Mail

Mar 22 2009 By Derek Alexander

A PRIEST is being investigated by police over claims he acted inappropriately towards teenagers.

Father Stephen Miller has been suspended and ordered out of his parish, St Brendan's RC Church in Motherwell.

He is also chaplain at the town's Our Lady's High School and Monklands Hospital.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:52 AM

Cleveland Catholic churches plan to appeal bishop's order to close

CLEVELAND (OH)
The Plain Dealer

Posted by Michael F. O'Malley and Robert L. Smith/Plain Dealer Reporters

Several churches ordered closed by Bishop Richard Lennon of the Cleveland Catholic Diocese are preparing to file appeals, hoping the bishop will change his mind.

St. Ignatius of Antioch, St. Colman, St. Adalbert, St. Peter and St. Emeric, all in Cleveland, believe they have good cases to carry them through the church's legal system known as canon law.

But what are their chances in an institution that bestows immense power and autonomy on its bishops?

Not good, says Michael Dunnigan, a canon lawyer at the St. Joseph Foundation, a parishioners advocacy group in San Antonio, Texas, that offers free legal counsel.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:50 AM

Diocese heading to court

VERMONT
Rutland Herald

By KEVIN O’CONNOR
STAFF WRITER - Published: March 22, 2009

How do you convince Vermont’s Supreme Court to overturn a record $8.7 million child-sex verdict?

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington hopes to find out Wednesday in an unusual public hearing.

The state’s largest religious denomination, the target of nearly 40 negligence lawsuits in Chittenden Superior Court, was hit last spring with a record fine for its 1970s hiring and supervision of a pedophile priest.

The church is appealing the potentially bankrupting case to the Supreme Court. Justices not only will hear it this week, but also do so in front of students, teachers and the public at South Royalton’s Vermont Law School.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:38 AM

Powerful impact of 'open window' church sex abuse laws

UNITED STATES
Newsday

BY BART JONES | bart.jones@newsday.com
March 22, 2009
In Los Angeles, the Roman Catholic archdiocese cut its central staff in half and sold its 12-floor headquarters. In Tucson, the diocese sold 85 pieces of property in the Arizona desert. In Davenport, Iowa, church officials posted a "for sale" sign on the bishop's residence - then moved him into a modest bungalow.

Catholic dioceses across the United States have been hit with hundreds of millions of dollars in lawsuits stemming from child sex abuse cases in the past decade. Now, as lawmakers in Albany consider legislation that would create a one-year open window for victims to sue regardless of how long ago the alleged abuse occurred, church officials warn it could bankrupt the Catholic Church in New York.

If the bill passes, it would become the third child sex abuse "open window" law in the country, after California and Delaware, whose two-year window closes in July. Legal experts said that in New York they anticipate hundreds of abuse victims, whose claims could involve not just the Catholic Church but also other religious institutions, public agencies and even long-ago cases of incest.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:36 AM

No charges for church member

NEWPORT BEACH (CA)
Daily Pilot

By Joseph Serna
Updated: Saturday, March 21, 2009 8:14 PM PDT

Due to a lack of evidence, criminal investigators are not filing charges against a Newport Beach Mormon church member accused of molesting a boy in the congregation, according to prosecutors.

Newport Beach and Costa Mesa police investigated Todd C. Summers, 37, of Costa Mesa, for accusations that he had carried on a sexual relationship with a boy in the church. Newport Beach police determined that any potential crimes occurred in Costa Mesa, Sgt. Evan Sailor said. Costa Mesa detectives investigated the claims and turned over their findings to prosecutors, who declined to file charges.

Summers, a former Sheriff’s Department reserve officer, was also investigated by the department on allegations that he used his authority to enter a young boy’s home, he said in a deposition. Charges were not filed in that case. Summers and the department severed ties last year, said department spokesman Jim Amormino.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:32 AM

Paterson casts doubt on future of church sex abuse bill

NEW YORK
Newsday

BY JAMES T. MADORE | james.madore@newsday.com
March 22, 2009
ALBANY - Gov. David A. Paterson has cast doubt on the future of a bill that would temporarily lift the statute of limitations on lawsuits alleging sexual abuse of children.

The legislation, now headed to the Assembly floor for a vote, gives abuse victims a special one-year window to file suit in civil court regardless of how long ago the assault occurred. The one-year period would start when the bill, from Assemb. Margaret Markey (D-Maspeth), is signed into law by the governor.

Paterson expressed reservations Friday. "These types of cases could go back, 20, 30, 40 years, and since the evidence probably doesn't exist in any way to convict the perpetrator ... the accusation would hinder the career of any person who was accused," he told Newsday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:28 AM

Jefferson County pastor still ministering despite molestation charges

PENNSYLVANIA
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Sunday, March 22, 2009
By Ann Rodgers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
A United Methodist pastor has continued to minister at two Jefferson County churches even though he has been awaiting trial since August 2007 on charges that he molested two women at a mental health center.

The Rev. Michael Clair Garvey, 59, of Worthville, also faces a lawsuit filed by one of those women. He serves the Coolspring United Methodist Church in Coolspring and Ramseytown United Methodist Church, Knoxdale.

No church members are involved in the cases pending against him. He was arrested for molesting two clients and a counselor at Brookville Behavioral Health, where, according to court records, he also was a counselor until July 2007.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:22 AM

March 21, 2009

Protecting the most vulnerable

CANADA
Montreal Gazette

By Paul Cherry, The Gazette March 20, 2009

Det.-Lt.Guy Bianchi considers it the most rewarding work of his career. ...

“Many people ask me ‘well it’s child pornography. Why is it so serious?’ ” he said.

“There are plenty of studies that say there is a direct correlation between people who consume child pornography and sexual assaults,” Bianchi said. “There are actually studies that say at least twice in their life, a person who consumes child pornography will do a direct act towards molesting a child.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:09 PM

U.S. CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS

UNITED STATES
Washington Post

U.S. Catholic leaders processed more than 800 allegations of clergy sexual abuse last year, a 16 percent increase from 2007. The majority of the allegations involved abuse that occurred decades ago.

A report issued last week by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops showed 803 allegations were filed by 706 victims last year against 518 clergy members. The church also spent more than $436 million in legal settlements, attorneys' fees and counseling costs.

Just 13 of the 803 cases involved alleged abuse of a minor that occurred during 2008. Nearly all of the cases involved accusations of molestation that occurred decades ago. The church said 83 percent of those accused were dead, defrocked or missing.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:42 AM

Fort Worth diocese, priest sued

TEXAS
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

By DARREN BARBEE dbarbee@star-telegram.com

A California man filed a lawsuit Friday accusing the Rev. Rudolf Rentería of sexually abusing him when he was the priest’s altar boy in Arlington in the 1980s.

The man, now in his 40s, is also suing the Fort Worth Roman Catholic Diocese, accusing it of covering up the priest’s actions. His father told another priest at the time of the alleged May 1981 incident, but Rentería was allowed to continue in the ministry, according to the suit. Rentería was "recycled into ministry in the Dallas Diocese," the suit alleges.

Rentería, who lives in Dallas County, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Diocese spokesman Pat Svacina said, "We’re aware of the alleged incident" but declined to comment further because officials have not seen the lawsuit.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:58 AM

In Angola, Benedict decries abuse of women

ANGOLA
Arizona Daily Star

By Victor L. Simpson
the Associated Press
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 03.21.2009

LUANDA, Angola — Pope Benedict XVI, welcomed to this sweltering capital Friday by the biggest crowds of his African pilgrimage, condemned sexual violence against women in Africa and chided those countries on the continent that have approved abortion.

Benedict arrived in Luanda on the second leg of his African tour, with tens of thousands pouring into the streets along his motorcade route, honking car horns and slowing traffic to a crawl. Many of the faithful wore white T-shirts emblazoned with the pope's picture and "Welcome to our land" written in Portuguese. ...

"Particularly disturbing is the crushing yoke of discrimination that women and girls so often endure, not to mention the unspeakable practice of sexual violence and exploitation which causes such humiliation and trauma," Benedict told government leaders and foreign diplomats in the late afternoon.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:55 AM

Mennonite abuse survivor speaks out against church

CANADA
Vancouver Sun

By Gerry Bellett, Vancouver Sun
March 20, 2009

When Susan Duncalfe summoned the courage to report her father’s sexual assaults on her, her story would uncover not only the calamity of a childhood’s stolen innocence, but also how a religious fellowship in the Fraser Valley failed her.

Over the past 20 years, scandals involving illicit sexual relations within churches and the way they were either ignored or covered up have caused untold damage to reputations of churches in Canada and resulted in civil damages that have entered the hundreds of millions of dollars.

In an Abbotsford courtroom earlier this month, Provincial Court Judge John Lenaghan sentenced Susan’s father, Kenneth Duncalfe, now a frail 69-year-old, to nine months in jail.

Lenaghan passed judgment, too, on Duncalfe’s Mennonite church, the Abbotsford Church of God in Christ, for knowing of his transgressions since 1990 but failing to report them to the police.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:51 AM

Archdiocese, local group join for Child Abuse Prevention Month

MARYLAND
The Catholic Review

By Matt Palmer
The Catholic Review

The Archdiocese of Baltimore’s Child and Youth Protection office is partnering with the Baltimore Child Abuse Center for two milestone informational events in April.

The April 2 and April 23 events will take place at Archbishop Borders School and St. Bernardine Catholic School respectively. The goal will be to provide information on how to protect children and the signs to look for in an abused child.

The activities come during Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:47 AM

Justices won't hear conspiracy case

CHARLESTON (SC)
The Post and Courier

By Adam Parker
The Post and Courier
Saturday, March 21, 2009

The S.C. Supreme Court has denied a request from a Greenville attorney to bypass the normal appeals process and hear a case about allegations of conspiracy and collusion in a class-action settlement between the Catholic Diocese of Charleston and lawyers representing victims of sexual abuse, according to an order released Thursday.

David Flowers' petition for "original jurisdiction" was an unusual move the attorney hoped would expedite the court review process. The case is likely to reach the high court sooner or later, he said. ...

It alleges that the $2.5 million fee awarded to Larry Richter and David Haller, the two attorneys who represented the class of victims, was excessive and based on sloppy or fabricated records of hours worked.

Richter and Haller, the two attorneys who represented the class of victims, strongly denied the allegations. In an e-mail, Goodstein said she could not comment on the case.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:41 AM

Church court finds former Central Jersey pastor guilty of sex abuse

NEW JERSEY
Home News Tribune

By LEO D. ROMMEL • Staff Writer • March 20, 2009

MIDDLESEX COUNTY — A former pastor of St. James R.C. Church in Woodbridge is guilty of one of two charges that he sexually abused a minor more than 25 years ago at another parish, a Roman Catholic ecclesiastical court ruled earlier this month.

Monsignor Michael J. Cashman remains a priest but was permanently removed from public ministry after a ruling said he was guilty of sexually abusing a child between 1980 and 1983, when he was an associate pastor of Our Lady of God Counsel parish in West Trenton and then an associate pastor of Immaculate Conception R.C. Church in Spotswood.

Which parish the incidents took place in was not clear, said Diocese of Metuchen spokeswoman Joanne Ward.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:38 AM

Nuns are ill-treated in church, reveals cardinal's book

INDIA
IBN Live

Naveen Nair / CNN-IBN

Thiruvananthapuram: After a former nun dropped a bombshell by revealing in her autobiography about the sexual abuse and mental harassment nuns go through in the Catholic Church, a sitting cardinal has written a book in which he says many nuns are ill-treated.

The book titled Straight from the Heart by Varkey Vidayathil talks about how a section of the priests treat the nuns making them wash their clothes and cook food, all without any pay.

The biographer who is also the spokesperson of the Catholic Bishops' Council says he has penned down exactly what the cardinal has told him.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:35 AM

Nuns are forced to wash and cook meals by priests: Cardinal

INDIA
Press Trust of India

Usha Ram Manohar
Kochi, Mar 21 (PTI) Nuns in the church are being discriminated against and treated shoddily by priests who force them to wash clothes and cook meals, a cardinal has claimed.

The candid admissions by Cardinal Mar Varkey Vithayathil, who is also the Major Archbishop of the Syro Malabar church, has been made in a book titled, 'Straight from the Heart', released recently.

"There have always been complaints that religious women are used as task force by parish priests. They just bear up the ill treatment, fearing the priests may not say Mass for them or fulfil their spiritual needs if they protested. These things are happening in a number of places," Vithyathail says.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:31 AM

March 20, 2009

Rick Santorum and Bishop Steinbock: "Secular" Society is to Blame for Rampant Cle

UNITED STATES
Injury Board

Paul Kiesel

These two guys, former Republican senator Rick Santorum and Bishop John T. Steinbock, claim that society, in particular secular or liberal society, is to blame for all of the "recent" sex abuse scandals that have rocked the Catholic Church.

Wrong. Their logic is wrong. Their interpretation and understanding of Catholic Church history is completely wrong: These sex abuse scandals are not a "recent" problem, in fact, sexual abuse in and of itself is tied to the origins of the Catholic Church. But before we get to that, let's look at their disgusting comments and mistruths first:

Rick Santorum on "This Week" with George Stephanopoulos (7/31/05)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let’s move on to another controversy you stirred up, the question of the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic church. You made a statement in July 2002 which has drawn a lot of fire. You said, in a publication called Catholic On-Line, When the culture is sick, every element in it becomes infected. While there’s no excuse for this scandal, it is no surprise that Boston, a seat of academic, political and cultural liberalism in America, lies at the center of the storm.

You’ve reaffirmed that just a couple of weeks ago. Ted Kennedy, John Kerry say you have to apologize. Mitt Romney, Republican governor, says basically you don’t know what you’re talking about. Do you still stand by that statement?

SANTORUM: Look, the statement I made was that the culture influences people’s behavior. I don’t think anyone…

Irish priest ashamed at stealing US parish cash

FLORIDA
The Irish Times

AN IRISH priest accused of misappropriating millions of dollars from a parish in the United States yesterday said that he was truly ashamed of his actions.

Fr John Skehan (81), originally from Co Kilkenny, was speaking during an almost two-hour sentence hearing at a court in West Palm Beach, Florida.

His sentence was postponed as Judge Jeffrey Colbath said that he had too many things to consider to hand down a sentence yesterday. He said that he would issue his sentence “this time next week”.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:03 PM

Pope may impose his man as English Catholic leader

UNITED KINGDOM
The Times

Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent
The Pope has been forced to intervene in a damaging power struggle over who will become the next spiritual head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales.

Pope Benedict XVI will decide next week who should succeed Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor as Archbishop of Westminster. It is possible that he will shun all five candidates vying for the post and instead impose a Vatican diplomat.

The highly unusual move is the result of his advisers’ failure to reach a consensus on the best candidate.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:00 PM

Priest Breaks Down In Criminal Court

WEST PALM BEACH (FL)
WPBF

[with video]

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Interest was so high that the proceeding had to be moved to a bigger courtroom. And television crews from Father John Skehan's native Ireland crammed the hallways.

The decision that Judge Jeffrey Colbath was to make Friday was deciding appropriate punishment for Skehan, 81, who admitted to stealing more than $100,000 from St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church in Delray Beach.

"We feel the fact that Father Skehan will no longer be able to function as priest is a penalty itself," said Vicar General Charles Notabartolo of the Diocese of Palm Beach. Notabartolo was the government's only witness. The prosecution and the defense agreed the former pastor should not serve prison time.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:58 PM

Judge delays sentencing for priest who stole from church

DELRAY BEACH (FL)
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

By Dianna Cahn | South Florida Sun Sentinel 4:05 PM EDT, March 20, 2009
DELRAY BEACH - A priest who confessed to stealing from the church he served for over 40 years will have to wait until next week to find out if he is going to prison.

The victims, the prosecutor and defense attorney all told the court today that the Rev. John Skehan should not be imprisoned for his actions after he pleaded guilty in January to grand theft of over $100,000 from St. Vincent Ferrer church.

But Circuit Judge Jeffrey Colbath, nonetheless torn by what he called "aggravating and mitigating" factors, said he needed more time to consider the appropriate sentence for Skehan.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:26 PM

Some clergy more equal than others?

ILLINOIS
GetReligion

I know, it’s hard to read the following story and not get mad about the central image of a pastor spanking a 12-year-old girl with a piece of wooden crown molding, with the permission of her parents, because these adults in her life doubted her claims that she had been sexually molested.

Before I get to my journalistic question about this Chicago Tribune report (Does the “special to” byline mean this is a freelance story?), let’s get the context.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:18 PM

Funniest Line of This Young Millennium!

ORANGE COUNTY (CA)
Orange County Weekly

By Gustavo Arellano

From yesterday's ordination of pedo-priest-protector Cirilo Flores as the latest auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Orange (of which we'll have more on Monday). Uttered by head Bishop Tod D. Brown, per the Orange County Register, a joke so hilarious it deserves bolding, italics, and underlining:

"Bishops are the ones who speak truth in season and out of season."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:09 PM

Brisbane's renegade priest seeks help from the Vatican

AUSTRALIA
Catholic Culture

March 20, 2009
Father Peter Kennedy, who has filed legal action in Australian courts to prevent Archbishop John Bathersby from removing him as pastor of St. Mary's church in South Brisbane, is now looking for help from the Vatican as well.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:07 PM

The Anti-Catholic Backlash—Do We Deserve It?

UNITED STATES
Taki's Magazine

Posted by John Zmirak on March 19, 2009

What would we think if the legislature in one of America’s most highly educated states, Connecticut, were debating a law that forced Orthodox synagogues to perform mixed marriages?

What if the New York legislature were pushing through a law that made religious slaughterhouses uniquely liable for lawsuits—and left secular meat-packers exempt?

And what if both houses of Congress and the president had lined up behind a bill that would force all newspapers to print selections from the Gospel—or stop their presses?

I have a sneaking feeling that these measures might be described as “anti-Semitic.” Even if secular, humanitarian arguments were adduced for each of these bills, most people would know what was really going on—and the folks who were targeted would be angry and scared. Even if these bills weren’t actually passed, the fact that they were seriously considered, that the men who proposed them weren’t hounded out of public life, would send a very clear signal about the balance of power in society: It would say that Jews were in trouble; their public influence was waning; their rights were under threat; and their future in the country was deeply uncertain. Time to update your passport and get back on speaking terms with your cousins in Australia….

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:01 PM

'Free God language': fired parish worker's thesis

WISCONSIN
National Catholic Reporter

Mar. 20, 2009
By Tom Roberts

In the same way that God acted to save the Israelites from captivity, God is “acting now to free women from their captivity” and to free “God language from the captivity of patriarchy,” wrote Ruth M. Kolpack, the pastoral associate recently fired by Madison, Wis., Bishop Robert Morlino, in an academic paper six years ago.

Central to the firing earlier this month was Morlino’s claim that her views of Jesus were “off base,” according to Kolpack’s account of their 10-minute meeting, as well as his concern about the thesis that she had written. According to Kolpack, the bishop said he had read “bits and pieces” of the paper.

The document in question actually comprises three papers totaling 51 pages of text and footnotes that investigate a comprehensive examination topic under the heading, “Inclusive Language for Naming God: Challenge for the Church.”

The papers, dated January through March, deal with the subject, respectively, from the perspectives of scripture, systematic theology and moral theology. The papers were written to fulfill requirements for a master of divinity degree at St. Francis Seminary.

Read Ruth Kolpack's thesis: Inclusive Language for Naming God: Challenge for the Church (undertaken in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Divinity Degree at St. Francis Seminary, Milwaukee, Wis., 2003)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:51 AM

"Civil Liberties" and Uncivil Lies: What the New York Civil Liberties Union and the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights Have in Common ...

NEW YORK
FindLaw

By MARCI A. HAMILTON

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Yesterday, March 18, the New York Assembly Rules Committee passed the Child Victims Act (Assembly Bill A02596/Senate Bill S02568), which will extend the criminal and civil statute of limitations for child sex abuse by five years. It will also open a one-year window of opportunity for child sex abuse victims to go to court even if their statute of limitations already had expired. The next stop is the full Assembly and then on to the Senate.

The Child Victims Act was first introduced by Assemblywoman Marge Markey, who has doggedly stood by the bill. For three years, she shepherded it through the Assembly, only to be blocked by Sen. Joseph Bruno, now under federal indictment. Now that Democrats are a majority in the Senate and many support this bill, there is real hope that victims have a shot at justice in New York this time around.

The Urgent Need for States to Extend their Statutes of Limitations and Create "Windows" During Which Past Victims Can Sue

As I have discussed in previous columns such as this one and my book Justice Denied: What America Must Do to Protect Its Children, we do not know the identity of the vast majority of child sex predators, because we have crafted a legal system that prefers the adult perpetrators over the child victims. Hundreds of studies have shown that child sex abuse victims face enormous barriers to pursuing their perpetrators and those who aided the perpetrators. The same mismatch in power that permitted the abuse to happen in the first place severely undermines the ability of victims to pursue those who sexually abused them, not to mention those in positions of power in organizations that also permitted them to be abused. In the nature of things, adults are in an extremely powerful position vis-à-vis children, but when an adult can also exploit a position of trust as a parent, teacher, rabbi, priest, or Boy Scout leader, the scale tips so strikingly that the victim can be seriously disabled and disempowered for life.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:54 AM

Prescient Email Reappears

UNITED STATES
Pokrov

Author: Mark Stokoe
Date Published: 3/19/2009
Publication: Orthodox Christians for Accountability

In September, 2007 clergy of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese received an pseudonymous email from a sender calling himself ”Abdallah Khouri”, which being translated from the Arabic means ”Servant of God, Priest”. The email was dismissed as the work of a crank, and its call to action failed to find traction at that time. But it has now been resurrected, and is once again circulating widely in the Archdiocese following the events of February 24th, 2009. The reason? What the writer warned of 18 months ago has come to pass. As such, the email calls into further question not only the meaning of recent events, but the role of the Metropolitan in precipitating them.

Warnings about +Philip's Intentions

The 2007 email warned that Metropolitan Philip had asked the Synod of Antioch to renounce Self-Rule, return the dioceses to their previous status of regions and ”depose” their ruling Bishops. In fact, Self-Rule was made largely meaningless, the dioceses were made regions again, and the Bishops were reduced in rank according to a February 24th, 2009 decision of the Synod of Antioch. (Read that statement here.) In a statement dated March 4th, 2009, Metropolitan Philip offered not only his support for these decisions, but explanations as to why they were necessary.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:36 AM

More Revelations from Fresno's Bishop

FRESNO (CA)
ABC 30

[with video]

By Andres Araiza

Fresno, CA (KFSN) -- More revelations from the Central Valley's top Catholic leader who is facing another round of tough questioning. Bishop John Steinbock spent a second day on the witness stand in a high profile trial. Two brothers accuse the Fresno Catholic Diocese of covering up sex abuse by a priest.

Bishop Steinbock sat before a jury of 7 women and 5 men. Steinbock testified he tried to protect his parishioners after learning George Santillan had been abused. Monsignor Anthony Herdegen admitted he molested Santillan and his brother more than 30 years ago.

The abuse happened at Saint John's Parish in Wasco where George served as an altar boy. Santillan's attorneys accuse the bishop of knowing about the abuse in 1995 and doing nothing until 2002. The bishop testified that in 1995 Monsignor Herdegen said he may have been "indiscreet" with two brothers. Soon afterwards Bishop Steinbock wrote this letter to a parishioner: " ... (Monsignor Herdegen) is a very fine priest and that god's people throughout the diocese have been blessed by the many years of his faithful service." The letter mentions nothing about the monsignor's confessed behavior.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:29 AM

Priest settles inmate sex suit

PENNSYLVANIA
The Daily Item

JOHNSTOWN -- A settlement between a New York man convicted of a 2001 rape in Northumberland County and a Franciscan priest was reached Wednesday in U.S. District Court.

The inmate, William Victor, now at the State Correctional Institution-Fayette, filed a lawsuit in November 2007 against the Rev. Gerard M. Connolly, 67, of Altoona, seeking damages in excess of $3 million. Victor said in the lawsuit that the two had sexual contact at State Correctional Institution-Cresson.

The terms of the settlement were sealed immediately, said federal Magistrate Keith Pesto. However, it was indicated the agreed-upon amount was far less than what Victor had sought.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:26 AM

Fla. priest to be sentenceed in embezzlement case

WEST PALM BEACH (FL)
Miami Herald

The Associated Press
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- A Florida priest is scheduled to be sentenced on a grand theft charge after pleading guilty in January to stealing from his Delray Beach church.

The Rev. John Skehan, 81, faces up to 30 years in prison at Friday's hearing.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:24 AM

No payout for alleged sex abuse victim - as he's not Catholic

UNITED KINGDOM
Coventry Telegraph

Mar 20 2009 by Emma Stone

A MAN who claims he was abused as a child by a paedophile priest in Coventry shouldn’t get a penny in compensation because he’s not Catholic, London’s High Court has been told.

The 45-year-old, named only as M to protect his identity, alleges he was subjected to serious sex assaults by Fr Christopher Clonan during the 1970s.

The priest fled to Australia amid growing allegations about his conduct in 1992.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:21 AM

Charity scraps idea for sex offender home in Ky.

KENTUCKY
The Associated Press

By JEFFREY McMURRAY

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A Catholic charity in Kentucky faced an uproar over its efforts to buy a home for four registered sex offenders, continuing what supporters say is a never-ending cycle for low-income offenders trying to get their lives back on track.

Members of the Catholic Action Center said they expected to hear fears and objections from the community when they held a forum at a Baptist church in January on their carefully planned purchase. They didn't expect to hear death threats.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:16 AM

Former Champaign County priest returns to active ministry

OHIO
Urbana Daily Citizen

Citizen Staff Report

After three years of administrative leave, the Rev. Clarence Heis, who last served in Champaign County, has returned to priestly ministry, according to a Thursday release from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

Heis served as priest for St. Michael Catholic Church in Mechanicsburg and Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in North Lewisburg for 12 years.

Heis was placed on administrative leave by Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk after he was arrested in October 2005 at a park in Fairborn. He pleaded no contest to original charges of public indecency and resisting arrest, both misdemeanors. The public indecency charge was reduced to disorderly conduct. ...

"We are saddened and puzzled to learn of Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk's latest decision. By allowing Fr. Clarence Heis to return to active ministry he places him in a position of trust and respect granted to members of the clergy," Christy Miller of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) stated via e-mail. "Heis forfeited this right when he was arrested for public indecency and resisting arrest in a public park.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:13 AM

More than 80 letters ask for leniency for Delray Beach priest in theft case

FLORIDA
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

By Dianna Cahn | South Florida Sun-Sentinel
5:05 AM EDT, March 20, 2009
To some, the Rev. John Skehan will go down as the disgraced pastor who betrayed his flock and admitted to stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Delray Beach church he led for more than 40 years.

But to many others, Skehan, 81, was the longtime beloved leader of St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church with generosity of pocket and spirit even as he made some criminal mistakes.

By the dozens, parishioners, colleagues and friends sent letters urging Circuit Judge Jeffrey Colbath to show leniency this afternoon when he sentences the retired pastor.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:11 AM

Ex-minister pleads guilty to child porn charges

ROYSE CITY (TX)
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

By MARTHA DELLER mdeller@star-telegram.com

A former Methodist minister pleaded guilty Thursday to federal charges that he traded sexually explicit, sometimes violent, images of children with other users of an Internet service, federal officials announced.

Steve Richardson, former pastor of First United Methodist Church in Royse City, was arrested in September after federal agents seized a computer from his office. He admitted possessing an external hard drive that contained more than 600 images of child pornography, according to acting U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas.

The arrest followed an undercover investigation by a federal agent who communicated with Richardson over Google Hello, an Internet service that enables users to connect with one another’s computers to share photos.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:48 AM

Ashton Bible Church Dissolved- Pastor Facing Sex Abuse Charges

ASHTON (ID)
KIFI

By Megan Boatwright, Local News 8 Reporter

The Ashton Church started by a man facing sex abuse charges has dissolved.

48-year-old Ruben Elmer Floyd was arrested March 9th on four counts of lewd conduct with a minor.

According to court documents Floyd started talking with a 15-year-old boy via text messages early last year.

In the documents the boy describes four separate incidents of sexual abuse, including one at Floyds church, the Ashton Bible Church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:45 AM

Pastor acquitted of sexual assault

ZAMBIA
Zambia Daily Mail

By CHARLES MUSONDA
THE Lusaka magistrates’ court has acquitted a 67-year-old pastor of Kafue of indecent assault charges.

Magistrate Aridah Chulu on Wednesday acquitted James Gondwe, who was facing five counts of indecent assault for allegedly molesting five of the girls he was keeping at Bethel Orphanage where he is director.

In her judgment, Mrs Chulu said the evidence from the prosecution was not strong enough to prove allegations levelled against Mr Gondwe.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:42 AM

Auditors find archdiocese in compliance on abuse prevention

BOSTON (MA)
The Pilot

By Sarah M. Barrett
Posted: 3/20/2009 The Archdiocese of Boston announced March 13 that independent auditors found the archdiocese in full compliance last year with the U.S. bishops‘ policies and procedures promulgated to address the sexual abuse of minors.

The archdiocese’s compliance with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ 17-article “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” indicates progress since the 2007 audit, when 64 parishes were found noncompliant with Article 12 concerning “safe environment” religious education training programs.

“Our commitment to protect children remains steadfast,” said Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley. “While I am pleased with the progress we have made, we must be ever vigilant in our efforts in order to assure the safety of our children and to restore the confidence of the faithful in the Church.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:39 AM

Alcohol, homosexuality charged in jury probe

HOLBROOK (AZ)
Gallup Independent

By Elizabeth Hardin-Burrola
Staff writer

HOLBROOK, Ariz. — Recently released transcripts from a 1983 grand jury investigation in Navajo County, Ariz., offer more details in the allegations against the Rev. John Boland of the Diocese of Gallup.

Boland was removed from ministry last month by Phoenix Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, the current apostolic administrator for the Gallup Diocese, pending an investigation into an old sex abuse allegation against Boland. While preparing to transfer Boland to another parish, Olmsted discovered a 1983 newspaper clipping in the priest’s personnel file that indicated Boland had been arrested 26 years ago in Winslow, Ariz.

Boland’s court file in Navajo County Superior Court revealed he was initially charged with four misdemeanor counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and one felony count of committing a lewd and lascivious act with a child under age 15. The charges stemmed from a Feb. 26, 1983, incident involving four teenage boys. Three of the misdemeanor charges were soon dismissed, and Boland went on to sign a plea agreement whereby he pleaded guilty to the remaining misdemeanor charge and the prosecutor dropped the felony charge.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:36 AM

Restoring clerical authority

UNITED STATES
The Tidings

Father Richard McBrien

One of the most tangible changes that has occurred in the Catholic Church over the past several decades is the decline in the deference that Catholic laity display toward their clergy.

It is not that Catholics no longer like or respect priests. On the contrary, they are similar in mentality to U.S. voters who may have a generally low opinion of Congress, but who keep re-electing their own Representatives every two years.

Surveys have disclosed that, while Catholics may have lowered their opinion of priests and bishops as a group, largely because of the sexual-abuse scandal and the cover-ups that followed, parishioners continue to support and even cherish their own pastors.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:32 AM

Statement of the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth Regardi

FORT WORTH (TX)
DFW Catholic

March 19, 2009
Fort Worth, TX (MetroCatholic) - The Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth Wednesday reached a settlement agreement through mediation of claims brought against the Diocese by five persons who were allegedly abused by James Reilly, a priest of the Diocese, now deceased, and in one of the cases there was also alleged abuse by James Hanlon and Gerard Scholl, also priests of the Diocese, now deceased.

The Diocese disclosed that the five cases settled for $775,000 the majority of which was covered by its insurance company.

Bishop Kevin Vann, in addressing the individuals, said he is deeply sorry for any sexual abuse the victims may have endured and suffered by Reilly, Hanlon and Scholl. He further stated that such actions are a sin and a crime. The Bishop told victims that he prays that healing and reconciliation can be achieved in their lives.

Suit alleges Catholic schools withheld evidence of abuse

SEATTLE (WA)
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

By LEVI PULKKINEN
SEATTLEPI.COM STAFF

Seven former students at Seattle-area Catholic schools have filed suit against the archdiocese, claiming the church order operating the schools withheld crucial evidence of clergy abuse during earlier lawsuits.

In three actions, former students of O'Dea High School in Seattle and a now closed Kent orphanage allege that officials with the order affiliated with the schools, the Christian Brothers of Ireland, failed to release documentation showing that two priests had previously sexually abused students. Each of the plaintiffs had previously settled with the order and the Seattle Catholic Archdiocese, but now assert that they would have pursued the litigation had the information on the decades-old abuses been available.

In one of the cases, officials with the Christian Brothers initially denied the accused priest had ever served in Washington, said Michael Pfau, a Seattle attorney representing all seven clients. Only after the case was settled did they provide documentation from Rome showing the priest had been kicked out of the order following abuse allegations, he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:28 AM

OUR OPINION: Prison release reopens wounds for priest’s victims

QUINCY (MA)
The Patriot Ledger

Posted Mar 20, 2009 @ 06:05 AM
Last update Mar 20, 2009 @ 06:46 AM

QUINCY — .Anyone who thought there would be “closure” after numerous child-molesting priests were defrocked or imprisoned and the Catholic Church paid millions of dollars to hundreds of victims wasn’t thinking far enough ahead.

Aside from Massachusetts criminals such as former Rev. John Geoghan (killed in prison) and former Rev. John Hanlon (serving three life sentences), most of these pedophile priests are still among us.

We were reminded of this last weekend when ex-priest and altar boy rapist Robert Gale was released from the Treatment Center for the Sexually Dangerous in Bridgewater.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:24 AM

Curran Bridge Renamed

MAINE
WABI

by WABI-TV5 News Desk · Mar 20th 2009

It's now official: there is no longer a Father Curran Bridge in Augusta.

On Thursday, Governor Baldacci signed into law a bill to rename the bridge.

It was originally named for a roman catholic priest. But after Father Curran died, he was accused of sexual abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:21 AM

Priests face £5m abuse claim

UNITED KINGDOM
Lancashire Evening Post

By Stef Hall, Crime Reporter
An ex-lawyer from Preston is suing Catholic Jesuit priests for £5m – claiming his career was wrecked by sex abuse he suffered at school in the city.

The man, who attended the former Preston Catholic College, will go to London's High Court on Monday for what is thought to be the biggest claim against the Jesuit order in the UK.

The 50-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, will sue the Jesuit order and the governers of the college for £5m compensation for loss of earnings.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:00 AM

March 19, 2009

Catholic bill controversy lingers

HARTFORD (CT)
Connecticut Post

By Ken Dixon
STAFF WRITER
Updated: 03/19/2009 06:55:40 PM EDT

HARTFORD -- The controversy over a bill that would have changed way Roman Catholic parish finances are handled continued to linger Thursday when minority Republican lawmakers attacked the Democratic chairmen who introduced the bill.

During a meeting to officially kill legislation, including the bill that brought thousands of angry Catholics to protest last week, the chairmen - Sen. Andrew J. McDonald, D-Stamford and Rep. Michael P. Lawlor, D-East Haven - warned that the General Assembly is in danger of stifling research and debate.

"We hear all sorts of issues that are sometimes great but just too controversial to vote on, some aren't ready for prime time, some that don't have money for them," McDonald said. "I suspect that people on this committee would be very angry if the co-chairs only allowed issues that we support or in our opinion have no constitutional concerns."

McDonald noted that in the last so-called long session of the General Assembly, in 2007, there were 1,800 bills that had public hearings that never came to a vote in the House and Senate. He said that nearly every member of the 43-person committee has approached the co-chairmen at one time or another to pursue proposals that raised constitutional questions, but they were raised for public hearings anyway.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:44 PM

Man charged with threatening legislators is deacon's son

CONNECTICUT
The Advocate

By Brian Lockhart
Staff Writer
Posted: 03/19/2009 07:39:46 PM EDT

HARTFORD -- The 26-year-old New Britain man charged with sending a harassing e-mail to state Sen. Andrew McDonald, D-Stamford, and state Rep. Michael Lawlor, D-East Haven, over a controversial church financing bill is the son of a retired Catholic deacon.

Timothy Kane allegedly sent McDonald and Lawlor an e-mail containing "alarming and derogatory statements" for their support of a bill allowing the laity greater control over Catholic parish finances.

Timothy Kane is the son of former deacon Joseph Kane, said Michael Culhane, executive director of the Connecticut Catholic Conference. Culhane said he knew the elder Kane, originally from New Britain, but has not spoken to him in a few years. Culhane could not recall which parish he served.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:40 PM

Bishop Morlino: Church is in 'the Truth business' and must respond to credibility crisis

MADISON (WI)
Catholic News Agency

Madison, Wis., Mar 19, 2009 / 07:04 pm (CNA).- In a column published today by the Madison Catholic Herald, Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison, reminds Catholics that the Church’s real business is Truth, not conforming to subjective desires or cultural trends. Bishop Morlino also warns Catholics that they need to respond to what he describes as a "credibility crisis."

In his reflection “at the midpoint of Lent,” Morlino recalls last Sunday’s Gospel reading about Jesus' reaction to the moneychangers and traders in the Temple.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:37 PM

Fresno Diocese Continues to Let "Accused" Child Molester Work with Children

CALIFORNIA
Injury Board

Paul Kiesel

A little over two years ago, a Fresno jury found Father Eric Swearingen guilty (9-3) of molesting a former altar boy, however, Bishop John J. Steinbock has continued to allow this man to work with children at the Holy Spirit Parish in Fresno, California.

What is Bishop Steinbock thinking? Would a school district allow a teacher faced with the same situation as Swearingen (I find it inappropriate to refer to him as "Father," as it shows deference to a man who, frankly, doesn't deserve it) to continue working with children? As a parent, would you want your children around a man like that?

Bishop Steinbock, based on his actions, could care less about the future safety of children within any of his parishes and this was especially punctuated yesterday, as he waltzed into a Fresno courtroom, for another clergy sexual abuse case involving one of his former priests, and casually winked at the jury. His attitude, though, changed almost immediately after being questioned by the plaintiff's attorney, Jeff Anderson.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:33 PM

A Priest the Diocese of Orange Admits Faced an Abuse Accusation Is Still in Ministry In Spain

ORANGE COUNTY (CA)
Orange County Weekly

By GUSTAVO ARELLANO
Published on March 18, 2009 at 10:45am

Where in the World Is Edgardo Jimenez?

A priest the Diocese of Orange admits it removed for an abuse accusation is still in ministry—but not in OC

The latest edition of Lonely Planet’s Peru guide isn’t kind to Chimbote, a coastal city of about 350,000 that houses the largest fishing fleet in the South American country. “You’ll probably smell that fact before you see it,” a writer snarkily remarks.

But there’s another foul stench permeating Peru’s eighth-largest city, one that wafts all the way from the Andes to Anaheim, Central America to Europe. The Weekly has learned that a priest whom the Catholic Diocese of Orange admitted had faced “credible allegations” that he had committed sexual abuse, yet never had his case heard in a criminal or civil court, is still in ministry.

The story of how Edgardo Arrunátegui Jimenez evaded the law to land a cushy gig at Santa María del Parque, a picturesque parish in Madrid, isn’t a mere blast from the past: Two of his enablers continue to hold influential positions in Orange Bishop Tod D. Brown’s hierarchy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:32 PM

New Britain Man Charged With Making E-Mail Threats

CONNECTICUT
Hartford Courant

[with video]

By CHRISTOPHER KEATING | The Hartford Courant March 19, 2009

A New Britain man was charged Wednesday in connection with an e-mailed threat against two Democratic legislators over a controversial bill on the Roman Catholic Church.

Timothy Kane, 26, was charged with second-degree harassment in connection with the e-mail that was sent at 9:12 p.m. on March 10, Capitol police said. The charge is a misdemeanor.

On the following day, the police were told that an e-mail containing "an alarming statement" had been received by state Sen. Andrew McDonald and state Rep. Michael P. Lawlor — the co-chairmen of the legislature's judiciary committee. The two chairmen had been involved with a committee bill that would have changed the legal, financial, and administrative structure of parishes within the Catholic Church. The bill was withdrawn after an outcry that brought about 3,500 people to the Capitol.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:49 PM

Capitol Police Make Arrest in Threat Against Lawmakers

CONNECTICUT
WTIC

Capitol police have arrested a 26-year-old New Britain man, accusing him of sending a threatening e-mail to two state lawmakers. Timothy Kane has been charged with harassment. He was released Wednesday on $500 bond.

The charge stems from an e-mail sent to State Sen. Andrew McDonald, D-Stamford, and State Rep. Michael Lawlor, D-East Haven, concerning a bill on Catholic parish finances.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:47 PM

Angry E-mailer Busted Over Threat

CONNECTICUT
MSNBC

By Brad Drazen and LeAnne Gendreau
NBCConnecticut.com

A bill that would have changed the way the Catholic Church operates made a lot of people, mostly Catholics, angry. Perhaps it made no one angrier than Timothy Kane, 26, of New Britain.

Police said he sent threatening e-mails to State Sen. Andrew McDonald, D-Stamford, and State Rep. Michael Lawlor, D-East Haven, who had proposed giving parishioners more control over local parish finances.

The e-mail made reference to the lawmakers’ homes and insinuated retaliation for Senate Bill 1098, which dealt with parish finances and took some control away from clergy members, police said. That controversy-sparking bill has been withdrawn.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:44 PM

Arrest Made in Threat Against Sen. McDonald, Rep. Lawlor

CONNECTICUT
Hartford Courant

By Christopher Keating on March 18, 2009 9:29 PM

A New Britain man has been arrested and charged in connection with an e-mailed threat against two Democratic legislators over a controversial bill on the Roman Catholic Church.

Timothy Kane, 26, was charged with second-degree harassment in connection with the e-mail that was sent at 9:12 p.m. on March 10, Capitol police said. The charge is a Class C misdemeanor.

On the following day, the police were told that an e-mail containing "an alarming statement'' had been received by state Sen. Andrew McDonald and state Rep. Michael P. Lawlor - the co-chairmen of the legislature's judiciary committee. The police began an immediate investigation, identified the sender, and submitted an affidavit for an arrest warrant to prosecutors in Hartford, according to a statement released by Richard Segreto, a veteran officer and spokesman for the Capitol police.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:40 PM

Royse City Methodist minister pleads guilty to sharing child porn on the Internet

TEXAS
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

By Martha Dellermdeller@star-telegram.com

A former Methodist minister pleaded guilty Thursday to federal charges that he traded sexually explicit, sometimes violent, images of children with other users of an Internet service, federal officials announced.

Steve Richardson, former pastor of the First United Methodist Church in Royse City, was arrested in September after federal agents seized a desktop computer from his office.

He admitted to possessing an external hard drive that contained more than 600 images of child pornography, according to acting U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:29 PM

Archbishop restores errant priest to active ministry

DAYTON (OH)
Dayton Daily News

By Tom Beyerlein
Staff Writer

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Rev. Clarence Heis, who was arrested in 2005 by park rangers who caught him engaging in lewd acts in a park near Fairborn, was restored to active ministry Thursday, March 19, by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

"I am sorry for what happened and I apologize to those I have hurt by my actions," Heis said in a statement released by the archdiocese. "I am grateful for the support I have received from my family and friends."

Heis, 55, will live in Cincinnati and perform priestly functions "as needed," the archdiocese said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:44 PM

Governor Signs Bill to Rename Augusta Bridge

AUGUSTA (ME)
MPBN

Governor John Baldacci today ceremoniously signed a bill to rename an Augusta bridge. The Father Curran Bridge in Augusta will now become the Calumet Bridge at Old Fort Western. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Patsy Crockett, an Augusta Democrat. Crockett introduced the measure after allegations of sexual abuse arose against the bridge's original namesake, Father John Curran. Curran served as priest at St. Augustine Church in Auguta from 1962 to 1972.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:41 PM

VOTF Says It Was Not Involved In Bill on Catholic Church

CONNECTICUT
Hartford Courant

By Christopher Keating on March 19, 2009

Voice of the Faithful, an organization of lay Catholics, says it was not involved in the highly controversial bill that was proposed by the legislature's judiciary committee that would have changed the legal, financial, and administrative structure of the local parishes of the Catholic Church.

The group, which provokes either support or opposition among Catholics, says it has been falsely tied to the bill, which was offered as a raised bill for the committee headed by Sen. Andrew McDonald of Stamford and Rep. Michael P. Lawlor of East Haven.

The group, based in Boston, issued the following statement:

"Since the introduction last week of a Connecticut bill aimed at changing corporate structures of Roman Catholic parishes, various media outlets have reported unsubstantiated claims that VOTF initiated the legislation, supported the legislation, or sought doctrinal changes within the Church. These claims are not true.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:38 PM

Patches a sign of penance for abuse

OREGON
Catholic Sentinel

By Ed Langlois

Some Portland Catholics are returning to sackcloth as a way to repent for sex abuse committed within the church and the world.

In a 21st-century version of an ancient sign of public sorrow, members of The Madeleine and Ascension parishes are creating 2-by-2-inch patches of burlap with a purple ribbon.

In the Old Testament, people donned sackcloth and sat in ashes to signal sorrow for wrongdoing. Purple has become the church’s color of penitence and is used in vestments and liturgical cloths during Lent.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:29 PM

UPDATE: Priest Abuse Case Dismissed

MEMPHIS (TN)
The Daily News

BILL DRIES | The Daily News

One of several civil lawsuits alleging child sexual abuse by a Memphis Catholic priest has been dismissed the same week that the Tennessee Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal in a similar case out of Memphis.

The John Doe lawsuit against the Diocese of Memphis that accused the Rev. Paul St. Charles was dismissed Thursday by Circuit Court Judge Karen Williams after she reviewed the high court’s decision in the John Doe lawsuit filed against the Rev. Daniel DuPree.

The court didn’t give a reason for declining to hear the DuPree appeal. That left intact an appeals court decision that held the victim had waited too long to file his claim against the Catholic Diocese of Memphis. The lawsuit claims church officials in Memphis knew or should have known that DuPree had a history of sexually abusing children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:27 PM

Suspended priest reinstated

CINCINNATI (OH)
Springfield News-Sun

Thursday, March 19, 2009

CINCINNATI — After three years on administrative leave, the Rev. Clarence Heis is returning to priestly ministry, effective today, March 19. He will reside in Cincinnati and celebrate the sacraments in the Archdiocese as needed, according to a release.

A former pastor of St. Michael Parish in Mechanicsburg, Heis, 55, was put on leave by Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk after he was arrested Oct. 19, 2005, at a park in Fairborn. He later pleaded no contest to charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. He was fined and sentenced. No minors were involved in the incident.

While on leave, during which he has not been permitted to present himself as a priest, Heis received counseling to address the issues related to the incident. He has fulfilled the terms of his probation. His psychologist has advised the archdiocese that it would be suitable for Heis to return to active ministry.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:24 PM

Suspended Priest Returns To Active Ministry

CINCINNATI (OH)
WLWT

CINCINNATI -- A Tri-State priest suspended after a 2005 arrest is returning to the active ministry.

Rev. Clarence Heis was restored to the ministry Thursday after three years on administrative leave.

Heis, 54, was arrested in October 2005 on charges of public indecency and resisting arrest after an incident at a park in Fairborn, Ohio, near Dayton.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:21 PM

Fresno bishop: Abusive priest poses no threat

FRESNO (CA)
Catholic Culture

March 19, 2009
A day after Cardinal Roger Mahony took the witness stand in a Fresno clerical abuse case, Fresno Bishop John Steinbock said that the retired priest, who admitted committing abuse, posed no threat to children. Bishop Steinbock said that he could seek the laicization of Msgr. Anthony Herdegen, but “there will be no reason for me to do that, because he is in no position to harm children.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:19 PM

Priest sex case settled for $1.3M

CALIFORNIA
The Press Democrat

By GLENDA ANDERSON
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Santa Rosa has agreed to pay $1.3 million to settle a sexual abuse lawsuit filed against a Lake County priest, the attorney for the plaintiffs said Wednesday.

ttorney Richard Simons, reached by phone in London on Wednesday, also disclosed for the first time that there was a second plaintiff in the lawsuit against the Rev. Ted Oswald and the diocese. He said the second man was not mentioned previously because he wants to remain anonymous.

The two men will split the settlement, which does not include an admission of guilt, Simons said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:24 PM

Lujan quits Gallup Diocese as chancellor

GALLUP (NM)
Gallup Independent

By Elizabeth Hardin-Burrola
Staff writer

News Analysis

GALLUP — All the king’s men just lost another member.
The Diocese of Gallup announced earlier this week that Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, the current apostolic administrator for the diocese, has accepted the resignation of Deacon Timoteo Lujan, the chancellor for the diocese and one of several chancery officials most closely associated with former Bishop Donald E. Pelotte.

The announcement was made on Monday in the diocese’s online newsletter that is e-mailed each week by Communications Director Lee Lamb. The very brief announcement stated Lujan has been replaced by the Rev. Matthew Keller, who has been appointed as chancellor pro-tem. Based on Keller’s temporary title, diocese observers expect incoming Bishop-elect James S. Wall will appoint his own chancellor after his ordination/installation ceremony on April 23. ...

Over the last two decades, during a time when most Catholic dioceses across the country lost many aging priests to retirement and death, Pelotte compounded the problem in the Diocese of Gallup by pushing out of the diocese many popular and hardworking priests who angered Pelotte by raising concerns about the tolerance of sexual misconduct within the diocese, the lack of diocesan financial accountability, the sale of church assets, and Pelotte’s own personal problems.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:19 PM

Why is The OC Hispanic Bar Association Hosting a Reception for a Pedo-Apologist Bishop?

ORANGE COUNTY (CA)
Orange County Weekly

By Gustavo Arellano in Illegals, Illegals, Illegals!

For the past two years, I've donated a signed copy of my book and a dinner date* with me to the Hispanic Bar Association of Orange County's annual fundraising dinner for auctioning purposes; in 2007, I was co-emcee of the event. But I'm afraid I will have to boycott this fine organization from now on; they're holding an April 2 reception for the newest Diocese of Orange Bishop, Cirilo Flores, next week at the Monticello-like First American Title Insurance offices in downtown SanTana alongside the pedo-priest-protector apologist St. Thomas More Society.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:59 AM

Most child sex offenders first-timers

AUSTRALIA
The Age

Selma Milovanovic
March 20, 2009
INVESTMENT in tracking sex offenders is misdirected as almost all people charged with sexual offences against children aged 10-16 have no prior convictions for sex offences, Victoria's sentencing experts say.

The Sentencing Advisory Council is seeking submissions on the adequacy of maximum penalties for sexual penetration of children under 16.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:44 AM

Priest avoids prison for sex assaults on schoolboys

IRELAND
Belfast Telegraph

Thursday, 19 March 2009

A priest has walked free from Dublin Circuit Criminal Court after receiving a suspended sentence for the sexual assault of two schoolboys nearly 40 years ago.

Fr Henry Maloney, with an address at the Holy Ghost Fathers, Kimmage Manor in Dublin 6, pleaded guilty to assaulting the boys at St Mary's College in Rathmines in Dublin.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard Henry Maloney would assault the boys in corridors and classrooms even in the presence of other students.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:41 AM

Antics in courtroom so outrageous even Judge says, What are you even doing here?

CALIFORNIA
Examiner

Kay Ebeling
LA City Buzz Examiner

On all sides of him, church attorneys were popping up and making points. Tim Hale sat alone for the plaintiffs. The two on his left were from San Mateo, in front was the usual gaggle who represent the L.A. archdiocese, the bishop, the corporation, they overlap. Two more defense attorneys from San Francisco had to sit in jury seats. Plus there were a couple questionable creatures in the viewing area next to me.

I did not have to go to Fresno this week to know that Cardinal Mahony would testify, "I don’t recall,” when they finally got him on the stand, and as reported in about 20 different media outlets, The Archbishop of Los Angeles did go under oath in public in Fresno and say: “I don't recall any case while I was here of allegations of sexual abuse of a child. I don’t know how it would be handled because I don’t recall it" last week.

Meanwhile here in L.A. Tuesday was a day like any other, with yet another hearing on release of priest personnel files, this time regarding Santa Barbara Franciscan Friars, whose documents were ordered to be released in 2006. The Church has quietly fought against their release since. So while mainstream media flocked to report on Roger Mahony testifying, “I don't recall,” here from my notes is what took place Tuesday in a hearing in Department 308 L.A. Superior Court, where Judge Emilie Elias at one point crinkled her nose at a church attorney and said, “I don't have any idea what the issue is here.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:35 AM

Ex-priest who raped altar boy wants to live in NH; sex abuse victims respond

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

The hierarchy of the church recruited, educated, employed, fed, housed and shielded Robert Gale. When he was ordained, he took a vow of obedience to his bishop. Now that he has been convicted of horrific crimes, the hierarchy has once again done the bare minimum to protect the innocent and the vulnerable and washed their hands of the whole matter.

The Catholic Church has many housing facilities for pedophile priests. Gale could live in such a setting where he would be at least minimally supervised and neighbors are at least aware that the residents pose a threat.

Now more than ever it is important for anyone who saw, suspected or suffered criminal acts at the hands of Robert gale to come forward, seek help and alert law enforcement. We suspect there are many others who have been hurt by Gale, and we hope that some of these crimes can be prosecuted. When predators are behind bars, then children are safe.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:36 AM

Priest, inmate reach settlement in sex case

PENNSYLVANIA
The Tribune-Democrat

By KATHY MELLOTT
The Tribune-Democrat

A settlement between a former inmate at the state prison in Cresson and a Franciscan priest was reached Wednesday at U.S. District Court in Johnstown

The inmate, William Victor, now at SCI-Fayette, filed a civil suit in November 2007 against the Rev. Gerard M. Connolly, 67, seeking damages in excess of $3 million. Victor said in the suit the two had sexual contact at the Cresson prison.

The terms of the settlement were sealed immediately, said federal Magistrate Keith Pesto. However, it was indicated the agreed-upon amount was far less than what Victor had sought.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:11 AM

Paroled child rapist owns property in NH

NEW HAMPSHIRE
New Hampshire Union Leader

By KATHRYN MARCHOCKI
New Hampshire Union Leader Staff

Robert V. Gale, 67, the defrocked Massachusetts priest who wants to serve his probation in New Hampshire on a child rape conviction has family ties in Manchester and has owned a waterfront camp on Sunrise Lake in Middleton since 1983.

Former Boston archdiocesan priest, Gale began serving 25 years probation Saturday after his release from the Massachusetts Treatment Center for the Sexually Dangerous in Bridgewater, Mass.

As a special condition of his probation, the sentencing judge ordered Gale immediately report to the Massachusetts probation department "to begin his process of transferring his case to New Hampshire," Bay State probation department spokeswoman Coria A. Holland said yesterday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:07 AM

Video: Attorney for plaintiffs on bending of copyright law by Franciscan defense

CALIFORNIA
Examiner

[with video]

Kay Ebeling
LA City Buzz Examiner

Letters by an employee inserted in another employee’s personnel file somehow become protected by copyright law, according to Catholic Church attorneys arguing in L.A. Superior Court March 17. Tim Hale, attorney for plaintiffs in Santa Barbara, who has pursued release of personnel files since those cases settled in 2006, spoke on camera, here is the gist of the interview, in video below

Q: The problems you are having now, do they predict problems L.A. plaintiffs will have in the future regarding personnel file release?

HALE: I don't know if it’s necessarily a predictor of what's going to happen, but it is certainly a possibility that the same objections and the creative lawyering that we're seeing in the context of the Franciscan document dispute will be raised in the Los Angeles proceeding. but it certainly is quite possible.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:01 AM

Probation continued for former minister

CARROLLTON (IL)
The Telegraph

March 18, 2009 - 11:12 PM
By MAGGIE BORMAN
The Telegraph
CARROLLTON - A judge Wednesday accepted a motion by the state and a public defender to continue probation for a former Greene County Baptist minister who admitted sexually abusing a female minor.

Scott County Judge Lois Bell accepted the motion in Greene County Circuit Court in the case of Jeffrey D. Heberlein, 45, of Adams County.

Heberlein was sentenced in September 2006 to four years of probation after pleading guilty to aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a female minor from June 1, 2003, through June 1, 2004.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:36 AM

Issues of parish closings and Catholic Church's sex-abuse settlements are not related

CLEVELAND (OH)
The Plain Dealer

Posted by Robert Tayek, Cleveland March 19, 2009 04:17AM

Tayek is director of media and public relations for the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland.

This is a response to Mel Maurer's letter Tuesday asserting that the closing of parishes in the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland would not be necessary had money not been spent to settle clergy sexual abuse cases. For the record -- expenditures for compensation, treatment and legal fees were made from the Diocese's Property and Casualty Insurance Reserve Fund, a fund established more than 20 years ago. No diocesan general fund or Catholic Charities money was ever used.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:33 AM

Newspaper Moves to Open Priest Abuse Records

MEMPHIS (TN)
The Daily News

BILL DRIES | The Daily News

The Daily News has filed a motion to intervene in a Circuit Court lawsuit alleging child sexual abuse by a Memphis Catholic priest.

The newspaper is seeking to open records in the recently settled John Doe lawsuit filed against the Catholic Diocese of Memphis, The Dominican religious order and Father Juan Carlos Duran.

Duran sexually abused John Doe when Doe was 14 years old.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:30 AM

Cardinal Mahony appears in court for Fresno sex abuse trial

FRESNO (CA)
Catholic News Agency

Los Angeles, Calif., Mar 19, 2009 / 03:17 am (CNA).- Archbishop of Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony on Tuesday testified at a civil trial concerning a clergy sexual abuse case in the Diocese of Fresno. He told jurors he did not recall any allegations of sexual abuse during his time as an official there, and that if someone was aware of it occurring it should have been reported immediately.

Cardinal Mahony was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Fresno in 1962 and became its auxiliary bishop in 1975.

Two brothers, George and Howard Santillan, allege that they were molested by a parish priest in the town of Wasco between 1959 and 1973. They also allege in the lawsuit that the diocese failed to protect the children from abuse and failed to address it, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:27 AM

Sacked lawyer launches £5m sex abuse case against Jesuits

UNITED KINGDOM
Evening Standard

Jonathan Prynn

A FORMER high flying City lawyer has launched a £5million sex abuse claim against his Catholic school.

The victim, who was a partner at one of London's biggest firms, said his promising career was ruined because of "inappropriate behaviour" triggered by years of abuse as a child.

The case is due to begin at the High Court on Monday and will be by far the biggest claim of its kind seen in Britain. The largest damages payout for sex abuse so far is £600,000.

The 50-year-old solicitor, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, attended the Jesuit-run Preston Catholic College between 1969 and 1976. He was a contemporary of TV football pundit Mark Lawrenson, who has described the horrific beatings he suffered by priests while he was a schoolboy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:24 AM

Diocese settles civil lawsuit against Lakeport priest

LAKEPORT (CA)
Lake County News

Written by Elizabeth Larson
Thursday, 19 March 2009

LAKEPORT – The Diocese of Santa Rosa has settled a civil lawsuit filed last year that named the diocese and a former Lakeport priest.

The lawsuit, filed by Christopher Griego, 31, of Tracy, had alleged he had been sexually abused by Father Ted Oswald, 63, between 1988 and 1995, as Lake County News has reported.

Dan Galvin, the diocese's attorney, confirmed the case was settled but would offer no other details about the settlement.

“Out of respect for the plaintiff we're not going to comment,” he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:21 AM

Iranian Official: Nobody Sees What Pope Does in Vatican

IRAN
Arutz Sheva (Israel)

by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

(IsraelNN.com) A member of Iran’s Supreme Council for Cultural Revolution has claimed that the Pope traveled overseas to compensate alleged victims of sexual attacks by alleged homosexual priests. The comments of Hassan Rahimpour Azghadi were made several months ago and translated for publication on Wednesday by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

Azghadi, addressing viewers on Iranian television, charged that the pope traveled to the United States and Australia to compensate victims of alleged sexual abuse by priests.

The Iranian official’s function is to help export the Islamic Revolution and act against Western influence and feminism.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:18 AM

March 18, 2009

San Mateo County's Catholic churches raising awareness of child abuse

SAN FRANCISCO (CA)
San Mateo County Times

By Christine Morente
San Mateo County Times

SAN FRANCISCO — In a virtual world, a fourth-grade kid with spiky blue hair teaches children what kind of touching is OK and what isn't.

For about 45 minutes, "Eddie Zeffer," or "EZ" as he likes to be called, hosts mini-dramas and interactive role plays to show kids how to be safe from adults, bullies and other children.

The site is shieldthevulnerable.org, and the Archdiocese of San Francisco uses it to train not only kids, but its employees and volunteers on how to recognize, report and prevent child abuse.

Awareness will be ramped up for Child Abuse Prevention Month in April, said Deacon John Norris, director of pastoral ministry at the archdiocese, which serves Roman Catholics who live in San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin counties.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:54 PM

Protests planned over NH pastor taking in parolee

CHICHESTER (NH)
WHDH

CHICHESTER, N.H. -- Chichester, N.H., residents have created a neighborhood watch program to monitor the home of a pastor who has taken in a paroled child-killer.

The Rev. David Pinckney took in 60-year-old Raymond Guay this weekend while Guay looks for work and a permanent place to live. Eight people gathered across the street Wednesday night to discuss the watch program, and resident Kenneth Smith said he will allow the group to use his yard as a base.

Residents also are circulating a petition asking for 24-hour police surveillance of the home.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:49 PM

If half of this is true, how is it possible to take the Catholic Church seriously?

UNITED STATES
Crowhill Weblog

by Greg Krehbiel, March 18th, 2009

See this review of Leon Podles’ book on the sex-abuse crisis, or read excerpts from the introduction.

When the abuse crisis flared up several years ago I decided that I would not give any money to the archdiocese until I saw genuine reform — “pink palace” seminaries closed, bishops sacked, enablers exposed and tried, etc.

There hasn’t been genuine reform. I think the Catholic Church’s strategy is to wait until the problem simmers down and people forget about it. That seems to be working, by and large.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:35 PM

A Response to “Marciworld”

UNITED STATES
First Things

Marci A. Hamilton
Martin and Melissa Nussbaum have written an indefensible and disingenuous review of my book, Justice Denied: What America Must Do to Protect its Children. A point-by-point refutation of some of their many scurrilous statements reveals that “MartyWorld” is a world filled with biased misrepresentations.

Nussbaums: “If Hamilton’s goal is to stop child abuse through the repeal of statutes of limitation in every state, and if child abuse is a more pervasive problem in public institutions than in private ones, why does Hamilton concentrate on private institutions and, in particular, the Catholic Church?”

Hamilton: Did they miss page 72 (among many others)? “The reality: SOL reform is all about children, not the Church. SOL reform will protect all children and deter perpetrators as well as any institutions aiding them. The 70-80 percent of survivors who were abused by family or family friends need it just as much as the hierarchy’s victims. But the Catholic hierarchy has lobbied as though theirs was the only entity affected.” To the point about singling out the Church, the Nussbaums might also have read Chapters 5 and 7, in which I focus on the insurance industry, public school teacher unions, and defense attorneys.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:32 PM

Judge gives lawyer 90 days to find alleged enforcer of evangelist Tony Alamo for civil suit

ARKANSAS
The Seattle Times

By JON GAMBRELL
Associated Press Writer

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. —
A lawyer who filed a civil lawsuit against Tony Alamo has 90 days to track down the man who reportedly served as the jailed evangelist's enforcer, even though the man being sought has successfully eluded arrest on state and federal warrants for months.

U.S. District Judge Harry F. Barnes issued an order Wednesday setting the deadline for finding John Erwin Kolbeck, 49, of Fort Smith. Both Alamo and Kolbeck are named in a federal civil lawsuit filed by two former ministry members who claim they were beaten and abused as teenagers.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:23 PM

Victim Takes Stand at Priest Molestation Trial

FRESNO (CA)
CBS 47

The alleged victim in a sexual abuse trial against the Fresno Catholic Diocese took the stand on Wednesday.

George Santillan, now 59-years-old, testified in Fresno County Superior Court. He claims that between 1959 and 1973 that he and his brother were molested by a Wasco priest.

On the witness stand, Santillan said, “He would come out of his bedroom with a sheet… He’d lay it on the floor… bring out rubbing alcohol… After that was over… He would get up, roll up the sheet and take it with him.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:54 PM

BOCES tutor at Bishop Kearney High School charged with sexual abuse

IRONDEQUOIT (NY)
MPN Now

By Linda Quinlan, staff writer
Irondequoit Post
Posted Mar 18, 2009 @ 04:24 PM

Irondequoit, N.Y. — .Irondequoit police have a high school tutor in custody following an investigation that got under- way earlier this week.

Lisa K. Marshall, 37, of Lakebreeze Park, Irondequoit, has been charged today with one court of third-degree sexual abuse and three counts of endangering the welfare of child. She is being held in the Irondequoit Police Department lockup, awaiting arraignment late this afternoon or early evening in Irondequoit Town Court.

Donna Dedee, president of Bishop Kearney High School, said Marshall has been an employee of Monroe No. 1 BOCES and assigned to Bishop Kearney High School, in the special education area, for two years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:46 PM

Fai Notizia

ITALY
Fai Notizia

[Here is the link to the video of the conference]

Presso il Due Torri-Hotel Baglioni di Verona, sabato u.s. si è tenuta una conferenza-dibattito, organizzata dall'Associazione ex-allievi dell'Istituto Provolo di Verona con i Radicali. Conferenziere era l'On. Maurizio Turco. Titolo della Conferenza "Le politiche "vaticane" sulla pedofilia clericale dai Tribunali americani al caso dell'Istituto Provolo di Verona." Che vi sarebbe stata tale conferenza erano stati per tempo informati i media cittadini: il quotidiano L'ARENA, il Corriere della Sera nel suo inserto regionale, la RAI3 regionale.

[translation]

A conference titled "TheVatican policies about the pedophile priests from the American courts to the case of the Provolo Institute in Verona" was held last Saturday at the Due Torri Baglioni Hotel in Verona. It was sponsored by the Provolo Institute and the Italian Radical Party and speaker was Mr. Maurizio Turco, member of the Italian House of Deputies.

The local media had all been informed about the conference but none of the journalists of the daily local newspaper “l’Arena” and those of the “Corriere della Sera” and the Italian State TV gave any news before the event took place.

Mr. Maurizio Turco’s speech was very precise and well-documented. The conference was attended by about fifty deaf -mute former pupils of the Provolo Institute in Verona and its President, a splendid person who is able to hear, together with other citizens.

The day after the conference only the local weekly newspaper “L’Arena” published the following article:

ABUSES IN THE INSTITUTE, THE ASSOCIATION ATTACKS THE BISHOP
The curia: We never received any formal charges.

The statement made by the President Mr. Giorgio Dalla Bernardina resounded in the Due Torri Hotel conference hall a few minutes before the conference dedicated to “The Vatican Policies about pedophile priests, from the American courts to the case of the Provolo Institute in Verona”. The President of the Association of the most numerous number of deaf people in the Province announced: "This morning I filed a suit for libel against the bishop of Verona for the defaming statements he made against me and the Provolo Association”. He didn’t add anything for there followed a resounding applause. The announcement follows the statements he made during a press conference in the House of the Deputies at the Montecitorio Palace in Rome, after the national magazine “L’Espresso” had published an article containing numerous charges made by the deaf and mute former pupils who had been abused sexually by religious and lay teachers tens of years before. Very dramatic stories containing also mistreatments, physical violences and very harsh punishments. Unfortunately those facts can’t be tried anymore because of the statute of limitation.

During the conference an appeal was made to Monsignor Zenghi to convince the accused priests to accept to be tried in any case. But a short and formal answer was given by the curia: “We never received any formal denunciations for the alleged pedophile acts, otherwise we would have acted. The silence has lasted until the last alleged episode fell into the statute of limitation and that’s something we can’t understand.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:32 PM

High School Tutor Charged with Sexual Abuse of Student

IRONDEQUOIT (NY)
WHAM

(Irondequoit, N.Y.) -- Irondequoit Police said they have arrested a BOCES tutor for allegedly having inappropriate sexual contact with at least one of the students she was tutoring.

Police have charged Lisa Marshall, 37, of Irondequoit, with one count of third-degree sexual abuse and three counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

At the time of the alleged incidents, Marshall had been employed by Monroe 1 BOCES and assigned to work with students at Bishop Kearney High School.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:28 PM

Madison's Morlino noted for othodoxy, controversy

BELOIT (WI)
National Catholic Reporter

[Ruth Kolpack's letter to the parish]

Mar. 18, 2009
By THOMAS C. FOX, NCR staff

Madison Bishop Robert Morlino’s dismissal of a pastoral associate in a Beloit, Wis., parish for alleged breaches of orthodoxy might have surprised some, but not local Catholics who know their bishop’s mind and are familiar with actions he has taken in his five years in the diocese.

Ruth Kolpack was let go from her post at St. Thomas the Apostle Church, one that she held since 1995, after meeting with Morino for 10 minutes earlier this month. During that meeting he asked her for an oath of loyalty and to denounce a scholarly thesis, supportive of women’s rights in the church, that she had written in 2003.

She agreed to the former, refused the later -- and she was out of a job.
The bishop’s action has touched off a firestorm of protest inside and outside the diocese, which refuses to offer specifics for the dismissal, citing the need to respect Kolpack’s privacy. ...

Meanwhile, Morlino serves as chairman of the board of visitors for the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, formerly known as the School of the Americas. He has denied any wrongdoing by this military school that for decades has trained military officers from Latin America. Former students from this school have been accused of thousands of political killings, including the assassination of six Jesuit priests in El Salvador.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:20 PM

Pope demands halt to sexual, financial scandals

CAMEROON
National Catholic Reporter

Mar. 18, 2009
By John L Allen Jr
Vatican

On a day in which his focus turned largely to the inner life of the church, Pope Benedict XVI indirectly, yet unmistakably, demanded a halt to financial and sexual scandals that have recently tarnished the image of Catholicism in Africa, a continent that is otherwise perhaps the most compelling “good news” story for the church in the world in light of dramatic 20th century growth.

Speaking to the bishops of Cameroon, the pope called for greater oversight of priests and religious.

“I urge you to be especially vigilant regarding the faithfulness of priests and consecrated persons to the commitments made at their ordination or entry into religious life,” Benedict told the bishops in a meeting in Christ the King Church in Tsinga, outside the national capital of Yaoundè.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:16 PM

Pastor found guilty in spanking case

ILLINOIS
Chicago Breaking Newsi

March 18, 2009 12:29 PM
A former Elgin pastor was found guilty today on two counts of battery for spanking a 12-year-old girl brought to him for counseling after she said she had been sexually abused.

Rev. Daryl Bujak was found not guilty on charges that he failed to report the claims of sexual abuse.

Bujak will be sentenced later today by Judge Allen Anderson, who found him guilty during a two-day bench trial at the Kane County Courthouse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:47 PM

Sex-Abuse Statute Bill Clears Hurdle

NEW YORK
The Jewish Week

by Hella Winston
Special To The Jewish Week

A bill in the New York State legislature to extend the criminal and civil statutes of limitations on child sexual abuse, and to open a one-year window for victims to file civil suits regardless of when the alleged abuse took place, appears to be splitting the Orthodox community. And it is revealing what may be a growing gap between some of the established communal organizations and the people they claim to represent.

The bill, which was sponsored by Assemblywoman Margaret Markey (D-Queens), cleared its first hurdle on Tuesday when it was approved 11-8 by the Assembly Codes Committee. It will now be scheduled for a vote on the Assembly floor.

A rival bill, sponsored by Assemblyman Vito Lopez (D-Brooklyn), was defeated by the committee. The Lopez bill, which was supported by the Catholic Church, extended the statutes of limitations by fewer years and, significantly, did not contain the one-year window provision. The Markey bill has a Senate sponsor, Sen. Thomas Duane (D-Manhattan).

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:44 PM

In Abuse Case, Press Charges Or Help The Victim?

TEANECK (NJ)
The Jewish Week

by Temima Shulman
Special to The Jewish Week

A rabbinic expert on abuse in the Jewish community told a conference in Teaneck, N.J., dealing with child sexual abuse last week that “working outside of law enforcement is irresponsible,” and was highly critical of the efforts of Borough Park Assemblyman Dov Hikind.

Rabbi Mark Dratch, who heads JSafe, a not-for-profit organization that addresses issues of abuse in the Jewish community, depicted Hikind, who has been outspoken in recent months in calling attention to the problem of abuse in the Orthodox community, as trying to be an advocate for the abused while refusing to give over the names of alleged perpetrators he says he has amassed to the police.

Speaking to about 35 people at a daylong conference sponsored by UTJ, the Union for

Traditional Judaism, the rabbi said that Jewish law calls for reporting alleged perpetrators to the authorities.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:39 PM

Minister guilty of battery in paddling girl

ST. CHARLES (IL)
The Courier News

March 18, 2009

By ERIN CALANDRIELLO ecalandriello@scn1.com
ST. CHARLES — A judge today found the former minister of an Elgin church guilty of two counts of misdemeanor battery for spanking a girl he thought was lying about claims of sexual abuse by her stepfather.

The Rev. Daryl P. Bujak was found not guilty of another charge of failure to report suspected sexual abuse.

The ruling was handed down by 16th Circuit Court Judge Allen Anderson following a bench trial that began Tuesday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:36 PM

Creative new way to abuse copyright law by Church attorneys in L.A. Tuesday

CALIFORNIA
Examiner

Kay Ebeling
LA City Buzz Examiner

It takes Ralph Steadman art to illustrate what happened in L.A. Superior Court Tuesday regarding privacy rights versus the public’s right to know. Pedophiles who happen to be Franciscan Friars as well had eight attorneys appearing in court to represent them and keep information about their crimes, and how they were able to commit those crimes within a religious hierarchy in Santa Barbara, from ever being released to the public. I bet to the one attorney there to represent the plaintiffs, it seemed like a nightmare attack of Ralph Steadman creatures.

A June 2007 decision in a different courtroom, same building, should have stopped any further interference with release of personnel files on these six sexual predator Santa Barbara Franciscan Friars. At that time Judge Peter Lichtman ruled that the safety of children far outweighs the privacy concerns of the priests.

But now out of left field, no, worse, out of the stands, not even part of the team up to now, representing “Bystanders” comes a whole new team of attorneys wanting to go all the way back to the beginning. Here is where you see real “creative lawyering.” These attorneys represent other Franciscan Friars, not named as perpetrators - yet - who wrote letters that happen to be in the personnel files.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:44 PM

Cardinal Mahony testifies in Fresno abuse case

FRESNO (CA)
Catholic Culture

March 18, 2009
Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles testified that clerical sexual abuse that allegedly took place at a Diocese of Fresno parish between 1959 and 1973 was never brought to his attention. “I don't recall any case while I was here of allegations of sexual abuse of a child,” Cardinal Mahony said. “I don't know how it would be handled, because I don't recall it.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:48 AM

Grand Rapids Diocese won't release name of deceased accused priest who can't defend himself

GRAND RAPIDS (MI)
The Grand Rapids Press

by By Charles Honey | The Grand Rapids Press
Wednesday March 18, 2009, 10:32 AM
GRAND RAPIDS -- Officials of the Grand Rapids Catholic Diocese say they will not release the name of a deceased priest alleged to have committed sexual abuse because he has no way to defend himself.

"There's no way he can speak on his behalf," diocesan spokeswoman Mary Haarman said this morning. "It's just a basic policy that even civil authorities follow.

"We also want to respect the victim (regarding) how much information we give," she added.

In an annual survey by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Grand Rapids Diocese reported it received credible allegations of sexual abuse against two priests in 2008. It named the other priest as Shamaun Beas, who is in prison after being convicted of sexually molesting two teen-age girls and being caught in a 2004 Internet sex sting.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:45 AM

Memoir details alleged abuse at orphanage

LOUISVILLE (KY)
Courier-Journal

By Peter Smith • psmith@courier-journal.com • March 18, 2009

A blurry photo -- one of the few from Kim Michele Richardson's childhood -- shows a girl with a half-smile wearing a white dress and veil, borrowed for her First Communion.

The story behind the photo, according to Richardson's new memoir, is of a day of torture that she says was typical of her childhood years at a Roman Catholic orphanage near Anchorage in the 1960s.

She writes that the nun in charge of her dormitory beat her that day while dressing her, breaking her arm, and that she received her First Communion from a priest who would later molest her.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:32 AM

Nuns in India are not emancipated women: Cardinal

INDIA
Indian Catholic

KOCHI: A biography on Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) says nuns in India are not emancipated women and they are often kept under submission by the fear of revenge by priests.

Cardinal Vithayathil’s outspoken view on nuns appear in ‘Straight from the Heart,’ a biography on him penned by Father Paul Thelakat, spokesperson of Syro Malabar Church and editor of Sathyadeepam.

The biography says nuns in India are humiliated by priests and they live in fear and time has come to free the nuns from the "pitiable situation'' they are in.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:13 AM

Pastor bars Florida VOTF from holding annual Mass over group’s restructuring efforts

NAPLES (FL)
Catholic News Agency

Naples, Fla., Mar 18, 2009 / 06:20 am (CNA).- Citing Voice of the Faithful’s advocacy of church restructuring, the pastor of a Catholic church in Naples, Florida has barred the Southwest Florida VOTF affiliate from celebrating its annual Mass at the parish.

St. John the Evangelist Church pastor Rev. John Ludden told the Naples News that he was concerned about the organization as a whole because “they’re becoming a group within the church that are aligning themselves with other groups that ... don’t trust the hierarchy and want to change our structure.”

Voice of the Faithful (VOTF), a self-described church reform group, advocates a “strategic plan” which would reduce pastoral and episcopal governance of parishes and dioceses. CNA has reported the strategic plan is “remarkably similar” to a recently proposed Connecticut bill that aimed to forcibly reorganize the Church in Connecticut.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:45 AM

Minister in spanking case: Alleged victim testifies about beatings

ILLINOIS
Chicago Tribune

By Clifford Ward and John Keilman | Chicago Tribune
March 18, 2009
Rev. Daryl Bujak didn't believe the girl when she said she had been sexually abused, and he wanted to cure her rebellious at-home behavior. So week after week, when her mother brought her in for counseling, he allegedly punished her with a bruising spanking.

"He didn't want me to grow up and become a liar and go to hell," the girl told a Kane County judge Tuesday, describing what she said happened in 2005.

Authorities believe she was telling the truth and later arrested Matthew Resh of Ingleside, who is charged with five counts of predatory criminal sexual assault.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:34 AM

Alleged victim testifies at spanking trial

ST. CHARLES (IL)
The Courier News

March 18, 2009

By ERIN CALANDRIELLO ecalandriello@scn1.com
ST. CHARLES -- In a case that began three years ago, an Elgin pastor criminally charged for allegedly spanking a 12-year-old female parishioner went on trial Tuesday.

The Rev. Daryl P. Bujak, 32, of the First Missionary Baptist Church, 385 Silver St., is charged with two misdemeanor counts of battery and one misdemeanor count of failure to report suspected sexual abuse. He has been free on bond since his arrest.

Witnesses testifying on the first day of the bench trial before 16th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Allan Anderson included the alleged victim, Cassie Resh, 16, and her mother, Brenda Resh, who live in Richmond.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:31 AM

Panel advances bill on lapsed sex cases

NEW YORK
Albany Times Union

By JAMES M. ODATO, Capitol bureau
First published in print: Wednesday, March 18, 2009

ALBANY — A bill that would allow for the reopening of lapsed cases of sexual abuse of children is moving to both legislative chambers despite strong opposition from religious organizations fearing bankruptcy if alleged victims get an extension on the statute of limitations to sue.

The Codes Committee of the Assembly passed the measure Tuesday, meaning it will be sent to the general body soon, and the Democrat-controlled Senate companion piece gained more sponsors, including the head of that chamber's Codes Committee, Sen. Eric Schneiderman.

The bill creates a one-year window of opportunity to revive a "dead" case if the claim comes with a certificate from a professional, such as a psychologist, who opines that the alleged victim probably was subjected to one or more acts of child sexual abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:28 AM

Country is in denial on child protection, claims ombudsman

IRELAND
Irish Independent

By Patricia McDonagh

Wednesday March 18 2009

THE Children's Ombudsman has warned that the country is still in a "level of denial" when it comes to protecting children at risk.

Emily Logan says there is no legal obligation on people working with children to protect their best interests.

And there is no system to automatically investigate the circumstances which lead to the deaths of any child -- even those at risk or in care.

The comments come in the wake of a series of child protection scandals.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:26 AM

Controversial sex abuse bill passes State Assembly committee

NEW YORK
Newsday

BY JAMES T. MADORE | james.madore@newsday.com
March 18, 2009

ALBANY - A controversial bill that would temporarily lift the statute of limitations on lawsuits alleging sexual abuse of children was adopted Tuesday by an Assembly committee.

In an 11-8 vote, the Codes Committee sent the legislation from Assemb. Margaret M. Markey (D- Maspeth) to the Assembly floor for a vote, which could occur in a few weeks. The measure passed the legislature's lower chamber three times previously only to die in the then-Republican-controlled State Senate.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D- Manhattan) told Newsday the bill would be brought to a vote. "There is no short circuit - it comes to the floor, that's our process."

Still, powerful interests such as the Catholic Church oppose the legislation because it gives people alleging sexual abuse as children a special one-year window to file suit in civil court, regardless of how long ago the abuse occurred. The one-year period would start when the bill is signed into law.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:22 AM

Santa Rosa diocese settles abuse lawsuit against Lake County priest

SANTA ROSA (CA)
The Seattle Times

SANTA ROSA, Calif. —
The Catholic Diocese of Santa Rosa has settled a lawsuit against a Lake County priest accused of sexually abusing a boy more than a decade ago.

Diocese officials said Tuesday that they can't give out any details of last month's settlement in the case involving the Rev. Ted Oswald.

The diocese previously has acknowledged paying nearly $25 million to an undisclosed number of people who asserted they were molested by at least six priests.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:16 AM

Ex-priest who raped altar boy wants to live in NH

NEW HAMPSHIRE
New Hampshire Union Leader

By KATHRYN MARCHOCKI
New Hampshire Union Leader Staff

A defrocked Massachusetts priest was released from prison Saturday after serving more than four years for raping an altar boy and now wants to serve his 25 years probation in New Hampshire, according to officials and a published report.

Robert V. Gale, 67, walked out of the Massachusetts Treatment Center for the Sexually Dangerous in Bridgewater, Mass., upon completion of his sentence Saturday, Massachusetts corrections department spokeswoman Diane Wiffin said yesterday. The former Boston archdiocesan priest was released to the streets, she said.

Gale currently is listed as a Level 3 sex offender living in the northern Boston suburb of Everett, Mass., according to the Massachusetts sex offender registry.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:14 AM

Cardinal Roger Mahoney Testifies in Fresno Clergy Sex Abuse Lawsuit

FRESNO (CA)
KMPH

[with video]

By Ashley Ritchie and Winston Whitehurst

Cardinal Roger Mahoney walked out of the Fresno courthouse Tuesday after just his second time testifying in a clergy sex abuse lawsuit.

At the center of the allegations are brothers George and Howard Santillan, who claim they were sexually abused by their Wasco priest, Anthony Herdegen, for more than 14 years.

"The fundamental question is: did the diocese know or should they have known?" David Clohessy said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:09 AM

Mahony testifies at molestation trial

FRESNO (CA)
Fresno Bee

Tuesday, Mar. 17, 2009
By Paula Lloyd / The Fresno Bee

Cardinal Roger Mahony, leader of the nation's largest Roman Catholic archdiocese in Los Angeles, was the star witness Tuesday in a Fresno County Superior Court civil trial involving two brothers who say a priest molested them as children.

Mahony occupied the witness stand most of Tuesday's first day of testimony.

Brothers George and Howard Santillan say they were sexually abused by their priest, Monsignor Anthony Herdegen, as boys growing up in Wasco. The brothers say the abuse happened from 1959 to 1973 when Howard Santillan was between 5 and 19 years old and George Santillan was between 10 and 15.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:04 AM

For 2008 report, Grand Rapids Catholic Diocese lists allegations against two priests: one imprisoned, the other dead

GRAND RAPIDS (MI)
Grand Rapids Press

by Charles Honey | Press Religion Editor
Wednesday March 18, 2009, 5:55 AM
GRAND RAPIDS -- The Grand Rapids Catholic Diocese received three credible sexual-abuse allegations against two priests last year, but is refusing to identify one of them.

The unnamed priest is deceased and the alleged abuse occurred 40 years ago, diocesan spokeswoman Mary Haarman said. She declined to give further information, and Bishop Walter Hurley did not respond to requests for comment.

Shamaun BeasShe identified one priest with two allegations as Shamaun Beas, who was convicted last year on two counts of fourth-degree sexual criminal conduct for sexually molesting two teenage sisters. Beas, who served parishes in Portland and Sparta, already was serving six to 20 years for a 2004 Internet sex sting.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:59 AM

March 17, 2009

Childhood Sex Abuse Bill Passes Hurdle in N.Y. Assembly Committee

NEW YORK
The National Law Journal

New York Law Journal
Joel Stashenko

March 18, 2009

A New York Assembly committee Tuesday approved a bill that would give victims of sexual abuse a year to revive currently time-barred civil suits but defeated for now a new alternative bill that is favored by the Roman Catholic Church to provide victims with far more limited statute-of-limitations relief.

The bill that advanced in the Codes Committee by an 11-8 margin, A2596/S2568, has passed the Assembly with bipartisan support each year since 2006 but has been bottled up in the Senate due to Republican opposition.

With the Senate now in Democratic control, final passage of the bill in the Legislature is considered more likely this year. Governor David A. Paterson supported the bill when he was a state senator.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:21 PM

LA Cardinal testifies in valley church abuse case

FRESNO (CA)
San Francisco Chronicle

By GARANCE BURKE, Associated Press Writer

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

(03-17) 18:57 PDT Fresno, Calif. (AP) --

Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles made a rare court appearance Tuesday to testify that he knew nothing of sexual abuse two brothers claim they suffered years ago at the hands of a priest in rural central California.

Mahony, who heads the nation's largest Roman Catholic archdiocese, served as a high-level administrator for the Fresno diocese during some of the 14 years George and Howard Santillan say they were molested by Monsignor Anthony Herdegen in Wasco, a small farming town near Bakersfield.

It's the second time Mahony has ever taken the witness stand to answer questions before jurors in cases tied to the clergy sex abuse scandal that has shaken the U.S. church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:11 PM

Court Documents Allege Ashton Pastor Molests 15-Year-Old Boy

IDAHO
KIFI

By Megan Boatwright, Local News 8 Reporter

According to court documents Ruben Elmer Floyd started talking with a 15-year old boy via text messages early last year.

In the documents the boy describes four separate incidents of sexual abuse. Including one at the Ashton Bible Church located right off Highway 20, a congregation Floyd recently started himself.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:07 PM

St. Colman parishioners: 'We refuse to close'

CLEVELAND (OH)
WKYC

Posted By: Posted By: Michael O'Mara

CLEVELAND -- St. Patrick's Day Mass at St. Colman's has been a special, festive tradition for generations.

This Irish parish opened it's doors back in 1880 and has been a magnet for Catholic immigrants and hard working people on Cleveland's near west side ever since. Perhaps no other day of the year brings out the heritage of this great parish like March 17th, the feast day of St. Patrick. But many in this parish know this year's celebration could be one of the last there.

Cleveland's Catholic leader Bishop Richard Lennon ignored the recommendations of the "cluster team" for the diocese who suggested that St. Colman remain open. Lennon ordered that St. Colman be closed sometime next year.

However, many members of this parish vow they won't go away without a fight.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:03 PM

Bills would change sex-offender registry

ANNAPOLIS (MD)
Daily Record

CARYN TAMBER
Daily Record Legal Affairs Writer
March 17, 2009 7:57 PM
ANNAPOLIS — There are at least 130 sex offenders in Maryland who are not required to register because of when they committed their crime, the director of the state’s sex offender registry told a Senate committee Tuesday.

The director, Elizabeth Bartholomew, was testifying at a Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee hearing on Senate Bills 425 and 441.

The bills, identical except for their lead sponsors, would address a hole in the state’s registry requirements that benefits offenders whose victims do not come forward for many years — a category that tends to include child sex offenders. ...

Another abuse victim, David Fortwengler, also testified before the committee. He was abused in 1968, when he was 11, he said. The perpetrator was his parish priest in Prince George’s County.

He did not come forward until 2002, at the height of the clergy sex abuse furor. When the priest was finally convicted and sent to prison, Fortwengler could finally sleep easy.

“I felt comfortable and safe that no kid was getting raped that night,” he told the committee.

Once the abuser got out of prison and off parole, Fortwengler didn’t feel that way anymore. It turned out that the priest, having committed his offense before 1995, could not be required to register as a sex offender.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:00 PM

St. Colman priest to parishioners: Do you want to keep our church open?

CLEVELAND (OH)
The Plain Dealer

Posted by Robert L. Smith/Plain Dealer Reporter March 17, 2009 21:13PM

CLEVELAND -- The St. Patrick's Day faithful streamed toward the familiar twin green domes of St. Colman Catholic Church Tuesday morning, anticipating the moment.

Shortly before 10:30 a.m., a smartly dressed fife and drum corps broke into a thunderous march, filling West 65th Street with the sights and sounds that set Irish hearts aflutter.

But as the drill team disappeared inside the old stone church, another cry rang out, this one from Shirley Panagopoulos, who waved a stack of petitions to be signed.

"Where will you be next year?!" she asked church-goers dressed in their best Aran sweaters and tweed caps. "You rally around one day. Why can't it be every day?"

The region's most storied St. Patrick's Day Mass had an anxious edge this year. Bishop Richard Lennon recently stunned the St. Colman community by decreeing the landmark church must close to fulfill his vision of a smaller, more vibrant Cleveland Catholic Diocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:55 PM

Cardinal Roger Mahony Takes Stand in Clergy Abuse Trial

FRESNO (CA)
ABC 30

[with video]

By Amanda Perez
Fresno, CA, USA (KFSN) -- The head of the nation's largest Catholic diocese took the stand Tuesday in a clergy sex abuse lawsuit in Fresno. Cardinal Roger Mahony once served in the Diocese of Fresno. Two men are suing, claiming they were abused over a 14 year period decades ago and that the diocese did nothing to stop it.

Tuesday's testimony marked only second time Mahony has testified in a civil case involving clergy abuse. Plaintiffs George and Howard Santillan claim they were abused by a Wasco priest between 1959 and 1973, while Mahony was an administrator in the Diocese of Fresno. Mahoney served in the diocese from 1962 to 1980, beginning as a priest at St. John's Cathedral. He was eventually appointed to bishop. That's around the same time two boys claim to have been abused by their priest, Anthony Herdegen, hundreds of times at a Wasco church.

On the witness stand, Cardinal Mahony said such allegations would have been investigated and noted in confidential priest files, but said quote, "I don't recall any case or allegations of sexual abuse while I was here."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:48 PM

Pastor tells why he took in killer

CHICHESTER (NH)
New Hampshire Union Leader

By TRENT SPINER
Union Leader Correspondent
Monday, Mar. 16, 2009

CHICHESTER – The Rev. David Pinckney, 45, has lost sleep since convicted child murderer Raymond Guay moved into his Durgin Road house last week. But it isn't Guay he's afraid of, it's the neighborhood.

Pinckney's life, along with that of his wife and five children, was uprooted last Monday when the evangelical pastor answered a call from a chaplain who worked with Guay in prison.

Guay, 60, had been released from prison after 35 years for torturing and killing a 12-year-old Nashua boy in 1973, kidnapping a Concord couple in 1982 and stabbing a fellow inmate in a California prison. A federal judge in California ordered Guay to serve out 2 1/2 years of parole in New Hampshire because he has ties to the community. But public outrage ran him out of both Concord and Manchester.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:39 PM

Mahony testifies in Fresno sex-abuse case

FRESNO (CA)
Los Angeles Times

Cardinal Roger Mahony took the witness stand today to answer questions in a Fresno clergy sex-abuse lawsuit, telling jurors that accusations of molestation were never brought to his attention during his time as an official in the Central Valley diocese.

"I don’t recall any case while I was here of allegations of sexual abuse of a child," he said. "I don’t know how it would be handled because I don’t recall it."

Mahony served as a high-ranking official in the Diocese of Fresno when two brothers -- George and Howard Santillan -- allege they were molested by a parish priest in the Central Valley town of Wasco.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:29 PM

OU ‘not opposed’ to N.Y. abuse legislation

NEW YORK
JTA

By Eric Fingerhut · March 17, 2009

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- The Orthodox Union is not opposed to a New York State bill that would expand the statute of limitations on sexual abuse claims.

In a statement, the group said it "generally supports the expansion of the statute of limitations to enable victims of sexual abuse to pursue legal claims" and is "not opposed to this legislation."

The Catholic Church, which could be subject to a wave of lawsuits due to the change, is opposed to the Legislature's bill.

With recent reports of alleged sexual abuse by rabbis in some New York Orthodox communities, the legislation could have ramifications in the Jewish world as well. The New York Times reported last week that some Chasidic and Sephardic leaders in Brooklyn have been lobbying against the bill. Agudath Israel of America, a fervently Orthodox group, says it is still studying the issue.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:54 PM

"Los abusos sexuales son sólo la punta del témpano"

ARGENTINA
La Nacion

Por Francisco Jueguen
De la Redacción de lanacion.com
fjueguen@lanacion.com.ar

La Fe puede ser, a veces, el vehículo de la corrupción, el abuso de poder y el dinero. Esos diferentes puntos cardinales confluyen, según el ex sacerdote Paul Lennon, en la polémica orden católica de los Legionarios de Cristo fundada en 1941 en México por el carismático padre Marcial Maciel, fallecido hace cerca de un año.

"Los abusos sexuales son sólo la punta del témpano", denunció en una entrevista exclusiva a lanacion.com el ex legionario, irlandés pero criado en México, que decidió alejarse de la orden tras 23 años de participación activa. Cuatro años después dejó el sacerdocio y comenzó a apoyar a las víctimas en ReGain (Religious Groups Awareness Internacional Network) donde trabaja como terapeuta de salud mental.

Los Legionarios de Cristo, una de las congregaciones más conservadoras de la Iglesia Católica, volvieron a la escena mundial la semana pasada cuando se conoció que el Vaticano podría nombrar un Visitador Apostólico para salvar a la orden de una posible disolución tras más de 40 años de denuncias de abusos sexuales.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:52 PM

Un grupo liderado por un pederasta

ARGENTINA
La Nacion

Martes 17 de marzo de 2009

Por Alfredo Silletta

El Padre Marcial Maciel creó en 1941 la congregación Legionarios de Cristo y en 1959 el apostolado laico Rennum Chirsti. Maciel estaba convencido de que los miembros de su organización tenían que pertenecer a las clases altas de México y para ello se dedicó a fundar una red de colegios y universidades que le permitió captar jóvenes de las clases más pudientes.

El líder encontró, a través de la llamada teología de la prosperidad, que podía evangelizar a los sectores empresariales, poderosos y así construir rápidamente su imperio. Los legionarios de Cristo se convirtieron en una de las organizaciones que más crecieron y hoy cuentan con aproximadamente 600 sacerdotes y 2300 seminaristas, con una edad promedio de 18 años, en 38 países.

En los Legionarios todo marchaba viento en popa, incluso se hablaba de la santidad del fundador, hasta que en el año 1994 el Vaticano lo nombró "guía eficaz de la juventud que ha querido poner a Cristo como criterio, centro y modelo de toda su vida y labor sacerdotal".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:48 PM

LA Cardinal testifies in valley church abuse case

FRESNO (CA)
Mercury News

The Associated Press
Posted: 03/17/2009 11:08:42 AM PDT

FRESNO, Calif.—Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles is on the witness stand testifying in the case of two brothers who claim they were molested years ago by a priest at a San Joaquin Valley church.

Mahony was a high-level administrator in the Fresno diocese during some of the years George and Howard Santillan claim they were molested by Monsignor Anthony Herdegen at a church in Wasco, a small town north of Bakersfield.

The brothers filed their lawsuit in 2003 under a one-year window that voided the statute of limitations on old abuse claims in California.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:41 PM

State Assembly panel advances sex abuse bill

ALBANY (NY)
Newsday

BY JAMES T. MADORE | james.madore@newsday.com
12:39 PM EDT, March 17, 2009
ALBANY - A controversial bill -- allowing victims of sex abuse to file suit years after the abuse -- was approved Tuesday by an Assembly committee.

The Assembly Codes Committee, in an 11-9 vote, approved sending the measure from Assemb. Margaret Markey (D- Maspeth) to the Assembly floor for a vote.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D- Manhattan) told Newsday the bill would be considered, though he didn't know if it would pass. The measure has been adopted in the past by the Assembly only to die in the then-Republican-controlled State Senate.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:28 PM

Teen testifies about spankings by pastor

ST. CHARLES (IL)
Northwest Herald

By SARAH SUTSCHEK - ssutschek@nwherald.com

ST. CHARLES – A Richmond teen testified today that her pastor beat her for accusing her stepfather of sexual abuse and then he told her not to tell police about being spanked.

On a good week, she said, she was hit by Daryl P. Bujak on her buttocks and lower back only 15 times with a piece of molding. On a bad week, she said, she counted 25 times.

The trial for Bujak, who was a pastor at First Missionary Church in Elgin, began today. He is charged with two counts of battery and one count of failure to report.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:21 PM

Wisconsin pastoral associate fired for feminist views

JANESVILLE (WI)
National Catholic Reporter

Mar. 17, 2009
By Mike Sweitzer-Beckman

Ruth Kolpack, pastoral associate since 1995 at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Beloit, Wis., was fired earlier this month after a brief meeting with Madison Bishop Robert Morlino.

No specific accusations supporting the dismissal have been publicly made. A news release issued by Kolpack supporters stated that over the past three years, Madison diocese officials received “several accusations” against Kolpack. It added that last January, Fr. Steve Kortendick, pastor of St. Thomas and St. Jude parishes in Beloit, met with Morlino about those accusations. Since then, the release said, Kortendick and the diocesan chancellor, Kevin Phelan, had met in an unsuccessful effort to find a “positive resolution.”

According to the release, the investigation shifted to a thesis Kolpack had written for her master of divinity degree that was granted from St. Francis seminary.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:00 PM

Report: Tulsa diocese out of compliance with plan

TULSA (OK)
KJRH

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - The Diocese of Tulsa has corrected problems with a plan aimed at preventing child abuse that had caused it to be out of compliance with a national program, an official says.

The Tulsa diocese was one of four in the country that didn't meet standards set by U.S. Catholic bishops in the wake of the clergy sexual abuse scandal in 2001, according to a new report.

Deacon John Johnson, chancellor of the Diocese of Tulsa, said the diocese fell just short of compliance in training children to avoid being abused. Some educators, particularly in rural areas, were reluctant to discuss with young children the difference between proper and improper touching, Johnson said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:06 AM

Cause for concern: Many critical of decision to close, merge churches

LORAIN (OH)
Morning Journal

By RON VIDIKA
rvidika@MorningJournal.com

LORAIN — Reactions to Bishop Richard Lennon’s weekend letter on church closings and mergers range from a letter-writing campaign to a single letter being written by a local pastor, all critical of the bishop’s decision.

Lennon sent letters to each of the 224 churches in the Cleveland Catholic Diocese over the weekend detailing his reconfiguration plan for the churches.

A total of 29 out of 224 churches in the Cleveland Catholic Diocese will close their doors by June 30, 2010, and 41 churches have been instructed to merge with one or more churches. The mergers will result in the creation of 18 new parishes.

St. Mary Church on Seventh Street in Lorain did not expect to be told to merge with Holy Trinity Church, 2428 Elyria Ave., and a protest is being planned.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:14 AM

Legislation will toughen and expand reporting requirements of sex offenders

CONNECTICUT
NorwalkPlus

By Governor Rell's Office

Changes to Sex Offender Registry Include More Frequent Reporting, New ID Requirements

Governor M. Jodi Rell today announced that her office has submitted testimony to the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee in support of her bill to improve Connecticut’s sex offender registry and to expand the reporting requirements of sex offenders, including the frequency of reporting and the types of information reported.

HB 6384, An Act Concerning the Registration of Sexual Offenders, which makes the state’s sex offender registry conform to the federal Adam Walsh Child Protection Act, provides greater public protection by making significant improvements to the sex offender registry and by placing the toughest notification requirement in the country on registered sex offenders entering the state. Out-of-state registrants would be required to provide prior written notice to Connecticut authorities 48 hours before entering the state.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:09 AM

LA Cardinal to testify in church abuse case

FRESNO (CA)
Monterey County Herald

The Associated Press
Posted: 03/16/2009 10:21:22 PM PDT

FRESNO, Calif.—Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles is scheduled to testify Tuesday in the case of two brothers who claim they were molested by a priest at a Central Valley church.

Mahony was a high-level administrator in the Fresno diocese during some of the years George and Howard Santillan say they were molested by Monsignor Anthony Herdegen at a church in Wasco, a small town north of Bakersfield.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:04 AM

“A fake war being stirred up by the Vatican”

UNITED STATES
California Catholic Daily

Sr. Sandra M. Schneiders, a sister of the Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and faculty member at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, has called on her fellow nuns to give a cold shoulder to visitors from the Vatican conducting a study of U.S. women’s religious orders, calling those carrying out the visitations “uninvited guests who should be received in the parlor, not given the run of the house.”

On Jan. 30, the Vatican announced it was launching a series of on-site visits to “look into the quality of life” of women’s religious communities in the U.S. Altogether, about 400 such visits are planned, the first scheduled in Los Angeles on June 2.

In a private email message to “colleagues and friends” obtained by the National Catholic Reporter and later published with Sr. Schneiders’ permission, the professor of New Testament Studies and Christian Spirituality at the Jesuit School of Theology says, “I do not put any credence at all in the claim that this is friendly, transparent, aimed to be helpful, etc. It is a hostile move and the conclusions are already in. It is meant to be intimidating.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:49 AM

State panel due to vote on child sex abuse bill today

NEW YORK
Newsday

BY BART JONES | bart.jones@newsday.com
March 17, 2009
A state Assembly committee is expected to vote today on a child sex abuse bill amid a legal debate about whether it discriminates against private institutions, including the Catholic Church.

The bill proposed by Assemb. Margaret M. Markey (D- Maspeth) would suspend for one year the statute of limitations on child sex abuse cases. Victims could file lawsuits against alleged perpetrators for abuse dating back decades.

Religious groups contend the bill discriminates against them partly because of the state's existing 90-day "notice of claim" requirement. Under that process, anyone suing a public agency - but not those suing private defendants - must file the claim within 90 days of the alleged incident. If the claim involves a child, the 90-day clock starts when he or she turns 18.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:47 AM

Church members, bishop spar over staffer's removal

JANESVILLE (WI)
Beloit Daily News

By William Behling
Editor Emeritus
Published: Monday, March 16, 2009 12:53 PM CDT
About 50 people who gathered in a Janesville church's parking lot on Saturday were determined to vent their frustration and express their displeasure.

What had upset the group was the dismissal earlier in the week of a longtime worker for St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic parish in Beloit, Ruth Kolpack.

The protesters learned that Bishop Robert C. Morlino would be at St. John Vianney's parish hall for a meeting with area priests and parish leaders, to outline his plans for a new approach to enlisting Catholics' financial support for operation of the Madison diocese he leads.

As they waited for Morlino's arrival, the friends and supporters of Kolpack prepared placards critical of the firing, which occurred on Thursday. One lamented a “ruthless” action by the bishop and a “Ruth-less” St. Thomas parish. Another suggested “raise your voice for Ruth” and another said simply “Jesus Wept.” ...

According to the release, the investigation shifted to Kolpack's thesis, written for her master of divinity degree that was granted from St. Francis seminary.

The lengthy thesis, written in 2003, evidently stirred no interest from church leaders until lately. Kolpack's main theme is on inclusiveness, and what she sees as a patriarchal tone in the church's liturgy, with an implicit exclusion of women from key roles, such as the priesthood.

Prior to her dismissal, the bishop told Kolpack she could agree to denounce her thesis, make a profession of faith, and take an oath of loyalty in order to keep her post at St. Thomas. She said she'd agree to the last two conditions, but wouldn't denounce her thesis because “it would be dishonest of me” and not true to her work.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:30 AM

Church, member named in suit

CALIFORNIA
Daily Pilot

By Joseph Serna
Updated: Monday, March 16, 2009 11:30 PM PDT

A Mormon church counselor and videographer for local children’s events has been accused of molesting a boy, according to a lawsuit filed in Orange County Superior Court.

In a civil complaint filed in February and amended from a previous one in April, a man referred to as John Doe claims Todd C. Summers, 37, of Costa Mesa, molested him when he was between 12 and 18 years old and attended the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Newport Beach.

Starting in 1990, the lawsuit claims Summers befriended the boy and his parents while he was the boy’s roller hockey coach. Summers and the boy’s parents worked to bring him into the Mormon church, said the plaintiff’s attorney, Vince Finaldi. From there, years of vicious abuse began and continued until the boy became an adult, Finaldi said. He claims his client remained silent because Summers threatened to kill him if he told anyone, at one point putting a gun in the boy’s mouth and saying “this is what will happen to you if you tell anyone,” Finaldi said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:24 AM

Report cites Tulsa Diocese

OKLAHOMA
NewsOK

Published: March 17, 2009

TULSA — The Diocese of Tulsa was one of a handful of dioceses in the nation out of compliance last year with a U.S. Catholic bishops’ program to prevent child abuse, according to a new report.

Deacon John Johnson, chancellor of the Diocese of Tulsa, said the diocese fell just short of compliance in training children to avoid being abused, one part of a broad program put in place in the wake of the clergy sexual abuse scandal that rocked the Catholic Church in 2001.

Johnson said that some educators, particularly in rural areas, had been reluctant to discuss with young children the difference between proper and improper touching. As a result, the percentage of children trained was in the low 90s, he said, just short of the percentage required for compliance.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:21 AM

Second man files sex-abuse suit against friar

DELAWARE
The News Journal

By BETH MILLER • The News Journal • March 17, 2009

A 46-year-old Pennsylvania man filed suit Monday in Delaware Superior Court alleging that he was sexually abused 30 years ago by the Rev. Paul Daleo, then a Capuchin friar.

At the time, Daleo was a resident of the Capuchins' friary on Silverside Road.
In addition to Daleo, the suit names the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington and the Capuchin Franciscan Friars Province of the Sacred Stigmata of St. Francis, the New Jersey-based religious order of which Daleo was a member.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:19 AM

Abuse victim pleads guilty to brutal murder

CANADA
Canada.com

News Services
March 17, 2009

When he did it, he was drunk, stoned and filled with pent-up rage linked to the years of childhood sexual abuse he'd suffered at the hands of a priest.

But in his sleep, Glen Derek Henderson is still haunted by memories of the night he brutally murdered an innocent man in Saskatoon.

"I wish I would have died myself, so I didn't have to carry this guilt and remorse around with me. I wish I didn't see his eyes and hear his screams in my dreams," the 32-year-old wrote in a letter to Ralph Henschel's family before pleading guilty to second-degree murder Monday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:14 AM

March 16, 2009

Cardinal Mahony is expected to testify in a clergy abuse lawsuit in Fresno

FRESNO (CA)
Los Angeles Times

By Victoria Kim and Duke Helfand
March 17, 2009
Cardinal Roger Mahony is expected to testify in a clergy sexual abuse lawsuit in Fresno on Tuesday, marking only the second time he has taken the witness stand to answer questions before jurors about alleged molestation by priests.

The Fresno lawsuit was brought by two brothers who say they were molested by a priest for 14 years at a church in Wasco, a small town north of Bakersfield. For part of the time, Mahony served in various high-level administrative positions in the Diocese of Fresno, which had jurisdiction over the parish, according to legal documents.

The brothers' lawsuit had initially been thrown out by a trial judge but was revived in May by state appellate judges, who seized on Mahony's own words. They said Mahony's testimony during a deposition could indicate that higher-ups in the Fresno Diocese had been alerted to the alleged abuse. Mahony, who is not a defendant in the case, has been subpoenaed as a trial witness. ...

"Mahony is by far the highest-ranking U.S. Catholic official to testify at a civil trial," said Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of BishopAccountability.org. "This is extremely rare."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:06 PM

In Ohio, echoes of Boston parish closings

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Globe

Posted by Michael Paulson March 16, 2009 08:13 PM

Bishop Richard G. Lennon (left) was the vicar general of the Archdiocese of Boston when he oversaw the reconfiguration process that ultimately led to the closings of about 18 percent of the parishes in metropolitan Boston. Now he is the bishop of Cleveland, and this weekend he announced a set of closings and mergers that will result in a 23 percent drop in the number of parishes in that diocese. In his remarks on Sunday, Lennon noted that the Boston reconfiguration had resulted in the closing of his own childhood parish, St. James the Apostle in Arlington:

“Closing a parish is very emotional, and I am sympathetic to the tremendous passion that many Catholics have for parishes that in many cases have been part of their families’ lives for several generations. I have personally experienced the closing of my own childhood parish in Boston, which members of my family helped establish in 1914.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:02 PM

Nuns treated like servants by priests: Cardinal

INDIA
The Times of India

17 Mar 2009, 0401 hrs IST, Ananthakrishnan G, TNN

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Early last year, a study by the Catholic church found that 25% of the nuns in Kerala were unhappy with life inside the four walls of a convent. More recently, a former nun dropped a bombshell revealing in a book about sexual abuse and mental harassment she suffered in the order. Now,there's further confirmation of their misery and it comes from the leader of India's archbishops.

Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil, who is president of Catholic Bishops Council of India, says the nuns are humiliated by priests and they live in fear.

The cardinal's views have appeared in his biography, much like the nun's own. If Sister Jesmi's book was called `Amen! Autobiography of a nun', Vithayathil's book is titled `Straight from the heart'. The cardinal tells his biographer Paul Thelakat, the spokesperson of Syro-Malabar Church, that the time has come to free the nuns from the "pitiable situation'' they are in.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:16 PM

NEWSDAY IS MORALLY BANKRUPT

NEW YORK
Catholic League

March 16, 2009

Catholic League president Bill Donohue offered the following comments about Newsday, the Long Island daily:

“There are two bills before the New York State legislature that address the sexual molestation of minors. One is sponsored by Margaret Markey; the other is by Vito Lopez. The Catholic Church favors the Lopez bill, and that is because, unlike the one that Newsday likes, it does not discriminate on the basis of location: it applies to private and public institutions alike; the Markey bill gives public institutions a pass.

“Over the weekend, Newsday ran several stories on the bills, and in every one of them it failed to tell the truth. Never once did it tell readers that the Markey bill does not apply to the public schools. The closest it came was in a news story that mentioned that Sean Dolan, spokesman for the Diocese of Rockville Centre, took issue with those like Michael Armstrong, a spokesman for the Markey bill. ‘While Dolan said the bill unfairly targets the Catholic Church, Armstrong said it would apply to victims in any institution—private or public—including schools.’ Armstrong is wrong. And since when does an unsubstantiated opinion substitute for accurate reporting?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:11 PM

Group not allowed to celebrate Mass in Catholic church

NAPLES (FL)
Naples Daily News

By JENNA BUZZACCO
5:25 p.m., Monday, March 16, 2009

The local arm of a faith-based organization cannot celebrate its annual Mass in a Catholic church.

The group, Voice of the Faithful of Southwest Florida, recently was denied access to the sanctuary of St. John the Evangelist, 625 111th Ave. N., for its annual Mass. The Mass, said president Peg Clark, is held each year to pray for victims of sexual abuse and for the future of the Catholic church.

“This was a total unexpected surprise,” Clark said. “I thought they’d never ban us. We were caught absolutely dumbfounded. We are devoted and devout Catholics.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:08 PM

Next Article LA City Buzz is back: Poverty, child sex crimes, and gangs in upcoming stories

UNITED STATES
Examiner

Kay Ebeling
LA City Buzz Examiner

Revived now, we have stories in the works on immigration, hunger, continuing coverage of pedophilia in the Catholic Church and other places, poverty, government neglect, human trafficking, national gangs headquartered in Los Angeles, housing and homelessness, and fraudulent nonprofits, all here at L.A. City Buzz Examiner in the coming months. I'm back, from a short sick leave feeling good enough to hit the keyboard keys with fervor, so expect the usual stream of non-mainstream and we hope provocative stories here at L.A. City Buzz Examiner.

Meanwhile, as a national priority: No organization the size of the Catholic Church should be allowed to operate without oversight in the United States. Their employees have personal contact with children and infuse themselves in families on a spiritual and secret level, the institution takes in millions of dollars a year, often in the form of cash, and has had thousands of its management level employees accused of pedophilia so credibly that the institution has paid out billions of dollars in civil settlements, in those states where lawsuits about child sex abuse are legally possible.

Recently in Connecticut concerned citizens tried to get a bill passed that would have made oversight of finances at Catholic churches a duty of lay people, not the bishops. Days before the first debate on the bill emails and press releases flew out, all powered by Catholic Conference, a lobbying arm of Catholic hierarchy, saying, This bill in Connecticut would is break the church and state clause in the Bill of Rights. (Huh? How does financial oversight of your church interfere with an individual’s right to believe in that church?)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:30 PM

21-yr-old temple staffer alleges rape by priest

INDIA
The Times of India

16 Mar 2009, 2310 hrs IST, Dwaipayan Ghosh, TNN

NEW DELHI: A 21-year-old woman who worked as a "sevika'' at a temple in Kanti Nagar has alleged that the 65-year-old head priest raped her on Sunday
after convincing her to stay back at the temple for the night.

According to the victim's husband, the woman had joined the temple as a sevak during Diwali last year. But she left the job in February after the temple authorities failed to pay her salary.

"My wife went to the temple earlier demanding they repay the arrears, but the accused priest Laxman Das Yeti alias Laxman Guruji asked her to come after Holi. So she went to the temple around 6.30pm on Sunday. Laxman asked her to stay back the night with his daughter. He told my wife that his daughter would open the door at night when she returns from her tuitions,'' said the victim's husband, who was on duty as a security officer on Sunday night.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:21 PM

Suit links friar, diocese to sex abuse 30 years ago

DELAWARE
The News Journal

By BETH MILLER • The News Journal • March 16, 2009

A 46-year-old Pennsylvania man today filed suit in Delaware Superior Court alleging that he was sexually abused by the Rev. Paul Daleo, a Capuchin friar, 30 years ago.

At the time, Daleo was a resident of the Capuchins’ friary on Silverside Road.

In addition to Daleo, the suit names the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington and the Capuchin Franciscan Friars Province of the Sacred Stigmata of St. Francis, the New Jersey-based religious order to which Daleo was a member.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:19 PM

Charges against counselor shock church members

MELBOURNE (FL)
Florida Today

BY J.D. GALLOP • FLORIDA TODAY • March 16, 2009

MELBOURNE — A church counselor suspected of inappropriate contact with youth at a Faith Fellowship Church-sponsored retreat in Vero Beach, has bonded out of jail.

David Frank Martin, 40, was arrested in Brevard County shortly after Indian River County authorities were notified Saturday about allegations of sexual abuse involving children ages 13 and 11-years-old at the retreat, records show.

Martin, kept in an observation cell during his time at the Brevard County jail, had been given a background check at the church, said Paul Hanson, a spokesman for Faith Fellowship.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:15 PM

Church credibility harmed by 'hasty' excommunication

VATICAN CITY
National Catholic Reporter

By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service
Vatican

VATICAN CITY -- A 9-year-old Brazilian girl and the doctors who performed the girl's abortion needed the Catholic Church's care and concern, not its condemnation, said a leading Vatican official.

Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, criticized what he called a "hasty" public declaration of the excommunication of the girl's mother and the doctors who aborted the girl's twins.

The girl "in the first place should have been defended, hugged and held tenderly to help her feel that we were all on her side" he wrote in the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, March 15.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:42 PM

Cleveland Catholic Diocese Reveals Churches to Close

CLEVELAND (OH)
Fox 8

[with video]

Area Catholics are learning this weekend the fate of their parishes.

The Cleveland Catholic Diocese says there will be 52 fewer parishes by June 30, 2010. Twenty-nine parishes will close, while 41 have been instructed to merge with one or more neighboring parishes -- resulting in 18 new combined parishes. This is one of the most massive reorganizations in the history of the eight county Catholic Diocese of Cleveland.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:45 AM

Oregon man sues church, alleges abuse

SACRAMENTO (CA)
Sacramento Bee

By Jennifer Garza
jgarza@sacbee.com
Published: Monday, Mar. 16, 2009 - 12:00 am | Page 4B
An Oregon dentist has sued the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento, claiming he was sexually abused as a boy by a priest more than 25 years ago.

Dr. Marco Gutierrez, 41, claims that he was molested by the Rev. Rodolfo Delgado after the priest befriended his family. The alleged misconduct occurred at St. Joseph's Parish in Rio Vista and at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Sacramento.

"I want answers. I want to make sure he is not doing this to anyone else," said Gutierrez, of Portland, explaining his reason for filing the suit in Sacramento Superior Court on Friday. He also filed a police report.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:36 AM

Jerusalem - Elior Chen And His Alleged Abuses

ISRAEL
Voz Iz Neias (United States)

Jerusalem - About a month ago, M. came to the Sarah Herzog Hospital in Jerusalem to visit her young son (the court has prohibited the publication of their names). For a year now the boy has been lying there unconscious and on a respirator. His mother has been under arrest ever since her son was hospitalized and the revelation of the child abuse - among the most shocking this country has known - by members of Elior Chen's cult, on his instructions if not with his participation.

Chen's wife, Ruth, recently broke her silence, just before she traveled to Sao Paolo in Brazil, to where her husband fled and was arrested. Now he is awaiting the decision on Israel's request to extradite him. In a telephone conversation from Brazil, where she was staying until not long ago with Satmar Hasids, she denied the accusations against her husband. "We're being persecuted," she said. "The press likes to lynch ultra-Orthodox people especially if someone is called a rabbi."

Of the abuses - "corrections" in the cult's terminology - she says they were educational methods. "Those children were animals. They behaved like wild beasts. They were uncivilized and rude. We made human beings out of them. They had had a faulty upbringing. Children who after they ate would get up to play, without saying a blessing. They were expelled from school. Except for one boy, they didn't want to learn. We tried to rehabilitate them. My husband is a gentle soul who wouldn't hurt a fly. We're not people who hit."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:18 AM

J'lem mother in 'Rabbi Chen' abuse case signs plea deal with state

ISRAEL
The Jerusalem Post

A mother of eight from Jerusalem who is on trial for severely abusing her children signed a plea bargain on Sunday in which she would turn state witness in return for only five years in prison. ...

The alleged ringleader in the abuse case, "Rabbi" Elior Chen, who fled the country after news of the case broke, is fighting an Israeli extradition request in a Brazilian court. According to the agreement published on Sunday, the mother's testimony would likely provide incriminating facts which would help Israel solidify its extradition case.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:15 AM

El duro momento de los Legionarios de Cristo

CHILE
El Mercurio

PAMELA ARAVENA y CAMILA INFANTA

Las agendas de alumnos distribuidas en todos los colegios que los Legionarios de Cristo tienen en varios países del mundo destacaban cada año una fecha clave que se debía conmemorar: el 10 de marzo, cumpleaños de Marcial Maciel, se celebraba el "Día del Fundador".

Los preescolares recordaban a Maciel con dibujos y cantos, mientras eran motivados a valorar las cualidades del fundador. A los más grandes los instaban a participar en concursos de cuentos inspirados en la biografía de Maciel. El evento central: la celebración de la Eucaristía.

Ya no más. Este verano y después de estar, durante 68 años, indisolublemente relacionadas las historias de Marcial Maciel y la Legión de Cristo, algo cambió drásticamente.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:12 AM

Parishioners of Catholic churches targeted for closings left wondering, 'Why us?'

CLEVELAND (OH)
Th Plain Dealer

Posted by Robert L. Smith Michael O'Malley / Plain Dealer Reporters March 16, 2009

After weekend services charged with anticipation and sometimes drama, the region's 750,000 Catholics have a clearer idea today where their church stands in the future of the Diocese of Cleveland.

Some are saying prayers of thanks. Many of the faithful, especially members of urban parishes, wonder what happened to the church they knew.

A sweeping consolidation plan comes down hard on the church in the city. It prepares the diocese to shift staff and resources from venerable, often struggling urban churches to larger, younger parishes in the outer suburbs. ...

Sister Christine Schenk, a St. Joseph nun and head of Future Church, an organization pushing for reform in the Catholic church, said the closings indicate an abandonment of the inner-city poor.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:51 AM

Church to launch legal action against rebel priest

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

The Catholic Church in Brisbane says it will begin legal proceedings against a sacked priest who has refused to take part in a formal mediation process.

Father Peter Kennedy was last month dismissed from his role at St Mary's in South Brisbane for refusing to adhere to the practices and teachings of the Catholic Church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:43 AM

Cleveland council and Catholic Diocese need to talk about closing churches

CLEVELAND (OH)
The Plain Dealer

Posted by The editors March 08, 2009

It's time for a kumbaya meeting between the Cleveland City Council and the Cleveland Catholic Diocese about church closures.

No doubt, the closings come at a bad time. Most of the city's wards have been battered by an avalanche of foreclosed properties and job losses. Add to that many council members' close ties to parish churches and it's easy to see why this is a volatile issue.

Yet the eight-county Cleveland diocese has a good case. With too many shrinking parishes and too few priests, it is well within its rights to shutter some churches and to sell or redistribute its property as it sees fit.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:24 AM

Religious Groups Assume The Victims' Role

NEW YORK
The Huffington Post

Michael B. Laskoff

I have spent much of the past months researching a book that Dr. Stephen Josephson and I are writing on business leaders with ADHD. Our thesis is simple: it's not the ADHD itself but overcoming the deficits that allows people to achieve great success in later life. Researching this book has been, generally speaking, almost stupidly uplifting. I get to hear firsthand about how people not so different from me gave fate the finger, stormed the gates of fortune and accomplished more impressive feats than all my mixed metaphors can adequately capture.

The laugh riot comes to a halt, however, as soon as these people start talking about their rather hellish childhoods. Their early struggles may have provided the crucible of their eventual success, but the pain that they suffered often meant that they delayed disclosure and treatment, sometimes for decades. They did this not because they are cowards but because they didn't want to define themselves, or be defined as others, as a manifestation of the condition. As bad as this was, I doubt that it compares to the agony caused by sexual abuse, particular when the abuser is a religious figure. Seriously, who wants to be defined as a victim of childhood sexual abuse?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:19 AM

Sex offender residency rule off the table in Ulster County

KINGSTON (NY)
Daily Freeman

Wednesday, February 18, 2009 3:01 AM EST

By PATRICIA DOXSEY
Freeman staff

KINGSTON — Acting on the recommendation of the county attorney, Ulster County Legislature Chairman David Donaldson has pulled the plug on an effort to restrict where in the county registered sex offenders may live.

During a meeting last week, Donaldson, D-Kingston, ruled out of order a resolution to schedule a public hearing on a proposed local law to prohibit registered sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school, church or day-care center. He said a ruling in Rockland County that an almost identical law there is unconstitutional calls into question the legitimacy of Ulster’s proposed law.

“When we compared what their law was against what was being proposed, it was determined that our law would likewise be declared unconstitutional under the same facts and circumstances as in Rockland County,” Donaldson said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:10 AM

Catholics have mixed reactions on sex abuse bill

ROCKVILLE CENTRE (NY)
Newsday

BY LAURA RIVERA | Staff writers Jennifer Barrios and Christina Hernandez contributed to this story.

March 16, 2009
In three prominent parishes of the Diocese of Rockville Centre yesterday, a child sex-abuse victims bill pending in Albany drew mixed reactions from Catholics attending Sunday Mass.

At St. Agnes Cathedral in Rockville Centre, the seat of the diocese, Sal Abiuso of Rosedale said he welcomes the passage of the bill because he believes it would help those who were victimized as children.

"It's going to stay in their mind as long as they live," said Abiuso, who served as an usher at a morning Mass. "They should be allowed to go to court."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:07 AM

Man arrested on sex charges at an Indian River church camp

FLORIDA
CBS 12

March 15, 2009 - 12:44 PM
Lindsey Allumbaugh
A Brevard County church counselor is in jail for allegedly committing sexual battery on two of his church's youth.

On Satruday morning, the Indian River County Sheriff's Office was notified of a possible sexual abuse case at the Life for Youth Church Camp located in Vero Beach.

Indian River County Sheriff's Office Detective Joe Parrish and Detective Steven Stoll advised that a church group from the Faith Fellowship Church in Melbourne, Florida had traveled to the Life for Youth Church Camp on 82nd Avenue for a weekend retreat.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:03 AM

Rockledge man accused of molesting two youths in Indian River County

FLORIDA
TCPalm

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — A Rockledge man was in the Brevard County Jail Sunday awaiting extradition to Indian River County in connection with the possible abuse of two youngsters at the Life for Youth Church Camp, 1416 82nd Ave., according to the Indian River County Sheriff's Office.

The Sheriff's Office was notified Saturday of the possible abuse and Indian River County Sheriff's Office detectives Joe Parrish and Steven Stoll were told a group from Faith Fellowship Church in Melbourne was at the camp for a weekend retreat.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:01 AM

Delay and prejudice meant trial should not go ahead

IRELAND
The Irish Times

D -v- DPP/High Court: Judgment was delivered by Mr Justice John MacMenamin on March 2nd, 2009.

Judgment

In a case alleging child sex abuse, which had many troubling features, the issue facing a jury would be essentially one of simple assertion and denial, where credibility would be central. The gathering and manner of presentation of material whereby credibility might be tested was prejudiced by prosecutorial delay. Taken in conjunction with all the other relevant factors, an order of prohibition of the trial going ahead was justified.

Background

This was a case involving an allegation of abuse by a former priest in a rural parish, who is now laicised. He was charged with indecent assault on a minor, MS, in the South Eastern Circuit Court.

The assault was alleged to have taken place between September 1981 and September 1982. Proceedings were initiated in the Circuit Court in October 2007.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:55 AM

US group welcomes Magee decision to stand aside from Cloyne governance

IRELAND
The Irish Times

PATSY McGARRY, Religious Affairs Correspondent

BISHOP JOHN Magee’s decision to stand aside from the governance of Cloyne diocese has been applauded by the Boston-based lay Catholic group Voice of the Faithful (VOTF) as “an example of accountability for bishops everywhere”.

It suggested that church leaders worldwide should now examine their consciences and resign if they see that their actions or inactions endangered children by exposing them to sexual predators among the clergy.

Sustained pressure from VOTF was significant in the decision of Cardinal Bernard Law to resign as Archbishop of Boston in December 2002 arising from claims that he had handled allegations of clerical child sex abuse in the diocese inappropriately.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:51 AM

March 15, 2009

Bad Gossips

VATICAN CITY
The Wanderer

Last time we heard from Edward Pentin, the Rome correspondent for the National Catholic Register scored the church-beat's Coup of the Century, tipping Tim Dolan for New York nearly a full month in advance, more than a fortnight before the Appointed One himself formally heard the news.

For his curtain call -- again penned for the conservative site Newsmax.com -- Pentin reports that, though the twin tempests might be "closed" in the Vatican's public mind, the debacles of the Lefevbrist "remit" and the doomed appointment of Gerhard Wagner in Linz will soon see another shoe drop behind the walls: a deck-clearing in the Curia's "clearinghouse" office:

[T]he personnel changes will affect the “second rung” of officials within the Secretariat of State – essentially the executive branch of the Vatican. Further changes among the top ranks of the Roman Curia are also likely over the next few months..

The news comes after two very public controversies which many Church observers say could have been avoided....

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:57 PM

Exclusive: Legion discontinues controversial "Prayer for Fidelity"

American Papist

I have it on good authority that the "Prayer for Fidelity" said by Regnum Christi members has been officially discontinued.

This communique originated from Fr. Scott Reilly, the Legionaries of Christ Territorial Director in Atlanta, Georgia.

Fr. Reily appears to be a catalyst in making information known within Regnum Christi. He was one of the first priests to begin informing various Regnum Christi sections about Maciel's misdeeds.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:49 PM

Legion -- Maciel's star dimmed

The Cathoholic

Joan Frawley Desmond

Yesterday, American Papist blog had an "exclusive" on a recent decision by Legion superiors to discontinue the order's "Prayer for Fidelity," posted on the blog. Why is the order in the process of writing a new prayer for fidelity? Well, now that the latest revelations regarding the founder's double life have forced Legion superiors to confront the truth, they now must show themselves prepared to grapple with a very complex and difficult task: disentangling the order from the founder's influence. The expunging of explicit references to the founder will be a first step in a complex deconstruction of the order's charism and practices. Critics contend the order's superiors should have commenced this process in 2006, after Father Maciel was banished from public ministry. Nevertheless, the re-write of the prayer signals a shift. Here's one portion of the prayer likely to buried permanently:

"Since the Legion and the Movement will be vigorous and will flourish as long as the spirit of our founder is present and active in our lives and behavior, we ask you to open our eyes to the urgency of learning, assimilating and passing on the doctrine, spirit, apostolic methods, genuine traditions, discipline and lifestyle of the Legion and Regnum Christi, just as our founder has made them known to us, since this is our responsibility."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:46 PM

Newberg dentist sues Sacramento diocese, claiming abuse

OREGON
The Oregonian

by Ted Sickinger, The Oregonian
Sunday March 15, 2009, 4:00 PM
A Newberg dentist said he sued the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento on Friday, claiming he was sexually abused by a priest as a teenager.

Marco Gutierrez claims that between 1983 and 1985, starting when he was 16, he was sexually abused by Rev. Roldolfo Delgado, whom he met at a Halloween party.

Gutierrez, now 41, said Sunday that the alleged abuse took place at his parents' home, at a church in Rio Vista, Calif. and at the cathedral in Sacramento.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:33 PM

Bishop explains closings

CLEVELAND (OH)
Beacon Journal

By Colette M. Jenkins
Beacon Journal religion writer

POSTED: 05:18 p.m. EDT, Mar 15, 2009

CLEVELAND: Officials in the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland today released a complete list of the 52 churches that will cease to exist 15 months from now and the letters sent to those parishes explaining why.

''This is an occasion for very mixed emotions for the Catholic faithful of the Diocese of Cleveland,'' Bishop Richard G. Lennon said during a morning news conference. ''I recognize that for many people, there is a sadness because the church that they know is changing.''

Beginning Saturday, parishioners in the 224 parishes of the diocese began receiving word of which churches would close, merge or remain as part of a massive reconfiguration that will result in 52 fewer parishes in the eight-county diocese by June 30, 2010.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:12 PM

BISHOP LENNON EMPHASIZES PEOPLE, FAITH IN ‘DIFFICULT BUT N

CLEVELAND (OH)
Roman Catholic Diocese of Cleveland

[Click HERE for list of parishes scheduled to close.]

[with video]

[Bishop Lennon's letters to parishes]

CLEVELAND – March 15, 2009 – Emphasizing the fundamental tenets of the Catholic Church, Most Rev. Richard G. Lennon, Bishop of the Diocese of Cleveland, today provided details of a comprehensive reconfiguration plan that will allow for better use of the Church’s resources and achieve vibrancy for each parish in the eight-county Diocese.

“The Church is about people and their faith, not about buildings, and we will always be here to serve the people,” said Bishop Lennon. “The task for the Church is to be faithful to what God asks of us, which is to bring the message of Jesus Christ to all people, to reach out and serve the poor and marginalized among us, and to become holy and bring people closer to God.”

The Bishop added, “It is only with thorough analysis, prayerful contemplation and the utmost empathy that we take this very difficult but necessary step forward in carrying out the mission of our Church. I sincerely hope that everyone who is going to Mass now will still be going once this reconfiguration process has been completed – and that our evangelization and outreach will bring even more people to worship.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:15 PM

Answers to Questions about the Reconfiguration Plan

CLEVELAND (OH)
Roman Catholic Diocese of Cleveland

THE BACKGROUND

A1. How many parishes are closing?

The reconfiguration plan the plan will result in 52 fewer parishes by June 30, 2010. Twenty-nine of the Diocese’s 224 parishes will close, while 41 parishes have been instructed to merge with one or more neighboring parishes, resulting in the creation of 18 new, combined parishes – for a total net reduction of 52 parishes.

A2. When will they close?

Although the Bishop has instructed the parishes to close no later than June 30, 2010, some parishes may choose to do so sooner.

A3. Why are you doing this?

The goal of this reconfiguration plan is to allow for better use of the Church’s resources and achieve vibrancy for each parish in the eight-county Diocese. The Diocese and its parishes face three major challenges as they work to create a more vibrant Church: population shifts, primarily in movement away from urban areas; financial hardship for many parishes, with 42 percent currently reporting expenses greater than revenues; and fewer priests available for ministry throughout the United States and other parts of the world.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:12 PM

Cleveland: Complete list of churches impacted in Diocese reorganization

CLEVELAND (OH)
WKYC

CLEVELAND -- The Diocese of Cleveland has released the list of parishes that will be impacted in its reorganization plan.

Bishop Richard Lennon says that the plan closes 29 parishes and requires another 41 to merge to create 18 new churches.

Here is a complete list of the closings/mergers from the Diocese of Cleveland.

Richard Lennon has issued notice to these parishes that they must close or merge as directed by June 30, 2010. Churches will be given the opportunity to appeal the decision.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:09 PM

Cleveland Catholic Diocese reveals full list of parishes that will close or merge

CLEVELAND (OH)
The Plain Dealer

[complete list of closings and mergers]

Posted by Robert L. Smith/Plain Dealer Reporter March 15, 2009 11:59AM

The Cleveland Catholic Diocese this morning released the full listing of parishes to close or merge in a massive downsizing that will reshape the eight-county diocese.

In all, 29 churches are to be closed and 41 are being directed to merge with one or more churches, creating 18 new parishes. The result will be 52 fewer parishes in 16 months.

Most of the churches targeted for closing serve urban neighborhoods of Cleveland, Akron and Lorain, Bishop Richard Lennon acknowledged.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:03 PM

Priest Abuse Cases: Why We Handle Them

UNITED STATES
Injury Board

Joe Saunders

I'm writing this blog post in response to a comment posted about one of my earlier blog posts. In his comment, the writer attributed to me why lawyers take priest abuse cases: money and anti-Catholicism. I am compelled to respond to these inaccuracies and false attributions.

First of all, priest abuse cases are not the typical consumer justice case because in most instances, the statute of limitations is such that the survivor of abuse has no legal recourse whatsoever. Because the abuse happened so long ago, the abuser and the institution that protected him and allowed him to continue the abuse is immune from lawsuits. I take these cases because someone has to expose the secrecy and cover-up that allowed the abuse to continue for decades. Secondly, if we are able to bring an abuse case to court, the Church is forced to turn over documents about the nature and extent of their actions concerning the abuse scandal. Justice demands accountability and transparency which are the two strongest weapons we as a society have to stop child abuse. If the abuse remains in the shadows, it continues to fester and continue. As a result, many more children will be harmed and lives will be shattered.

The anti-Catholic charge has been around since the beginning of the priest abuse scandal in 2002 (at least it's latest epoch). While it's easy to hurl labels, it's not so easy to ground same in fact. The exposure of priest's criminal behavior and the institution's failure to prevent it from continuing is a matter of public record. It's not a matter of opinion or debate. The fact that I discuss it and represent those who've been victimized by it doesn't make me anti-Catholic or anti-religion. On the contrary, I am holding the Church to the societal standard of being a good public citizen and a steward of the public trust.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:00 PM

US Conference of Catholic Bishops Report Admits Most Clergy Abuse Claims Held by Older Adults

UNITED STATES
eMediaWire

New York, NY (PRWEB) March 15, 2009 -- In a report published earlier this week by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), dioceses in the US spent $23 million in 2008 to prevent sexual abuse (www.usccb.org/ocyp/annual_report2008.shtml). The report admits that most recent reports of abuse concern offenses against victims in their 30s, 40s, and 50s.

"There is no doubt, and it's not surprising, that the number of claims for childhood sexual abuse against Catholic clergy has increased over the years," said attorney Irwin Zalkin of the Zalkin Law Firm. "But overall, trusting a report on childhood sexual abuse from the USCCB is like trusting a report on the health effects of smoking from a tobacco company executive. Rather than hide behind a PR smokescreen, for the benefit of believers and victims alike the Church should just be transparent -- as they keep promising they will be."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:52 AM

Priests tell parishioners their churches are closing

OHIO
The Chronicle-Telegram

Lisa Roberson | The Chronicle-Telegram

The news came as no surprise to the Rev. Edmund Goldbach, pastor of Holy Cross Church.
Holy Cross, a Catholic church with longstanding Polish roots and a dwindling congregation, is closing.

Goldbach received the news in a couriered letter Saturday from Bishop Richard Lennon of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland.

However, as pastor of the West Avenue church for the last three years, Goldbach said he was prepared for the revelation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:49 AM

Bigger picture of diocese closings

OHIO
The Chronicle-Telegram

Lisa Roberson | The Chronicle-Telegram

The closure of local churches is just one piece of a much larger puzzle that started more than two years ago when the diocese announced its Vibrant Parish Plan. Faced with population shifts that saw Catholics move farther from urban areas, financial hardships and fewer priests, it was decided to address the challenges by comprehensively reconfiguring the diocese in a way that allows for better use of the church’s resources as well as achieves vibrancy for each parish in the eight-county area the diocese makes up.

Since then, the 224 churches in the diocese were grouped in collaborative clusters. It took months of consideration to reach the decision.

The plan will result in 52 fewer parishes by June 30, 2010.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:45 AM

News hits parishioners hard

OHIO
Beacon Journal

By Colette M. Jenkins
Beacon Journal staff writer

Published on Sunday, Mar 15, 2009

News of the mergers and closings of Roman Catholic churches hit hard on Saturday in the pews of six Summit County parishes.

''It's like a death. You know it's coming, but you hope for one more day,'' said Angela Zumbo, a parishioner at Akron's Sacred Heart of Jesus for 12 years. ''We still had a glimmer of hope until today. Now, our whole family is shattered.''

Sacred Heart is one of the local churches notified Saturday that it will close by June 30, 2010, as part of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland's Vibrant Parish Life initiative.

The diocese is closing churches to address declining enrollment; financial hardships in some parishes; population shifts from the city to the suburbs; and a worsening clergy shortage.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:40 AM

Cleveland Catholic Diocese announces church closures

CLEVELAND (OH)
The Plain Dealer

[the bishop's letter to the parishes]

by Michael O'Malley and Robert L. Smith/Plain Dealer Reporters
Sunday March 15, 2009, 6:38 AM

There were tears and cheers in Catholic churches throughout Greater Cleveland on Saturday as the faithful learned for the first time whether their parishes will fit in -- or not -- in a new, smaller version of the Cleveland Catholic Diocese.

At Sacred Heart of Jesus in Slavic Village, parishioners shouted, "My God! Why?" when they heard their church was closing.

At St. Stephen on West 54th Street in Cleveland, there was a burst of applause and a shout of "Hallelujah" at the news it would stay open.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:33 AM

Poll finds changing religious trends in Wisconsin

WISCONSIN
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

By Annysa Johnson of the Journal Sentinel

Posted: Mar. 14, 2009

A practicing Catholic most of her life, the 52-year-old Franklin woman wandered spiritually after the death of her father in 1996. She visited nearly every Christian church in Franklin and neighboring Hales Corners before settling on Oak Creek Assembly of God on S. 13th St.

"I feel much more spiritually connected to this church than any other I've been to," Polinske said of the Evangelical church where she's worshipped for the last 12 years.

Polinske's is just one face behind a new study that shows significant shifts in the religious landscape in Wisconsin and the nation.

According to the American Religious Identification Survey released last week by Trinity College in Connecticut, the number of Wisconsinites who identify themselves as Catholics dropped from 39% to 29% of the population between 1990 and 2008, despite a 1% increase nationwide over that period and a similar uptick in Wisconsin since 2001.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:27 AM

End the injustice

NEW YORK
Albany Times Union

First published in print: Sunday, March 15, 2009

New York has an opportunity on Tuesday to allow victims of child sexual abuse another chance to seek justice. Too many of them may not have been able to resolve their cases because of what must seem like the cruel rigidity of the law.

In New York, accusers have five years after turning 18 to sue their alleged abusers. The problem, as experts on childhood sexual abuse will attest, is that all too often it takes much longer for victims to come forth.

Marci Hamilton of the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University likens their situation to the way the law treats pollution.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:21 AM

'Losing My Religion: How I Lost My Faith Reporting on Religion in America and Found Unexpected Peace,' by William Lobdell

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Sunday, March 15, 2009
By Ann Rodgers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

This book is not an attack on faith. It is the memoir of a man who became a devout Christian, began covering religion for a secular newspaper and lost his faith while covering corrupt Christian leaders.

I am slightly acquainted with William Lobdell, formerly of the Los Angeles Times, since I also cover religion for a secular newspaper. He has not written in anger, does not malign those who still believe, and makes a point of describing a man whose life was destroyed after a priest sexually abused him yet remains a devout Catholic.

It's a page-turner that opens with a blunt account of the mess he had made of his life by age 27 when a trusted editor told him he needed God.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:17 AM

Children must be protected from the will of a conspiring Church

IRELAND
Irish Independent

We've finally realised that children are not to be fed to the Church's power or sacrificed to its ministers, writes Emer O'Kelly

HE looked old and he looked wrecked; a far cry from the plump, effervescently supercilious individual in the expensive tailoring who arrived in Cork from Rome in the Eighties.

Even then, John Magee had suffered an Icarus-like fall from grace. He had been at the dizzy heights of a glamorous diplomatic career in that most complex, conspiratorial and Machiavellian of institutions, the Roman Catholic Church. He had served as private secretary to no fewer than three Popes. What secrets must he have been privy to? What must his influence have been? How extraordinary must have been his knowledge of the intricacies of church and state around the world?

Suddenly he was arriving in Cork, not with the pomp of a Papal visit, but as the new Bishop of an obscure country diocese. It was never explained; the Vatican does not explain itself.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:14 AM

Relief, anger after retired priest arrested

NEW YORK
Newsday

BY BART JONES | bart.jones@newsday.com
March 15, 2009
Robert Sammarco recalls how the priest would invite him to the beach in Mastic-Shirley, to New York City to see "Fiddler on the Roof," and even on a weeklong trip to Puerto Rico.

Then, back at the rectory in East Meadow after some outings, the priest, Kenneth Hasselbach, would sexually abuse Sammarco, sometimes in the shower, other times while "wrestling," Sammarco said.

The trauma Sammarco said he experienced as a teenager in the 1960s is resurfacing as Hasselbach faces new allegations - this time involving child pornography.

Last month Hasselbach, 68, of Hollywood, Fla., was arrested in Florida and charged with possessing child pornography on his two computers. In a statement, the U.S. attorney's office for the Southern District of Florida said Hasselbach "admitted that he possessed child pornography on his two computers ... Hasselbach also admitted that he chatted online with 14- and 15-year-old boys about their first sexual experiences."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:11 AM

Joye Brown: Diocese shouldn't fight statute of limitations bill

NEW YORK
Newsday

[Suffolk County Grand Jury Report]

Joye Brown
March 15, 2009
For too many years, victims of clergy sex abuse have been silenced, ignored and legally shut out.

The consequences have been well documented: Lives destroyed or changed forever, justice denied.

Finally, there's a chance to set some things right, legally and morally. Albany should pass the measure that finally will give many of these victims their day in court.

And the Diocese of Rockville Centre should do nothing to stand in the lawmakers' way.

If anyone needs a reminder of why, consider this: To this day, only one public document catalogs some of the appalling, illegal behavior that went on in the diocese for decades.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:06 AM

Catholics' Clout In Connecticut Diminished, But Nowhere Near Gone

CONNECTICUT
Hartford Courant

By DANIELA ALTIMARI | The Hartford Courant
March 15, 2009
With just a few days' notice, the state's Roman Catholic leaders summoned a crowd of about 4,000 outraged Catholics to the state Capitol on a rainy Wednesday to protest what they consider legislative meddling in church affairs.

It was an impressive display of muscle — and a surprising one.

Though still a powerful cultural and political force, declining numbers, internal scandals and a flock increasingly less apt to heed the hierarchy have sharply eroded the church's sway over public life. Bishops in recent years have found themselves on the losing side of several key battles, from same-sex civil unions to state funding for embryonic stem cell research.

This one was a clear win: The proposal had been pulled well before the first bus rolled into Hartford. What's less clear is whether the huge turnout signals anything other than anger over a bill that was unlikely to pass anyway.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:00 AM

March 14, 2009

Tony Alamo Switches Attorneys

ARKANSAS
KATV

Texarkana, AR - Jailed Evangelist Tony Alamo has hired a new lawyer to defend him against federal charges that he brought young girls across state lines for sex.

Alamo had been represented by Little Rock Attorney John Wesley Hall Jr. Replacing Hall will be Beverly Hills, California based lawyer Danny Davis.

Davis told the Texarkana Gazette that Alamo was concerned about the amount of trial preparation that will be needed and that he was looking for an attorney less busy than Hall.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:31 PM

Diocese of Cleveland: Parishioners learning fate of churches; Click for updates

CLEVELAND (OH)
WKYC

Map of church closings/mergers

Posted By: Dick Russ

CLEVELAND -- More than 50 churches in the Diocese of Cleveland were being informed Saturday that their churches would be closing or merging as part of a Diocese-wide consolidation and reconfiguration.

Click HERE for a spreadsheet compiling what WKYC has learned so far on the churches being impacted. (Note: The spreadsheet involves only those parish clusters where closures or mergers were expected to take place.)

Cleveland Bishop Richard Lennon on Saturday announced a sweeping reconfiguration of the Diocese, which will result in a net reduction of 52 parishes by June 30, 2010.

Twenty-nine of the Diocese's 224 parishes will close outright, while another 41 have been instructed to merge with one or more neighboring parishes. The reconfiguration will result in the creation of 18 new, combined parishes, which will likely be re-named.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:20 PM

How Catholics, bishops killed bill

CONNECTICUT
Connecticut Post

[with video]

By Ken Dixon
STAFF WRITER
Updated: 03/14/2009 09:48:12 PM EDT

The spark that ignited a firestorm over a proposed bill that would change the way Roman Catholic churches are governed started with a flurry of phone calls and e-mails.

In the hours and days that followed, its intensity spread from parish to parish fanned by the state's Catholic bishops who used Web sites, videos, newspaper ads, church bulletins and messages from the pulpit. They warned their church was under siege and First Amendment rights in jeopardy. The faithful were told: today it is the Catholic church, who knows who is next.

The anger was apparent in the usually serene Bridgeport Bishop William E. Lori, who called proposed Senate Bill 1098 "irrational, unlawful and bigoted" and "a thinly veiled attempt to silence the Catholic church." ...

In Connecticut's original 1866 state law on religious corporations, all church boards, including Roman Catholics, were elected by congregations.

A 1902 revision of the law retained congregational elections, but a year later, Bishop of Connecticut Michael Tierney asked Connecticut lawmakers to allow church leaders to appoint the two lay members on each parish board.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:14 PM

Catholic Dissidents Pressing For Liberalization Of Church Authority

CONNECTICUT
Hartford Courant

By ANNE HENDERSHOTT March 15, 2009
Critics of a now-withdrawn bill, designed to reshape the way the Roman Catholic Church in Connecticut governs itself, viewed the proposal as an attempt by the state to interfere with the free exercise of religion. But this is only part of the story. The legislation is one more example of what sociologist Peter Berger calls the "secularization from within" the church.

On the surface, the proposed bill, which would have relegated priests and bishops to an advisory role in their parishes, looks like unconstitutional interference by the state in church matters. But the real force behind this bill is a small group of Catholics — unhappy with church teachings on moral and governance issues — attempting to enlist the state as a partner in radically transforming the church from within.

To understand the underlying impetus for the proposed legislation, people can visit the website of Voice of the Faithful, a national organization of disgruntled Catholics. Fairfield University Professor Paul Lakeland, a longtime member of the group, has been on the front lines in leading the charge for the legislation. Among his publications is the book, "Catholicism at the Crossroads: How the Laity Can Save the Church."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:11 PM

Financial Temptation, Loss May Be Church's Second Greatest Scandal

CONNECTICUT
Hartford Courant

By EMMETT COYNE March 15, 2009
Controversy over a bill introduced in the Connecticut General Assembly to allow parishioners more control over church finances boomeranged around the country. Even after the bill was withdrawn, Catholics in Connecticut and across the country spoke out for and against it.

In short order, the Catholic News Service alerted the American Catholic Church. Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Denver immediately sent a clarion call, claiming it threatens Catholics everywhere.

On the other side of this issue, Michael Ryan, a Catholic layman and retired federal law enforcement official, has written extensively, identifying poor oversight of church finances as the "second greatest scandal" after the clerical sexual abuse scandal. He developed comprehensive procedures which, when properly implemented and monitored, virtually guarantee every dollar in the collection is deposited in the parish bank account. Bishops, however, have largely ignored him.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:08 PM

Catholic diocese to close six churches in Summit County

AKRON (OH)
Beacon Journal

By Colette M. Jenkins
Beacon Journal staff writer

POSTED: 07:02 p.m. EDT, Mar 14, 2009

Six Roman Catholic churches in Summit County will close by June 2010.

The city of Akron is taking the biggest hit, with the closing of five churches — Sacred Heart of Jesus, St. John the Baptist, St. Mary, St. Hedwig and Christ the King. Barberton will lose one, SS. Cyril & Methodius.

Of the six churches, Sacred Heart, St. Hedwig and SS. Cyril & Methodius were ordered to close.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:46 PM

Local diocese 1 of just 2 in U.S. to balk at audit on child safety

OREGON
The Bulletin

By Cindy Powers / The Bulletin
Published: March 14. 2009 4:00AM PST

An annual report released Friday by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops shows the Diocese of Baker was one of two dioceses in the country that declined to participate in a nationwide audit of child safety practices.

Bishop Robert Vasa, who heads the diocese, said he did not participate because he believes teaching young children about sexual predators instills fear in them.

“I refuse to implement programs in our schools or our CCD program that are directed at somehow trying to empower kids to keep themselves safe,” said Vasa, referring to the religious education program. “Because predators are bigger, smarter and much more determined than the children ever will be.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:34 PM

Cleveland bishop says diocese church closings mean 52 fewer parishes by 2010

CLEVELAND (OH)
Fox 8

By Associated Press
5:02 PM EDT, March 14, 2009

CLEVELAND (AP) — Cleveland's Roman Catholic bishop has announced that a plan to downsize the diocese will mean 52 fewer parishes.

Bishop Richard Lennon says Saturday that the plan closes 29 parishes and requires another 41 to merge to create 18 new churches.

Lennon is not publicly releasing the names of the affected parishes until Sunday but the news is being delivered Saturday to priests around the diocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:29 PM

Bishop Richard Lennon informs parishes of plans for collaboration, consolidation

CLEVELAND (OH)
The Plain Dealer

Posted by Cleveland Catholic Diocese March 14, 2009 18:57PM

CLEVELAND -- March 14, 2009 - The Catholic Diocese of Cleveland today provided priests and parishioners with parish-specific information about a comprehensive reconfiguration plan that will allow for better use of the Church's resources and achieve vibrancy for each parish in the eight-county Diocese.

For the large majority of parishes, directives included sharing ministries and resources with neighboring parishes, and increasing evangelization to share the Catholic faith with others. However, the plan will result in 52 fewer parishes by June 30, 2010. Twenty-nine of the Diocese's 224 parishes will close, while 41 parishes have been instructed to merge with one or more neighboring parishes, resulting in the creation of 18 new, combined parishes - for a total net reduction of 52 parishes.

The reconfiguration plan reflects a proactive strategy to address three major challenges the Diocese and its parishes face as they work to create a more vibrant Church:

• Population shifts in the region. With movement away from urban areas, approximately two-thirds of Catholics are currently served by one-third of its parishes.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:25 PM

More People Are Claiming Abuse by Priests

SAN ANTONIO (TX)
WOAI

Reported by: Kim Fischer
Email: kimfischer@woaitv.com
Last Update: 3/13 9:23 pm

News 4 WOAI received a shocking e-mail from a person who claims he and friend were sexually abused by priests at San Fernando Cathedral. His e-mail came after a story of abuse by three priests at San Antonio's famous church aired Tuesday night.

In his e-mail, the man wrote that he had been holding in his secret for years, since he was 13 or 14 years old. He named Father David Zumaya as his attacker.

News 4 WOAI took his e-mail to the Archdiocese of San Antonio. Deacon Pat Rodgers told us another person had also come forward.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:22 PM

Safety Issues Cited At Md. Hospital For Clergy

SILVER SPRING (MD)
WJZ

SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) ―

A Silver Spring psychiatric hospital that treats Catholic clergy has been cited for safety issues.

A report by Maryland's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene says that St. Luke Institute did not have enough staff to monitor high-risk patients, poorly stored medicines and left suicidal patients in unsafe areas, among other findings.

State health officials investigated the hospital after a patient drowned himself there in January.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:59 PM

Parishioners in Cleveland Catholic Diocese learn of closings, mergers

CLEVELAND (OH)
The Plain Dealer

[with a list of the affected churches]

Parishioners in the Cleveland Catholic Diocese today began learning whether their church will remain open, close or merge as part of the diocese's downsizing plan.
Nearly 50 churches could be closed.

Parish priests were notified earlier today and made announcements at this evening's Masses. Similar announcements are expected Sunday morning.

Bishop Richard Lennon has scheduled a press conference on Sunday to explain the plan.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:42 PM

Diocese of Cleveland delivering church closing letters

CLEVELAND (OH)
WKYC

[the special delivery letter]

[information on the Diocese of Cleveland reconfiguration plan]

[Bishop Lennon's letter to one parish]

Posted By: Dick Russ

CLEVELAND -- As many as 50 churches in the Diocese of Cleveland were being informed Saturday that their churches would be closing as part of a Diocese-wide consolidation and reconfiguration.

One of the first clusters of churches to be notified includes the parishes of St. Cecilia, Epiphany, and Our Lady of Peace, all on Cleveland's East Side. Parishioners were informed by letter today that St. Cecilia and Epiphany would be closing, and that Our Lady of Peace would remain open.

In the special delivery letter, Cleveland Bishop Richard Lennon said "I recognize how difficult it may be for the parishioners of St. Cecilia and Epiphany to leave their parishes, and I respect how much the presence and ministry of these parishes has meant to
parishioners and people in the community whom they have served."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:57 PM

Report Cites Safety Issues at Md. Hospital for Clergy

SILVER SPRING (MD)
Washington Post

By Michelle Boorstein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, March 14, 2009; Page B01

A Silver Spring psychiatric hospital that specializes in treating Catholic clergy has been cited for problems that are "serious in nature," according to a report from Maryland health officials who investigated the facility after a patient drowned himself in a bathtub there in January.

A report by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said St. Luke Institute has left potentially suicidal patients in unsafe environments, had inadequate staff to monitor high-risk patients, unsafely stored medicines and kept poor notes on patients -- including one whose log showed only his admittance and his discharge six months later.

St. Luke, which sees about 600 people a year, almost all of them priests and nuns, drew attention after the suicides of two priests, one in 2001 and one in 2002. At the time, the state cited the hospital for failing to report to police disclosures of suspected sex abuse by clergy if the alleged incidents took place outside of Maryland. But the state attorney general's office later said such reports were not required.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:03 PM

Sex abuse victims applaud bridge re-naming

MAINE
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

We're encouraged that this long-overdue step toward healing and justice is taking place. We commend every person who has played a role in this simple but important gesture. It will bring some comfort, we believe, to hundreds of men and women who were molested as kids.

We hope that this re-naming will give pause to others who want to prematurely honor clerics and others who may turn out to be child molesters. It's crucial that officials move slowly and carefully, and investigate thoroughly, before publicly praising an ostensibly praiseworthy individual who may prove to be a criminal.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:57 AM

SNAP on Lincoln, Nebraska Diocese

NEBRASKA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

We're saddened but not surprised that once again Lincoln Catholic officials have chosen to not even do the bare minimum regarding child safety: participate in the annual review as mandated by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz claims the evaluation wouldn’t “place into context” the large number of priests who were not abusive. No one disputes that many priests lead a truly admirable lives. But that does not negate the need to expose, bring to justice, and protect kids from those clergy who commit horrific crimes against the innocent and the vulnerable.

Bruskewitz has never been censored nor held accountable in any way for his ignoring, time and time again, the US bishops’ national sex abuse policy. This is proof that the bishops’ policy is a toothless tiger.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:55 AM

Oregon bishop criticized in national report; Clergy sex abuse victims respond

OREGON
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

We're saddened but not surprised that Baker Catholic officials still refuse to participate in the annual national church sex abuse program. Even worse, Bishop Robert Vasa won't conduct abuse prevention training for children, the training mandate by the national bishops conference that is designed to prevent future horrific child sex crimes. The bishop won't even do the bare minimum regarding child safety, preferring instead to risk the safety of the children entrusted to his care.

His fellow bishops have not censored nor held him accountable in any way for this egregious violation, which calls into question their sincerity about safeguarding kids.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:53 AM

Cardinal Leads Protest For Reimbursement Of Private Schools

NEW YORK
NY 1

[with video]

Community and religious leaders call on Governor David Paterson to keep funding for religious and independent schools.

Edward Cardinal Egan and other protestors held a rally in Pelham Bay, Bronx to protest the governor's proposal to limit the state's liability for the Mandated Services Reimbursement Program to 92 percent.

Under the MSR program, the state is required to reimburse religious and independent schools for 100 percent of their actual costs in providing state-mandated services, such as giving state tests.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:29 AM

Diocese will tell priests today which local churches will close

OHIO
The Chronicle-Telegram

Lisa Roberson | The Chronicle-Telegram

Local priests arriving for church today will be visited by a courier with an important message to convey.

That message will contain the future of local churches, and for some it will mean the end is near.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:25 AM

Catholic church paid 436 mln dlrs for abuse cases

UNITED STATES
AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) — The US Roman Catholic church has paid out 436 million dollars in 2008 for sex abuse cases involving clergy members, according to an official report aimed at healing deep wounds of the scandal that blew up in 2002.

The bulk of the money -- more than 374 million dollars -- was paid out in settlements to victims, according to the report that tracks how well the church is implementing a charter to protect children.

The sums paid out in settlement had fallen 29 percent compared with the record 526 million dollars paid in 2007, the report showed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:20 AM

Costs for predatory Catholic priests keeps rising

UNITED STATES
Newsday

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS; Staff writer Joseph Mallia contributed to this story.
March 14, 2009
The price for failing to rein in predatory clergy keeps rising for the U.S. Roman Catholic Church.

The church has paid more than $2.6 billion in settlements and related expenses since 1950, according to an annual update released Friday by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

It's not clear how much of that sum was paid out by the Diocese of Rockville Centre, but jury awards, settlements and statements by Bishop William Murphy suggest an amount more than $25 million.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:18 AM

PIs To Tacks Down Residential School Abusers

CANADA
Westcoaster

By Sue Bailey
The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — The federal government will hire up to 10 private investigation firms to track down former staff and students accused of abuse in native residential schools.

Former teachers, clergy, other staff and students have been named as perpetrators in several thousand compensation claims.

Ottawa has already paid out more than $350 million in settlements over the last decade – most of them for sexual abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:15 AM

New York Anti-Church Bill

NEW YORK
National Catholic Register

Posted by Tom McFeely

Friday, March 13, 2009 12:17 PM

First Connecticut, and now New York.

Hot on the heels of the anti-Church bill introduced into the Connecticut legislature comes a piece of New York legislation about which Dennis Poust, spokesman for the Catholic bishops of New York, said this: “We believe this bill is designed to bankrupt the Catholic Church.”

The bill, which is now before the New York State Assembly, would temporarily lift the statute of limitations for sexual abuse lawsuits in New York. Poust made his comment about its ramifications for the Church in this New York Times article about the bill.

As in the case of the Connecticut anti-Church bill that seeks to remove the right of the state’s bishops to govern their own parishes, Catholic leaders believe the legislators backing the New York bill have a hidden agenda.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:12 AM

Bishop Lori thanks ‘patriotic’ Catholics for thwarting ‘legislative attack’

CONNECTICUT
Catholic News Agency

Bridgeport, Conn., Mar 13, 2009 / 04:55 pm (CNA).- Declaring that the defense of religious liberty is "genuine patriotism," Bishop of Bridgeport William Lori has thanked the Catholics of Connecticut for helping derail a senate bill he called a "legislative attack." The bishop also rebuked the bill’s sponsoring senator and said he has no business interfering with the Catholic Church or any other church.

The Connecticut Senate’s S.B. 1098 targeted the Catholic Church for financial reorganization and would have stripped Catholic bishops and pastors of their governing roles. Though the bill was withdrawn on Tuesday, thousands of protesters attended a Wednesday rally against the bill.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:06 AM

Anatomy Of A Firestorm

CONNECTICUT
Connecticut Law Tribune

By THOMAS B. SCHEFFEY

Greenwich lawyer, inventor and spiritual entrepreneur Tom Gallagher didn’t have much luck over the last two years in his attempts to get the legislative Judiciary Committee to hold a hearing on his idea to give lay committees exclusive responsibility for Catholic parish finances.

Now-retired Rep. Dolly Powers, R-Greenwich, tried without success to have the measure presented for a hearing, as a favor to Gallagher and other reform-minded Catholics in Fairfield County. The bill proponents, including members of a group known as Voice of the Faithful, were upset by a couple of scandals in which priests defrauded their parishes.

But on March 5, in the wake of a contentious hearing about legislation to implement the state Supreme Court’s decision approving same-sex marriage, the Judiciary Committee raised a bill modifying corporate laws for “certain religious corporations” for a hearing March 11, along with dozens of other bills.

Lobbyists, whose job it is to read the bill proposals, alerted the Bridgeport Diocese, which promptly e-mailed Hartford lawyer Michael Shea, who has represented the Catholic and Episcopal churches in religious corporation disputes. Shea is one of the few Connecticut lawyers who have handled court cases arising from the 16-page section of the state statutes which deals with religious corporations. They specifically cover five large and small denominations. The statutes give these and other religious groups the rights and privileges of the corporate form of ownership, including limited liability from lawsuits.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:04 AM

Orthodox Jews urged to report abuse cases

UNITED STATES
Winston-Salem Journal

By Nicole Neroulias
RELIGION NEWS SERVICE

Published: March 14, 2009

NEW YORK - In the wake of the sex-abuse scandal that rocked the Catholic Church, members of other faiths began reconsidering how they handle allegations against clergy, teachers and youth leaders. For Orthodox Jews, whose communal life is shaped by religious courts and a desire to avoid bad publicity, abuse often went unreported -- a situation that has slowly started to change -- much to Rabbi Yosef Blau's relief.

Blau, 70, Yeshiva University's spiritual adviser, has worked with The Awareness Center, a Jewish coalition against sexual abuse. He spoke about recent allegations against several Brooklyn rabbis, and the community's struggles to understand that such matters require outside investigators.

Some answers have been edited for length and clarity.

Q. How did you become an advocate for Jewish sex-abuse victims?

A. About 20 years ago, Rabbi Baruch Lanner, a very successful head of an Orthodox youth movement, was accused of misconduct. The community set up a rabbinical court, and I was one of the people chosen to be on it. It was a disaster.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:01 AM

Minister Facing Sex Abuse Charges

KENTUCKY
WLKY

[with video]

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- A Shelbyville minister accused of sexually abusing a 15-year-old is facing more charges.

James Howard Bell was indicted on charges of sodomy, sexual abuse and wanton endangerment. He is now also facing a charge of distributing obscene matter to minors.

WLKY has obtained court documents that describe the details of the accusations.

"In a lot of cases, a lot of inmates don't take well to child molestation sometimes," said Shelby County Jailer Bobby Waits. "So for his safety as well as the safety of everyone else we feel in most cases this is what we need to do."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:56 AM

Sex Abuse Victims Protest at St. Edwards School

DANA POINT (CA)
Dana Point Times

March 13, 2009

Vol. 2, Issue 11, March 13-19, 2009

By Nathan Wright

Five members of Survivors Network of Those Abused By Priests protested outside St. Edward the Confessor School in Dana Point on March 9, handing leaflets to parents picking their children up from school. The protestors—included three victims, a parent of a victim and a supporter—spoke out against “five known predators [who] have worked at this school.”

“Hopefully, school and diocese officials have informed you about the fifth known sex abuse lawsuit against Denis Lyons that settled last week,” says the leaflet. “Lyons served at St. Edwards until 2002, and we believe there may be many more victims who are recent graduates of or who still attend St. Edwards.”

The protestors,who were not abused at St. Edwards, stood outside the school’s parking lot and handed yellow leaflets to parents driving by. The group was asked to leave by a school employee and was later questioned by a school official and an Orange County Sheriff’s Department deputy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:53 AM

Abuse bill would cripple church, diocese says

NEW YORK
Newsday

BY BART JONES AND JOIE TYRRELL
March 14, 2009
A child sex abuse victims bill that stands a renewed chance of passage in Albany could "bankrupt" the Diocese of Rockville Centre, the diocese warned Friday, shutting schools, parishes, clinics and other church institutions by allowing dozens of lawsuits from cases dating back decades.

But supporters of the bill shot back that the diocese was exaggerating the potential damage and that the proposed law would finally give victims of predatory priests their day in court.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:50 AM

Crime victims protest proposed cuts to victim services

TUCSON (AZ)
Tucson Citizen

March 13, 2009, 9:32 p.m.
RYN GARGULINSKI
Tucson Citizen
One was raped by a Catholic priest 40 years ago. Another's fiance was slain during a robbery attempt, leaving her alone and three months pregnant. Another survived an abusive relationship and was finally able to move away with her four children from her abuser.

These three Tucsonans - Jim Parker, who is in his 50s, Melissa Royce, 23, and Leslie Evans, 30 - joined about 70 others Friday at a rally against proposed budget cuts to victim services funds.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:47 AM

Sex claims against US Church rise

UNITED STATES
BBC News

The number of new claims of sexual abuse made against US Roman Catholic priests rose by 16% to more than 800 last year, a Church report says.

It says the Church paid $436m (£313m) in 2008 for abuse cases. Most of the money was used to compensate victims.

The study covered almost 200 dioceses and religious orders across the US.

It found that more than one in five victims were under the age of 10 when they were abused.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:45 AM

Claims of clergy sex abuse rise

DETROIT (MI)
The Detroit News

Gregg Krupa / The Detroit News
DETROIT -- Catholic bishops reported Friday that allegations of sexual abuse by clergy rose across the nation last year and most of the claims involved priests who had other sexual complaints against them.

Almost all of the 803 new complaints of abuse brought nationally proceed from allegations by adults who said they were abused as children decades ago -- most frequently from 1970-74. The church paid $436 million in settlements, lawyers' fees and other related costs in 2008, a 29 percent decrease from 2007, according to the annual report released by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Ned McGrath, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Detroit declined to say whether new complaints had been filed or whether the archdiocese had paid off any claims in civil suits in 2008.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:43 AM

US church abuse cases rise 16%

UNITED STATES
RTE News (Ireland)

Saturday, 14 March 2009 11:36
A new report says the number of new claims of sexual abuse made against US Catholic priests rose by 16% last year.

The report was commissioned by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The study covered almost 200 dioceses and religious orders across the US, and showed that 803 new allegations of abuse were lodged last year, compared with 692 in 2007.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:40 AM

March 13, 2009

John and Ken Go After Red County Blog (Again)

CALIFORNIA
Orange County Weekly

By Matt Coker in A Clockwork Orange

The hosts of KFI AM Talk Radio's The John and Ken Show are ripping Orange County's right-tilted Red County blog once again. (You can listen here.) What set off the anti-tax crusaders--whose recent live Tax Revolt 2009 broadcast (pictured) drew 8,000 people to the Slidebar Café in downtown Fullerton--was a post by Assemblyman Paul Cook (R-Yucca Pie) shilling for Prop 1A. ...

Just last year, John and Ken blasted GOP water carrier Matt Cunningham, who often posts on Red County as his Jubal alter ego, for putting up on another website the unredacted deposition of Father John Urell in an Orange County Roman Catholic priest molestation case. Cunningham's "Friends of Monsignor John" site was intended to help clear the name of his parish's pastor--who covered up every sex-abuse case within the the Diocese of Orange between 1988 and 2005--but the court document Jubal posted included the names of molestation victims. Cunningham went on to apologize profusely, but this has become his own Curt Pringlesque poll-guard controversy, following him to this day on the blogosphere, where any battle of wits with a virtual foe generally ends with, "Screw you, Jubal, you outed sex-abuse victims."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:16 PM

US bishops’ general counsel condemns Connecticut legislation; editorial boards differ

CONNECTICUT
Catholic Culture

Anthony Picarello, general counsel of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued a statement condemning Connecticut legislation that would restructure parish governance in the state, granting lay boards control of parish finances and outreach. “This bill goes far beyond swatting a fly with a sledge hammer,” he said. “It takes the sledgehammer to the whole house, using the fly as an excuse.” Editorial boards have different positions on the bill after the bill’s sponsors cancelled a judiciary committee hearing. The Advocate of Stamford, Ct., criticized Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport and other critics of the bill, while the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and the Darien Times condemned it. Backers of the legislation cited the conviction of a Darien, Ct., priest for fraud as a reason for the restructuring of Catholic parish financial administration.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:13 PM

US bishops' report shows $436 in sex-abuse expenses for 2008

UNITED STATES
Catholic Culture

March 13, 2009
Catholic dioceses and religious orders in the US paid $436 million in 2008 on legal settlements and other expenses related to sexual abuse by clergy. The 6th annual report mandated by the Dallas Charter, which the US bishops approved in 2002, shows that dioceses also spent $23 million on programs that are said to protect children from sexual abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:10 PM

Catholic dioceses still paying for clergy misdeeds

UNITED STATES
The 33 TV

By RACHEL ZOLL

NEW YORK (AP) — The price for failing to rein in predatory clergy keeps rising for the U.S. Roman Catholic Church.

The church has paid more than $2.6 billion in settlements and related expenses since 1950, according to an annual report released Friday by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The costs to dioceses and religious orders dropped in 2008 by 29 percent, to about $463 million. But 2007 was an unusually high year, when the Archdiocese of Los Angeles began paying its $660 million settlement to about 500 people. It was the largest deal by a U.S. diocese. ...

Only a minority of U.S. dioceses have publicly released the names of accused priests — a move that is meant not only to potentially protect the public, but also to encourage other victims of the clergymen to seek help. Only 30 percent of new allegations last year were made through attorneys. Half of the claims were made to the dioceses directly by the accusers.

"Bishops have to try harder," Barrett Doyle said. "They have to publish lists of accused priests, they have to publish the assignments of these priests, so parents can start asking questions."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:04 PM

Abuse Allegations Lead To Renaming Of Bridge

AUGUSTA (ME)
WMTW

AUGUSTA, Maine -- Maine Gov. John Baldacci said he'll sign a bill renaming the Father Curran Bridge in Augusta because of abuse allegations that arose after the Roman Catholic priest's death.

With no debate, the Maine Senate gave final approval to the bill on Thursday. After it's signed, the new name will be the Calumet Bridge at Old Fort Western.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:36 PM

Tulsa Diocese Found Non-Compliant In Annual Review

TULSA (OK)
KTUL

[2008 Annual Report: Findings and Recommendations]

Tulsa - The Catholic Diocese of Tulsa is coming under fire after an annual review of child safety in American dioceses and religious orders found it was in non-compliance.

The report was released Friday by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. It found only four dioceses were in non-compliance.

Tulsa's diocese was not in compliance with Article 12, "providing safe environment training to children". The other three non-compliant dioceses were in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Lansing, Michigan and the Archdiocese of San Francisco, but those three had remedied those issues by December 19th.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:18 PM

Claims Of Clergy Abuse Rose In 2008

UNITED STATES
CBS News

(CBS/AP) Roman Catholic dioceses and religious orders saw a rise in molestation claims against clergy last year, according to a new report from U.S. bishops. Nearly all the 803 cases involved adults who said they had been abused as children decades ago.

"We think it's largely because bishops continue to act recklessly and callously and deceitfully and when victims see church officials behaving irresponsibly, it prods them to come forward and report their own abuse in the hopes of sparing other children," David Clohessy, head of the Chicago-based Survivors Network of Those Abused By Priests, told CBS News.

Church leaders paid less in settlements, attorney fees and other abuse-related costs. Still, the amount reached just over $436 million, bringing the total payouts for abuse to more than $2.6 billion since 1950, according to studies commissioned by the prelates.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:13 PM

Randle pastor convicted for sex e-mails with teen

CHEHALIS (WA)
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

CHEHALIS, Wash. -- Randle pastor Fred Haack faces up to five years in prison when he is sentenced May 1 in Lewis County Superior Court for communicating with a minor for immoral purposes.

The 50-year-old was convicted Wednesday for sending sexual e-mails to a 16-year-old girl who was part of his congregation at the Family Worship Center.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:19 PM

Pastor uses manhood in deliverance

GHANA
Joy Online

The activity of a self-styled man of God has thrown the Dangme East and parts of the Dangme West districts into a state of fear. The pastor, who is said to have claimed that his manhood has been anointed to solve the problems of women, goes into bed with them as his way of liberating the unsuspecting women from demons.

This strange development has raised alarm throughout the two districts, with some speculating that the man could be deliberately spreading the deadly Human Immunodeficiency Virus. The supposed man of God has only women as his clients and is based in an uncompleted building at Ada-foah the capital of the eastern district, from where he operates. |

Investigations conducted by the Heritage concluded that the man whose name the paper withholds for now busily searches for unsuspecting women to convince them the Omnipresent God has revealed some stunning secrets about them to him. For reasons unclear as of now, Osofo is able to tell some of the clients a few things that have actually happened to them or in their families in the past. And they get hooked on like by a magnet! That first mission accomplished, the penis prophet proceeds to tell the awed women fates about to befall them and, who would dare doubt him? The methodical man’s third step is booking of appointment: he gives the ensnarled females his contact number, the direction to his ‘ghetto’ and the time to meet him for a ‘crucial deliverance prayers’ session. All things would have fallen in place.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:17 PM

Redding pastor sentenced for molesting child

REDDING (CA)
Examiner

REDDING, Calif. (Map, News) - A former Redding pastor has been sentenced to 16 years in prison for molesting a young girl.

David Bishop was arrested in October and charged with 47 counts of lewd and lascivious conduct with a child under age 14.

He pleaded guilty to five counts of felony child molestation in exchange for a shorter sentence approved Thursday by a Shasta County judge. Prosecutors say Bishop was facing a life sentence.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:13 PM

Catholic Church cites progress on abuse

UNITED STATES
Boston Globe

Posted by Michael Paulson March 13, 2009
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops today released its sixth annual report on how well dioceses are doing at complying with the child abuse prevention measures adopted by the bishops back in 2002. Almost all dioceses are complying, the bishops reported; one of the holdouts remains a Melkite (Eastern Rite) eparchy headquartered in Boston.

The bishops' conference also released an annual statistical snapshot of abuse-related matters, produced by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown. Some highlights:

"Last year, dioceses received ten new credible allegations of abuse to a person still under 18 years of age. CARA reported that in 2008, more old cases came to light as 620 victims made 625 allegations against 423 offenders. Most incidents took place decades ago, most frequently in the 1970-74 period. Most victims were male and a little more than half were between the ages of 10 and 14 when the abuse began. About 23 percent were younger than age 10.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:09 PM

Remembering Eric - 2nd Anniversary Of His Death

UNITED STATES
Wounded Bird

Dear Grandmère Mimi,

Thank you for this opportunity to tell our story. Perhaps it will serve as a cautionary tale, to warn other families who naively trust their own church to “do the right thing” regarding clergy sexual abuse.

Ours is still a very painful story, two years after Eric's untimely death. His is the story of a young gay man, who felt called to priesthood in the Orthodox Church in America (hereafter the OCA). We’re convinced that Eric is just one of many young LGBT’s who have been sexually abused by opportunistic clergy in the various churches over the years.

Eric, like his sisters was raised Roman Catholic. As a teenager he followed his dad into the Orthodox Church; his mom and sisters remained Catholic. Eric’s story is basically the tragic intersection of a devout, socially conscious and intelligent young man with a troubled married priest, Fr. Timothy Blumentritt and an equally troubled Orthodox Church jurisdiction “the OCA”. Fr. Blumentritt was responsible for Pastoral Care of all students at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary in Crestwood, NY. Eric went to Fr. Tim, his 'spiritual father', for counseling to deal with childhood issues. Like many of his fellow seminarians, Eric was an ACOA, an Adult Child of an Alcoholic.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:03 PM

Catholic bishops: Clergy abuse claims rose in 2008

NEW YORK
Houston Chronicle

By RACHEL ZOLL AP Religion Writer
March 13, 2009, 11:09AM

NEW YORK — Roman Catholic dioceses and religious orders saw a rise in molestation claims against clergy last year, according to a report released Friday by the U.S. bishops. Nearly all the 803 cases involved adults who said they had been abused as children decades ago.

Church leaders paid less in settlements, attorney fees and other abuse-related costs in 2008. Still, the amount reached just over $436 million, bringing the total payouts for abuse to more than $2.6 billion since 1950, according to studies commissioned by the prelates.

The statistics are part of an annual review of child safety in American dioceses and religious orders that is mandated by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:18 PM

Bishops admit that child sex abuse reports are up, SNAP responds

UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

We're saddened but not surprised that Catholic officials continue to focus strictly on predator priests while ignoring the even more disturbing crisis: reckless, secretive and callous church officials who often continue to ignore or conceal known or suspected clergy sex crimes.

The number of victims who report suffering horrific childhood trauma in any one year is less helpful than the number of bishops who keep hiding crucial information about church pedophiles that could actually prevent future childhood trauma. But virtually no bishop holds anyone responsible for concealing predators, now or the past. When wrong-doing is ignored, wrong doing continues.

We dispute the notion that most predator priests are 'out of the priesthood.' We believe most proven, admitted and credibly accused predator priests are still on the church payroll, though they may not be in active ministry. We challenge church officials to provide clear, specific information (on every diocesan website and at the national level) about which predators have been defrocked and which have not.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:45 AM

NY Legislature Considering Sex Abuse Bill to Help Victims

NEW YORK
Injury Board

March 13, 2009

It's not the first time the New York State Legislature has considered measures that would open up the statute of limitations for sexual abuse victims. However, this year, the Child Victims Act, has a very good chance of becoming law. The proposal, if it makes it to the Governor's desk, would provide sexual abuse victims a one year window during which they could seek civil justice against the perpetrators as well as the institutions that covered up for them.

The bill does face stiff opposition from the NY Catholic Conference whose lobbying efforts will be aggressive and prodigious. As usual the NY Catholic dioceses argue that the bill unfairly targets institutions like the Catholic Church. In their argument, they neglect the fact that hundreds if not thousands of New York sexual abuse victims have suffered at the hands of priests in the Dioceses of Albany, Rochester, Ogdensburg, Rockville Centre, Brooklyn, Syracuse, and the Archdiocese of New York.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:41 AM

Clergy Abuse Claims on the Rise

UNITED STATES
Injury Board

March 13, 2009 - 10:37 AM

In spite of what the Catholic Church's public relations operation says, an independent study has said that priest abuse claims in the United States actually rose 16% over the same period last year. This in spite of the fact that 2 dioceses, Lincoln Nebraska and Baker Oregon refused to participate in the study. Interestingly, the study notes that 40% of the new claims cited abuse from clergy not previously reported as abusers.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:36 AM

Dioceses Increased Spending on Sex Abuse Prevention in 2008; Most Dioceses Compliant with Bishops' Child Protection Charter

UNITED STATES
PRNewswire

[the 2008 annual report]

WASHINGTON, March 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Dioceses spent more than $23 million nationwide in 2008 to prevent child sexual abuse, an increase of two million dollars from 2007. The figures are part of the 2008 Annual Report on the Implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

This sixth annual report also found that virtually all U.S. dioceses and eparchies are compliant with the 17-point Charter, which was adopted by the U.S. bishops in 2002.

Most recent reports of abuse concerned alleged offenses from 1965-74, 35 to 40 years ago and most alleged offenders are dead or out of the ministry.

The report is produced under the direction of the National Review Board, chaired by Judge Michael Merz. It includes the audit results of 188 of the 195 dioceses and eparchies in the United States as well as data collected for calendar year 2008 by the Georgetown University-based Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) in its Annual Survey of Allegations and Costs.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:15 AM

Unjust sentence

PENNSYLVANIA
The Intelligencer

AT LEAST BANK ROBBERS are honest about their intentions. They clearly state what they want and often show a weapon for emphasis.

Anthony Cappuccio isn't fit to share a cell with a bank robber.

The former Bucks County prosecutor was sly and sneaky in committing his crimes. The weapons Cappuccio used - authority, power and trust - likewise concealed his intentions. He used them to gain the confidence of teenage boys - and then he victimized them.

Cappuccio should be in jail.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:09 AM

Abbot abused novice monks

GREECE
Pokrov

Date Published: 3/11/2009

Publication: Kathimerini

The abbot of Aghia Skepi Monastery in Keratea, east of Athens, has been arrested on suspicion of sexually abusing at least 21 novice monks over the last two decades, police said yesterday.

The 68-year-old was taken into custody after four men aged 18 to 34 went to a police station in Keratea and told officers that the monk repeatedly abused them between 1988 and 2007 while they were at the monastery.

They claimed that the abbot took advantage of the spiritual trust that his novices placed in him. Police said that an initial investigation had indicated that the 68-year-old sexually molested at least 17 other young men.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:57 AM

Bishop let off: Panteleimon could make return

GREECE
Pokrov

Date Published: 3/11/2009

Publication: Kathimerini

POKROV NOTE: Bezenitis is the former metropolitan of Attica. However, he remains a bishop.

The Church of Greece’s Holy Synod yesterday decided by seven votes to five not to force the jailed former bishop of Attica, Panteleimon, to face a Church court. As of 2006, Panteleimon has been serving a six-year jail sentence in Korydallos Prison for embezzlement.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:55 AM

Schönborn calls for calm in church crisis

AUSTRIA
Austrian Times

Vienna Archbishop Christoph Cardinal Schönborn has appealed for understanding in a pastoral letter to Austrian Catholics at the end of the meeting of the country’s bishops.

Schönborn, who chairs the Austrian Bishops Conference that concluded its annual late-winter meeting in Innsbruck yesterday (Thurs), appealed for understanding in the wake of a turbulent period for the Austrian Church.

The cardinal said: "Many people find it impossible to understand recent decisions by the Vatican, which have made some of them angry. I understand their reaction."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:37 AM

AP Newsbreak: Clergy abuse claims rose last year

UNITED STATES
The Associated Press

By RACHEL ZOLL

NEW YORK (AP) — Roman Catholic dioceses and religious orders saw a rise in molestation claims against clergy last year, according to a new report from U.S. bishops. Nearly all the 803 cases involved adults who said they had been abused as children decades ago.

Church leaders paid less in settlements, attorney fees and other abuse-related costs. Still, the amount reached just over $436 million, bringing the total payouts for abuse to more than $2.6 billion since 1950, according to studies commissioned by the prelates.

The statistics are part of an annual review of child safety in American dioceses and religious orders that is mandated by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The report is set to be released Friday. The Associated Press obtained a copy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:36 AM

US church's costs for clergy sex abuse topped $436 million last year

UNITED STATES
Catholic News Service

By Nancy Frazier O'Brien
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- U.S. dioceses and religious orders spent more than $436 million in 2008 on settlements and other costs related to clergy sex abuse, a decrease of 29 percent over the $615 million paid out in the peak year of 2007.

Those figures were in the information made public March 13 in the sixth annual report on implementation of the "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People," adopted by the U.S. Catholic bishops in 2002. The report was produced under the direction of the all-lay National Review Board, established by the bishops to monitor compliance with the charter.

The report summarized data collected from dioceses, eparchies and religious orders for calendar year 2008 by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University, as well as the results of audits of most U.S. dioceses and eparchies conducted between July 1, 2007, and June 30, 2008.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:24 AM

Kerala HC closes proceedings in Sister Abhaya case

INDIA
Indlaw News

Kerala High Court closed the proceedings in a petition filed by Mr M Thomas seeking a direction that the High Court should monitor the investigation of Sister Abhaya Case and that it should be conducted on the basis of the narco analysis result.

A Division Bench comprising Justice K Balakishnan Nair and Justice M L Joseph Francis today observed that no such orders were necessary as the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Ernakulam was already monitoring the investigation.

The Bench also observed that it had perused the report by CBI.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:06 AM

Maciel - Four Possibilities

Leon J. Podles: Dialogue

March 13th, 2009
The Vatican and the Legion of Christ have decided to maintain a discrete silence about Maciel. Perhaps a further statement will be forthcoming, as promised, or perhaps the Vatican and the Legion count on the short attention span of the public.

The Legion has admitted that Maciel fathered a child in his old age and was leading a double life. Maciel went to his grave without admitting any guilt. He let the Legion portray him as a wrongly-persecuted saint.

When the Vatican told Maciel to retire to a life of prayer and penance, it showed it believed at least some of the allegations that he had molested seminarians.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:40 AM

"Outrageous" Sentence for Crimes Against Teens

PENNSYLVANIA
NBC Philadelphia

By KAREN ARAIZA

Updated 1:30 AM EDT, Fri, Mar 13, 2009

Remember these two names because if you don't get disgusted over this, one man gets a slap on the wrist for crimes against teenaged boys and the other gets away with a crime of conscience.

Anthony Cappuccio, 32, admitted he plied three teens with alcohol and drugs and had an ongoing sexual relationship with one of them. At the time, Cappuccio was the golden boy; married with children, a deputy district attorney for Bucks County and very involved in his church. That's how he met his prey. He was their youth leader.

Then he was caught, half naked, parked behind a shopping center with one of the teens.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:36 AM

Judge Delays Sentencing of Ex-Church Worker on Sex Charges

BARTOW (FL)
The Ledger

By Jason Geary
THE LEDGER

BARTOW | Circuit Judge Donald Jacobsen agreed Thursday to delay the sentencing of Marshal Seymour, a former church volunteer accused of molesting boys, until later this month.

The judge allowed the mother of a past victim to testify, but he rescheduled the rest of the hearing for March 27.

Seymour, 41, of Lakeland is charged with sexually abusing three boys he met through his volunteer work at First Baptist Church at the Mall, a prominent Lakeland church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:32 AM

Measure to Open Child Sex Abuse Claims Stirs Controversy

NEW YORK
Rochester Homepage

A bill in the New York legislature that would temporarily lift the statue of limitations for lawsuits in alleged cases of sexual abuse of children is stirring up controversy among religious groups and other organizations.

The New York Civil Liberties Union, the criminal defense bar and several Orthodox Jewish institutions have joined the Catholic Archdiocese of New York in lobbying against the so-called Child Victims Act.

The bill is strongly supported by the state Senate's new Democratic majority and Governor David Paterson. If passed, the measure would suspend the statute of limitations in child sex abuse cases for one year, meaning alleged victims would be able to sue an individual or organization regardless of how long ago the alleged abuse occurred. After that time, the statue of limitations for filing a claim would be extended from the current deadline of five years after the victim turns 18 to ten years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:28 AM

New York Child Sexual Abuse Law Could Allow More Adult Victims to File Lawsuits

NEW YORK
News Inferno

The New York state legislature could soon make it possible for many adult victims of child sexual abuse to file civil suits against their abusers, as well as any institution that enabled that abuse. According to The New York Times, a law that would extend the deadline victims have for filing child abuse lawsuits could finally become law sometime this year.

The law - called the Child Victims Act - has been proposed before, but never passed. According to The New York Times, Republicans in the state Senate had always been able to block the bill. But, the Democrats now control the legislature. What’s more, the Times said Gov. David Paterson is a proponent of the act, and would likely sign it if it is passed.

Currently, the deadline for bringing such a lawsuit is 5 years after a victim turns 18. According to The New York Times, the Child Victims Act would give victims a one-year exemption from the statute of limitations. Regardless of how long ago the alleged abuse occurred, they could file suit in civil court. At the year’s end, time limits on such claims would be restored, but with a wider window: Instead of a five-year period after turning 18, victims would have 10 years to file claims, the Times said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:26 AM

Church apology set via prayer service

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Friday, March 13, 2009
By Ann Rodgers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Bishop David Zubik of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh will hold a prayer service April 7 to apologize to anyone who has ever been hurt by someone acting in the name of the Catholic Church.

"If you have been harmed by the church in any way, I invite you to come. There will be nothing expected of you but your willingness to pray with me. No one will bother you," Bishop Zubik wrote in his column in the Pittsburgh Catholic. The service will be held at 7 p.m. in St. Paul Cathedral on Tuesday of Holy Week.

Although most publicity about people hurt in the Catholic Church has centered on those who suffered sexual abuse, many other concerns also will be addressed in the prayer service. Bishop Zubik's column mentioned people who have been spoken to harshly by church leaders, who felt they were unjustly let go from a church position or felt picked on by a teacher in a religious education class.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:23 AM

Survey: Percentage of Catholics in Wisconsin falling

WISCONSIN
Green Bay Press-Gazette

By J.E. Espino • Gannett Wisconsin Media • March 13, 2009

Wisconsin's fish fry tradition at Catholic churches has no problem reeling in large crowds, but a national religion survey shows that fewer people are filling pews in churches of all faiths.

The American Religious Identification Survey, released this week, shows a 10 percentage point decline in the past 18 years in the number of Wisconsinites who identify themselves as Catholic — 29 percent compared with 39 percent in 1990.

But it's not just the Roman Catholic Church that has lost ground in a generation.

Overall, the percentage of people who call themselves some type of Christian dropped in the state, all while the percentage of those claiming to have no religion increased from 6 percent to 15 percent.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:20 AM

Span formally renamed Calumet Bridge at Old Fort Western

AUGUSTA (ME)
Kennbec Journal

STAFF REPORT
The Maine Senate on Thursday gave final approval to a bill to rename the Father John J. Curran Bridge in Augusta.

With no debate, the bill passed with unanimous consent. Gov. John Baldacci said he'll sign the bill into law.

The bill, brought forward by Rep. Patsy Crockett, D-Augusta, will change the name to the Calumet Bridge at Old Fort Western.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:18 AM

Zubik announces 'Service of Apology'

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Beaver County Times

By Bill Vidonic, Times Staff
Published: Friday, March 13, 2009 12:10 AM EDT
PITTSBURGH — In an unprecedented move for the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese, Bishop David Zubik is reaching out to people who were harmed by anyone acting under the auspices of the church.

Thursday, Zubik announced he will lead a “Service of Apology” prayer session on April 7, beginning at 7 p.m., at St. Paul Cathedral in Oakland during Holy Week.

Those perceived wrongs could be anything from the mundane to the horrific, as Zubik said the prayer service is for anyone who feels he or she was harmed by the church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:15 AM

Cardinal Sean O'Malley cites progress made against clergy abuse

MASSACHUSETTS
Boston Globe

[Cardinal O'Malley's letter]

By Michael Paulson
Globe Staff / March 13, 2009
BRAINTREE - Reflecting on his five years responding to the local sexual abuse scandal, Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley said the Archdiocese of Boston is moving "beyond an atmosphere of crisis to one of implementation and vigilance."

In a six-page letter being released today, O'Malley outlines a series of changes the archdiocese is carrying out to make abuse prevention and detection a permanent part of the bureaucracy.

The cardinal also suggested the archdiocese is on the verge of publishing a list of priests accused of abuse, saying church officials are considering "disclosing information about accused clergy and the status of cases against them." Such lists are a top priority of survivor advocacy groups and have been released by a few other dioceses.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:48 AM

Just Call Me Marie: When Women Become Priests

CANADA
Religion Dispatches

By Rosemary Ganley
March 13, 2009

Marie Bouclin was excommunicated, or rather “self-excommunicated,” as the Catholic church puts it, for becoming a priest. But banishment from the church has not stopped her from living her vocation.

When Marie Evans Bouclin spoke to the interviewer on Canada’s national radio last week, her voice was calm and confident. It was the interviewer who was excited. This phenomenon of Roman Catholic women, highly educated in theology and of a mature age, getting themselves ordained to the priesthood was a new item for her.

“Well,” Marie said, “people need us, and we are going to model a new ministry in a renewed church.”

What she does, in addition to enraging church authorities, is accept invitations from estranged Catholics, individuals and families, to baptize children, consecrate marriages, and accompany the elderly to death. She leads a support group for women healing from clergy sexual abuse. She gives advice to Bishop Patricia Fresen, the central figure in this contemporary Catholic drama being lived out globally. And she has remarkable equanimity, born of feminist convictions and a rich contemplative practice. She also co-pastors a breakaway Catholic parish of 150 people called "Christ the Servant” in a town 300 miles from where she lives. Husband Albert is her main chauffeur.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:44 AM

Vatican Expulsion Should Start Outcast Honor Roll

Women's e-News

By Anne Eggebroten
WeNews commentator

(WOMENSENEWS)--Saving the life of a 9-year-old rape victim is a crime, according to Brazilian Archbishop Jose Cardoso Sobrinho and Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, head of the Congregation for Bishops at the Vatican.

The "crime" of ending the pregnancy last week in Brazil has earned excommunication for the mother and doctors of the child, but not for the stepfather who apparently sexually abused the child for three years, and her sister as well. ...

On the other hand, Catholic priests who commit sexual abuse of children are not excommunicated but rehabilitated.

Prominent Catholic feminists have called the church to task, notably Frances Kissling of Catholics for Choice, and leaders of the Women's Ordination Conference, who underline the continuing need for women in leadership of the Roman Catholic Church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:38 AM

March 12, 2009

PENNSYLVANIA: Bishop Bennison appeals ecclesiastical court's decision

PENNSYLVANIA
Episcopal Life

By Jerry Hames, March 12, 2009

[Episcopal News Service] The decision by an ecclesiastical trial court that found Diocese of Pennsylvania Bishop Charles Bennison guilty of two charges of conduct unbecoming a cleric and recommended that he be deposed from ordained ministry will now go before a higher appeals court of the church.

James Parabue, legal counsel for the bishop, said Bennison had exercised his right of appeal after the original trial court last month rejected a request to modify its sentence. The notice of appeal filed by the bishop's legal counsel cites 19 reasons, including the sentence of deposition, which it says is against the weight of the evidence and contrary to applicable law.

The Court for the Trial of a Bishop upheld its decision of Sept. 30, 2008, that deposition was appropriate "in recognition of the nature of the offense and because [Bennison] has failed to demonstrate that he comprehends and takes responsibility for the harm that he has caused."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:09 PM

Catholic molestation trial begins to pick jurors

CALIFORNIA
Fresno Bee

Jury selection began this morning in the Fresno County Superior Court civil trial of two brothers who contend a Catholic priest allegedly molested them when they were children.

George and Howard Santillan allege that from 1959 through 1973 they were sexual abused by Monsignor Anthony Herdegen, a priest in their hometown Catholic parish in Wasco. The parish is under the auspice of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Fresno, or the Diocese of Fresno.

Church officials have argued that the Diocese was unaware of any unlawful sexual conduct by Herdegen.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:07 PM

Glenn Beck's Roundtable on Freedom of Religion

CONNECTICUT
Fox News

This is a rush transcript from "Glenn Beck," March 11, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GLENN BECK, HOST: Catholics, today, gathered in the state capital in Connecticut to protect their rights as Americans to freedom of religion.

The rally came one day after lawmakers in the state shelved a bill — you know what I'm saying, cancelled it, just put it on the shelf — and I wonder if they will take it out in the middle of the night. They proposed to take control of the Catholic Church in their financing.

This is not a story just in Connecticut. This is not a story just about Catholics. It's a story about God and an attempted attack on religion and our Constitution. ...

WILLIAM DONOHUE, CATHOLIC LEAGUE: Well, the attack in this particular case is not coming from non-Catholics. You are talking about two guys who are angry at the Catholic Church because the Catholic Church is against two men getting married. That's what this whole thing is about. They said that we're going to have the government — the state of Connecticut, will come in and we will take care of the churches. No role for the priests, no role for the bishops, we're going to take over the church.

This is driven by Voice of the Faithful. This is a dissident left-wing Catholic group. Them and their friends at the National Catholic Reporter wanted to do this.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:42 PM

VOTF SUPPORTS LAY INVOLVEMENT, QUESTIONS CT BILL 1098

CONNECTICUT
Voice of the Faithful

March 11, 2009 – Boston –Voice of the Faithful fully supports the principle of increased lay participation in the governance and administration of our dioceses and parishes in concert with our bishops and pastors. However, contrary to some press reports, we have initiated specific legislation neither at the national nor the state level to force this participation.

At the national level, we support education of the faithful on our baptismal rights and responsibilities with regard to increased responsibilities and active participation on diocesan and parish finance and pastoral councils based upon the talents and skill sets of competent professionals.

Many dioceses and parishes today lack meaningful lay participation in such councils and fail to provide transparent and accountable financial statements to their parishioners. Given the most recent financial scandals in Connecticut, including the case of Father Michael Jude Fay, imprisoned for embezzling $1.4 million from his Darien parish, it is understandable that many Catholics see greater need for skilled lay involvement and oversight with regard to finances. We encourage and applaud efforts by skilled lay Catholics and clergy to correct these failings and help us move toward a more responsible and accountable Church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:36 PM

Catholic, Orthodox Jewish leaders fight New York statute-of-limitations change

NEW YORK
Catholic Culture

March 12, 2009
Orthodox Jewish officials and the New York Civil Liberties Union have joined Catholic leaders in opposing legislation that would lift the statute of limitations on clerical abuse cases for one year. “We believe this bill is designed to bankrupt the Catholic Church,” said Dennis Poust of the New York State Catholic Conference.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:36 PM

Boys Society youth leader gets 18 years

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

Verity Edwards | March 13, 2009

THE child abuse scandal that forced an Anglican archbishop to resign, after two Adelaide priests blew the whistle on pedophiles preying on the Church of England Boys Society in three states, has led to the jailing for at least a decade of a former youth leader.

Andrew Dawson-Ryan, 60, was jailed yesterday for 18 years on 17 counts of having unlawful sex with boys, indecent assault and gross indecency, with a non-parole period of 10 years.

He was the fifth former leader of the Church of England Boys Society in South Australia, Queensland and Tasmania to be found guilty of abusing children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:58 AM

Former prosecutor gets house arrest for corrupting minors

PERKASIE (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

By Larry King
Inquirer Staff Writer

Anthony Cappuccio had an image that inspired trust.
In the Bucks County District Attorney's Office, he was a rising star who aggressively prosecuted corrupt public officials, drunken drivers, and child molesters.

At First United Methodist Church in Perkasie, Cappuccio was seen as a married father of two, a police officer's son entrusted with serving as a youth leader.

Cappuccio, 32, recklessly betrayed that trust.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:02 AM

Former assistant district attorney sentenced to house arrest

PERKASIE (PA)
News-Herald

By: Bob Keeler, Staff Writer
03/11/2009

Former Bucks County assistant district attorney and First United Methodist Church of Perkasie youth group leader Anthony Cappuccio will serve three to 23 months under house arrest after pleading guilty March 10 to having had a homosexual affair with one of the youth group members and supplying alcohol or smoking marijuana with that youth and two others.

The 17-year-old youth with whom Cappuccio, 32, had the affair, was not present for the sentencing, but a victim impact statement by him was read.

In the statement, the youth wrote his relationship with Cappuccio resulted in mixed feelings and confusion.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:59 AM

Former assistant Bucks DA sentenced in sex case

PERKASIE (PA)
The Morning Call

By Robert H. Orenstein | Of The Morning Call March 11, 2009
For Stephanie Matsinger Dockery, Anthony Cappuccio was someone she and others at First United Methodist Church in Perkasie could trust.

He was a church member, leader of the Youth Fellowship group and a deputy assistant district attorney in Bucks County.

If you can't trust a God-loving, church-going assistant district attorney, she said in county court, ''Who can you trust?''

Not Cappuccio, Dockery, now the church's assistant senior youth director, and others discovered.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:56 AM

Ex-prosecutor's house arrest draws anger

PENNSYLVANIA
Courier Times

By: LAURIE MASON
Bucks County Courier Times
Parents and church members infuriated by the sentence called it the equivalent of being "grounded," according to one official.

Anthony Cappuccio, the former chief deputy Bucks County district attorney who resigned in September amid allegations that he had sex with a 17-year-old boy, was sentenced Tuesday to three to 23 months of house arrest.

Cappuccio, 32, of Perkasie pleaded guilty to child endangerment, corruption of minors and related charges. He admitted that he supplied three teenage boys with alcohol, smoked marijuana with them at rock concerts, and had an ongoing sexual relationship with one of them.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:47 AM

Editorial: Church and state

CONNECTICUT
The Darien Times

Written by The Darien Times
Thursday, March 12, 2009
The Senate Judiciary co-chairmen made the right move this week by withdrawing what quickly became a controversial bill to strip Catholic bishops and pastors of parish financial controls.

The bill, An Act Modifying Corporate Laws Relating to Certain Religious Corporations, was created, at least partly, in response to the former pastor of Darien’s St. John Roman Catholic Church stealing more than a million dollars from his parish.

As word of the proposed bill spread through the Diocese of Bridgeport this week, one thing was clear: Catholics did not like our state government intervening in their church. And rightly so.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:39 AM

No Baptist record-keeping

UNITED STATES
Nicewords

I saw the movie Frost/Nixon recently and was reminded of the fact that, in large measure, it was record-keeping that brought down a president.

Remember those Watergate tapes? If there hadn’t been a record of Nixon’s conversations, he may not have been forced to resign.

Catholic canon law requires record-keeping on priests. That’s been their law for a very long time. And when the clergy sex abuse scandal finally saw daylight, it was the Catholic Church’s own practice of record-keeping that caused a lot of trouble for a lot of dioceses.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:36 AM

Married priests a possibility says Cardinal Egan

Florida Catholic

CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

ALBANY, N.Y. (CNS) | The possibility the Catholic Church will allow married priests shouldn’t be dismissed, New York Cardinal Edward M. Egan said March 10 during a radio interview.

“It’s a perfectly legitimate discussion,” he said during a talk radio program in Albany hosted by Fred Dicker. “I think it has to be looked at.”

Cardinal Egan was in the state capital as part of a legislative lobbying visit. He also discussed various New York legislative issues as well as the broader picture of the church’s public policy on topics such as same–sex marriage and access to abortion for minors.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:18 AM

Pope pained over "hate, hostility" against him

VATICAN CITY
Reuters

By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict Thursday said he felt deep pain over the "hostility and hate" some Catholics directed at him after he allowed four traditionalist bishops, including a Holocaust denier, back into the Church.

In a letter addressed to the world's bishops, he admits the Vatican mishandled and badly communicated the affair and that some problems could have been foreseen if the Vatican had made more use of the Internet to check people's backgrounds.

In an extremely rare public show of personal emotion, the pope also warns that the Church risked "biting and devouring itself" over internal squabbles.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:07 AM

Pope